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Skidmore College
Honors Forum

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The Honors Forum inducted its first members in the spring of 1997 and offered its first courses in Fall Term 1998.  Since its creation, the Honors Forum has enriched the academic lives of all Skidmore students. Honors classes are open to any student prepared for the academic challenge.  Many faculty members consider their Honors offerings to be among the highlights of their academic career at the College.

In addition to teaching Honors courses, faculty members serve on the Honors Council, the faculty/administration/student governing body of the Honors Forum. Chaired by the Honors Forum Director, the Honors Council typically meets twice a month.  Council members oversee the curriculum (approving Honors courses and curricular opportunities), discuss Honors Forum policies, help to select the annual Jon A. Ramsey faculty lecturer, review applications for new members, advise the Director about students’ requirements, co-plan Accepted Candidates’ events with the Office of Admissions, participate in the Periclean Scholar Award Committee or plan the annual Academic Festival, and plan and host induction ceremonies for new members.  We welcome faculty from all disciplines to offer HF courses, serve on the Honors Council, and attend Honors Forum events.

HF FACULTY

Director of the Honors Forum: Professor Flagg Taylor

Administrative Assistant: Lisa Bradshaw

Honors Forum Council 2017-2018:

  • Flagg Taylor, Chair

  • Steve Frey, Chemistry

  • Mahesh Shankar, International Affairs
  • Jenny Huangfu Day, History
  • Kim Marsella, Director of Academic Advising

  • Dylan Quinn '18, President

  • Isabella Hernandez '18, Vice President

American Studies:

Anthropology: Michael Ennis-McMillan, Sonia Silva

Art: Janet Sorenson

Art History: Aditi Chandra, Katie Hauser, Mimi Hellman, Penny Jolly

Biology: Jennifer Bonner, Monica Raveret Richtor

Business: Pushkala Prasad

Chemistry: Kim Frederick, Steven Frey

Classics: Michael Arnush, Leslie Mechem

Economics: Roy Rotheim, Lynda Vargha

English: Phil Boshoff, Catherine Golden, Kate Greenspan, Linda Hall, Thomas Lewis, Martha Wiseman, Sarah Wright, Michael Marx, Melora Wolf

Foreign Languages and Literature: John Anzalone

Geosciences: Amy Frappier

Government: Beau Breslin

Health and Exercise Sciences: Jennifer McDonald

History: Erica Bastress-Dukehart, Tillman Nechtman

Mathematics: Mark Huibregtse, Daniel Hurwitz, David Vella

Music: Gordon Thompson

Philosophy: Reginald Lilly

Physics: Mary Crone Odekon, Andrew Skinner

Psychology:

Religion: Joel Smith, Greg Spinner

Sociology: John Brueggemann, David Karp, Susan Walzer

 

COURSE DESIGN

The Honors Council welcomes new HF courses and HF add-ons.  The Council has designed a list of criteria to determine which courses qualify for the Honors Forum designation.  We invite faculty to look at their courses to see if they already fit the criteria.

The criteria to design new Honors courses, adapt existing courses into Honors courses, and evaluate Honors course proposals are as follows:

  • Intellectual challenge in written assignments, exams, and/or in-class discussions

  • Greater sophistication in the presentation of material 

  • Stimulating material or deeper engagement with course material than in a non-HF course

  • Opportunities for leadership and/or greater ownership of knowledge than a non-HF course

  • Faster pacing than a non-HF course

  • Sense of community enterprise

  • Opportunities for engagement with fellow students outside of class

  • Higher standards of expectation than a non-HF course

These are guidelines only.  Not every course will meet all of the above, but we advise faculty to keep the following in mind when proposing new courses or converting their existing courses into HF courses.

If you have an idea about a new HF course or would like to explore ways to adapt a course into an Honors course or to create an HF Add-on, we encourage you to contact the HF Director, Flagg Taylor, or a member of the Honors Council.

We can also provide models of existing Honors courses and HF Add-ons for your guidance.

 

ADVANTAGES

Why teach an Honors course? Many faculty members consider their Honors offerings to be among the highlights of their academic career at the College. These are some of the reasons why:

  • Honors Forum courses typically have smaller enrollment caps than other courses.  HF add-ons are limited to 12 or 15 students, and most add-ons enroll under 10 students.  In HF classes and add-ons, faculty members have opportunities to get to know their students well.

  • Students who elect an HF course or an HF add-on are typically receptive to more challenge and likely to take full ownership of their education.

  • Faculty members can teach higher-level material, engage students actively in primary or secondary research, or provide leadership opportunities.  The smaller class size and the intellectual and leadership skills of HF students make this possible.

  • The Honors Forum has some funding to enhance intellectual discourse beyond the formal classroom.  In past, the Honors Forum has supported special lectures, library exhibitions, social activities, field trips, and more.

 

FORMS

Faculty Sponsorship Form

This electronic form is used to submit faculty sponsorship of students applying for Service Requirement.


Academic Festival - TEMPORARILY DISABLED.  CHECK BACK WITH US IN JANUARY-APRIL.

This electronic form is used by student applying for Academic Festival. Each application must be completed and sponsored by a faculty member.


Honors Forum Course Funds Request

(HTML format)

The Skidmore College Honors Forum has a modest budget to support and co-sponsor activities, events, and projects (typically in the range of $50-$200, occasionally above $200) that contribute to the intellectual quality of life on campus. Examples of programs include academic events such as special lectures, debates, research presentations, library exhibitions, symposia, as well as cultural and social activities that bring Honors Forum members together with other students. Programs for which funding is sought should serve to foster academic and social connections among students and enhance intellectual discourse beyond the formal classroom. The Honors Forum expects that all co-curricular programs that it supports will promote the mission and goals of the Forum to its members and/or the College community at-large.

More information


New Course or Substantial Revisions to Existing Course Form

The Honors Council requests that the faculty use the College Curriculum Committee forms to propose new courses and to propose revisions to existing courses.  Please address the following issues in the rationale for the course.

If the course proposed is a revision of an existing course, then you will need to address in your proposal the distinctions between the current and proposed Honors versions of the course, the expectations you have, the skills the students will acquire, and the assessment you will implement.  This course proposal will be reviewed by the Honors Council and then submitted to the Associate Dean of Faculty and the Curriculum Committee.

  • Add-ons

    • Faculty can propose a one-hour add-on to an existing course as follows, Writing up several paragraphs that explain the purpose of the add-on and how it enhances the corresponding core course.  Add-on proposals do not need to go to the Curriculum Committee, only to the faculty member's Department Chair, Honors Council, and then the Associate Dean of Faculty.  A syllabus for the HF add-on and, if possible, for the "parent course," will help the Honors Council to evaluate the proposal.  For information on "course design," see the "For Faculty" page.

For HF courses and add-ons, we welcome you to consult with the HF Director or members of the Honors Council who can advise you before you complete your proposal.  Click the link for model courses.