Teaching in Honors

The honors program seeks to offer excellent teaching opportunities for faculty.  Honors classrooms provide a unique environment where committed faculty can guide ambitious students to experience course material in a fresh way.  Smaller class sizes are conducive to a “seminar” atmosphere and allow for a higher level of interaction and collaboration.  Honors coursework is often experiential and results in faculty and students teaching and learning from one another. 

It is important to note that honors courses do not arbitrarily dump more work on students to make course requirements “harder.”  The challenge for professors in honors is to lead students to engage with course material in ways that are unique, challenging and relevant.    

Components of a successful honors course include:

Exposure to a  deeper level of critical thinking:
  • History students might grapple more frequently with primary documents.
  • Literature students might consider more complex theoretical approaches to interpreting literature.
  • Accounting students might wrestle with the moral and ethical implications of various accounting practices.
Experiential Learning:
  • Communications students may attend a political rally or debate.
  • Music students may choose to attend and then compare and contrast a symphonic performance and a rock festival.
  • Criminal Justice students might attend a trial or interview local police officers.
Ambitious Projects

These are a hallmark of good honors courses. Such projects strive to meet course goals while emphasizing practical application, effectively  taking learning into the “real” world.  Many such projects go beyond classroom walls to benefit local communities.  In the past, on our campus, honors students have started a college literary journal (The Beacon), initiated a campus-wide recycling program, and researched the possibility of utilizing a wind-turbine on campus to make our energy consumption more sustainable.

Faculty who wish to offer an honors course must contact a member of the Honors Council.  In addition to the resources available on this site, council members can provide assistance with course scheduling and development. 

Recommend Qualified Students

Many students do not recognize the opportunities available to them in honors classes. Faculty: please recommend qualified students to the program.

1. Students entering the Honors Program must have a current GPA of 3.0 or higher (college or high school).

2. Alternatively, prospective students may choose to submit an application essay to the Chair of the Honors Program. This essay should be no less than three full (double-spaced) pages and should demonstrate clear, purposeful, grammatically –correct writing. Potential topics include:

  • There are many things you could do with your life. Why do you want to spend two years or so attending classes at Chesapeake?
  • Describe an individual who has had a significant impact on your life. Why has this person impacted you so? How have you changed as a result of your relationship with him or her?
  • What is the biggest challenge of your life? How did you overcome or how do you hope to overcome this challenge?
  • Education helps us to answer questions, and it also helps to recognize what questions we should be asking. Please name one or two significant questions that you have now, which you would like to be able to answer within the next five years. How will learning the answers to these questions effect your life.

3. - Students who do not meet one of the above requirements may register for an Honors Course with special written permission from the faculty member who teaches the course.

There are currently three ways to take honors course at Chesapeake:

  • Dedicated honors sections are offered each year, mostly in general studies courses like ENG 101 and 102, SOC 161, PSC 150, and HUM 101.
  • Tandem honors courses are offered in courses where a dedicated section may not fill. Students enroll in a regular section of a course, but participate in an additional seminar session. BIO 101 often runs in this format, with students from several different lab and lecture sessions meeting together on a regular basis.
  • Contract courses allow students to approach a professor in any class to contract for a special project that will earn honors designation.

Spring 2013

  • ENG 102: Introduction to Literature
  • PSC 150: General Psychology
  • HON 101: Honors Vision Seminar

Fall 2013

  • ENG 101: Composition
  • SOC 161: Sociology
  • HIS 101: American History
  • HUM 101: Introduction to Humanities

Spring 2014

  • ENG 102: Introduction to Literature
  • PSC 150: General Psychology
  • HON 101: Honors Vision Seminar

If you would like to design and teach an honors course, please contact the honors director or a member of the honors council.

Student Contract

  • Contracts provide an opportunity for faculty to offer honors credit to students in non-Honors sections. When contracts are used, Honors credit is offered on a Pass/Fail basis. While a student’s course grade will be assessed based upon the standard course syllabus, Honors credit will be assigned based upon the successful completion of the contract project.
  • If you have a student who would like to pursue honors credit, please print and complete this form and submit it to the Honors Director or click here to download the MS Word version and complete.

Sample Syllabus

This Sample Syllabus provides faculty with a guideline to creating a syllabus for an Honors Program course. For students, it will provide sampling of how an Honors course is different from a non-Honors course.

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Questions? Please contact the Honors Director for help. Email Dave Harper or call: 410-822-5400 x2326 C202B

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