Honors Faculty Resources
Information and ideas about modifying your curriculum to create an Honors Contract Course, teaching an Honors course, advising Honors students, and serving as an Honors Thesis Advisor.
Honors Contract Courses
What is an Honors Contract Course?
An honors contract course is a regular class that a student receives honors credit for by working directly with the instructor to enrich their learning experience. The honors contract course is a great option for classes in the students’ major or minor, and upper-level classes. An honors contract is a mechanism for adding an “honors dimension” to a course or section that is not already an honors course. Projects should add an academic dimension by introducing new material or by allowing the student to go into greater depth than normally required in some aspect of the course.
Honors Project Ideas
There is no standardized model for an honors contract – the more individualized and imaginative the better! Specify how Honors course requirements will differ from the general course requirements. These requirements may include but are not limited to: independent research, collaborative projects, service learning, outreach programming, leadership training, alternative media development, professional or technical applications, student teaching and mentoring, and the enhancement of critical, synthetic, comparative, interdisciplinary, or creative thinking. Examples of assignments include: portfolio of responses to academic and other forms of reading, listening, viewing or experiential assignments, a research project on a specific topic identified as an area of interest to the student, which can be expressed in writing or in a visual format, a significant annotated bibliography / literature review, job shadowing and reflective paper on the experience, original musical composition or other work of art, etc.
Note to Instructor
The honors contract will ideally help both the student and you, e.g., you may have the student do a project that covers material useful for the entire class to know and then present it to the class. In general, work done for an honors contract should be qualitatively different in nature from that already assigned for the class. For example, honors contract work may rely on primary sources not formally introduced in the class, or it may focus more intensively on particular topics.
Honors Contract Submission Details
Meet with student to discuss course syllabus and how honors course requirements will differ from the general course requirements. Provide a description of alternative assignments, testing, or performance criteria. Note that Honors options should focus on different or alternative work, not additional work. Specify how these Honors assignments will be integrated into the final grade and the date which all assignments should be completed. Upon agreement of contract, signature is required by student and instructor. This contract must be submitted within the first three weeks of the semester for which the Honors Contract Course will be completed.
Honors Contract Course Value
When the student completes the coursework and grading is complete, the course will be denoted on the student transcript as an “honors” course. The student will receive honors credit which will count toward an “Honors Distinction” or “Honors Degree” upon graduation.
Examples of Past Contracted Courses
A Quick Guide to Honors Contracts
Honors Faculty Guide
The role of the faculty in fulfilling the goals of the University Honors Program cannot be overstated. Whether you are teaching an Honors course, mentoring through an Honors contract, or serving as an advisor for an Honors Thesis, your work is critical to our efforts to provide an environment for academic excellence. The Honors Faculty Guide is a resource designed to assist you in working with the Honors Program and our students.
This guide serves as an introduction to the Honors Program as well as a guide and handy reference to various policies and initiatives. The guide will help to answer some frequently asked questions and lists important contacts. We hope you’ll find it useful. There is much that is not contained in the handbook, so we encourage you to contact us.
We look forward to hearing from you and to seeing you at some of our Honors events.