Three aspects of Augsburg’s Honors courses distinguish them from courses in other college honors programs.
Classes specifically created for Honors
Each Honors course is created for the Honors program. In other words, it’s not a matter of adding an assignment or text to an existing course or simply creating a new title. The content of Honors courses is enriched and the pace is accelerated as well.
Honors courses are intentionally interdisciplinary—multiple faculty from different departments teach in each class. For example, the senior keystone course was once taught by faculty whose disciplines included sociology, social work, metro-urban studies, art, English, and theater. Augsburg’s president, Paul Pribbenow, is also on the Honors faculty.
Each Honors course has a “signature” experience— an unconventional way of learning that involves a high level of effort and also includes a public display of what the students have learned. Students are usually enthusiastic about these experiences because the tasks are generally open-ended and students have more freedom to make decisions about what they learn and how they learn it.
In Liberating Letters, a first-year humanities course, students put texts, authors, or fictional characters on trial, serving as judge, jury, prosecution, and defense. But before this class begins, students have to pass a test. In fact, in order to gain admission into the first session, they are required to recite the first stanza of Homer’s Odyssey from memory, solve a riddle about Greek mythology, and present the “prophecies” of three different people who know them well concerning where that student will be in 10 years.
A second type of course, which is likely more-than-ideal for many students, is the Student Created Learning Experience, or SCLE. These classes are created by students based on their interests.