SUNY Oneonta Honors
Draft Revisions as of May 2010
by the
Honors Advisory Committee
Todd Ellis
[email protected]
3 May 2010 - College Senate Meeting
The Current Honors
• Three Tiered:
• Stage One - Freshman Year - 9 credit
hours of honors GE2 courses
• Stage Two - Sophomore Year - 9 credit
hours of honors GE2 courses
• Stage Three - Junior/Senior Year - 9 credit
hours of upper division coursework
including a capstone experience
The Current Honors
• Retention Standards
• 3.5 GPA at the end of each year +
sufficient progress toward degree
• Capstone Experience
• An interdisciplinary or mutlidisciplinary
course designed by students
The Main Concerns
• Students often have few choices of courses
available to them because they have placed
out of GE2 courses and because few are
offered (and those have low enrollment)
• Students get “Honors Program” credit for
completing any one tier - many drop out
when early scheduling no longer useful
• By getting out before tier three - they miss
out on the interdisciplinary focus of an
honors education
The new idea
The Honors Advisory Committee has been meeting since
the fall to revamp the program
The main themes:
Embrace interdisciplinary focus of honors education
Enhance communication skills through required
honors level composition courses
Allow students to get honors credit by contract with
Eliminate tier system, and require all honors students
to complete thesis to get credit
The Contract Model
Allows students to approach a professor by the end of
the third week of a class to propose a plan to make the
course count as honors credits
Focus is not necessarily on more work, but on different,
more in-depth, interdisciplinary, or original work.
Must be agreed upon by both professor and student - not
all courses may be appropriate for this, but faculty have
Less time consuming for faculty than an entire honors
Dedicated honors sections/courses will still exist
Honors Advisors
• We are proposing that departments would
have one designated honors advisor
• Honors advisors would be able to help
explain the contract process and make sure
that it is not abused by either party
• Honors advisors would require yearly
meetings with honors students to make sure
they are thinking ahead about their additional
Year by Year - First Year
Maintain a 3.5 GPA
Enroll in an Honors Composition Course
capped at low number per section
ESL students may get individual waivers
Honors first-year interdisciplinary seminar
Thematic courses taught be rotation of instructors
Focus is on critical thinking skills
6 credits of honors course work
Year by Year - Second Year
• Maintain a 3.5 GPA
• By end of year, have 12 honors credits
• Academic plan with an honors advisor to
begin planning for capstone/theses
Year by Year - Third/Fourth
• Maintain a 3.5 GPA
• By graduation, have 12 additional honors
credits completed
• These credits may include honors
independent studies to facilitate thesis writing
• Upon completion of thesis and all other
requirements, students are given honors
Other thoughts
• We are considering making the admission
process more selective with online essay
prompts that students would have to answer
• We want to reinvigorate the honors club, so
that they can be an academic presence on
campus, perhaps with their own faculty
awards or hosted lecture series - there is a
funding issue that still needs to be address
We are still welcoming input
• We are not making any proposals for voting
today, but want to give you a chance to think
about how this would work and give us a
chance to answer your questions/concerns
• We think that this makes the program more
robust, more rigorous, and easier for students
to become invested in. In short, I think it
makes the honors program meaningful for
everyone involved
• Please contact myself or Julie Freeman if you
have any additional concerns

SUNY Oneonta Honors Program