Honors Updates Regarding COVID-19

Please click here for UNCW's COVID-19 information website.

During this time of transition, we want to do our best to provide support and information for every member of the Honors community--whether you're a current student, a future student, or a faculty/staff member who works closely with our program. Below is a lot of information pertaining to Honors and the COVID-19 effects and transition. Please click any topic to be brought to that section of the page. As always, if you have more questions or concerns, you can reach us at honors@uncw.edu or by contacting our staff/faculty directly.

Please select a topic below.

Current Students

Prospective Students

Faculty and Staff


Current Students


Contract Courses

We understand that those of you who created an honors contract for a course in your major may have to alter your plans for the additional project. 

If so, please discuss with your instructor the possibility of an alternative project. Decide on a description of a new assignment. Once you do this, forward the description to kroushln@uncw.edu. Please also forward emails from your Instructor and your Department Head that indicate they approve of the change to the honors contract. Nikki will update your digital contract. 

Thesis Workshops

These will indeed take place but will be moved to the Zoom platform. We will continue to send emails with instructions on how to join these meetings virtually. We are also asking professors to record the workshops if possible, and will make these recordings available to you--but we highly recommend that you try to attend the Zoom workshops live. 

Classes

Unfortunately, online teaching will remain in effect for the remainder of the semester. Your professors are the best resource for specific updates in each of your courses and they will soon be in contact with you if they have not already. You should direct any specific questions about your classes to them. Be patient, though, and keep in mind that most faculty are still working hard on how to move to the virtual realm 5-6 weeks’ worth of teaching. Many professors are teaching 3 or more classes, and for some of them online teaching is not a familiar environment. In addition, most of them are now also home-schooling their own kids. The transition will take time for it to satisfy the expectations of everyone involved.

Advising

The date for priority registration has been moved to April 8th. Your advisor will get in touch with you with specific information on how they plan on conducting advising for the remainder of the semester. Be patient and keep in mind that right now communication may be interrupted for many situations. You can certainly email us with any questions or concerns you might have, but please remember that only your advisor will give you access to your PIN.

Also, our Honors peer advisors Rebekah James and Maddie Peterson will continue to be there for you should you have any questions about the Honors curriculum requirements. Click here to find out more about making appointments with peer advisors.

Study Abroad

For those of you who were unfortunately recalled from abroad, it appears that the institutions that were hosting you will be offering their courses online, so that you can still earn credit. If you were taking a lab course abroad, OIP has likely been in touch with you about coordinating with the appropriate department at UNCW to complete the lab portion of the course here. You will still be able to count this experience towards the Honors curriculum requirements (3 credits). 

Unfortunately, all spring/summer Honors trips abroad have been cancelled. This includes the London trip in August that was supposed to kick off Dr. Bingham's HON 210: Consumer Culture and Shopping Society course. We are as disappointed as you are, but hope to have even more offerings for you next spring. 

Other Resources

Other entities on campus have begun to provide resources and information for students that you might find helpful. Check out: 

  • UNCW's Keep Learning website is agreat source of information on how to prepare for and do well at online learning: how to use Canvas, Echo360, Zoom; tutorials and frequently asked questions, etc. The site encourages you  to enroll in a Canvas Keep Learning Course (click link to auto-enroll). This Canvas course (more like a tutorial than a course) is very user-friendly and will guide you through 3 modules: Student Success Management, Communication, and Technology. There youcan find information on how to record and upload videos to Canvas, research tools, prepare for online exams, write good discussion board posts, communicate with peers and instructors, etc.
  • The Career Center is available via virtual appointments. Specifically the virtual resources include: Career Planning Guide, Big Interview, PathwayU, and Handshake.
  • The University Learning Center is offering (via Zoom only) mentoring, tutoring, and writing appointments. Students can also submit papers for asynchronous feedback.
  • MENTAL HEALTH/COUNSELING RESOURCES:

Departmental Honors Projects

Check-ins

We sent a short survey to each of your faculty mentors, asking them to let us know if your project is going OK or if you will need additional support or time given the developments of COVID-19. Feel free to remind them to fill it out (or to reach out to us directly if your project will be impacted by the closing of campus etc.). 

Defenses

As you likely know, in a typical semester, students defend their theses in a room on campus, with their committee physically present. That can no longer occur. We are strongly recommending that you instead conduct your defenses over Zoom, which you have access to as a UNCW student. Please schedule a Zoom meeting in advance (click here for instructions) once you have decided on a good time with your committee. 

There is some new flexibility with defense timelines, given the postponement of commencement ceremonies. Previously, we asked that you defend your thesis on or before Reading Day—April 30th. This was to ensure that students had time to defend, make edits, and procure final approval for the Honors College in time for the Medallion Ceremony (May 8th). However, now that there is no event deadline, you just need to defend your thesis in time for your faculty member to submit a grade for your 499 class (grades are due May 11th). It is probably best that you defend by May 6th in order to make any necessary revisions and give your faculty member time to submit grades. If you need an extension past this date, or need to extend your project into the summer or even next fall, we can certainly work with you—just let us know ASAP.

Signatures

Typically, at your in-person thesis defense, your committee members would sign the title page of your thesis to indicate their approval of your project. Instead, we are asking you to collect digital signatures on the cover page to the best of your ability. If this proves difficult (whether because you or your committee members do not have the technology or ability to sign digitally), we will provide a quick form that can be filled out by the faculty members—please email me at kroushln@uncw.edu if this is the case. Digital signature platforms such as DocHub may prove helpful, or the Adobe Acrobat Pro DC signature tools (if that is installed on your personal computers). 

Medallion Ceremony

As you likely know by now, UNCW has made the difficult decision to postpone graduation this spring. We will also thus need to alter, postpone, or cancel the Spring 2020 Medallion Ceremony. We are deeply saddened by this, but working on alternatives. There will be a space for you on the Defense Time & Medallion Info survey to provide thoughts on an alternative, and to provide a mailing address so we can still send you your well-deserved Honors Medallion. 

Posters

We’ve had a question on posters. Obviously, with the Medallion Ceremony going online, there will be no way to physically display (or even print) your posters. So, we are no longer requiring them. 

Posters are now OPTIONAL. You may also choose to create an infographic instead. If you choose to make either item (or if you already have a poster made), we’ll create a virtual gallery of posters and infographics to be displayed on the Honors website, social media, during the virtual Medallion Ceremony, etc. But once again, this is completely optional.

Degree Audit Reminder

For our University Honors (4-year curriculum) students: As a reminder, the Degree Audit doesn’t play well with Honors requirements. Sometimes things show up under the wrong category or don’t show up at all, especially if you have honors contract courses or entered Honors after your freshman year. If you’re meeting (virtually) with an advisor and you see that your Honors requirements are keeping you from being ready to graduate, don’t panic. Email me with your 850 number and we’ll get it fixed. (Also, Honors clears graduates manually anyway, so even if we don’t get it fixed you’ll be fine!) If you’re wondering how you really stack up re: honors completion requirements, check out these worksheets:

University Honors Requirements Worksheet (PDF)

A resource to track your University Honors progress through editable PDF

University Honors Requirements for TRANSFERS and students who didn't enter as first-semester freshmen

A resource to track your University Honors progress

Other items/To-Do

Thankfully, we moved a majority of the Departmental Honors documents and forms online last semester, and we no longer require a printed copy of your thesis.

Here is a to-do list for you:

  • As soon as you can—but before April 15, at latest—please submit the Honors Defense Time & Medallion Info survey (click here).
    This survey will ask for your project title/abstract, your defense time and a Zoom meeting link, a headshot for our announcement of graduates, and some other information.
  • When you schedule your defense, please send this survey link to your committee members/supervisor and ask them to submit it immediately after your defense:
    https://forms.microsoft.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=gWcTIlOXdUyvKGigeIcev-qrwYPYgG9ArQArQ_wihNlUOE0wN01QNVUyWDJYRUYwRThBRlU4UEs0Vy4u
    This allows them to provide feedback to us on your defense and process and helps us confirm that your defense was successful (which we know it will be!).
  • After defending, remember to write your 499 Reflection. We need this piece of the project for your thesis to fulfill the Explorations Beyond the Classroom University Studies requirement. You can attach it as part of your final paper, or keep it as a separate document.
  • When you are completely done with your project, defense, paper, and reflection please submit the Honors Exit Survey (click here). Here you will upload your final paper, your cover page, your 499 reflection, and (if you are graduating this semester) provide thoughts/feedback on your Honors experience. (If you are not graduating, feel free to write “NA” or “not graduating yet” in those spots.)
  • Finally, you will submit the Online Availability Form (click here). Your faculty supervisor will sign off on it. This form determines Randall Library’s ability to make your project paper available to the public (or not). 

Prospective Students


Response Times

Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the Honors College staff will be working remotely. We cannot answer office phones, but will aim to get back to you as soon as we possibly can if you leave a message or email us. Please contact honors@uncw.edu with any inquiries.

Application Status

As of March 19, 2020, the Honors College has rendered all first-year admissions decisions (except for a handful of special cases) for Fall 2020. Incoming students, please check your UNCW email address for a notification. If you have not been contacted, please reach out to honors@uncw.edu

We understand it can be disappointing to receive a "no," but please keep in mind that the Honors College admits less than 7% of the incoming first-year class. There are many other ways to join the Honors College, such as applying after your first semester at UNCW

Transfer Students

In order to be considered for Honors College entry, transfer students must have applied by the UNCW priority deadline. For Summer/Fall 2020, this was March 1. We will review all transfer applications and render decisions by mid-April. Please click here to learn more about transfer applications

Visiting the Honors College

As of March 13, 2020, we have closed the forms to request visits to the Honors College and RSVP to Info Sessions. We cannot schedule any visits until further notice and direction from UNCW leadership regarding COVID19 cancellations and closures. 

On March 20, 2020, we hosted a Virtual Information Session which we recorded. You can watch it here

We encourage you to like our Facebook page or follow our Instagram account. We will use these social media platforms to advertise if and when we offer any virtual tours/information sessions to replace in-person sessions.

We will update our visitation page when we are able to offer in-person tours and visits again.

FAQ 

Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page if you have other inquiries before inquiring at honors@uncw.edu


Faculty and Staff


Departmental Honors Projects

We sent a short survey to each of you, faculty mentors, asking you to let us know if your student’s honors thesis is going all right in light of COVID-19 restrictions, or if they will need additional support or time. Please fill out that survey if you have not already done so (click here).

The below is important information for those whose students are defending this semester (Spring 2020). If your student is not defending this semester, no need to read; otherwise, please read in full.

Defenses

We are strongly recommending instead that students conduct their defenses over Zoom. We have asked the students to schedule a Zoom meeting in advance once they have decided on a good time with their committee.

There is some new flexibility with defense timelines, given the postponement of commencement ceremonies. Previously, we asked that students defend theses on or before Reading Day—April 30th. This was to ensure that students had time to defend, make edits, and procure final approval for the Honors College in time for the Medallion Ceremony (May 8th).

However, now that there is no event deadline, students just need to defend theses in time for you (the faculty supervisor) to submit a grade for the student(s). We have asked that the students pick a defense date by May 6th, but if you would like to direct them otherwise, that is fine. If students need an extension past this date, or need to extend their project into the summer or even next fall, we can certainly work with you—just let us know ASAP. (We can add another semester of 499, or students can take an Incomplete and receive a grade later on.)

Defense feedback

We have asked the students to send you and their other committee members the link to this short feedback survey for honors defenses: https://forms.microsoft.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=gWcTIlOXdUyvKGigeIcev-qrwYPYgG9ArQArQ_wihNlUOE0wN01QNVUyWDJYRUYwRThBRlU4UEs0Vy4u
This allows you, the faculty supervisor, as well as other committee members, to provide feedback to us on a student’s defense and process. This form also helps us confirm that a defense was successful. Please submit this form during or immediately after a student’s defense, if possible. The student should remind you and provide the other committee members with a link.

Signatures

Typically, at an in-person thesis defense, committee members would sign the title page of a thesis to indicate their approval of a project. Instead, we are asking students to collect digital signatures on the cover page to the best of their ability. If this proves difficult, we will provide a quick form that can be filled out by the faculty members. We have asked students to take the lead on facilitating this. 

Medallion Ceremony

As you know, UNCW has made the difficult decision to postpone graduation this spring. We will also thus need to alter, postpone, or cancel the Spring 2020 Honors Medallion Ceremony. We are deeply saddened by this, but working on alternatives, including the possibility of a virtual Medallion Ceremony.

Other items

Thankfully, we moved a majority of the Departmental Honors documents and forms online last semester, and we no longer require a printed copy of thesis papers. There are a few other forms and to-do-list items that students need to complete, and we have sent them that information.


General Info for Honors Instructors

  • First and foremost, it might be useful for us to think that our students will be confused and probably stressed about how this online teaching thing will translate. They will have a lot of questions. Communicate early and often with them, but don’t swamp them with email. Share your expectations for checking email or Canvas for information. Consider using a discussion forum to share your response to frequently asked questions so all students can benefit from the information.
  • To make your lives and those of your students easier, you might want to determine your priorities and the essential learnings/outcomes of the course: consider what you can realistically accomplish and aim for that, no more, no less. Will you emphasize some things and de-emphasize others in order to add engagement and accountability? Keep in mind the impact this situation may have on students' ability to meet those expectations.
  • As you well know, honors faculty teaching is characterized by student input, class discussion, faculty-student interaction, independent work, and experiential learning. Our goal is to replicate these components in the virtual realm as much as possible. However, you all need to decide what works best for you in the present circumstances (family situation, technology capabilities, students’ access to technology, etc). The use of Zoom/Skype/other and the Canvas discussion boards can aid in recreating much of that interaction.
  • If you are teaching HON 191 or HON 120 and you were planning on having guest speakers in the classroom, you may want to ask them if they would like to participate in a class Zoom meeting or maybe video their presentations. If you are teaching a class that had a trip abroad attached to it, you will need to design one or more assignments that satisfy in a somewhat equivalent manner the academic expectations you originally set in your syllabus. 

Honors Advisors

We are (unfortunately) moving all of our teaching and advising workload into the online realm. The #1 thing we all can do for students during this time is to be as prompt and responsive to student emails/inquiries as possible. This will help to alleviate students’ confusion and uneasiness.

We believe that maximum flexibility with advising modalities is key for a successful experience in remote advising. UC has been sending frequent and detailed parameters on how to approach this task. We entirely support these guidelines.

  • Zoom or Skype meetings should be your preferred option whenever possible. However, if your advisees only have intermittent internet at home or lack access to a computer altogether, phone appointments might be necessary. (If you don't want to give out your phone number, you can create a free Google Voice account.)
  • Via email advising should be your last resort. 
  • We strongly recommend, if you have not done so already, that you contact all your advisees as soon as possible to let them know how you will proceed with advising for the remainder of the semester and particularly, how you will handle advising appointments before April 8th when priority registration begins.
  • Remember the new curriculum cheat sheet that we are using (click here). We highly recommend you use it in your appointments--it is saving us a lot of time when we talk to students.