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Dominican University of California

Student Handbook

TABLE OF CONTENTS

HONORS PROGRAM: The Scholar in the World

NATIONAL COLLEGIATE HONORS COUNCIL

HONORS BOARDS

HONORS CENTER

ADMISSION TO THE HONORS PROGRAM

HONORS REQUIREMENTS

HONORS SEMINARS

GUIDELINES FOR COMPLETING HONORS CONTRACTS

GUIDELINES FOR THE HONORS EPORTFOLIO

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MULTICULTURAL/INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE/STUDY ABROAD

11

SERVICE LEARNING

12

GUIDELINES FOR HONORS SENIOR THESIS/PROJECT

12

GUIDELINES FOR THE ORAL DEFENSE


OF THE HONORS THESIS

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APPENDICES
A. Honors Courses in Relation to General Education Requirements
B. Guidelines for Faculty Mentoring of Honors Students
C. Honors Contract (form available in Registrars office)
D. Honors Contract EvaluationStudent
E. Honors Contract EvaluationFaculty
F. Multicultural/International Experience
G. Service Learning Experience
H. Thesis Title Page Format
I. Thesis Progress Form

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Honors Student Handbook, revised 2015

HONORS PROGRAM: The Scholar in the World


The Honors Program is designed to provide enhanced and alternative modes of education for
excellent and highly motivated students throughout the University. It encourages the growth
of intellectual independence and initiative, offers special opportunities for independent study
and research under faculty mentors, and supports the pursuit of scholarly interests in a broad
range of disciplines. The program is directed toward students who seek to be responsible for
determining the pace, organization, development of their academic experience by electing to
take special honors seminars, and/or various forms of independent honors work. To help
students set and achieve their own educational goals, they receive academic advisement not
only from their major advisor, but also from the Honors Director. The Honors program provides
students with the opportunity to enroll in Honors Seminars or Graduate Courses and do an
Honors Course Conversion, Course Expansion, or an Honors Independent Study.
Students obtain immediate and potential long-term benefits from active participation in the
honors program. Active Honors students (i.e., those who have taken an Honors Seminar or
worked on an Honors contract during the current academic year) may register during the first
day of priority registration along with senior year students. Also, an Honors student in good
academic standing may register for over 17 units without an additional fee. This over-hours
privilege can be taken twice (maximum 3 units a semester) or up to a total of 6 (six) units while
at Dominican. The privilege is available after a student has completed two semesters at
Dominican during which she/he has been enrolled in Honors seminars and has a cumulative
GPA of 3.5. Exceptions to this policy may be made at the discretion of the Honors Program
Director.
In addition to the obvious advantages of taking seminars specifically designed with the
motivated student in mind, honors work allows the student flexibility when choosing courses to
meet general education requirements. Small classes or team-taught classes allow greater
interaction between the students and professors. Professors often invite honors classes to their
homes or to special extracurricular events. The normal ceiling on the amount of independent
study allowed at the University is waived for the members of the Honors Program.
The Program provides opportunities for honors students to get better acquainted with one
another, to be involved in honors activities, and to work together for the good of all. The
Honors Center provides a place for the students to meet to work on projects, to study and to
have social activities (Library 209). The Honors community provides occasions for the
integration of the academic, social, and co-curricular spheres of University life. Students can
participate and assume leadership role on Honors Board, assist the Director in her activities,
and assume writing and serve as editor of Honors Newsletter. Many students have attended
and presented their research at national meetings such as National Collegiate Honors Council
(NCHC), National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), and discipline specific
conferences.
Some of the long-term benefits include graduate schools admission considering Honors
graduates first for acceptance to their programs because admission committees are impressed
by those who choose to follow the more challenging path. Current research indicates that
employers are also looking for graduates who have excelled in programs that stress
independent, analytical or creative thinking. However, two of the greatest rewards of being an
Honors graduate are the intellectual excitement one has experienced on the way and the sense
of personal satisfaction received from a job well done.
A student who successfully completes the Honors Program graduates as Scholar in the World.
They are also eligible for other honors designations available to all students at the University.

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NATIONAL COLLEGIATE HONORS COUNCIL


The Honors Program has institutional membership in the National Collegiate Honors Council
(NCHC) on the regional and national levels. An annual National Honors Conference is
sponsored by the NCHC. Honors students are encouraged to attend and many programs are
designed with Honors students in mind. The conference registration for students along with
airfare and hotels can be expensive but the program and university grants cover a significant
portion of the cost. NCHC meets annually in late October or early November. The following
locations were for the most recent National Collegiate Honors Councils: 2010 in Kansas City,
MO; 2011 in Phoenix, AZ; 2012 in Boston, MA; 2013 in New Orleans, LA; and 2014 in Denver,
CO. The following locations were for the most recent Western Regional Honors Councils: 2012
in Albuquerque, NM; 2013 in Flagstaff, AZ; 2014 in Denver, CO; and 2015 in Reno, NV.
Website for NCHC: http://www.nchchonors.org/
Website for WRHC: http://www.wrhc.nau.edu/
THE HONORS BOARD
The Honors Board is responsible for administering the Honors Program. The board consists of
the Director, the Vice President of Academic Affairs, four faculty members, and a senior Honors
student. The Board is responsible for the selection and advisement of Honors students, the
assessment of Honors contracts and credits, the maintenance of academic standards for
Honors work, and for other governance, policy-setting, and curriculum development for the
Honors Program. Students Please Note: All official Honors business is conducted via the Honors
Director.
HONORS BOARD MEMBERS
HONORS PROGRAM
DIRECTOR:

Dr. Diara Spain


diara.spain@dominican.edu

ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT


OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS:

Dr. Mojgan Behmand


mojgan.behmand@dominican.edu

FACULTY MEMBERS:

Dr. Matt Davis, Psychology


matt.davis@dominican.edu
Dr. June Wilson, Nursing
june.wilson@dominican.edu
Dr. Jacob Massoud, Business
jacob.massoud@dominican.edu
Dr. Rosemarie Michaels, Education
rosemarie.michaels@dominican.edu

STUDENT MEMBER:

TBD Changes but is always a graduating senior student

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STUDENT ADVISORY BOARD


We encourage members to develop leadership skills and there are a variety of leadership
positions available specifically within the Honors Program. The student advisory board is
composed of honors student leaders representing the positions and committees described
below.
Undergraduate Administrative Assistants
These students work closely with the Honors Program Director to manage documents and
plan/implement honors events. A graduating senior participates on the faculty honors board
and sends out emails to solicit input on honors related issues or for participation in specific
activities
Class Representatives
At least one student from each academic class serves as a voice for issues, concerns, and
gathers good news related to their academic class. Shares information discussed by the Honors
Student Leadership Council and interfaces with the other student leaders. They may also help
in maintaining records of student attendance at social and academic events to track
participation.
ePortfolio Committee
This group focuses on managing information related to the portfolio. They help set the
guidelines for the ePortfolio in addition to planning and presenting at ePortfolio workshops.
Honors Student Ambassadors
Open to students currently serving as campus ambassadors; interface with Honors and the
office of admissions in matters relating to recruitment, open house, and campus visit days.
Newsletters & mini-newsletters
Students may contribute as writers or editors for this paper or online publication. It is
distributed once or twice a semester.
Public Relations & News Coordinators
This is group of students requests information on student activities in order to highlight honors
student achievements. They also participate in Honors events targeted to incoming freshman
students. They will also maintain a record of student participation in honors societies and
leadership activities.
Housing/RA Coordinator
Plan and advertise events for freshmen and other honors students living on campus; interface
with honors and student life/housing
Community Service Coordinators
These students will plan, advertise, and maintain records of volunteer and community service
events. Also, they will interface with public relations and other organizations such as Campus
Ministry and City of San Rafael Volunteers.
Student Handbook Committee
This is a temporary committee that will revise the student handbook to reflect new academics
as well as policies and procedures.

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HONORS CENTER
The Honors Center is located in Library 209. The door is kept locked and a key can be checked
out to Honors students at the Library Circulation desk. There are two adjacent areas in the
center. The main room is equipped with a conference table, comfortable reading chairs,
microwave, and printer. There is a smaller room with 2 study individual carrels like in the
main area of the library. Please respect this space - keep it clean, locked and share during high
traffic times like exam weeks.
ADMISSION TO THE HONORS PROGRAM
Students are invited into the Honors Program on the basis of a high level of past academic
performance (minimum 3.50 cumulative index, including transfer coursework). In the case of
incoming freshmen, correlative entrance exam scores (SAT total = 1150 minimum or ACT score
of 26) and GPA of over 3.5. All invited students receive a letter from the Honors Director.
Students may be accepted into the Honors Program at any point in their academic careers.
However, late admission may mean that a student will not be able to complete the
requirements of the Honors Program. Any student who feels she/he can succeed at and
benefit from Honors work is welcome to speak to the Honors director about participating.
HONORS REQUIREMENTS
The curriculum has five major components: academic courses, a senior thesis, a multicultural
or international experience, a portfolio, and a service learning experience. Each component is
directly linked to the Dominican Core Values:
Study is represented by honors courses and the senior thesis
Reflection is represented by the portfolio
Community is represented by international and multicultural experiences
Service is represented by service learning
Honors students must maintain a minimum 3.30 cumulative index in order to remain active in
the program. Honors students enroll in Honors seminars spread out over four years that fulfill
specific General Education requirements and culminate in an Honors senior thesis in the
discipline of the major. To become an Honors Program graduate, a student must have
maintained a 3.50 cumulative index and must convert the Senior Thesis project in their major
discipline to Senior Honors Thesis (See Honors Senior Thesis Guidelines).
For transfer students and Adult Degree Completion Majors, the Honors Program consists
mainly of honors contracts between the student and a faculty mentor but may also include
honors seminars. The Honors Contract documents the projects which Adult Degree
Completion Majors students propose and construct in lieu of an Honors course. The student
projects will be expected to complete a portion of this requirement depending on the academic
standing upon entrance to Dominican University. To graduate as an Honors Program Scholar
in the World, Adult Degree Completion Majors must have two semesters of residence,
maintained a 3.50 cumulative index, completed four honors contracts, written and defended an
honors senior thesis in the discipline of the major, and fulfilled the multi-cultural/international
requirement. On the official transcript, both the award (The Scholar in the World) and the title
of the Honors Thesis are recorded.

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HONORS SEMINARS
Honors Seminars are small, interdisciplinary, discussion-oriented courses. Taught by faculty
across the University, the seminars' rigor and depth are designed to stimulate, conceptually
challenge, and intellectually stretch highly capable students, encouraging them to perform at
the highest level of excellence. The course offerings for Honors Seminars partially meet the
General Education requirements. These courses vary each semester and are listed in the
academic schedule of classes. Listed below are some of the seminars that are currently being
offered or offered in the past. (See appendix A for Honors courses in relation to general
education requirements.)
Honors Big History (3 units)
This course describes the first moments of our universe, the birth of stars and planets, the
formation and evolution of life on earth, the origins of humanity, the evolution of human
culture to the present, and goes further by theorizing about potential futures for us and for our
planet. The class discussions will be enriched by including the works of notable scholars from
a diverse array of humanities and scientific disciplines.
Beauty through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
Why is something an idea, a building, a protozoan cell beautiful? This seminar uses the
scholarship of beauty, aesthetics, to examine the ways humanity has defined beauty and to ask
questions. What in the universe the past and the present of the Big History narrative
conforms to formal ideals of beauty? Who defines beauty? Is the re-engineering of natural
beauty a good idea? Will our great grandchildren be beautiful beings in a beautiful universe?
We will define our own ideas about beauty and then speculate on how our ideals of beauty
might impact the future.
Visualizing the Sacred Through the Lens of Big History (3 units)
Following and expanding upon the first-semester course in Big History, this seminar addresses
how humans have perceived the universe from Paleolithic times to the present day with specific
attention to the art and architectural forms devoted to visualizing the sacred. The wonders of
the cosmos, the position of planet Earth within this, and the role of humans in creating
meaning through diverse religious beliefs are addressed. The course especially concentrates on
the visible manifestations of faith systems via coverage of the art and architecture associated
with the religions of the world.
Worldviews and Practices of the Great Religions (3 units)
A Worlds Religions course with a twist: all the work required in the regular course but only
half the semesters hours in class. The other half will be spent visiting religious sites in order to
participate in their practices a Native American sweat lodge, Hindu ritual and yoga, Buddhist
meditation exercises, Jewish Sabbath worship, Christian contemplative prayer, Islamic daily
prayer, Sufi invocation (and more). As these adventures will require extra and unusual hours of
availability; subscribers must be highly flexible and strongly committed.
Hellenistic Age of Religion (3 units)
This course will introduce students to the evolution of Jewish religious perspectives, thought,
texts and history from the destruction of the 1st Temple (586 BCE) to the beginnings of early
Christianity (325 CE). The Hellenistic Period is when Greeks, Romans, Jews and eventually
early Christians confronted modernity. This was due to emerging concepts including the role
of the individual in religion, the end of prophecy, the role of women in religion and the
universal hope for a better time. We will discuss themes of Judaism and change, religious
creativity, theology and mysticism (Gnosticism, Mithra and other cults), the role of the

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prophets, the beginnings of the rabbinate, the powerful role of women, the function of
Messianic hopes, and the end of time.
Self, Community, and Service: Ethical Theory and Practice (3 units)
A rigorous examination of contemporary movement in ethical theory, focusing on the essential
need for moral meaning and its modern implications. Themes include questions of identity,
responsibility, perception of and relation to the other. Critical analysis of texts and key issues
will be performed and understanding of key issues will be deepened through a service
component that allows for active cultivation and expression of core values in the local
community.
Moral Philosophy (3 units)
This course will cover various theories of moral philosophy and students will develop their own
analytic and critical skills for ethical assessment. The course emphasizes an ethics from the
margins that includes race, gender, and class analysis of social issues that marginalized
communities face. To connect moral theory to real life, students will serve with non-profit
partners focused on the issues of impoverishment in our local communities.
Aquatic Ecosystems: San Francisco Bay Area (4 units)
This class provides a holistic view of aquatic ecosystems: water & soil quality as well as plant &
animal diversity. A major focus is comprehension how environmental issues like sustainability,
natural disasters, and invasive species affect humans then develop and implement a civic
project. The laboratory component includes gathering samples in the field and interpreting
data in the laboratory.
Bay Area Rocks: Geology of Northern California (4 units)
This class investigates the unique geology of the Bay Area and Northern California. It explores
how the geology and physical environment have and continue to shape the way people live
here. Topics include natural disasters, resource use and allocation, water rights, development
limitations and energy generation. Students will engage in a civic outreach project that benefits
the local community.
City as Text (1-3 units)
City as Text was designed by NCHC as a way to introduce individuals to the learning value of
place. At Dominican, the City as Text courses (Paris, London, Italy, etc.) combines travel, onsite learning, and research into a student's exploration of history, culture and place. Academic
trips have visited the following locations: India, China, Greece, Thailand and Vietnam, Berlin
and Prague, Ireland, and Italy.
GUIDELINES FOR COMPLETING HONORS CONTRACT
The Honors Contract enables you to construct a study project in lieu of a course, within a
course, or in order to take a graduate course for Honors credit. Honors contracts are
independent projects guided by faculty mentors. (See Appendix B, C, D, and E for the
guidelines for faculty mentors of Honors students, the Honors Contract, and the Honors
Contract evaluation for faculty and students) The contract forms are available in the Honors
Directors Office and the Registrars office. There are four kinds of Honors Projects, each of
which requires the completion of an Honors Contract.
1. Independent Study (an independent course of study with a faculty member focused on a
topic that is not part of the standard curriculum or independent travel that focuses on a course
of study and is monitored by a faculty member.)
2. Course Expansion (taking a course offered in the regular curriculum but working with the

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instructor/mentor to develop a project that would expand the unit total of the course. For
example: a three unit course becomes either a 4, 5, or 6 unit course.)
3.Course-Conversion (taking a course offered in the regular curriculum, electing not to expand
the unit total, but working with the instructor to transform the course requirements into a
project(s) that further promotes the student's initiative and creativity and thereby designating
the course as Honors on the transcript.)
4. Graduate Course (An undergraduate student enrolls in a graduate course with approval of
the instructor and the graduate program coordinator.)
Honors work may not be taken on a pass/fail basis. All Honors Contracts are initiated by the
student. They require filling out and completing the Honors Contract (Appendix B), supplying
the complete supporting documentation and returning them to Dr. Diara Spain by the
published deadline. The deadline for the submission of Honors Contracts to the Honors
Director for the Fall and Spring semester is generally 3 weeks from the first day of classes.
The Honors Director informs the student of approval of the Honors Contract or suggests
necessary changes. A binder marked "Past Honors Contracts" containing successful and
complete Honors contracts is available for your review in the office of the Honors Director.
The Honors Contract Process
The Honors Contract process involves five steps:
1. Developing your project idea and finding a mentor
2. Writing your contract
3. Working on your project (research, writing, etc.) and meeting periodically with your
mentor (outside of class time)
4. Submitting your final product to your mentor
5. Completing your self-evaluation form, attending the end of the semesters Honors
conference, and being evaluated by your mentor.
The Contract is an important document: it becomes part of your Honors folder and speaks to
the quality and commitment of your work better than anything else can.
Step 1: Developing an Honors Project and Finding a Mentor.
You can begin this process from three points: you may know the faculty mentor you wish to
work with and not the project; you may have a project in mind but not a mentor; you may
know only that you wish to/need to develop an Honors Contract. In addition to yourself, you
have excellent resources available to you for consultation about your work: the Honors
Director, your academic advisor, the faculty, and your fellow students. Successful projects
grow in various ways, out of scheduling necessities as much as out of desire, inspiration or
insight.
The advising and registration period of the prior semester is an excellent time to begin this
process: you, the faculty, and other Honors students are thinking about your schedule of work
for the following semester. It often takes time for your project to germinate; you can complete
this form up to the contract deadline, which is three weeks into the semester.
Step 2: Writing the Contract.
The contract is your plan for the Honors Project. You will not always be able to anticipate at
the contract stage where your research will take you. However, in order to approve your
Honors Contract, the Honors Board needs to review in as much detail as possible what you are
proposing. In addition if the Board is familiar with the field, it frequently proves helpful in
making suggestions and offering additional resources.

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The contract form has a front side of important information and a reverse side which requires
you to submit two typed copies of the nine sections below:
Sect. 1. Basic Information (self-explanatory).
Sect. 2. Project Title (self-explanatory).
Sect. 3. Description.
Perhaps the most challenging and most telling portion of the contract is the description.
There you are asked to sketch in the nature and scope of your project as fully as
possible: its central issue or theme, topic, problem or question. It is often best to
conceive of your project description as some question or problem that you wish to
investigate or resolve. The project description requires you to suggest both the breadth
of your exploration and the focus (if you know it already) of your research.
In order to fill this section out properly, you need to have several discussions with your
mentor, think about the topic, and do some preliminary general research (in a textbook,
or a specialized encyclopedia, or on-line) in order to get an overview. What is your
hypothesis as to the results of your work?
If in the course of your research, you and your mentor substantially modify your project
description, you should file an "Addendum to the Honors Contract" describing those
changes and signed by both you and your mentor.
Sect. 4. Methodology.
The project description tells what you are going to do, methodology tells how you are
going to do it. What kinds of research activities will be involved? Solely library research
in books and journals or other approaches as well? What resources do you expect to
use? You are encouraged to use multiple methods in pursuit of your research question.
The use of interviews, field trips, experimentation, participant observation or surveys
can provide a personal complement to your project. Library research must always be a
part of the process.
Sect 5. Select Bibliography.
While a full list of sources is not necessary at this point, you should give titles which
reflect the scope of the topic and show that you have assurance of available printed
materials on your topic.
Sect 6. Work Plan and Regular Contact with Mentor.
Your mentor is your critical resource. Establishing dates for progress reports and
stages toward completion provides a supportive framework within which you and your
mentor can work. General Plan: begin work on your project no later than the third
week of the semester; plan a due date that is no later than the last day of classes for the
semester. This leaves a maximum of ten weeks to research and write up your project.
Regular meetings with your mentor will keep you on schedule. Although an incomplete
is always possible, do not plan on it.
Sect. 7. Project Product(s).
The product of your honors work may be of various sorts. Your choice of product
should be directly related to the nature and method of your project; it should be chosen
as the best way to report your findings. If you choose to write a paper, a first draft
should be factored into your schedule. Other kinds of final products might be: a
journal with a final reflective essay, oral presentation, performance, creative work

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(paintings, photos, portfolio of poetry) with essays. Your final product ought to reflect
in every way the best work you are capable of and pride in your project.
Sect. 8 Honors Credits Requested.
The total number of unit credits should be listed. Please keep in mind that the
California State Department of Education suggests approximately 45 hours of academic
work for each unit of credit.
Sect. 9 Signatures.
Have your mentor sign your contract before you submit it for approval to the Honors
Director.
Step 3: Doing the Work.
If you are loyal to your project, maintain your contact with your mentor, and talk about
research with friends and faculty, keeping it in the forefront of your mind, you will find you are
enjoying it and maintaining your work schedule. One suggestion is to keep a "To Do" list of
tasks that you cross off when you do them. Update and revise your proposal weekly, by way of
keeping yourself and your mentor aware of your progress and your work on target.
Step 4: Submitting your Project Product(s).
Completed projects should be submitted for evaluation to your mentor on schedule and to the
Honors Director. Projects are shared at the Honors Conference at the end of the semester.
Step 5: Evaluation.
This step is an important part of your learning process and it comes in three parts: selfevaluation, presentation at the end of the semesters Honors conference, and evaluation by
your mentor. Directions for self evaluation are in Appendix C. The evaluation should be
turned in to the Honors Director (via campus mailbox or office).
GUIDELINES FOR THE HONORS EPORTFOLIO
Portfolios help assess the educational experience of students in the Honors Program. Students
are required to begin compiling their portfolio from the first semester at Dominican. The
benefits of building a portfolio include:
a) encouraging and allowing students to preserve their best work,
b) providing Honors students and Honors Program Advisor/Director an opportunity to
measure their growth in a qualitative manner, and,
c) helping to provide a method of assessing the Honors Program education at Dominican and
providing feedback for continuous improvement.
As an alternate to a paper portfolio we are developing the format and implementing ePortfolios.
Our selected free online portfolio system is weebly.com. If you choose to complete an ePortfolio
please log in using a personal email so you can access the account post-graduation.
Your URL should be: FirstnameLastname-duchonors.weebly.com
Organization of the ePortfolio demonstrates creative and critical thinking skills. Students are
required to include a short introduction before each section (for example, at the beginning of
assignments written during their first year, or sophomore etc.) which will help transition the
reader. Students will include one paper from each Honors Seminar class, any papers written
for Honors Contract projects, as well as any presentation(s) prepared for a class, conference or
for delivery at a professional meeting. Graded papers should be included in the portfolio.
In addition, students will include a reflection paper written during their senior year and their
Honors Thesis. Students have the option of including articles written for campus Newsletters

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such as The Penguin Press, as examples of a students role in campus organizations, art
exhibition, and sports.
The ePortfolio should contain the following headings in bold font as pages:

Cover Page which speaks about the student as an individual and what she/he expects
from the Honors education at Dominican (to be completed during first semester) and
Honors Handbook
Freshman Year overview/reflection
o FYE Honors Big History - Written Assignment (First Year)
o FYE Honors BH Through the Lens of - Written Assignment (First Year)
o Honors Science biological or physical science (any academic Year)
Sophomore Year overview/reflection
o Honors World Religions: Written Assignment (Sophomore Year)
o Honors Ethics: (Sophomore Year)
o Honors Science biological or physical science (any academic Year)
o Honors Colloquia : Written assignment (Junior or Senior Year)
Junior Year - overview/reflection (may include Honors Thesis)
o Honors Colloquia : Written assignment (Junior or Senior Year)
o Honors Science biology or physical science (any academic Year)
Senior Year - overview/reflection & Honors Thesis
o Reflection Essay: Written Assignment (Senior Year)
o Honors Science biological or physical science (any academic Year)
o Honors Colloquia : Written assignment (Junior or Senior Year)
Combine Service & Community Experiences
Service Learning: Written Assignment, brochures, etc (upon completion)
International/Multicultural experience: Written Assignment, travel journal, etc (upon
completion)
Special Recognitions
o Presentation(s) prepared for class(es) or for professional meetings (as available)
o Articles on DUC website, newsletters, or newspapers
o Other relevant information (as available)

You may also include in the appropriate academic year:


Three written assignments completed in non-Honors courses selected by the student
MULTICULTURAL/INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE/STUDY ABROAD
An integral part of the Honors Experience is the international or multicultural experience.
This is viewed by the students, family, and faculty as an excellent way to gain knowledge and
exposure to different cultures and environments. Virtually all Honors students are interested in
travel related experiences. There are several options for international experiences. A few
students participate in exchange programs and register for classes at another university.
The Honors Program offers a short term study abroad class in the spring semesters that may
be taken for variable (1-3 units) credit. Previous international trips include India (2006), China
(2007), Thailand and Vietnam (2008), Berlin and Prague (2009), Egypt (2010), Ireland (2012),
and Italy (2011, 2014).
Another option available to students is Study Abroad. Honors students are strongly encouraged
to investigate the possibility of a semester abroad, either through an NCHC sponsored program
or through Dominican's Study Abroad Program.

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The Honors Program provides significant opportunities for Multicultural / International


experience. One to three multicultural events will be promoted by the Honors Program office
every academic year. All Honors students not participating in an academic travel class must
develop a proposal for fulfilling this requirement which must be approved by the Honors
Director.
A summative or reflective paper is written about the international or multicultural experience
and the service learning experience. Supporting documentation can be included with pictures
and video in the ePortfolio. Review the guidelines for meeting this requirement (Appendix F).
SERVICE LEARNING
The Honors Program offers at least one GE class with the service learning (SL) designation
every academic year. For the past several years SL has been offered with the Honors Ethics
classes. Many students choose to take the Honors SL and fulfill their ethics requirement
simultaneously. We also have a GE Biological Sciences class with SL as part of the field
laboratory component. If your major is not in the School of Health and Natural Sciences
(Biology, Chemistry, Health Sciences, or Nursing) then this is an excellent option.
All Honors students are required to take a class with SL before finishing the Honors Program.
Classes with official recognition of service learning are indicated with SL in the course title. A
variety of courses are offered in different departments but the specific courses vary each
academic year.
A summative or reflective paper is written about the service learning experience. Supporting
documentation can be included with pictures and video in the ePortfolio. Review the guidelines
for meeting this requirement (Appendix G).
GUIDELINES FOR HONORS SENIOR THESIS/PROJECT
The Senior Thesis/Project
Most academic departments at Dominican University of California require a senior
thesis/project, a one-year culminating experience that offers evidence of accomplishment in a
discipline or area of inquiry. The major will determine the nature of the thesis/project. It
can take many forms: a research document, a novel, a business plan, a portfolio of poetry, or
original works of art. The senior thesis/project should be of a length or scope sufficient to
demonstrate competence in the given area. In every case there should be a written segment,
even in performance-oriented theses.
The Honors Thesis
A senior thesis/project becomes an Honors thesis/project when it meets an unusually high
standard of excellence as determined by the unanimous vote of a Thesis Committee composed
of at least three faculty members, and at least one of whom is the Honors Director or a member
of the Honors Board. The thesis/project advisor has the primary responsibility for working
with the student, while the second reader will provide additional guidance.
The Honors Program keeps copies of approved Honors Theses from different academic
disciplines as examples of Honors quality theses. Current Honors students are encouraged to
examine these theses before deciding on a topic for their Senior Honors Thesis. You can make
an appointment with the Honors Director to examine previous Honors student theses.
What makes a senior thesis/project an Honors Thesis/Project?
Each department should have guidelines for what makes the difference. In some cases, it is

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the number of resources required, in others it is number/duration of experiments, etc. What


really counts is that the thesis/project is comprehensive and is of excellent quality. It is up to
the thesis/project advisor and the second reader to inform the students what is expected of
them in an Honors thesis/project from their department.
Eligibility
Students are eligible to pursue an Honors thesis only if they are current members of the
Honors program and have completed the required seminars and/or contracts and have a
cumulative GPA of 3.5 prior to the beginning of their final semester.
STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES
Timeline and Planning for the Honors Thesis/Project
1. Attend the fall semester meeting for graduating seniors. Attendance at this meeting is
important for all seniors who plan to graduate with Honors to discuss thesis/project
requirements.
2. Choose a thesis/project advisor who is an expert in the field and has the time to meet and
provide you critical feedback. Frequent meetings will be needed to discuss your progress.
3. Select the second reader, in consultation with your thesis/project advisor, to assemble the
thesis committee preferably from the students program of study.
4. By the time you come to meet the Honors Director for advising the above should be done
and you should be able to provide the information in the table below.
Student
Name

Major

Thesis/Project
Title (tentative)

Thesis/Project
Advisor/first reader

Thesis/Project
second reader

5. You must be available for the scheduled oral defense of the thesis/project.
6. Submit a bound copy (with signed and stamped title page) of the Honors thesis to the
Honors Program office before Commencement or as soon as possible afterwards.
The Timetable
Because the granting of Honors status to a thesis is no light matter, readers must be given
adequate time to read and provide critical feedback. The following timetable is an essential
part of the process. Failure to meet its deadlines will in most cases make it impossible for the
Committee to grant Honors status.
1. While it is assumed that one's main reader will critique the thesis throughout the year, the
secondary readers must have adequate time and opportunity to critically respond to a draft of
the entire thesis. A penultimate draft must be submitted to the first and second readers no
later than October 28 for December graduation or March 28 for May graduation to allow
them time to read the thesis and you time to respond to their critiques. Drafts that are not
handed in on time or which are incomplete at that time may be excluded from further
consideration for honors.
2. The final draft of the thesis must reach all readers at least one week prior to the oral
defense.

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3. The oral defense must be completed and the committee decision made no later than the last
day of the classes in a semester. Because of an increase in the number of students in the
Honors Program, when possible, the Honors Director will consult with the Department Chair to
schedule the defense. In such instances the duration and nature of the defense must meet
Honors Program standards.
FACULTY ROLES
1. The primary reader also serves as chair of your thesis and main resource person. S/he
guides the project and meets with you periodically to talk about it. In addition, they should
receive annual written updates and give written or verbal feedback on these draft versions.
2. Second readers: A student works mainly with the primary reader, but consults second
reader as needed or desired. However, the second reader must have an opportunity to read a
draft of the full thesis, before March 28 or October 26. Follow the timetable below.
Description
Some sections of thesis draft handed to
Honors Director.
Thesis advisor and second reader sign and
return form (Appendix B)
Program confirmation - exact title and
presentation time with readers
Final draft submitted to readers and Honors
Director
Thesis Defense

Fall
Defense
September 26

Spring
Defense
February 26

October 28

March 28

November 2

April 2

November 5

April 5

Mid - November

Mid- April

3. All three readers of the penultimate draft must:


a) give an interim evaluation of the thesis by signing off on the form in Appendix
b) distinguish in their critical comments between optional and required revisions.
4. Committee members have to be present at the Honors defense.
GUIDELINES FOR THESIS/PROJECT
The thesis/project is the culminating product of your honors education. In order to have some
uniformity among the various departments represented by students, please follow the
guidelines when writing your thesis/project.
Format specifications
Thesis/project should be printed on 8 1/2 x 11 inch white paper on one side only. The text
should be double spaced with 1.5 inches margin on the left and 1 inch margin on the right,
top, and bottom.
Your thesis should contain the following sections:
Abstract: An abstract of up to 150 words must be included.
Acknowledgement(s)
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Illustrations (includes graphs, maps, photographs, etc)
Text, which is the main body of the thesis (divided into chapters)

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References (use the citation style specific to your discipline (APA or MLA)
Appendices (as applicable)

The Honors thesis/project should have the following major text sections. However, your
advisor may suggest a different format according to the conventions of your discipline.
Introduction, Literature review (as applicable)
Thesis/Project Description: research questions, hypothesis, or the focus
Methodology: materials and methods
Results and Discussion
Conclusion
GUIDELINES FOR THE ORAL DEFENSE OF THE HONORS THESIS
The Requirement of a Defense
Honors education stands in part for the cultivation of skills that are important in the public
realm. Chief among these is the ability to orally present and defend ideas. A thesis/project
that deserves the Honors designation, therefore, is one which is not only well researched and
written but is also effectively presented by its author in collegial dialogue with mentors and
peers.
The Nature of the Defense
The oral defense is to be thought of as a collegial conversation. Members of the examining
committee will engage the candidate in dialogue, asking questions based on their reading of the
thesis/project. The thesis advisor will usually ask the first questions-- allowing the candidate
to give, in effect, a general opening statement describing the thesis, its aims, and its structure.
Faculty members then ask their own questions - which are not supplied to the candidate in
advance. Thesis defense is open to the whole campus, family, and friends.
If the procedures for writing the thesis have been properly followed and, most importantly, if
the second reader has been properly consulted at critical junctures, the student should be
confident of successfully defending their thesis/project. Nevertheless, the defense is not a mere
formality. An adequate defense is a necessary, though of course not a sufficient condition for
an Honors thesis.
Duration
The oral defense should probably take about thirty minutes, though everyone should allow
for flexibility. After the defense, the faculty and Honors director confer on a decision.
The Committee's Decision
The Committee will reach one of two decisions: to grant Honors status to the thesis/project, or
to deny Honors status to the thesis/project. Readers should be able to tell if a thesis will
qualify as Honors before the oral defense. If the thesis is not honors worthy, the oral defense
should be canceled.
Communication of the Committee's Decision to the Candidate
Generally the candidate is immediately notified of the committee's decision. However, if for
some reason this is not the case, the candidate should arrange with his/her advisor a time
when s/he can be told of the committee's decision.
Communication of the Committee's Decision to the Registrar's Office
The Honors Director communicates the name of the student and the title of the honors thesis
to the Registrar so that the Honors Program Scholar designation and the honors thesis title can
be duly reflected on the transcript.

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Appendix A.
Honors Courses in Relation to General Education Requirements
Approved Day GE
First Year Foundations (6)
Big History (3)

Approved Honors GE
First Year Foundations (6)

Through the lens of Big History (3)


*courses vary

Beauty Through the Lens (3)


Visualizing the Sacred (3)

Expository Writing (3)


Advanced Writing and Research (3)

Expository Writing (3)


Advanced Writing and Research (3)

Public Speaking (3)

Public Speaking (3)

Social Sciences (3)

Social Sciences (3)

Creative and Performing Arts (3)

Creative and Performing Arts (3)

Colloquium (6)

CLQ: Social Justice and/or Global


Community theme (6) *courses vary

Math Thinking & Quantitative


Reasoning (3)

Math Thinking & Quantitative


Reasoning (3)

Natural Science (6-8)

Natural Science (4 - 8)
Aquatic Ecosystems (4)
Bay Area Rocks (4)

Moral Philosophy/Ethics (3)

Ethics in Service: Self & Community (3)


Moral Philosophy (3)

Cross-Cultural and Western Cultural


Religion (6)
At least 3 of the 6 units must be upper
division

Cross-Cultural Religion (6)


Worldviews of the Great Religions (3)
Western Cultural Study of Religion (3)
Hellenistic Age Religion (3)

Total Proposed Units: 45

Total Proposed Units: 45 (29 Honors GE)

Honors Big History (3)

Courses in Italics and Bold are Honors Seminars which fulfill GE.

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Appendix B.
Guidelines for Faculty Mentoring Honors Contracts
Contracting for honors credit is an option students may use to convert or extend a nonhonors course to receive honors credit. It entails an agreement between the student
and the course instructor and is monitored by the Honors Program. When the course is
successfully completed and the terms of the contract are fulfilled to the satisfaction of
the mentoring professor, the student receives honors credit.
The success of the contract approach to honors work is directly related to the
quality of the relationship between mentoring professor and honors student.
Therefore, regular meetings outside of class time, which produce substantial discussion
of the honors work as well as related concepts and material, are strongly suggested.
Other guidelines for honors contracts are as follows.
1.

Honors contracts should:


a. Promote academic excellence
b. Demonstrate initiative beyond syllabus expectations
c. Encourage and challenge students to strive toward fulfilling their
potentials their potentials and abilities.
d. Extend and enrich the cultural awareness of students.
e. Culminate with some kind of product that demonstrates the quality
and content of the honors project. This project need not be a paper,
but can be a scrapbook, videotape, portfolio, or other expression of the
students accomplishment.

2.

The contract should clearly demonstrate how the honors component


complements the existing course syllabus, yet takes the honors student
beyond established requirements without simply adding work for the sake of
work. Tasks involving critical thinking and application of skills and
knowledge are expected.

3.

The honors contract may include the presentation of the students work to
the class or other interest groups.

4.

A service to the college or community at large is sometimes included in


honors contract projects. The Honors Program encourages such a
component when it is appropriate to the project.

5.

An Honors Contract paper should not be a mini-thesis. It should be a


reasonable length, considering all the work for the regular course, plus
three other courses, probably an outside job, etc. The idea is not added
quantity but depth in a subject the student is already engaged in.

Sample ideas for Honors Contracts:


* An independent research project with lab work and demonstrable results.
* A translation of a short story, set of new poems, or play by a new author, for
an upper division language course.
* A lecture with recital, focusing on a musician student has come to admire
* Critical Research on a topic that expands course content, culminating in a
paper, class presentation, or some other format.

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* A service learning experience with a community organization with a class


presentation amplifying the experience with relevant context/research. There
should be a reflective component to this experience.
Courses in which a contract is done may not be taken P/F if the contract is to count for honors
program completion. Contracts should not carry over into the following semester. Contracts are
to be completed by the last day of classes for the semester.
Faculty responsibilities:
At the beginning of the semester:
* Help the student focus and design the proposal.
* Discuss resources available.
* Set up a realistic time-line for conferences with student and for timely
completion of contract (last day of classes). A minimum of four meetings with
the student should be held during the semester. The dates of these meetings
are to be written in the contract. (Section 6 of the Project Information).
* Help the student to plan the project accordingly.
After the faculty member has discussed and approved the final draft of the students
contract, the student should give a copy to the faculty member and send the contract
form and two copies of the typed questions on the reverse of the form to the Honors
Program Director by the due date.
At the end of the semester (and before finals begin).
* Fill out the evaluation form.
* Share the evaluation with the student and provide a copy.
* Send a copy of the evaluation form (retaining a copy for yourself) to Program
Director.
* Upon receipt of the evaluation, the Program Director will notify the Registrar to
place the title of the contract on the students transcript, and will begin the
process of remuneration to the faculty mentor.

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Appendix C.
Honors Contract
DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA HONORS PROGRAM
HONORS CONTRACT COVER SHEET
___Fall

___Spring

___Summer

Year: _______

COMPLETE THIS FORM AND THE HONORS CONTRACT PROJECT INFORMATION SHEET.
Refer to Honors student handbook for further details.
You must submit this form no later than the 4th week of the term to avoid penalties & petitioning
Name (last, first middle) _____________________________________________________________
Local Address of student _______________________________________________________________
Local Phone (

)______________

E-Mail: ___________________________________________

Major: _________________________

Anticipated Graduation Term: _____________________

Type of Honors Project (check one)


One academic credit is roughly equivalent to 45 hours of work. When contracting for an
independent study or course expansion, please judge the unit value of your project accordingly.
You must attach an Honors contract per Instructions #1-9 on reverse of this page
_____

Independent Study (for ___units)

_____

Expansion (from ___ to ___ units)

_____

Course Conversion (no additional units)

_____

Graduate course

Department: ___________________________________________________________________________
Course Number & Title: ________________________________________________________________
Mentor (Teacher): ______________________________________________________________________
Phone: _________________________

E-mail: ___________________________________________

Student's Signature: ________________________________________Date _____________________


Mentor's Signature:

________________________________________Date _____________________

Approved by

_____________________________________________ Date_____________________
(signature of Honors Director)
******************************************************************************
Registrars action:
Final Grade: _______ Instructors signature:__________________ Date:
(for Independent Study only)
Distribution: Registrar; Student; Honors Director; Faculty Mentor

Directions on reverse of contract form:

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________________

DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA HONORS PROGRAM


HONORS CONTRACT PROJECT INFORMATION
PLEASE COMPLETE SECTIONS 1-9 ON A SEPARATE SHEET (typed, proofread, etc.).
Turn in the coversheet and two copies of the Honors project information to the Honors
Director by Feb 6th for the Spring Semester and September 6th for the Fall Semester.
Section 1: Name, local address (and e-mail).
Section 2: Project Title. Give a name to the Honors activity that you will be pursuing in this
contract that will be relevant and interesting and reveal something about what you will be
doing.
Section 3: Description. Describe the scope and theme of your project including its focus,
highlighting the major issues and indicating your main purpose in undertaking the project.
This is the most important part of the Contract. Please provide adequate detail. If you are
doing an Expansion or a Conversion, be sure to state how your project differs from or goes
beyond the course work as described in the course syllabus. Attach a copy of the course
syllabus.
Section 4: Methodology. Describe the methods you will use in completing your project. (See
"Guidelines for Completing the Honors Contract" in the Honors Handbook)
Section 5: Select Bibliography. Attach a preliminary bibliography which reflects the theme
and scope of your project.
Section 6: Work Plan and Contact with Mentor. Establish dates for regular contact with
mentor to discuss work in progress and\or for stages of completion of your project.
Section 7: Project Product. Please describe the final form(s) your project will take. If a paper
or papers, indicate title and approximate length.
Section 8: Total Number of Credits Requested: ________. One academic credit is roughly
equivalent to 45 hours of work. When contracting for an independent study or course
expansion, please judge the unit value of your project accordingly. For an Independent Study,
the unit value is usually between 1 and 6. For a Course Expansion the unit value is the
number of units in the schedule plus the number of additional honors units requested __
(original units + __ expanded units(Course expansions need to also be approved by the dept
chair). For a Course Conversion or a Graduate Course, the unit value is the number of units in
the schedule.
Section 9: Signatures of mentor and of student.
You must submit the form & contract no later than the 3rd week of the term to avoid penalties.
No Academic Petition form is necessary when the form is submitted by this deadline.

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Appendix D.
Honors Contract Evaluation Form Student Form
Student Name:
Email:
Phone:
Course Number and Name:

Semester:

Project:
At the end of the each semester, there is an Honors Conference at which Honors students
share what they did for their Honors contracts and/or their Honors courses for the semester.
Students on contracts prepare a brief report (about one typed page) to bring to the conference
and to give to the Honors Director. The report explains what the student did for the contract
and how it contributed to the students deepening or broadening of knowledge. Did the project
change in any way over the course of the semester? Was the contract a good experience for
you? Why or why not? Besides the written report, students have a few minutes to talk about
what they did for this semester.

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Appendix E.
Honors Contract Evaluation Form Faculty Form
Faculty Name:
Email:
Phone:
Name of Student whose Honors Contract you supervised:
Course Number and Name:

Semester:

Project:
Please comment on the Honors Contract work that you mentored this past semester. Was it
done in a timely fashion? Were there any problems? Was it a good experience for you? Are
you satisfied that the work was Honors work?

Do you have any suggestions for the Honors Board, the Director, or future Honors Contract
mentors that might help to make it a better academic experience for the student?

Please share any observations you might have about the Honors student you mentored this
semester.

Return this evaluation to Dr. Diara Spain's via email or campus mailbox. After I receive the
evaluation, I will initiate the process for payment of faculty. NOTE: If a student is enrolled in a
Graduate course or you are a 12 month faculty there is no payment.

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Appendix F.
Multicultural/International Experience
You should meet the university GE Social Sciences requirement by completing one of the
following courses, check below which course you have taken:
____ HCS 1101 Sociology
____ HCS 1102 Cultural Anthropology
____ HIST 1776 Columbus to Clinton: US History 1492-1992
____ POL 1100 Introduction to American Politics
____ PSY 1100 - Introduction to Psychology
A) Experiences associated with an academic class may already have an appropriate
assignment to include in your portfolio. If you have fulfilled the honors requirement with
a multicultural or an international academic experience, please provide the following
information:
Course Name & Number: __________________________________________________________
Location/Country & Semester: ______________________________________________________
B) If you intend to participate in an international or multicultural experience not
associated with an academic class, discuss with the Honors Director in advance of the
event. You will need to develop a project or write a paper (4-5 pages). This should be
approved by the Honors Director and included in your Honors portfolio.
If you have fulfilled the requirement briefly describe the following: activity, date(s),
country/location, and duration.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
________________________________________ has successfully completed their international or
multicultural experience and fulfilled the Honors Program Requirement.

_______________________________________
Honors Director Signature

_________________________
Date

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Appendix G.
Service Learning Experience
A) Students in the Honors Program are required to have a Service Learning (SL) course.
Check below if you have taken an Honors course with SL:
____ Hono 3500 Self, Community, and Service: Ethical Theory and Practice
____ Hono 3501 Moral Philosophy
____ Hono 3200 Aquatic Ecosystems: San Francisco Bay Area

B) Although SL is required it doesnt have to be an Honors Course. If you have fulfilled


the requirement by taking a non-Honors course(s) with Service Learning, please provide
the following information:
Course Name & Number: __________________________________________________________
Semester & Year: __________________________________________________________________
Course Name & Number: __________________________________________________________
Semester & Year: __________________________________________________________________

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

________________________________________ has successfully completed their Service Learning


experience and fulfilled the Honors Program Requirement.

_______________________________________
Honors Director Signature

_________________________
Date

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Appendix H.
Thesis Title Page Format

<TITLE OF THESIS>

By
<Name of Student>
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the
<INSERT DEPARTMENT NAME> and the Honors Program
Dominican University of California
<Year>

First Reader: ________________


(name)

Department of _____________

Second Reader: _____________


(name)

Department of _____________

Honors Director: Dr. Diara Spain

Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

______________________________
(First Readers Signature)

Date:_____________________

_______________________________
(Second Readers Signature)

Date: ____________________

_______________________________
(Honors Directors Signature)

Date: ____________________

(name)
(name)

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Appendix I.
Thesis Progress Form
This form is to be completed by two faculty members of the Honors Thesis Committee after
reading the students October 28/March 28 deadline draft. It is to be signed and returned to
the Honors Director Campus Mailbox or Office (Science Center 100). In order for the student to
proceed, members must be unanimous in the opinion that either the thesis is clearly of honors
quality or can be expected to be of honors quality (number 1 or 2 below). It is the advisors
duty to communicate the result to the student as to whether they should proceed or not.

I received a draft of the senior thesis of:


______________________________________________
STUDENT'S NAME

on

________________________
DATE

Please check one of the following and add explanatory comment if necessary:
In my estimation:
_________

1. The thesis is already clearly of honors** quality (and requires only a final
drafting).

________

2. The thesis can reasonably be expected to achieve honors** quality by the


final-draft deadline and I have made corrections/suggestions for the writer to
consider.

________

3. The thesis cannot reasonably be expected to achieve honors** quality by the


final-draft deadline.

4. Other. Explain.

_________________________________________________ ________________________
FIRST READER/FACULTY NAME

DATE

** There is no unequivocal, objective standard for what constitutes honors. Each faculty member must
rely on his or her own informed sense of this, presumably in relation to other Dominican student work.

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Thesis Progress Form


This form is to be completed by two faculty members of the Honors Thesis Committee after
reading the students October 28/March 28 deadline draft. It is to be signed and returned to
the Honors Director Campus Mailbox or Office (Science Center 128). In order for the student to
proceed, members must be unanimous in the opinion that either the thesis is clearly of honors
quality or can be expected to be of honors quality (number 1 or 2 below). It is the advisors
duty to communicate the result to the student as to whether they should proceed or not.

I received a draft of the senior thesis of:


______________________________________________ on ________________________
STUDENT'S NAME
DATE
Please check one of the following and add explanatory comment if necessary:
In my estimation:
_________

1. The thesis is already clearly of honors** quality (and requires only a final
drafting).

________

2. The thesis can reasonably be expected to achieve honors** quality by the


final-draft deadline and I have made corrections/suggestions for the writer to
consider.

________

3. The thesis cannot reasonably be expected to achieve honors** quality by the


final-draft deadline.

4. Other. Explain.

_________________________________________________ ________________________
SECOND READER/FACULTY NAME
DATE
** There is no unequivocal, objective standard for what constitutes honors. Each faculty member must
rely on his or her own informed sense of this, presumably in relation to other Dominican student work.

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