CANs List

Curriculum Action Notice


Academic Affairs Committee


Oct. 6th, 2009

This is a bulletin from the Academic Affairs Committee concerning proposed curricular actions. Please forward any comments or concerns in the next 10 days to the AAC chair, Jeffrey Bossworth , 206 Pinecrest Manor, ext. 4762.




Rationale for change:  Several updates need to be made to the rules and regulations of the Honors Program to allow for more effective and relevant curriculum, to increase retention, and to enhance the interdisciplinary and experiential components necessary to an Honors education.  An outdated Field Study course will be replaced with a more relevant and accessible Senior Project Seminar course focused on enhancing the interdisciplinary and experiential components of the Senior Project.  Many of the other included changes have been effectively in place for years but have not been included in the catalog.  This change seeks to make those policies explicit. 


List all changes:

  1. A semester of Study Abroad approved by the Study Abroad coordinator will replace one Honors course.  Selection of replaced Honors course will be decided by the Program Director.

    Studying abroad embodies many of the core educational principles of the Honors Program, including: experiential learning, critical thinking, discussion-based learning, and an emphasis on original texts/experiments/documents.  Students who undertake such an experience should be allowed to receive Honors credit for their foreign studies.  Students should not feel like studying abroad will jeopardize their ability to successfully complete the Honors Program, but rather they should be encouraged to undertake such a valuable learning experience.

  2. DELETE HON 3301 – Field Study (3 cr.)
    ADD                       HON 4495 (1 cr.) – Honors Senior Project Seminar.

    Rationale: This course will replace HON 3301, the 3 credit Field Study requirement, which is no longer relevant to the Honors Program as a whole due to staffing changes and redundancies in several departmental curricula.  HON 3302 serves a need to consult regularly with Honors students working on their senior project (HON 4497).  The quality of these senior projects has varied widely, and this course serves to establish common standards of research, citation, writing and presentation.  The course will take place as a colloquium and provide an opportunity for students working on independent projects to share ideas and experiences with other students in similar situations.  This will serve to motivate and challenge students, and will provide a variety of models for their papers and presentations.  Furthermore, replacing HON 3301 with HON 3302 will increase the persistence rate within the Honors Program by providing a course that is more relevant, and far more available.  A high number of Honors students drop out of the program immediately before taking HON 3301 because the only section offered conflicts with required upper departmental courses, because the course does not satisfy any general education requirements, or because the student does not see any relevance to their own coursework.  HON 3302 corrects those problems by being offered at a time arranged by the instructor and the enrolled students, by being only one credit instead of three, and by addressing directly the student’s own research interests.

  3. As a result of the course substitution listed above, the overall number of credits required to complete the Honors Program is reduced from 24 to 22.

  4. First-year Honors students are required to participate in the Mansfield Outstanding Honors Buddy (MOHB) program.  Each MOHB will consist of a small group of first-year Honors students led by one or two returning Honors students and will meet at least ten times each semester.  First-year students who miss more than two meetings each semester will be removed from the Honors Program. 

    – Small, student-led groups will improve the Honors Program’s sense of community, promote the core educational values of the Honors Program, increase the Program’s visibility in the university community, and provide a framework in which to create student-led service activities to the university at large.  Furthermore, it is hoped that this project will decrease attrition from the first to the second year within the Honors Program.

  5. Students may use the Honors Elective Contract system to substitute for no more than one of their Honors Electives.  In this system, the student works with the instructor of a non-Honors course before the semester begins to specify an additional educational experience that will be completed in addition to the stated course requirements.  The contract must be approved by the student, the instructor, and the Honors Director before the semester begins.  Upon completion of the course, the student must obtain a signature from the instructor indicating that the additional educational experience specified in the contract was completed, and submit this to the Honors Director, at which point the student will receive Honors Elective Credit for that course.

    Rationale – This allows students a far wider choice of coursework while maintaining many of the Honors educational criteria.  Ideally, students will utilize this course to explore a subject in which they are interested, and undertake a supplementary project that will encourage experiential learning, analysis, creativity and critical thought.

 Program Description for Catalog (if changed):

The Honors Program at Mansfield University is a 22-credit multi disciplinary academic program with an emphasis on experiential learning, discussion-based courses, critical thinking, and featuring innovative course work, small class sizes, challenging subjects and opportunities for cultural enrichment. This program is designed for students with a consistent record of academic achievement and a desire for new and exciting learning experiences which allows students to apply their knowledge across academic disciplines. It is the goal of the Honors Program to provide students with the skills and opportunities to achieve their full potential during their academic career at Mansfield University. Honors students are expected to make continual progress each semester in completing their Honors Program to remain in Good standing. Mansfield University is a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) and the Northeast Regional Honors Council (NRHC).

The Honors Program offers a dynamic learning environment that includes unique courses, collaborative and individual research projects and experiential educational experiences. Honors Program students are required to complete four specially designed core courses, two honors electives, a Senior Honors Research Project and a Honors Research Project Seminar. The electives, representing a cross-section of the liberal arts and sciences, change each semester.

Students may join the Honors Program any of three ways. First, students who demonstrate superior high school achievement as reflected on SAT scores, GPA and class rank are invited to accept admission into the Honors Program during Freshman Orientation by the Department of Admissions.  Secondly, freshman who exhibit strong academic potential during their first semester are invited to join on the basis of Mansfield University faculty recommendation. Finally, students who have completed their freshmen year and have demonstrated strong academic achievement can forward a formal written request to the Honors Program Director to be considered for admission.

Honors students must maintain a 3.0 in their Honors courses QPA and overall QPA as well as make continual progress in fulfilling Honors requirements. There are two required events for ALL Honors students during EACH academic year. These are the Informational Meetings the first week of both fall and spring semesters.  Missing any of these required events, without a reason acceptable to the Honors Program Director, will cause a student to be dismissed from the Honors Program.  Furthermore, first-year Honors students are required to participate in the Mansfield Outstanding Honors Buddy System (MOHBS) in which 5-8 first-year Honors students (a MOHB) meet regularly with a returning Honors student (the MOHB Boss).  Each MOHB meets a minimum of 8 times each semester, and first-year students may not miss more than 2 meetings or be dismissed from the Honors Program.  MOHB’s work on group projects, create service projects, acclimate students to Mansfield University, and provide a support structure for first-year Honors students.

A student whose grades fall below 3.0 in either their Honors QPA or overall QPA is placed on Honors Probation. The student is given one semester to improve their QPA, should the QPA (overall or honors) not be raised to a minimum of 3.0 by the following semester, the student may be given a second opportunity if there are extenuating circumstances. Any student not meeting the minimum QPA (either Honors or overall) at that time is dismissed from the Program. A student who falls below 3.00 in their Honors QPA and does not take an Honors course to raise that QPA would still be below the required standard and still be dismissed. Dismissal from the Honors Program has no impact upon student enrollment at the University. Honors Probation prohibits students from receiving Priority Scheduling or qualifying for any Honors Program awards.

After you are admitted you will be assigned to an Honors Advisor who will assist you with your progress in the Program. The Honor Advisor helps with the student’s General Education program so that it is both relevant to the student’s interests and meets graduation requirements. If you should decide to leave the Program you would not lose any of your earned Honors credits. Those credits would still appear on your transcript and count as fulfilling your General Education requirements.

There are a large number of benefits associated with membership. The Honors Program is compatible with Mansfield University departmental majors. Almost all Honors courses count in fulfilling the General Education Block Requirements. The Honors Program Director and Honors Advisors assist students in working with scheduling situations. Honor Program students register for classes at the beginning of each registration period. Upon the successful completion of your fourth Honors course, you will be awarded your Honors Sweater. Upon the successful completion of your sixth Honors course, you will be awarded your Honors Pin. Upon completion of the Program, you will be awarded your Honors Medallion.

Furthermore, Honor students are eligible for tuition-reimbursement awards and study grants including annual MU Foundation Awards, QPA Book Awards, and two full scholarships to attend the five-week Summer Honors Program of the State System of Higher Education which earns each participant six University Honors credits. Past programs have included Russia, Austria, Scotland, South Africa, Ecuador, England, Costa Rica, France and a European Tour. Graduating Honors students are formally recognized at Commencement when Honor Medallions are presented. The Honors Study room is available for Honors Program students only and is located in North Hall Library. Upon graduation from the University, each Honors Program student completing their MU Degree Program witha minimum 3.00 total QPA will have featured on his/her transcript: “this student has successfully completed the University Honors Program with Honors”. Each student with a minimum 3.50 total QPA in their Honors courses and a minimum 3.25 total QPA will have noted: “This student has completed the University Honors Program with Distinction.” Honors students participate in university field trips, attend cultural events, network with other Honors students as well as attend other get-togethers planned by members of Honors Council.

The Honors Program is administered by the Honors Program Director and Honors Council. The Director is appointed by the Provost (Vice-president for Academic Affairs). The Honors Council consists of multiple faculty members from various academic disciplines who act as Honors Program Advisors to Honors Program students. The Honors Program Director is assisted by the Honors Program Secretary.

For any additional information regarding the Honors Program, contact the Honors Program Director: Dr. Benjamin Moritz at (570) 662-4727 or




Purpose and Nature of Course: HON 4495 is a small seminar for students working on their Honors senior projects.  The course will address project organization and planning tools, citation methods, presentation skills, and provide a venue for students to share with each other their progress and research.  A particular focus will be on finding relevant venues in which to present their findings, especially those applicable to the larger community be it local, regional, or state-wide.

Prefix: __HON_________    Number: ___4495_________   CIP:__________________

Course Title: _Honors Senior Project Seminar____________________________

Abbreviated Title (for Master Schedule), Maximum 20 spaces

HonorsSrSeminar__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

Credits (Place number of credits beside appropriate types)

Credit(s) _1___ Undergraduate                               


Course Description for Catalog (limit to four sentences): To be taken in conjunction with (or the semester before, if necessary) the Honors Senior Project (HON 4497) to assist students in effectively presenting the findings of their projects.  Students will create project outlines, study citation methods, improve their presentation skills, and receive feedback from their classmates and their instructor.  Specific attention will be paid to creating engaging and interactive presentations and examining various off-campus and non-traditional venues in which to present student findings.


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