Guidelines, Pedagogy and Structure
Guidelines and Pedagogy
UHP Vision & UC Strategic Direction
Honors seminars must align with the UHP’s vision: Developing students into global citizen scholars who lead innovative efforts towards solving the world’s complex problems.
We encourage connection to UC's strategic direction, Next Lives Here - Innovation, Inclusion, Urban Futures, Urban Health, or other NLH platforms.
Unique Nature- Experience-Based Learning and Reflection
UHP honors seminars need to be both intellectually rigorous courses and representative of the holistic mission of the program. The UHP is quite different from most honors colleges and programs. In other programs, high-achieving students are typically required to complete advanced courses and maintain a certain GPA. The UHP furthers this with a strong focus on experience-based learning and reflection, as well as on the individual student’s goals and aspirations.
Honors seminars incorporate experience-based learning and critical reflection on that learning. Students should be challenged with creative activities/projects that take learning beyond the typical classroom, integrate theory to practice, provide contextual complexity, and provide opportunity for reflection. Experiential components vary widely but can include active-learning elements such as site visits, fieldwork, service-learning, integration of lab work, performances, study tours, and more. During the COVID-19 crisis, virtual components are encouraged.
Reflection should challenge students to connect the course content to their world view, goals, and aspirations. Methods of reflection can vary as well and include writing, critical discussion, creative works such as art or videos, journals, blogs, etc.
Reflection should be ongoing throughout the semester and have a summative component at the end of the course. Students should be challenged to critically reflect on and integrate their experiences and learning in the course into their own understanding of themselves and the world.
UHP honors seminars represent the holistic nature of the program. They should be intellectually rigorous and are not introductory survey courses. At the same time, honors seminars do not have prerequisites – any UHP student from any discipline and any level can take the course.
Proposals can come from any discipline/college. Interdisciplinary courses are encouraged. These courses challenge and broaden the intellectual horizons of UHP students at all levels, regardless of the disciplines in which students are majoring.
Faculty/student dialogue should serve as the primary modes of interaction with lecture kept to a minimum. Students should be challenged by reading primary sources and writing assignments that demand clear articulation of ideas. Use of methods involving innovative technology, collaborative work, active learning, and flipped classrooms is encouraged. Evaluation of students should be based on their willingness to explore and critique concepts, rather than on absorption of facts.
Exams are not typically given in honors seminars. Rather, projects, papers, presentations, and other methods of assessing learning are more commonly utilized.
Honors seminars should align with one of the UHP competency areas:
- community engagement
- global studies
Seminars are not expected to align with multiple areas. Rather, an in-depth focus in one area is better received than a course that tries to fit in multiple areas on a surface level.
Please consider the student audience as you develop your proposal, not only in regard to content but also in regard to the title and description.
The title must be marketable to students, to catch their attention and imagination in order to motivate them to register for the class. The title should not simply be a listing of the course content.
Honors seminar courses must be marketable to all UHP students, across all of the colleges and disciplines, so that students choose to enroll. In addition, any UHP student from any discipline and any level should be able to take the course.
Students maintain learning portfolios to reflect on, integrate, and showcase their learning. Students will showcase honors seminars in their portfolios. Please keep this in mind as you design your seminar and consider what evidence/artifacts students may include in their portfolio as well as what opportunities for reflection on learning will be included in your seminar.
Course Numbering and Listing
- Please see our page on creating (e-curriculum) and ordering (Catalyst) honors seminar courses to learn more.
- Class size is limited to 20-25 students.
- Honors seminars are designed for students enrolled in the University Honors Program. UHP students have first priority to enroll.
- Undergraduate students who are not in the UHP may receive permission to enroll if the student has a cumulative university GPA of 3.2 or higher and there is space available in the class after UHP students have completed priority registration.
- Graduate students are not eligible to enroll in honors seminars.
- Students are not permitted to audit honors seminars.
- The UHP reserves the authority to determine whether students can receive permission to enroll in an honors seminar. There may be unique circumstances where permission cannot be granted even if the above parameters are met.
- Faculty teaching honors seminars are expected to support the administration of UHP course evaluations.