A NOTE TO THE HONORS THESIS DIRECTOR

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					                                A NOTE TO THE HONORS THESIS DIRECTOR

Thank you for agreeing to serve as an Honors Thesis Director. Barrett, The Honors College realizes that
students cannot succeed without faculty support, and we are grateful for your willingness to participate in this
journey with an honors student. We want to make your job easier, and hope these tips will help along the way.

An honors thesis/creative project should not be a project for which a student signs up then disappears for a
semester, only to show up with a product that he/she expects to defend. This is not fair to you and not a positive
experience for the student. Therefore, it is helpful to set expectations for your student very early and to hold
regular meetings, typically once every week or every other week. These meetings help the student work more
effectively with your direction, and help you keep track of any problems.

HONORS WEBSITE AND RESOURCES:

The Honors website (http://barretthonors.asu.edu/home/) has several resources available to assist you in
navigating the thesis process. Please select the link “Thesis/Creative Project” on the home page in the
Current Students area. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Barrett
Honors Advising office at 480-965-9155.

THESIS COMMITTEE:

The advising office educates our students on the importance of understanding the role of their thesis committee
and we strongly reinforce the student’s responsibility to communicate with each committee member:

        Director. Normally, the honors thesis committee consists of three members, the thesis director, a
        second reader, and a third reader. The director is the faculty member with whom the student will work
        most closely on his/her thesis or creative project. The director is normally a regularly-appointed member
        of the ASU faculty, chosen by the student, with professional expertise in the thesis/creative project area.
        Among the members of a thesis committee, the director’s suggestions and vote are the most heavily
        weighted. The director must be a lecturer, assistant professor, associate professor, or full professor.

        Second Reader. Typically the second reader is a faculty member, but exceptions to this rule are
        sometimes appropriate. In all cases, the second reader will be another suitably credentialed person that
        the thesis director and the student decide is appropriate to serve. This committee member is
        responsible for assisting the student with research as needed, reading one or two of the drafts, giving
        students comments on those drafts, and being present at the oral defense. Some second readers meet
        almost as regularly with students as the director; others become involved only at significant points (e.g.
        a statistician when statistics are being analyzed). Graduate students may not be second readers.

        Third Reader. The third reader is a qualified professional selected by the director and student together.
        A third reader will offer insights beyond those offered by the director and second reader. The student
        and the thesis director should choose the third reader no later than six weeks prior to the defense and
        the third reader should have a copy of the student’s manuscript at least one month before the defense.
        Students may also apply for the Barrett Honors External Examiner Program, which provides funding for
        an outside expert to act as a third reader. All Barrett juniors are given an application for this program.

PROSPECTUS FORM:

The thesis prospectus is considered a contract between the thesis committee and the student. Through the
prospectus, the student is expected to outline not only the scope of the project, but also outline expectations and
a timeline for the project. The Barrett Honors College uses the prospectus to track student progress. Please
encourage your student to submit the paperwork on time. Deadlines are posted on the Honors web page.

CREDITS/GRADING:

Students will typically complete their thesis/creative project in the department of their major, but they are not
limited to that. Most departments allow up to six credit hours for the project, but some departments limit students
to three-hours of credit for the project. Students sign up for “XXX 493-Honors Thesis” and “XXX 492-Honors
Directed Study” (when appropriate) in the department of the Thesis Director.

When the thesis/creative project is a year-long endeavor with no distinct break between the two semesters, the
first semester grade (XXX 492) is generally Z, indicating work in progress. If the student is not performing up to
your expectations, this is the time for a serious discussion about expectations.

Please assign a grade for the project when grades are due through your department, and don’t forget to change
a “Z” grade to the letter grade after the work is completed (XXX 493). Typically, you will assign a letter grade for
the thesis, though a “Y” is allowed, if appropriate.

Students must complete the graduation requirements for Barrett, The Honors College, including the thesis, by
the required deadlines. Students are responsible for meeting these deadlines and for keeping you informed
about them. Please do not feel pressured by a student who comes at the last minute and demands a defense to
make a deadline. It is entirely up to you and the committee to determine when the student is ready, and you may
contact the Barrett Advising office for assistance with problem cases.

FORMATTING:

Style Manuals: Students should find out which style manual their discipline uses as soon as possible to
consider formatting issues while gathering data.

Manuscript Guidelines: Students will submit their manuscript to the Barrett Advising relative to the appropriate
deadlines. Please ensure that the manuscript conforms to the style guide for your discipline (e.g., the MLA
style for English, APA for Psychology) and is free of spelling and punctuation errors. The integrity of the
manuscript is very important so please make sure the manuscript isnot torn, wet, stained, already bound, or has
correction markings.

Please note the following formatting requirements:
     Unbound manuscript (no staples, clips, hole punches, bindings, or covers)
     Margin on 1 ½ inches on left side, 1 inch on all other sides due to binding issues
     White, 8 ½ x 11 inch, 20 pound paper – same brand, weight, and color throughout. Acid-free paper is
       not required.
     10-, 11-, or 12-point font size or 10 to 12 typewriter pitch (consistent throughout text)
     Typeface must be consistent throughout except for items in appendices.
     No spelling or punctuation errors
     No ink or pencil corrections

Signature Page: A signature page must accompany the manuscript and bear the original signatures of all
committee members. Photocopies are not accepted. Students should use the Signature Page Template found
online at the Barrett Honors College website (http://barretthonors.asu.edu/home/?cat=105).

THESIS DEFENSE REPORTING FORM:

The thesis defense reporting form is used to confirm that the student has chosen a third reader and scheduled a
defense date. The Barrett Honors College uses this form to track student progress, and to notify interested
observers of defense dates/locations. Please encourage your student to submit the paperwork on time.
Deadlines are posted on the Honors web page.

ORAL DEFENSE:

Although research and manuscript preparation are key parts of a thesis, there is another step to complete
before the process is finished. Students will take part in an oral “Defense” before the members of the
thesis/creative project committee. The defense is an opportunity for the student to present his/her topic and
research to a group of knowledgeable and interested researchers in his/her field. These researchers should, by
now, be familiar with the student’s work because he or she has been communicating with them closely
throughout the thesis/creative project process. This is an opportunity for the committee to provide helpful
feedback and recommendations. The Defense is designed to be an intellectual exercise and opportunity for the
student to demonstrate what he or she has learned over one or two semesters (during the thesis process); it
reflects the culmination of the student’s Barrett honors experience.

***Please note: ALL thesis/creative project committee members must be in attendance at the student’s thesis
defense.

It is the responsibility of the student and the thesis committee to determine where the thesis defense will take
place. Many Defenses are scheduled in the Barrett Conference rooms but they also are often scheduled in
facilities within the department. The student and director will also decide on the date, noting the appropriate
thesis defense deadlines corresponding with the student’s anticipated graduation date. Submit the thesis
defense reporting form when the thesis defense is scheduled.

The way an oral defense is conducted may vary by committee, but generally the committee members and
student will meet for an hour or more, during which time:
     The student will give a brief (15-20 minutes) seminar-style summary of the project designed to review
        the origins of the project, its scope, the methodology used, significant findings and conclusions.
     The committee will ask questions about issues raised by the thesis/creative project, ask the student to
        justify the choices made in researching the project, and speculate on the applications or usefulness of
        the student’s project.
     At the end of the question period, the student should be dismissed from the room while the committee
        members review the student’s performance. When the committee has reached a consensus, they will
        call the student in to give their appraisal and comments.
     Upon approval, the student should have the committee sign the Signature Page.
     Please Note: The defense is open to the public so it is possible others may attend outside the
        committee, unless a closed defense is requested.

Depending on the amount and type of revisions the committee recommends (if any), the student will leave the
defense with one of the following sets of directions. The student is responsible for making the revisions
proposed by the committee and will need to consult with the thesis director to ensure that the committee’s
recommendations are met.
        Approved
            1. Minor format/editorial corrections, if any, are suggested
            2. All committee members sign the Signature Title Page
            3. The thesis director makes any final recommendations

           Provisional Approval (Common outcome)
            1. Extensive format/editorial corrections and/or minor substantive changes (i.e., some text needs
                rewriting, paper sections need to be added to expanded, consistent grammatical errors demand
                correction)
            2. Second and third readers make their recommendations and sign the Signature Title Page
            3. Thesis/creative project director signs the approval page only after the required corrections are
                made

           Not approved (Least common outcome)
            1. Basic design and/or overall execution of the study are significantly flawed
            2. Candidate’s performance in the oral defense is seriously deficient
            3. Signature Title Page should not be signed
            4. Student should inform Barrett Advisor of this circumstance as it may impact Barrett graduate
                timeline

IMPORTANT DEADLINES:


Fall 2010 Defense and Corresponding Deadlines:
                                                                 th
Prospectus Due…………………………………………… …….February 15
                                                                 th
Defense Completed………………………………………………October 29
                                                                       th
Signed Title Page, Final Unbound Copy, and Emailed Copy...…November 23
Spring 2011 Defense and Corresponding Deadlines:
                                                                       st
Prospectus Due…………………………………………… …….September 17
                                                                  th
Defense Completed………………………………………………March 29
                                                                    rd
Signed Title Page, Final Unbound Copy, and Emailed Copy...…April 22

THESIS SUBMISSION:

Before the thesis/creative project is considered fully complete, students must submit two copies (hard copy and
soft copy) to the Barrett Advising office:
      An unbound copy of the approved manuscript, project, or activity that meets the criteria outlined in the
        Manuscript Guidelines section. Please do not staple, paperclip, or bind your thesis.
      A Signature page with the original signatures of the three committee members
      You must also submit an electronic version of your thesis in a PDF or Word format.
         Downtown: Jill.Johnson@asu.edu
         Polytechnic: thesis@asu.edu
         Tempe: thesis@asu.edu
         West: Liz.Marini@asu.edu

Barrett keeps a bound copy of the thesis/creative project, and many Barrett honors students refer to these
copies in navigating their own thesis topics. Each campus keeps a library of honors theses.

CONVOCATION:

We hope you will be able to take part in the Barrett graduation celebration, since this is a special time to
recognize both the students who have completed the honors requirements and the faculty who have helped
make that possible. This is a symbolic, deeply significant moment in the student’s academic career, and a time
to thank you for your helping the student weave together the skills and knowledge of his/her undergraduate
career into a creative piece of scholarship.

				
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