Setting them free: students as co-producers of honors education

Bouke van Gorp, Marca Wolfensberger, Nelleke de Jong

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One of the factors that differentiate honors from regular teaching at the Faculty of Geosciences at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, is the freedom that honors students enjoy, a freedom that evokes excellence because it is focused and targeted. This targeted freedom takes three different shapes in our honors program and comes with specific challenges for both students and teachers. While the attractions and advantages of such freedom are both theoretically and practically significant, our experience has also demonstrated drawbacks that need to be addressed and resolved in creating effective honors education.
The challenges and struggles as well as the rewards that we have experienced might be familiar to honors educators around the world, but they are also shaped by the particular contexts of our program within the Faculty of Geosciences, within Utrecht University, and within the Netherlands, contexts that we will now introduce.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-194
JournalJournal of the national collegiate honors council
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • higher education
  • students
  • honors programs


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