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Enhanced courses offer opportunities for both students and professors to push themselves to engage in challenging learning experiences.

The Helen P. Denit Honors Program at the University of Baltimore is taking a new approach to honors credits by designating any undergraduate course that demonstrates a commitment to certain high-impact practices as “enhanced.”

Guidelines for the Enhanced Course Designation

The Honors Council will factor in budget when making their decisions. This is a competitive process based on the quality of the  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.

In an enhanced course, students should:

connect a high-impact experience  to course content in a reflective essay

OR

complete a structured communication project that includes a draft and revision

Some examples of high-impact structures include:

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.

Enhanced courses are open to all students, but enrolled honors students may count the credits they earn in them toward their credit requirement for graduation with honors.

If you are interested in offering an enhanced course, please submit an application to Elizabeth Nix.

  • Proposals for spring and summer semesters are due Oct. 1.
  • Proposals for fall semester and
    winterim are due March 1. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What activities count as course “enhancements”?

    There is no single way to “enhance” a course. In 2014, a Shakespeare class went to two plays while other professors took their students to Washington, D.C., to visit museums, tour monuments and attend congressional hearings. Others invested in robots for hands-on programming instruction. One hosted a business dinner to work on etiquette. The honors council encourages professors to incorporate structured communication assignments which require drafts and revisions.

    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 response, 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 does the Helen P. Denit Honors Program provide for enhanced courses?

    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.

  • What does the honors council consider as they make their funding decisions?

    The University Honors Council encourages faculty to apply for funding to cover the costs associated with high-impact activities in enhanced and honors courses. The University Honors Council follows the guidelines below when approving funding for enhanced course activities.

    Funding will be considered for:
    •    Experiential learning activity costs for students and professor.
    •    Transportation costs for students and professor to experiential learning activity (if not on the Circulator bus route).                                                                                                   •  Speaker honorarium not to exceed $100.00 (Speaker will need to give SS# and address to UB and there will be a delay in receiving the check)                                           •    Light refreshments if the experiential learning activity is open to the public and advertised to the larger community (e.g., daily digest, university website, etc.). 


    Funding will not be considered for:
    •    Food or cost of meals unless it is an integral part of the experiential learning experience (e.g., dining etiquette).
    •    Parking vouchers (parking vouchers for speakers are available through the Provost Office).
    •    Costs associated with planning experiential learning activities.
    •    Gift cards.

  • Once a course is designated, is it considered enhanced forever?

    No. To continue the designation every semester, you will need to submit an evaluation of the previous enhancement and a new proposal and budget.

  • How does the enhanced course designation process work?

    When divisions/departments are submitting their schedules, faculty identify potential courses and submit proposals to the director of the Helen P. Denit Honors Program, copying their division/department chair and the college dean on the submission email. The honors director brings the proposals and recommendations to the Honors Council, which reviews the proposals and budgets and designates courses as enhanced by the time registration opens for the next semester.

  • How does the Honors Council make its decision about designating a course as enhanced?

    The council looks at the overall budget, the intensity of the high-impact practices and the potential for success.

  • What if my course is not designated as enhanced? 

    You can continue to run the class as you would have, going on 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 resubmit your proposal for the next semester.

  • May adjunct faculty submit proposals to teach enhanced courses?  

    Absolutely.

  • How will students know they are signing up for an enhanced course?

    There will be a note in the schedule indicating that this course is enhanced.

  • What if no honors students enroll in my enhanced course? 

    You 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 may 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 are enhanced courses 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, making it easy for them to gain honors credits in classes that interest them or that count toward their major.

  • Why are they good for all UB students? 

    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 a 2012 survey, professors currently expend their own money and effort to provide students with these experiences. Enhanced courses provide access to new resources for the professors already committed to experiential learning, and they encourage other professors to try some of these high-impact practices. In addition, the designation of “enhanced” gives 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.

  • Why are they good for UB faculty? 

    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.

  • May I propose an enhancement to any course?

    No. The course needs to be an undergraduate course and it cannot be a course in a freshman learning community. (If you would like to enhance a freshman learning community, talk to Fiona Glade about teaching an honors learning community).

Last Published 5/15/17