Evergreen, 4th floor, 5.30-7pm
Guiding question: What are the core elements of Honors programs and colleges?
What follows are some notes on some of the key points
Honors education varies significantly as a function of the institutional setting in which it is embedded: Type, size, resources, location, etc. of institution. This makes it hard to generalize about honors education. However, certain key themes emerge, revolving around these keywords:
- academic excellence
- undergraduate research/creative/practical projects
- skills development: critical & analytical thinking and writing; research skills; practical skills
- Development of multidimensional honors students beyond academics
What is distinctive about honors education? Is it ‘just’ a synonym for excellent education?
- more intentional/deliberate design of interdisciplinary teaching to overcome silo teaching/learning/thinking
Excellent and engaging teaching & learning are at the heart of honors education
- Small & interactive courses
- Interdisciplinary: Hard to get faculty from other departments to do – easier to develop your own interdisciplinary honors faculty; cross-listing courses
- Team teaching is the best, but it is hard and expensive
- Example: Different aspects of the Rio Grande River: Ecology, hydrology, economics, politics, etc. – cf. Mark Taylor and others’ advocacy of problem-focused programs, which is increasingly practiced in the emerging field of global studies (see tags)
- Inter-/transdisciplinary ‘Spaceship Earth’ class to systematically integrate
- Topical courses tend to be popular: Islam post-9/11; sustainability
- Teaching as coaching
- ‘Interdisciplinary learning doesn’t mean much for beginning students who don’t know their own fields yet’ (student comment)
- How to design the most effective ‘freshmen experience’ courses/programs?
- Faculty: ‘Your grade depends on how much I learn.’
Communication is key
- Involve Honors students as much as possible
- Technology is useful: E-learning platforms; social media – but how can we do a better job of drawing their attention to the most important information?
- Financial constraints
- Institutional resistance