Honors Augmentation Contract
Both the student wishing to earn Honors credit and the sponsoring instructor should fully read the Honors Augmentation contract directions before developing a project together.
What is an Honors Augmentation?
Honors College students are strongly encouraged to always attempt to earn Honors credit in their major and minor areas through enrolling in stand-alone Honors sections or Honors Enriched Embedded Courses (HEECs). However, the Honors College realizes that it is not always possible for students to fully satisfy the Honors curriculum through these options. Therefore, Honors Augmentations Contracts (HACs) are designed to allow Honors students to earn Honors credit in upper-division courses by working closely with a course's instructor to develop and participate in a creative and rigorous "Honors experience" distinct from the course's other assignments.
When is the Honors Augmentation Contract due?
During the fall and spring semesters, HACs must be submitted to the Honors College by the end of the third week of classes. In summer and winter terms, HACs must be submitted to the Honors College by the end of the first week of classes. Please see the Honors College website and announcements sent via the Honors listserv for specific deadlines for each semester.
Because the HAC is due early each term, it is very important that you make an appointment to meet with your course instructor well before the deadline. HACs are sophisticated experiences carefully designed to allow you to earn Honors credit in the course; thus, it will take you and your professor time to discuss your interests and ideas and to design the project and fill out the contract. Remember that your instructor and sponsoring department's chair must endorse the contract before it is submitted to the Honors College by the deadline. The most successful students contact their professors after registering for classes in the term prior to actually taking the course.
What makes for a successful Honors Augmentation project?
It is difficult to generically state what makes a good HAC project since they can be conducted in any discipline at WKU, from Engineering to Ballet, Sociology to Dental Hygiene. However, the main common quality uniting all successful Honors Augmentation projects is that they are thoughtfully designed to give the student an "Honors experience," rather than simply being a matter of "more work."
Primarily, it is important that the student takes the initiative during the HAC process, from approaching the instructor, talking to the instructor about his or her academic interests, and filling out and submitting the HAC Application. While working with your instructor to design a HAC, it is important to keep in mind that the Honors College discourages just making a term paper longer or assigning more homework problems per class for an Honors Augmentation. Although lengthening a pre-existing assignment is acceptable, it is important that the "augmented" focus is increased quality and complexity, rather than simply length. For example, rather than just lengthening a term paper, an instructor could assign more sophisticated supplemental readings, a more difficult essay topic, or require a different degree of research for the paper. In the lab sciences, a student could be required to conduct a more extended, focused, or challenging experiment conducted with a higher quality than the rest of the class.
Often, successful HACs allow students to engage with the course's material in a more hands-on way than is usual for the class. Rather than learning principles abstractly, the student can conduct a project that allows for first-hand experience, which could including taking a field trip, doing a case study, or conducting a separate lab assignment. For example, a student could create an original musical composition, write an original computer program, present his or her project to the class, or conduct interviews in the community rather than solely researching online or in the library. Please keep in mind that all students conducting approved honors Augmentation contracts can apply for an Honors Development Grant (HDG) for up to $500 to support their research, travel, or material needs to conduct Honors Augmentation projects. Students should read about the HDG guidelines on the Honors College webpage.
Honors Augmentation projects are more successful and satisfying for both the instructor and the student if the project is created together. Students should initiate a meeting with their instructor to discuss their interests in the course's subject matter, prior relevant experience, and future plans, and the instructor should provide expertise in the discipline and pedagogical experience to jointly craft a creative and engaging project.
If students or instructors would like to discuss in more detail some suggestions and examples of successful Honors Augmentation projects, they can contact the Honors College's Academic Director.
What happens once I submit my Honors Augmentation Contract?
Honors Development Board faculty members carefully evaluate HACs submitted by the deadline. Augmentation Contracts are evaluated for clarity and fullness in describing the project, creativity and student engagement, and clearly connecting to—but going beyond—the course's typical requirements.
Students will be notified via their WKU email address if their HAC is approved. At the end of the semester, faculty will mark on TopNet if the student successfully completed his or her HAC at the same time final grades are due.
Please note that the Honors College receives about 150 Honors Augmentation Contract applications each semester, so it can take about three weeks before students are notified of their approval.
Each semester some students are asked revise their Honors Augmentation Contract Application before it can be approved. Usually, revisions are required because the student has not fully and descriptively explained the nature of the additional opportunities and responsibilities associated with the Augmentation. For example, sometimes students simply write that they will be "writing a paper on topic X" for their Augmentation, without specifying how long the essay will be or how this assignment differs significantly from the rest of the class's requirements. However, any contract that appears lacking in any of the criteria listed above will require revision prior to approval. Any Augmentation contract not revised by the requested deadline will not be approved and thus will not be eligible for Honors Credit. Students will be notified by the Honors College via their WKU email address if they need to revise their Honors Augmentation Contract.
Honors Augmentation Contracts will be evaluated by the Honors Development Board with this rubric; please share this rubric with your professor and carefully consult it as you are creating your Honors Augmentation project.
Does my Honors Augmentation affect my course grade?
Your course instructor decides if and how your HAC counts for your course grade. The Honors College generally encourages instructors to integrate the Honors Augmentation project into the course's overall grade because it increases the number of projects successfully completed and encourages the student to strive for the highest possible quality.
Many instructors substitute one or more class assignments for the HAC, thus making it simple to integrate the HAC into the course grade. For example, an instructor may replace one exam grade with the additional Augmentation assignment. Or, the instructor may replace several homework assignments with the added responsibilities of the HAC. The HAC would then count the same as the replaced assignment(s).
Some instructors chose to have the HAC only count for Honors credit. Thus, the HAC would have no bearing on the course's grade and would only affect whether or not the student receives Honors credit for the course.
What if I do not complete my Honors Augmentation project?
Students are reminded that failure to successfully complete a contracted HAC may dissuade the course instructor or other instructors in your major or minor departments from agreeing to sponsor future HACs. Instructors devote significant time and effort into creating a quality Honors Augmentation project, and it is extremely disappointing to have this effort wasted, except under extenuating circumstances.
At the end of each semester, the Honors College will contact the course instructor and ask for written verification of a student's successful completion of the contracted HAC. If the project is not complete according to the contracted terms by the end of the semester in which he or she is enrolled in the course, then the student will not receive Honors credit for the course. If the HAC is part of the student's course grade, then the student will not receive credit for this portion of his or her grade.
If the student believes there are legitimate extenuating circumstances preventing his or her HAC from being completed, then he or she may petition the course instructor for an extension. If the instructor agrees, then the instructor must notify Honors College's Academics Director in writing about the extension and the new due date. The instructor also must notify Honors College's Academics Director in writing upon the completion of the project. Without a written extension from the instructor and written notification of the project's successful completion by the new deadline, the Honors College will not grant Honors credit for the course.
Are there any other restrictions for my Honors Augmentation Project?
You must earn an "A" or "B" in a course to count it for Honors Credit. You need to complete an Honors Augmentation if you want to earn Honors credit in a study abroad course of less than a semester (such as a winter or summer term trip). If your study abroad course is a full semester or more, then you may fill out the Study Abroad Honors Credit form to receive Honors credit due to your experience abroad. No online or IVS classes may be Augmented. Students at this time may not Augment courses taken on WKU extension campuses. Only typed, fully filled out Honors Augmentation Contracts, signed by all required parties, submitted by the deadline, will be evaluatedAugmentation Best Practices
Access the e-form by logging in using your NetID and password. A student will fill out the required fields with the details of his or her Augmentation project; once the student has completed the form, he or she will type the instructor's email in the box at the bottom of the page to email the form to the instructor. Once the HAC is emailed to the instructor, the instructor can review the proposed project and then email it to the department head via the same method of including the department head's email in the box at the bottom of the form, which serves as the instructor's "e-signature." Likewise, the department head can then email the HAC to the Honors College, which serves as the department head's endorsement.
You can also check on the progress of the forwarded forms through the sent form archive.
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