2021-2022 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog
Frederik Meijer Honors College
The mission of the Frederik Meijer Honors College is to inspire and empower motivated students to be intellectually curious lifelong learners who make positive contributions to their local and global communities, and serve as capable leaders and active global citizens.
The Frederik Meijer Honors College is an alternative general education program for students who desire to challenge themselves academically. The focus of the college is to bridge the gaps between traditional academic disciplines and allow students a chance to see the impact each discipline has on the others.
To fulfill this goal, many of our classes are interdisciplinary and team-taught while utilizing smaller class sizes to elicit greater discussion. We understand that sometimes the moments of the greatest learning are unplanned. These smaller classes, coupled with the fact that many professors hold office hours nearby, foster a deeper personal connection between students and professors. Another feature of our curriculum is an active schedule of cocurricular activities, both on campus and off.
The greater student-faculty interaction, as well as classes specially designed to foster advanced writing and speaking skills, critical thinking, and analysis, prepare students to be competitive for graduate and professional programs. Our students develop high levels of proficiency in research, writing, critical thinking, synthesizing material from multiple disciplines, and applying critical skills to primary sources. Because of these advanced skills, honors students have more opportunities to participate in and present research as undergraduates at the Grand Valley State University Student Scholars Day, regional honors conferences, the National Collegiate Honors Council annual meeting, and other professional meetings.
The Meijer Honors College encourages its students to engage in extracurricular activities to develop leadership skills and an appreciation of the richness and diversity of university life. Honors students frequently engage in service and volunteer projects at the university or in the community. They also have unique cultural experiences and travel opportunities such as subsidized museum visits and faculty-led trips to Chicago, Detroit, and other cities. There are annual summer service-learning programs to Ghana, Haiti, and Israel, and students are also encouraged to take advantage of other study abroad opportunities offered by the university.
Completion of the Meijer Honors College program should not be confused with "Graduation with Honors," which is determined strictly by final grade point average. The Meijer Honors College requires not only a high grade point average, but also successful completion of a special series of challenging courses. Completion of all Meijer Honors College requirements results in the "Meijer Honors College Graduate" designation on both the baccalaureate diploma and the college transcript. Graduates are eligible to wear a special stole and medallion at Commencement.
There is no accrediting body for honors, though the National Collegiate Honors Council sets guidelines and offers resources for honors programs. Grand Valley is an active member of the National Collegiate Honors Council.
Applicants must first be accepted to GVSU before applying to the Meijer Honors College. We employ a holistic application process, which means that we consider the whole student, not just static indicators. In the application we look for demonstrations of strong academic motivation and ability to achieve on a high level. The application asks students to show these through completing a self-assessment, listing academic and leadership accomplishments, writing a strong essay, and submitting a significant analytical or creative paper from high school. Our normal expectation of high school applicants entering college for the first time is a 3.5 high school GPA and an ACT score of 28 or an SAT score of 1300. These are not firm requirements, however.
The Meijer Honors College also welcomes applications from students transferring from another college or university or from within GVSU. Our normal expectation is that transfer students will have a 3.5 college GPA. The application form is available online at gvsu.edu/honors.
To attain the Meijer Honors College designation, students must graduate with an overall grade point average of 3.2 or above. Students below 3.2 may complete the honors curriculum in order to satisfy their university general education requirements, but they will not earn the honors designation. Honors courses may be repeated only with the consent of both the director and the faculty member involved.
Students may voluntarily withdraw from honors at any time but will be responsible for completing the regular General Education Program if they do so. Meijer Honors College advisors are available to assist students transitioning out of the program. Likewise, students may apply to transfer into honors from the regular General Education Program, or from another college or university, and honors advisors are available to help with the transition.
Learning and Living Community
One of the hallmarks of the Meijer Honors College is its rich learning and living community. For this reason, honors students, especially first-year students, are encouraged to live in one of the two honors housing centers, so that they strengthen the bonds of community and reinforce each other's commitment to academic excellence.
The Glenn A. Niemeyer Learning and Living Center is a state-of-the-art residential and academic center with two- and four-bedroom apartments, lounges, study areas, and a computer lab. Most honors classrooms are also in the building.
The Holton-Hooker Learning and Living Center is a residential and academic center which provides optimal housing for first-year honors students because it builds rich and deep community.
The following programs are available: