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Hicks Honors College

Honors First Year Experience


Welcome to the Hicks Honors College! 

You become a part of our community even before classes begin.

Want to live on campus with other Honors students?

Next step: Attend orientation and pick out your First Year Honors Colloquium course.

August: Participate in the Honors First Year Retreat  

Make friends, meet honors faculty, have fun!

Honors First Year Retreat


  • Make friends

  • Meet faculty

  • Explore the UNF campus

  • Participate in Eco Adventure activities

  • Get to know your fellow classmates 


Honors First Year Colloquium

The Honors First Year Colloquium is a required Honors class that is designed to focus on leadership experiences, academic skills, and critical thinking. Many of the assignments are demonstrations of these important skills, such as networking, engaging in group work, giving oral presentations, effective note taking and understanding other points of view.


Honors First Year Colloquium Options: 

Dr. Kaplan speaking with students

1. National Identity/Migration

Student sitting in honors class

2. Self & Society 

students sitting at table with guests in honors class

3. Model U.S. 

students showing poster at honors event
students showing mental health education poster
At the University of North Florida (UNF), the Hicks Honors College First Year Experience includes a choice three classes in the fall: Colloquium, Self & Society, and Model U.S. The classes end the fall semester with a research poster showcase.  To view past posters please visit the First Year Showcase website. In the Spring semester, students choose from a range of topics for their required writing class, ENC 1143. Topics have included but are not limited to Difficult Conversations, Coming of Age and Identity, Homelessness and Empathy, and Graphic Narratives.
  • Something You Know A Lot About (SYKALA)

    During the retreat, you will be tasked with giving a presentation on something you know a lot about. You can present on anything, as long as it can be accomplished within the given rubric. Previous topics have been "How to make Rice Balls," "How to Write a Good Character," "Puppeteers," "Orca Whales," and many others. These presentations on Something You Know a Lot About are referred to as SYKALAs and you will need to prepare one before the retreat.

    Please note that you will need to turn in something at retreat check-in which demonstrates that you have already prepared your presentation, such as a hard copy outline of your presentation or PowerPoint slides.

    Here are some examples of past SYKALA presentations:

    The full rubric is located here: SYKALA Rubric 

  • Summer Reading Assignments
    1. For all incoming Honors students please read the Introduction -Chapter 6 (everything except chapter 7, which is on parenting!) of Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly. You can get any version, electronic, audio, or paper copy. We will be discussing this at the Honors Retreat and in your First Year Colloquium courses.
    2. For those registered for National Identity/Migration: you will have an additional reading assignment for your section of Colloquium due the first day of class. If you leave it and try to do the reading at UNF the weekend you move in, you will be stressed!  Read the first section of Outcasts United by Warren St. John (pp. 1-98), focusing on the following chapters:  Intro, chapter 2, chapters 5-7.  You will be asked to submit some discussion questions for your breakout section.  These should be open-ended questions that help connect what you are reading to the lectures and the service project.  It might help you come up with questions to have marked important passages or taken some notes.
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) & Strong Interest Inventory (SII) Instructions

    To complete the MBTI and SSI assessments, follow the link below.  

    To learn more about your personality and career interests, complete both assessments using the instructions below: 

    Both assessments should be completed by Friday, July 29, 2022.

    You will receive an interpretation of your results and a copy of your reports at the Retreat.  If you are absent that day, you must schedule an individual appointment to receive your interpretation and reports. 

  • Family History Research

    This assignment is just for students registered in National Identity/Migration


    Please contact your family and find out whatever you can about your family history as far back as you can. Focus your research on your family's immigration history, not the whole family history. The questions might include:

    • When did your family members immigrate?
    • Why did they immigrate?
    • How did they do it (ship passage, flights, with jobs in advance?
    • What was life like (jobs, family size, lifestyle, assets) before immigration in the home country?
    • Were there "push factors" which are circumstances in the home country that contributed a desire/need to leave?
    • What was life like after immigration (jobs, family size, lifestyle, assets)?
    • Were there "pull factors" or promises of better life in the U.S. that contributed a desire to immigrate?
    • Did your family move around in the US after that, and again, why?

    In October, you will submit a research paper trying to answer the question, "Why did my family immigrate to the US?" You likely will have several ancestors to choose from, unless you, yourself are the immigrant. Information should be drawn from two sources: oral histories from family members and textual evidence: history and/or documentary evidence. The documentary evidence will answer the when and how questions, and possibly some of the why questions, and the oral histories may be able to fill in the gaps. I do not want you to write the paper now (there will be some workshops and discussions of expectations throughout the semester that I want you to hear before you actually begin to write), but for many, it will be easier to do the research now, as it asks you to contact family members and perhaps look at and maybe photograph or copy documents that might be hard to access during the busy semester away from home.