Senate Document Number 3001S

Date of Senate Approval 03/01/01

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Statement of Faculty Senate Action:

APC Document 20:   Changes to the University Honors Program

Effective Date: Fall 2001

Delete: On pages 129-130, the entire section for Honors (HON)

Add: On page 129, the following:

Honors courses are open to students formally admitted to the University Honors Program and to others by permission. Designed for talented and motivated students, the Honors curriculum complements the General Education and major curricula. Successful completion of the Honors Program enables the student to graduate with Distinction as a University Scholar.

Program in Honors

I. To successfully complete the University Honors Program and graduate with Distinction as a University Scholar, student must do the following:

A. Complete at least 21 hours of credit in Honors courses, to include at least two three-credit-hour special topics courses at the 300 level or higher, and HON 492. As part of the twenty-one hours, students entering the program as beginning freshmen are also required to take a special topics course at the 100 level during their first semester. In addition to these courses, special Honors sections of LANG 101, LANG 102, Humanities, ARTS 310, and other General Education courses, also count toward program requirements. Note that no more than nine combined credit hours in Honors Readings courses or the Undergraduate Research in Honors course may count toward the 21 hours.

B. Achieve an overall GPA of 3.25 and a 3.50 GPA for Honors courses.

C. Successfully complete a senior honors project as part of HON 492.

II. To remain in good standing with the University Honors Program, students must do the following:

A. Complete at least six hours of Honors credit as part of their first 60 hours of credit. Transfer students with more than 30 hours of credit must complete at least three hours of Honors credit as part of their first 30 hours of credit at UNCA.

B. Maintain an overall GPA of 3.25.

Those students not meeting these requirements will have one semester after falling below these standards to comply. If they do not, they will be suspended from the program and will have to reapply for admission.

201 The Undergraduate Research Experience (2-3) An introduction to undergraduate research opportunities. Explores "ways of knowing" characteristic of particular disciplines, compares and contrasts research methods in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Required for recipients of Undergraduate Research Fellowships and suggested for those contemplating undergraduate research. Spring.

492 Senior Honors Colloquium (2) Centered on a senior honors project, the colloquium brings together students from several disciplines for presentation and discussion of their work. Prerequisite: application with Honors Program directors. (Application must be made no later than the end of preregistration during the semester prior to the semester in which the student plans to enroll in the Colloquium.) Fall and Spring.

499 Undergraduate Research in Honors (1-6)
Independent research under the supervision of a faculty mentor or with an interdisciplinary team of faculty. An IP grade may be awarded at the discretion of instructor. Can be repeated for a total of 6 hours credit. See program director.

171-3, 271-3, 371-3, 471-3 Special Topics in Honors (1-3) Special courses designed for Honors students. These courses may be interdisciplinary or focused on a particular field. They emphasize reading and discussion of primary texts, experiential learning such as field trips, writing and oral skills, and critical thinking. See program director.

181-3, 281-3, 381-3, 481-3 Readings for Honors (1-3) Readings under the supervision of faculty in a particular discipline or an interdisciplinary team of faculty. Prerequisite: contract among the student, supervising faculty and the Honors Program director. May be repeated up to a total of six hours credit with permission of the Honors Program director. Fall and spring.

Impact Statement:
I. There is no direct impact to the curricula of other departments. These changes would call upon students to use only 5 hours of elective credit beyond what is required at present. The other hours could be met through honors sections of general education courses.

II. In terms of resources, these changes will require us to bring in one more faculty member each semester to teach an HON 373 special topics course.

The above changes reflect an effort to bring the University Honors Program at UNC Asheville into closer compliance with national standards for honors programs and to better reflect the changing nature and improved academic ability of our students.

The most significant change is a request to increase the number of hours required to successfully complete the program from fifteen to twenty-one. Twenty-one hours of Honors courses are more appropriate to the designation of Graduation with Distinction as a University Scholar. The National Collegiate Honors Council's statement on the basic characteristics of a "fully-developed honors program" specifies that "The program requirements themselves should include a substantial portion of the participants' undergraduate work, usually in the vicinity of 20% or 25% of their total course work and certainly no less than 15%," and we concur. A twenty-one hour requirement would comprise 17.5 percent of a 120 hour curriculum.

Key elements of the request to increase the number of hours required to successfully complete the program include that all new honors freshmen take a special topics course at the 100 level. These First Year Experience-based courses should assist retention in the program and persistence to graduation with distinction. The expansion of special topics courses at the 300 level from one to two is designed to facilitate the greater number of required hours and to do so within an interdisciplinary frame work. Last, the limit on hours in Readings courses and Research courses is designed to assure than a majority of hours taken by Honors students will be in contact and collaboration with other Honors students.

The increase in minimum GPA to both remain in the program and to graduate with Distinction as a University Scholar reflects the increased academic abilities of our student body. With a university-wide cumulative GPA of just below a 3.0, it seems prudent to increase the cumulative GPA to a 3.25 and the honors program GPA to a 3.5.

The other changes to the honors catalog entry are editorial in nature.

These changes reflect almost two years of consultation with the faculty Honors Advisory Committee, the student Honors Advisory Committee, and the National Collegiate Honors Council. We feel that these changes are necessary to keep our program in line with programs at other liberal arts colleges.