Skip to content

Enhanced Course Initiative

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

The 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.”

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. Enhanced courses offer opportunities for both students and professors to push themselves to engage in challenging learning experiences.
The Honors Council is currently accepting applications for Enhanced Courses to run in Spring 2015.
If you are interested, please return the attached application to Betsy Nix by October 9, 2014.


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, 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. 

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, 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 designation process work?  
When divisions/departments are submitting their schedules, faculty identify potential courses and submit proposals to the Director of Honors, 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?  
The Council looks 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.

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 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 is now easier for them to gain honors credits in classes that interest them or that count toward their major.

Why is this change good for all UB students?  
Since all UB students can enroll in Enhanced courses, all UB students now 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 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.

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 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:

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

Title of Course ___________________________________________

Course number __________________________________________ 

Professor/s ______________________________________________

Proposed Enhancement: __________________________________________________________

Proposed budget total ________________________________________ 

The Honors Program has approximately $10,000 to fund enhancements in the three colleges. Funds will be awarded based on the quality of the proposed enhancement.

Submitted by ________________________________________________ 

Division/Department Signature____________________________________________________

Date __________________

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.

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.