Teaching in Honors

What Makes an Honors Course?

Honors courses not only combine the best of both graduate and undergraduate education, they also push faculty members to become more effective mentors and students to become more independent thinkers. Core elements of honors courses should include the following:

  • Writing to learn
  • Student-driven inquiry/discovery
  • Collaboration with research faculty
  • Effective student oral and written presentation of results
  • Leadership and teamwork
  • Innovative themes
  • Developmental/mentoring approach to students

How Do I Propose a Course?

The Honors College invites faculty from across the University to propose new honors courses that draw on their research expertise and emphasize one or more of our pedagogical priority areas: interdisciplinary inquiry, critical pedagogy of place, and consortium-building in disciplinary honors.

  • Interdisciplinary inquiry
    Truly interdisciplinary courses provide students opportunities not just to interact with theory and methods from multiple disciplines, but also to integrate these into a coherent framework that is more than the sum of its parts. Courses emphasizing interdisciplinary thought should support students’ inquiry at the intersections between disciplines, with the goal of creating new knowledge.
  • Critical place-based pedagogy
    As an urban research university, UNC Charlotte should highlight Charlotte as a place key to understanding people’s lived experiences. Courses that utilize a critical pedagogy of place apply critical pedagogical techniques aimed at helping students interrogate existing socio-cultural systems within a specific place, be it a neighborhood, city, region, or country.
  • Consortium-building in disciplinary honors
    Honors curriculum-building across the disciplines at UNC Charlotte has been uneven, with some departments lacking enough students or faculty to offer honors courses such as research methods, special topics, or a thesis seminar. One way to meet the need is to forge honors consortia across areas (e.g., social sciences, humanities, STEM, interdisciplinary studies, etc), creating courses that will allow honors students in any of those majors to progress through their programs in a timely manner. Proposals in this area should identify the disciplinary honors programs that would accept the proposed course and the faculty who would be interested in teaching it on a rotating basis. The proposal can come from a single faculty member as long as it reflects a process of consultation with all stakeholders.