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Policy - Course Attribute for Honors Designations

Policy on the course attribute for honors designations, including types of honors designations, section-level honors, and implementation.

This is a summary of the policy detailing the Course Attribute for Honors Designations. Click here to view the official policy in its entirety in the UW-Madison Policy Library. 

A. Policy

As of the fall 2017 semester, the middle digit “8” will no longer signal any meaning and will not be reserved for use of honors courses. The HON requirement designation code becomes the single definitive indicator that a course is reserved for honors students only.
The course numbers 681 and 682 (as well as 691 and 692) will continue to be reserved for undergraduate thesis courses. The course numbers are used in part of a grade process (all are 2 semester sequences where the same grade is assigned for both halves).
The following types of honors courses will be available for use in the course catalog and class section level:

Honors Only Courses

Symbols/Designations: H, HON
  • Reserved for honors students only.
  • Small courses (usually 20 students or fewer) or special discussion sections, facilitated by a faculty member, that are attached to a larger class.
  • Taught by a faculty member who is an expert in the subject-matter of the course.
  • Designed to challenge students to actively participate; hence, the course content is often shaped by student questions and interests.
  • Characterized by discussion and interactive learning, rather than passive experiences (e.g., listening and note-taking).
  • The enrollment system will automatically assign honors.

Accelerated Honors

Symbols/Designations: !, HOP
  • Open to both honors and non-honors students.
  • Accelerated courses that award honors credit in recognition of the amount and rigor of material covered in the course.
  • Often designed to combine two semesters of material into one semester, and should therefore be taken as part of a well-balanced schedule and in consultation with an academic advisor.
  • The enrollment system will automatically assign honors.

Honors Optional

Symbols/Designations: %, HIA
  • Open to both honors and non-honors students.
  • Regular courses with an optional honors component.
  • The optional honors component of work is designed to facilitate in-depth, student-driven learning and enrich the student’s experience. Examples include an individual or non-traditional project, paper, or problem set, creative writing, media project, or a performance/presentation.
  • The student is responsible for formally declaring their intention to complete an honors project and get honors credit for the course. A description of the honors project may be included in the course syllabus or the student may work directly with the instructor on what is expected.
  • When enrolling or within the first 12 weeks of the course students must check the box in the enrollment system that says "(%) Honors Opt" in order to earn honors credit.
  • It is extremely rare that the honors optional designation would be applied to a course at the catalog level. This type of honors course is dependent on the instructor of the particular class and as such would not be appropriate to apply it to every offering of the course. The primary use of this designation is at the section level
  • In all cases, to count toward honors requirements, students must earn a grade of “B” or higher in a course that carries one of these honors designations.

B. Section Level-Honors

This policy applies only to honors designations at the course catalog level. If these honors course designations are to be applied at the section level to a specific offering of the course in a given semester, oversight is the responsibility of the school/college honors program and is added each semester in the process of developing the Schedule of Classes.

C. Implementation

All Honors courses with the middle digit “8” already had the HON type designation and will continue to do so. DARS relies on the requirement designation for assigning condition codes. 
The Guide will include the honors designations in its course listings. No symbols or abbreviations will be used. The intention is to move toward the elimination of the use of symbols and abbreviations in favor of spelling out the type of honors assigned in plain English.
Approval of Accelerated Honors and Honors-Only course designations at the catalog-level are done in the course approval system. 
Section-level honors does not go through governance and it is the responsibility of the school/college honors programs to audit the use of the designations each semester.

D. Background

Prior to SIS there was no such thing as a requirement designation or a course attribute etc. Numbers and symbols were used in the Timetable to note which courses were honors and what type of honors. A middle digit of 8 for courses numbered 100 – 699 indicated that the course was for honors students only. The symbols H, ! and % also were used to indicate that a course was one of three types of honors courses.
SIS does not use the symbols H, ! and % but instead uses the requirement designations HON, HOP and HIA. This is what is used in the Schedule of Classes, DARS etc. Honors designations can be applied to a course at the catalog level meaning in all instances of that course being scheduled will carry that designation. Or the designations may be applied at the section level to any scheduled course. In some systems these designations are represented as the old symbols (H, !, %).

Keywords:honors, section, digit,   Doc ID:116409
Owner:Karen M.Group:Academic Planning and Institutional Research
Created:2022-02-01 10:27 CSTUpdated:2022-02-01 10:32 CST
Sites:Academic Planning and Institutional Research
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