Students in the Honors program have the opportunity to convert a particular class to Honors by working with their professors to enhance their learning experience. This close interaction with a professor on a project will allow students to learn from your experience, insight, and knowledge, and has the potential to inspire future research or coursework.
An Honors conversion project should consist of work that enriches and deepens the student's experience of the course material. However, because we recognize that professors and courses are unique, the exact content and format of the Honors conversion project are left up to you and the student to decide together. Previous projects have included research papers, film reviews, interviews, in-class PowerPoint presentations, or even case study analysis. We encourage you to look at examples of Honors conversion projects that have been completed by students in the past.
Students doing conversions often comment that the best part of their conversion was the ability to work closely with their professor on a project; so, you should expect to be in contact with your converting student(s) throughout the term. The level and regularity of contact is up to you and the student to decide together: for some it makes sense to have scheduled meetings outside of class while for others staying in regular e-mail contact with the occasional informal chat before class is sufficient. You may use any resources that our office can provide for this project, and we are happy to show you what is available. While we do not anticipate that this conversion will greatly add to your own work for this course we hope that you will put time into establishing a relationship with the student in order to enhance the student's learning from this conversion project. Many instructors have found the conversion process as gratifying for them as it is for the students; each semester we hear how much the instructors enjoyed their conversations with their converting students and how interesting the instructors found their topics and project results.
1. An Honors-converted course will count as one of the student's Honors courses for a given semester. The conversion project should not be counted into the student's grade for the course (unless it is an expansion of a required paper or project for the course) but the student must earn at least a "C" in the course to receive the Honors designation.
2. Only students in the LSA Honors Program may do an honors conversion. Any request to convert by a non-LSA Honors Program student will be rejected and no notation will be made on the transcript.
3. Conversions should be supervised by the faculty member teaching the course and are normally not permitted for courses which have an Honors component or Honors equivalent.
4. The Honors Conversion Form must be completed and must include the signature of the instructor, with a brief description of the type of work to be done in the course. The students must then schedule an appointment with an Honors advisor, before the application deadline, to discuss the proposed project. The Honors advisor will make a recommendation to the Director. Final approval must be granted by a Director of the Honors Program. The deadline for submitting the form for Winter 2013 is Tuesday, January 29, 2013.
5. At the end of the semester, the instructor will be asked to confirm whether or not the Honors project was successfully completed by the student. Instructors are asked to respond by May 10, 2013.
6. The Registrar's Office will place Honors indicators on students' transcripts as soon as they are processed, which is usually within the first four to six weeks of the following semester.
Here are some conversion projects that honors students have shared with us, in the students' own words. If you'd like to submit a description of your conversion for this page, please email Daniel Kim (Danjkim@umich.edu).
Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies 122 – Introduction to the New Testament
"[I wrote] an 18 page paper on the development of the person of the Holy Spirit in pre-Christian Jewish writings, the New Testament (main focus) and early patristic texts. Met with [my professor] at key points of progress or corresponded via e-mail. In addition to a closer reading of the course materials, I also delved into some 2nd Temple works and the 1st century Fathers of the Church such as St. Clement & the Didache."
Architecture 313 – History of Architecture
"I worked with my professor to choose a topic, researched the paper on my own for a little over a month, and then wrote the first draft. It went through an extensive editing process, where I was required to do some additional research and build upon my thoughts. I'm not sure exactly how much the reading was, but I had almost 20 books checked out from three different libraries. Since my topic was so specific, I only read short sections from books. The paper turned out great and I loved how closely I was able to work with my professor. It was one of the most rewarding and fulfilling projects I've completed at the University."
Asian Languages 116 – First Year Hindi II
"[T]he professor suggested that I could give a presentation to the other students on something that would help with learning Hindi. Together we decided on an instructional presentation detailing such things as how to set up your computer to type in Hindi, email in Hindi, browse Hindi web pages, etc. Additionally, the professor suggested I research various instructional websites and compile a list of free resources for other students….I did everything from prepare image files of keyboard layouts to create storyboard-type tutorials guiding students through setting up their computers to do various things in Hindi….All things considered, I used information from about 30 websites, focusing heavily on 5 - 6 of them."
English/ Music Theatre 227 – Introductory Playwriting
"[T]he professor and I decided on another project that would also be of some benefit to the rest of the class - because this was a class in introductory playwrighting, we decided it might be useful for me to attend six nonrequired plays in Ann Arbor and prepare short presentations to be given in front of the class highlighting compositional elements in each of the plays. Both the professor and I had roughly equal roles in determining this format….The professor assigned four of the plays for me to see, leaving me to choose the last two….In total, my presentations probably consisted of 20 pages of writing, with about an hour of speaking time delivered in chunks throughout the term."
English 401 – The English Bible: Its Literary Aspects and Influences
"[I wrote] a 12 page paper on Pasolini's "Gospel According to St. Matthew" & it's relationship to the original text, special aspects of the film, etc. We met together regularly over the course of the term to discuss the project. There was no additional reading per se, but a much closer reading of St. Matthew's Gospel than required for the normal course work."
Environ 256 - Culture, Adaptation, and the Environment
"Half of the grade in this course was to be determined based on an extensive research paper on a topic of your choosing from a selection of three fields related to the environment and extraction of resources. In my work for conversion of this course, I chose a topic that mirrored my professor's interests and used first hand sources from her (meeting minutes, policy drafts, etc) to develop a topic. The paper was on how, in a post 9/11 world, the issue of African bushmeat was being transformed from one of food security to one of homeland security. Being that the paper was so successful, I continue to work with her as a paid research assistant and have used that paper as the base of a chapter in an edited volume on disease emergence. I also was accepted to present that research at a conference on conservation science in Cambridge, England."
Linguistics 394 – Topics in Linguistics
"For the LING 394 conversion, a normally assigned paper was doubled in length and complexity. The assignment was to record, transcribe, and analyze one conversation, and my modification was to record and transcribe two conversations, and then compare and contrast them as well as analyzing both. I also addressed more topics in my analysis than the other students, and did extra reading to support that."
History 378 – History of Asian Americans in the U.S.
"[I wrote a 22-page] research paper concerning the status of Vietnamese Amerasians….[It] required the use of about 10 sources."
History 213 – The Reformation
"Over the course of the term, I read books and articles about the Hungarian Reformation. I then presented a summary of it to the class in a 15 minute powerpoint at the end of the term. It was as if I were a professor presenting a mini-lecture."
Microbiology 301 – Intro Microbiology
" [The] professor and I discussed what area of microbial disease I should research. I found and submitted scientific papers to him for approval. I read and discussed approved papers with him, then wrote a paper on them. I searched through 10s of papers, and ended up reading (v. thoroughly) and presenting 2. I wrote a 2-4 page paper."
Psychology 345 – Introduction to Human Neuropsychology
"[B]ecause I was taking the course in order to try to more finely figure out my interests in psychology, we decided it would be best if I did free-ranging literature review, where each week I would choose a paper or two and read it and then write a short summary of it. Sometimes my papers would relate to class and other times I just searched for what interested me….I read 10 journal articles of my choosing (averaging about 10 pages each) and I wrote 10 summaries (one for each), averaging about 1 full page, single spaced, each. I occasionally met with [my professor] during her office hours to discuss what I was reading, how I felt it related to the coursework, and how it might relate to future research and a possible honors thesis."
We expect that this project will extend throughout the term rather than be tacked on at the end of the semester, so we ask that the arrangements for the conversion project be finalized within the first three weeks of class. Please sign conversion form and have the student bring it to Honors office no later than Friday, September 30th.
Typically, Honors conversions a) must be supervised by an LSA faculty member, and b) cannot be approved for courses for which there is already an Honors section or Honors equivalent course (for example, Intro Philosophy, because there is an Honors Intro Philosophy or Anthro 101 because there is an Honors discussion section). Students may request an exception be made to either of these policies by filling out the necessary parts of the conversion form. If a graduate student instructor will supervise the project, both the graduate student and the faculty member teaching the course must sign the form. If a student is requesting to convert a course that already has an Honors component, s/he must provide a statement as to why s/he is requesting this exception and the supervising instructor must endorse the statement with his/her signature. Approval of these exceptions is at the discretion of the Associate Director of the Honors Program.
At the end of the semester, you will receive an email from us to asking whether that the student completed the Honors conversion project. Once you confirm that it was completed, we will add "Honors" to the course on the students' transcript. While the conversion project is independent of the grade in the class, a student must earn a C or higher to earn Honors in the course.
We wish you and your student a rewarding conversion experience! Please contact us if you have any questions.