Guidelines for Preparation of Individually Negotiated Honors (INHO) Option Proposals
- During the mid-semester advisement and registration period, students begin thinking about how they would like to earn HUHC honors credits in the following semester.
- Students who opt to pursue an INHO will contact the professor (preferably during office hours) to ask if she or he would be willing to develop a proposal to enrich a course for honors credit.
- Professors are not required to agree and accommodate the student, but most usually do. The student should accept and respect the professor’s decision.
- If the professor agrees, s/he will discuss the student’s general interests in the course and develop a set of enrichments to the regular course assignments.
What does it mean to “enrich a course?”
- The enrichments vary to reflect the discipline, the professor and the particular course. Ideally, the enrichments lead to a deeper, more sophisticated and meaningful engagement with the material of the regular course: the focus is qualitative, not quantitative and the enrichments should not pose an undue burden that prevents the student from accomplishing the base requirements of the course.
- Typically, enrichments might consist of additional articles from secondary literature along with short written commentaries, or longer written assignments, or additional problem sets, or tracking issues in the media, etc. Some faculty prefer that students work in a more focused way on a single topic or project that is related to some particular aspect of the material covered in the course. This is acceptable too, so long as there are explicit plans for regular student/faculty meetings and steps to ensure that the honors work is undertaken throughout the semester rather than in a rush at the end.
- A major goal of honors options is to increase opportunities for faculty/student contact. Therefore, honors options always involve additional contact (during or outside of regular office hours) to discuss and review the enrichment assignments which go beyond topics covered in regular class sessions. Typically, faculty and students arrange a series of meetings (e.g. bi-weekly) throughout the semester, although the precise type and timing of such contact will vary according to the subject matter and the instructor’s estimation of what would be most effective
Grading Honors Options
- While discussing the basic structure of the INHO’s requirements faculty should have a frank conversation with the student about their grading policy when it comes to INHO’s. Students should know ahead of time what the grading strategy will be.
Putting Together a Successful Proposal
- To submit a proposal faculty should use Firefox or Google Chrome and complete the Honors Option Proposal Form. It calls for contact and course information, a brief overall description of the enrichments and their rationale relative to the course as it is normally offered, and the original syllabus with regular weekly assignments/topics outlined. All documents can be either pasted or uploaded as attachments.
- Ideally, the faculty submit a copy of the syllabus with the enrichment plan entered directly into the syllabus calendar in boldface at periodic intervals to indicate the schedule of enrichments in relation to regular coursework. Alternatively, the faculty may upload an original syllabus and a separate schedule of honors enrichment assignments.
- In cases where the faculty is offering a course for the first time and has not finalized a sample syllabus, a “draft syllabus” might be substituted, with the understanding that significant changes may be made by the time the course is offered.
Review and Approval Process
- HUHC reviews INHO proposals to make certain that the enrichments are neither too much work or too little, and that the assignments are specific, clear, and distributed throughout the semester at regular intervals. All honors options should involve regular and ongoing professor/student interaction, assignments and review of work.
- HUHC considers the review process to be a collaborative effort undertaken in partnership with the participating faculty. The goal each semester is to approve all proposals. When HUHC requests clarification regarding a proposal it typically involves questions regarding the amount of work (either too much or too little) or the feeling that greater specificity would benefit the student and make it more likely that s/he will successfully complete the assignments. The HUHC office is happy to work with faculty toward the goal of ensuring that students can pursue honors options in any course that excites their passion.
- Students and professors receive a formal letter of approval of the INHO proposal.
Compensation and Notations
- Faculty will receive compensation for each student who undertakes in honors option in his/her course (up to 5) according to a formula negotiated in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
- Students receive a notation of honors credit earned for the specific course appears on their transcript.
Help along the way
Students or faculty with any questions about the INHO process are encouraged to contact the Honors College Associate Dean Neil Donahue for assistance. Call 516-463-4842, or email Neil Donahue.