A private comprehensive liberal arts college in Salt Lake City, UT, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in liberal arts and professional programs. Website
Honors Program Staff

Honors Director Richard Badenhausen headshotHonors Director

Richard Badenhausen is Professor & Director of Westminster's Honors program. He also holds the Kim T. Adamson Chair, one of the few endowed Honors chairs in the country. Over the past twenty-five years, Prof. Badenhausen has published widely on the work of T. S. Eliot and modernist literature. His book T. S. Eliot and the Art of Collaboration (Cambridge UP) was called by Oxford’s Ronald Bush “perhaps the most interesting critical study of Eliot in a decade.”

A leader in the national Honors community, Badenhausen is past member of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) Board of Directors, an NCHC Recommended Site Visitor, an editorial board member of HIP: Honors in Practice, co-chair of the NCHC Publications Board, and co-chair of the NCHC annual convention’s Student Interdisciplinary Research Paper program. He regularly visits campuses around the country to consult with colleges and universities on how they might improve their Honors programs.

Badenhausen has delivered more than three dozen national presentations on Honors education and regularly publishes in Honors journals like JNCHC: The Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council. In 2011, he was one of seven individuals at the national conference in Phoenix to be named an NCHC Fellow, a designation that “celebrates [his] many contributions not only to our organization but more widely to honors teaching, learning, scholarship, and leadership within the growing international influence of NCHC in higher education,” according to NCHC President John Zubizarreta.

At Westminster, he teaches classes in the Humanities, War Literature, Theories of Place, and Trauma Studies. Believing that the first year of college is a student’s most important developmentally, Badenhausen works in the classroom almost exclusively with Honors freshmen. That also ensures he knows virtually all 150 students in Westminster’s Honors program. He is the 2014 recipient of the college's Gore Excellence in Teaching award, which is given to one faculty member each year at the college's commencement ceremony, and two-time winner of Westminster's Manford A. Shaw Publication Prize for his scholarship on T. S. Eliot.

Badenhausen is an active member of the Salt Lake City community. He coached a girls' youth soccer team for seven years and is the chair of the Board of Trustees at Rowland Hall, one of the top independent college preparatory schools in the Intermountain West. He is married to an attorney and has two children, though he seems to spend most of his time with his devoted golden retriever Scout. He received his B.A. from Colgate University and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

Watch Richard's talk entitled "A Humanist's Defense of the Humanities."  See his personal webpage here.


Honors Assistant Director

Dave Goldsmith is professor and chair of geology at Westminster College. He also serves as assistant director of the Honors program. He is a paleontologist whose research concentrates on the fossil record of evolutionary processes as preserved in snails and clams found in the lake and pond deposits of Northern Utah. His second area of research, a direct result of his work in the Honors program, is on the history of evolutionary theory, from its origins in Napoleonic France to its current struggle for acceptance in American classrooms.

As assistant director of the Honors program, Dave helps to make sure that the Honors experience goes far beyond the classroom.  He coordinates the Living Arts program, a weekly seminar series that invites students to think about topics ranging from understanding films to avalanche survival. Dave is also the on-campus liaison for Academic Decathlon, a program that brings Honors freshmen together with high-achieving high school students from all over the state of Utah.

Dave believes very strongly that science is accessible to everyone, and in fact, that all people are born curious about the world around them. In his classes, Dave challenges students to think like geologists–to start from a basic study of individual rocks and work outward from these specific cases until they understand the general rules that govern the planet. Along with this case-based approach, Dave emphasizes the importance of exploration.  He has taken students to explore the rocks of Southern Utah, Hawaii, and Baja Mexico.

Originally from Connecticut, Dave studied at Colgate University and Harvard University before coming to Westminster. He lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and dog. He loves the Utah scenery, but will complain to anyone who will listen about the inadequacy of Utah Pizza.

Watch Dave's talk on "Evolution and Our Place in Nature"


Unofficial honors mascot

The unofficial mascot of the Honors program, Scout is a ‘senior’ Golden Retriever who was adopted from Companion Golden Rescue in 2005. Scout is named after the intrepid and plucky heroine of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. She comes to the Honors office almost every day and gets lots of attention from Honors students who miss their own dogs while they are away from home. Although Scout prefers tennis balls to a good book, she is always available to keep Honors students company, especially during the stressful time of final exams.