Faculty Resources

Whether you are new to the Honors Teaching community or reconnecting and perhaps refreshing your pedagogy, we are here to support you! In the past year, our Curriculum Committee and Faculty Fellows have articulated our core expectations of Honors courses. Please read on for information, and reach out for support, suggestions and with your feedback!

  • Honors courses should:
      • Provide deeper engagement, not just “more Honors work”
      • Assignments should push students beyond typical coursework by engaging students, enriching their experience, and/or providing special opportunities to apply concepts or skills
          • Think quality not quantity: avoid adding “more work” in favor of meaningful experiences
      • Lead to the ultimate goal of assisting Honors students to stand out among their peers, often by providing tangible skills, experiences or other deliverables that will provide advantages for career and graduate school placement
  • Honors add-on courses should also include regular meetings with faculty, typically bi-weekly
      • Note that in many departments it works well to schedule the add-on section for a regular meeting time and classroom assignment
          • Some then use that scheduled time at a minimum of 50% of the time with the expectation that equivalent time will also be used for other kinds of experiences like attending events, community engagement, etc.
      • Some faculty meet frequently at the outset of the semester to forge a clear pathway and then meet less as students work more independently
      • Others do the opposite and meet more often as the semester ends
Updating Departmental Documents to specify how Honors teaching is valued

As your departments revise your merit and Promotion and Tenure documents, Honors would like you to consider adding specific language about how Honors teaching shows a commitment to undergraduate education and might be considered in terms of workload and merit allocation.

Here are some possible approaches, taken from a survey of the range of approaches now taken by departments across the University:

  • Two departments, Kinesiology & Applied Physiology and Linguistics and Cognitive Science use this: “An excellent teacher will also engage in more of the following teaching activities outside the classroom than will a high-quality teacher: supervising independent study projects, supervising undergraduate research and Honors projects”
  • We would be happy to share other examples of how other departments specify this recognition as well

Honors Add-on Courses

Example of Add-on assignments:

  • Two to three short writing assignments or lab experience opportunities that develop interests or skills that may lead to undergraduate research, community engagement or other high impact experiences
  • Readings that allow students to delve more deeply
      • “Honors book club”
  • Students teaching students
      • In-class oral presentations to explain or dramatize a work or topic that allow Honors students to share back with the rest of the class
      • Preparation of reading guides, summaries, glossaries, or discussion questions for peers
      • Work with graduate student mentors (participating in a graduate class meeting, or working together on oral presentation skills)
  • Participation in outside of the classroom enrichment activities
      • Students attend a theatre production, a trade show, or a museum and write a short response or report back to the professor or class about the experience or if the professor also attends, host a debriefing conversation immediately after
  • UD Library Resources
      • Film/Media Collection: movie/documentary nights highlighting topics covered in class; students write reviews, or participate in discussions in or outside of class
      • Special Collections
  • UD Events
      • Attend UD’s Ag Day in April or Coast Day in Lewes (1st Sunday in October every year). Give some guidance on types of events and presentations they should participate in while there.
  • Reflection opportunities like journal responses and conversations with faculty about career or other next steps

Faculty new to Honors add-ons or who otherwise want to consult on best practices, should attend an upcoming workshop and/or reach out to honors@udel.edu

Other approaches to consider

Honors Students Call for Anti Racist and Social Justice Course Components

Honors students created a group called PACCT to address racism and injustice. Here is their mission statement: The People of All Colors and Communities Together committee stands to achieve equality and equity for people from all walks of life. As students of the Honors College, we have a unifying relationship with the Honors staff to hold each other accountable in accomplishing goals that reflect our socially just and antiracist values. While we treasure our differences because they make us beautiful and allow us to bring various enlightening experiences to the table, we all make a pact of unity striving towards the goal of making the world a better place. In order to do so, we will start right here at home: the University of Delaware.

PACCT has suggested resources for the Honors First Year Seminar and Colloquia. They’ve articulated specific concerns and specific requests and have compiled very helpful resources that they, as students, feel will resonate well with other Honors students. See the proposal in Shared Resources for Honors Teaching folder.

This is the first significant accomplishment of the group that began meeting in July 2020, which also includes providing input into our admissions questions, informing strategic planning, building relationships with other groups including MOSAIC within Honors, initiating a call for the Faculty Senate to review how departments fulfill the ethics component of Gen Ed, and volunteering to help recruit a diverse Honors student body.

Although initially focused on the first year courses, I would appreciate it if faculty would take a look and consider how you might incorporate some of the issues or resources they have identified–specific resources are offered beginning on page 4.  I would particularly like to amplify this request:

We recommend that professors consider how their topics, readings and assignments already address these issues, make this explicit and add more content and discussion where appropriate. 

While this proposal comes to you from the students, as Honors leadership we are asking you to consider how you can address and incorporate proposal components. We commit to fulfilling the aspects directed at Honors as a College.

Thank you,

Chrysanthi Leon, JD, PhD
Associate Professor, Sociology and Criminal Justice

Faculty Resources
Honors Faculty Advisory Board
The University of Delaware Honors College Faculty Board, a body consisting of between 19 and 27 faculty members, makes policy for and provides service to the instructional, advising, and related educational activities of the Honors College.  Additional details regarding the board can be found in the Honors College faculty governance bylaws.
Annual Honors Faculty Awards