ABOUT THE PROGRAM
The Honors Program brings students and faculty together in a community committed to inquiry and discussion. It is designed for students in any major who are highly motivated and intellectually curious. The program offers a series of interdisciplinary seminars capped at 12 students. The seminars support student independent research and experiential learning. Honors courses are open to students who are not in the Honors Program on a space available basis.
The Program bases our academic and extracurricular activities around Six Program Goals: Thinking, Scholarly Inquiry, Writing, Speaking, Perspective, and Civic Engagement. Honors contributes to the public good by preparing undergraduate students to become conscientious and productive members of their communities, to engage in lifelong learning, to enhance their sensitivity to cultural diversity, to behave ethically, and take responsibility for their actions. Furthermore, Honors is also committed to the creation of new knowledge through a sustained program of basic and applied undergraduate research.
Incoming first-year and transfer students must take at least one Honors course during their first two semesters. All students in the program must maintain a GPA of at least 3.300. Students are required to complete 20 volunteer hours each academic year.
The program culminates in the Honors thesis or creative project through HON 499. Successful defense of the thesis or creative project before the Honors Council grants the student the title of University Honors Scholar, the highest academic recognition bestowed by UMF. This distinction is printed on the diploma and transcripts. Three levels of Honors recognition are possible.
Honors students have access to the building from 7:00 am until midnight seven days per week during the fall and spring semesters. The Honors House contains a seminar room, private student office with desk and computer, a snack-filled kitchen, and Honors office. The Honors House also opens onto a lovely back deck and yard with seating for use in the warmer months. Students also enjoy the benefits of free printing, priority registration, and the opportunity to engage in monthly on- and off-campus events from game night to local and out-of-state excursions.
HONORS RECOGNITION LEVEL REQUIREMENTS
University Honors Scholar:
A minimum of 20 credits in Honors, including HON 499 Honors Thesis
A minimum of 20 credits in Honors, including at least one 300+ level course
A minimum of 12 credits in Honors
WAYS TO EARN HONORS CREDIT
Honors Program offers a variety of courses each semester. In addition, students may take advantage of additional options to earn credit toward Honors status outside of HON course offerings through Honors Development Groups, HON 305 Honors Enhancement and Honors Experience.
Honors Development Groups
What is an HDG? It is a co-curricular program designed to enhance your experience in Honors. Each group includes 8-12 first-year Honors students and is led by 2 upper level Honors students (preceptors). It is voluntary to join and has a one hour weekly commitment in the fall semester.
In the spring semester, the groups will undertake a community service project. The project will be decided by each group - wherever your passions take you, supported by the Honors Program.
Students who successfully complete both semesters will earn 2 Honors credits. These credits do not fill University graduation requirements, but do count towards the credits needed for Honors recognition.
HON 305 Honors Enhancement
Honors is interested in supporting creative and out-of-the-box pathways for its students as part of an existing course curriculum. Honors Enhancements allow students the flexibility to incorporate one non-Honors course, up to 4 credits, into the Honors Program. Enhancements extend a course, perhaps by the submission of final papers and projects for publication, presentation of material at professional conferences, or the integration of coursework with community outreach. Interested students should consult with the Honors director and arrange with their instructor a suitable plan of study to enhance any UMF course to meet HON standards. No instructor at the university is under obligation to agree to the arrangement.
The Honors Experience is intended to provide honors students the opportunity to be actively engaged in the process of learning, i.e. it promotes a student-centered approach to learning.
Students move through the experiential learning cycle which can be conceptualized as a process with several components: students have an experience (Concrete Experience), reflect on observations about that experience (Reflective Observation), analyze responses and formulate new ideas (Abstract Conceptualization), and then actively test these new ideas in new situations (Active Experimentation). Students prepare a final culminating report and presentation that demonstrates how the experience altered or reinforced previous notions.
Prior to registration, students will work with a faculty member or the honors director to create a proposal for the experience. Experiences may consist of, but are not limited to internships, volunteerism, research and special projects. Upon the conclusion of the experience, students submit a comprehensive report recording and reflecting upon the experiential learning cycle to the honors director and present on their experience at an honors event.
Typically, honors experience requires 32 hours of “experience” per credit. Students may enroll for a minimum of 0 credits, but no student is permitted to enroll for more than 4 credits total in HON 396, including multiple or repeatregistrations which are allowed. Prerequisite(s): Junior standing and Permission of Honors Director only. (Pass/Fail only.) Variable.
HON 499 HONORS THESIS OR CREATIVE PROJECT
A primary distinguishing feature of an Honors thesis or creative project is the defense. At a pre-determined date, those completing a thesis or creative project will submit their finished work to the Honors Director, who shares with Honors Council. (A list of the current members of the Council, including three student representatives, are available on the UMF Honors website or by request.)
The Honors Council conducts the defense, usually held in the Honors House. The student and their HON 499 faculty advisor attend the actual defense, and the faculty advisor is encouraged to introduce briefly the student and the significance of the student’s work. A majority of the Council must agree to pass or fail the thesis or creative project. On occasion the student’s work may be passed contingent on revisions, but given the late timing of the defense, students should present to the Council a finished draft. Honors provides a document for proposing a thesis or creative project, including general expectations and standards.
The thesis or creative project can be completed along multiple pathways:
1. No credit model (student independent work, Wilson scholarships)
2. 0-credit model (Honors add on to equivalent capstone work in major, teaching portfolio, etc.)
3. 4-credit model (traditional Honors directed thesis or creative project)