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Teaching with the Pennoni Honors College

Thank you so much for your interest in teaching a course at the Pennoni Honors College. We invite you to explore the different avenues of teaching with PHC in the sections below.

Honors Program

Honors courses offer a distinctive learning environment which provides “measurably broader, deeper, and more complex learning-centered and learner-directed experiences for its students than are available elsewhere in the institution” (National Collegiate Honors Council, 2013). Common modes of Honors learning typically include elements of research and creative scholarship ("learning in depth"), breadth and enduring questions ("multi- or interdisciplinary learning"), service learning and leadership, or experiential learning.

Courses are scheduled one year in advance. Those who wish to be considered to teach in the Honors Program in the year ahead are encouraged to submit their Honors course proposal through the form below by April 1st.

Honors Course Offerings

There are three types of Honors courses typically offered at the university:

Honors Sections

These courses are small, discussion-based classes that provide an enriching experience to a student’s Drexel education. Honors sections are only open to students in the Honors Program. Honors sections can be listed under HNRS, the Honors College subject code, or any non-HNRS discipline where there may be a high concentration of Honors students.

HNRS Courses

  • Honors First-Year Seminar (1 credit; Fall Only): The Honors First-year seminar courses are small, discussion-based classes that encourage new first-year students to engage in topics related to the yearly Symposium theme. This course is intended to be a steppingstone to Honors Colloquia.
  • Great Works (1 credit): Great Works are one-credit courses designed for an in-depth exploration, reading, discussion, or analysis of a singular great work of literature, art, film, scientific discovery, cultural artifact, etc., over the course of a term in a small group setting.
  • Honors Colloquia (3 credits): Honors Colloquia courses provide a forum for students to engage with Drexel faculty and Visiting Scholars across a variety of topics and issues. The content of these courses often combine multiple disciplines and perspectives. Exact course titles and description will vary.
  • The Symposium (3 credits): The Symposium is an interdisciplinary course series organized by a yearly theme. It is intended to explore subjects of the broadest possible interest and greatest societal impact. This course series focuses on developing in students the active skills of interdisciplinary inquiry: critical thinking, methodological creativity, synthesis of information across fields, communication and collaboration among disciplines, and application of knowledge. Past themes include: disaster, fashion, democracy, waste, and aging. The Symposium series is open to all students throughout Drexel.

To see examples the unique Honors sections we’ve offered, view the Web Term Master Schedule to see courses from the previous and current year. To navigate:

  • Select a term
  • Select ‘Pennoni Honors College’ from the left-hand panel
  • Select ‘Honors Program (HNRS)’
  • Full course descriptions are available by clicking the CRN hyperlink next to the course title of interest

Blended Sections

A blended section combines two or more sections (either across disciplines or in the same discipline) wherein at least one section is taught at the Honors level. These are structured as a crosslisted group with the HONC attribute applied to the Honors-level section.

The enrollment distribution and the compensation structure for these courses is determined jointly between the Honors College and the non-Honors offering department.

Teaching a blended Honors/non-Honors class presents challenges beyond those of teaching an all-Honors section. The goal is to engage Honors students in a deeper, more focused learning that reaches somewhat beyond the experience of their non-Honors peers in the same classroom.

View the Guidelines of Instructors of Blended Sections here.

Honors Option Projects

Student-designed, Honors-worthy projects that are embedded in upper division non-Honors courses. Honors Option projects are ideal for one or two Honors students in a given section. For faculty, this is a non-compensated project oversight role, similar to an independent study.

  • If more Honors students in a section wish to complete a class for Honors credit, a blended section or Honors section (depending on demand) may be the better choice. Please contact the Honors Program to discuss the right avenue for your unique situation.
  • To read more on the Honors Option process and timeline, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are proposals selected?
The Honors Program strives to offer a selection of courses each term that are diverse in discipline and that may be of interest to students across all majors at the university. When reviewing proposals each year, multiple factors come into play. These include:

  • Course Design: Has the course been designed as a small-seminar style discussion class? Is it open to all majors at the university (i.e., are there pre-requisites or major restrictions)? Is the curriculum designed for all students operating at the Honors-level or is this a blended section?
  • Budget Availability: Is the course funded entirely through the Honors budget? In-load for another department? 50/50? We have a limited budget each term and can only financially sponsor or co-sponsor so many courses within our budgetary constraints.
  • Student Need/Accessibility: We are always looking for new and creative ways to help students earn Honors credits while also completing coursework required within their major. We leverage creative course offerings to meet the needs of our students in ways that best serve them financially, from a scheduling perspective, and in ways that satisfies their intellectual curiosity.
  • Strategic enrollment/partnerships: Partnering with the Honors Program is a great way to maximize reach and enroll more students into a course that has vacancies. To maintain the quality and intentionality of our program, it is our goal for departments to consider opportunities to partner with Honors strategically and proactively, rather than as a last-minute crutch.

How is compensation structured?
Adjunct faculty members and university staff are compensated directly for their efforts since they do not have a teaching obligation as part an existing employment contract.

For full-time Drexel Faculty, how this will count in your workload will really depend on the each individual situation. To determine which financial model is right for your course, we will talk to you about the needs of Honors, the needs of your home department, and, of course, budget availability. Depending on the needs of Honors and your home department, we can consider:

  • In load: Course counts towards faculty's teaching obligations in home department and are financed by the home department. Faculty teaching in load are not compensated beyond their original contract salary by the Honors College.
  • Out of load: Course does not count as part of faculty teaching obligations in home department and the faculty member is compensated directly through the Honors College.
  • Course buyout: Honors can pay your home department directly in order to buy your effort to teach an Honors course. In this scenario, the course counts towards a faculty's teaching obligations but is financed through the Honors College. Rather than compensating faculty directly (out of load), funds are transferred from the Honors budget to the home department to cover faculty effort.
  • Cost-share: In cases of crosslisted or blended sections, the Honors College and the home department can determine an enrollment distribution and funding split that is reasonable and appropriate for both departments.

What happens if my proposal is not accepted for the term/year I proposed?
Course offering decisions are made based on student need, budget availability, and strategic balance of discipline areas. Due to these factors, we are not able to run every course that is proposed. If your proposal is not selected for the term/year in which you proposed, we will contact you to let you know that we either could not accept your proposal at this time or, alternatively, we may ask to retain your proposal if an opening becomes available within the year. Otherwise, we encourage you to submit a proposal again the following year.

How long will the Honors College retain my proposal?
Course proposals are only retained for the academic year for which they are proposed. If you wish to be considered for a teaching opportunity in the following year, you must resubmit your proposal.

I still have questions. Who can I contact?
Email us at! Either the Program Director, Dr. Kevin Egan, or the Assistant Director of Academic Operations, Lauren Davis, will respond to your inquiry in a timely manner.

The Symposium

Each year, faculty members from across the University are selected to work in interdisciplinary pairs to co-teach six courses designed to elaborate different dimensions of the broader, unifying Symposium theme. Its intent is to explore subjects of the broadest possible interest and greatest societal impact. While the yearly theme and individual course topics change, one mainstay of the Symposium is that it consistently fosters interdisciplinary learning through both curricular and co-curricular opportunities.

The Symposium theme for the 2023-24 Academic Year is "GAMES." View the full details about the Symposium and the theme’s full description on the program webpage. Faculty members may either identify their own interdisciplinary partner to propose a course for consideration or, alternatively, they may elect to participate in the Course Proposal Networking Session (held in early Spring).

If you are interested in taking part in this unique teaching opportunity, consider submitting a course proposal for review. Here’s how it works:

  • Identify a potential interdisciplinary co-instructor
    An interdisciplinary co-instructor simply means someone with a different academic background or expertise than you.

    Don’t have an interdisciplinary co-instructor yet? No problem!
    Faculty interested in teaching for the Symposium but in need of an interdisciplinary co-instructor attend the Course Proposal Networking Session to identify a potential partnership. If a co-instructor is successfully identified following the session, the faculty pair may then submit their official course proposal for consideration prior to the April 1st deadline. The networking session is required if you propose a course without a co-instructor!
  • Register for the 2023 Course Proposal Networking Session now by submitting the Symposium Course Proposal Form and following prompts by Friday, February 24, 2023. 
  • Plan to attend the Friday, March 3, 2023 networking session!

Already have a co-instructor in mind? Great!
Faculty who have already identified an interdisciplinary co-instructor may submit their official course proposal for consideration any time prior to the April 1st deadline. Depending on the proposal, faculty may be asked to revise or potentially attend the Course Proposal Networking Session.

If your course proposal is selected…

  • Attend the Symposium Faculty Kick-off Event in Summer
  • Prepare for your upcoming course!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Course Proposal Networking Session?

The Course Proposal Networking Session is an opportunity for faculty/adjuncts interested in teaching with the Symposium to meet peers from other discipline areas with the goal of locating an interdisciplinary co-instructor with whom to propose a course. The session offers an opportunity for structured introductions and discussion of course ideas within the year’s theme. Each faculty member will submit their preferred pairings to PHC staff who will complete the matching process. Once faculty have received their suggested interdisciplinary match from PHC staff, the pair may choose to submit a course proposal for consideration by the April 1 deadline.

What if my course proposal is not selected?

If your proposal is not selected for the term/year in which you proposed, we will contact you to let you know that we either could not accept your proposal at this time or, alternatively, we may ask to retain your proposal in the event that an opening becomes available within the year.

I still have questions. Who can I contact?

Please contact Dr. Katie Barak, Associate Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry (CII), via email at Dr. Barak directs the Symposium and can answer any questions you may have.