National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Spring/Summer 2013, Volume 14, Number 1


Copyright 2013 by the National Collegiate Honors Council


In the summer of 2012, I had the good fortune to have my summer session course cancelled as a result of low enrollment. While unexpectedly losing a course and a salary was unpleasant, I undertook a reading program designed to help me improve our first-year honors classes. The sequence, Honors 103 and 104, is known as the Common Intellectual Experience (CIE), and it fulfills multiple general education requirements for all but our nursing students. In the course of the year, students read and respond to four texts (generally paired fiction and nonfiction works), prepare a guided, independent research project, give at least five speeches, prepare to attend and participate in a conference, and create and update an electronic portfolio, which they augment throughout their honors program experience. They blog, write, and revise papers of various lengths, learn how to write annotated bibliographies, and prepare paper abstracts. They are mentored by more senior students and learn to mentor others.