James Scholars

About the College of Education James Scholar Program

The James Scholar Program is a University-wide program established to encourage undergraduate research, independent study and the opportunity to work with renowned faculty.

In the College of Education, the James Scholar Program provides a rewarding educational experience for students with exceptional academic skills. James Scholars in Education are civically engaged, global citizens and leaders able to use research based decision making skills. James Scholars are creative, collaborative and think critically as they prepare to enter the workforce.

As a James Scholar, we expect you to view the world from all different perspectives and become change-agents in society. It is our hope that the honors community in the College of Education will allow you to find and discover opportunities and take risks that broaden your thinking so you leave here ready to make a difference in the field of education. Diversity is a key element of the College of Education, and we expect you to become enlightened and compassionate about current educational issues related to social, environmental and economic justice.

To this end, Education James Scholars are encouraged to develop transferable skills and academic discipline  centered around the following themes:

Civic Engagement and Global Consciousness
Professional Development




Overview of the James Scholar Program

James Scholars have the opportunity to live in the campus Honors Living Learning Community http://www.housing.illinois.edu/living-options/living-learning-communities/honors-llc  

Incoming Freshmen will be expected to select James Scholars options in accordance with the requirements of the designated four themes in order to be eligible for cords at graduation. Two research projects are required.

Incoming transfer students are not bound to the four themed requirements - but are encouraged to participate in any options offered. Students must successfully complete a James Scholars Project in the Fall and Spring semester in order to receive James Scholar recognition. For all requirements, please see Program Details


General Projects

I. Course Related eHCLA (Repeatable Option)

James Scholars can use eHCLA’s (electronic Honors Credit Learning Agreements) in conjunction with the instructor of one of their regular classes. The project is determined by the instructor of the course. Students may also elect to use eHCLA’s to work with a professor on research projects outside the classroom. Please refer to Participating Faculty Researchers for details.

II. Designated James Scholar Course (Repeatable Option)

EPSY 200 is a designated James Scholar course that counts for James Scholar credit. You do not have to complete any additional projects or presentations in order to get James scholar credit if you select this option.

Special Opportunities for Spring 2019!

We are truly excited to offer our James Scholars FOUR extra James Scholar course options for spring 2019! These classes cover a variety of topics and count as automatic James Scholar credit.

I. FAA 399 alt.Honors: Honor Creativity

alt.Honors is a pilot program to “honor,” encourage and support students with a range of creative talents who don’t necessarily flourish within the traditional university educational system. Cross-disciplinary student teams will work with faculty and community leader mentors to address grand challenges on a local scale (such as climate change as it affects our community) or to realize their own out-of-the-box creative projects. In this process, students will learn how to apply their unique talents to problem solving and to utilize their creativity in entrepreneurial enterprises after graduation. Application to the project is via work samples and desire—GPA will not be a criterion. If you’re a creative motivated student, if you have unique talents that aren’t utilized in class, or feel constrained in a traditional classroom setting, then the alt.Honors project is for you. Students from all majors and levels are welcome to apply!

Visit http://go.illinois.edu/althonors to apply!

II. Campus Honors Courses - These Special Campus Honors Courses have been opened to James Scholars for Spring 2019! 

Please fill out the course request form at http://honors.illinois.edu/docs/courserequest.pdf and submit it to Anne Price from Campus Honors at aeprice@illinois.edu if you are interested in signing up for one of these courses.

ART 199 BT2: Design in Glass: Glass Fusing Basics

ART 199 BT "Design Through Craft Practice" introduces students to the elements, principles, and processes of design. Students will investigate basic design concepts in four three-week workshops in craft/material studies. Design strategies will be introduced via a survey of basic techniques in metalworking, glassmaking, bookmaking, ceramics, and fiber. Course topics include point and line, pattern and repetition, symmetrical and asymmetrical organization, texture and relief, and color applications. Students will be introduced to basic jewelry making skills such as sawing, filing, sanding, piercing, texturing, riveting, and pagination; the cutting, fusing, and slumping of sheet glass; case-bound bookmaking; and basic ceramic hand building, decorating, and glazing processes. The course will include field trips to the studios of practicing craft artists and visits to Krannert Art Museum and local art galleries.

CPSC 199 CHP: Agriculture and the Environment

This course will examine the effects of current agricultural practices on the environment. Discussion topics include pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, water quality, water supply, organic production, food safety, and international agriculture. This course will be a combination of lecture and student-led discussions of assigned readings. Regardless of their career paths, CHP students will likely be required to interpret and explain research results to their peers and the general public. One goal of the class is that students will be able to critically evaluate research articles and refine their opinions concerning environmental issues. Emphasis will also be placed on effective communication of technical information and enhancing presentation skills. NOTE-This course will count as Gen Ed credit for Life Sciences and Physical Sciences.

ENVS 101/NPRE 101 AL1 & AY1: Introduction to Energy Sources

Energy is an exciting and far-reaching topic to study because it affects everything you do from social activities to scholastics. This course is fun and stimulating. There is a demonstration or field trip every day, including a tour of the University's power plant and nuclear reactor. The course examines energy technologies and their environmental significance from a simple elementary approach which presupposes no prior scientific or technological background. All present and potential future energy sources are studied, including fossil fuels and solar, hydro, wind, and nuclear power. Energy-related incidents will be studied with emphasis on their environmental, economic, and social consequences. NOTE-This course will count as Gen Ed credit for Physical Science and Quantitative Reasoning II.

Theme Projects

I.  Research – (2 REQUIRED)

II.  Civic Engagement and Global Consciousness – (1 Recommended)
Service Learning & Social Justice

Please consult the campus Class Schedule for availability and times.

CI 260- Serving Child in Schools/Community

ARTE 260- Museums in Action

ARTS 299- The Everyday Arts Lab (EAL)

FAA 199/499- Choreographing Leadership

LIS 418- Community Engagement

SPAN 232- Spanish in the Community

SPAN 332- Spanish and Entrepreneurship

UP 478- Community Development Workshop

CHEM 199– Undergraduate Open Seminar (only specified sections such as Sci Ed and Research for Children, Kids and Chemistry Outreach program)

EPS 390- Education & Social Justice

LINC Courses

ENG 298- Special Topics (examples include but are not limited to Lego Robotics Mentoring or Learning in Community with Don Moyer’s Boys and Girls Club).

ENG 315- Learning in Community (examples include but are not limited to Campus Middle School for Girls and the Walking School Bus Program).

ENG 398- Special Topics (examples include, but are not limited to Engineering for Social Justice Scholars Program).

Study Abroad


If participating in a spring/winter break or summer study abroad program (taken from Illinois), students can earn James Scholar credit by presenting their experience AT A SPRING SEMESTER EVENT. NOTE: James Scholar Credit must be the immediate semester but is based on the commitment to present at a spring venue.  

So, students who study abroad in the summer will earn fall James Scholar credit but it is based on their presentation in the spring and does not constitute their spring project since it counted for fall. Students interested in earning James Scholar credit for study abroad will need to create a 4-5 minute video about their educational experience and present at one of the James Scholar spring events.

Contact the College of Education Admissions and Records Officer at recordsofficer@education.illinois.edu with questions and for video and presentation details.

PLEASE NOTE: Semester long study abroad trips automatically fulfill the James Scholar requirement for the semester the student is abroad. The semester long study abroad does not require a presentation.

III.  Leadership – (1 Recommended)

Leadership Center I-Program.  Please note, students may use a total of two Leadership programs to count for James Scholar credit. If you have already attended two Leadership Center programs for James Scholar credit, please select another option.

To receive James Scholar credit, you will need to follow these steps in order:

1. Register for an I-program (ex. Intersect) through the Leadership Center website: It needs to be a program you have not previously attended.

2. Once you receive an email confirmation from the Leadership Center, please forward the email to recordsofficer@education.illinois.edu.

3. Submit the eHCLA by March 1st or October 1st to indicate which program you will (or did) attend. This option is only available if you have already forwarded the email registration confirmation in step 2.

4. Once you attend the program, please submit a copy of the certificate either by email or by stopping by our main office at 110 EDUC no later than the end of the semester in which the program was attended.

To receive James Scholar credit for attending an Illinois Leadership Center program, students are expected to be an active and positive participant.

IV.  Professional Development - (HIGHLY Recommended - Student Teaching Semester only)
A Study on Teacher Supervision/Evaluation

During the student teaching semester study the impact on the new district and state mandates for teacher supervision and evaluation.  These mandates include: evidence-based observation, teacher artifact collection, and Student Learning Outcomes (SLO's).  Collect samples of observation and evaluation instruments, SLO processes, artifact collection guidelines, etc.  Consider their alignment to the Danielson Framework for Teaching or other teacher evaluation framework, interview teachers and administrators about district policies, practices, and reactions to new evaluation and supervision practices.  Present your findings in a media-rich format, using images, video, and other resources and upload your work to a private YouTube channel.

Attend an Ongoing District Professional Development Opportunity

Work with your school to identify, select and participate in a sustained/extended district-wide professional development opportunity and write a paper, create a poster presentation, brochure or technology-supported resource guide with thoughtful reflection and assessment of the program.(Example: Book Clubs, Curriculum Committees, Program Implementation/Review, Data Teams, etc.)

EDUC 102 Annual Poster Session

Create a Clinical Experiences Interactive Blog

While student teaching, create, maintain and post a blog to be used interactively with College of Education students.  Blog should contain vignettes, weekly “diary-like” entries, and/or an account of specific classroom activities and teaching techniques, followed by thoughtful reflection, assessment, and suggestions for growth and improvement when applicable. This blog is intended to support the development of teacher candidates in early stages of the professional course sequence and to highlight successful practical applications of knowledge, skills, and dispositions developed through University coursework.

Service-Learning Project

Attend an orientation workshop on service-learning programming, co-facilitated by College faculty and staff with experience and interest in service-learning in the P-12 setting and then implement a full-scale service-learning project in the student teaching classroom.  The project must adhere to recommended best practices in service-learning as an pedagogical tool in the classroom with periodic review of the various stages of project design, implementation, and evaluation.