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Enhanced Course Initiative

Call for Proposals:
Helen P. Denit Honors Program Enhanced Courses

The Honors Program at the University of Baltimore is piloting a new approach to honors credits. Beginning in the spring of 2014, the Honors Council will designate any undergraduate course that demonstrates a commitment to certain high-impact practices as “Enhanced.” An Enhanced course would be open to all students, but enrolled honors students could count the credits they earn in them toward their credit requirement for graduation with honors. Enhanced courses offer opportunities for both students and professors to push themselves to engage in challenging learning experiences.

What activities would count as “enhancements”?
There is no single way to “enhance” a course. You could establish a service-learning project with a community partner. Your students could work in teams to produce a product intended for an authentic audience. You could flip your entire course or institute Team-Based Learning. You could engage students outside of class through multiple field trips. All Enhanced courses should include opportunities for student reflection on their learning related to the enhancement.

Based on that list, I already run an Enhanced course. Do I have to invent something new?
No. Lots of UB professors already use these techniques in their classes every day. If you submit an application with a proposed budget based on classes you already run successfully and your class is designated, you will have access to the resources of the Helen P. Denit Honors program.

What kind of resources are we talking about?
Some resources come in the form of money. You could apply for travel funds to take your students off campus. You could provide tickets to a concert. Your students could visit a museum and go on a docent tour. The program could buy supplies for Team-Based Learning or provide parking passes and a small honorarium for a guest speaker or community partner visit. In addition, the Office of Academic Innovation can provide administrative and technical assistance, equipment, or even a coordinated speaker series.

Once a course is designated, would it be considered Enhanced forever?
No. To continue the designation every semester you would need to submit an evaluation of the previous enhancement and a new proposal and budget.

How would the designation process work?
When divisions/departments are submitting their schedules, faculty will identify potential courses and submit proposals to the Associate Director of Honors, copying their division/department chair and the college dean on the submission email. The Honors Director will bring the proposals and recommendations to the Honors Council, which will review the proposals and budgets and will designate courses as Enhanced by the time registration opens for the next semester.

How will the Honors Council make its decision?
The Council will look at the overall budget, the intensity of the high-impact practices, and the potential for success for each course.

What if my course is not designated as Enhanced?
You can continue to run the class as you would have, going on your field trips or working in the community. However, you will have to look for other sources of funding and any honors students in the courses will not be able to count the class toward their honors credits. You are encouraged to re-submit your proposal in the next semester.

May adjunct faculty submit proposals and teach Enhanced courses?
Yes.

What if no honors students enroll in my Enhanced course?
You would still get your funding, even if no honors students enroll.

What if I think of a great additional activity after my application has been approved?
You can still conduct the activity, but you would not be able to get funding for it until the next round of approvals.

What if I want to designate my course as Enhanced but I don’t need extra money to do it?
Apply for the Enhanced Course designation, and state that you don’t need any funds.

Why is this change good for Helen P. Denit Honors students?
The designation of Enhanced courses opens up many more opportunities for honors students to take classes for honors credit in a variety of programs. It will become easier for them to use classes that interest them or that count toward their major to gain honors credits.

Why is this change good for all UB students?
Since all UB students can enroll in Enhanced courses, all UB students will have the opportunity to engage in high-impact practices. All UB students will benefit from the interaction with honors students in group work and class discussion. Students who sign up for these classes know from the beginning that they will be pushing themselves.

Why is this change good for UB faculty?
Many professors are already engaging in these practices in their classes, but they are enhancing the courses using their own resources. As we learned in the 2012 Working Knowledge survey, professors currently expend their own money and effort to provide students with these experiences. Enhanced courses will provide access to new resources for the professors already committed to experiential learning, and they will encourage other professors to try some of these high-impact practices. In addition, the designation of “Enhanced” will give potential students some idea of course expectations before they enroll. They know that in this class they will do more than read a text book, come to class and take exams.

Can I propose an enhancement to any course?
No. The course needs to be an undergraduate course and it can not be a course in a freshman learning community. (If you would like to enhance a freshman learning community, talk to Daniel Page about teaching an honors learning community).

Guidelines for the Enhanced course designation
The Honors Council will factor in budgetary restraints when making their decisions. This is a competitive process based on the quality of the proposals and funding. While there is no minimum or maximum funding amount that can be requested, most proposals will be funded in the range of $500-$1,000.

An Enhanced Course should include:  

• At least one learning objective that aligns with one or more Honors Program Learning Outcomes (see Appendix A);

• Either an overall high-impact structure or at least two (2) high-impact experiences; and

• Opportunities for student reflection on their learning related to the high-impact structure or experiences.

Some examples of high-impact structures include:

- A “flipped” course (see http://chronicle.com/article/Inside-the-Flipped-Classroom/141891/)

- Team-Based Learning (see http://www.teambasedlearning.org/starting)

- A game-based course (see http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/tag/gamification)  

Some examples of high-impact experiences include:

- A field trip

- A community-based service-learning project

- A team-based, applied project intended for authentic audiences, such as community groups, K-12 school groups, museum-goers, etc.

- An original student research project with a presentation

The Enhanced course proposal Appendix B contains a proposal template.

Your proposal should consist of:

• A cover sheet with below information included:

Proposal for Designation of Enhanced Course Cover Sheet

Helen P. Denit Honors Program

Course will be delivered in Fall/Spring/Summer of ______________

Title of Course ___________________________________________

Course number __________________________________________ 

Professor/s ______________________________________________

High Impact Structure ______________________________________

OR

High Impact experiences      1) _________________________________

                                              2) _________________________________

Proposed budget total ________________________________________ 

Submitted by ________________________________________________ 

Division/Department Signature____________________________________________________

Date __________________

• The Honors Program Learning Outcomes your course will address (see Appendix A).

• A proposal narrative (maximum 500 words). The narrative should include (a) a description of the course, (b) a rationale for the specific enhancement you are proposing, and (c) a detailed description of the high-impact structure or experiences you plan to implement as well as opportunities for student reflection. • An assessment plan (maximum 250 words). The assessment plan should focus on the course enhancement and go beyond course grades. For example, you might plan to analyze changes in student attitudes, dispositions, or skills through administering pre- and post- surveys, reviewing student artifacts, or analyzing students’ written reflections.

• A budget (if applicable). The budget should a detailed breakdown of expenses associated with the high-impact structure or experiences. Budget questions should be directed to Kelly McPhee.

Submit your completed proposals to Dr. Betsy Nix, Program Director of Honors. NOTE: You should cc your division chair and dean on your submission email.

General questions should be directed to Sunni Solomon.

Appendix A. Helen P. Denit Honors Program Learning Outcomes:

Students in honors courses will achieve the following learning outcomes:

• Applied learning: through ways appropriate for the subject matter and discipline, students will effectively apply what they learn to new contexts, problems, or questions.

• Communication: through ways appropriate for the subject matter and discipline, students will express their ideas, solutions, strategies in a relevant and persuasive manner.

• Peer-review/teamwork: through ways appropriate for the subject matter and discipline, students will offer constructive feedback in a collaborative and collegial style.

Additionally, honors courses at the University of Baltimore may ask students to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:

• Service-learning: through ways appropriate for the subject matter and discipline, students will synthesize course instruction with relevant service to the community.

• Global positioning: through ways appropriate for the subject matter and discipline, students will learn attitudes, skills, and knowledge necessary to work across cultures

Appendix B. Enhanced Course Proposal Template:

1. Name:   
2. Department:  
3. Department Phone #:
4. Email Address: 5.
Course Title:
6. Course Section #:
7. One or more Honors Learning Outcomes that will be addressed in course learning objectives (check all that apply):

□ Applied learning: through ways appropriate for the subject matter and discipline, students will effectively apply what they learn to new contexts, problems, or questions.

□ Communication: through ways appropriate for the subject matter and discipline, students will express their ideas, solutions, and strategies in a relevant and persuasive manner.

□ Peer-review/teamwork: through ways appropriate for the subject matter and discipline, students will offer constructive feedback in a collaborative and collegial style.

□ Service-learning: through ways appropriate for the subject matter and discipline, students will synthesize course instruction with relevant service to the community.

□ Global positioning: through ways appropriate for the subject matter and discipline, students will learn attitudes, skills, and knowledge necessary to work across cultures.

8. Narrative (maximum 500 words). Include (a) a description of the course, (b) a rationale for the specific enhancement you are proposing, and (c) a detailed description of the high-impact structure or experiences you plan to implement as well as opportunities for student reflection.

9. Assessment Plan (maximum 250 words). Focus on the course enhancement and go beyond course grades. For example, you might plan to analyze changes in student attitudes, dispositions, or skills through administering pre- and post-surveys, reviewing student artifacts, or analyzing students’ written reflections.

10. Budget (if applicable). The budget should a detailed breakdown of expenses associated with the high-impact structure or experiences.