Faculty and Academic Staff Handbook

23rd Edition, 2013 Version


Chapter VIII - Academic Standards, Procedures and Policies

8.4 Honors Program

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls Honors Program is designed to meet the educational needs of students with an outstanding record of academic achievement and a true sense of intellectual adventure. It allows students to experience a variety of course types and educationally related experiences while gaining academic credit. Students enrolled in the program have available Honors sections of many General Education classes; take introductory and advanced Honors Seminars; complete an Honors thesis project; enroll in a service-learning project experience for credit; and receive credits for participation in the intellectual and creative life of the UWRF community and beyond. All of these experiences are gained while still keeping within the major, minor, General Education and liberal arts requirements of an Honors student's academic program. The program is both unified and flexible. That is, the achievement of the "broadening" and "in-depth" aims provide experiences that are similar in structure for all participants. All participating students have an identity in and with the Honors Program on the basis of this common experience. Simultaneously, the program has enough flexibility to allow individuality. The program is sufficiently varied so that participation is attractive to all students regardless of year in school, major, transfer status, full vs. part-time, etc. Honors is not just more work but provides a new dimension to a student's educational experience with a definite degree of rigor. Any level of participation is encouraged. Students may opt to complete the entire program and graduate with "The Honors Program," or they may elect to participate in a few of the Honors courses but not complete the entire program.

8.4.1 Eligibility Standards

To be eligible, entering freshmen must rank in the upper 10 percent of their graduating class and/or score a 27 or higher on the ACT. To remain eligible, students must maintain a 3.3 cumulative GPA and complete at least two Honors Program credits per year. Students who opt to participate in the program after one or more semesters of university work must have a 3.3 average.

8.4.2 Requirements for Completion

To complete the Honors program a student must have:

  • At least 18 Honors Program credits
  • No history of academic dishonesty

8.4.3 Credit Requirements

Seminar and colloquia (1-5 credits)

  • Honors Seminar I (1 credit). This course is required of all participants
  • Honors Seminar II (1 credit); not required, may be repeated

8.4.4 Honors Courses

Six to fourteen credits can be taken in Honors Courses.

  • Honors sections of a number of General Studies courses will be made available on a rotational basis to Honors Program students and others with the permission of the instructor, if space is available.
  • Honors students enrolled in a non-honors course can contract with the instructor to earn honors credits(s) for different work (e.g., in greater depth). These credits will be recorded as honors credits.
  • Honors program seminars and courses will meet General Education or Liberal Arts requirements wherever applicable.

8.4.5 Honors Thesis/Project

The Honors Thesis (1-6 credits) is required of all participants during junior or senior year.

  • Participants must submit a project proposal outlining their research hypotheses, methodologies, and expected outcomes, and suggest appropriate faculty reviewers to the Honors Director before commencing their work.
  • Each project will be evaluated by three faculty chosen by the student and approved by the Honors Director. Projects may be graded pass/fail at the student's request.

8.4.6 Service Learning Component

Service Learning, for 1-6 credits, means unpaid volunteer work that will benefit the community and provide a significant learning experience. Service learning is based on the rationale that learning occurs through reflection on the service.

  • At least one credit of service learning is required; one credit equals 45 hours of service learning.
  • Service learning hours must be documented as to the amount of time contributed and the learning component completed.
  • Participants must submit a proposal for service learning project(s) to the Honors Director. These proposals will describe the service learning activity, outline its connection to the students' course work, and include the signature of the students' proposed field supervisor.
  • Service learning hours may be planned and carried out individually, through the Collegiate Honors Society, or with another organization. Honors Program students are encouraged to arrange service learning through other organizations they belong to in order to stimulate participation by other University community members.

8.4.7 Events

The events option, 0-2 credits, is meant to encourage Honors Program participants to engage in the intellectual and creative life of the UW-River Falls community and beyond. Approved events will include attendance or participation in professional meetings, lectures, concerts, plays and art exhibits.

  • Participants must submit an event proposal to the Director prior to the events, describing the events to be attended and drawing connections between them and the participants' course of study.
  • Five events (12 hours minimum) equal one credit.
  • Participants must provide a portfolio of short reaction papers to each event and appropriate evidence of attendance or participation in order to earn credit.

8.4.8 Benefits for Students

  • Small classes
  • Priority registration
  • Discussion-style teaching
  • Opportunity to develop one-on-one relationships with faculty
  • Special curriculum
  • Fellow Honors students
  • Collegiate Honors Society
  • Honors Faculty
  • Notations on transcripts and diploma
  • Special record of academic achievement
  • Enhanced opportunities for scholarships and fellowships

8.4.9 Benefits for Faculty/Departments

  • Opportunities to work with exceptional students in small classes
  • Opportunities to teach topics in Honors courses, seminars and colloquia which are difficult to fit into the existing curriculum
  • Documented experience as part of the Honors program for merit review
  • Opportunity to negotiate reassigned time or extra pay for teaching of Honors Seminars
  • Student Credit Hour production for departments will be minimally affected by the offering of Honors General Education sections

8.4.10 Benefits for University

  • Systematic program by which the University can offer our increasing numbers of well-qualified students opportunities to study faster or in greater depth than our current programs allow
  • Marketing and recruiting tool to attract even more well-qualified students
  • Retention tool to keep well-qualified students who enroll by offering them more challenges
  • Enriched learning environment for all students and faculty at UWRF

Additional information on the Honors Program can be obtained from the Office of the Assistant to the Provost and Vice Chancellor (118 North Hall) or online at

http://www.uwrf.edu/Catalog/HON.cfm