Every degree offered at Purdue University Northwest has an eight-semester “plan of study” which maps out the sequence of courses needed to graduate with that degree. Every Honors College freshman will soon receive a special version of the plan of study which, along with the basic degree requirements for the major, includes the required Honors courses built into it without adding any extra courses or credit hours.
(3 C.H.) Freshmen take this course during their first semester. HONR 11100 counts as a student’s First-Year Experience course, and covers important items of interest such as understanding what the Honors College is; how the University operates both inside and outside of the classroom; and where to go to find important information for papers, projects, and coursework. Students will also learn how to begin conducting undergraduate research, discuss thoughts and ideas with regards to the University’s One Book One University reading, and complete various writing assignments. Students will also take an introspective look into their lives and begin the process of creating what we call the Success Project: a 5, 10, or 15 year vision of where they want to be. To develop this researched, intensive plan for their future, students gather information from around the University, from the faculty, and from individuals within their chosen field. Because the course is writing intensive, it also covers the English 10400 requirement for those who need it.
(3 C.H.) Honors 11200 is the second course in a three-semester sequence designed to fulfill the following:
- Continue orientation to the Honors College and the University as a whole
- Continue the dialogue started in Honors 10100 regarding the first-year experience
- Satisfy the general education requirement for Communication 11400
- Continue to discuss academic and career planning.
Honors 10200 introduces students to the fundamentals of communication including interpersonal, small group, and public speaking contexts. Students are given opportunities to build both oral and written communication competencies while reflecting upon their own and others’ skills.
(3 C.H.) Students take this course during the first semester of the sophomore year. Building off of the previous two courses, this class will solidify a working and breathing Success Project. Students will then work to create the beginnings of a professional online portfolio through SEELIO. Students will go into more research and writing within their field, in order to get a better understanding of where they are going. Some students will indeed change their majors entirely, and the Success Project helps to cultivate that process. Because the course is writing intensive, it also covers the English 10500 requirement for those who need it.
(3 C.H.) Students can take this course any time after their first semester. An Honors 39000 course focuses on a special topics in order to stimulate thinking outside of the box, and to encourage students to develop a foundation for lifelong learning and well-rounded interests by pursuing inquiry beyond their majors. Topics vary widely, and have included Sacred Texts (which discussed and analyzed various religious books and how they applied to the history, arts, and culture of society), Food and Culture (which considered about how food in different areas has shaped who we are today), Language Construction (where students within the course created their own language), and Investing & Your Future (which taught students the importance of personal finance and investment principals).
(3 C.H.) Stacked courses are beneficial to students with tight and busy class loads. This is a zero billable credit hour course because you do not register for an extra course when you undertake this project. Instead, you work with a professor in one of the 3 credit hour courses that you are already taking (typically 30000 level courses and above) to complete extra research. This course has several benefits: it allows students to have one-on-one research opportunities with faculty, to choose the area in which they wish to pursue research, and to disseminate their work at and beyond the university. Students who have completed stacked-course research projects have spoken at various conferences and have been published in scholarly journals.
(3 C.H.) In the spring of the junior year (sixth semester), students will be required to take the Honors College capstone course. This seminar includes units on leadership and service learning while the transition begins to life after graduation. Students will explore research methods and opportunities in their major fields of study in preparation for their senior thesis, and will further develop their Success Project and SEELIO project into a final submission, preparing them for their final year at college. Students will also run the annual banquet for the Honors College, including, but not limited to: choosing the charity to support; researching and working alongside the charity; talking with faculty, staff, administration, alumni, and students to garner support for the banquet and the charity; creating marketing materials; working within a budget; and executing the schedule from start to finish.
An honors elective course can consist of another stacked course project or another 39000 special topics course. It can, however, also be completed through enrolling in other honors courses such as Honors Leadership, Honors Mentoring, and Honors Teaching, and Advanced Honors Teaching.
- Honors Leadership: Veteran students in the Honors College may apply for a leadership position. These are positions on the Executive Board (President, Vice President, and Chair of the following: Social Events, Academic/Cultural Events, Community Involvement, Newsletter, Social Media, and Mentoring). Students on the Executive Board will be enrolled in “Honors Leadership” (a three-credit course which counts toward the 24-credit hour requirement) and will receive training, guidance, and mentoring.
- Honors Mentoring: Veteran Honors students may apply to be a peer mentor for freshmen students entering the Honors College the following year. Information and deadlines will be provided early in the spring semester, and the mentoring of a new student can begin as soon as that new student is admitted to Honors. Because peer mentoring is an important commitment that directly impacts the sustainability and ongoing success of the Honors College, peer mentors will be enrolled in “Honors Mentoring” (a three-credit course which counts toward the 24-credit hour requirement) and will receive training, guidance, and mentoring.
- Honors Teaching: Veteran students (students with one or more years in the College) may apply to be a teaching assistant for HONR 11100, HONR 11200, or HONR 21100, or to have primary responsibility for teaching HONR 21200. Information and deadlines about these applications will be announced in the spring semester. Accepted students will be enrolled in “Honors Teaching” (a three-credit course which counts toward the 24-credit hour requirement) and will receive training, guidance, and mentoring.
What is an honors thesis? That depends quite a bit on your field of study. However, all honors theses have at least two things in common:
- They are based on students’ original research.
- They take the form of a written manuscript, which presents the findings of that research.
The Thesis is completed in a student’s senior year, and is a course designed to encompass research within their field in a much more robust fashion than a stacked course project. During this semester, students are expected to work with a new idea, process, or concept within their major and, through research and discussion, provide a comprehensive and definitive response. The thesis can become a powerful writing sample for graduate school applications, may be developed into a publication, and may be included in a student’s SEELIO portfolio.