National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Published in Honors in Practice, volume 4. Copyright 2008 National Collegiate Honors Council.


As a mentor of thesis students in an honors program, I find that students acquire tremendously helpful substantive knowledge through courses they take during college but rarely develop a honed skill set necessary to succeed in graduate or professional education or employment in the real world. These skills range from problem solving to effective communication to analytical thinking. To address these weaknesses, I constructed an approach, borrowed from my law school days, for engaging students in an active, student-centered learning process during the thesis stage of their honors curriculum. My purpose is to provide them the opportunity to cultivate, if not learn, numerous skill-based leadership competencies demanded by today’s pragmatic society. My law-school model of pedagogy is experiential, whereby I treat students as though they were colleagues and hold them to professional standards. This model is four-pronged and outcomes-driven. I teach students how to think like a lawyer, build a strong and cogent argument, excel in communication, and act professionally at all times. I also teach them how to have fun journeying through the process.