The University Honors Program offers CSUSB faculty two spaces in which to teach and mentor some of the campus’ highest achieving students. First, faculty can elect to teach in the Honors First Year Experience, which consists of four courses. Second, faculty can propose team-taught courses with colleagues from different colleges as part of our Junior Year Interdisciplinary Experience.
First Year Experience
The Honors First Year Experience is a cohort-model educational experience fur students entering the Honors Program as first-year students. It is comprised of four courses: first-year writing, critical thinking, oral communication, and the foundation seminar. Some of these are discipline specific, and, therefore, may not be available to all faculty. The Honors foundation seminar, however, is a space in which just about any faculty member might teach, provided they are comfortable trying the core pedagogy use in the class, Reacting to the Past. Any faculty interested in teaching in the First Year Experience should contact the Honors Program at the email address on the right side of this page.
Some basic guidelines govern the design of courses in the First Year Experience. The purpose of these guidelines is to ensure a base level of consistency across sections of the same course so that Honors students have a relatively common experience—thereby supporting the intent of the cohort model. Secondarily, these more specific guidelines offer faculty from different disciplines a basic understanding of what happens in the courses that they do not teach—thereby supporting the goal of promoting integrative learning. Each set of guidelines was written by faculty in the relevant discipline, though cross-disciplinary teams met to discuss strategies for encouraging metacognition and integrative learning across the curriculum.
Junior Year Interdisciplinary Inquiry Program
The University Honors Program’s Interdisciplinary Inquiry Program holds two goals. First, it advances students’ understanding of the ways in which distinct disciplines bring particular approaches to knowledge construction, while providing them with a space to explore ways those distinct methodologies can be brought together to address scientific, social, and cultural issues. Second, the program offers professional development opportunities for faculty interested in project-/problem-based learning and team-teaching pedagogies.
Goal 1: Integrative Learning
The Interdisciplinary Inquiry Program consists of pairs of courses in which students enroll concurrently. Each pair of courses is constructed around inquiry questions that can be addressed from distinct disciplinary perspectives that are brought together within the course. Those questions drive a course project that students complete partially on their own and partially in collaboration with their peers. The original conception of the concurrently enrolled classes was to dedicate the one course to discussion of materials and lecture, with the second being a space for students to work on collaborative projects that apply learning. Faculty, however, may choose to utilize the two paired courses as they deem best for their particular course topic and inquiry questions.
Goal 2: Professional Development
Faculty teams submitting successful proposals participate in a summer institute that provides them opportunity to design their course while participating in a professional learning community that explores the topics of project-/problem-based learning and team teaching. Institute participation will occur two summers prior to the year the course will be offered to afford time for the full review process (see below). Faculty participating in the institute will spend mornings exploring these pedagogical topics and afternoons working in their pairs on the design of their courses so that course-design is informed by learning.
The Course Pairs
The Interdisciplinary Inquiry Program offers students a choice of courses in three possible pairs. Each pair brings disciplines often housed in different colleges into conversation around a discrete topic and set of inquiry questions. Because these course pairs integrate disciplines situated in two of the three disciplinary domains (Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities), they must meet General Education expectations for each domain covered.
Faculty wishing to teach in the Interdisciplinary Inquiry Program must submit a proposal form with a colleague. Faculty needing help identifying a colleague may contact the University Honors Program for assistance.