Dr. Jessica Wiskus has been named director of the Duquesne University Honors College effective July 1.
The Duquesne University Honors College nurtures excellence in academic achievement while also providing students with educational opportunities that go beyond the classroom. Students enjoy a strong community of like-minded individuals with diverse interests and goals, work together in honors organizations, participate in unique service projects and have the opportunity to live together in special housing in a Living Learning Center.
“I am absolutely honored and excited to become the new leader for the Honors College,” said Wiskus, associate professor and chair of musicianship in Duquesne’s Mary Pappert School of Music. “The program encompasses all of the various areas in which students are specializing at Duquesne. Whether enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts or studying in the sciences or in the business school, the Honors College can become a home for everyone dedicated to high academic achievement.”
The Honors College is implementing a revised curriculum, which includes the new Honors Freshman Seminar. Designed to help students develop their critical writing and thinking skills, the Honors Freshman Seminar will be offered this fall. According to Wiskus, a new emphasis will be placed on promoting global awareness and interdisciplinary engagement by the Honors College as well as creating a stronger connection between academic excellence and concerns for social justice.
“Duquesne, as the only Spiritan University in the world, provides us with an important and unique sense of mission, especially as related to issues of social justice,” said Wiskus. “Our commitment as a University to social justice is a quality that brings all 10 of our schools together, and I think it fitting that the Honors College take a leading role in creating more of a connection between academic excellence and social justice. It is an issue that binds all of us together.”
Wiskus, who first joined the School of Music faculty in 2001, teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music theory and history, and the philosophy of music. Her research is interdisciplinary in nature and seeks to demonstrate musical expression as a form of philosophical thinking. She has explored music aesthetics, the history of Western music, ancient philosophy and music, and music and the arts focusing on literature, painting and architecture.
In 2008, Wiskus served as a Fellow at The Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France, writing a monograph on the intersection between the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty and the work of Mallarmé, Cézanne, Proust and Debussy. In 2006 she received the prestigious Rockefeller Prize from the American Philosophical Association and in 2003 she was recognized with the Duquesne University Creative Teaching Award. As a horn player, she has received prizes from the Coleman Chamber Music Competition, the International Horn Society and Artists International, whose organization sponsored her chamber program at Carnegie Hall.
Wiskus holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Iowa, where she graduated from the Honors College, and a Master of Music, Master of Musical Arts and Doctor of Musical Arts from Yale University. She is a resident of Sewickley.