Academics in Action

The University Honors Laureate graduation award recognizes creativity and academic accomplishment inside and outside the classroom. As part of this award, you will complete at least one enrichment experience in addition to or beyond your thesis or capstone project in which you apply your work as a “practicing professional” in an academic, professional, or service field. To complete the Academics in Action requirement, demonstrate in HuskyCT how your enrichment experience meets three criteria:

1. Academic in nature

Intentional application of the content and/or methodology from an academic field, interdisciplinary area of inquiry, or artistic domain.

This does not have to be your own major or future discipline, but you should be able to connect it to relevant course, theory, literature, and/or scholarship.

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.

2. Representative of creativity or innovation

Creation of a defined product or contribution that is unique to the student.

You should be able to talk about the purpose of your work in terms of influencing change, creating a new piece of art or literature, pursuing research or scholarly inquiry, or some other type of active endeavor. All of these involve going beyond merely reporting on past learning.

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.

3. Shared with an authentic audience

Deliberate selection of an audience that is appropriate for the product created and the purpose of that work.

An authentic audience mirrors as much as possible that of a “real world” practicing professional, whether that professional is in academics, the arts, a service organization, or another career. Your audience and your product influence each other: how can you best fulfill the purpose of your creative work?

An authentic audience for research might be the attendees at a campus research event or at an academic conference. If you gave the same presentation in a class, your classmates and instructor would not qualify as an authentic audience.

Some products, like grant proposals or journal articles, go through a review process. If you receive feedback from reviewers or an award committee, they may qualify as an authentic audience, even if your submission is not accepted.

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!

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 at UConn Storrs and can work with Honors staff at regional campuses on securing space on each campus. 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, or want to reserve space on a regional campus, 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.
  2. If a UConn Storrs student is interested in reserving another classroom or space on the Storrs 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.