Inquiry-based Learning and Teaching

According to the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, UH Manoa is one of only fifty or so “Research One” institutions in the U.S.  Given our competitive advantage, the Honors Program is designed to train students to conduct independent scholarly research and creative work that will prepare them for graduate school and professional school, as well as more generally for their chosen careers.

Honors courses (HON) provide opportunities for undergraduate students to experience small seminar-style classes, while satisfying General Education requirements and learning skills and knowledge necessary to conduct independent research, creative work, or other form of scholarship appropriate to their major.  All of the courses involve inquiry-based learning, a process in which students ask their own questions and seek their own answers under the guidance of specially selected faculty.

Honors 101

The sequence of courses begins with a 100-level course (HON 101) that provides an introduction to research and creative work at UHM. HON 101 course is recommended for all Honors students.

Honors 291

The second level in the sequence is a 200-level Sophomore Seminar (HON 291) which lead to multi-disciplinary understanding of complex situations and contexts, such as sense of historical empathy and a sense of place.  At present, there are two principal forms, “Reacting to the Past” and “Place as Text,” though others are possible.

Honors 300-level Courses

The third level in the sequence is composed of the 300-level “Engagement Series,” a set of courses that act as a capstone for the lower division component of the Honors Program.  These courses provide opportunities for students to engage in service, providing them with historical and theoretical understanding of the relevant field and practical skills for activities such as mentorship, leadership, public policy formulation, and community service.

Honors 491

The fourth level in the sequence is the Junior Seminar (HON 491) a multi-disciplinary seminar in experiential learning.  Ideally, this class is organized around a project in which students work both as a collective and in teams to solve problems outside of the typical classroom setting.  This seminar may challenge students in research, creative work, or other applied forms of scholarly activity. Particularly favored by the Honors Program are proposals for problem-based and/or community-based research, case studies, design-projects, and other activities that will provide hands-on training that may be useful for the Senior Honors Project. HON 491 is required of all students in the upper division Honors Program, but may be waived for students who complete Sophomore Honors.

Honors 495 & 496

The fifth level in the sequence is the Senior Honors Project, a nine-credit sequence that involves developing and presenting a proposal/prospectus (HON 495) and the completion of a thesis (HON 496).  In HON 495, they prepare specifically for their Senior Honors Project, which may be a conventional thesis, a performance or creative work, a design project, action research, or even an internship, depending upon the student’s chosen field.  The Senior Honors Project is conducted over two semesters under the direct supervision of a faculty member.