Korean J General Edu Search


Korean Journal of General Education 2012;6(3):49-122.
Published online September 30, 2012.
Honors Programs for General Education : Characteristics and Significances
Jee-Hyeon Kim
대학 우등교양교육 프로그램(general education honors program)의 특징과 의의
This paper investigate the various types and its characteristics of honors programs for general education. Korean universities are facing currently with respect to students’ serious gap in readiness for learning and achievement. Low-achieving students have been traditionally subject to various initiatives, However, the educational needs of high-achieving students have not been paid sufficient attention to in terms of developing and implementing responsive educational programs. This paper proposes the Principle of Level Adjustment for Educational Interaction that the intellectual level of each student should be respected and addressed by offering subtly challenging tasks to students through attentively designed curricula, especially in general education. This study attempts to understand how this principle is expressed in diverse academic settings by distinguishing types of relatively well-known and successful honors programs in U.S. universities. The types of honors general education programs examined in the paper are: the ‘honors college’ type (honors college for general education, honors colleges for the first year education, special general education cluster as one of the honors college curriculum) ‘honors program’ type (freshman honors program, special honors program for science and engineering students, general education honors curriculum) and informal type (special exclusive programs for high achieving freshman, best teachers program, honors degree). Each type of honors program pronounces its own and unique educational aims, credit system, curriculum, special courses, and class interactions. Nonetheless, there are common features of excellence which can be discerned across programs: honor program director s autonomy in decision making, university-wide support(scholarship, professor, curriculum development and course implementation, housing, etc) early initiation to intensive approach to honors general education from freshman; continuous duration of educational impact through undergraduate period; comprehensive organization of the honors curriculum; emphasis on liberal educational characteristics of courses-writing and discussion, students’ ability to create knowledge, critical thinking. The very existence of hundreds of honors programs cases should be considered the realization of the Principle of Level Adjustment for Educational Interaction for high achieving students in higher education, which can thus provide examples to Korean universities wishing to pursue this principle.
Key Words: honors program, general education, undergraduate education, curriculum, American University, principle of level adjustment for educational interaction


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