Contributing to Honors Education at Marshall

Faculty proposals for new (or applications for repeat) sections of the special topics, interdisciplinary HON 480 seminars to be scheduled as early as Spring 2025 is Wednesday 04 September 2024. The appropriate submission link can be found below under “Honors Seminars” and then selecting HON 480. In recognition of their service to the college through teaching, full-time tenure-track or tenured faculty members or librarians who have taught for the college within the past two years or recently submitted successful proposals to do so, have the opportunity to apply for the John Marshall University Scholars Award through the college. Also, consider putting a bit more into your proposal and plans for the impact of your seminar through self-nomination to be a Honors Faculty Fellow.

To deliver on the overarching promise of demonstrably enhanced learning experiences, faculty who teach honors-designated courses are encouraged to challenge themselves through their pedagogy by devising their own uniquely creative approaches to teaching and within their inspirational mentorship of students. The Honors College wants to provide opportunities for our students, of course, but we also foster the professional development of faculty who serve the college by teaching courses that serve our students. The college is centered on achieving academic distinction. We know that teaching honors can enrich not only your life but also the lives of all students with whom you work—not just those encountered in honors-designated courses. We believe the Honors College serves as an “incubator” for pedagogical exploration and innovation that enhances the quality of educational experiences across the University. Our relationship with those who teach for us is an engaged, collaborative partnership for the common good.

40Faculty Teaching in Honors
20Departments Contributing
50Honors Courses Annually
550Total Honors Students

The Honors College needs faculty to teach honors-designated, departmental courses (in your major, e.g., ANT201H) as well as honors courses (in the college, e.g., HON480) that together constitute required elements of the Honors Curriculum that our students must complete in order to graduate with University Honors through the Honors College. We do not have our own faculty. This fact helps inspire a community of collaboration and innovation across colleges and disciplines, which is basic to our mission.

Check out our Contributing to Honors Education handout

Honors College Mission and Learning Outcomes

The Honors College at Marshall University’s mission is to provide an environment for innovative teaching and learning within an interdisciplinary curriculum motivated by creative, critical inquiry and respect for a multiplicity of thoughts, experiences, and identities. The Honors College collaborates with university and public partners to foster inclusive academic excellence in a diverse and supportive community of scholars dedicated to becoming socially conscious, responsible leaders and lifelong learners engaged in the acquisition and application of knowledge for a greater good.

All courses at Marshall University that are offered exclusively to students in the honors college, whether Honors-Designated Departmental Courses (-H) or courses housed in the Honors College (HON), should include a minimum of 3 of the following student learning outcomes (SLOs). The college will work with departments as part of our strategic plan to ensure that alignment with these SLOs is in place.

  • make connections while adapting and applying skills and learning among varied disciplines, domains of thinking, experiences, and situations.
  • outline divergent solutions to a problem, develop and explore potentially controversial proposals, and synthesize ideas or expertise to generate original plans and approaches.
  • evaluate the effectiveness of their own work, reflect on strengths and weakness of their knowledge and skills in defined areas, and devise ways to make improvements.
  • produce cohesive oral, written, and visual communications capable of connecting effectively with specific audiences.
  • appraise how cultural beliefs and practices affect inter-group communication, how specific approaches to global issues may affect communities differently, and how
    varying economic, religious, social, or geographical interests can result in conflict.
  • demonstrate principles of ethical citizenship and socially responsible leadership through collaborative partnerships.
  • evaluate how academic theories and public policy inform one another to support civic
In keeping with our mission, the Honors College strongly encourages faculty to find and use Open Education Resources for their courses to increase accessibility by reducing costs to students. Faculty can learn more and receive support from the Marshall University Libraries.

Honors-Designated Departmental Courses (-H)

Many departments at Marshall University offer honors-designated courses that are signified by the addition of an “H” to the course number such as “ANT 201H,” which is one of a number of such courses provided for students in good standing as members in the Honors College. These courses are designed, staffed, and scheduled by the departments that offer them. The H-designated, departmental courses serve students in the college well by meeting many General Education requirements. Such requirements include “Critical Thinking (Core I)” and “Social Science (Core II)” credits that a course such as ANT 201H fulfills. These courses also provide general honors credits beyond the core Honors Curriculum courses that include the seminars described below, for which the College continually seeks instructors from across the University to enrich the educational experience of our students.

Departments and their faculty who may be interested in developing honors-designated courses should contact the Honors College to discuss the approval process.

Honors Seminars (HON)

We believe that it is important for faculty and their departments to know that all teaching credits, SCHs and FTEs, are credited to the faculty’s academic department and not to the Honors College. This has always been accepted practice and an agreement was formalized on 27 August 2019 with Academic Affairs and the Provost.

This is the First Year Seminar in Critical Thinking and is an essential part of the university’s General Education curriculum. As with departmental honors-designated courses, FYS100 is also offered in honors sections for students in the college–during their first year at Marshall. Beginning in Fall 2021, the Center for Teaching and Learning began developing a new framework of FYS that focuses on specific parameters for all FYS sections. Consistent with the criteria for all Core I courses, each section of the re-designed FYS focuses on a social or civic issue (not a disciplinary area); employ specific learner-centered, hands-on pedagogies; use formative assessments and authentic summative assessments; and, be built around one high-impact practice or HIP ( e.g., writing intensive, community-based learning and research, undergraduate research, collaborative assignments and projects, e-portfolios, etc.). Using these four parameters means that all students taking FYS will have the opportunity to build core critical thinking skills (information literacy, inquiry-based thinking, intercultural thinking, integrative thinking, and meta-cognitive thinking), while our instructors will have the opportunity to create engaging course sections using different combinations of parameters.

A new part of the restructured FYS program involves becoming a member of an FYS faculty, which includes bi-weekly participation in an FYS faculty learning community (FLC). The primary goal of the FLC is to develop and refine the new structure for FYS and to debrief with one another while teaching the course. FYS must rely upon pedagogically sound, empirically supported teaching practices. Through participation in the FLC, faculty develop expertise leading to proficiency as First Year Seminar Specialists. If you are interested in teaching FYS in the coming academic year and beyond, you are invited to apply. The Honors College coordinates with the Center for Teaching and Learning to staff FYS100H. You can learn more about the course and contact them, if interested in offering a section of this seminar.

We encourage all faculty and qualified staff at Marshall University who are interested in contributing to our mission in the college to consider teaching the Honors Second-Year Seminar (sections of HON 200), a 3-credit hour seminar purposefully positioned in a student’s second year of study at Marshall. The intention for this seminar is to engage with Honors students who have passed through their first-year, spotlight curricular and extra-curricular activities and are transitioning to more fully engage with their major departments. We look to enhance a sense of “cohort” among the Honors students at this point in their academic career and to help cultivate shared purpose as active members of the college who critically and self-reflectively engage with essential themes of Leadership, Ethics, and Civic Engagement through their work in this seminar. To help achieve our goals for this seminar, individual instructors are asked to design their own seminar from a foundational core set of elements and shared learning outcomes. The seminars are capped at 25 students and scheduled in Spring semesters only.

  • A review of prospective instructor credentials and experience is conducted by the college. Please reach out to us at with the subject “HON 200” to begin a conversation about your ideas and our expectations for this important, transitional course in our curriculum, which helps prepare students for later work in their course of study in the College and their major(s) as well as their future lives and careers.
We encourage all faculty interested in contributing to our mission in the college to submit proposals for upper-level Honors Seminars (sections of HON 480). These seminars are purposefully interdisciplinary in design and generally capped at 15 students. While we have expectations regarding the pedagogical approaches and alignment of individually tailored learning outcomes in seminars with those for the Honors College curriculum as a whole, faculty may design highly original seminars–as seen in the Seminar Archives, for example. This is the core course in our curriculum.

  • There is a thorough review of proposed seminars by the Honors College Curriculum and Policy Committee (HCCAP) at least one semester prior to the semester an approved seminar is offered. Below you’ll find links to the Honors Seminar (HON 480) online proposal/application submission forms and a guide for faculty to help think about their course as an seminar for the college and prepare their proposals. Due dates for HON 480 proposal/application submissions are published annually on the Honors College Curriculum and Policy Committee page. Generally, proposals/applications are due within the first three weeks of the Fall and Spring semesters for seminars that may be scheduled as early as the next regular academic year semester.

There are three different possibilities for HON 480 submissions: New, Repeat, and Updated

1. If you have not previously taught a proposed seminar for the college, you’ll be submitting a NEW Proposal. You may want to refer to the off-line form as an aid in preparation. There is also a Honors Seminar Design Guide intended for those faculty new to teaching for the college or possibly new to Marshall as well. There are links to several sources of information here at Marshall (such as the university’s syllabus template) and elsewhere that could be helpful.

Consider putting a bit more into your proposal and plans for the impact of your seminar through self-nomination to be a Honors Faculty Fellow.


2. If you have already been teaching a particular seminar for the Honors College that has not “timed out,” as suggested in item three below, you may submit a REPEAT Application, which is shorter than a proposal for a new or updated seminar. You may refer to an off-line form as aid in preparation.



3. If you have been teaching a particular seminar for the college that has “timed out” and you want to propose to teach this seminar again, you’ll need to submit an UPDATED Proposal. This is the same form used for new proposals. Faculty are asked to indicate that they are submitting a proposal for a significantly reworked seminar. There is a check box at the top of the form for this purpose. Updated proposals, as per the Honors College Policy Handbook, are required of faculty after teaching an approved honors seminar 3 times or after 3 years (beginning with the semester of first offering), whichever comes first. It is also possible that faculty may want to substantially rework a seminar before the seminar would time out and could go this route to receive committee feedback and approval.



If you are applying with the intent to be considered for an as yet undefined semester and will not be pursuing approval at this time, no problem. We can review your proposal, provide feedback, and work with you and your department to determine when you might offer the seminar. Simply use the Yes/No slider on the New Seminar Proposal link above where the approval upload is located in the application to indicate “Yes” to the query that you are “Applying to be considered in the future.” You will not need to provide approval at the time of your submission. If you’d just like to discuss some ideas with us, let’s start a conversation:

General Education Designations for Honors Seminars

To learn about how to add General Education designations of Writing Intensive (WI) and/or Multicultural (MC) and International (INTL), please refer to the General Education Designations page. Having at least some of our Honors Seminars carry these General Education designations can be very helpful to our students (who must complete a 24-credit Honors Curriculum) and can, particularly with Writing Intensive designations, help enrollment numbers for some courses.

Honors Experiential Learning

While there is much to learn in the context of the traditional classroom, we believe that opportunities to learn while doing meaningful things outside it can enhance creative and critical inquiry and elevate respect for others. Through experiential learning, students find ways to connect and apply their formal education to real world conditions in the communities of which they are a part.

Curricular Experiential Learning

The Honors College provides several upper-division opportunities for students to earn credits toward completion of the required Honors Curriculum that entail various forms of experiential learning including collaborative, team-based and student led courses (conducted with faculty mentorship) as well as international engagement and scholarly and creative projects. Existing courses include HON 300 (Honors Peer Mentoring), HON 490 (the TEDxMarshallU Internship), HON 484 (the Honors Oracle student newsletter), and HON 488 (the Steering Committee of the Honors College Student Association).
The Honors College encourages students to consider studying abroad as a way of encouraging creative, critical inquiry and respect for a multiplicity of thoughts, experiences, and identities. Study abroad aids students in becoming socially conscious, responsible leaders and lifelong learners who are actively engaged in the acquisition and application of knowledge for a greater good. The college is currently working to develop and support opportunities for Honors students to learn through the experience of international study and travel while earning honors credits transferable to their student record at Marshall. We love to hear your ideas!
We want to expand opportunities for Honors students to earn honors credits through development of Departmental Honors for creative scholarly and creative projects. As of today, there are two majors in the College of Liberal Arts that have developed Departmental Honors in consultation with the Honors College. These two majors provide a significantly more challenging pathway to completion of the required capstone that entails creation of committee to oversee a thesis project. The experience is available to both Honors and non-honors students based on the criteria stated by the department. The Honors College is prepared to accept Departmental Honors credits toward completion of the Honors Curriculum for Honors students in good standing with the college who are in these majors. The college would be willing to do so for other major programs who develop similar opportunities for their students. Interested faculty should contact the Honors College.

Co-Curricular Experiential Learning

We also encourage faculty to consider working with us to develop co-curricular experiential learning opportunities that might include developing speaker series, works in progress series, fieldtrips, and programming for the Honors House residential halls. Many things are possible. Let us know what you have in mind.

Check out our Experiential Learning Opportunities and Initiatives


My Honors seminar was a professor’s dream: an opportunity to focus on a subject area of great interest to me with a classroom full of students also enthusiastic about reading, writing, and discussing [the seminar themes of] kinship, community, and belonging. Honors students are consistently prepared, willing to challenge themselves and their classmates to succeed, and committed to building a collaborative learning environment.
Photo of Jana Tigchelaar, PhD
Jana Tigchelaar, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of English
I love sharing my passion for social movements with students. I have two very proud moments teaching in Honors. First was when, after only two students had heard about the Freedom Riders, a student came to class one day after visiting family in the coalfields and told me proudly that he had taught his grandparents about the Freedom Riders and that they had a wonderful conversation about the movement. The second came when a self-described conservative student told me that he was worried that his voice would not be heard, but ultimately felt very seen, heard and valued.
Photo of Kelli Johnson, EdD
Kelli Johnson, EdD
Associate University Librarian, Marshall University Libraries
The opportunity to teach innovative subject matter in fresh and challenging ways makes the Honors College an outstanding opportunity for faculty, and most of all, significantly important for students. I always feel appreciated and valued by the staff, administrators, and most particularly, the students within the Honors College. I highly recommend applying to teach for this necessary and valuable part of our university.
Photo of Christine Ingersoll, MFA
Christine Ingersoll, MFA
Associate Professor, W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications