UMBC Honors College

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The Honors College is a selective academic community that deepens UMBC’s commitment to the life of the mind, and seeks to provide a unique academic and social experience for its members.

Our enhanced versions of standard courses and Honors Seminars allow students and faculty to discuss issues and questions in small groups, to write and think across and beyond disciplines, to test their own and others’ ideas, and to make scholarly and social connections they otherwise might not. Students are also encouraged and supported in undertaking independent research, engaging in service learning, studying abroad, and doing internships.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 33
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    The Campus as Civic Community: Shaping Institutional Culture to Motivate and Empower Students as Citizens
    (Oxford College of Emory University, 2006) Hoffman, David B.
    Civic engagement programs in higher education often focus on teaching students that voting and providing voluntary service are moral responsibilities. Relatively few campuses are preparing students for important but often neglected citizen roles such as working with others to create resources and solve social problems. This article proposes that colleges and universities can best motivate students to seek these relatively challenging roles if they establish empowering civic practices as central to their campus cultures. Promising practices include promoting democratic classrooms, welcoming student participation in campus governance, and fostering humane relationships.
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    Democratic Agency and the Visionary’s Dilemma
    (Association of American College and Universities, 2015) Hoffman, David; Berger, Craig; Bickel, Beverly
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    Higher Education’s Role in Enacting a Thriving Democracy
    (Campus Compact, 2018-11-02) Hoffman, David; Domagal-Goldman, Jennifer; King, Stephanie; Robinson, Verdis
    The essays in this collection reflect the collaborative work and thoughts of participants in three national higher education networks focused on civic learning and democratic engagement. The three networks, the American Association of State College and Universities’ American Democracy Project, the NASPA LEAD Initiative, and The Democracy Commitment, first convened together in New Orleans for the inaugural Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE) Meeting in 2015. Since then, the three organizations have convened the annual CLDE conference and worked with colleagues to envision the thriving democracy toward which our work is directed, aligning learning outcomes, pedagogies, and strategies with this vision. The five essays in this collection were originally published on the Forbes platform from November 2017 to April 2018. The emergent CLDE Theory of Change described in these essays remains a work in progress. While we believe that the theory in its current iteration offers a rich framework for building the democratic contexts and cultures necessary for advancing a thriving democracy, we recognize that colleagues like you will be able to expand on this work and apply it in powerful ways. We hope that you’ll share your insights and applications with us. Thank you to our partners and colleagues for being sources of inspiration for this work. Together we will enact the thriving democracy we have yet to actualize.
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    A Hyperbolic Variant of Tic-Tac-Toe
    (The Bridges Organization, 2023) Chen, Sarah; Suri, Manil
    We consider a variation of tic-tac-toe played on a truncated hyperbolic plane, the inspiration for which arises from using crochet to create hyperbolic geometry. Instead of a 3×3 grid, we now have 13 cells. We show that using some modified rules, each player can again force a draw, as is the case for the usual flat version. We briefly consider tic-tac-toe on a sphere as well, for which we show that the same outcome of a draw holds. Finally, we present a strategy that can be used to choose the best move. Our game variations can be used pedagogically to engender more familiarity with non-Euclidean geometry.
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    Meet UMBC’s Linda Wiratan, Rhodes Scholar finalist
    (UMBC News, 2018-11-19) Hansen, Sarah
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    A Digital Dashboard for Supporting Online Student Teamwork
    (Association for Computing Machinery, 2019-11) Ahuja, Rohan; Khan, Daniyal; Symonette, Danilo; desJardins, Marie; Stacey, Simon; Engel, Don
    Teamwork skills are crucial to college students, both at university and afterwards. However, few tools exist to monitor student teamwork and to help students develop teamwork skills. We present a tool which collects the interactions of students who are using online platforms to complete a sustained task as a team; conducts a range of analyses of these data; and then presents information about team and team member behaviors in real time on a digital dashboard. This dashboard provides instructors with a user-friendly picture of team and team-member dynamics, which can also be made available, as appropriate, to both teams and team members. While some behaviors have been shown to be (or are self-evidently) beneficial or harmful to team performance, these data and analyses also make possible exploration of whether less obvious behaviors affect team outcomes and performance.
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    Mitzi Is Back : Tell Me a Lore
    (Lifestyle Theme on Genesis Framework, 2018-03-09) Spitz, Ellen Handler
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    Gleaning Wisdom from 11 Sources
    (Lifestyle Theme on Genesis Framework, 2019-03-28) Spitz, Ellen Handler
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    A New Consideration of Elena Ferrante’s The Beach at Night
    (Lifestyle Theme on Genesis Framework, 2018-02-15) Spitz, Ellen Handler
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    Documentary Danger: Reflections on Three Identical Strangers
    (2018) Spitz, Ellen Handler; Kalinich, Lila; Kerman, Jules; Schein, Jonah; Abell, Dina; Hatzor, Talia; Hyun, Aerin
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    When It’s Bad Cess to Assess!
    (Digital Commons, 2006) Freyman, Jay
    It seems to me that efforts at outcome assessment in higher education are deficient because of a failure to understand what exactly it is that is being or should be assessed. Certainly, the object of such assessment should not be what, if anything, the student has learned in courses; grades for course work, grade inflation notwithstanding, should suffice to tell that tale.
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    What is an Honors Student?
    (Digital Commons, 2005) Freyman, Jay
    It is first necessary to recognize the distinction between the questions “What is an honors student?” or better “What are the characteristics of an honors student?” and “How do you recognize a student with those characteristics?” The first of these two questions is easier to approach since it is more a matter of prescription than of description, a presentation of an ideal rather than a recognition of an actual state. We can all list characteristics which we would like or expect those special students to have who are worthy in our estimation of the designation “honors.” These expectations, I submit, are often informed by our own experiences as honors students ourselves or in association with others, when we were in college, who were considered to be honors students by official or by general agreement. It is quite another matter, however, to be able to detect, directly or indirectly, the presence of those qualities which constitute the character of an honors student; they may or may not be readily evident and, it seems, very often are not so. In my admittedly anecdotal experience, so-called objective criteria for judging the quality of students fail quite miserably when it comes to predicting success in honors curricula.
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    Remembering Children's Books of Yesteryear During National Library Week
    (Originally published by: City Paper, 2014-04-17) Spitz, Ellen Handler; Honors College
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    “I can’t help you. You’re on your own”: Alison Bechdel’s Graphic Memoir
    (Originally published by: artcritical, 2012-05-09) Spitz, Ellen Handler; Honors College
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    Liminal Leo: Mourning Leo Steinberg
    (Originally published by: artcritical, 2012-09-24) Spitz, Ellen Handler; Honors College
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    MoMA and Child: The Century of the Child at the Museum of Modern Art
    (Originally published by: artcritical, 2012-09-04) Spitz, Ellen Handler; Honors College
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    Gentling The Savage Enormity Of Gargantuan Space: Ann Hamilton at the Armory
    (Originally published by: artcritical, 2012-12-20) Spitz, Ellen Handler; Honors College
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    Life Lessons
    (Originally published by: The New Republic, 2010-12-29) Spitz, Ellen Handler; Honors College
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    Postmodern at Bedtime
    (Originally published by: The New Republic, 2010-01-26) Spitz, Ellen Handler; Honors College