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Honors Seminar Proposals

We welcome proposals to teach University Honors seminars during the 2016-17 academic year and for seminars with study tours during Fall 2017.  These courses are an integral part of the University Honors Program (UHP), which comprises the top 7% of UC undergraduates across colleges and disciplines.

How is the University Honors Program Different at UC?
The UHP is quite different than many honors colleges or programs at other universities. In other programs, high-achieving students are typically required to complete advanced courses and maintain a certain GPA. The UHP takes this further with focuses on experiential learning and the individual student’s goals and aspirations. We guide students in maximizing their educational opportunities while discovering and pursuing their passions in life and using their gifts and talents to make meaningful contributions. Students are challenged through their honors seminars and experiential learning in our thematic areas.  Consequently, UHP honors seminars need to be more than a highly intellectually rigorous course and must also represent the holistic mission of the program.

Faculty from across UC's colleges are engaged in teaching honors seminars. Faculty from all disciplines are invited to submit proposals.

Guidelines, Pedagogy and Structure

Honors seminars have a unique nature - learn more. Criteria for selection is based on how well the proposed honors seminar meets these guidelines. 

Proposal & Submission Process

Proposals are due Monday, October 19, 2015. Download the proposal packet, a quick reference guide with all of the information on this webpage.

Please ensure that each of the following are submitted by the deadline:

1. Proposal Form (complete online). You will answer the following questions (we are providing them here so you can prepare and copy/paste into the online form when ready):

  • Basic information for each faculty member involved (name, title, highest degree completed, college, department, phone number, email, department head, department business manager, name of person who will enter course into e-curriculum)
  • Have you taught an honors seminar before? If so, list title(s) and year(s).
  • Proposed honors seminar title
  • Description of proposed honors seminar (if selected, this description may be used by your department in e-curriculum and/or by University Honors to advertise the seminar to students)
  • Briefly describe how the course aligns with one of the thematic areas of the UHP - community engagement, creativity, global studies, leadership and research. (Please note that courses are not expected to align with multiple thematic areas; rather, a course with an in-depth focus in one area is better received than a course that tries to fit in multiple areas on a surface level.)
  • Describe how experiential learning will be incorporated into the course, including how reflection on the experiential component will be addressed.
  • If your honors seminar will need funding for experiential activities, please indicate the amount of funding needed and the purpose. If no funding needed, please enter N/A. (This question does not need to be answered here for honors seminars with international study tours; you will submit a separate detailed budget for those.)
  • Briefly describe your experience (research, teaching, etc.) with the proposed course topic.
  • Which general education (BoK) requirements (up to two) does this course best satisfy (honors seminars must fulfill one or two BoK requirements in order for UHP students to enroll)? (Will be listed in check-box format.)
  • Which course attributes apply to this seminar (in addition to the honors attribute)? (Will be listed in check-box format.)

2. Syllabus and CV (submit via email to and in pdf form when possible):

     a. Course syllabus  - submit a tentative (but well-developed) syllabus including the following:

            ·   Student learning outcomes – cognitive, behavioral, attitudinal (these may be used in e-curriculum)
            ·   Information about pedagogy, including description of experiential learning component(s)
            ·   Tentative semester course schedule, including readings and assignments
            ·   Examples of assignments that will foster the achievement of the learning objectives
            ·   Grading criteria

     b. Curriculum Vitae (for each faculty member involved; submit in pdf form when possible)

3. Departmental Support (emailed by department head to

  • A statement of support must be submitted by the faculty member’s department head confirming that, if the course is approved, the faculty member will be able to offer it during the 2016-17 academic year (or potentially in fall 2017 in the case of a seminar with a study tour).
  • The statement does not need to evaluate the proposal and can be brief.
  • This statement should be emailed directly to by the department head.
  • If we do not have a statement of support from the department head, the proposal will not be considered. When proposing a team-taught course, a statement of support must be provided for each faculty member.

4. Supplemental Information for Honors Seminars with Study Tours (submit via email to and in pdf form when possible):

  • Submit a detailed itinerary and tentative budget. We recognize that the budget and itinerary will change as the course is developed. Please provide the best information available at the time of submission. Proposals for seminars with study tours that do not include a travel itinerary and budget will not be considered. The itinerary and budget must be included as a separate attachment.
  • In the online proposal form (linked in #1 above), you will also be asked these questions:
    ~We expect that you have direct experience in the study tour destination. Please describe your previous experience with the destination. What is your knowledge of the destination and culture? In what capacity and for how long have you traveled there previously?
    ~Seminars with study tours have a different timeline than regular honors seminars. Because of the need to begin planning at least a full year in advance, we are currently only accepting proposals for seminars with study tours for spring semester 2017 and fall semester 2017. We will not able to implement new seminars with study tours for fall semester 2016 through this current process. Please indicate the term in which you would like the seminar/study tour to be offered.

Honors Seminar Development Workshops

The UHP will host workshops for faculty interested in developing honors seminars which will be facilitated by Dr. Theresa Culley, UHP Provost Fellow. In these workshops, faculty will learn about honors seminar pedagogy, expectations and best practices to support proposal development. This will include tips and suggestions to maximize the chance of your proposal being chosen in the competivie proposal selection process. The workshops will take place:

  •  Tuesday September 15 from 12:30-1:30 in Swift 708
  • Wednesday, September 16 from 12:15-1:15 in Swift 708

 If you’d like to participate, please RSVP to to let us know which workshop you will attend. Lunch will be provided.

 Questions about the workshops? Contact Dr. Culley at

Compensation - $6000 per honors seminar + PBB funds

UHP Funding:

  • For each course accepted and offered, the originating department will receive a $6000 payment from University Honors.
  • In the case of a team-taught course, $8000 will be split amongst participating departments.
  • The funds are transferred to the department(s) at the end of the add/drop period in the semester in which your course is taught, provided that the course has an enrollment of 12 or more University Honors students. If the course has an enrollment of 11 or fewer University Honors students, the amount will be pro-rated.
  • The use of the funds is determined by the college/department. If a faculty member has questions about how the funds will be used, he/she should talk with the department head.

PBB Funds:

  • In addition, performance based budgeting (PBB) plays a role. University Honors students come from all of the undergraduate colleges. Therefore, students from across colleges will enroll. Typically, 2/3 of students in each honors seminar will likely originate from a different college.
  • Under PBB in 2014-15, the college listing the course receives $236.56 per student credit hour for students who are majors in other colleges. With a class of 20 students, if 2/3 (13) are from outside the listing college, then the college could generate $9225.84 additional dollars (13*$236.56 *3credits).

Proposal Review Process & Notification

  • Proposals are due on Monday, October 19, 2015.
  • Proposals are evaluated by a subcommittee of the University Honors Council, comprised of faculty and students from across colleges.
  • Criteria for selection will focus on how well the course meets the guidelines. 
  • The number of courses accepted is based on budget. We anticipate being able to fund 25-30 courses. We typically receive 60-70 proposals.
  • Faculty and department heads will learn of the status of proposals via email prior to the end of fall semester 2015.

Honors Seminars in the News

Learn more about honors seminars and the faculty who teach them through these news stories.


Contact Theresa Culley, PhD ( or Debbie Brawn, MA (, 556-6226).