Honors Syllabus Examples and FAQ
Honors Syllabus Examples
Honors Syllabus Frequently Asked Questions
How long should the Honors syllabus be?
We recommend that the syllabus be at least one page long -- shorter syllabi tend to be skimpy on the details, which makes it harder to approve the contract.
What information has to be included in the Honors syllabus?
At a minimum, there needs to be a description of the work to be done for the honors contract (including descriptions of deliverables and due dates), plus a revised grading scheme for the course that incorporates the work being done for the contract into the course grade.
Does all of the other stuff in the Honors syllabus template have to be included?
The template does indicate what items are optional. However, it is still recommended that at least some of this optional information be provided in the syllabus, since often it is this information that makes it clear how the contract work goes above and beyond the regular requirements of the class. Also, having more detail cuts down on the chance of a misunderstanding occuring between a student and faculty instructor regarding expectations.
Why is a revised grading scheme necessary? Can't the Honors designation just be removed from the course if the contract is not completed?
Honors contracted courses must have their grade mode changed at the beginning of the semester in order to be eligible to award honors credit. The Registrar's Office does not allow the grade mode of a course to be changed after the ninth week of the semester, so once the course is completed there is no way to separate the honors work from the regular work done for the course. Hence, the course grade needs to reflect both honors and regular work done by the student.
How big of a change is needed for the revised grading scheme?
The Honors College leaves this decision up to the individual instructors. However, a good rule of thumb is that the honors coursework should contribute enough to the overall course grade such that failing to complete this work satisfactorily will result in a "noticeably" lower course grade. Typically, honors coursework contributes anywhere from 5% to 10% to the overall course grade, but other interpretations are possible.
Can extra homework (or an additional exam) be assigned to the student for their honors contract?
Honors contracts should not involve more work simply for the sake of making the class harder. The goal is to give the student an opportunity to learn about something relevant to the class that he or she would not have had the chance to learn about in the absence of doing an honors contract. Requiring more homework or an extra exam does not meet this threshold unless it is clear that the extra work involves concepts that the other students are not expected to have seen.
Who can I talk to if I'm not sure about what to put into the Honors syllabus?
If you have questions or concerns regarding acceptable items for an honors syllabus, please contact Dr. Timothy Whalen at firstname.lastname@example.org .