Honors Course Designations
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. All current courses with a middle digit of 8 that are available to undergraduate students have the HON requirement designation and there is no need to take any action. 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
All Honors courses with the middle digit “8” already carry the HON type designation and will continue to do so, so no additional action is needed for existing honors courses. DARS already relies on the requirement designation for assigning condition codes so impact will be minimal.
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.
Upon approval of this policy a review of all courses with an honors designation at the catalog level will be undertaken to make sure that the courses meet the requirements of the designation they were assigned. This review will focus on the Accelerated Honors and the Honors Optional designations as the current course proposal system does not include questions about these designations and they were all applied to courses outside of the governance process. Honors Optional should be assigned at the catalog level only in rare circumstances.
Approval of Accelerated Honors and Honors-Only course designations at the catalog-level will be included in the reimplementation of the course approval system. The new course proposal form will include a question about whether an honors requirement designation should be added and if so which one. The course change proposal will include the option of adding or removing the requirement designation for an existing course.
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.
Currently honors courses are identified and identifiable in the curricular and student record system by a set of “requirement designations” as described below. Historically honors courses were identified by the middle digit “8” in the course number; that practice is obsolete, although it is still a policy. This document proposes to eliminate the reservation of middle digit 8 numbers for honors courses. It also proposes to formally establish the three types of honors courses that are currently in use: honors only, accelerated honors, honors optional, which cover all current honors offerings.
During the 2016-17 academic year the implementation of the Madison Academic Repository for Curriculum will include a re-implementation of the course proposal system. The implementation of the new system is an opportunity to incorporate the honors course designation into the approval process in a way that is fully consistent with best practice.
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. The symbols H, ! and % also were used to indicate that a course was one of three types of honors courses.
A middle digit of 8 for courses numbered 100 – 699 indicated that the course was for honors students only.
PeopleSoft (SIS) does not use the symbols H, ! and % but instead uses the requirement designations HON, HOP and HIA. 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, !, %).
Currently while all courses with a middle digit 8 are HON, not all HON courses are middle digit 8 so it is at best only partially useful. It also has the potential to be confusing to students if they were to try to rely on it when choosing honors courses. It also limits the course numbers available to departments seeking to create courses. The number scheme is unnecessary since the requirement designation “HON” is the definitive indicator that a course may be used to fulfill honors requirements. This is what is used in the Schedule of Classes, DARS etc.