University Honors Programs
(This policy supersedes Policy Statement 08-12)
The following policy statement was recommended by the Academic Senate in its meeting October 6, 2016 and approved by the President on October 18, 2016.
- University Honors Program
The University Honors Program exists to meet the needs of high-performing students who want an enriched undergraduate program. It offers two main options and may also offer specialized College options. Guidelines for admission to the University Honors Program and changes to the curriculum are proposed by the director of the University Honors Program and the Honors Council and approved by the Curriculum and Educational Policies Council.
2.1 Approval of Courses
The identification and staffing of courses to be offered as a part of General Education for students taking Honors are decisions made by the director of the University Honors Program following consultation with the Honors Council. Proposals for Honors in the Major and the creation of honors-specific courses other than University Honors must be approved by (1) the department curriculum committee and department chair; (2) the college curriculum committee; and (3) the director of the University Honors Program, following consultation with the Honors Council. The management and staffing of the thesis/project must be approved by the respective department chair, as well as by the director of the University Honors Program.
2.2 Definition of Honors Courses
Honors courses are different from most undergraduate offerings both in content and in the way they are taught. Honors courses include a heavy emphasis on theory and/or address complex issues. The assigned readings are normally scholarly works, both books and articles, rather than textbooks. Class time is devoted to discussions designed to give students the opportunity for independent interpretation and analysis. The emphasis is on written papers or projects, not standardized testing. Assignments are constructed to accommodate individual student interests and concerns. Students in the University Honors Program are invited to embark on more challenging and creative assignments, to be less dependent upon the assistance of their instructors in understanding assigned readings, and to function at a more advanced stage of critical analysis.
The thesis/project is intended to provide the opportunity for personal intellectual growth. It can take the form of original research or creative effort, or it can incorporate study abroad, community-based learning, or an internship component. It can also be a project that is demonstrated, performed, or exhibited. Accordingly, the form that the research preparation (UHP 496) and writing or demonstration or performance or exhibition (UHP 498) may take will vary with the student. The end product may be a scholarly paper, a performance, or an exhibition. A performance or an exhibition must be accompanied by a reflective written component. The director of the University Honors Program will determine the appropriate format for the thesis/project in consultation with the faculty member supervising the student's work.
- Honors Council
The University Honors Program shall have an Honors Council composed of the director (ex officio, non-voting); a designee of the Provost (ex officio, non-voting); up to 17 college representatives, including up to four from the College of Liberal Arts, up to three from the College of Health and Human Services, and up to two from each of the other colleges, elected by the respective college Faculty Council, preferably faculty who have taught in the program or supervised honors thesis/projects, and including no more than three non-faculty representatives in total; and two honors students selected by the Honors Director. Terms shall be for two years in the case of faculty and one year in the case of students, and members shall be eligible for re-appointment. The Honors Council shall conduct a minimum of one meeting each semester and shall conduct review of program admissions and scholarship applications.
- Honors in the Major Programs
Honors in the Major are distinct from the University Honors Program. Students in University Honors whose major department offers an Honors in the Major Program may apply to participate in both programs, in which case the University Honors Program thesis/project would be satisfied through the Honors in the Major option.