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The University Honors Program invites faculty to submit proposals to teach in the Program for the 2018-19 Academic Year. The Honors Program at SIUE provides a distinctive, intimate experience of SIUE, providing the best of a large public university with the small classroom experience of a liberal arts college.  Its aim is to integrate disciplinary and professional knowledge with the finest traditions of liberal education—the cultivation of critical reflection and cultural reverence.  The Honors Program is for highly motivated, academically successful students (new, first-time, full-time freshmen and transfer and continuing) who want to be challenged and grow into a community of inclusive excellence. 

The Aim and Overall Design of the Program

Students in the University Honors Program are exempt from all Lincoln Program general education requirements. In its place, students complete a 19-hour core of honors-specific courses—seminars and pro-seminars—taught by faculty from across the University.

Five core seminars provide the backbone of the Program. These courses are taught in seminar style and are capped between 20-25.  In the first semester of their first year, honors students begin with two linked courses that are designed to introduce students to university instruction and inquiry by examining a big question of abiding human concern while simultaneously teaching them how to compose, refine, and present persuasive arguments.  The sophomore seminar explores the connections between seemingly diverse fields, subjects, or ways of knowing; this course is designed to lay the foundations of learning how to integrate knowledge. The Program concludes with two seminars that confront students with wicked, contemporary, real-world problems, providing them with opportunities to apply both their honors education and disciplinary expertise.

Woven around these five seminars are four ‘pro-seminars’ that students take at various times during their time at SIUE.  The distinctive feature of the pro-seminars is that they are even smaller (capped at 15-17 students) and that they are organized by the guiding theme and practice of cultivating conversation. They are designed as opportunities for honors students to get used to talking about difficult, sometimes uncomfortable issues that confront our culture and our time; in the pro-seminars students can learn how to navigate some of the sharp value differences that animate our time. They examine and provide the opportunity to discuss a few key ideas:  the nature of education, problems attendant with globalization, and the responsibilities of citizenship.  These classes are about how to converse—how to engage others in discussion about pressing, complex, and value-intensive issues.

Overall, the Honors Program at SIUE aims to create an inclusive community that pursues education not merely in order to secure a living but to learn how to live well—to live a full, complete, integrated, and individuated life.  The Program holds that the cultivation of a full life is beneficial to the democratic community.

Honors Program Components:  Seminars and Pro-seminars

The Honors Program is a sequenced program; its components (seminars and pro-seminars) are designed to work to support the whole aim of the program.  Roughly, the program moves from sparking awareness through cultivating methods of inquiry and requiring application to making judgments. Proposals for particular honors seminars and pro-seminars should clearly state their connections to both the particular seminar or pro-seminar and to the larger aims of the program. The seminars and pro-seminars are as follows (the descriptions are from the University Catalogue and were approved by the Faculty Senate):

CORE SEMINARS (3 credit-hours each)

HONS 120—Honors New Freshmen Seminar:  Big Questions and the Spirit of Inquiry: In-depth examination of big question of enduring human significance. Must be taken concurrently with Honors 121. Satisfies the NFS requirement. Sample syllabus.

HONS 121—Honors Rhetoric: Advanced introduction to the practices and techniques of written and oral persuasion through different venues. Must be taken concurrently with Honors 120. Sample syllabus.

HONS 250—Honors Seminar:  Connections: Examines connections between widely divergent times, spaces, cultures, forms of knowledge. Prerequisites: Honors 120 and Honors 121 with grades of C or better, or consent of Program Director. Required of all transfer honors scholars. Sample syllabus.

HONS 320A—Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar:  Problems in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences: Seminar examining an enduring question or pressing contemporary problem in the humanities/arts/social sciences from an interdisciplinary perspective. Provides students an opportunity to apply their knowledge to the problem. Sample syllabus.

HONS 320B—Honors Interdisciplinary Seminar:  Problems in the Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Technology: Seminar examining an enduring question or pressing contemporary problem in the natural sciences/life sciences/technology from an interdisciplinary perspective. Provides students an opportunity to apply their knowledge to the problem. Sample syllabus.

PRO-SEMINARS (1 credit-hour each) (taught in a 5- or 8-week block)

HONS 100—Honors Pro-Seminar:  Learning, Working, Living: Examination of the nature of liberal education and its relation to work and living. Student-led discussion of issues. Sample syllabus.

HONS 200—Honors Pro-Seminar:  Globalization: Examination of the world, its diversity and unevenness, providing a structure to link the local and the global. Student led discussion of issues. Prerequisite: HONS 100 with a grade of C or better. Sample syllabus

HONS 300—Honors Pro-Seminar: Special Topics: Examination of a topic of pressing concern; topic chosen bi-annually by honors students. Student led discussion of issue. Prerequisite: Honors 100 with a grade of C or better. Topic for AY18/19 (and 19/20):  Ignorance. Honors students wonder: What is the relation between ignorance and knowledge?  Is ignorance the absence of knowledge?  Is ignorance negated as knowledge develops? Or might the relationship between ignorance and knowledge be more complex?  Might new forms and fields of ignorance be opened up as knowledge is produced?  If so, then we might better think of knowledge and ignorance as an entangled pair, with the potentiality of each intrinsic to the other.  How might ignorance be productive of knowledge?  And how is ignorance irreducible (and un-eras-able) in knowledge. Sample syllabus.


For the 2018-19 academic year, the following number of courses are needed.


  • HONS 120/121: 6 or 7 paired sections (only offered in Fall)
  • HONS 250:  6 sections (2 in F18; 4 in S19)
  • HONS 320A:  5 sections (2 or 3 in each term)
  • HONS 320B:  5 sections (2 or 3 in each term)


  • HONS 100: 8 sections (only in Spring)
  • HONS 200:  8 sections (only in Spring)
  • HONS 300:  8 sections (only in Spring)

Proposal & Selection:  due by 15 September 2017

Faculty from across the University in all the School and the College are invited to submit proposals for any of the needs of the University Honors Program. All full-time, tenure or tenure-track, faculty and emerita/emeritus faculty are eligible for consideration. Other faculty/instructors/staff who would like to apply should consult first with the Director of the Program.

Because honors students can be found in every college and school, it is important that a diverse set of faculty and topics be represented in the course offerings. The Honors Program will give priority to teaching faculty from departments and schools that have not historically been active in the program. The department of the faculty making the proposal, then, will be considered as part of the overall ranking/selection.

Proposals will be reviewed and ranked by the University Honors Advisory Council. General ranking criteria include:

  • Appropriateness of topic to the seminar (or pro-seminar) to that specific course’s description and aim; intentional course design.
  • Thoughtfulness regarding how a particular course supports the Honors Program as a whole; intentional and careful design of a particular course in relation to Program objectives.
  • Courses with an interdisciplinary or integrative approach are encouraged.
  • Courses that use student-centered, learning-centered pedagogies are encouraged.
  • Experimentation with new teaching techniques and topics is encouraged.
  • Course content and instructional style should be able to accommodate students’ different learning styles.
  • Courses should not simply be more difficult versions of current courses, nor should they be considered honors simply because there is “more work.”
  • Courses that do not adapt to the typical University time/scheduling conflicts are encouraged, as long as the reasons for such departures are in support of either the specific needs of the course or the Honors Program.
  • HONS 120/121 are connected courses. Faculty members may propose to teach both simultaneously or they may submit a proposal in coordination with a faculty partner.  In the latter case, they must be submitted together for consideration.

Scheduling, Room Selection, and Class Sizes

Scheduling of the honors seminars is done by the University Honors Program, in consultation with the faculty member, the Chair of their Department, and their Dean. Placement of honors seminar is done in accordance with University policy, although honors seminars do receive preference for use of the FALC classroom in Peck Hall.

HONS 120/121 is capped at 22-24 students. The remaining core seminars are capped at 25. Pro-seminars are each capped at 15-17.


Honors seminars are taught in load.  That means that faculty members must secure the approval of their Chairs and Deans to substitute teaching an honors seminar for one of their courses.  Compensation for Honors Seminars goes to the College or the School at $3000 per seminar. 

Honors pro-seminars are taught as a faculty over-load.  The faculty member is compensated directly by the program; currently faculty are being compensated at $1000 per pro-seminar.  (This figure is subjective to change as a contract is negotiated with the faculty union.) Contracts for pro-seminars are written in the Office of the Provost; they require approvals (signatures) from the faculty member’s Chair and Dean before being signed by the Director of the Honors Program and Provost.  Please inform your chairs and deans of your interest in teaching pro-seminars and secure their approval.


Applications to teach in the Honors Program for AY18/19 are due by 15 September 2017.

The University Honors Advisory Council will conduct its review of proposals in the last two weeks of September 2017 and make a selection during the first week of October so that the Director of the Honors Program has time to meet the deadline for electronically scheduling courses (roughly by mid-October).

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