Date of this Version
Miller, K.A., ed. 2020. Building Honors Contracts: Insights and Oversights. National Collegiate Honors Council Monograph Series. pp xi-xvii.
This book asks an overdue question: can we build honors contracts that transcend the transactional? The word “contract” itself—as both noun and verb—delimits more possibilities than it reveals. The chapters collected here expand this restrictive term by reframing honors contracts as collaborative partnerships for experiential learning. While most, though not all, of the volume’s contributors accept standard definitions of honors contracts as “[e]nriched options within regular [non-honors] courses,” they also imagine many and varied possibilities for such enrichment (Schuman 33). The subtitle’s pairing of “Insights” and “Oversights” thus suggests not that the authors have seen it all or missed the point when it comes to honors contracts, but that contracts, like courses, benefit from the creative pedagogical approaches and thoughtful administrative practices that define honors education. Caitlin McCuskey’s Home, the cover art for this monograph, captures a key idea of the book as a whole: the work of building honors curricula is both imaginative and structural. The beauty of honors education, like that of the cover art, lies in both the scaffolding and color of its conceptual architecture. By mapping honors contracts onto that imaginative blueprint, this book empowers honors educators to build communities and curricula that welcome their various administrators, faculty members, and students home.
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