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Published: February 11, 2019 Author: Emily Baxstrom


The OHIO Honors Program has had an eventful 2018–19 academic year; not only did the inaugural student cohort begin with 47 students, but nearly 50 faculty have attended workshops to learn how to build OHIO Honors components into their courses.

Through the OHIO Honors Course Enhancement Workshops, instructional designers guide participants through the process of developing a proposal for an Honors enhancement that would allow an existing course to be included in the OHIO Honors curriculum.

“It has been great to work with faculty from so many disciplines,” said Kyle Rosenberger, one of the workshop facilitators and instructional designer in the Office of Instructional Innovation. “I’ve really seen faculty benefit from looking at their courses through an OHIO Honors lens. The impact on the student experience will be significant.”

The workshops have proven helpful for attendees; the facilitators clearly explain goals and details of the program while they also show how it affects students’ education and learning experiences. “During the discussion led by the instructional designers, I got a lot of ideas for what I might consider and what I’d surely avoid,” said Kevin Uhalde, associate professor of history. “Talking in terms of design with them was especially useful for thinking about what I would and wouldn’t do with an entire class versus an enhancement.”

Faculty have submitted formal proposals to help create innovative OHIO Honors learning experiences to undergraduates from all Ohio University majors. Read some concrete examples of what faculty have proposed thus far:

Ilana Chertok, Nursing
Ilana Chertok, professor and associate director of nursing research and scholarship, proposed creating a track of courses for a three-year nursing progression plan (Nursing Honors Track) and enhancing select courses with higher-level research learning activities (e.g., evidence-based practice in nursing). She also pinpointed where Honors courses could introduce students to the research process using an interdisciplinary approach.

Margaux Cowden, the director of the OHIO Honors Program, worked with Chertok to create approaches to identify Honors courses that could be adapted for the health sciences and social sciences students for a more broad and inclusive interdisciplinary experience. Chertok mentioned the most time-consuming part of creating the Honors track in nursing was simply gathering the course information from the instructors and program directors.
“Meeting with Margaux to review courses and program enhancement ideas was extremely beneficial,” said Chertok. “She guided me in the specific OHIO vision of the Honors track and provided excellent feedback.”

Yeong Kim, Geography
Yeong Kim, associate professor of geography, proposed that her GEOG 3290 students choose a country of focus and conduct a time-series analysis focusing on the country’s trade with the U.S. and foreign investment. They then will give an in-class presentation to synthesize and communicate what they learned about their country’s position in a rapidly changing global economy.

Kim said that designing the first course enhancement required a meaningful time commitment, but she expects future proposals will take much less time to complete. “I was very confident my Honors students would benefit academically and socially from their assignments and in-class presentation,” she said. “I have had Honors Tutorial College students before, but I am supportive of the OHIO Honors Program because it broadens the pool of students eligible for it.”

Kevin Uhalde, History
Kevin Uhalde, associate professor of history and history pre-law advisor, proposed that his HIST 3531 students look at peer-reviewed articles to get a sense of how scholars approach a topic. They would read and outline a couple of these to study how scholars make arguments and present evidence when writing for other scholars; they identify something about this topic that matters to scholars and should matter to the general public as well.

“I knew quickly that I’d rather have students from different disciplines find ways to connect scholarly knowledge to popular or common knowledge, than to have them emulate historical scholarship in a research paper,” said Uhalde. He also added now that he has one course enhancement planned, it would take less time to create enhancements for his other courses.

Dr. Robert Williams, Mechanical Engineering
Robert Williams, professor and assistant chair in mechanical engineering, ended up submitting two similar proposals for undergraduates in the OHIO Honors program. He will enhance his EE/ME 4290 and ME 4670 courses so the students must complete an intensive semester-long independent capstone term project. The capstone project is intended for the student to apply principles learned in class to a real-world robotics problem, whereas non-Honors students do not have such a project.

“This will require deeper, more complex treatment and learning of the biomechanics materials, as well as undergraduate research, which is a major interest of the Russ College of Engineering and Technology,” said Williams. He noted the ideas for his course revisions came easily and that fitting his intentions into the OHIO Honors Program was painless.

Read Kim, Uhalde, and Williams’s proposals.



For those interested in getting involved, visit the OHIO Honors Course Enhancement Workshops web page. There are two more workshops left this spring semester:

  • February 21, 1:00–5:00 p.m.
  • March 19 and March 26 (split session), 9:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.


The deadline to RSVP for a workshop is 24 hours before it is scheduled to begin. Faculty who attend a workshop and submit a formal proposal receive $400 in compensation. Faculty who offer an OHIO Honors course enhancement also will be eligible for future benefits, such as the opportunity to apply for an undergraduate research apprentice.

“In the workshop I attended, both colleagues and remuneration helped justify a few solid hours of solid focus for my proposal,” said Uhalde. “Once the workshop was over, I wanted to hammer out a proposal as soon as possible.”