University of Southern Indiana

For USI Faculty

Hi Faculty, 

None of what we do in the Honors program is possible without you. So, first, THANK YOU! 

Second, this area of the website is meant just for you. We are posting answers to your most common questions. Do you need info about something that's not here? LET US KNOW and we will add it. 

Honors and Me! How can I get more involved? 

We're so glad you asked. Do you want to teach Honors classes? Find a group of Honors students to help with your research? Represent your college on the Honors Faculty Council? Please get in touch with us and we'll figure out a plan.  

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Honors Contracts

Cross-Listed Honors Courses

Stand-Alone Honors Courses

Honors Capstone

Honors, Unrelated to a Class?

What is an Honors contract?

With your approval, students in the Honors Program can add an additional project--an Honors component--to any class to earn Honors credit. An Honors contract represents the agreement between you, the faculty member, and the student. It details the expectations for the Honors component, including its due date. Both you and the student need to sign the form before the student turns it in to the Honors Program office. Students cannot do Honors contracts for 1-credit classes, for 100-level language classes (except by permission of the department chair), or for pass/fail classes. 

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What is the process and timeline for an Honors contract?

The student is responsible for making sure the Honors contract is filled out properly and on time. We tell students to approach you within the first two weeks of the semester. Contracts are due by the fourth Monday of each semester. For an 8-week course, contracts are due on the 8th weekday; for any course shorter than 8 weeks, the contract is due on the 5th weekday. 

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What are the steps involved?

- Student approaches you and asks to do an Honors contract

- You and student agree on their Honors component

- You and student sign contract

- Student turns contract in to the Honors Program office

- At the end of the semester, Honors Program emails you to remind you about the contract and ask you to submit a grade 

What types of projects are good for Honors contracts?

We're so glad you asked!

Honors-level work means a different kind of work, not just more work. Honors courses and projects enable broader, deeper, and more complex learning. Honors work should be student-driven and faculty-supported, enabling students to take a leadership role in their education.

No Honors project will involve ALL of the following, but most Honors projects will involve some of the following:

  • Critical reading of primary texts
  • Multiple-draft paper writing
  • Synthesis of materials & connections across disciplines
  • Creative research focusing on process rather than product
  • Metacognitive questions such as “How do you know?”
  • Community engagement & projects that address real world problems and lead to engaged citizenship
  • Enhanced opportunities for student-faculty interactions
  • Student-led seminar discussions and presentations
  • Problem-solving with creative approaches
  • Integrative learning focusing on local and global connections

Honors projects can involve research writing, data analysis, experimentation, interpretation, design, or artistic production. An Honors project may be self-reflective, analytical, or creative.

Any project relevant to the class and requiring that level of work is fine with us! We encourage students to think outside the box. 

  • Design a website or an app
  • Make a video
  • Complete a creative work--write fiction, paint, sculpt, do a performance piece—even if the class isn’t an arts class, this could be relevant and meaningful!
  • Perform original research in the lab
  • Translate texts
  • Lead a class session or give a major presentation
  • Write a research paper
  • Do a literature review or comprehensive annotated bibliography
  • Engage in a relevant service project

We also encourage YOU to steer the student to an Honors component that benefits YOUR work. Do you want your Honors student to lead a class session? Can an Honors student help you on your current research project? How can we make this component useful to both you and the student? 

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How do I turn in a grade report for an Honors contract?

It's simple! We have a quick and easy online form right here: Honors Program Grade Report Form. You just need to fill out and submit a grade report for each student.

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What if a student changes their mind and doesn't want to finish their contract?

Sometimes a student gets overwhelmed by their semester and needs to withdraw from their Honors contract. That's okay with us. The student needs to inform both you and the Honors Program that they intend to withdraw. If students withdraw from two contracts during their time in the Honors Program, the Honors Director will have a conversation about them to make sure they are managing their time well and not wasting their faculty members' time. 

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What if I don't think the student did a good job on their Honors contract? 

Students will ONLY earn Honors credit if they earn a B or better in the course AND a B or better on their Honors component. If you report the student earned a C+ or lower, we will note in our records that they did NOT earn Honors credit. They will still earn regular credit for the course. Their transcript does not record the low grade on the Honors contract; the student will simply need to take an additional Honors class before they graduate.

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If a student doesn't finish their Honors contract project, do I still turn in a grade report? 

Yes, please. Unless they officially withdrew from their contract, we need to have that information for our records. You can report they received an F on the Honors project. The F will not impact their overall USI grade or appear on their transcript.

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Can students take an incomplete on their Honors contract?

Yes, but we highly discourage this. If you are giving them an extension beyond the end of the semester, it should be for an extraordinary circumstance, akin to an incomplete in the class. 

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Do I have to agree to an Honors contract?

No, you don't have to. We know you are very busy and your time is valuable. But we really, really hope you will! If you're looking for ways to make sure the Honors component is challenging for the student, but not time-consuming for you, please call us and we'll talk through options. Thank you for being AWESOME. 

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What is a cross-listed Honors course?

A cross-listed Honors course is a small section open to only Honors students that meets concurrently with a standard course you're already teaching. If you usually teach a course with 25 students, you might have one standard course section with 20 students and an Honors section with 5 students. Adding an Honors cross-listed course won't give you MORE students...it will just make it more likely you'll have a small Honors cohort in your class.  Honors students in cross-listed courses do NOT need contracts. Instead, you will add to your syllabus an extra assignment(s) for those students. The assignment(s) could be the same type of Honors component discussed above under contracts. The extra work could also include something like a reading group, where you assign scholarly texts and meet with the group to talk about them. 

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Can I teach a cross-listed Honors course?

WHY, YES YOU CAN! We would LOVE you to teach a cross-listed Honors course. Please get in touch with the Honors Director and also talk to your department chair. It's really easy to add a cross-listed Honors course to the schedule! Cross-listed courses save everyone time, because you don't have to write up individual contracts AND you don't need to submit extra grades. :)

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Do I turn in grade reports for cross-listed Honors courses? 

No, you don't! We will contact you toward the end of the semester and ask if any of your Honors students should NOT earn Honors credit. If your student didn't complete their Honors project or did not earn at least a B on the project, let us know. Otherwise, they will receive Honors credit.

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Stand-Alone Honors Courses

What is a stand-alone Honors course?

Just what you'd think. A stand-alone Honors course is a section that consists solely of Honors students. The class should include 15-30 more hours of work than you'd expect of a non-Honors course. You might think about integrating primary sources, interdisciplinary content, or global connections.

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How can I teach a stand-alone Honors course?

We're so glad you're interested! Please talk to your department chair and to Sarah, the Honors director. 

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Do I turn in grade reports for stand-alone courses?

Nope! If students receive a B or above in a stand-alone Honors class, they will receive Honors credit. Now...if you do have a student you believe should not earn Honors credit, please talk to us.

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Honors Capstone

What is the Honors Capstone?

If your Honors student started in Honors before Fall 2018, an Honors Capstone simply means any Honors contract attached to a 300-400 level class in their major/minor. For students beginning in Fall 2018 or later, the Honors Capstone has additional requirements. The Capstone should be upper level work in their major/minor (often attached to a class) that the student then PRESENTS to the University community. They may do a poster presentation, an oral presentation, a piece of performance art, etc. We suggest students present at the Endeavor Symposium in the spring. We will also have an Honors symposium in the fall (coming soon!). For these students, the Capstone should take 30-45 hours of work. Their project should take at least 15 hours, while the other 15 are spent preparing their work for presentation. If your student already has a Capstone related to their major, they can expand this Capstone to also meet Honors requirements.

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Does an Honors Capstone mean more work for me? 

Working with an Honors student on their Capstone is equivalent to working with an Endeavor student or any other undergraduate project. We appreciate your help!!

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Do I turn in a grade report for an Honors Capstone?

Yes, the grade is reported just like an Honors contract. 

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Honors, Unrelated to a Class? 

What if a student wants to work with me on an Honors project unrelated to a class? 

Honors is proposing a new course HONS 429 which will act as an Honors independent study. If the course is approved, faculty would be compensated for working with these students in the same way they are usually compensated for independent studies. Students would be able to register for 1-3 credits. Stay tuned!

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What if a student wants to do their Honors Capstone with me and its unrelated to a class?

Honors is proposing a new course HONS 498 which will act as a Capstone class. Stay tuned for more information on this, but we hope it will function as an independent study (non-repeatable). 

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