University of Houston-Victoria

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Rules and Structure of the UHV Honors Program

The Honors Program at UHV will fulfill the needs of students who are academically talented and motivated. We seek students who are searching for a university experience that offers enriched opportunities and challenges.

Students will be recruited for the Honors Program through presentations during orientation and other student events. The director of the Honors Program will work with UHV’s recruiting offices to identify incoming students who are candidates for the Honors Program. Application materials will be sent to students who meet application criteria. The goal will be to attract the top 5 to 10% of incoming students. There is no deadline to join the Honors Program—after the first semester students with high GPAs will be offered a chance to join the program. Students who transfer or join late will be considered for inclusion as well.

I. Basic Requirements and Enumerated Benefits

Basic Requirements for Honors Program Graduation:

Graduation:

  • Completion of an UHV program according to all UHV policies
  • Enrollment in a Face-to-face class every long semester
  • Completion of four upper-division Honors courses
  • A 3.5 GPA for all college coursework—including transfer credit

Graduation with Distinction:

  • All of the above
  • 9 credit-hours of lower-division Honors Coursework
  • Basically, the difference between graduation and graduation with distinction is that those graduating with distinction will be those students who start at UHV (or transfer very early). This means they are taking Honors classes as part of their core requirements. Transfer students typically come in core-complete or nearly core-complete from community colleges. Students transferring from community colleges honors programs will be considered for this distinction.

 

Requirements to Maintain Good Standing:

  • Maintain a GPA of 3.5
  • Must not earn Ds or Fs (students may petition the Honors Program Director to re-take a course)

Honors Program Probation in Case of Loss of Good Standing:

  • Students will be placed on one semester of probation in a case where they violate standards.
  • Students will work closely with the Honors Program Director during probation.
  • Students on probation will retain all privileges and general expectations of Honors Program students.
  • Failure to correct deficiencies during the one semester probation will result in the student being removed from the Honors Program—this will not affect their otherwise good standing as a UHV student.
  • Longer probation periods can be requested from the Honors Program Director in cases of legitimate need (course rotation prevents a re-take, medical need, family crisis, etc.).

Honors Program Benefits:

  • Honors Program Director (or designee) will act as Student Success Coach for Honors students.
  • Honors Program Common area/work space will be provided
  • Honors Colloquium every semester
  • Special graduation regalia for Honors Graduates and Honors Graduates with Distinction
  • Honors Program Student Organization membership

Basic Admission Criteria:

Freshman:

  • Freshmen honors students will be recruited and identified during the first term by the Honors Director in consultation with UHV faculty.
  • Letter of application addressing qualifications and college goals or an interview with the Honors Director

 

Transfer Student Admission:

  • There is no deadline to join the Honors Program—after the first semester students with high GPAs will be offered a chance to join the program
  • Letter of application addressing qualifications and college goals or an interview with the Honors Director.
  • 5 GPA on all college coursework (this is a necessary but not sufficient criterion)
  • Sample of coursework or other project which demonstrates academic distinction

II. Admission Process

The Director of the Honors Program will work with UHV’s recruiting offices, core faculty, and FYE to identify incoming students who might be successful in the Honors Program. General criteria are listed in section I. It is the goal of this program to attract the top 5 - 10% of incoming students. See the enumerated criteria in section I for detail on proposed admission criteria. Students who transfer or join late will be considered for inclusion as well. These students should be working at a similar level to students who join as freshmen.

Adjustment of the admission criteria should be reviewed periodically to ensure that the top 5 - 10% of students are being identified and served.

III. Honors Program Courses

Lower-division Classes:

Lower-division courses will be offered as “combo courses” where a small honors group is enrolled in a specially designated section of an existing class. In these classes students will have supplemental honors work at the direction of the instructor. Honors Core Courses will supplement regular course work with material that integrates extra projects or complex ideas. (When schedules do not allow a student to take a Honors Program Core class, special accommodations can be made by the Honors Program Director.) In all cases, any Honors Core Course must meet all criteria of the catalog and policies of UHV. Students will require three lower division classes to graduate from the Honors Program with distinction.

Upper Division Students:

Once Honors Program students become upper division students, they will need courses specifically in their major area. Honors students will be required to take four upper division honors courses to complete the program. Accommodations are made for part-time students.

Contract Courses:

Honors Contract Courses have been developed courses will allow students to supplement upper division course work in their majors. Any upper division course can, with the consent of the instructor and the coordination of the Honors Director, be converted into an Honors Contract Course. Students and instructors work together to develop a project to supplement the course or augment an existing assignment within the first two weeks of courses. Students may complete as many Contract Courses as four contract courses. Students are encouraged to 

Senior Project:

Seniors may elect to complete a senior project. Student will enroll in an independent study or other appropriate senior course with a professor of their choosing to complete a senior project. This should be done in their last year of coursework. The Honors Senior Project can take the form of research project, a significant piece of writing, a creative project, or some other project deemed appropriate for their field. The student’s major professor will coordinate with the Honors Director. Projects will be part of an Honors Colloquium to be organized by the Honors Student Organization in consultation with the Honors Director.

Honors Credit by Service:

Students may, with the advice and direction of the Honors Program Director, substitute one honors course with a semester-long service project. Students will work with a local public, non-profit, non-sectarian organization on a service project. Students will be responsible for making these arrangements. The Honors Program Director will assign journals and readings specific to the service project to ensure that there is academic content for the work. A service project can only be done once for credit.

Co-Curricular Honors Project:

In special cases students can work directly with the Honors Director (or other faculty designee) on a co-curricular assignment that complements the academic work in one or more classes. This option can only be used when all other possibilities are exhausted.

IV. Proposed Progress through Honors Program

In this section, I will sketch the progress a typical student would go through in her time in the Honors Program as an illustration of the program. Students will, of course, modify the order of this proposal as it is rare for students to follow the traditional four-year path. The Honors Program Director will maintain records and meet with students to insure that they are progressing adequately.

IV. Proposed Progress through Honors Program

Application materials will be sent to students who meet the application criteria and application letters will be solicited. The Honors Program Director will work with recruiting and other offices in student services. Further, the Honors Program Director will address orientation groups and other meetings of students (Jag days, Jag Journey and the like). 

Freshman year:

In the first semester of the freshmen year, students will be selected for inclusion in the program based on their work over the first semester. The Honors Director will work closely with core faculty and First Year Seminar instructors to find students interested in the Honors Program. In the second

Sophomore year:

As students works through this year and finalizes their decision on a major, they will have the option to take Honors Core classes through the year. Students should have accumulated nine credit hours of Honors Program work by the end of this year.

Junior year:

Students will begin working on their major plans and working on upper-division Honors work. Students should, during this year, work out a plan with the Honors Program Director to insure that they can complete all the requirements to graduate. This is the natural place for a transfer student to join the program.

Senior year:

Students will have the option to devise a senior project. This project will be part of a colloquia or conference to be organized by the Honors Program Student Organization and Director. Students will receive special regalia at graduation and enjoy other recognitions such as a special Honors Program reception with their families. Of course, a close relationship with faculty will likely benefit students as they transition to careers and/or graduate school. If a student does not formally complete Honors Program work, there is no penalty and they will graduate according to the normal policies of UHV.

V. Student Involvement

An Honors Program Student Organization will be established for students enrolled in the Honors Program. The Honors Director will advise this student organization. The organization will assist in organizing Honors colloquia and other events. Importantly for the culture of the university, this organization will as provide a social venue for Honors Students. The president and vice president of the Honors Program Student Organization will sit on the Honors Program Committee.

Other projects that the Honors Program Student Organization might undertake to further student involvement might include:

  • Assisting in organizing a research conference
  • Developing service learning projects
  • Organizing social events appropriate for university life
  • Becoming involved in the governance of the Honors Program
  • Assisting the Honors Director in recruiting students at orientation

 

Students will also have some benefits that are more social in nature. These are appropriate because a significant goal of the Honors Program is to build strong ties among students and between students and faculty. Thus, the Program should include realistic opportunities for students and faculty to engage in academically-minded social events. To this end, the Honors Program should involve some fieldtrips or other events based on building relationships. Further, Students in the Honors Program should be afforded physical space for their work. Several simple accommodations can be made to create this space. A wing in the dorm should be provided to house students who have similar academic goals. An office or small suite can be set aside as an Honors Lounge for the use of Honors students.

 

One example of student involvement and outreach is the Undergraduate Research Conference A&S is sponsoring this semester. This conference invites undergraduate researchers from both UHV and other institutions to present their work. This is a fine example of honors-type work because it encourages high academic standards, creates a community of scholars in dialogue, and emphasizes that the work done here compares well to the work occurring at other institutions. Similarly, projects like this help students develop a CV and hone their presentation skills. Projects like this would be emphasized and sponsored by the Honors Program—and the Budget in Section VIII includes funds to provide for prizes, conference costs, and publicity.

VI. Role of the Honors Program Leaders

Honors Program Director:

The Honors Program Director is a faculty member selected for his or her ability to build and maintain relationships with students as well as the administrative ability to maintain the complexities this program. The Director of the Honors Program reports to the Dean of the University College.

The Honors Program Director will:

  • Ensure that there are enough Honors courses for student needs
  • In the spring semesters, call for proposals for Honors Program Core courses and, with Honors Committee assistance, select courses for the fall and spring Honors Core
  • Ensure that an adequate and meaningful rotation of courses are offered for the diverse needs of the Honors students
  • Act as faculty advisor to the Honors Program Student Organization
  • Coordinate with Student Affairs and Academic Affairs on student requirements to fulfill roll as Student Success Coach
  • Coordinate with recruiting to identify potential students
  • Coordinate with the University College or other such unit to coordinate overlapping programs.

The Honors Program Committee:

Additionally, the Honors Program Director will organize and chair a committee to assist in governing the Honors Program. This committee will help select courses, advise on program needs, and offer guidance and assistance in Honors Program events. The committee will consist of the following voting membership:

  • The Honors Program Director (who chairs)
  • All professors teaching Honors Core Classes that academic year
  • The President and Vice President of the Honors Program Student Organization
  • Additional members as per the discretion of the Honors Director

VII. Compatibility with Current Programs

Nothing suggested by the Honors Program should contradict or change any part of any degree program or UHV policy. All ideas presented in this proposal are intended to supplement existing and future programs and not to, in any way, circumvent any requirement. Honors curriculum should address the advanced needs of students but still provide all the basic requirements of a university education. In any case where a particular program is not compatible with the Honors Program, the Honors Program Director will modify the Honors Program requirements to the needs of the individual student. A student given this accommodation will be treated the same as any other Honors Program student and afforded the same benefits.