To be a student in good standing with the Honors Program you must:
after the first year, have a college GPA of at least 3.2 and preferably have completed two of the required four Great Issues seminars. Students whose college GPA is below 3.0 will be dropped from the Program, while those with GPAs between 3.0 and 3.2 will be placed on probation.
after the second year, have a college GPA of at least 3.35 and have completed at least three of the required four Great Issues seminars. Students whose college GPA is below 3.2 will be dropped from the Program, while those with GPAs between 3.2 and 3.35 or who have not completed at least three of the required seminars will be placed on probation.
after the third year, have a college GPA of at least 3.45, have completed all four of the required Great Issues seminars, and have submitted a Thesis Registry form (see Appendix B) to the Honors Director. To complete the Thesis Registry form, students must previously have decided the subject and tentative title of their thesis, and have assembled a Thesis Committee consisting of an Albion faculty member to serve as Thesis Director and at least two other faculty members to serve as additional readers. Students whose college GPA is below 3.4 will be dropped from the Program, while those with GPAs between 3.4 and 3.45 or who have not completed all four of the required seminars or have not submitted a Thesis Registry form will be placed on probation.
To graduate with Albion College Honors you must have a college GPA of at least 3.50, have completed all four Honors seminars, and have completed an acceptable Honors thesis and submitted it to the Honors Committee by the required deadline.
Transfer Students: If you come into the Honors Program as a transfer student, you must meet the GPA requirement for your equivalent class (e.g., if you come in as a junior, at the end of your first year at Albion you must meet the GPA requirement of 3.45). Transfer students often are eligible to take fewer than four Great Issues seminars; meet with the Honors Director to learn what you need.
To complete the Honors Program, you must take four Honors Great Issues seminars. Each seminar is designed to provide you with a broad interdisciplinary introduction to a Mode of Inquiry. Although each Honors professor is free to create his or her own unique seminar, all seminars have some common characteristics designed to appeal to broad-based students such as yourself who value independent thought and who possess academic maturity and discipline.
Information about Honors seminars:
First, all Honors seminars are interdisciplinary in nature. They challenge you to think beyond the normal bounds of disciplinary courses and to see the interconnections between different disciplines.
Second, all seminars require an extensive amount of reading, writing, and class discussion. You are encouraged to think for yourself, to formulate your own ideas about the material, and to stand ready to defend and modify your ideas as you interact with your fellow students both in class and, in some courses, in out-of-class computer network discussion groups.
Third, your grades in HSP seminars are based primarily on the quality of your class discussions and written work, not on traditional examinations.
All seminars for the Honors Program must be taken for a numerical grade.
All students at Albion must complete the basic Core Curriculum, which includes at least one course in each of the five Modes of Inquiry courses, at least one course in each of the four Categories, and a distribution of courses (at least one from Fine Arts, two from Humanities, two from Social Sciences, and two from Natural Science and Math). Each Honors seminar fulfills a Mode of Inquiry. Students in Honors can satisfy several of their required Modes of Inquiry and part of their distribution requirement for graduation with Honors seminars.
To guide Honors students in their selection of Great Issues seminars, the following numbering system is used to indicate the Division and the Mode of Inquiry for any given course:
|HSP 12xH - Natural Science & Math||HSP 1x1H - Textual Analysis|
|HSP 13xH - Humanities||HSP 1x2H - Artistic Creation & Analysis|
|HSP 15xH - Social Sciences||HSP 1x3H - Scientific Analysis|
|HSP 17xH - Fine Art||HSP 1x4H - Modeling and Analysis|
|HSP 1x5H - Historical and Cultural|
Currently there are two ways by which students can complete their four courses in Honors:
Each Honors course fulfills a Modes of Inquiry, so students in the Honors Program may satisfy as many as four of their Modes of Inquiry with Honors classes.
|HSP 12xH||Great Issues in Science||(1)||Fall, Spring|
|A seminar for Honors Program students in which they read and discuss classic and modern works in the history, philosophy, methodology and ethics of science and technology. All seminars fulfill one of the Modes of Inquiry requirements of the College's core curriculum.|
|HSP 13xH||Great Issues in Humanities||(1)||Fall, Spring|
|A seminar for Honors Program students in which they read and discuss classic and modern works of philosophers and humanists. All seminars fulfill one of the Modes of Inquiry requirements of the College's core curriculum.|
|HSP 15xH||Great Issues in Social Science||(1)||Fall, Spring|
|A seminar for Honors Program students in which they read and discuss classic and modern works on methodology, philosophy and policy issues in the social sciences. All seminars fulfill one of the Modes of Inquiry requirements of the College's core curriculum.|
|HSP 17xH||Great Issues in Fine Arts||(1)||Fall, Spring|
|A seminar for Honors Program students in which they explore, through representative readings, exhibits, concerts, performances and lectures, major issues in the development of the fine arts: the relationship between the artist and society, the evolution of critical theory in the arts, and the nature of creativity. Individual courses may focus on the visual arts, music, theater, film or dance. All seminars fulfill one of the Modes of Inquiry requirements of the College's core education curriculum.|
The following section has been freely adapted from chapter 16 of Getting What You Came For by Robert Peters. You can find a copy of the original book in the Honors Observatory Library.
An honors thesis is a piece of original research or creative activity that adds to the general body of knowledge in a discipline or to the body of work in the creative arts. Originality may mean that the thesis tries to uncover new facts or principles, suggest relationships that were previously unrecognized, challenge existing truths or assumptions, afford new insights into little understood phenomena, or suggest new interpretations of known facts.
For many students, the word originality in conjunction with their thesis produces a kind of paralysis. How can I do anything original? Knowledge is something that I have always been trained to acquire from others, not produce on my own! But, originality does NOT mean that you must come up with a Nobel or Pulitzer Prize-winning research idea or creation. Most original work builds upon similar work done by other previous researchers or artists. For example, if a sociology student comes across an interesting study on the effects of long-term unemployment on family structure in a large city like Detroit, her original research might consist of using the same techniques to study the effects of unemployment in a small town such as Albion. Similarly, using existing artistic techniques to examine new subject matter such as the autobiographical details of a student's own life would add an original element to the creative thesis project.
If you chose to do a research-based thesis, it may help if you think of the thesis as the answer to a research question rather than as just a written report on research. To begin the process of writing a thesis, you must therefore begin by finding a thesis question, i.e., a question that is intriguing enough that you are willing to take a year or so in answering it. Thinking of questions will help you to see the thesis as the outgrowth of an investigational process. You begin with a major question, develop subordinate questions that help you answer it, and plan, refine and carry out research to answer these questions.
Although most Honors students begin the formal preparation for writing their thesis at the beginning of their junior year, the sooner you begin to search for a thesis topic, the better. So, start looking for a thesis topic right now. If you start the process of search right away, you can begin to generate thesis ideas from your classes, the books and articles you read, and your discussions with professors. You never know what stray bit of information — such as a teacher mentioning in class that "little is known about this subject" — may lead you to a topic. Only if you are thinking about doing research will you be receptive to thesis ideas when they are presented. Also, as you begin generating ideas about possible thesis topics, it is a good practice to start a thesis idea file.
The advantage of identifying a topic early in your academic career is that you can then take additional courses to prepare you for actually doing the thesis. You can also turn class term papers into preliminary explorations of parts of your research topic and have the option of planning your off-campus experience with your Honors thesis research in mind. Finally, you can apply to Albion's own Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (FURSCA) for summer support so that you can stay on campus during the summer to work one-on-one with your faculty mentor on your research or creative project.
Since most original research or creative activity builds upon similar work done by others, one way to come up with possible thesis topics is to study other theses, papers or other works in areas that interest you. A good way to get a perspective on writing a thesis is to go to the Honors Library and examine the theses of recent Honors graduates in the area(s) in which you are thinking of working. It is a good idea to notice not only the themes but also the structure of the theses, their length and organization. Check to see which professors served on the thesis committees to get ideas about faculty members you might ask to be on your committee. Note that some theses are of better quality than others; use the best theses as models. Finally, look to see if any of the theses have won the Edmund and Kathleen Jenkins Award or Outstanding Thesis Award, given to the best theses written in any given year.
In many fields, particularly in the sciences, a professor may suggest a piece of his or her own research for your thesis. In the humanities or fine arts, where research or creation is usually an individual effort, many students still end up doing theses suggested by advisors. Therefore, instead of thinking of yourself as Einstein or Picasso, think of yourself as an apprentice, learning techniques and ways of thinking from your advisor and other professors. Use your professors. Ask for help early in the thesis development process. Tell them you want to get a head start on identifying a thesis area. Ask them what are the hot areas in their field, and what were the best theses written in the past few years. Do they have projects connected with their own research or creative activity that would make good theses?
Do not worry if, before you start actively searching for a topic, nothing seems to interest you. Interest seldom emerges from thinking about topics in a vacuum. Students have an amazing ability to become interested in almost anything once they are working on it.
Finally, several off-campus programs may be of relevance for Honors students who are looking for research projects that can then be brought back to campus and used as the basis for their Honors thesis. Two programs that have proven to be of particular help to Honors students are the Newberry Library Program for students in the humanities and social sciences, and the Oak Ridge Program for students in the sciences and social sciences.
The Thesis Development Colloquy is a 1/4 unit seminar that is taught each semester and is open to Honors juniors and second semester sophomores. The purpose of the colloquy is to guide you through the process of finding and developing a thesis topic and of assembling a thesis committee. Honors sophomores and juniors who register for the Colloquy may take up to 4-3/4 units in the semester in which they are enrolled without additional tuition charge. Although this seminar is not required of all Honors students, it is strongly recommended for Honors students who by the first semester of their junior year have not yet come up with a thesis topic on their own.
Once you have found a thesis topic, it is time to assemble your thesis committee. This committee consists of your thesis advisor, i.e., the Albion faculty member with whom you will work most closely in researching and writing your thesis, and two other Albion instructors who will serve as additional readers. Also, you are encouraged to find, with the help of your committee, an off-campus reviewer for the thesis. When such a reviewer is used, his or her comments will be for your use only and will play no role in determining the acceptability of your thesis.
After you have formed your committee, you must file a Thesis Registry form with the Honors coordinator with the signatures of each committee member. The 1st deadline for filing this form is April 30 of your junior year, no later than September 15 of your senior year. If, subsequently, you decide to make a change in your committee, a revised Thesis Registry form must be filed.
In forming your committee, you would do well to consider the following advice: when possible, pick faculty members with whom you believe you can establish a comfortable working relation and would be supportive of your efforts — professors you already know through classroom or other contacts. Also, talk to Honors seniors who are writing in your area for advice in forming a committee. Finally, go to the Honors library to see which faculty members have directed successful theses in your area before.
When writing your thesis, it is your responsibility to keep in contact with all members of your committee, not just your thesis advisor. All committee members will want to make sure that the final product meets their own standards for quality before they approve the final draft even though they may never have insisted that you communicate with them during the writing process. It is up to you to hand them drafts of thesis sections as you produce them and to solicit their suggestions for improvement. If you do so, you will not only end up with a higher quality final thesis product, but you will also insure that there are no unpleasant surprises at the end. If you do not keep contact with your committee and instead surprise them with a final draft of your thesis two weeks before the deadline, they may in turn surprise you with demands for substantial revisions that may be difficult or even impossible to complete in the time that remains.
Normally, you will begin serious research or creation for your thesis by the second semester of your junior year by enrolling for 1/2 units of Honors Thesis credit (HSP 422H) under the supervision of your thesis advisor. The research and writing process then continues during your senior year when you will normally enroll for an additional 1/2 to 1 unit of thesis writing credit each semester. In the semesters that you register for thesis writing credit, you may take up to 5 total units of classes without additional tuition charge. The deadline for thesis completion is April 1 for May graduates and December 1 for December graduates.
Each year in the middle of April, the Elkin Isaac Student Research Symposium is held in which students have the opportunity to report the results of their research or creation to the College community. While there is no formal requirement that you present the results of your thesis at this symposium, you are strongly encouraged to do so. Also, some departments may ask their thesis writers to present their results at a department meeting or at a regional meeting of one of their discipline-related societies. FURSCA funds are available to support off-campus research presentations.
Each year the Honors Committee selects one or more Honors theses of particular merit and recognizes their authors by awarding them the Outstanding Senior Thesis Award. If you are selected for this award, you will have your name inscribed on a permanent plaque in the Honors Observatory Classroom and also receive a monetary award. Also, all students who successfully complete a thesis and the other requirements of the Honors Program, are recognized at commencement and on their diploma with the special designation: graduation "With Albion College Honors."
Albion College is committed to the ethical treatment of all human research participants who take part in research conducted by its faculty, staff and students. All research that involves the use of human research participants (e.g., interviews, experiments, questionnaires) MUST receive prior approval from the college's Institutional Review Board (IRB). Additional information, including an IRB protocol review form, can be found at the college's Institutional Review Board webpage.
Additionally, Albion College is committed to the humane and proper care of all animals used in teaching and research. The College endorses the guidelines of the Office for Laboratory Animal Welfare as specified in the PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Additional information, including Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) applications for animal use can be found at the college's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee website.
The first floor of the Observatory is known as the Werner Library. During the day this room serves as an Honors classroom while after hours it is used for Honors events such as Coffees Hours and guest speakers and also as a study lounge for Honors students. The second floor contains an Honors thesis library, a student computer room, and the office for the Honors coordinator. The Honors Coordinator's office is normally open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Honors Observatory is for the exclusive use of Honors Program students, their guests, and the Honors faculty. Non-honors students may use this facility only when invited by a member of the Honors Program or when given explicit permission by the Honors Coordinator.
As an Honors student, your Albion ID card will open the doors to the first floor classroom and the second floor library thus giving 24 hours a day, seven days a week access to the Honors Observatory. Your ID will continue to afford you access to the Observatory as long as you remain a member of the Program.
The exterior doors of the Honors Observatory are unlocked from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday during the academic year, except during college holidays. Your ID card will provide you with access to the Honors Observatory after hours and on weekends. If you are working late at night, Campus Safety will provide escort service to and from the Observatory if you wish. You can request this service by dialing extension 1234.
The water and other beverages in the Honors classroom are supplied for use only in the Honors Observatory. Please do not use the water cooler to fill your water bottle or remove the beverage packets.
No alcoholic beverages may be stored or consumed in the Honors Observatory.
Each time you use the Honors Observatory you are responsible for maintaining its cleanliness and security, and its usefulness to other students.
For security reasons, please do not leave the outer door to the Observatory open once it has been locked after 4 p.m.
Before entering the first floor classroom, please make sure that you are not interrupting a class or a meeting in progress. A schedule of classroom use is posted on the classroom doorway and also appears on the Honors website.
The duties of the Honors Council include planning all social activities and providing student input and advice to the Honors Director and the Honors Committee on any proposed changes in courses, instructors, policies, or activities for the Honors Program.
Meetings are held weekly. Meetings will be posted on the Honors Facebook page and an email will go out. All meetings are open and you are invited to attend whenever you wish.
Membership on the Council is currently open to any Honors student who wishes to serve. The Honors Director and Associate Director are also members of the Council and the Director serves as its chair.
Members of the Committee consist of four faculty members, one from each of the four curricular divisions, who have had some current or past experience with the Honors Program; the Associate Director; and the Director, who serves as chair. Meetings are called at the discretion of the Honors Director and are held in the Werner Library; much work may be done by email.
The duties of the Honors Director and Associate Director include participation in the selection of new students for the Honors Program, reviewing the academic standing of students already in the Honors Program, formally approving all Honors theses, meeting with the Honors Council to hear student ideas concerning the direction of the Program, providing academic advice for first-year Honors students.
The duties of the Honors Committee include reviewing proposal for new courses to Honors, reviewing program documents (such as annual reports, assessment reports, and program review), and recommending to the Curriculum & Resources Committee any necessary changes in the Honors Program curriculum, program, and policies.
This traditional Honors event is held at the end of each semester on the Thursday evening after the last day of classes. It offers Honors students an opportunity to defuse some of the stress surrounding final examinations by taking a study break with other students, feasting on elegant desserts and playing games or watching some lighthearted videos.
Each semester, all Honors students are invited to participate in an Honors field trips. Honors students and instructors have enjoyed field trips to Chicago to visit museums, art galleries and attend plays, haunted houses.
In order to orient new students to the traditions and culture of Honors and to give them the chance to bond with other members of their class, we hold an overnight retreat at the beginning of each new academic year.
From time to time in cooperation with other campus groups, the Program brings to Albion important outside speakers. In addition to attending the evening lectures given by these speakers, you will often have access to these distinguished visitors in your HSP seminar, during special receptions or over lunch or dinner.
The Honors Director and the Coordinator for the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program must be given sufficient notice of intended travel for educational or co-curricular needs. The office must have a list of students who are traveling and a copy of our emergency contact information form for each participant. This form can be obtained from the Honors Coordinator. A copy of this form will be kept in the office and a second copy will travel with the instructor or leader.
Professional behavior is expected of all persons leading travel from Albion College's campus. Leaders have the responsibility to:
work with the Honors Office to make sure the paperwork, including all required forms, are completed prior to travel. Copies of the emergency contact information forms for each participant should be carried by the leader on this trip.
provide each student with explicit information about departure times and meeting places, if the group will be separated during travel. Included in that information should be maps, cell phone numbers and any other pertinent data that students might need. This information should be in writing and a copy should be given to each participant.
remain at the destination until all students have gathered to return to Albion College.
In addition to those included in the Albion College Student Handbook, students are expected to:
complete the emergency contact information sheet with current and accurate information. Students must provide a cell phone number where they can be reached in case of separation or emergency. It is recommended that you add the leader's cell phone number to your cell.
be street smart. Be aware of your surroundings. Do not do anything that will draw unnecessary attention to you or open you up to possible injury.
be punctual. The entire group who is traveling with you is inconvenienced by your tardiness.
ask questions. Pay attention to the directions issued by the leader. It is your responsibility to seek clarification about the materials provided.
Expenses (fines, additional travel expenses, etc.) that accrue as a result of irresponsible behavior will become the responsibility of the student.
You must submit a Thesis Registry Form to the Honors Coordinator no later than September 15. On the form, you will indicate the tentative title of your thesis and obtain the signatures of each of your thesis committee members.
Each thesis committee must consist of at least three Albion College faculty members: a primary thesis advisor and at least two additional readers. Ideally, your committee should include at least one faculty member whose expertise is in an area different from your major or thesis topic. The Honors Director will review your thesis committee and must approve any subsequent changes to the committee. Your thesis must be reviewed in progress and in final form by your entire thesis committee. You must have a rough draft to your committee at least one month before the first deadline. It is your responsibility to work with all members of your thesis committee, not just your thesis advisor, and to keep all committee members informed of your progress by meeting with and regularly submitting to them written drafts of your work for comments and suggestions.
The bibliographic form and specific thesis format will be determined by your thesis committee.
The primary responsibility for the evaluation of the Honors Thesis rests with your thesis committee. For spring semester graduation, their recommendation in unanimous or majority form must be forwarded for final approval to the Honors Committee by April 1. If you have a disagreement with your thesis committee's evaluation, this must be put in writing and submitted to the Honors Director no later than April 1.
If credit is given for work on your thesis during your graduation semester, the grade will represent an evaluation of the final product. You must have an overall GPA of 3.50 and a minimum grade of 3.3 on your Thesis to graduate with Albion College Honors. If your GPA is 3.49 or below, you can still graduate with Honors in your major, minor, or concentration, but not with Albion College Honors (normally, you must have at least two committee members from the same department or program in order to get Honors in your major, minor, or concentration). If your GPA is lower than 3.49, the units you received for your Honors courses will be treated as units toward graduation.
Your thesis committee members will indicate their approval of your thesis for Albion College Honors by signing an Honors Thesis Approval form by the April 1 deadline. There are separate forms for Albion College Honors and for Honors in a major, minor, or concentration. If your committee members believe that your work does not merit Honors, they will not sign either form.
If thesis credit is given prior to the graduation semester, evaluation may be in the form of either a numerical grade for the work accomplished during that semester or a grade of P (work in progress) if it is not possible to evaluate the research project until its completion.
There are two deadlines that students must observe in submitting a finished Honors thesis for spring graduation.
Failure to meet these deadlines will result in the Thesis not being accepted for Honors for the impending commencement. It is your responsibility to see that these deadlines are met.
The thesis submitted to the Honors Committee for final approval must be in final form, free of typographical, spelling, and grammatical errors. Any thesis that does not meet these standards will be returned, and, if the April 1 deadline has passed, will be rejected.
You are strongly encouraged to present the results of your thesis at Albion's annual Elkin Isaac Research Symposium.
Each of the thesis copies that you submit for binding must be in a separate manila envelope. These envelopes may be picked up from the Honors Coordinator.
On each thesis envelope in the upper right hand corner, write your name, copy number (#1, # 2, # 3, etc.), and binding instructions (hardcover or comb bound). Copy #1 is required, Library. Copy #2 is required, Honors Thesis library. Copies #1 and #2 will be hard bounded at the college's own expense. Copies #3 and beyond are optional and are for your own purposes.
The copies of your thesis for the Library and for the Honors Program must contain the two Thesis Approval forms.
You do not need to gather the signatures of the Provost or the Honors Director on the second Thesis Approval forms.The Honors Coordinator will take responsibility for this.
You must pick up a Library Release Form from the Honors Coordinator, include it as the last page of your Library copy of your Thesis. This form gives or denies the Library permission to make copies, in part or in whole, of your thesis for scholarly purposes.
Be sure to double check each thesis to make sure that all pages, including title, approval, diagram and text pages are in the correct order, the Coordinator and the Bindery will not do this for you.
Remember to bring a check or exact cash to pay for your personal thesis binding costs at the time you turn your thesis in to the Honors Coordinator.
Beyond the general guidelines above, you must follow these additional instructions in preparing two copies of your final draft for submission to the Honors Committee.
Word Processing The thesis must be typed on a personal or Lab computer using word processing software so
that the final draft can be printed on a laser printer.
Typeface The text of the thesis must be printed in a clearly readable 12-point typeface. Exotic forms of type, such as "script," are not acceptable.
Paper and Printing Any of the high-speed laser printers located in the computer labs or department offices on campus is of sufficient quality for printing your final thesis copies. Ink Jet printers are not acceptable.
Color Printing The computer lab in Ferg and the Library have color laser printers available (Each color page you print will use up 6 print credits).
Figures and Graphs If figures are hand drawn, photocopies of the original illustrations may be used for the second thesis copy submitted to the Honors Committee but the originals of all figures, graphs and illustrations must be included with the first copy. This original will be bound at library expense and will become a permanent part of the Albion College Library's Collection. The second copy will be bound at the expense of the Honors Program and permanently housed in the Honors Observatory Library.
Binding Personal Thesis Copies You may have as many additional copies of your thesis bound for your personal use. Additional copies will be bound at cost (as of this writing $6.00 for comb binding and $14 for hardcover binding). Anyone needing a sleeve for a CD or DVD the cost will be $2.50 each. All binding costs must be paid in advance.
Title and Thesis Approval Pages You must follow the required form for the title page and for the two approval sheets. Samples of these pages are provided on pages 7-8-9.
Margins Carefully observe all margins: 1-1/2 inches at the left, 1 inch on the top, bottom and right. Make sure all graphs and figures are drawn or reduced by a photocopier so they fall within these same text margins.
Line Spacing.Double space the text throughout except for long quotations, or in the case of tables and figures where a discipline's customary writing style so allows.
If you have enough units to graduate in May (December) but are unable to meet the April 1 (December 1) deadline for completion of your Honors Thesis, you may elect to postpone your graduation for one semester in order to complete your thesis, provided that you:
Obtain the written permission of your thesis committee and submit it to the Honors Director in a timely manner. A form for this purpose is available from the Honors Coordinator.
Complete your thesis no later than the following August (April), if you complete all your other graduation requirements in May (December). You will then graduate with Albion College Honors after the Summer (Spring) semester.
Enroll for 1/2 units of thesis writing credit for this final semester.
For Thesis title page, signature sheets and registry form please visit the Honors and Departmental Theses page.