Faculty and Staff Guide

Faculty and Staff Guide

The Honors College is supported by the generous and dedicated support of faculty and staff who provide high-quality experiences for Honors students. Here is a short overview for faculty and staff who are involved (or who are interested) in the Honors College. Many thanks!

What is the Honors College?

"What I especially enjoy about teaching in the Honors College is the flexibility I have as an instructor to design unique and challenging courses that complement my research interests.
-- Eric Smith, Honors professor

The Honors College is an undergraduate academic program aimed at exceptional students who exhibit top performance in their academic activities. Students in the Honors College earn Honors credit for specific Honors courses, interdisciplinary seminars, and independent projects within existing courses. They are also required to produce a significant Honors Thesis (usually during their senior year) under the supervision of a full-time faculty member or researcher. Features of the program are:

  • Stimulating and challenging courses and activities
  • Small classes, often fewer than 15 students
  • Close contact with faculty and other academically talented students
  • Enhanced attention to developing important academic competencies, especially writing, critical thinking, and engaging in research
  • An opportunity to be recognized as Honors Scholars at commencement and on their diploma and transcript.

Further information can be found under College Requirements.  The Honors College is an academic unit whose Dean reports to the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.


See our Advising Information Sheet for complete information.

How can you become involved?

Many faculty and staff members already support the Honors College. If you are a faculty member or research staff member at UAH, you have many opportunities to participate and support the Honors College.

  1. Give a one-hour lecture at Honors Lecture Series.
  2. Recommend that a student carry out an Honors Contract in one of your courses and advise that student to its successful completion; note the section for faculty on that page.
  3. Advise a student in carrying out an Honors Thesis.
  4. Arrange with your department to offer an Honors section of an existing course (see Proposing below).
  5. Develop and teach an interdisciplinary Honors seminar (see below).
  6. Encourage promising undergraduates to apply to the college if they haven’t already. See Admission Requirements for how students can join the Honors College.
  7. Help advise current and prospective Honors students in completing their Honors Diploma or Certificate by becoming familiar with the College Requirements.
  8. Conduct a one-hour Hot Topic!

Below you will find some specific information about some of these options. If you'd like more information, contact the Honors Office honors@uah.edu or see Contact. There is also a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Honors Thesis

"I have especially enjoyed working with my thesis advisees. They were among the very best students I have ever taught and I am confident that I learned as much from them as they did from me." 
-- Andy Cling, Honors professor

Be sure to look over the Honors Thesis description before agreeing to advise a student. You're encouraged to meet with your thesis student at least once a week. The final thesis (including a signed Title Page) must be turned in to the Honors Office by the last day of regular classes in the current semester, regardless of whether the student is graduating.

The Honors Office requires two forms to be submitted:

  • The Honors Thesis Proposal Form submitted no later than the beginning of the semester in which the bulk of the work is to be done.
  • The Honors Credit Completion Form signed by the advisor and their department chair, to be turned in to the Honors Office by the last day of regular classes.

Note the Honors Thesis requires a signed Title Page (similar to a graduate thesis); see the Honors Handbook for details.

More on advising an Honors Project/Thesis can be found on the National Collegiate Honors Council site.

Honors Contract

Be sure to look over the Honors Contract description before agreeing to advise a student contract in a regularly offered course. It is required that the contract work be more than simply extra work for the student. Extra problems or assignments are only appropriate if they provide a qualitatively enriched view of the course material. Both you and the student should understand what is expected and how it will offer a more analytical, creative or reflective experience beyond the normal coursework. "Busy work," grading, or simply assisting the instructor are not usually appropriate unless a clear case can be made that the experience meets the criteria mentioned (e.g., a student taking Education courses may be experimenting with some instructional technique).

The Honors Office requires two forms to be submitted by the student:

  • The Contract Proposal Form submitted at the beginning of the semester, no later than the first full week of class.
  • The Credit Completion Form submitted at the end of the semester upon successful completion of the Honors contract.  Select Honors Contract checkbox.

Contracts bring additional responsibilities to the instructor. No member of the faculty is obligated to enter into an Honors contract and, therefore, instructors may decline a student's request to participate in a contract. If an instructor does agree to supervise a contract, he or she is expected to honor this agreement. The instructor may limit the number of contracts to which he or she agrees, in order to enable each student to have enough quality time.

Semester-long Seminar Proposals

If you're a faculty member, staff or graduate student and you're interested in teaching a seminar, the Honors College welcomes proposals. We send out a request for proposals once a year, but proposals are accepted at any time. See the last Call for Proposals we sent out. Future years' calls may vary, but this should give you an idea of what's required. See a list of Previously Offered Interdiscplinary Seminars. Feel free to contact the Honors Dean for more information.

Qualified non-Honors students may be admitted to seminars, with the approval of the instructor and the Dean of the Honors College. In addition, the Honors College may cross-list a seminar with an appropriate course in a department. The Honors Council intends that every college in the University be represented in the seminars.

Proposing an Honors section

Proposals for new Honors courses are always welcome. The Dean will gladly help in developing your proposal, which should address the following:

  • Course subject, number and title and whether it's a new course or an Honors section of an existing course
  • Probable instructor(s) (must be full-time faculty)
  • Content of the course
    • If a new course, give a justification for not using an exiting one.
    • If an Honors section of an existing course, give a brief summary of the current course's content and tell how the Honors course will be different
    • How will the content address the core goals of the Honors College?
      • Promote critical thinking
      • Foster personal creativity
      • Provide intellectual development
      • Support and guide independent research.
  • Planned semester(s) and whether you think the course can be offered on a regular basis (at least once every two years, preferably once a year)
  • Max enrollment limit (average for Honors is 17)
  • Expected demand and why you think enrollment is sustainable; e.g.,
    • course satisfies GER requirements
    • course satisfies major or minor requirements
    • full time faculty will be available on a regular basis to teach the course.
  • Summary of how the course will be handled in your department(s) with respect to faculty workload, major/minor requirements
  • Approval (signature) of department chair