Name: Linda Coach-Riley
Phone: 713.313.7458

honors college academic program

For information about the Honors College, please click on the appropriate section heading below.


The Thomas F. Freeman Honors College has developed a cutting-edge academic program that combines strong institutional foundations; an Honors College core that includes three critical themes and two essential skills; accomplishment in an academic, artistic and/or professional specialty; and integration of the foundations, core, and special­ty in end-of-program activities that form a bridge to a career, further study, and global citizenship and leadership.

The institutional foundations come from the general education curriculum of the University.  They stress the fundamentals in such areas as language, mathematics, science, the arts and humanities, and the social sciences.

The Honors College core includes three themes and two skills, specifically designed to prepare students for their roles as educated global citizens and leaders.  

The themes are Interdisciplinarity, the location of subjects in Local/National/Global contexts, and Ethics/Aesthetics/Philosophy as sources of guides for study and life.

The skills include the use of computers in research, and in the preparation and dissemination of multimedia reports, presentations and portfolios.

In their specialties at the junior and senior levels, students apply the ideas and skills of the Honors College core, thus exceeding the commands of their specialties that their non-honors peers may achieve.

The end-of-program activities include an internship or a research/creative/professional project. The results students produce – their reports, creative works, and professional productions – help them in their pursuits of career opportunities, and in their applications for admission into graduate or professional programs. 

The project and internship also allow students to demonstrate their abilities as young professionals who are accomplished in their specialties, committed to their local communities, well integrated into their national and global communities, and observing of the Seven Principles for the Age of Globalization and Globalism

Honors College Program Hours

To be Thomas F. Freeman Honors College graduates, students must be admitted into the College and meet its academic and other requirements.  They may be Full Program Scholars or Departmental Scholars.

Full Program Scholars enter the College as first-semester freshmen and must pass at least 60 semester credit hours at the University, with at least 31 of these hours meeting the academic requirements of the College.  These requirements include:

Requirements For Full Program Scholars


For an orientation to the College, the Honors section of:
-- FS 102, Freshman Seminar



For the Interdisciplinarity theme, the Honors sections of:
-- ENG 131, Freshman English 1                                                                          
-- ENG 132, Freshman English 2                                                                          
-- SC 136, Public Address or
-- SC 135, Business and Professional Communication





For the Local/National/Global theme, the Honors sections of:
-- HIST 231, U.S. History to 1865
-- HIST 232, U.S. History from 1865
-- POLI 231, American Political System 1 
-- POLI 232, American Political System 2



For the Ethics/Aesthetics/Philosophy theme, at least one of:      
-- MUSI 239, Fine Arts in Daily Living  
-- ENG 230, World Literature 1
-- ENG 231, World Literature 2
-- ENG 235, American Literature
-- ENG 244, African American Literature
-- ART 135, Topics in Contemporary Art and Culture








The special Honors College section of this course:
-- CS 116, Introduction to Computer Science I









-- Two Upper- (300- or 400-) Level Elective Courses Within the Major
-- One Upper- (300- or 400-) Level Elective Course Outside the Major 
-- One Upper- (300- or 400-) Level Required Course Within the Major
(the Internship or the Research/Creative/Professional Project)










Departmental Scholars enter the College as sophomores or juniors and must pass at least 30 semester credit hours at the University, with at least 12 of these hours meeting the academic requirements of the College.  These requirements include:

Requirements For Departmental Scholars


-- Two Upper- (300- or 400-) Level Elective Courses Within the Major 
-- One Upper- (300- or 400-) Level Elective Course Outside the Major
-- One Upper- (300- or 400-) Level Required Course Within the Major
(the Internship or the Research/Creative/Professional Project)






Honors College Program Themes

All students in the Honors College will complete with a grade of B or better courses that focus on key themes in its academic program.  The themes and their related student learning outcomes are:

A. The "Interdisciplinarity" Theme

  1. Multidimensionality:  analyze a subject by identifying its components and describing how these components come together to form the whole issue or entity;
  2. Interdisciplinarity:  explain, critique, evaluate and/or “resolve” a subject by integrating perspectives on it from multiple interests and disciplines.

B. The Local/National/Global" Theme

  1. Memberships of Self:  describe themselves as members of local, primary or proximate com­munities, describe how these communities and others make up regional or national communities, and describe how these regional or national communities form global communities;
  2. Components of Subjects: describe entities as including local, primary or proximate components, describe how these components constitute regional or national “presences” of the entities, and describe how these “presences” form global “pictures” of the entities;
  3. Expressions of Phenomena: describe phenomena as having local, primary or prox­imate expression; how the expressions form regional or national “presences” of the phenomena; and how these “presences” form global “pictures” of the phenomena.

C. The "Ethics/Aesthetics/Philosophy" Theme

  1. "Global" Ethics, Aesthetics and Philosophy– understand and apply ethical, aesthetic and philosophical principles for the arts, humanities, social sciences, behavioral sciences, professions, and relations – especially the Seven Principles for the Age of Globalization and Globalism -- (1) Truth; (2) Justice; (3) Propriety; (4) Harmony; (5) Balance; (6) Order; (7) Reciprocity;
  2. The principles include those from the "local," "primary" or "proximate" communities of students, and other "concentric" (such as regional or national, and global) communities. Students understand comparisons and relationships among these principles.
Honors College Program Skills

All students in the Honors College will complete with a grade of B or better a course that focuses on key skills in its academic program.  The skills will be in these areas:

A. Computer Application in Empirical Research

-- the use of computers in empirical research – including literature review, question and hypothesis generation, data and information collection, data and information and analysis.

B. Web Site Content Creation and Management

-- the production of "multimedia" reports, presentations and portfolios that include text, photos, graphics, audio and video, and the design, populating and revision of Web sites. 
Students apply these skills in the management of sites that host their multimedia portfolios.

"Honors Major" and Imperatives

Within their majors, College scholars will focus on imperatives with “local” or proxim­ate, regional or national, and global, aspects.  Courses covering these imperatives and “certified” by the College as satisfying its requirements will be:

(a) reserved by departments for students in the College; and
(b) offered by departments to all students and including augmentations for those in the College.

In these courses, students will secure backgrounds they apply in internships and/or research/­creative/professional projects on the imperatives.

Observation, Contribution, Thesis, and Imperatives

The study of the imperatives will have aspects beyond the acquisition of knowledge, and development of understandings, of them: the Observation, Contribution, and Thesis.

For the “multidimensionality” aspect of their education, among other activities, students will clarify three imperatives – issues that demand attention -- within their majors, and describe the multiple dimensions of these imperatives.  The imperatives will be among the many multifaceted issues in the description of which students apply research, analysis and writing skills.

For the “interdisciplinarity” aspect, students will observe the addressing of one of the imperatives by experts and their offices, agencies and/or organizations.  They will present analytical and critical reports on the work of these entities, as well as their own perspectives on, proposals on, and/or “solutions” to, the imperatives.

During their final years, students, working as interns, will address one of the imperatives in their majors.  They will have studied this imperative in the courses that stress “multidimensionality” and “interdisciplinarity.”

Alternately, students will focus on the imperatives in research, creative or professional projects. The projects ideally will reflect the “Interdisciplinarity,” “Local/National/Global,” or “Ethics/Aesthetics/Philosophy” themes, and call for students to apply the “Computer Application in Empirical Research” and “Web site Content Creation and Management” skills.

To meet the thesis, project or internship requirement, students will agree with their advisors and instructors on which courses they will take. The College recommends, but students are not tied to, the courses listed on this document.
Local, National, Global Participation

Students will show their commitment to the application of their understanding and skills in their specialties by making voluntary contributions to their local or proximate, regional or national, and global communities.

For the “multidimensionality” theme they will observe, describe and explain the works of experts and organizations in imperatives that are within their majors and have aspects in these communities.

For the “interdisciplinarity” theme they will critique and extend the works of these experts and organizations. In their internships and their research, creative or professional pro­jects, they will focus on imperatives with aspects in these communities. 

Students also will participate on a non-credit basis in three organizations, each of which has a different – that is, local, national or global – focus.

The parti­cipation in each organization will be for one semester, and no more than one organization will be at the University.  Students must receive approval from their advisors, the associate dean and the assistant dean before they start the participation.

In the organizations, they will attend meetings and make contributions, and their participation will be the subjects of reports from their supervisors and other appropriate officials.  The associate dean and assistant dean may ask students to repeat their participation in an organization (or participate in some substitute) if their performance is unacceptable in degree, quality or results.

Courses in the Academic Program

Courses that meet requirements of the Honors College belong in two categories:Honors College Sections; and Honors-Credit-Contract Courses.

Honors College Sections

These are sections of traditional courses that academic units set aside for students in the College.  The sections augment traditional content with content related to themes in the College.  The College will publish these sections before the beginning of registration for the semesters in which departments offer them.

The College may invite academic units to develop, or the units on their own may develop, augmentations that lead designated sections of existing courses to receive certification as meeting College requirements.  The units will submit the resulting course sections for certification from the associate dean for academic affairs, and the dean, at the College.  These sections may meet College requirements such as General Education Courses, Required Courses in the Major, Elective Courses in the Major, and Upper Level Elective Courses.

Honors-Credit-Proposal Courses

In these courses, instructors include elements that go beyond work students normally undertake and that meet the requirements of the College.  These elements are in agreements the students and instructors sign before they begin the courses. The agreements must receive approval from the associate dean for academic affairs, and the dean, at the College.  These courses also may meet certain College requirements – such as Required Courses in the Major, Elective Courses in the Major, and Upper Level Elective Courses.  Instructors and Honors College scholars especially would enter into these agreements when the scholars make up a small percentage of the students taking the courses and the academic unit may not create a separate section for the scholars.

Criteria for Evaluating Honors College Sections and Honors-Credit-Proposal Courses

In deciding whether Honors College Sections or Honors-Credit Courses ought to receive certification, the associate dean for academic affairs and dean would consider how much the courses address at least one theme in the program in the College:

"Interdisciplinarity" Theme

A. "Multidimensionality"
B. "Interdisciplinarity,"

"Local/National/Global" Theme

A. Memberships of Self
B. Components of subjects
C. Expressions of Phenemena

"Ethics/Aesthetics/Philosophy" Theme

A. Global Ethics, Aesthetics and Philosophy

They especially will consider the presence of the theme in (a) the content the course imparts; (b) the skills the students develop; and (c) the insights, perspectives and attitudes the courses cultivate in students.

“Honors-Credit” Course Proposal

This proposalt describes work students complete in an Honors-College-Proposal course, and the level at which they complete this work to receive College credit.  Students may enter into this agreement because they would like to increase and/or deepen their mastery of a subject.  They may do the work covered by the agreement in a directed study course, an independent study course, or a “special topics” course, or in addition to the work other students do in a regular course.  Each proposal must relate the work at least to one of the themes in the Honors College program (see the section immediately above this one) and may relate it to an imperative in the area the course covers.

Students and professors should complete negotiations, and should sign the related proposals and submit them for approval by the associate dean for academic affairs and dean at the Honors College, well before the beginnings of the semesters in which students do the work.  For work in the fall or spring semester, they should do so before the end of the previous semester. For work in a summer session, they should do so before the beginning of the summer-school “pre-registration” period.

The policies on course proposals are here. The form students and instructors use to submit the proposals for Honors College approval, is here.

Students and their advisors or instructors will agree on the courses students select to meet the Proposal course requirements. The College recommends, but students are not tied to, the courses listed on this document.

Activities Related to College Program

Students in the Thomas F. Freeman Honors College engage in many activities. These include (1) observations of experts and other entities in their specialties; (2) contributions, with the experts and other entities, to their spe-cialties; (3) participation in discussions related to presentations to classes; (4) participation in discussions related to lectures to University or community audiences, (5) participation in campus, local, national and global organi-zations; (6) completion of research, creative and/or professional projects; (7) participation in College, University or external conferences; (8) participation in College, University and external competitions; and (9) the provision of support to peers in the College and University.


Early in their tenures in the College, students will study the addressing of imperatives in their majors by profes-sionals and their offices, agencies or organizations. The students will present analytical and critical reports on the work of these entities, and their own "solutions" to and "proposals" on these imperatives.


Students will make voluntary contributions to three organizations: one with a campus or local focus; one with a regional or national focus; and one with an international or global focus. The contributions to each organization will be over one semester, and preferably will be related to the majors of students and involve the application of one of the core themes or the multimedia skills emphasized by the College.


In the "gateway" and later courses in their program of study, students receive insights into the academy, the uni-versity, the Honors College and the world that awaits them after their studies. The insights come from two series of lectures, presentations and related discussions: one takes place in their classrooms; the other takes place at the University and in the general community, with audiences that include the members of the College, University, and general communities. Each series features contributions from campus and local experts, but the latter series also features national or international experts – including those who would receive stipends.


Students engage in "study away" programs. One program provides credit for studying at another institution in the United States. (One such program is a service of National Student Exchange.) The other involves receiving credit for participation in traditional "study abroad" programs that take them to other countries.


Students will participate in at least four categories of student organizations. The first includes general university organizations such as the Student Government Association. The second includes organizations related to honors – such as the organization of students in the Honors College; the National Association of African American Honors Programs (NAAAHP); and the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC). The third includes "model" organizations in which they live out ideals of their "real" local, national or international counterparts – among them the United Nations, African Union, and NAACP. 
The fourth includes organizations related to their ma-jors (such as the National Association of Black Social Workers).

Students in the Honors College will participate in their organization, Thomas F. Freeman Honors College Am-bassadors of Academic Excellence. Its members will engage in activities that complement the academic program in the College. These include the establishment of interest groups that reflect their majors, social interests and social contributions – for example, groups affiliated with campus chapters of national organizations and with such special interests as the United Nations, African Union and NAACP. The College will urge the students to contribute to those causes that could be the subjects of their internships or projects, or that could allow them to apply understandings, insights and skills from their studies in the core of the College curriculum.


In their senior years, students will engage in internships, and/or conduct research, creative or professional pro-jects, related to imperatives in their majors. The internships and/or projects will be informed by what they will have learned in their courses, observations, critiques, and participation in organizations. They also will reflect the College themes of interdisciplinarity; the integration of local or proximate, regional or national, and global aspects of issues; and the use of ethical, aesthetic and philosophical principles.


Students will receive support from the College for their participation in conferences focusing on academics in general or honors student academics in particular. Those focusing on academics include the conferences of the National Council for Black Studies and organizations in specialties in which College students major. Those fo-cusing on honors students include conferences of the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) and National Association of African American Honors Programs (NAAAHP).


Students are able to participate in competitions organized by the College and to receive support from the College for participation in competitions organized by University and external entities. Here, the advisors in the College work with the students, their advisors in their academic departments, and officials in various offices of the Uni-versity. It is important that students seek the help of the College as early as possible, and especially, that they work closely with their advisors to plan and execute their strategies.

Support to Others

Students apply their skills in making positive differences in the University, local, national and global communi-ties. In the University, they make the contributions in several ways: for example, in (1) the Office of Student Academic Enhancement Services, helping other students who face academic challenges; and (2) the TSU Tiger Ambassadors program, in which they help promote the institution and welcome its new students.

Recognition of Students in the College

The College will give awards to students who excel in their courses and related activities. Awards will be for:

  1. 1. the best internship report;
  2. 2. the best research project report;
  3. 3. the best creative project report;
  4. 4. the best professional project report;
  5. 5. the best interdisciplinary internship, research, creative or professional project;
  6. 6. the project that most effectively applies ethical, aesthetic and/or philosophical principles;
  7. 7. the project that most effectively integrates local, national and global perspectives on its subject;
  8. 8. the project that most effectively calls for or demonstrates action in the addressing of an imperative;
  9. 9. the project that describes or applies an idea that has the greatest potential to spark fundamental change.
The Honors College expects to present most awards to its graduating seniors, and some to its recent alumni.