Honors Program in Elementary Education

Little boy holding pencil

The purpose of the Departmental Honors Program in elementary education/early childhood education is to encourage and assist qualified students to engage in independent research, scholarship or field work that is not normally a part of the academic program of studies and that will develop a dimension of the student's education not normally addressed by those studies. Satisfactory completion of the honors program will be noted on the student's permanent academic record. 

Program Details

Admission Requirements

To qualify for admission to the Departmental Honors Program in elementary education/early childhood education, you must:

  1.  Be admitted to the elementary education or early childhood education program.
  2.  Have completed at least 60 credits, but not more than 90 credits.
  3.  Have earned an overall GPA of 3.33, including any quality points accepted in transfer from other institutions, and a GPA of 3.50 in program work.

Students who do not meet all of the above criteria may, at the option of the Honors Committee, be admitted to the program on probationary status. However, the student must satisfy all criteria for admission by the end of the first semester of the honors project or be dismissed from the honors program.

Application Procedures

You may apply for admission to the Departmental Honors Program in elementary education/early childhood education any time after being admitted to the elementary education or early childhood education program at the end of your fourth semester (60 credit hours) and before the end of your sixth semester (90 credit hours). You are encouraged in your fifth and sixth semesters to participate in college honors seminars and other programs that may become available.

Applications should be made by a personal letter to the chair of the department, who will forward the letter to the chair of the Honors Committee. Your application must be supported by a faculty member, in the appropriate discipline, who agrees to serve as your honors advisor/supervisor.

The application letter and proposal must include a description of your proposed honors project, its purpose and importance, an identification of a topic and a preliminary hypothesis, a statement of the objectives of the project, the methodologies/procedures to be used, description of participants, intent for data collection and analysis, projected dates for completion of various steps in the project, a selected bibliography and the relationship between the project and your anticipated post-baccalaureate career and/or studies in clear, concise communication with ethical considerations and the use of APA style. You and your supervisor will be provided with a copy of the Evaluation Form for Rating Proposals for Honors Projects by the chair of the Honors Committee.

Your application must be approved by the Honors Committee before you embark on the honors project. You may be asked to make revisions or redefine your topic. Both revisions and review by the committee are to be done in a timely fashion.

The First Semester: ELED 491

In the first semester, you will take ELED 491: Directed Study (3 credits) and choose the area of your proposed study with the consent of the Honors Committee. With the consent of the chair of the Department of Elementary Education, the Honors Committee will appoint one or more faculty advisors (with your consent) to assist you in selecting a project topic and to direct your study. You will consult regularly with your faculty advisor on the progress of your directed study.

By April 1 or Nov. 1 of the first semester of your project, you will meet with the Honors Committee to review your work to date. You will submit evidence that your project is being conducted according to plan; such evidence may include documents (bibliographies, outlines, notes, etc.), performance or presentations or other methods of presenting the project. You should be prepared to discuss the project and answer questions from members before the committee. If your project advisor is not a member of the committee, your advisor will be invited to be present and to make his/her recommendations regarding the progress of the project. Your advisor/supervisor will not vote on any matters concerning the study even if they are a member of the committee.

The result of your semester's work normally will be a detailed chapter outline of the honors project and a bibliography. Your faculty advisor will evaluate your work and will report your grade to the Honors Committee. If you receive less than a B, you will be dropped from the honors program although you will be awarded 3 credits for ELED 491, if you have achieved a passing grade.

If the committee's decision is positive, your advisor may assign you a grade for ELED 491: Independent Study and you may continue in the honor's program and file your proposal for ELED 492: Independent Study for the following semester.

The Second Semester: ELED 492

After completion of the first semester of directed study, you will take ELED 492: Directed Study (3 credits) and write an honors paper under the supervision of your faculty advisor, who will keep the Honors Committee informed of your progress. The paper will embody substantial work. Normally, you will synthesize ideas and follow the principles of critical analysis to produce a paper of 30-50 pages on a limited topic. The paper should be based on significant research and offer creative insights; it may be based on field action research and it must be written in clear, cogent prose.

You must submit a final copy of the paper to the committee by Nov. 1 for winter graduation and April 1 for spring graduation. Your advisor/supervisor will evaluate the paper first and then submit it to the Honors Committee for final acceptance. Your advisor will assign a letter grade to the paper, while the Honors Committee will decide whether to designate honors. The committee will decide by a majority vote. The committee will consult with appropriate faculty members when necessary before making a final decision. The Honors Committee via the department chair will submit to the Records Office at the appropriate time in December for winter graduation or May for spring graduation a list of the names of those students who are expected to receive honors.

If the Honors Committee approves your paper, you will receive the designation of "Honors in Elementary Education/Early Childhood Education" on your transcript. This information will become part of your permanent college records and honors will be awarded to you at graduation.

If the Honors Committee does not judge your paper to be acceptable for honors, or if it is not completed, you may receive 3 credits and a grade in ELED 492 at the discretion of your faculty advisor.

Following the acceptance of your paper, the Honors Committee will meet with you and your supervisor to discuss your honors work in a sharing atmosphere not in an oral defense. You are encouraged to make a more formal presentation of your work and to participate in College Honors activities. Upon your request and the request of your supervisor, the Honors Committee will arrange a colloquium to which elementary education/early childhood faculty and students will be invited.

While an honors seminar is not a requirement of the program, the department strongly recommends that, when possible, honors candidates enroll in a common seminar.