Frequently Asked Questions
for Faculty and Staff
- Will honors sections and options cost more?
- Do honors sections and options constitute an increased load for students?
- If so, what resources or consideration will be given?
- What type of commitment do our students need to make up front?
- Can students opt out part way through a term?
- How is the additional faculty workload factored in?
- How much pay will be given for honors sections or options?
- Why did we create an honors program?
- Where does Faculty Council stand on the Honors Program?
- Who can teach honors sections and options?
- Who can design them?
- Where do honors sections and options fit into our regular course offerings?
- Will an honors section or option offered by one instructor possibly be equivalent to what another instructor(s) is already doing in a non-honors version?
- How do we know how the honors offerings of one division compare with those of another division?
- How does our program compare to other community college honors programs?
- How much extra time is needed for honors sections and options? Is this time spent directly with students, on preparation, or grading?
- Should the honors version of a course count as additional credit hours for the purposes of faculty workload? Does it depend on whether the course is an honors section, an honors option, or an honors seminar?
- Are we going to offer developmental level honors sections and options?
- What components distinguish an honors version from a non-honors version?
- Should honors versions have more work for students or involve concepts that are more difficult?
- What prevents an honors section or option taught by one instructor from draining all the best students out of the non-honors sections of that course?
- How does the Honors Program support Lane's value of diversity and inclusion?
- Are we going to continue to add more honors offerings?
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Do honors sections and options constitute an increased load for students?
Honors classes should be academically challenging for the student so they may constitute an increased effort or workload. However, faculty are encouraged not to simply add on more work to make the class honors but rather to provide different work. In addition, with the exception of the two seminars, which are electives for the AAOT, all other honors classes meet AAOT requirements so students do not need to take additional classes to graduate.
If so, what resources or consideration will be given?
As part of the acceptance letter to new honors students, students are encouraged to meet with their advisor to map out how to meet the honors requirements. Students also meet with the Honors Faculty Coordinator to fill out a term-by-term planner for their honors courses. Additionally, students attend an orientation session upon admittance and receive a student handbook so they know what is expected of them. As designed, students can easily complete the honors program by only taking one honors class per term. However, students who already have significant number of credits may need to take more than one honors class per term. On the application, students with more than 45 credits are asked how they plan to complete the program.
What type of commitment do our students need to make up front?
In order to take honors sections or option classes, students only need to commit to do the work. The only honors classes not open to all students are the honors seminars (HON 201 and 202). Students who are accepted into the program are asked to commit to completing the program requirements and attending one event per term to build a sense of community.
Can students opt out part way through a term?
Students are expected to treat honors classes as they do other classes and commit to them. All students in an honors section complete the same work so it would not be possible to opt out without dropping the class. Students in an option could potentially switch to the non-honors version with instructor approval but that would mean registering for a different CRN, which would cost money. In certain, unique cases, and only if approved in advance by the division office staff, it is possible for the division office to make the switch without cost to the student.
How is the additional faculty workload factored in?
Honors classes are sections of existing courses and thus treated similar to the other courses taught by the faculty member in terms of workload. Faculty are encouraged not to add more work, but as stated above, different kinds of work.
How much pay will be given for honors sections or options?
Faculty professional development is available for developing honors sections or options. Sections receive thirty hours. Options receive ten hours. When options are converted to sections, twenty additional hours are available.
Why did we create an honors program?
The program was created as one way to fulfill Lane's strategic direction for a Liberal Education Approach for Student Learning. The program now supports the current strategic direction of A Culture of Teaching, Learning, and Innovation.
Where does Faculty Council stand on the Honors Program?
The program went through College Council, and faculty coordinators for the program have given two presentations to Faculty Council. The Faculty Council has not taken an official stance on the program.
Who can teach honors sections and options?
Faculty interested in teaching honors sections and options first need to have a conversation within their discipline/division. The only current restriction imposed by the Honors Leadership Team is for classes to be taught on the main campus in traditional or hybrid formats. Once a faculty member has the support of their discipline, they fill out and submit a course proposal. The Honors Course Proposal Subcommittee will review the proposal and score it with a rubric. Faculty are encouraged to review the Recommended Honors Attributes document when filling out the course proposal.
Who can design them?
A faculty member can submit a course proposal for a class they design and teach, or one or more faculty members can submit a course proposal designed for more than one faculty member to teach. In each case, the course is what is reviewed by the honors course proposal subcommittee.
Where do honors sections and options fit into our regular course offerings?
Honors sections and options are versions of regular course offerings and fulfill the same graduation requirements. For example, a student may take WR121 as a stand-alone class, as part of a learning community or as an honors class. Honors sections are denoted on the transcript by _H.
Will an honors section or option offered by one instructor possibly be equivalent to what another instructor(s) is already doing in a non-honors version?
Conceivably yes. However, the proposal application is designed to decrease this possibility (1) by requiring the faculty member to demonstrate how their honors section will differ from the non-honors sections they teach and (2) by requiring discipline/division support to encourage dialog between faculty members and the development of a discipline strategy for honors courses.
How do we know how the honors offerings of one division compare with those of another division?
The proposal review committee uses the same criteria to review all course proposals. The honors courses offered can be found under the classes link on the Honors Program website.
How does our program compare to other community college honors programs?
Honors programs are common in US colleges in both two- and four-year schools. While the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) lists the features of honors programs, community college honors programs reflect the uniqueness of the individual school. For example, not all colleges allow non-honors program students to enroll in honors classes as we do, but all colleges require students to take a certain number of honors classes and require a capstone experience. Our students must successfully complete four honors courses and/or options and two honors seminars. In the second seminar, they complete and present a capstone research project to the Lane community. All colleges have admission criteria and requirements for remaining in the program. We have multiple ways for students to meet admission criteria, and our honors students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in their honors classes. Additionally, we also have a robust experiential learning requirement.
How much extra time is needed for honors sections and options? Is this time spent directly with students, on preparation, or grading?
As with any new curriculum, time is required to develop and implement. Faculty offering honors sections of existing courses are awarded 30 hours of curriculum development and faculty offering honors options are awarded up to 20 hours of curriculum development. As we enter the third year of the program, it is now possible to access the time commitment of faculty, and this work is one of the Honors Leadership Team goals for the 2013-2014 academic year. Our vision was not to increase faculty workload since faculty are advised not to embed "more work" but rather embed different work into their honors offerings. However, in option classes the honors piece may take the form of a more extensive project that might require more faculty work.
Should the honors version of a course count as additional credit hours for the purposes of faculty workload? Does it depend on whether the course is an honors section, an honors option, or an honors seminar?
As envisioned, the workload will not be significantly increased for honors sections and should not require a workload modification. However, options may add additional faculty work. Currently, the number of students enrolled in the option has been less than a fourth of the class.
What components distinguish an honors version from a non-honors version?
Components will vary from class to class depending on the discipline. See the Recommended Honors Attributes document for characteristics the Honors Leadership Team recommends for honors classes.
Should honors versions have more work for students or involve concepts that are more difficult?
Honors classes often involve concepts that are more difficult. In some cases, there may be more work for students, but an increased workload is not the defining characteristic of an honors class. Please see the sample syllabi and assignments linked to the Recommended Honors Attributes.
What prevents an honors section or option taught by one instructor from draining all the best students out of the non-honors sections of that course?
In addition to the considerations that often determine students' choice of one section of a course over another (class day and time, off-campus responsibilities, etc.), other key factors prevent all the best students from signing up for honors sections. For example, not all honors students are the "best" students. They may be intelligent and highly motivated, but they may still be developing skills for succeeding in college. They develop these skills over time and over several honors classes. Additionally, excellent students do not always want to take the most challenging section of every class. They are selective. They may perceive of honors sections as being harder and having more work, which leads to concerns about GPA and workload. Finally, there are simply too many good students to fit into one or two honors sections of a class, and honors options are capped so only a portion of the class is comprised of honors students. A flourishing honors program has enough students so that, as honors sections fill up, the remaining students will choose other non-honors sections of classes, potentially adding to the discussions and group work in those classes.
How does the Honors Program support Lane's value of diversity and inclusion?
With the exception of the two honors seminars, all honors sections and options are open to any student willing to undertake honors-level work. Students do not have to be in the Honors Program to take honors classes. Valuing diversity and inclusion means meeting the needs of all students, including those who are highly motivated and seek to challenge themselves with honors classes.
Are we going to continue to add more honors offerings?
The goal of the program is to provide honors versions of courses in all transfer areas. Multiple honors sections of a course will only be built if there is sufficient need from honors students and if there are still sufficient non-honors sections of that course. Lane students who transfer to four-year schools and wish to pursue honors work at those schools will encounter peers who have already worked in honors for their first two years of college. The Honors Program provides equal preparation for Lane students so that they will be ready for honors-level work when they transfer.