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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Teaching for Plan II Honors

Plan II conducts an annual call for new course proposals and proposal review during the spring semester of each academic year, early submissions are welcome and may be reviewed earlier depending on curriculum needs.

Course Proposal Submission Deadline for courses to be reviewed during Spring 2015 - February 27, 2015

NOTE: Courses reviewed in spring 2015 will be offered during the 2016-2017 academic year or later.

After meeting her first class in Plan II, a senior professor said, "THIS is why I wanted to be a teacher."

The Plan II Honors Program is seeking faculty from all disciplines and all colleges to teach exceptionally bright and motivated students with a wide variety of interests. 

What is Plan II?

Plan II is a challenging interdisciplinary undergraduate honors program leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree. With more than 75 years of success, it differs from most honors programs in that its core curriculum is itself a major. The major curriculum includes humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, resulting in a fine general education.  In the end, our students' research and writing skills are put to the test in an exacting senior thesis requirement.  Plan II students have wide interest in and voracious appetites for learning. More than half of the 700+ Plan II students are simultaneously completing other majors or even second degrees in other colleges. They have been selected to be in the Plan II Honors Program through a rigorous admissions process.

Plan II courses are kept small to foster a learning environment of the highest quality and strong sense of community among students and faculty.


Plan II welcomes course proposals in the following categories:

Junior Seminar (TC 357) 15 - 17 students:
The Plan II junior seminar requirement is designed with two purposes: to allow our students to explore topics from different academic areas at an advanced level, and to train them in the research methodologies and writing skills needed for their required senior thesis. These are small seminar courses that emphasize discussion, critical thinking, research, student presentations, and writing. Graduate seminars frequently require from their students little more than participation and a massive research-based term paper. Plan II junior seminars sometimes emulate this format with awkward results unless the professor keeps in mind following, that Plan II students have interests and backgrounds in many different fields. Although they should all have good training in writing when they come to you, for most, this will be the first attempt at a research paper of more than 8 to 10 pages. Many will not be well versed in the research methodologies of different disciplines. They will not know what sort of work is expected in your field, and they may not know how to integrate a variety of presentations made by their peers.

We therefore make three recommendations:

  1. If the primary requirement is a single long paper, make sure that the students receive graded feed-back from you on their writing by mid-semester on at least one short paper also requiring one rewrite of the short paper if possible. This is the latest useful time for students to learn what you expect of them and how far they must change in order to meet your expectations.

  2. Avoid building seminar discussion exclusively around oral presentations based on student research. Our students may not know your field well enough to put the pieces together by themselves, and they want to learn something from you.  We do, however, hope that at least one oral presentation is required in every junior seminar.

  3. Each Plan II major is required to give a 10-15 minute oral presentation of his/her thesis at a Plan II Thesis Symposium. Oral presentations in the junior seminars are excellent preparation for this requirement.

Recent seminar topics include "Myths of War and Violence," "Water and Society," "Law, Ethics & Brain Policy," and "Shakespeare in Performance." Plan II students take two seminars in the junior year.

Honors Social Science (SS 301) 30-45 students:  
This one-semester course, often taken in the second or third year, introduces students to contemporary social issues & the methods and materials of social science, usually from the perspective of one discipline. Recent offerings include economics, anthropology, and psychology.

Modes of Reasoning (TC 310) 30-45 students:
This is a rubric for courses introducing students to formal structures for quantitative reasoning:  computer science, game theory, operations research, or statistics and probability. Topics can vary and have included courses on the use of statistics in science or social science and research methods across academic disciplines. The course is typically taken during the freshman year.

Plan II First-Year Signature Course (TC 302) 15- 17 students:  
These are small seminar courses that emphasize discussion, critical thinking, short research projects, student presentations, and writing on interdisciplinary topics of contemporary importance. Recent seminar topics include "Pathways to Civic Engagement," "Uses and Abuses of the Bible," "Punishment in a Liberal Society," and "Hunger." All Plan II freshmen take a First-Year Signature Course, either in the fall or spring.  The School of Undergraduate Studies (UGS) requires all First-Year Signature courses to include several course essentials and be designated with the  writing flag.  Signature courses may only be taught by regular faculty include tenured and tenure-track professors, as well as senior lecturers.  Funding provided by UGS for signature courses goes to the professor’s home department and not to Plan II.

The Plan II Advisory Council evaluates all course proposals.

Questions or to submit proposals and CV's: Plan II Honors Courses

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