Working with Honors Contracts

Honors contracts-what they involve and ideas for making them work.

The faculty role is very important not only to the student but also to the goals of the MCC Honors Program.  Many MCC students use an Honors Contract to fulfill one of their primary program requirements to complete one three credit-hour class with Honors credit each semester. It is the student’s responsibility to work with you in completing the honors contract and they must return it to the Honors Office. We want our honors students to achieve the learning outcomes as delineated in the MCCCD Learning Outcomes and National Collegiate Honors Council Objectives.

Your role as a faculty member is to guide your students through this process.  The goal of the Honors Contract is to encourage students to go beyond their normal class requirements to achieve a deeper knowledge and understanding of the course topic and materials. We hope that each student project will help them achieve these goals.We want our honors students to:

  1. Think critically
  2. Communicate effectively
  3. Demonstrate integrity
  4. Prepare for future success.

We hope that each student’s project will help him or her achieve these goals.

Honors Contract Requirements

The Honors Program is well aware of the great variation in classes here at MCC. But in each case we would like the student to take their educational experience to the next level.  We request that all contracts consist of some form of research and writing. This can be combined with a hands-on project, volunteer work, or something else appropriate for your class. Original research is as acceptable as a library research topic.  In classes where you have multiple students completing contracts, it might be possible for them to complete a joint research paper and presentation or project. 

Hopefully, each student will develop an Honors Contract topic that will interest him or her and fit the class topic. Generally Honors Contracts should require the student to do several tasks to foster their educational development.  These tasks should include:

  1. Research component: Students should investigate their topic in a manner appropriate to the course and the discipline they are studying.
  2. Writing component: Some form of written summary of their research and conclusions is appropriate.
  3. Presentation component:  Please allow time in your classes for the student to present their research project to the class.  Alternatively, the students can verbally present their project to you.

If the focus is an in-class presentation, art piece, or an out-of-class service project, for example, then a 2-page summary of the student’s findings is acceptable. If the project is a research paper, a minimum of 5 pages is recommended.

Examples of past honors contracts:

Below is a brief list of some examples of previous honors contracts (just to give you some ideas).

  • Create a studio piece in the style of or inspired by a particular artist.  Research the artist, painting style, and techniques used by the artist in order to produce a piece showing their influence and inspiration.
  • Translate five Japanese folk tales. Research information about Japanese culture and sentence structure to complete each translation. Present translations and analysis either in class or at the Annual Arizona Japanese Speech Contest.
  • Research, using multiple sources, the history and impact of World War II Japanese American Internment on the affected population. Complete a 10-page paper and present a PowerPoint to the class.
  • Examine the emotional/psychological effect of burn injuries on children and adults. Research this topic, tour the Maricopa Burn Center, and compile information to create an informational handout or brochure to share with the public.
  • Analyze stock market data to find certain desirable indications for trading stocks. Import quantitative data into an Excel file format and use dynamic time warping analysis to analyze the data. Write a report about the analysis tools and the analysis and present findings to the class.
  • Attend and write a critique of two performances, college or professional level, of different musical styles.  In the critique discuss performance etiquette (bowing, stance, etc.) and phrasing, tempo, dynamics, correct style etc. Conduct a theoretical analysis of two pieces (of varying styles) chosen from the works of a composer from a particular time period. Write a three page biography of the composer emphasizing their musical life.
  • Research and compare and contrast ancient architecture and its functions from various cultures and present findings to the class.