Honors should engage students from varying backgrounds and achievement levels!

san-diego-state-univerity-honors-program“At a large, diverse institutions like San Diego State University (SDSU), Honors education should be a university-wide activity that reaches across departments, programs, and college to engage students from varying backgrounds and achievement levels.”

• The Weber Honors College at SDSU endeavors to address an important dilemma facing higher education
Dichotomy between diversity and academic excellence
– The Weber Honors College provides framework for inclusive excellence
– Intentionally designed to facilitate participation among Diverse students (and faculty and staff)

High Impact Educational Practices (HIPs)
– First-Year Seminars and Experiences
– Common Intellectual Experiences
– Learning Communities
– Writing-Intensive Courses
– Collaborative Assignments and Projects
– Undergraduate Research
– Diversity/Global Learning
– Service Learning, Community
– Based Learning
– Internships
– Capstone Courses and Projects

Results:
• HIPs increase rates of student retention and student engagement
• HIPs close the achievement gap

What’s so HIP about Honors at SDSU? Required components of the Weber Honors College:
1. First-Year Living-Learning Community
2. First-Year Seminar & Common Experience
3. Interdisciplinary courses that are embedded with: – Writing Intensive Assignments – Collaborative Projects
4. Study Abroad
5. Research, Leadership, or Community Service, or Creative Activity
6. Capstone

Ad 1 Living-Learning Community
• Require first time freshmen (1e jaars) (local area and out-of-area) to live in the Honors Residential College (Zura Hall) for first year (eigen gezellige ruimte om elkaar te ontmoeten, 53 million dollar renovation
• Upper division Honors students employed as Academic Mentors and Resident Advisors Ÿ
• Academic programming supports mission of Honors College

Ad 2 First-Year Seminar & Common Experience
• HONOR 113: Connection and Commitment
• Introductory-unit course for all new students entering the Weber Honors College
• Outcomes – Contextualize issues from multiple academic disciplines
– Apply knowledge of self to map academic goals and pathways
– Demonstrate knowledge of campus resources, organizations, and high impact activities to catalyze goals and facilitate pathways
– Demonstrate understanding of active learning, self-regulation, and metacognition and their value in education

Ad 3 Interdisciplinairy curriculum
• Honors Minor in Interdisciplinary Studies
– Writing Intensive Assignments
– Collaborative Projects
In:
– 15 units (3 GE; 12 non-GE)
– Avenue to become intellectually well-rounded
– Tangible representation of “value add

Ad 4 Study Abroad
• SDSU is dedicated to preparing its students for the global challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century
– SDSU offers over 350 programs in 50 different countries
– Over 37 majors require student abroad
• The Weber Honors College builds on the university’s commitment to international education by requiring a credit-bearing study abroad
– Number of honors-sponsored programs available
– Scholarship available for honors students

Ad 5 Additional High Impact Practice Requirement
• Students must participate in either Research, Leadership, Service, or Creative Activity before or during they take HONOR 480
– Intentional flexibility
– Not all students want to/should do a thesis
• We provide a set of pre-approved opportunities
– Majority of these are credit-bearing
• Other high impact practice opportunities

Ad 6 Honors Capstone
• Integration
• Breadth
• Application
• Transition
• Signature Assignments assess students’ competency in achieving Weber Honors College SLOS
• VALUE Rubrics used for assessment
• Portfolio Gen

Advising Practices
• Intentional, intrusive advising approach
• Full-time Academic Advisor, Full-time Associate Director, and Full-time Study Abroad Advisor provide direct support
• Students are required to meet with the Honors Academic Advisor first semester they enter
• Advising Options
– Advising in Zura
– Group Advising
– Phone, Skype or Facetime

Reflections
• Required residential experience 1st year critical for cultivating identity and belonging in Honors
• Organizing honors curriculum as a Minor critical for increasing students’ motivation to complete program
• Focus on Interdisciplinary Studies adds distinctiveness
• Required study abroad critical for preparing students for 21st global century
• Required research, leadership, service, or creative activity adds robustness and value to honors coursework
• Capstone helps students articulate and leverage their experiences to meet their professional goals
• No one size fits all approach to Honors
• Context matters!
• Intentionally organize to build on strengths of the university

Discussion
• How are HIPs integrated at your university?
• How are HIPs integrated into your Honors Program/College?
• What barriers do you envision in integrating HIPs?

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