UAB Honors Academy

The UAB Honors Academy provides exceptional educational experiences through five programs:  University Honors, Science and Technology, Early Medical School Acceptance Program (EMSAP), Global and Community Leadership, and Experiential Learning Scholars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

University Honors Program

The University Honors Program draws on the wide range of resources available at a comprehensive research university and concentrates those resources within a small, personal, liberal arts setting. Designed for students who want to satisfy their intellectual curiosity both inside and outside the classroom, the program accepts about 50 students a year representing a wide variety of disciplines, backgrounds, and interests. The program offers an innovative, interdisciplinary arts and sciences curriculum taught by faculty who are known for their excellence in teaching and scholarship. Without delaying progress toward a degree, the University Honors Program provides students an opportunity to participate in a community of committed scholars, to form close relationships with faculty, to explore new ideas, and to share their ideas and interests in the friendly confines of the Spencer Honors House.

Benefits

Students in the University Honors Program receive a more intensive and innovative education than is available in the regular curriculum. Students take interdisciplinary courses and honors seminars on topics not offered in the regular academic departments. Since honors seminars are limited to 16 students University Honors Program students have close personal contacts with their instructors and with other students, providing a sense of community and identity within the larger university context. University Honors Program students have the opportunity to meet and get to know not only a wide variety of faculty and administrators on campus, but important figures in the community and distinguished visitors from throughout the world. Honors students receive priority registration and have privileged access to faculty research and scholarship. The Spencer Honors House, with all of its facilities, belongs to the honors students and is accessible to them at all times. Students have the opportunity to travel and to participate in a wide variety of cultural, social, and scholarly events. After completing the program, they graduate with the special designation “With University Honors” on their transcripts and in the commencement program. In addition, Honors students are recognized annually at the university-wide Honors Convocation and at Honors Day. Graduation from the University Honors Program, with its broad interdisciplinary arts and sciences curriculum gives students a distinct advantage when applying for graduate or professional schools.

Spencer Honors House

The center of identity and community for the University Honors Program is the Spencer Honors House, located on campus in the spacious and attractive environment of the Old Church at 1190 10th Avenue South. All instructional and social activities of the University Honors Program take place there. The Spencer Honors House is also available for day-to-day use by honors students for recreation, studying, meeting, and relaxing. The facilities include a kitchen, lounge areas, library, computer clusters, and pool and Ping-Pong tables. The offices of the director, associate director, and assistant director are also in the house.

Honors Coursework

Instead of the 41 semester hours of Core Curriculum requirements, students in the University Honors Program take 33 semester hours of honors coursework and three semester hours in mathematics. In addition, they participate in a variety of special events, most of which are centered in the Spencer Honors House. While in no way delaying progress toward a degree or interfering with commitment to a major, the University Honors Program provides a stimulating range and depth of scholarly pursuits within an interdisciplinary arts and sciences context. Students have frequent individual contact with the teaching faculty and have unusual opportunities for independent projects and research.

Honors students have two options for completing their 33 semester hours in honors:

  • Two 9-semester-hour fall-semester interdisciplinary honors courses plus five 3-semester-hour honors seminars (only two of which can be related to the student’s major or minor); or
  • Two 9-semester-hour fall-semester interdisciplinary honors courses, a minimum of three 3-semester-hour honors seminars (not related to the student’s major or minor), and up to six semester hours of departmental honors coursework within the student’s major (with the total number of semester hours adding up to 33).

The interdisciplinary honors courses are offered during the fall semester and are open only to University Honors students. These courses are team-taught by faculty members (usually six) from different schools in the university and by guest lecturers from the medical center, the business, and other areas. Each interdisciplinary course is organized thematically and designed to cover a broad range of material so the student is introduced to all areas covered by the Core Curriculum and to a wide variety of other areas as well. Topics of past interdisciplinary courses have included “Minds and Realities," "In Search of Human nature," "It's About Time," and "The Anatomy of Desire." As part of the course, each student works on an independent project related to the central theme. Since instructors are committed to full-time teaching of this course, students receive ample advice and guidance on their projects.

The University Honors program offers about 18-20 different honors seminars each year. Some are cross-listed in other departments and so are open to all students at UAB. These seminars are offered during the fall semester, spring semester, and summer term and are limited to 16 students. Honors seminars are available in a variety of different fields and focus on issues that are of major interest within the field and also have implications and applications beyond it. Examples of honors seminars which have been taught are "Ethnographic Filmmaking," " China's Next phase," "Cognitive Brain Imaging," Philosophy, Psychology, and the Economics of Happiness," Existentialism and Modern Literature."

Additional Information about the Curriculum Core Requirement in Mathematics

In addition to the honors coursework, University Honors Program students must fulfill the mathematics requirement of Area III of the Core Curriculum.

Credit for Participation in Honors

Students may receive up to three semester hours of credit, graded on a pass/fail basis, for participating in the range of special events sponsored by the University Honors Program. Those events include:

  • The monthly lecture
  • First Thursday Lecture series
  • Afternoon receptions for visiting speakers
  • The fall film series
  • Workshops
  • Field trips

Credit for Community Service

Students may receive up to three semester hours of credit, graded on a pass/fail basis, for completing long-term service projects. Available projects are announced before each semester and typically include:

  • Work at a recycling center
  • Homeless shelter
  • Public school

As well as regular meetings to reflect on these service projects.

Independent Study

Students may propose an internship or independent study project in place of one seminar. An example of such a project is an internship at city hall, leading to a policy proposal on some area of city government. Proposals for these projects must be approved by the Honors Council.

Honors Research

Students can register for one, two, or three credit hours of Honors Research, and receive a letter grade for their research. Students arrange for a research mentor and conduct a project under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

Continuation in the Program

A student who leaves the University Honors Program for any reason will receive full credit toward graduation for all coursework completed in the program. The director of the University Honors Program will designate which of the Core Curriculum requirements have been fulfilled by the individual student’s honors coursework. An honors student is expected to maintain a 3.0 average in University Honors Program coursework. If the average falls below 3.0, the student will have one year to raise his or her average up to a 3.0 in order to remain in the program. A student must have an overall 3.0 average in the program and at UAB to graduate “With University Honors”; a student who has a 3.0 average in the program but a lower UAB GPA will graduate “With Honors in Interdisciplinary Studies.”

Who Should Apply

Any student entering or already enrolled at UAB is eligible to apply for the University Honors Program. Although most students entering the program are full-time freshmen, part-time students are also eligible, and students may enter the program as sophomores or juniors. Non-traditional students are encouraged to apply. Honors students are selected on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Academic ability, as indicated by high school or previous college grades;
  • Creativity or talent—in science, music, art, drama, leadership, etc.;I
  • ntellectual promise, as indicated by standard aptitude and/or achievement tests;
  • Recommendations of knowledgeable instructors;
  • Competence in grammar, English composition, and mathematics; and
  • Evidence of any of the above as disclosed in a personal interview.

Any student who has a genuine interest in the kind of education that the University Honors Program provides should apply, even if the student may not feel that he or she has demonstrable evidence of the above criteria. There are no rigid minimum requirements for being accepted into the University Honors Program, which is intended to attract bright, curious, dedicated students who can both profit from and contribute to an intensive learning experience. Such students cannot always be identified on the basis of any objective set of criteria; therefore, all applicants will be given careful consideration on the basis of whatever evidence they present, both in a written application and in a personal interview.

Scholarships

The Hess-Abroms Honors Scholarships, awarded annually, are valued at $24,000 each and provide $6,000 per year. Application is open to incoming freshmen. The award is based on superior academic achievement, creativity or talent, strong motivation, character, and intellectual promise. Application materials are made available at the time of interview. The University Honors Program also has a number of smaller ($1,000-$2,000) annual scholarships that are awarded in May each year. Students who have committed to entering the program can apply for these scholarships that are distributed based on merit and need.

Students interested in applying for admission to the University Honors Program should go to the UAB Honors Academy Website at: http://www.uab.edu/honorsacademy. There you will find an application form that can be filled out on-line. Students interested in the University Honors Program should just check the UHP box. Students can apply to more than one university-wide honors program but only participate in one. A student in the University Honors Program can however be a member of the EMSAP, EOSAP, or EDSAP early-acceptance programs. If you have questions about the University Honors Program in particular please feel free to call (205) 934-8733 or email (sloane@uab.edu) the Director, Dr. Mike Sloane. General inquiries should be address to the Program Coordinator at (205) 934-3228 or e-mail honorsprogram@uab.edu. Priority consideration will be given to applications received by December 15 but we will accept applications up till January 1. Students must apply to UAB separately and are encouraged to do so by November 1 to be automatically considered for scholarships.

Science and Technology Honors Program

The Science and Technology Honors Program at UAB revolutionizes the undergraduate experience. Acceptance to the program places students in the company of fellow scholars and world-renowned researchers. Science and Technology Honors students take part in unique academic and research experiences specifically designed to give them a head start on a scientific or technical career.

This unique program is the only one of its kind in Alabama. It is designed for the best and brightest students whose academic and extracurricular achievements demonstrate intellectual curiosity, energy, creativity, and leadership abilities. As a graduate of the Science and Technology Honors Program, a student is well prepared for graduate study at the Master’s or Doctoral level and for professional school.

Benefits

Students in the Science and Technology Honors Program work closely with research faculty and have the opportunity to participate in original scientific research. During the first two years, the program prepares students with the knowledge and skills they need to get started in research. Beginning as early as the freshman or sophomore year, students work closely with a faculty mentor on an individualized project, learning about research through apprenticeship. Science and Technology Honors students are encouraged to attend national conferences and to publish their research in scientific journals.

The program is a closely knit community with a maximum of 50 undergraduate students each year. The small number encourages collaboration among students, interaction with faculty, and sharing of ideas. Students receive priority registration and take science and technology focused versions of core courses such as EH 102 English Composition II and CM 101 Public Speaking.

Students who successfully complete the four year Science and Technology Honors Program are guaranteed a two-year tuition and fees scholarship for any UAB doctoral program to which they are admitted (this scholarship does not apply toward professional schools). In addition, Science and Technology Honors students can earn graduate credit, providing an advantage when pursuing an advanced degree.

Science and Technology Honors Facilities

The Science and Technology Honors Program facility is on the 5th floor of Heritage Hall. Students have full 24-hour access to the facilities where there is a state-of-the art computer lab. A kitchen, individual study space, conference rooms and a large lounge area are also available for Science and Technology Honors students.

Science and Technology Honors Coursework

The academic portion of the Science and Technology Honors Program builds upon UAB’s research strengths in science and technology. Special interdisciplinary courses examine topics from many scientific and technical perspectives, illustrating how scientists integrate multiple fields of study when approaching research and development questions.

Students discover the methodologies and techniques used in a variety of research areas, including biology, cell biology, chemistry, complex information systems, engineering, neuroscience, psychology, physics, and more. In their Research Approaches courses, students get hands-on experience in laboratory techniques and visit laboratories to observe researchers up close and in action.

Exclusive seminars put students face to face with UAB’s best known researchers, who share their insights and experiences from the lab and the field. The entire curriculum is designed to encourage independent thinking, questioning of ideas, creative problem-solving, and skill in scientific communication. Science and Technology Honors coursework also integrates seamlessly with honors programs in science and technology majors.

The Science and Technology Honors Program culminates in a two year intensive research experience under the direction of UAB faculty. Students build upon the methods they have learned in their courses and seminars to propose and conduct an independent research project in collaboration with their faculty mentor. This project becomes the student’s Honors Thesis. The Honors Thesis is prepared for publication in a scientific journal and for presentation at a national conference. Thus, many Science and Technology Honors students will both publish a scientific paper and present at a national conference before graduating from UAB. Students in the Science and Technology Honors Program take 30 hours of Honors coursework, which includes 14 hours of Science and Technology Honors courses and at least 8 hours of Independent Study under the direction of a faculty mentor to complete their Honors Thesis research. Honors versions of core courses have been developed and contribute to the 30 hours of honors credit required.

Each student in the program takes the following Science and Technology Honors Program coursework during their first two years in the program to prepare for their independent research experience.

  • Introductory Seminar - (Fall semester Freshman Year; 2 credit hours). Students work in teams to analyze current scientific problems under investigation by UAB faculty, learning about how scientists approach problems and conduct their research, including ethics and institutional review of human and animal research.
  • Interdisciplinary Seminar - (Fall semester Sophomore Year; 3 credit hours). Team-taught course with faculty from several disciplines addressing how a complex problem is approached by multiple disciplines. This course illustrates the synergy achieved by interdisciplinary analysis of problems. Example topics include Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Energy Generation and Conservation, Central Nervous System Disorders, and Forensic Science: The Science behind CSI.
  • Research Approaches I and II - (Spring semester Freshman and Sophomore Years; 3 credit hours each). Systematic training in foundational research methodologies and opportunity to application of the methods in research laboratories. Students choose among a Biotechnology Training Lab, Advanced Chemical Analysis, or Engineering Design and Materials Analysis in their freshman year and rotate through laboratories chosen to match their research interests in their sophomore year.
  • Statistics and Design Overview - (3 credit hours). Introduction to principles of research design and statistical analysis, including a statistics laboratory for hands on experience.
  • Science and Technology Honors Research: (8 or more hours).

Student Activities

Science and Technology Honors students contribute to the direction of the program through participation in student committees and active dialogue with the director. Student committees include Scientific Journal Club and Program Meetings, New Student Orientation and Recruiting, Peer Mentoring and Peer Tutoring, Social Activities, Community Outreach, Newsletter, Website Design, and Program Archives.

Continuation in the Program

Science and Technology Honors students are required to maintain a 3.0 average UAB GPA in their undergraduate coursework through graduation. If their GPA falls below the 3.00, the student will have one year to raise his or her average to at least 3.0 in order to remain in the program.

Who Should Apply

The Science and Technology Honors Program is best suited for students who are intensely curious about science and excited about the prospect of becoming a generator of new knowledge in their field. In addition to curiosity about science, successful applicants generally have a strong academic record and plan to pursue a career in science or technology. Science and Technology Honors students typically have a grade point average 3.5 or higher in high school academic courses and ACT or SAT scores at or above the 90th percentile in math and science. Because the program values diversity and strives to accommodate talented students, applications are reviewed individually and invited applicants are personally interviewed.

Scholarships

If admitted to UAB by the scholarship application deadline, Science and Technology Honors Program Applicants are eligible for all university wide undergraduate scholarships; many schools and majors within UAB also offer their own awards to outstanding students. Students who successfully complete the Science and Technology Honors Program will be awarded a two year scholarship covering tuition and fees for (nonprofessional) doctoral study in any UAB science or technology graduate program into which they are accepted.

Application

Applications and letters of reference must be received by January 1 of the student’s senior year of high school. Students interested in applying for admission to the Science and Technology Honors Program should write or call;

Diane C. Tucker, Ph.D.
Director, Science and Technology Honors Program
540 Heritage Hall, 1530 3rd Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35294-1152
Phone: 205-996-5701
Email: sthonors@uab.edu

Early Medical School Acceptance Program (EMSAP)

The Early Medical School Acceptance Program (EMSAP) offers superior high school seniors the assurance that after completing undergraduate studies at UAB, they will enter the UAB School of Medicine, Dentistry, or Optometry. EMSAP students can complete an excellent undergraduate program and reserve their place in world-renowned medical programs.

To be considered for admission to EMSAP, students must have the following:

  • Four years of English.
  • Four years of mathematics.
  • At least one year each of chemistry or physics and biology, preferably AP or IB level
  • A grade point average of at least 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) in academic subjects, and
  • An ACT composite score of at least 30 or an SAT score of at least 1,320 (counting only the math and verbal part of the new SAT exam).
  • Be a U.S. citizen or have a green card.

Selected candidates who meet the academic criteria are interviewed by members of the Admissions committee of the respective professional schools. In making its final selections, the committee considers maturity and exposure to medicine, as well as letters from teachers. Students can only apply for EMSAP programs as seniors in high school and must apply by December 15th, and for scholarships, December 1st. For further information, including criteria for remaining in good standing in EMSAP, please see the EMSAP web site at: http://main.uab.edu/show.asp?durki=27435 or contact the Office of Undergraduate Admission, (205) 934-4076.

Global and Community Leadership (GCL) Honors Program

Joining UAB's Honors Academy in Fall 2007, Global and Community Leadership (GCL) Honors is designed for students who are searching for a deeper understanding of global and community issues and who seek to relate those issues academically to their own values and life goals. In the Global and Community Leadership Honors Program a student investigates, analyzes, and addresses the challenges and concerns confronted by societies around the world. Faculty mentoring, specially designed courses, service learning courses and experiential learning in international and community settings prepare students to take leadership roles in campus and community organizations. In addition, students form a community with like-minded peers who share their goals for transforming the world.

Goals for Global and Community Leadership Honors Students:

  • To acquire a deeper knowledge and understanding of global and community issues.
  • To reflect on and evaluate personal values and life goals in order to promote personal growth and clarify moral ideals.
  • To engage in experiential and service learning in an international or community environment.
  • To undertake leadership roles in campus and community organizations.
  • To participate in social opportunities and develop a sense of community with like-minded peers.
  • To maintain high academic standards and prepare for leadership in challenging careers or for further academic study.

Benefits

Students in the Global and Community Leadership Honors Program work closely with GCL faculty and staff to design a personal plan of study focused on a global or community issue of interest, usually within their major field of study. Students also gain hands-on experience and conduct independent research during the process. During the first two years, the Program exposes students to an array of global and community issues through courses that explore and analyze social, political, economic and cultural systems. At the end of the second year, each student selects his/her issue of interest (See “Issue of Interest”). The final two years are then devoted to further academic study on this topic of choice, extensive hands on experiences through service-learning classes and/or internships, and the successful completion of a senior thesis project, which permits the student to share his/her unique knowledge with UAB and the broader community. Accordingly, students become immersed in their personal issue of interest while also pursuing their major field of study. Graduates may then take their new knowledge directly into the work force, or elect to explore this knowledge more deeply in a graduate or professional school. All students who complete the GCL Honors Program’s course of study will graduate with Honors in Global and Community Leadership.

Because of the Program’s scope and requirements, students receive a great amount of personal contact, both with GCL and academic faculty and advisors who act as mentors to students. This close personal contact is also evident among students who share similar interests and life goals, resulting in a strong sense of community. During the program, students have 24-hour access to facilities in Heritage Hall for study and recreation; stipends for academic presentations; on-campus benefits such as early-registration and preferred housing; and exposure to a variety of guest lecturers and cultural events.

Global and Community Leadership Honors Facilities

In January 2009, the Global and Community Leadership Honors Program moved into Heritage Hall, the newest building on UAB’s campus, located at 1401 University Blvd. The new facility includes GCL Honors staff offices, as well as classroom space, a conference room, computer lab, kitchen, study lounge, and recreational area shared with Science and Technology Honors. GCL students have 24-hour access to this space.

Global and Community Leadership Honors Coursework

GCL Honors builds upon the breadth of UAB’s academic offerings, providing a depth of study not otherwise found in the typical curriculum. The coursework is composed of 30 hours of GCL Honors credit, as well as three (3) hours of Honors Academy credit in the study of leadership. The exact coursework is tailored to the individual student and his/her major, using the framework described below.

33 Hours of GCL Honors Credit

RequirementsHours
GCLH 105Expolring Birmingham: Change and Power3
GCLH 301Leadership and Community Engagement3
Honors designated courses15
3 core classes (9 hrs) selected for your personal development plan.
Departmental Honors or Honor Option (6 hrs)
Honors thesis on global or community leadership topic within major field3
GCLH 101Leadership I1
GCLH 201Thinking Locally and Globally1
Four, 1-credit hour Portfolio development courses4
HAC 101Honors Academy Leadership I1
HAC 201Leadership Skills1
HAC 301Prime Time Leadership1
Total Hours33

As outlined above, Global and Community Leadership Honors students complete coursework in several categories, or types of learning opportunities, which are more fully described below. Please note that much of the coursework is fully integrated into the student’s course of study and the academic major. Therefore most of the upper level coursework can apply to the completion of any major a student chooses.

Global and Community Leadership Honors Signature Courses

Each incoming GCL class takes two signature courses as a cohort, the first during Fall Term of Year 1, and the second during Fall Term of Year 3. These courses follow the mission of Global and Community Leadership Honors by informing students about social, economic, cultural, and public policy issues that are current in both a local and an international context.

The first GCL Signature Course is “Exploring Birmingham: Change and Power.” This course views Birmingham in a global context and examines the different ways that social, economic and political systems have allocated power and created urban societies. Through readings, films, discussions, lectures, and actual experiences in the city itself, students learn how to gather and analyze information, think critically about tough and contentious issues, and gain new perspectives on some old yet contemporary problems.

The second GCL Signature Course occurs at the student’s discretion after the first semester of the second year. This course, GCLH 301 Leadership and Community Engagement, has been developed in conjunction with the UAB Office of Service Learning. The course is largely conducted in a variety of sites in the Birmingham metropolitan community where GCL Honors students explore and experience their Issue of Interest with a personally selected community partner. Students will spend a minimum of 3-4 hours per week for 10 weeks (or 33 hours total for the semester) in service to a community or local government agency that has a direct relationship to the student’s chosen issue. The class also meets on a regular basis, at least every other week, to share reflections and analyze and discuss lessons learned from the community experience and how they relate to current concerns and challenges, as well as the student’s chosen field of study.

GCL-Approved Courses

GCL Honors seeks to build upon current course offerings, providing GCL Honors students with four ways of fulfilling 15 credit hours towards GCL Honors approved courses. One is through “personal development” core courses, which apply towards the UAB core curriculum requirement of 41 hours and at the same time satisfy the GCL core requirement. Three personally selected core courses fulfill nine (9) of the required 18 hours. Students must articulate the academic and personal goals that will be addressed by these core courses, which are generally included in the Core Areas for Arts and Humanities and for History and Social and Behavioral Sciences.

The second way to meet this requirement is to take an approved honors course within a departmental honors program. Credit in these honors class may count towards fulfillment of both the individual departmental honors program and the GCL Honors Program. To qualify for GCL Honors credit, departmental honors courses must have a demonstrated direct application to the student’s declared Issue of Interest.

Finally, the third possible source of GCL-approved courses is to contract an honors option within a regular course. Again, the “Honors Option” course must be related to the student’s Issue of Interest in order to qualify for GCL. To meet honors expectations for such a class, the student must first complete an Honors Option Proposal, providing the course syllabus, a description of what additional work (for example, additional research or directed reading on the Issue of Interest) that he/she plans to do for the honors credit, as well as evaluation procedures. After review by the GCL Honors Program staff, the proposal must be signed by the student, the professor of record for the course, and the GCL Honors Director.

Study Abroad, Study Away, Internship, or Service Learning

Students in GCL Honors may also complete an Honors Option in a study abroad, study away, internship, or service-learning course setting. In order to qualify for this option, the student must arrange with a faculty mentor to direct an Honors Option course in one of these alternative learning environments. In addition, this option must be related to the student’s Issue of Interest, and the learning outcomes must contribute to the student’s research and experience for the final GCL Honors thesis or Senior Project. GCL Honors will work closely with each student to identify the most beneficial placement for their own academic major, area of specialization, and especially for their Issue of Interest. We work one-on-one with each student and potential partners to assess mutual interests; research local, national, and international placements -- whether they be another university, a nonprofit, or a governmental agency -- and work through the process of contracting such placements and making arrangements for appropriate academic study or internships. Such individual placement insures that students will find an opportunity that both matches their interest and passion and at the same time provides a challenging learning opportunity.

Likewise, service-learning opportunities exist across many disciplines at UAB, and are managed by the Office for Service Learning. This Office can also place students in a community setting in conjunction with an academic class for which they may receive GCL Honors credit. All study abroad, internship or service-learning course options must be approved in advance by the GCL Honors Program and must demonstrate a connection to the student’s Issue of Interest in order to earn credit towards completion of the Program requirements, or to be eligible for scholarship assistance in the case of Study Away or Study Abroad Honors Options.

Honors Thesis

As noted above in “GCL-Approved Courses,” at least 6 hours of coursework in the major field of study must be completed through a departmental honors course or through Honors Option courses approved by the GCL Director that will be enhanced for additional research and reading and will also contribute to a deeper understanding of the student’s Issue of Interest. This coursework, combined with off campus experiences in the field, constitutes a concentrated two-year learning process that culminates with an Honors Thesis or Senior project. Through the Thesis/Senior Project the GCL student formally shares the body of knowledge about his or her Issue of Interest with other students and faculty. The goal is for the GCL Honors graduate to develop an expertise about the chosen Issue of Interest in a particular field of knowledge, which may either be transferred directly to the workforce or pursued in further study in graduate or professional school. Each GCL student will be personally advised throughout this final stage of the Program to ensure a successful completion of the thesis requirement.

Honors Academy and GCL Leadership Seminars

Students in the UAB Honors Academy take three, one-hour Leadership seminars beginning with the first year and ending with the third. These seminars allow Academy students to study and practice Leadership with scholars from the other university-wide honors programs, and they are coordinated by the Directors from each of the programs. The last course in this sequence, HAC 301 Prime Time Leadership, is an applied leadership course and requires that each student, working with a team of other Honors Academy students, develops and executes a project that demonstrates a practical application of their leadership skills. The goals for HAC 301 are to provide students experience in planning and leading a project; provide practical experience in working with a team; and encourage active reflection on personal strengths and leadership challenges that directly impact the project. For GCL Honors students, HAC 301 will provide an excellent opportunity to explore a potential Issue of Interest. This course may also be taken in conjunction with GCLH 301 Leadership and Community Engagement , if the student’s leadership project and his/her service learning experience are closely related. Finally, HAC 301 will also provide students an opportunity to study abroad or arrange an internship if the chosen leadership project fits either of these learning options and is also directly related to the student’s Issue of Interest.

In addition to these Honors Academy seminars, GCL Honors students must complete two one-hour GCL Leadership seminars. The seminar in the Spring Term of the first year is Thinking like a Leader. The key objective of this course is to work toward a clear understanding of what it means to be a leader in all the many different aspects of our life, personally, as well as in the community and the world. The fundamental idea, derived from psychologist Howard Gardner, is that leadership begins within each one of us, in the development of our own minds throughout our lifetime. Leadership emerges from our most fundamental life story: in how we see ourselves, how we think about the matters that are most important to us, and in how we seek to have others understand the world in the same way that we do. Accordingly, leaders strive to change the world to be more like their vision of what it should be, rather than the way it currently is.

The seminar in the second year is Thinking Locally and Globally. This seminar explores current critical issues and the leadership challenges they present. Students learn that if change in the world is to be affected, it will only be through leadership, either on their part or on the part of others. Therefore if they want the world to be different they will need to act to make it so. It is during this second seminar that students begin the process to determine their own Issue of Interest and develop their strategy for engaging this issue more deeply.

Issue of Interest

The essential objective in Global and Community Leadership Honors is for students to pursue a significant topic or issue about which they have a special concern or passion, and then applying what they are learning in their coursework towards this specific area of deep interest. During the junior year or before, every student in Global and Community Leadership Honors will choose an area of concentration in his or her major field of study, or in a field of personal scholarly interest. This scholarly work will address an issue with relevance to one or more of the themes or topic areas which are listed below.

Working with a faculty mentor, the student will develop an Honors Thesis or Senior Honors Project that will advance scholarly knowledge in the chosen field of study, and that will also have a demonstrated application to the chosen area of global concern.

Global Areas of Concern for Scholarly Concentration:

  • Poverty
  • Education
  • Health and welfare of children
  • Healthcare systems
  • Public Health
  • Mental Health
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Cultural, racial and ethnic diversity
  • Human and civil rights
  • Energy
  • Environment and biodiversity
  • Geopolitics and International Relations
  • War and Peace
  • Politics and Law
  • Terrorism
  • Economy and economic development
  • Economics and trade
  • Religion
  • Aging and end of life concerns
  • Science and Technology

Within each of these larger thematic issues, or others that can be proposed, a student will choose to explore a carefully defined Issue of Interest related to his/her own major field of study.

Current GCL Honors students are majoring in every academic field, from biology to neuroscience and biomedical engineering; from international studies to theatre and art. They are studying and researching a variety of Issues of Interest, including: healthcare services for the homeless, community gardens and childhood obesity and nutrition; the lack of mental health services for rural Alabama communities; and a comparative study of the quality and effectiveness of elder care facilities in Alabama and Spain. Such specialization is supported mainly through carefully targeted honors courses or other courses that would be enhanced to challenge honors students, and also through study away and/or internship opportunities. Most of the GCL-related coursework a student pursues during the junior and senior terms are directed towards a deeper knowledge and understanding of the Issue of Interest.

Student Activities

In addition to students’ individual activities, GCL Honors host or participates in a number of events each semester. Whether serving as a group through campus-wide service events such as “Into the Streets”, or gathering for dinner at a cookout, GCL Honors offers opportunities for group participation in a variety of educational, recreational, and service activities. Many of these events are planned by the GCL Honors Leadership Council, a student-run group composed of several committees. Students are encouraged to participate in the committees, which include Service Projects, Social Activities, Academics, Recruitment, Intercollegiate Involvement, Marketing and Public Relations, and Mentors. GCL Honors also has extracurricular requirements, including service hours, leadership activities, and attendance at UAB and community cultural events. Students are strongly encouraged to attend monthly meetings designed to present new knowledge and to encourage fellowship. Through such activities, each student must earn “Participation in Honors” credit, up to a minimum of 6 points per semester. These points are extracurricular, and the value assigned to each activity or event will be determined beforehand and communicated to the student. To assist students in obtaining the required points, GCL Honors facilitates opportunities for group participation in a variety of educational, recreational, and service activities, all of which will be announced in a weekly newsletter sent electronically to each student.

Academic Achievement and Continuation in the Program

Global and Community Leadership Honors students are required to maintain a 3.0 grade point average both in their overall undergraduate coursework and in their GCL Honors coursework. If one’s average falls below a 3.0, the student will have a period of one year to raise his or her average up to a 3.0 in order to remain in the program. A student must have an overall 3.0 average in the program and at UAB to graduate with Honors in Global and Community Leadership.

Who Should Apply

Global and Community Leadership Honors enhances the college experience for students with passion, motivation, ideas and initiative, and a desire to work towards the common good. Our students think critically about tough issues, challenging the way things are by asking “why,” and trying to determine if a better solution exists in a given situation. If these traits describe you, then GCL Honors is your opportunity to connect your ideas and initiative with your academic interests to prepare for local, national, and even global leadership. Typically students will enter the GCL Honors Program in the first semester of their first year. However, current first year students enrolled at UAB may be considered on an individual basis for admission to the Program if there are available positions. Interested current students should contact the GCL Honors Program office for application information before the beginning of Spring Term.

Scholarships

If admitted to UAB by November 1, Global and Community Leadership Honors Program applicants are eligible for all university-wide undergraduate scholarships. In addition, many schools and academic departments within UAB also offer their own awards to outstanding students. A significant number of GCL Honors students earn scholarships or additional assistance after their first semester at UAB. Current Global and Community Leadership Honors students are also eligible to apply for study away/internship scholarships. Students interested in these awards should contact GCL program staff for more information.

Application

Students interested in applying for admission to the Global and Community Leadership Honors Program should apply during their senior year of high school. The priority deadline is December 15, and the extended deadline is January 1. Applications can be found online at www.uab.edu/honorsacademy, or interested students should write or call:

Director, GCL Honors Program
HHB 542
UAB, 1530 3rd Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35294-1152
Phone: 205-934-8683
Email: gclhonors@uab.edu

Experiential Learning Scholars Program

The Experiential Learning Scholars Program is a university-wide honors program designed for students who are searching for ways to enhance their academic course work with applicable, real-life experiences. In the Experiential Learning Scholars Program, students will thoughtfully construct learning plans suited to their unique academic, personal, and career aspirations. Overall, a combination of faculty mentoring, specially designed courses, service learning experiences, undergraduate research opportunities and experiential learning in international and local community settings will allow students to create a unique educational opportunity to meet their academic, career and personal goals.

Goals for Experiential Learning Scholars Program Students:

  • UAB ELSP students will be able to synthesize connections among experiences outside of the formal classroom to deepen their understanding of fields of study and to broaden their own points of view.
  • UAB ELSP students will be able to synthesize new ideas and information to draw connections by combining examples, facts, or theories from more than one field of study or perspective.
  • UAB ELSP students will be able to adapt and apply skills, abilities, theories and methodologies gained in one situation to new situations to solve difficult problems or explore complex issues in original ways.
  • UAB ELSP students will be able to communicate effectively in a variety of written, oral and visual representations in ways that enhance the meaning and understanding of their ideas.
  • UAB ELSP students will be able to evaluate their own learning over time, interpreting and assessing their performance across multiple and diverse contexts in order to respond to new and challenging contexts, situations, and problems.

Benefits

Students in the Experiential Learning Scholars Program will work closely with faculty and staff to design a targeted plan of study focused on enhancing their coursework with a set of applicable, real-life experiences.

Because of the program’s scope and requirements, students receive a great amount of personal contact with ELSP and academic faculty as well as with numerous advisors who all act as mentors to students. This close personal contact is also evident among students who share similar interests and life goals, resulting in a strong sense of community within the program.

Overall, students in the Experiential Learning Scholars Program receive the following benefits:

  • Membership in the UAB Honors Academy
  • Graduating With University Honors in Experiential Learning
  • Priority registration
  • Connecting with students who share similar goals
  • Graduating with an enhanced transcript
  • Serving as the architect of your own enhanced undergraduate experience
  • Assistance from faculty mentors throughout undergraduate career
  • Option to live in honors housing on campus
  • 24-hour access to the honors program facilities for study and recreation

Experiential Learning Scholars Program Coursework and Requirements

The ELSP builds upon the breadth of UAB’s academic offerings and provides the opportunity for an increased depth of study not otherwise found in the typical undergraduate curriculum. The main focus of the ELSP is to help students design a customized learning plan that intentionally enhances their existing academic course work with applicable, real-life experiences. This enhanced learning experience is accomplished through a combination of ELSP required courses, approved honors enhanced courses, and a set of ELSP approved experiences. Much of this coursework will be fully integrated into the student’s regular course of study and major and should therefore present no obstacle to the completion of any major a student may chose.

Experiential Learning Scholars Program students are required to:

  • Complete an approved ELSP FLC or FYE course during the freshman fall semester
  • Complete the approved Honors Academy (HAC) Leadership seminar courses (A sequence of three 1-credit hour Honors Academy Leadership Seminar courses)
  • Maintain a series of personal essays, yearly learning plans and reflective essays
  • Complete at least six approved experiential learning activities
  • Attend at least two approved ELSP campus participation activities per semester
  • Meet with ELSP director or approved staff member at least once per semester to discuss learning plan and program progression
  • Develop an e-Portfolio documenting academic and experiential learning activities and maintain updates each semester
  • Create and present a “Cumulative Synthesis” or capstone project during the senior year

Types of ELSP Experiences:

The Experiential Learning Scholars Program is, ultimately, an opportunity for students to intentionally enhance their academic course work with applicable, real-life experiences. Students are required to complete at least six experiential learning activities at a rate of approximately one of these activities per semester starting in the sophomore year. Examples of relevant real-life experiences may include, but are not limited to the following types of activities:

  • Leadership Activities
  • Study Away or Study Abroad Activities
  • Service Learning Activities
  • Undergraduate Research or Professional Scholarship Activities
  • Co-op or Internship Activities
  • Career Shadowing and Mentoring Activities
  • Honors Level Art and Performance Activities
  • Honors Level Didactic and Clinical Course Work
  • Departmental or School-level Honors Program Course Work
  • UAB Involvement and Volunteer Activities
  • Miscellaneous Activities that are related to career and academic goals

Study Abroad, Study Away, Internship, or Service Learning

Students in the ELSP may fulfill some of their program requirements by participating in experiences in a study abroad, study away, internship, or service-learning settings. These activities are coordinated through the UAB Offices of Study Away, Service Learning, and Career Services. We recognize that there may be a more fitting opportunity not available among the current selections. For that reason, the ELSP will work closely with each student to identify the most beneficial placement for their own academic, career and personal goals. We work one-on-one with a student and potential partners. Such individual help insures that students will find an opportunity that both matches their interest and passion and at the same time provides a challenging learning opportunity. Please note that all study abroad, internship or service-learning options must be approved in advance by the ELSP in order to earn credit towards completion of the program.

Departmental Honors and Honors Option Coursework:

Additional honors coursework can be approved and tailored to the individual student’s goals based on the approved learning plan. For instance, one way to enhance existing academic coursework is to take honors courses within a departmental honors program. Credit in these honors classes may count towards fulfillment of both the individual departmental honors program as well as the ELSP. To qualify for ELSP credit, departmental honors courses must have a demonstrated direct application to the student’s declared learning plan and goals.

A second source of optional ELSP-approved courses is to complete a regular course as an honors course. In order to meet honors expectations for such a class, the student must first complete an Honors Option Proposal. In this proposal, students are required to provide the course syllabus, a description of what additional work that he/she plans to do for the honors credit, as well as evaluation procedures. After review by the ELSP staff, the proposal must be signed by the student, the professor of record for the course, and the ELSP Director.

ELSP Synthesis or Thesis Project

Some of the ELSP credit may be achieved through participation in departmental honors courses or through enhanced honors-level courses approved by the ELSP Director. This coursework, combined with relevant real-world experiences in the field, constitutes a concentrated learning experience that should culminate with an ELSP synthesis or thesis project. Through this thesis or synthesis project, the ELSP student formally shares the body of knowledge about his or her set of unique experiences with other students and faculty. The goal is for the ELSP graduate to develop an expertise in a particular field of knowledge that may be transferred directly to the workforce or pursued in further study in graduate or professional school. Each ELSP student will be personally advised throughout this final stage of the program to help ensure a successful completion of this requirement.

Student Activities

In addition to a student’s individual activities, the ELSP will host or participate in a number of events each year. Many of these events will be planned by a student-run leadership group which is composed of several committees. All ELSP students are encouraged to actively participate in these committees. Whether serving as a group through annual campus-wide service events such as “Into the Streets”, or gathering for dinner at someone’s home, the ELSP offers opportunities for group participation in a variety of educational, recreational, and service activities.

Continuation in the Program

Experiential Learning Scholars Program students are required to maintain a 3.0 average both in their overall undergraduate coursework and in any approved ELSP coursework. Students are also required to maintain adequate progress toward accomplishing their programmatic experiences at a rate of approximately one approved ELSP experience per semester. If a student’s overall or ELSP GPA falls below a 3.0, or if he/she does not maintain adequate progress towards completing their required programmatic experiences, then the student will be placed on programmatic probation and have one semester to address these deficiencies in order to remain in the program. In rare occasions, additional time may be granted to students upon appeal if the student can document significant progress and provide a compelling case. The only exception to this policy will be the final semester before graduation in which any deficiency during the final semester will result in loss of ELSP graduation recognition. At the time of graduation, a student must have at least an overall UAB and programmatic GPA of 3.0 and must have completed the required number of ELSP experiences to graduate “With University Honors in Experiential Learning.”

Who Should Apply?

The Experiential Learning Scholars Program enhances the college experience for students with a desire to create a unique educational experience. Our students think critically about their academic, career and personal goals and creatively look for experiential learning opportunities to meet their goals. If these traits describe you, then the Experiential Learning Scholars Program is your opportunity to creatively combine your academic goals with applicable, real-life experiences. Typically students will enter the ELSP in the freshman year. However, current UAB students and transfer students may be considered on an individual basis for admission to the program if there are available positions. Interested students should contact the ELSP office for application information before the beginning of Spring Term if possible.

Scholarships

If admitted to UAB by December 1, Experiential Learning Scholars Program applicants are eligible for all university-wide undergraduate scholarships. In addition, many schools and majors within UAB also offer their own awards to outstanding students. Current Experiential Learning Scholars Program students are also eligible to apply for study away and internship scholarships. Students interested in these awards should contact program staff for more information.

Application

Students interested in applying for admission to the Experiential Learning Scholars Program should apply during their senior year of high school. The application deadline is December 15. Applications can be found online at www.uab.edu/honorsacademy, or interested students should write or call:

Experiential Learning Scholars Program (ELSP)
HHB 542
1530 3rd Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35294-1152
Phone: 205-934-3870
Email: elscholars@uab.edu
Website: www.uab.edu/ELSP