Faculty Information for Honors Program

Mission Statement

To engage the intellectual curiosity of advanced students though an experience in interdisciplinary coursework, internal course enrichment, external engagement with the broader community, field trip experiences, dedicated seminars and conference opportunities.
  • Honors Program Emphasis:
    Experiential and service learning and encouraging critical thinking within the individual. The classes will be a mixture of full class sections that are designated as honors alongside subsections within non-honors classes. The student in these subsections would be asked to create an agreement with the professor stating that they understand what they would be required of them beyond their non-honors enrolled peers.

  • Honors Program Club:
    All students who take an Honors class will be part of an Honors club, a group with voluntary participation in various activities, possibly including special speakers, conference participation and other enriching experiences.

  • Honors Degree:
    For those students who take and make a letter grade of B in at least 15 Honors-designated credits, an Honors degree will be conferred upon them at graduation.

Program Participation Benefits for Faculty

The Honors Program presents opportunities not only for Columbia State students, but also faculty!

In the Classroom:

  • In an honors environment, a faculty member or instructor can have more engaging, area-specific work rather than “more” of the same work assigned to non-honors students.
  • In subsections, where there would be about five students engaged in individual study agreements with faculty/instructor, smaller focused projects can be explored along with deeper individual studies.
  • In larger scale classes, the faculty/instructor can explore more engaging teaching methods and attempt larger scale projects, such as research for national programs, class-wide mock trials and role plays, and other activities that would be unwieldy in a standard classroom environment.

On a Profession Level:

  • Participation in the Honors program – whether it is a class or subsection – would provide faculty/instructor with the opportunity to create new material and course structures. This is highly desirable for tenure and promotion purposes.
  • Depending upon the field, an honors class may also further research, and faculty/instructor and students may find themselves presenting this information at conferences. 

Honors Class Proposals

All instructors (full and part time) are eligible to teach Honors classes under the direction of the Honors Program Director and the Area Lead. Any Gen Ed class is open to be taught as an Honors class; contracts can enable honors projects in non-Gen Ed classes, which would be helpful to our AAS students. Typically, all Honors classes would demonstrate internal enrichment in terms of content and external enrichment in terms of community outreach. However, the Honors Task Force recognizes that external enrichment options are limited due to this ongoing pandemic. As of 13 January 2021, the State of TN vaccination plan has a target of Quarter 4 for anyone over 16 years of age to be vaccinated; this means that Columbia State’s target demographic of 18-21 year-olds may not be vaccinated until Quarter 1 of 2022. 

Until the COVID pandemic has been addressed adequately, the community outreach elements of these classes may be waived or substituted by permitting projects and work to be posted on the new Honors Program website.

If faculty/instructor wishes to have an honors contract subsection or class, they would submit a form (online) with the following information:

  • The class title
  • The number of students in the class section or subsection
  • Times/Dates of the proposed class/subsection, with any concurrent non-Honors classes
  • The pre-requisites for the class (this can include college pre-requisite courses, minimum test scores or high school GPAs, and other criteria defined by the professor themselves)
  • A 150-250 word abstract that would describe the class experience and how it would qualify as an honors experience through internal and external class activities.

The faculty/instructor would coordinate this with the Honors Program Lead and their Area Lead in order to ensure fulfilment of requirements for both the Area and the Honors Program. The abstract would also be posted on the Honors Program website and included in a student’s honors agreement or as a syllabus supplement to indicate the expectations of the class.

Ideas for Internal and External Enrichment

Internal Enrichment:
Internal enrichment for an honors course at Columbia State should not produce additional work for a student, but instead charge the student with different work with higher expectations. This can include but is not limited to:

  • Additional primary reading to supplement the content of the course
  • Acquisition of additional skills particular to a field (common language, specialized technique, paleography, etc.) that is not taught to non-honors students (typically to assist in External)
  • Creative engagement in history (mock trial, Reacting to the Past games)
  • Creation of content to be used in future teachings of the class
  • Time to present/teach about personal project within the classroom.
  • Additional lab time for hands-on learning rather than lecture
  • Different, more independent projects than what are assigned to other non-honors students (tied to external enrichment)
  • Components of Study Abroad Courses
  • Composition of Portfolios (written, digital, virtual) to display work
  • Construction and demonstration of machines, devices, and other experiments.

External (outreach): 
External enrichment for an honors course at Columbia State should result in coordination with groups outside of Columbia State to better the local community in ways that mesh well with the overall topics and goals of the course itself. This requirement may be waived until the coronavirus pandemic is contained. This can include but is not limited to

  • Participating in an open-to-the-public honors exhibition night (Post Fall 2021)
  • Submission of research to larger projects in science fields
  • Conference attendance
  • Creation of content to be used in future teachings of the class
  • Publication of research
  • Additional service learning activities (if already in a service-learning designated course)
  • Creation and publication of a scripted podcast or video production
  • Transcription of historical documents
  • Participating in public readings or the LibriVox project.
  • Components of Study Abroad Courses
  • Presentation of Portfolio work to a broad, non-student audience
  • Construction and demonstration of machines, devices, and other experiments
  • Assisting in the promotion and recruitment of the honors program.  

Honors Class Proposal