University Honors Program | Teaching Honors Colloquia

Honors colloquia are three-credit courses offered on the 300- or 400-level. They must be interdisciplinary enough for more than one department to offer students major credit for taking it. Capped at 20, colloquia are open only to Honors students and are offered with an HNRS prefix.

Honors students must complete four courses at the 300-level or above, and thus Honors colloquia perform a vital service to students pursuing Honors.

Honors colloquia give students and faculty an opportunity to stretch and explore. Faculty have an opportunity to develop a course they might later make an offering in their department. They can explore a topic that they are only just diving into. Or they can design a course for the mutual benefit of students inside and outside their major by exploring an interdisciplinary area between different majors.

Honors colloquia also give faculty an opportunity to stretch pedagogically. They can experiment with different technologies, different assignments, and different experiences outside the classroom.

A special class of colloquia are Study/Travel courses which include an optional travel component. These courses are described below.

Whether faculty stretch outside their routine topics or pedagogy, they can rest assured knowing that they have twenty of the university’s most talented and motivated students who are eager to take the journey with them.

Students, meanwhile, expect from Honors colloquia something different, out of the usual run of courses. Students are looking for courses that are not usually offered at the university, for subjects that satisfy their curiosity, go into unexpected depths, or give them unprecedented exposure.

The Honors Office offers colloquia faculty logistical support and a small budget, helping bring in outside speakers and arranging excursions.

Alumni often report that Honors colloquia were their most satisfying and world-shaking courses.

Students in the new, 2014 version of the Honors Program are eligible to take Honors colloquia alongside students in the current, 1989 version, and so colloquia will continue to be offered.

Faculty interested in teaching Honors colloquia should speak with their chair, associate dean, and the Director of the Honors Program, Michael Manson.

Honors Study/Travel Colloquia

Like any other colloquium, these courses should be interdisciplinary enough that departments will grant credit in more than one major. They focus enough on one country or region, however, to warrant an optional trip to that place. Although students in the course get the first chance to travel to the country, other Honors students often fill out vacant spots on the trip. The trip is co-led by the course professor and the director of the Honors Program, and logistics are arranged by the Honors Office. Travel occurs over winter break for fall courses and over spring break for spring courses. The trip is entirely supported by student travel fees.

Scheduling an Honors Colloquium

Colloquia are scheduled by the Honors Office and not by teaching or academic units.

Please let the Honors Office know what day and time you would like to teach, and we will do our best to accommodate your preferences.

We will also need the course title and two course descriptions, a short 60-word description for the registrar and a longer description we can use in promotional materials.

To see examples of longer colloquia descriptions, visit the course listings page and look for a link entitled "Honors Colloquia Listing." You might also be interested in viewing one of the videos entitled "Honors Colloquia Preview," to hear faculty describe their colloquia.

The best descriptions mention any special opportunities the class affords or any special pedagogy or assignments. Colloquia often have guest speakers or excursions, and faculty often use the course to experiment with pedagogy or creative assignments. None of these elements are necessary for a colloquium, but colloquia do offer a special opportunity to work with highly motivated students that you might take advantage of. The Honors Office is eager to help you with any special arrangements, so please let us know how we can help.

Honors colloquia receive the prefix HNRS and are capped at 20 students.

All colloquia are scheduled for the Hughes 102 classroom. Please visit the classroom and see whether it suits your purposes. If it doesn't, we'll work with your teaching or academic unit to find an appropriate room swap.