Guidelines for Developing HLBC

The main goal for the HLBC is to develop a semester-long project or series of tasks that equate to at least 30 and up to 45 hours (at least two hours a week) of value-added Honors work. The proposal must present a set of assignments or approaches to learning that is the equivalent of making the entire course into an Honors experience for the student, and run for the entire length of the semester. Thus the proposal design should put forth assignments or tasks that effectively transform the course, are substantive, and require concrete submissions or performance elements to be completed at specified intervals.

All Honors Learning-by-Contract projects should include the following:

  1. Research: Because written engagement with ideas is the common currency of academia, it is expected that your Honors contract will include some written work, though the degree and kind will vary from contract to contract. The HLBC project cannot be a research paper by itself. If a paper is one part of a proposed project, it should be at least 10-12 typed, doubled-spaced pages.
  2. Public Scholarship: Every HLBC should, except for when it is not possible, include a provision for a wider dissemination of the results of the student project, either through an in-class presentation, a presentation at an end-of-the-semester class presentation day, an Undergraduate Research Forum, before a body of faculty, or in some other appropriate setting. The goals is two-fold: get your research out to a broad audience and to get broader feedback. See below.
  3. Sustained Faculty Engagement: Student and faculty must maintain sustained engagement with regular independent meetings at least 4-5 times throughout the semester to discuss and evaluate progress of the project.
  4. Timeline: All HLBCs must include a detailed schedule/timeline with check-in meetings and specific project requirements/components due at various intervals throughout the semester. An HLBC is not something that can or should be done all at once or at the end of the semester, thus undermining the integrity of a semester-long experience.
  5. Deeper Disciplinary and Professional Focus: Students are encouraged to pursue projects that will enable them to explore a particular topic of interest in significant depth. Through HLBC, students should seek to further their knowledge and skills within their majors/minors, investigate potential capstone topics, or enhance professional development related to academic and career goals.
  6. Reflection: Throughout the semester, student and faculty should reflect on student development and progress. At the end of the semester, student will submit the Honors Learning-by-Contract Evaluation Form, including a one-page reflective summary of their work.

Public Scholarship

For those looking for a readily-available outlet to present their work, the Office of Undergraduate Research sponsors a presentation day and all you have to do is put this into your Contract and register with our two coordinators in Honors (Megan Boyer, who handles HLBCs, and Ava Drayton, who handles research programs) and they will work with you to get properly registered and secure your spot.

Below is the information for the current semester’s program and several prep sessions from OUR that may be helpful:

Workshops – Throughout the semester. OUR offers live 60-minute virtual workshops and discussions throughout the semester for students at all levels! Topics include:

  • How to write an abstract/artist statement
  • Designing your visual research message – posters and Powerpoints
  • Creating video presentations to communicate your research
  • How reference librarians can be helpful to your work
  • And more!

Dates and times are posted on the OUR website.