The Honors College at Twenty-Five
The Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College welcomed its first class of freshmen in Fall 1997. As we look toward our 25th year, we invite faculty to propose a course (1 to 3-hours) to be taught in Spring or Fall 2022 preparing students to engage the question of how we sustain honors as a cutting-edge laboratory for academic excellence. We will accept proposals that (1) offer an experiential learning class; (2) offer an innovative way of engaging diversity, equity and inclusion themes pedagogically; or (3) address a key question dealing with sustainability.
For the SMBHC, an “experiential learning” course engages students in a crucial problem/challenge facing our greater community. Competing, contentious answers cloud clear, simple resolution, and the professor and students work towards possible solutions during the semester-long experience. Students engage with community stakeholders while diving into the historical and theoretical framework surrounding the key questions.
Our University has committed to a five-year goal to strive for greater diversity, equity and inclusion in our community. Propose a course that fosters an engagement of diversity of thought, experiences and identities within any field that helps us move the needle to achieve our goal. We are looking for creative, curricular engagement with fundamental questions posed by a DEI commitment: from public health inequities to comparative economic disparities to ethical challenges in community development to philosophical and political debates about institutional commitments to DEI.
Climate-based wars, water security, and migration dominate the headlines while rising and warming oceans threaten coastal population with long-term impact on oceanic life. Propose a course that forces us to engage the tough questions surrounding climate change and how we can move toward sustainable development that protects all life.
We invite you to propose a course for Spring or Fall 2022 (or another term to be negotiated) that makes our honors students scramble to enroll first!
Submission: By March 5, email your proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will select a number of those proposals to support with a summer stipend of $5,000 for course development during summer 2021. We will work with those faculty proposers and their department chairs to determine when the new courses will be offered over the next two academic years.
Proposal: Write the proposal as you wish, but keep it to two pages maximum (single-spaced). Please help us see the following:
- exactly what course you would like to teach (a working title would help here)
- something of how you would teach it, e.g.,
- How will you ensure that students engage in active learning at an honors level?
- If you are thinking “experiential learning,” what is the question that will guide your course? How will you combine rigorous academics with exploration through field experiences?
- when you would like to or have to teach it: Spring or Fall 2022?
- any significant budget needs, e.g.,
- Does the course need the additional expertise of a co-team teacher?
- Will it involve field work or travel of some sort?
- Do you anticipate bringing in guest speakers from off-campus?
We will offer a limited number of stipends:
- we will only commit to courses we think will attract a sufficient number of honors students.
- we have to consider budget for course offerings, but don’t let “budget” stop your dreaming.
- it helps if a course draws interest from multiple departments, not just the SMBHC.
- it helps if you are thinking of something with “wow” factors (we enjoy being jealous of what our students get to do)
- Will this course be a part of my current teaching load or overload when I teach it? We would lobby hard for the course to be part of your regular teaching load in the semester it is offered, but we have to work with the needs of your department.
- Will the course be housed in my department or in honors? It would be ideal, but not required, for your course to bear a departmental number. See below for other options.
- May I co-teach this course? If your topic is interdisciplinary, certainly, look around campus for a co-teacher, but, if expertise is not available here, your co- teacher might be someone who teaches for another university. Your class might even be jointly offered on another campus, with shared sessions taught on-line or via distance learning technology.
- Can I teach this course during the Summer of 2022? We would not rule out summer or intersession courses if a course would benefit from that timing.
- What if only a handful of honors students sign up for the class? If honors students do not fill the class, it will be opened to non-honors students with at least a 3.00 GPA. If the class involves student travel, however, the SMBHC would subsidize travel only for the honors students.
Curricular options: While a departmental course number may be beneficial in drawing student interest (particularly counting the class toward major hours), below are possible honors course numbers:
- Hon 399, Special Topics in Honors: 1-3 credits; seminar format.
- Hon 420, Honors Experiential Learning: 1-3 credits; students work in teams to understand and respond to problems or opportunities in regional, national, or international communities. Topics vary. The course combines significant field experience with robust academic exploration of contexts and methodologies for response.
We will award a limited number of stipends to as wide a range of faculty-driven concerns and approaches as we can manage. We are eager to see what you propose. If you have questions or want to discuss ideas, please contact Dean Douglass Sullivan-González, at email@example.com.