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Teaching Honors Courses

Overview

Honors Students tend to be highly motivated, hard-working, engaged, and creative thinkers. Because of this, they are often responsive to faculty efforts to get them involved and respond positively to creative pedagogical approaches.  Generally speaking, Honors Courses should be qualitatively different from what students normally would receive if the same class were offered to the general student body. 

Honors classes are harder because Honors students tend to be open to challenging projects and more abstract concepts.  The goal of an Honors course, however, should not be to be harder for the sake of being harder.  The List of Possible Learning Outcomes below is meant to help faculty think through the learning objectives they have for their challenging Honors courses.

Possible Learning Outcomes for Honors Courses

  • Contextualize knowledge within your discipline.
  • Identify methods used and questions asked in your discipline.
  • Critically evaluate evidence and its sources: Understand how raw data is generated, how it is analyzed to generate knowledge and how it can be applied.
  • Synthesize information from different sources, and bring these sources together to build logical, reasoned arguments.
  • Contextualize knowledge across disciplines.
  • Employ methods from two or more disciplines (or sub-disciplines) to answer a question or address a problem facing society or the world.
  • Integrate knowledge from different fields to identify topics that require further investigation and formulate innovative interpretations.
  • Exhibit depth of knowledge in one area of studies that may lead the student to find a creative solution to a problem or make a novel discovery.
  • Exhibit awareness of the broader implications of questions addressed in class so as to be able to apply their knowledge in other contexts.

Center for Teaching Excellence Resources

KU's Center for Teaching Excellence offers many useful resources, but we particularly recommend reviewing their Resources for Inclusive Teaching.


Course offerings are “among the most comprehensive in the nation,” according to “A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs”
98% of University Honors Program graduates are employed or accepted to graduate school within six months of graduation
40% of students in the University Honors Program conduct research before graduation
9 to 1: Average ratio of KU honors students to faculty advisors
1 of only 7 programs nationwide to receive a top rating from “A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs” in 2014
60% of University Honors Program students study abroad
KU honors students select their advisors from top-ranked KU faculty
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