Honors Designation Information for Liaisons and Faculty
What does it mean to designate a course as Honors?
It means that a professor and a student make an agreement to raise the course expectations for that particular student. Logistically, the designation creates a new “H” section within the course for the student, so the student is actually enrolled for an honors course rather than a regular course.
Why is it necessary?
Most departments are not large enough to offer specific Honors courses. Designating normal courses as Honors makes it possible for all UNH students to have the option of pursuing Honors-in-Major.
Do I have to do it?
No; designation is at the discretion of the instructor. However, each department relies on its professors to designate courses so that its students may achieve Honors.
Are there restrictions on the courses that can be designated?
Online courses are not eligible for designation; neither are 444 courses. Individual departments also place restrictions on which courses will count for Honors-in-Major. The University Honors Committee requires that Honors Designated courses be taught by a clinical, research or tenure track faculty member who has the rank of Assistant Professor or higher. Graduate students or other instructors as deemed appropriate by their department/division chair or program coordinator may also teach these courses. However, those instructors must be supervised by the administrator responsible for the assessment of the course or program.
How do I turn a regular course into an Honors course for just one student?
You can either replace course assignments with more in-depth ones, or add additional requirements to your syllabus. The Honors syllabus should require between ¼ and 1/3 more time and effort from the student. Ideally, the modifications will provide an enriched learning experience, not just a harder one. Some suggestions for Honors expectations include:
- higher degree of student participation and involvement in the class
- higher standards of performance than expected of regular students
- more advanced supplemental reading, especially of primary sources
- more opportunities for writing, and at a higher standard
- more opportunities for student presentations to class or campus audiences
- stronger enhancement of skills in critical thinking, analysis and interpretation
- greater depth and/or breadth of subject matter, especially requiring synthesis of different perspectives or points of view
- more opportunities for research, particularly when student-conceived
- use of resources or consultants from beyond the campus itself, such as university libraries or interactions with business or industry personnel
- opportunities for publication or public presentation of work
- integration of concepts and information from a variety of sources and experiences, particularly in cross- or interdisciplinary contexts, or ones that come out of the student's major field of interest
- community-based experiences: field trips, interviews, cultural events
- leadership in the classroom: leading study groups, leading class discussion, assisting faculty in preparation and delivery of instructional material
- investigating an area of the discipline not covered in depth in the regular course, either through a literature search, an annotated bibliography, or a conventional research paper
- applying the information/expertise learned in the course in a creative way
- monitoring and analyzing current events associated with the course topic
What is the process for designation?
After meeting with the student and deciding on a set of expectations for the Honors designation, we recommend producing a written agreement detailing those expectations. This serves to minimize misunderstandings later in the course. The student will need your signature on an Honors Designation Form, which must be submitted to the registrar by the third Friday of the semester.
What if the student doesn’t fulfill the Honors requirements?
Once registered, the student is enrolled in the Honors course as she would be in any other course. She cannot change her mind about completing the Honors designation without dropping the Honors course. You should therefore grade the student according to the requirements you agreed on rather than the baseline syllabus.