We are flattered that you're interested in teaching an Honors course. Proposals for courses will be reviewed by a sub-committee of the Honors Advisory Board. Courses generally are contracted for three years, so while there are slots open most years, each class is on a different rotation. Honors courses are taught by full-time members of the USU faculty who have a terminal degree. (Exceptions to this are made at the discretion of the Honors Director.)
In general, Honors offers three types of courses:
Honors general education courses:
These are Honors versions of breadth and depth courses. These are dedicated Honors courses, and Honors controls who may enroll in these classes. The majority of the breadth classes are offered in the fall semester to our incoming students. A smaller selection of breadth courses is offered each spring. Honors general education courses are interdisciplinary by nature, and must go through the General Education Committee's approval process, as for any new general education course.
These are one- or two-credit, generally once-off courses taught by professors who wish to teach a small class of motivated students. The topic of this course might be something you've always wanted to teach but couldn't, or you might use this course as a testing ground for a future 3-credit course. Honors seminars are interdisciplinary by nature, and may be team-taught.
Honors complement courses:
On occasion, Honors may contract with a professor to offer an Honors complement to an existing course. Honors students attend the regularly scheduled meetings of a class PLUS a weekly recitation or discussion section involving only Honors students and the professor. This weekly meeting is not a "help session," but rather it enriches the substance of the regular class, and often includes additional reading.
If you are interested in teaching an Honors class, you should contact the Honors Director. She will be able to tell you how soon the rotation for a particular course is ending or advise you on an Honors seminar or complement course.
You will then submit a proposal, which will be reviewed by a sub-committee of the Honors Advisory Board. Please use the Honors Class Proposal Form.
While drafting your proposal, please keep the following in mind.
What is an Honors course?
Perhaps the primary concern of your proposal will be what makes this class an Honors class. So you should first consider how an Honors class might be different from other classes you have taught. We strive to keep enrollment in Honors classes small, with generally less than 40 but not more than 50 students. As such, Honors courses are seminars, not lecture courses. They approach the topic through careful study and discussion of original sources. Students are expected to do a substantial amount of writing, normally comprising a series of essays which are thoroughly criticized by the instructor. Students may have the opportunity for revision of some of these essays. Honors classes generally contain few exams, and it is quite acceptable for an Honors class to have no exams at all. Many Honors instructors choose to set aside time for oral presentations.
If you plan to depart from these norms, please explain why in your proposal. You should be aware that although Honors students are bright and highly motivated, few will have specialized knowledge of your field and that most students in the classes labeled HONR 13XX will be incoming freshmen with no experience of college classes or the Honors Program. You can expect them to attend class regularly, prepare their assignments carefully, and participate enthusiastically in class discussion.
One more note about HONR 13XX classes:
During the fall semester, we ask freshmen in Honors classes to formally apply to the Honors Program. Thus, the students in these classes are "trying out" Honors through a plan we call A Taste of Honors. In October, the students will decide whether or not to apply and we will ask all Honors breadth instructors to provide us with a YES/NO/MAYBE for all the students in your classes. Criteria we have used in the past include whether or not a student displays creativity, shows initiative, has good classroom behavior/attitude, exhibits intellectual curiosity, and submits high-quality work. You may, then, wish to have some substantial project due before mid-October so that you can adequately rate each student.
What should the proposal include?
- A brief course description for the Honors website that includes a title for the course, a paragraph or two describing the topic of the seminar, and some indication of the reading list. Please see the Honors Courses link to the right for models. Students use this page extensively to decide which Honors courses to take.
- A current copy of your vita.
- The Honors Class Proposal Form, signed by your Department Head.