Maynor Honors College Overview For Faculty
The Esther G. Maynor Honors College at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke is designed to attract top student scholars by providing an atmosphere that is both academically and personally stimulating. The Honors College offers interdisciplinary seminars and discipline-specific honors courses taught by distinguished faculty members; these courses enhance the general education curriculum, facilitate academic and personal growth, and encourage the interdisciplinary exploration of ideas. Honors students also gain a sense of community through shared residential facilities as well as cultural and service-learning programs. The MHC helps students become independent, successful thinkers, researchers, and communicators while simultaneously preparing them to be responsible members of a global society.
Honors colleges and programs are offered at most universities across the nation, and are loosely organized under the National Collegiate Honors Council. Our honors college has existed in various forms since 1979. In 2006 the honors college was named the Esther G. Maynor Honors College in recognition of Mrs. Maynor’s 1.2-million-dollar gift to UNCP’s honors college. The endowment funds Maynor Scholarships as well as Maynor Study Abroad scholarships. The endowment also allows for funding of student activities and events.
The University Honors Council, a group of honors faculty members convened by the Dean of the Honors College and representing different academic disciplines, meets five to six times each academic year to make decisions about admissions and scholarships and to consider curricular matters. Members serve 3-year, renewable terms and are invited to membership by the Dean.
The Student Honors Council, the student representative body, meets weekly and organizes social, service, and academic events for honors students. In curricular matters, the dean consults the SHC to ascertain students’ perspectives and concerns.
Honors students come to us in a variety of ways. Most are invited when they apply to the university. We invite students who have a weighted GPA of 3.5 and an ACT of 24 or an SAT of 1170 and above. Many of these students also are offered merit scholarships. Incoming students not automatically admitted may submit an application, including a personal statement and letter of recommendation, for admission. Current and transfer students also may apply. We expect a GPA of 3.5 and above from current and transfer applicants, as well as strong letters of recommendation and personal statements.
Just like UNCP students in general, honors students are often first-generation college students. Although many qualify for admission at more selective institutions, they often cite the small class sizes, attention from faculty, and friendly nature of UNCP’s campus as the reasons for their choice. Honors students were successful high school students, and while many are well prepared for the collegiate academic environment, some are not as prepared. First-year honors students, in particular, may be concerned about their abilities to succeed. In order to meet the needs of all honors students, we strive to challenge them intellectually while supporting their transition to college and their progress through the curriculum in much the same way we do with non-honors students.
In order to graduate from the Honors College, students must obtain a 3.4 GPA or above at graduation. They also must successfully complete 22 credits of honors coursework, 4 of which comprise the senior project course sequence.
Honors courses are meant to enhance a student’s liberal arts education. They are taught by select faculty and usually have lower course caps than other classes. Honors courses at the university level are not intended to be more difficult or challenging than non-honors courses, and the learning goals and objectives follow general education or departmental guidelines. They are, however, intended to be different. Honors courses tend to be seminar-style, discussion-based courses where students have greater opportunities to participate and to explore new ideas. Honors faculty tend to see honors courses as an opportunity to explore innovative pedagogies and to explore topics in creative ways.
There are two types of honors courses: honors seminars and discipline-specific honors courses.
Honors seminars are courses unique to the Honors College and are interdisciplinary and/or open topic. They are wonderful teaching opportunities because, while they are typically 1000 and 2000 level courses, they can be tailored by each faculty member to fulfil general education goals in unique and interesting ways. These courses are scheduled by the Honors College. Honors faculty interested in teaching an honors seminar should propose the idea to the Dean of the Honors College.
Discipline-specific courses are general education courses which are offered as honors sections. Any general education course could conceivably be offered as an honors course. We annually offer courses in first-year composition (ENG 1050 and 1060), biology (BIO 1000), psychology (PSY 1000), etc. Honors faculty interested in teaching an honors section of a general education course should propose the idea to the Dean of the Honors College.
Contract courses are non-honors courses (which may be taught by non-honors faculty) which an enrolled honors student tailors to meet honors requirements by including work that is above and beyond the normal expectations of the course. Contract courses require an “honors contract” to be developed, describing the honors component which will be added to the course. Students initiate the process of proposing a contract course, seeking collaboration and feedback from the faculty member as they draft their proposal. Once approved by the faculty member teaching the course and the chair of the department, contract courses must be approved by the Dean of the Honors College. Students must earn a “B” or higher and complete the additional work to receive honors credit. Honors contract forms and instructions are located on the MHC website.
As a capstone honors experience, honors students complete the senior project course sequence, HON 4000 and HON 4500, which is typically the final honors requirement prior to graduation. Students plan and complete the project with the support of a faculty mentor and the Honors College senior project coordinator.
Students often generate ideas for senior projects from their course work. Honors faculty may wish to encourage students to think along the lines of larger future projects as they work with students on projects and research.
Scheduling and Creating Courses
The process of creating honors course schedules every term is guided by several factors such as the interests and needs of students, the interests and availability of faculty, and the needs of departments. The Honors College strives to offer fulfilling teaching opportunities to all honors faculty and offer new and innovative courses to students.
Honors courses are developed and scheduled through a highly collaborative process, and faculty input on courses and scheduling is always welcome. Faculty who are interested in teaching a section of a course that we typically offer, or an honors section of a general education course that we don’t typically offer, are welcome to propose the idea. Also welcome are ideas related to team teaching, service-learning, study abroad, undergraduate research, and other innovative pedagogies. It is a good idea to begin these discussions well in advance in order to meet student, faculty, and departmental needs.
Annual Events for Honors Students and Faculty
Faculty attendance is encouraged at honors events. Students very much appreciate spending time with faculty outside of the classroom. These events build community among the honors college students and faculty and are an important part of the program.
Fall Cookout: This event usually occurs at the end of October at the Chancellor’s Residence. The Honors College, along with International Programs and other groups, is invited.
Honors Banquet: This event occurs in mid-April, and is the most formal event of the year. We recognize students, invite a faculty speaker, and enjoy a nice meal together. Students dress up. Faculty are very much encouraged to attend.
Senior Luncheon and Medallion Ceremony: On the last day of classes each Fall and Spring term, we celebrate our graduates with a formal luncheon and medallion ceremony. Each student’s senior project faculty mentor also attends this event.
Senior Project Symposium: On the last Friday of Spring classes, students present their senior projects in a poster session. This event is open to the public, and honors faculty presence is greatly appreciated. Students often present their work at the PURC Symposium or other venues as well.
Honors Commencement Reception: Directly after Spring commencement the MHC hosts a reception in Hickory Hall for graduates and their guests. This is a meaningful event for students and honors faculty presence is much appreciated. The Fall commencement reception is a combined event including the Honors College, the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, and the School of Education.
Professional Development Opportunities
In conjunction with the Teaching and Learning Center, the Honors College offers professional development opportunities throughout the academic year. Ideas for additional development opportunities are welcome.
- Honors Faculty Shared Interest Group. Possible topics include:
- Mentoring and Developing Senior Projects
- Developing Syllabi
- Honors Conferences
- Informal Discussion of Honors Pedagogy
Honors Conference Attendance (National Collegiate Honors Council; Southern Regional Honors Council; North Carolina Honors Association).
The status of “University Honors Faculty” is reserved for tenured/tenure track members of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke faculty who meet and exceed the criteria for consideration listed below. Honors faculty are eligible to teach honors courses which are scheduled through the Maynor Honors College (MHC). MHC Faculty are subject to review by the University Honors Council every five years.
Eligibility Criteria for Maynor Honors College Faculty Status
- A minimum of two years teaching experience at UNCP.
- Exceptional teaching performance at the undergraduate level as demonstrated by favorable student evaluation of instruction (both quantitative and qualitative) and positive annual faculty review.
- An earned doctorate (or its equivalent) appropriate for the academic field.
- A record of experience in the field of study as demonstrated by post-graduate study, professional experience, scholarship in the discipline, and service to the academic discipline.
- Documented evidence of recent/current scholarly engagement and production of scholarly work in activities including but not limited to:
- grant writing
- peer-reviewed publications
- academic and/or administrative fellowships
- presentations to learned societies and organizations
- professional consultations
- leadership in professional organizations/learned societies
- Approval/recommendation of the department chair, the college/school Dean, the Dean of the Honors College, the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and the University Honors Council.
To nominate yourself or another deserving faculty member to receive Honors Status, please complete this nomination application and return it to the Maynor Honors College in Hickory Hall. Please contact the Dean of the Maynor Honors College prior to completing an application.
Appointments to Honors Faculty Status are subject to continuous review, with a formal review every five years. Faculty under formal review will be notified and will be asked to submit a current CV. The Dean will make recommendations for renewal to the University Honors Council. If a faculty member does not submit a CV or the University Honors Council is not in favor of renewal, Honors Faculty Status is removed. The faculty member may be nominated again for Honors Faculty Status at a later date.