Honors Institute Faculty Information
The information below is provided for faculty who would like to propose honors courses and also for students who might be curious about how honors courses are created. If you are a Full-Time Collin College Faculty Member interested in teaching an honors course at your campus or online, please be sure to visit your Campus Director of the Honors Institute to get more specific information.
What is the difference between an honors course and a regular course?
We emphasize that the "ease" of a class is really based on a student's learning style, not necessarily the content or structure of the class. So students (and faculty) should not think of honors courses being more difficult or even more rigorous than all of the other courses taught on campus. They are different. Honors students must have a 3.5 cumulative GPA or higher, so there is a bit less pedagogical stretching to fit the needs of different learners. The classroom size is smaller at 15 to 18 students. Honors courses are often structured around a particular theme or interest of the instructor. Honors students tend to move with one another through classes as a cohort, so there is good chance that all of your students will know one another; that is an advantage not many courses can boast.
How do I propose a class?
The first thing you should do is talk to your dean and associate dean. They will have a good idea about what is being planned many semesters into the future. In general, you'll want to propose a class to start a semester after your proposal. There are many factors to consider, but here are some good ones to keep in mind:
- Does this class usually make on the regular schedule? Classes that rarely make on a regular schedule are, unfortunately, even more likely to come up short on the honors schedule.
- Will students be interested in my theme/focus? You'd be surprised what our students are interested in, so please don't try to only pick "popular" subjects. However, do try to think of what will really appeal to a broad audience of students, many of whom are not majors in your area. Honors students like to brag, so any class that focuses on "the greats" usually does well, as do classes with real world applications/experiences, and, of course, connections to popular culture.
- Contact the Campus Director of the Honors Institute. You and/or your dean will contact the Director and ask for the class to be added to the next available schedule. We try to place most classes in the campus honors classroom, but please let us know of any preferences you might have.
- Remember: All honors courses must include at least THREE of the following seven components (not listed in any particular order):
- Advanced research component (an advanced paper or presentation; archival work; digital research; etc.)
- Community engagement component (service learning; field experiences; volunteer work related to subject)
- Opportunity for presentation (ex: panel/paper for the Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Research Conference)
- Opportunity for publication or performance (gallery showings, readings, acceptance to Forces, etc.)
- Increased focus on student responsibility for discussion and debate
- Increased emphasis on experiential and/or collaborative learning
- Expanded infusion of technology in the learning process
New honors courses or honors courses which have not been offered in a couple of semesters can be a challenge to fill with students. The best way to ensure your class makes is to promote that class the semester beforehand. Promotion is easy. You can make fliers and even use our template (contact your campus director). We will pay for your printing. Also, be sure to talk up your class at orientations or visit classes which might naturally fill into your class (i.e. talking to an English 1302 class about a literature course the following semester). You are not required to promote your class. We just think it is a good idea.
In the event your class does not make, what happens next is up to your dean. Some deans will just open the class to other students (so you keep your schedule). You may even be allowed to keep a small class. Whatever happens, the Campus Honors Institute Directors do not want your efforts to go to waste. So long as it is okay with your dean, we are happy to roll your proposed course over into the next semester to see if it makes. This way at least you have two shots for one proposal.
Spread the word!
Faculty, if you have had a good experience working with the honors students and the Honors Institute, please tell your colleagues. We want to get as many faculty involved as possible.
Students, if you had an awesome professor in one of your classes and think that professor should be teaching an honors course, please let us know!
Everyone, please let your Campus Director of the Honors Institute know what courses you want to see, what courses you really love, and how we can better serve you. Email J.D. Isip at: firstname.lastname@example.org