Why Teach Honors?

The Honors Program succeeds only through the sustained involvement of university faculty committed to excellence in undergraduate education. We have many opportunities for faculty to be involved and we encourage you to join the Honors Affiliate Faculty by teaching an Honors course or advising a student working on their Senior Honors Project.

In Honors, faculty get to teach small discussion-based classes and work one-on-one with talented and motivated students. They can try new pedagogy, develop new content and enjoy a deeper intellectual relationship with undergraduate students. Faculty often feel reinvigorated as a result of teaching an Honors course and routinely report that it provides one the best teaching experiences of their career.

Compensation is provided to departments in the form of lectureships, graduate teaching assistantships, or funds for other pedagogical purposes. Some funds may be available for course development over the summer.

Please consider teaching Honors!

Teaching Options

There are several courses that faculty can teach. For example, our faculty can:

  • adapt a regular class for Honors students (Honors “A section”)
  • offer a tutorial to supplement a regular lecture class (HON 190)
  • team teach a section of a core course for first year students (HON 101)
  • lead experiential learning project involving community-based research, fieldwork, or collaborative creative work (HON 291 or HON 491)
  • teach a course on the theory and practice of public policy-making (HON 301), volunteerism in the U.S. (HON 303) or peer mentoring (HON 380)
  • teach a section of a course for students writing a proposal or prospectus for their Senior Honors Project (HON 495)
  • supervise the Senior Honors Project, or Honors “thesis,” a two semester sequence of research or creative work (HON 496)

Submit a Proposal

The Honors Program invites faculty to make proposals for courses each academic year. Please submit all proposal materials by email at honors@hawaii.edu.

For the seminars HON 291 and HON 491 please follow the guidelines provided in the files below:

For “A Section” courses and HON 190 sections, please contact the department chair.

For other courses please send a letter of interest to the Director of the Honors Program.

Advising a Senior Honors Project

FAQ’s for Honors Thesis Advisors and Committee Members can be found here.

Requirements for all Honors Courses

1. Inquiry-Based Learning

All Honors courses must incorporate principles of inquiry-based learning so that students develop skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and written and oral communication as they develop their capacity to conceive and carry out independent research and creative work. The instructor should not be the source of knowledge, particularly in the form of the lecture, but should develop activities in which students a discover knowledge for themselves through reading, research, and discussion.

We have collected some general resources on the philosophy and practice of inquiry-based learning together with some useful tips:

Inquiry-based learning and teaching

2. Student Learning Outcomes

All Honors syllabi must state explicit course-based Student Learning Outcomes which should be consistent with the hallmarks of the specific honors courses and articulate with the Honors Program Learning Outcomes.

Some examples of SLOs for particular courses are provided in the guidelines above, but faculty might also want to see some general resources on the philosophy and practice of assessment in higher education. For example, see:

3. Equal Access

The Honors Program also strongly encourages the use of Universal Design for Instruction in its courses to ensure maximum accessibility for all learners. Please see:

At the very least, the Honors Program requires that all syllabi for Honors courses contain a statement about accommodations for disabilities, such as the following:

  • “If you feel that you need reasonable accommodations because of the impact of a disability, please speak with me privately to discuss your needs, and/or contact the KOKUA Program (956-7511 or kokua@hawaii.edu). We will be very happy to work with you and/or the KOKUA Program.”

4. Teaching Evaluations

All Honors courses must be evaluated using the services of eCAFE, operated by the Office of Faculty Development and Support. The Honors Program provides a set of standard questions for all Honors courses, based on hallmarks and program learning outcomes, but instructors are free to add their own questions from the wide-range available within eCAFE. Instructors should submit complete copies of their evaluations to the Honors Program when they are received from OFDAS.

eCAFE website

Compensation for Teaching Honors courses

The Honors program provides lectureships for courses, either as salary for instructors who are not regular faculty, or as a means to “buy out” regular faculty from one of their departmental courses. The home department may use the money for any instructional purpose.