Academics in Action

To graduate as a University Honors Laureate, students must complete at least one academic enrichment experience, called Academics in Action, in which they demonstrate creative productivity in addition to or beyond that required by the thesis or capstone project. In order to meet this requirement, students must demonstrate in Portfolium how their experience meets the following criteria:

Academic in nature

  • Contributed to a scholarly community of learners
  • Connected to an academic field/major (not necessarily your selected major/field)
  • Referenced a course, theory, literature, and/or scholarship related to the experience

An art show featuring photography you’ve produced could be academic in nature if it is connected to the study of photography as a practice or the study of your subject.

Taking photos on your phone and posting them without any scholarly pursuit of knowledge about the art form or the subject of your work would not be academic in nature.

Representative of creativity or innovation

  • Involved in the creation of a defined product or contribution that is unique to the student
  • Referenced the individual contribution to the creation (what did you create/innovate?), context for creation (Why did you do it? Why is it creative/innovative?)

Satisfactorily completing the Holster Scholars First Year Project application, course, and review process requires students to design an independent research project that contributes to and creates knowledge in a chosen field, which qualifies as creative.

Developing a new presentation might meet this criteria; delivering a prepackaged presentation would not be creative or innovative.

Shared with an authentic audience

  • Engaged with an audience that is appropriate for the creative product.
  • Allowed opportunity for audience to give some form of feedback (in person or in writing)

Presenting at a research event on campus or at a professional conference counts as sharing with an authentic audience, but that same presentation delivered to your classmates would not count as an authentic audience.

Submission of a proposal or paper to a committee of reviewers for a grant, award, or publication counts as sharing with an authentic audience, but submitting that same proposal or paper to your professor as part of a class does not count.

Elizabeth He, Honors student, presenting her poster for the Microbe Hunters Honors Core Course.

After reading the criteria and the examples above, are you still wondering if your experience may count for Academics in Action?

We recommend that you submit a draft of your Academics in Action reflection if you’re not sure if your planned experience may qualify. A completed Academics in Action reflection will always need to be submitted after the experience is finished, but if you label your reflection “DRAFT Title of Experience,” the Honors GPS reviewing it will know that you plan to resubmit and will only give feedback on the portions you were able to start. You can also meet with an Honors GPS!

Instructions for submitting Academics in Action reflection in Portfolium

Obtaining Space for UHL Requirements

Based on the nature of their Academics in Action or Leadership Experience efforts, students may wish to reserve a space on campus. If this is the case, students are welcome to explore the following options.

  1. The Honors Guides for Peer Success (GPS) Team can reserve space in the Buckley Classroom or the Shippee Pequot Room for students. The Buckley Classroom is available for reservation if not already booked. The Pequot Room is available for reservation, if not already booked, between 6:00 PM and 10:00 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If a student is interested in one of these spaces, they should email the Honors GPS Team at and include name, the space to reserve, the date and time of the requested reservation, and a description of the proposed activity. The Honors GPS Team will get back to the student about the space’s availability.
  2. If a student is interested in reserving another classroom or space on campus, they are advised to reach out to and work through a student organization with interests that align with the focus of the event or activity the student is putting on. An officer from this student organization will then need to fill out this form through Student Event Services to reserve the space. Students should be prepared to answer the questions listed in the form for the organization officer who is reserving the space for them. If a student needs help finding a student organization with similar interests, they are welcome to search UConntact, UConn’s student organization directory.

Reserving space on campus is not always necessary, but without a reservation students run the risk of another organization reserving the space they wish to use. As always, the Honors GPS Team is available as a resource on a walk-in basis or via email during their office hours.