2018 Cohort

UCCS Honors program


Fostering the culture of intentional learners at UCCS, committed to service, personal growth, and a positive contribution to the local and global community with an understanding of Gray Matters, which is a unique perspective, a mindset, that multiple and competitive complex views can exist at the same time, thus allowing us to appreciate diversity in both ideas and solutions.

Honors Learning Outcomes

Motivating students who want to broaden their horizons beyond the classroom by promoting their:
• Passion for life-long learning seeking stimulating peer-group interactions. • Appreciation for diversity of thought and opinion. • Development of creative problem solving skills and analytical thinking. • Preparation to be outstanding candidate for future education and job opportunities. • Contributions to the global and the local community. • Leadership aspirations by including all perspectives in decision making. • Understanding of Gray Matters, its ambiguity, indeterminacy, diversity, and complexity.

Final Project

A peer-reviewed publication: a document, a piece of art, a framework, a movie, an animation, a poster, a thesis project, or a portfolio where a student, using topics and tools in their chosen area of study, can explain their narrative and understanding about any of the following: an experience, a problem, a case study, a theater production, a research project, a study abroad experience, or a computer program analysis, exhibiting the student's learning of Gray Matters.

Academic Rigor

Student accepted in the Honors Program will have
1. Access to the "Gray Matters" course, which is a cornerstone of our program. 2. Access to a course on Public Speaking and Leadership which helps students succinctly and professionally express their views. We believe that good ideas need our clear and personal voices. 3. Emphasis on regular one-on-one faculty interaction with Honors students. 4. An opportunity to demonstrate the student learning and growth through the Honors senior portfolio or project. The Honors portfolio/project will provide an opportunity to
deepen intentional learning in Gray Matters areas that the students are passionate about, encouraging personal growth and community impact. The Honors thesis depth is supported by two designated courses of the student's choice. The assigned Honors program faculty-member will guide the student with Honors-thesis advisor selection from the UCCS faculty members across all departments. 5. Experiential learning outside the classroom with peers and mentors contributing to growth of global awareness through volunteering.

Honors Program Core Values

Gray Matters explores the intersection of the mind and society with a focus on how we think, learn, and live. Topics of discussion are designed to investigate the role of ambiguity in the gray spaces of human endeavor. This course anchors the philosophy of our Honors Program: that Gray exists in real-life situations and often times there is nothing definite, black and white. Students will learn adaptability and flexibility through the various Gray Matters interdisciplinary themes from perspectives drawn from disciplines such as Complex Systems, Leadership, Communication and Education, History, Ethics, Philosophy, Psychology, Mental Health, and others.

This philosophy provides Honors Program core values. Honors Program students are encouraged to embed Honors Program Core Values in their Honors Portfolio.

Honors Program students will strive to embody and promote these core values:

(a) To foster empathy and compassion for people, including oneself. (b) To embrace the realization that there are always multiple and diverse perspectives. (c) To recognize that both collective wisdom and individual solutions may be appropriate alternatives to create problem solving. (d) To support diversity and inclusion in action and thoughts. (e) To exhibit open-mindedness, self-reliance, intellectual curiosity, personal responsibility, and integrity. (f) To promote an understanding of and appreciation for scientific discourse and scholarship.

Eligibility Criteria for Honors Scholarship

Cohort 2018 Admission Criteria:
A total of about thirty $1000 per year Honors Scholarships for four years will be awarded, by invitation only, to those students who have:

  •  Cumulative High School GPA of at least 3.5,
  •  Test scores ACT: 26 or SAT:1300
  •  essay (1000 words).
  •  Either face-to-face, online interview, or video submission required.

Honors Admission Committee will review all applications and select the finalists for invitation.

Plan of Study Requirements

Students accepted in the Honors Program will have the opportunity to interact with motivated, and like-minded peers, who understand that good citizenship includes contributing to society. Besides the courses in their own degree program, Honors students are required to take the additional courses required to graduate with Honors from UCCS as described below. Many of our students embed these courses in their degree program without additional tuition.

Once accepted into the program, University Honors students will graduate with University Honors if they include the following:

  • Gray Matters course (GPS1010/3010): All students receiving UCCS Honors Scholarship must enroll in Gateway Program Seminar (GPS) 1010/3010 (Gray Matters) course in their Freshman year. This course anchors the philosophy of our Honors Program: that Gray exists in real life situations and often times there is no definite, black and white. Students will learn adaptability and flexibility through the various Gray Matters interdisciplinary themes such as Complex Systems, Leadership, History, Ethics, Philosophy, Psychology, etc. 
  • Public Speaking course (COMM 2100) suggested.
  • Honors designated Organizational Leadership course (COMM 3440) emphasizing the Gray Matters
  • Research Methods Workshops: Honors students will participate in research seminars during the first year to prepare for a group research Honors portfolio/project (ID 4950) to be completed and submitted for publication by the end of the sophomore year. These seminars will teach students how to be successful in an extended research project by developing skills in discipline-specific research, planning, time management, and editing.
  • Honors Senior Portfolio/Project (ID 4950): Completed by the student or group of students in coordination with their Honors and project/portfolio faculty advisor. Honors students will have their research accepted into the UCCS Undergraduate Research Journal (URJ), and are expected to graduate UCCS with at least one publication in UCCS-URJ, (on-line) archived. List of acceptable project/portfolio ideas have been mentioned earlier (See Expected Student Outcome). Other venues for publication available are CSURF (Colorado Springs Undergraduate Research Forum), Mountain Lion Research Day (Poster presentation), regional conferences specific to student major, and Research Synthesis/Case Studies for Nursing Students. Publication or presentation in national and international conferences and journals, coauthored with their advisors, provide another method to satisfy these requirements. 
  • Two honors designated courses: selectable from the student's primary degree program, or from any other program. Compass Curriculum requirements or electives in coordination with your Honors faculty advisor and/or project/portfolio advisor. Honors designated courses will require a contract/expectation form to be filled by the student before they take the courses and be approved by Honors Program Directors. Grade of B or higher required. A course in the university catalog can become an honors-designated course by completing the honors learning contract form available at http://www.uccs.edu/Documents/honors/HonorsLearningContract.pdf and getting all the necessary approvals. 
  • Maintain a minimum overall cumulative GPA of 3.5
  • Volunteering 9-10 hours per semester is required1 and expected of all Honors students. Honors students get many opportunities to interface with faculty and peers during several mandatory and voluntary events including a social get together, Honors student retreat, and community/volunteer events (Alzheimer's walk, hiking activities, student clubs such as Undergraduate Research Journal, etc.). We believe that participation in the Honors Program, and the extra effort it requires, will make Honors students life-long learners, quicker to adjust to new situations, more marketable for employment, and highly competitive for admission to graduate studies.

Course Sequencing

1. Fall Freshman: GPS 1010 (Gray Matters): Assigned Honors Faculty advisor will teach and advise incoming Freshman.
1b. Fall Freshmen: Immediately after GPS 1010 ends (same room/3 Weeks of Lab section Honors portfolio introduction begins.
2. Freshman Spring: Student will work with assigned Honors Program Faculty advisor to identify a UCCS faculty mentor for the student's Honors Portfolio, and two student selected (designated) courses.

3. Fall Sophomore: Student-selected designated Course One. At the end of this course, student will define the basic Honors Portfolio idea. 4. Spring Sophomore: COMM 3440 (Organizational Leadership) Components of public speaking emphasized as well. 5. Fall Junior: Student-selected Honors designated Course Two. Working with the UCCS faculty mentor, student will finalize the Honors Portfolio idea, annotating contents, working on necessary background preparation. 6. Fall Senior: ID 4950 (Honors Portfolio): Student completes Honors Portfolio presentation by November, URJ submission for review by December if applicable, or at many other venues for presentations as decided by Faculty mentor and Honors faculty advisor. 7. Spring senior year: Student graduates from Honors Program.

COMM 1220 (Public Speaking) course suggested.

Honors Program Designated Course Rationale

We require UCCS Honors students to do additional honors "designated" courses. Since there are very few Honors Dedicated courses (i.e. courses that only enroll Honors students) most students opt to take Honors Designated courses. In an Honors Designated course a student works with a faculty member to identify additional work they can do that goes above and beyond the standard course requirements. There are many different ways to approach this depending on the discipline. In the past, students have written essays, collaborated on research, served as a tutor or lab assistant for others in class, developed their own creative work or completed more complex work products. There is no one model that fits for all courses so we ask the instructor and student to complete a contract2 that is turned in to the Honors Office. One final point of note: the work agreed upon to "designate" the course for Honors should not be factored into the final grade awarded to the student. The faculty teaching the designated course will still grade the student based on their completion of the course assignments required of all others, but the Faculty teaching the designated course will provide an additional pass/fail acknowledgement in regards to the additional work both the designated course Faculty and the student have contracted.

Good Standing Requirement in the Honors Program

Honors students are expected to maintain a minimum overall cumulative GPA of 3.5 and to complete their Honors dedicated and designated courses with a grade of B or better as explained above. A UCCS Honor's student shall not violate other University, College or Departmental rules and policies sufficient for disciplinary action.

Gray Matters and Complex Systems Student Consortium Meetings

Honors Program Cohorts are encouraged (required to attend at least one per semester) to attend (with reasonable accommodation made in case of emergency or work related travel) three meetings in Fall and three meetings in Spring. These meetings will be scheduled on third Friday of September, October, November, and February, March and April usually between 112pm with lunch provided. Honors Faculty feels that these required meetings will help student develop their portfolio and should count towards the volunteering requirement of a cohort in the honors program. Faculty teaching the Gray Matters (GPS 1010) will host such meetings.

Dr. Michael Hackman UCCS Honors Scholars

Students with cumulative UCCS GPA of 3.75 for all their (four or more) years at UCCS, and graduating with 3.75 or higher cumulative GPA at UCCS, will be recognized as Dr. Michael Hackman UCCS Honors Program Scholars.

Honors Program Curriculum Faculty Members

Dr. Carrie Arnold
Ms. Connie Blackmann, M.A.
Dr. Liesl Eberhardt
Mr. Eric Eberhardt
Dr. Joseph Kuzma
Dr. Michelle Neely
Dean Martin Garnar
Dr. Rob Sackett
Dr. Sudhanshu Kumar Semwal


In addition, any UCCS Faculty can serve as project/portfolio-advisor or a reader, including the honors faculty. Honors program will have broader UCCS faculty input, and is working towards adding additional faculty mentors in the above list in coming years.
Transfer students must complete a plan of study which is consistent with the above plan of study and will register for GPS 3010 in their first semester at UCCS. A transfer student must
submit their honors project/portfolio and finish all requirements of the honors program if planning on graduating that year.

The UCCS Honors Program Policy 03-10-2017

Up to five students, who did not qualify for honors program scholarship based on standard criteria in place, incoming or transfer student, may be admitted into the honors program in Fall of each year. The deadline to apply will be April 15th for every year. Honors Program will need their GPA, and a statement as to why the student wants to be part of honors program without the scholarship. Based on the recommendation of Honors Program admissions committee, which will be binding, honors program will inform these students by July 1st of the final decision.

Please review the criteria for Cohort 2018 at https://www.uccs.edu/honors/honors-cohort/2018-cohort. If you qualify then contact Associate Director/Director Honors Program for further instructions to submit the paperwork for consideration by April 15th for Fall semester.

Other Resources

[1] Required to continue receiving UCCS Chancellor's Honors Program Scholarship.

[2] Honors Learning Contract