Faculty interested in teaching an Area of Emphasis or seminar course for the Honors College should complete the online Honors course proposal form.

Proposals should be submitted at least one semester prior to its proposed offering so that Honors College Faculty Fellows and administrators have adequate time to review the course and coordinate with the relevant department and the Registrar's office in curriculum planning.

Faculty may be asked to meet with the Honors College Dean and Associate Dean to discuss questions about the proposal. For sample proposals, please contact the Associate Dean or the Honors College main office.

Decisions will be made by September for a spring semester course offering and February for a fall semester offering.

All proposals must be approved by the department head or director administratively responsible for the faculty member’s workload. In practice, this means an email or campus letter acknowledging departmental approval of the proposal should be sent to the Associate Dean of the Honors College prior to the class appearing on the approved list of Honors course offerings.


Criteria for Area of Emphasis Seminars

Defining features of Area of Emphasis seminars:

The defining characteristic of these courses is a series of 2-3 linked classes within a focused skill-building area. These linked course sequences allow students to synthesize didactic content, engaged experiential learning, and an individual practicum over multiple semesters. 

Area of Emphasis seminars include (not listed in any order of priority):

  • Targeted knowledge formation and developing competencies in leadership, research, creativity, global studies, or service and civic engagement
  • Intensive team building and training, leading to mastery of a repertoire of transformational skills. These skills are frequently used in the pursuit of success in academic disciplines, surviving the workplace, and flourishing as a lifelong learner
  • Communicative competence – the capacity to explain the vocabulary and important concepts of the area under study to others in ways that the general public would find familiar and easy to understand
  • Engaging problems that demand nonlinear, holistic, or iterative thinking
  • Designated course numbers in the 300s, and always for 3.0 credits

Area of Emphasis seminars often include, but are not limited to, some of the following enhancements:

  • Team teaching by a diverse faculty team from different disciplines and focusing on interdisciplinary content
  • Intensive use of original sources (as opposed to relying primarily on compiled textbooks)
  • Extensive creative and/or other writing assignments
  • Independent research, unusual scholarly products, and extramural/community evaluation (getting beyond those solely directed at peer-reviewed scholarly publication)
  • Intensive discussion-based or Oxford tutorial-style teaching methods
  • Course projects focused on service or civic engagement

Criteria for Honors seminars

Honors seminars often provide faculty the opportunity to teach topics of special interest or research, especially if they relate to significant current events, big problems and issues facing humanity, or cutting edge boundaries in one’s discipline. These courses typically DO NOT fit within any one departmental curriculum or structure.

Defining features of Honors seminars include (not listed in any order of priority):

  • Flexible class sizes that pedagogically reflect unique, sometimes experimental, styles of teaching
  • Addressing and/or responding to real-world, complex issues facing humanity
  • Topics at the cutting edge of a discipline not easily covered within an existing departmental course
  • Juxtaposing perspectives which leads to boundary crossing, bridge building, and integration
  • Integrating knowledge and modes of thinking from two or more disciplines
  • Accessing novel sources of knowledge that transcend or are found at the margins of individual disciplines
  • Designated course numbers HON 200 or 300, and always for 3.0 credits

Honors seminars often include, but are not limited to, some of the following enhancements:

  • Team teaching by a diverse faculty team from different disciplines and focusing on interdisciplinary content
  • Intensive use of original sources (as opposed to relying primarily on compiled textbooks)
  • Extensive creative and/or other writing assignments
  • Independent research, unusual scholarly products, and extramural/community evaluation (getting beyond those solely directed at peer-reviewed scholarly publication)
  • Intensive discussion-based or Oxford tutorial-style teaching methods
  • Course projects focused on service or civic engagement

Course Evaluations

All professors offering courses through the Honors College, including seminars and Area of Emphasis courses, are required to submit their syllabi to the Honors College main office at the beginning of each semester as well as copies of their course evaluations at the end of the semester.

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