SMC Honors Students’ presenting on the mysteries of space.

SMC Honors Students

Honors Curriculum

Coursework in the Honors Program is designed to engage  students and develop their intellectual skills. Designed for CAC students, the Honors Program also takes advantage of other national Honors and enrichment programs.

The purpose of this page is to offer insights into the curriculum for students and the many faculty, staff, and community members who contribute to the Honors Program in any number of ways, such as by mentoring students who are working on a project.

The 18-credit program includes three basic types of courses. Refer to the sections below to learn more about Colloquium, Seminar, and extended courses. A link is also provided for information on “course project,” and additional information on projects is available on the Honors Projects page.

Honors Colloquium
Honors Program (HP) students complete, in two consecutive semesters, Honors Colloquium I (HNR 204) and Honors Colloquium II (HNR 205) as part of their Honors Program and graduation requirements. Each Colloquium is a three-credit course that meets for three hours per week.

In Colloquium I and II, discussion and analysis focus on research, reading assigned for the semester and current events.

The course consists of the reading and analysis of individual assignments and other related sources. Forms of assessment may be given at the completion of each reading assignment. For each class meeting, students are responsible for completing assigned reading and for commenting upon the reading in a discussion, journal or response paper. The daily responses or recitations are meant to encourage students to reflect on what they have read by reacting to what they have learned and pondered. The Colloquium instructor may also assign questions about the reading to be answered in the response, yet another way to communicate with the instructor.

Movies and other visual media may be used during or outside the Colloquium class hour to supplement the discussion and reading.

Guest speakers are invited to visit. The Honors Program often funds the visits of university professors, authors, artists, community members and public figures who come to share their ideas with Honors students.

While in Colloquium classes students have the opportunity take trips to theatres, lectures, concert halls, other community college campuses and research and scientific centers or laboratories, etc.

These learning experiences may occur during or outside of class time, as necessary. The Honors student is expected to participate in four  events per semester and to write a reflective response paper for each one.

In addition, students visit Arizona’s public universities (ASU, NAU, and Uof A) during the two semesters of Colloquium I and II.

Honors Extended Courses

In order to graduate from the Honors Program, students complete at least nine credits (3 courses) of “extended courses” as well as three Honors Seminars.

The extended courses taken for Honors credit enable academically talented students in the Honors Program to chose “regular courses”–those found in CAC–but to imbue them with extended depth. These three selected courses extend the curriculum by giving students and faculty opportunities to work closely together on in-depth projects, which often focus on individual interests within the subject area of the extended course. For example, the student might want Honors credit for a literature course (LIT 201, for example) and might want to do a project that involves an in-depth study of epistolary writing to extend its relevance on a personal level.

General Procedure for Extended Courses
Students choose three courses of particular interest. Only courses that transfer to at least two of the three state universities as the same or equivalent courses (rather than as electives) may be taken for Honors credit. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the Honors Director. To take a course for Honors credit, the student initially enrolls in a regularly scheduled course. However, before registering for a class, it is wise to discuss the possibility of getting Honors credit; keep in mind that granting Honors credit is at the discretion of the Professor. Once the Professor has agreed and the student is registered, s/he then officially arranges with the Professor (by writing and signing a seminar contract) to take it for Honors credit. The contract explicitly details the expectations of the project to be completed. What follows below is the procedure for creating an Honors Extended Course.

In consultation with the Honors Director, the student must:

  1. Register for the regular course that meets the criteria for an Honors Extended Course.
  2. Register for an Honors Seminar (HNR 201, for example), which must be taken concurrently with the extended course. If the student is taking two Extended Courses, s/he must register for two Honors Seminars (HNR 201 and HNR 202, for example).
  3. Obtain the Extended Course Professor’s permission to take his/her course for Honors credit.
  4. Initiate the Contract for Honors Credit with the Extended Course Professor, the Honors Seminar Instructor and the campus Honors Director.
  5. Deliver completed contract to campus Honors Director within the first three weeks of class.

The campus Honors Program then:

  1. Completes a Class Schedule Request Form, which will generate the following: a) a new Section for Honors Course credit for the newly extended course and b) a new roster for the Extended Course Professor.
  2. Directs the Registrar to withdraw the student from the regular course and add the student to the Honors Extended Course.
  3. While completing these last steps, provide feedback to the student, Extended Course Professor and Seminar Instructor.

The Contract
The contract is the written record between the student and Extended Course Professor and makes explicit the following:

  • The type of project the student is expected to complete
  • The methods the student is expected to follow to complete the project,
  • The timeline the student is expected to follow.
  • The grading criteria for the project.
  • The consequences of an incomplete or unsatisfactory project.

The student initiates and negotiates the contract, which must be submitted to the Honors Director no later than the end of the third week of class. Late contracts are not accepted.

Honors Seminar
To graduate from the Honors Program, students take three Honors Seminar courses. The student arranges to take an Honors Extended course and also an Honors Seminar (HNR 201, for example). If the student is taking two Extended Courses, s/he must register for two Honors Seminars (HNR 201 and HNR 202, for example).

Each seminar is an intimate one-credit course that students take while concurrently enrolled in an Honors Extended course. Seminar classes are kept small so that students get sufficient one-to-one interaction with the Seminar Instructor. A primary purpose of the Honors Seminar is to provide direction and support to students as they take on the challenge of the course project that was delineated in the contract.

The Honors Seminar grade is based on the project and the oral presentation on the project as well as Seminar attendance and participation. The Honors Extended Course Professor and the Honors Seminar Professor consult and come to consensus on the student’s grade in the Seminar; it is a mutual decision between the Professors.

Course Projects
The project completed in fulfillment of an Extended Course contract must be more than simply a paper report. These projects—which are joint projects for the Extended Course and the Seminar—may be one of three major types or a combination of these types:

For In-Depth Library Research select from the following research methodologies: Secondary Data Analysis (Quantitative); Existing Statistics (Quantitative); Content Analysis (Either Quantitative or Qualitative, often combines both).

For a Field/Applied Research select from the following research methodologies: Experiments (Quantitative); Surveys (Quantitative); Interview (Qualitative); Observation (Usually Qualitative although can be Quantitative); Ethnography (Qualitative).

For a Creative Project, state what research methods (collection of photographs, composing songs, writings, paintings, etc.) you will use. State how you will address the research problem/questions/thesis. How are you contributing to this creative arena?