What are University Honors and the Honors Capstone Project?
Students in the Hicks Honors College are uniquely eligible to graduate with University Honors. This designation is distinct from Latin honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, cum laude) and from honors in the major, which all UNF students (including Hicks Honors College students) may qualify for. University Honors is therefore a very special opportunity and a most desirable credential that all Hicks Honors College students should strive to attain and be proud to have achieved. Those who do are recognized at commencement and—more importantly—have that designation noted on their permanent UNF transcripts.
To attain this status, Hicks Honors College students in good standing must complete an Honors Capstone Project. While this project may take many forms, in every instance projects should provide students with the occasion to think holistically about their university education, their Hicks Honors College experience, the goals of the Hicks Honors College, and their future ambitions. Typically an Honors Project will be a credit-bearing activity pursued in the context of advanced coursework, or an internship, or a research project, or perhaps study abroad, in conjunction with a student’s major. For that reason, every capstone project requires a discipline-based mentor who must attest to the appropriateness of the learning outcomes of the proposed project (in the pre-capstone proposal phase) and to the satisfactory attainment of those outcomes (in the post-capstone report phase). In addition, each Hicks Honors College student will work with one of three Honors mentors (determined on the basis of the focus of the project) who will review the anticipated relevance of the proposed project to the goals of the Hicks Honors College (in the pre-capstone proposal phase) and the actual resonance between the completed project and the goals of the Hicks Honors College (in the post-capstone report phase).
In light of these expectations, when considering potential projects students should keep both pre and post-capstone guidelines in mind, so that they will develop and complete the most fruitful and rewarding capstone projects possible.
It is important to note again that the Capstone Project may be pursued for academic credit towards meeting any of a student’s graduation requirements. If so, it will be up to the supervising faculty member to determine a student’s grade for the academic, credit-bearing portion of the project. It will be the responsibility of the Honors mentor to determine if the Post-Capstone Report satisfies the requirements of the Hicks Honors College and thus the award of University Honors.
In sum, the Capstone Project is an effort that both “caps” Hicks Honors College students’ educational experiences at UNF, prominently including their participation in the Hicks Honors College, and a launching pad for their future endeavors and aspirations. To identify a topic, students should think about what they want to do when they graduate, and think about how a Capstone experience will help them get there, whether that is to
- Prepare for graduate school
- Prepare for a professional career
- Continue academic research and contribute to a particular field of scholarship
- Express their creativity
- Or pursue other unique goals
The Capstone Project will be completed in the junior and/or senior year, but students may begin thinking about potential projects prior to that time. The Capstone must:
- Display engagement in one’s field or other clearly defined area of interest
- Be informed by the goals of the Hicks Honors College
- Amount to 120 hours (the equivalent of a 3 credit course in a semester)
- Be based upon an approved Pre-Capstone Proposal and result in an approved Post-Capstone Report
What is the process?
One or two semesters in advance:
- Attend an Honors Capstone information session and visit Honors advising
- Decide on the purpose of your intended Capstone and explore possibilities (find an internship, find a professor with whom to conduct research, identify a study-abroad activity, etc.)
- Consider how your Capstone relates to your major, and if it does not relate to your major, consider how it relates to your other interests and/or future plans
- Consider how your Capstone Project will relate to the goals of the Hicks Honors College
One semester in advance:
- Meet with Dr. Workman to have a preliminary meeting to determine next steps (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Per Dr. Workman’s direction, meet with the Honors faculty Capstone mentor, determined by your field & by Dr. Workman
- Humanities, Social Sciences & Education: Dr. Workman
- Natural Science: Dr. Reed Freeman
- Business, Engineering, Construction, Health Administration: Professor Price
- Write your Pre-Capstone Proposal and submit it to your Honors faculty Capstone mentor by the mid-semester deadline
- In addition to the Honors Faculty Capstone mentor, you are required to have a faculty member review and approve the learning outcomes that you expect to result from the Capstone project (for example, the professor supervising your research or study abroad, or your internship supervisor)
- Work with your Honors faculty Capstone mentor on any necessary revisions to your proposal
Pre-Capstone Proposal Guidelines
- Describe your intended Capstone Project.
- Tentative as they might be, identify the learning outcomes you hope to achieve as a result of completing this project. Ideally, these goals should be formulated in consultation with your discipline-based mentor.
- How does this project align with your course of study thus far, including your general education, Honors and major courses?
- How will this project align with the goals of the Hicks Honors College?
- How will this project relate to and help you achieve your post-graduate educational or employment aspirations?
- Include a specific timetable for your project.
- Include your supervisor's agreement to work with you on this project.
The semester of your Capstone:
- Keep a time log to confirm completion of 120 hours
- Keep a journal reflecting on your thoughts and experiences during the Capstone Project
- At the conclusion of your experience you will turn in a Post-Capstone report that includes a reflective paper (guidelines below), your time log and journal, and an evaluation from your supervisor.
Post-Capstone Report Guidelines
- What learning outcomes did you achieve in the course of completing this project? What, if anything, did you learn that you had not anticipated? What, if anything, did you anticipate learning but—for whatever reason—not succeed in doing so?
- How did this capstone project “cap” your overall educational experience at UNF, and more specifically your Hicks Honors College experience?
- Address the ways in which the actual capstone experience conformed to or diverged from your expectations for this experience.
- In what ways did your capstone project clarify your thinking about your post-graduate educational or employment plans?
- How do those plans conform to or diverge from the expectations you delineated in your Honors Colloquium retirement biography?
- Please turn in your report, time log, reflective journal and supervisor evaluation to your Honors Faculty Mentor.