What is the FMHC?

Our Headquarters

Niemeyer Living Center aerial view

The Glenn A. Niemeyer Learning & Living Center, which opened in 2008.

Mission

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.

FMHC

The Frederik Meijer Honors College is an alternative general education program for students who wish to make the most of their college career. Many of our classes are interdisciplinary and team-taught while utilizing smaller class sizes to elicit greater discussion. 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 co-curricular activities, both on campus and off.

The Honors College also includes an integrated living and learning environment promoting intellectual curiosity and an enthusiasm for learning that will live on well beyond our students' undergraduate years. The Glenn A. Niemeyer Learning and Living Center offers students the opportunity to take classes in the same building in which they live. The Honors Office, Honors Director, and many professors' offices are located in the Niemeyer building, giving students quick and easy access to all resources available. There are Honors housing options on the north side of campus as well in the Holton-Hooker Learning & Living Center, which offers a vibrant Honors freshman community with spacious common areas, meeting space for staff and students, and proximity to many campus facilities, including the Commons, the Marketplace, the Kindschi Hall of Science, and the Fieldhouse.

Key Words

The Honors curriculum is structured around four key words:

Connect – Students begin with a team-taught sequence of connected courses, exploring a topic or issue of interest with the same faculty and classmates for a full year.

Engage – Students stretch themselves by joining student organizations, attending campus lectures and performances, and exploring academic topics that round out their general education. Many conduct original research or study abroad.

Deepen – In seminars led by highly qualified faculty, students inquire into specific scholarly questions or issues with interdisciplinary scope.

Apply – Students work with closely with a faculty mentor on a self-designed, semester-long scholarly or creative project.

Click here for information about the Honors curriculum.

Core Commitments

The I’s. The core values of the Honors College can be represented by six words beginning with the letter I: Inquiry, Integrity, Inclusion, Interdisciplinarity, Innovation, and Internationalization. These values embody the “Live, Learn, Lead” motto of the Honors College and capture the essential qualities of effective citizens and leaders. We ask the faculty of every Honors course to articulate how they incorporate these values—as content, skills, or both—into their syllabus.

Alternative GE = Shared Goals. We embrace the core mission of the university's General Education program: to provide “a broad-based liberal education experience that fosters lifelong learning and informed citizenship” and “prepares students for intelligent participation in public dialogues that consider the issues of humane living and responsible action in local, national, and global communities.” The Honors curriculum aims to achieve the nine GE program skills outcomes, which also function as institution-level undergraduate Student Learning Outcomes.

Honors as Experience, Not Credential. The Honors College is for students who want to make the most of their GVSU experience. It is for students who want to engage deeply in their classes, explore multiple interests, work closely with faculty, get active on campus, and explore the world off campus. It is not for students looking to find the quickest path to graduation or simply an impressive line on their résumé.

Community Engagement. We support and promote our students’ engagement with communities on campus and beyond. Honors students have a strong presence in student organizations, including the Student Senate, the Cook Leadership Academy, the Design Thinking Academy, professional societies, and sororities and fraternities. They frequently serve as campus ambassadors, resident assistants, and academic tutors. Our students are also active as volunteers in and around the West Michigan community, and many study abroad.

Project-Based Learning. The Brooks College website says, “The most complex issues of the world—environmental stewardship, human rights, poverty, and the migration of people, to name a few—can only be addressed effectively if we pose questions, test hypotheses, and apply knowledge from different perspectives.” Project-based learning is a student-centered approach in which students learn about a subject by working in interdisciplinary groups to produce an artifact (a work of art, a structure, a program, a presentation, etc.). This mode of learning aligns with professional practice and develops abilities in project management, professional behavior, critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, collaboration, and innovation.

Public Presentation. Many of our students make their best work public by presenting on Student Scholars Day, at the Summer Scholars Showcase, or at local, regional, national, or international conferences—or by publishing in a journal or on a website. To ensure that all of our students work toward some kind of showcase of their work, we have incorporated that requirement into the project-based learning courses and the senior project.