Do you want to teach especially bright, interesting, and dedicated undergraduates? Have you ever wondered how to get the opportunity to offer an Honors course, either in your department or in an interdisciplinary approach? Here's how to access these opportunities.
Faculty who teach Honors courses find it an enormously satisfying assignment. Our students, too, rate Honors courses as among the best parts of their UM experience and often credit these courses with introducing them to disciplines they might not otherwise ever have explored. Our goal in offering these courses is to build a varied and exciting curriculum that brings some of our most motivated students and faculty together for intensive conversations that can have a lasting effect on both.
We would be more than happy to discuss any questions you might have or to discuss any aspect of the LSA Honors Program--including various other ways interested faculty can get involved. Call our office (734.764.6274) for an appointment with the Honors Director, or with the Associate Director, Donna Wessel Walker.
Frequently called "Honors Intro to X," these courses are stand-alone courses open only to Honors students. Philosophy 296 and 297, Psychology 114, Sociology 195, Physics 160/161, and Math 185/186, 285/286 are all examples of courses that are designed for first- and second-year Honors students who are ready and motivated for a rigorous introduction to a field of study. First-year seminars in departments may be offered for Honors students, from whom you can expect higher skill levels and greater readiness for intellectual engagement. English and Anthropology have been offering Honors seminars under their FYS course numbers to great effect. The College will recognize this as counting towards a department's quota of First-Year Seminars. Check with your department chair to see if your department has an Honors introductory course to offer. We are happy to work with departments and faculty to develop new Departmental Honors courses.
In lecture courses, one or more discussion sections can be reserved for Honors students. Usually led by the faculty member giving the lecture, these sections are characterized by higher levels of engagement, stimulating discussions, and interesting interaction. Classical Studies, History, Political Science, Women’s Studies, Anthropology and other departments all take this approach, and while some departments assign Honors sections to gifted advanced graduate students, we prefer that the faculty member who is teaching the lecture to be the leader of the Honors discussion. We think you’ll find it particularly rewarding, too. Speak with your department chair to teach or create an Honors section in a lecture course.
The Honors Program itself offers seminars in each of the three academic areas of the College curriculum: Social Science (Honors 250), Humanities (Honors 251) and Natural Science (Honors 252). You may create a new course or develop an existing seminar for an audience of Honors students. Needless to say, we are particularly interested in proposals for courses that would otherwise not be offered, or that might not have a place within the curriculum of the faculty member's home department. We especially encourage proposals in subject areas that have not traditionally been well represented in the Honors curriculum.
You may wish to offer an Honors seminar at a more advanced level. These seminars may be quite highly specialized, requiring prerequisite work. Or they may be sophisticated analyses of topics from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives accessible to advanced students of differing backgrounds. Credit hours in these upper-division seminars may vary to suit the length or depth of the course.
LSA-Honors Initiative Courses are offered in conjunction with the faculty member’s home department. For these courses, we are interested in proposals of various kinds, including intensive introductions to particular disciplines and more narrowly topical courses that are appropriate for a variety of first- and second-year Honors students. We are especially interested small faculty-taught courses aimed at no more than twenty-five students, but we will also consider other possibilities. Student demand, faculty resources, and the pedagogical needs of different disciplines may make other models more appropriate in certain cases. We will consider proposals to add a faculty-taught Honors discussion section to non-Honors lecture-and-discussion courses as well.
For these courses, the Honors Program solicits course proposals from LSA faculty every year. As an incentive to develop and teach these courses and to support course development, the Honors Program provides a summer stipend of $7,000. Proposals are generally due in early November of the year before the academic year when the course would first be offered. Courses may be offered either in Fall or Winter semester. Acceptance of proposals will be conditional on a departmental commitment to the course's being taught during two out of the next three years,either within the department or through faculty release time to Honors. However, faculty need not be concerned about this aspect of the process at the beginning stages of contemplating and crafting a proposal. The Honors Program will undertake negotiations with the relevant departments and programs to facilitate the teaching of courses whose proposals it judges most promising.
How to apply for an LSA Initiative course:
We encourage you, of course, to vet your proposal with your department before making it to us, especially in the case of departmentally mounted courses. All tenured and tenure-track faculty in LSA who are not planning to be on leave during the following year are eligible to apply in any given year. An e-mail announcing specific deadlines is sent to all LSA faculty every Fall term: watch your e-mail for a call for proposals, or e-mail or call our office (734.764.6274) for details.
All proposals must include:
1) A cover letter describing the course you would like to teach, the underlying rationale for the course, and any reasons it might be especially appropriate as an Honors course offering. Please also provide a provisional list of readings and course requirements.
2) A current CV.
Honors students may approach you to ask if they may get Honors credit (an Honors notation on the course listing on the transcript) for a course by doing an Honors conversion project with you. Please view the Conversion Information in this section of our website for more information and examples of successful projects.