Teaching in the Honors College

The Honors College is interested in recruiting dynamic faculty to teach existing courses or develop new courses. If you love teaching, have a great course idea, and want to teach academically talented students, the Honors College is for you. If you are interested in teaching in the Honors College, please contact the Honors College Dean.

Developing New Honors Courses

Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering whether you want to teach in Honors:

  • We think of the Honors College as a small liberal arts college in the midst of a large research university. The honors curriculum tracks the General Education requirements. We structure the curriculum this way in order to be relevant and useful to all students, regardless of college.
  • We do not offer a major; instead, we offer students challenging courses to fill General Education requirements and a track, including a senior capstone experience, leading to graduation with University Honors.
  • We do not offer honors courses in specific majors, although many honors courses do count toward majors. Instead, our goal is to provide alternative, honors-level General Education courses for students seeking to fill these requirements. Hence, almost all honors courses are “G”- or “V”-suffix courses.
  • Courses from any discipline may be taught in the Honors College—as long as the course meets Gen Ed requirements. We have faculty from all the colleges and from the sciences and arts as well as the humanities and social sciences. We are especially interested in developing new, interdisciplinary courses from the professional colleges to expand our “Viewing the Wider World” offerings. Courses on global issues and multicultural perspectives are especially encouraged. For your information, the NMSU statement of philosophy and goals of General Education reads as follows:
    “General education attempts to foster intelligent inquiry, abstract logical thinking, critical analysis and the integration and synthesis of knowledge; it strives for literacy in writing, reading, speaking and listening; it teaches mathematical structures, acquainting students with precise abstract thought about numbers and space; it encourages an understanding of science and scientific inquiry; it provides a historical consciousness, including an understanding of one’s own heritage as well as respect for other peoples and cultures; it includes an examination of values and stresses the importance of a carefully considered values system; it fosters an appreciation of the arts; and general education provides the breadth necessary to have a familiarity with the various branches of human understanding.”
  • A useful website for help in designing an honors course may be found on the National Collegiate Honors Council website, “Designing an Honors Course.”
  • Because ours is essentially a General Education curriculum, new course proposals must be vetted by the General Education Committee and, in cases of the state core (lower-division courses), the Higher Ed Commission.
  • Proposals for core courses use the form provided by the Higher Education Commission. Viewing a Wider World proposals use a different form. Both are available on the NMSU General Education website (go to “Forms“).

We also offer 1-credit “Journeys of Discovery” courses specifically for freshmen. These courses (HON 115), which meet once per week for 50 minutes, are offered only in the Fall Semester. These courses do not meet General Education requirements; therefore, any subject is eligible.


How faculty and departments are compensated for teaching in the Honors College

The Honors College does not have a resident faculty. We “borrow” faculty from academic departments and compensate the departments for enabling faculty to teach in honors.

The Honors College does not endorse teaching honors courses as an extra load. Teaching in honors should be part of the faculty’s regular course load. In order to compensate departments, we provide “incentive funding” ($3,000 per course) designed to assist department heads in replacing the faculty in a departmental course or to use at the department head’s discretion (see below).

In creating our schedule, we work with individual faculty and department heads. Any faculty member who wishes to teach an honors course must receive prior approval by the department head to do so for that term.


How the incentive funding works

When a regular or college faculty member teaches in the Honors College, the incentive funds for that course are moved from our budget directly into the department account. At the beginning of the semester, the department head receives a memo from the Honors College noting the number of faculty from the department teaching in honors that term and requesting the department to provide an account number into which to deposit the funds. This may be either a salary account or an operational account: it is the department head’s choice. Once we receive word from the department, the monies are transferred into the appropriate account.

“Journeys of Discovery” courses are funded somewhat differently. Since faculty teach these on top of their regular load, we provide faculty with a $1,000 research award that is managed by the Honors College. The fund can be used to reimburse travel, research costs, teaching materials, or any other university-approved expense. The fund must be spent during the academic year in which the course is taught.

If you have any questions about incentive funding, please contact Maricruz Aguilar at maricagu@nmsu.edu.