Honors

Honors Project Program Handbook

Honors Designation
Honors Project Process
Examples of Projects
Frequently Asked Questions
Honors Project Forms

Contact:
Honors.CCA@ccaurora.edu

The CCA Honors Project Program Committee:

Candace McClelland-Fieler, English Faculty

Will Hicks, Colorado Film School Faculty

Chuda Baral, Math Faculty

Jasmine Yap, Science Inclusive Pedagogy Instructional Coach

Fall 2020 Honors Project Proposal deadline: Friday, Sept. 25, 2020

The CCA Honors Project Program Mission:
"The Community College of Aurora Honors Project Program provides enhanced educational opportunities and promotes academic dialogue between highly motivated students and faculty.”

Honors Designation

Go beyond the confines of the book, the curriculum, the campus, and expectations. Ask your instructor about completing an Honors Project of your own design to earn Honors credit for your course. Any student in any 100-level course has the opportunity to submit a proposal for participation.

Upon successful completion of the Honors project, the student will receive the Honors Designation on his/her transcript (“H”) and the instructor will receive a small stipend. Should an instructor decide not to participate in an Honors Project with the student, the student may ask the Honors Committee to explore options. 

Note: Taking a course for Honors Designation is different than “graduating with honors.” Completion of an Honors Project allows a student to receive the Honors Designation (“H”) on his/her transcript for that specific course. “Graduating with honors” requires a specific GPA.

The Details:  A successful Honors Project engages the student in an original project that will:

• be designed by the student with guidance from the instructor.
• result in an on-going intellectual dialogue between the student and the instructor.
• require not necessarily more work, but more challenging and creative work.
• be a sophisticated expansion of an assignment of the course or be a stand-alone project.
• more deeply explore an element of the course’s curriculum or follow a thread that the course alludes to. 
• draw conclusions based on exploration. Show why your work matters.
• have a public presentation component (to the class, to a wider college audience, to an online audience, etc.).
• practice at least two of CCA’s Institutional Outcomes (Communication, Critical Thinking, Career and Transfer Readiness, and Cultural Competence).

Some possibilities for Honors Projects include:

• Community service projects 
• Primary field research
• Conducting a solo art exhibition or literary reading
• Planning and leading a study group for students in the class
• Completing research on a topic that is more original and more challenging than those assigned in the course
• Application of a course concept to a real-life scenario.

See below for project samples.

Student Eligibility Guidelines, but exceptions are often granted:

• Student should have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25
• Student should have completed 6 or more credit hours at CCA
• Student should be enrolled in course numbered 100 level or above (exceptions subject to Honors Committee approval)

Honors Project Process

(All submissions should be emailed to Honors.CCA@ccaurora.edu or sent in hardcopy to Candace McClelland-Fieler, C208E. Links to forms are below.)

1. The Honors Project Proposal Form should be completed by the student and the instructor, with a description of the project, end project documentation type, and applicable S-numbers, by the application deadline (usually four weeks from the start of regular classes). Fall 2020 Honors Project Proposal deadline: Friday, Sept. 25, 2020

2. The proposal will be reviewed by the Honors Project Program Committee; we don’t so much “approve” proposals as give feedback about the scope and nature of the project in order to help you create a meaningful and rigorous but achievable project. We will provide suggestions for changes when appropriate. 

3. The student and the instructor should plan on meeting four to six times throughout the semester for project guidance and structure.The project belongs to the student, but the instructor will mentor the student along the way.

4. Successful completion of the project will be determined by the instructor. Honors Projects will be completed pass/fail to receive the Honors Designation on the student’s transcript (“H”). 

5. The student will ideally earn an A in the course and pass the Honors Project to earn Honors Designation, but the instructor may also chose to assign the student’s Honors designation for a B course grade.

6. Upon completion of the approved project, the student and instructor will submit the Completion form, documentation of the project, and supplementary pay form to indicate successful completion to the Honors Committee.

7. The Honors Committee will submit all successfully completed applications to enrollment services for an Honors Designation to be added to the student’s transcript.

Examples of Recent CCA Student-Designed Honors Projects

• SOC 102: “Labeling Theory and a Proposition for Homelessness,” a research project investigating the intersection of stereotyping, LGBTQ status, and homelessness

• FVM 251: Exploration of storytelling elements in Walt Disney’s work, including park attractions

• LIT 212: Critical analysis of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel, Fight Club, and its place in American Literature

• COM 115: Researching, designing, and creating an intellectual video for peers concerning the benefits of technology (including cells phones) in the classroom

• MAT 135: “Does Your Leader Have a Clear Direction,” a real world application of statistical concepts through a survey of organizations’ employees

• ENG 122: An interview-driven research project concerning the effects of single-parent and two-parent families on individual young adults

• PSY 102: An analysis of the book Brain Rules and a lesson to the class about the importance of neuroscience in the study of psychology

• SOC 101: “Institutions and Symbols: The Effects on my Daily Life,” a portfolio of projects that entailed research, papers, and ultimately personally written song lyrics exploring sociological principles in order to explore the principles in a more emotional way

• SOC 101: “A Study of US Homelessness, with Special Interest in the 2018 Colorado Elections,” an analysis of a self-written survey concerning homelessness and local political conditions

• POS 225: “The Response to Populism: A Comparative Approach,” an analysis of recent populist political movements

• CHE 111: The origins and implications of Mendeleev’s Periodic Table

• BUS 217: Research-driven TED-Talk-style class lecture concerning “The Power of a Burning Desire” and its implications in business

• ENG 121: Creation of a series of reflective narratives and publication in CCA’s Literary Magazine, Pulse 29

• ENG 121: Exploration of rhetorical argument techniques in dramatic films

• ENG 121: Drafting and publishing a proposal and constitution for a CCA Democrats club 

• POS 105: Persuasive research essay and presentation, “The Electoral College: Problems and Solutions”

• MAT 156: Using best teaching methods for 4th grade math tutoring to accelerate learning

• ENG 122: Reflective writing and video creation of personal direct exposure to poverty and hunger

• ENG 121: Podcast creation with interviews and narrative concerning a missing sister and family trauma

• ART 207: Research and analysis project concerning Colorado botanic sculptor, Kim Dickey

• MAT 135: Statistics project concerning restaurant prices that can be used as sampling material for future statistics students

• MAT 135: Statistics project exploring the amount of sleep community college and university students get

• LIT 212: Analysis and personal reflection of Gloria Anzaldua’s “Mestiza Ideology”

• FVM 105: Analysis of script and editing changes on the audience’s perception of the story

• ART 131: Teaching 2-D design classes at the Downtown Aurora Visual Arts center

• BUS 217: Class presentation of research and survey concerning job interview best practices

• HUM 123: Recreating a collection of self-portraits and poems in historic styles

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I design the project, or does my instructor design it?

You design it with your own interests and passions in mind. The project is wholly yours, and your instructor’s role is to guide you through a sizable, sometimes challenging academic project.

What happens if the Committee doesn’t approve my project?

We almost always says yes, and we never say “no” outright. If we think the scope or nature of the project is a bit too big or too small, we use our experience and expertise to suggest some revisions. Usually we just respond with questions that you and your instructor will answer.

What happens if I don’t complete my Honors Project by the end of the semester?

There are a few options if the Honors Project doesn’t get completed. You can ask your instructor and the Committee for more time, and they may agree to let you have time in the next semester. It’s also okay if a project is never fully completed – nothing ventured, nothing gained. The process itself is often valuable, and the instructors may still be eligible for stipends if they spend a lot of time on an incomplete project. 

Can I complete more than one Honors Project?

Absolutely. Many students find their first Honors Project so rewarding that they go on to complete others. You may even propose and complete more than one project in one semester, but be careful not to over-commit.

Can I complete one Honors Project that addresses content for more than one class?

Yes, and if two instructors work with you on a single project, we can designate Honors credit for both courses. This might entail quite a bit of coordination from all three of you, the connections to each course should be made clear, and two proposals should be submitted.

Can I work with a classmate on an Honors Project?

Yes, but you both should clarify what you’ll each contribute and how it applies to each of you separately. Because Honors Projects often involve a lot of personal passion, be sure to find a way for both of you to bring your unique enthusiasm and interests to the table.

What if my instructor does not have time to work on an Honors Project with me?

Because students design and work on the projects themselves, most of the work load is their own. Sometimes instructors can use a reminder of this, and the Committee is happy to encourage them. It also helps to remind instructors how valuable it is to work with students one-on-one in their content area – it’s rewarding for instructors, too. If necessary, reach out to the Committee so we can find a way to offer you this opportunity; we may find another instructor to mentor you through your project or oversee it ourselves if we can.

What if the course is already really hard?

A lot of classes truly are challenging, but there are always students who are eager to do more. It’s a different type of work. If you find yourself falling behind in the assigned course work, reach out to your instructor and take a break from your Honors Project while you get caught up.  See the above question, too, about finishing (or not) by the end of the semester.

Why should I pursue an Honors Project while I’m here at CCA? It feels like more work.

Sometimes students are hungry to take on challenges, especially if they’re excited about the course material or want to differentiate themselves in a particular field. Most students who have completed Honors Projects have found them to be labors of love and come back for more the next semester. It’s like reading a long book you love versus a short book you’re not very interested in. It will also make you stand out academically, both here in the CCA community as well as on your transfer and career applications. Maybe one of the greatest benefits is extra time and focus with your instructor; it’s not often that undergraduate students can work collaboratively with a mentoring instructor, and you will see the beauty of those sorts of educational and intellectual connections.

If you still have questions, please reach out!  Honors.CCA@CCAurora.edu

Honors Project Forms

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