Student laughs with teacher

Information for faculty members

A pioneer in honors education since 1955, the University Honors Program remains on the cutting edge of innovative pedagogy, in large part, because of its faculty. 

Curricular philosophy 

The University Honors Program follows best practices and teaching philosophies supported by the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), of which UHP is a founding member. Honors instructors should prioritize the development of critical thought, analysis, and communication through the adoption of an active-learning pedagogy in which students’ choices and interests influence the trajectory of the course.

Deep learning and engagement in honors courses comes from how the course is structured and not the quantity of work assigned. Similar to the dimensions we evaluate on applications for admission to the Honors Program, honors courses should cultivate in students the following characteristics: challenge, depth, breadth, and leadership. The following strategies have successfully been used in honors courses of various formats to extend student learning and strengthen community connections.

  • Utilize discussion and group projects to connect students to one another and the instructor.
  • Utilize scaffolded assignments and frequent feedback to support students as they pursue increasingly more complex assignments.
  • Encourage creative integration, so students practice connecting, synthesizing, and evaluating information from different sources.
  • Incorporate learning activities developed in collaboration with KU libraries, museums, performing arts venues, and research centers.
  • Incorporate scholarly and alumni contributions representing a range of experiences, backgrounds, and identities.  
  • Encourage application and communication of knowledge.

Faculty opportunities

The University Honors Program prioritizes innovative learning experiences and individualized student support as part of its mission to challenge students to launch extraordinary lives. While referring students, to the program, mentoring honors student, and supporting their progress toward program completion are two appreciated contributions, faculty members often seek these two opportunities:

  • Honors Faculty Fellows, who serve three-year terms, can come from any department or discipline. They commit to extensive involvement in the program, teaching courses, mentoring students, and serving as committee members and liaisons for the program. Individuals holding a faculty or full-time lecturer appointment are eligible to apply.
  • Honors seminar instructors are faculty from throughout the university who teach HNRS 190 or HNRS 195, one credit-hour honors seminars of 10-12 students new to the University Honors Program. Honors seminars support the program’s learning objectives through the investigation of a topic connected to the instructor’s expertise, which any faculty or staff member on campus may propose in the spring.