Foundation Seminar proposals

The University Honors program has been modified to require all students to take a small seminar in the Winter semester of their first year. These are to be rigorous 3-credit classes of up to 20 first-year Honors students. They aim to deepen students' capacity for academic inquiry, with particular emphasis on urban themes, especially those affecting residents of the Detroit metropolitan area.

The object is to prepare students to function well in a college setting and in the broader world, using the tools of scholarship to explore important questions of everyday life, such as: Why are some rich and others poor? How do we stop the spread of illness? What does tolerance entail? Who should speak out against injustice and why? What is Detroit's place in the world? And so on.

All Foundation Seminars emphasize:

  • Research Methods: The course requires students to engage critically with academic research, such as journal articles, databases, archives or other areas of secondary and primary research, as appropriate to the discipline of the course.
  • Scaffolded Writing: The course includes major writing projects and includes multi-week scaffolded assignments that provide feedback to students as they develop from the initial idea, through identifying sources and crafting an outline, to the final paper and revision.
  • Urban Relevance: The course focuses on issues and themes that relate broadly to the City of Detroit, its prospects and challenges.

In addition, we encourage (but do not require) the following, among other high-impact practices:

  • Group Projects: The course organizes itself around work by student groups and students work together to learn material, coordinate efforts, and collaborate on presentations and written projects.
  • Experiential Learning: The course encourages students to participate outside the classroom in the form of attendance at civic events, conversations with community stakeholders, or individual project work with significant organizations.

While many of these courses will be taught as HON 2000 by faculty within the Honors College, we would also like to encourage departments to offer versions that are an enhancement of an existing GenEd course. For example, Philosophy might offer a version of PHI 1500 Race, Sex, and Religion; History might offer a version of HIS 2000 Introduction to Urban Studies; Business might offer a version of BA 1040 Managing Diversity in the Workplace, and so on.

To begin submitting a proposal, please email Kevin Rashid at