Frederik Meijer Honors College
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Director: J. Chamberlain
The mission of the Frederik Meijer Honors College is to provide a challenging interdisciplinary liberal education in a personal, nurturing living/learning environment. Honors education encourages students to develop high-level skills, knowledge and expertise, and prepares them to be intellectually curious lifelong learners and extraordinarily capable leaders in their communities and the world.
The Meijer Honors College at Grand Valley State University is intended for students who, in their previous academic work, have demonstrated a distinctly high level of intelligence, motivation, creativity, and academic achievement. Drawing from all the undergraduate departments, the Meijer Honors College provides its students a program with special academic opportunities and challenges.
Designed to enhance and integrate the intellectual curiosity of students, Meijer Honors College courses help students expand their worldviews and promote personal development. The designation “Meijer Honors College Graduate” on a Grand Valley diploma and transcript recognizes the distinctive work of the students in the program.
The Meijer Honors College curriculum, with its emphasis on interdisciplinary learning, offers a distinctive way to fulfill most of the general education requirements of the university. Meijer Honors College courses, normally limited to 25 or fewer students, are uniquely structured in content and instruction for active learning and critical thinking. Sharing specially designed classes with other students of outstanding potential and motivation creates a special atmosphere in which important questions and student ideas are treated seriously. Uniquely qualified and carefully selected faculty members drawn from many disciplines teach Meijer Honors College courses; in fact, many classes are team-taught, offering students significant individualized attention. Working with a faculty mentor, Meijer Honors College students design and complete an independent project in their senior year.
The greater student-faculty interaction, as well as classes that are 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 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 places like Chicago, Toledo, New York City, out west, and Washington D.C. Trips for credit are offered to various international destinations such as Germany and Poland, and there is an annual summer service-learning program to Ghana. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of the 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 wear a special stole at Commencement.
To remain in good standing in the Meijer Honors College, a student must maintain a 3.2 grade point average (GPA). Failure to do so will result in the student being placed on probationary status and given a semester to bring his or her GPA back up to a 3.2. Honors courses may be repeated only with the consent of both the director and the faculty member involved. Students may voluntarily resign from Honors, but will be responsible for completing the regular general education program of the university.
Learning and Living Community
Glenn A. Niemeyer Learning and Living Center
Students who have been admitted to the Meijer Honors College are encouraged to live in the Glenn A. Niemeyer Learning and Living Center, a state-of-the-art residential and academic center for honors students. This arrangement allows students who have a strong commitment to academic excellence to live with other students of similar interest. The center is administered through a cooperative agreement between the director of housing and the Meijer Honors College director. Students living in Niemeyer are involved in governance, social activities, and in program planning through the Honors Community Council (see below under Student Organizations). Residents are often called upon by various university staff and administrators for suggestions, ideas, and reactions on matters of importance to the campus community.
Space in Niemeyer is limited. Returning Honors College students are strongly advised to submit their housing applications online as soon as possible. Incoming freshmen interested in living in Niemeyer must submit (1) their Honors College application and (2) a separate university housing application. On that application they select Honors housing as their first option. These can be submitted online.
Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships
The Frederik Meijer Office of Fellowships, located in 126 Niemeyer, assists Grand Valley students who show extraordinary potential in disciplines all across campus in preparing and applying for nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships including the Fulbright, Gates Cambridge, Mitchell, Goldwater, Marshall, Rhodes, Truman, NSEP Boren, Gilman, Udall, and more. The staff matches opportunities with students’ strengths, interests, and ambitions; helps students design a plan to attain their goals; and provides support throughout the application process. To learn more, visit www.gvsu.edu/fellowships.
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 Grand Valley and then apply to the Meijer Honors College. The normal qualifications for the program are a 3.5 high school GPA and ACT score of 28, but other factors (such as quality of essay, paper sample, and honors/leadership activities) are considered for entrance, and all these criteria are weighed to assess academic motivation and potential for success in the program. Transfer students and those already enrolled at Grand Valley who wish to enter the Meijer Honors College may apply for admission if they have a 3.5 college grade point average. The application forms can be picked up at the Honors office or from the website www.gvsu.edu/honors/.
Honors Community Council
The Honors Community Council is the student group responsible for contributing to Meijer Honors College governance and provides all honors students, not just those living in the Niemeyer Learning and Living Center, opportunities to be heard. The Honors Community Council provides input to the university, develops programming and student activities, and assists in supervision of the mentorship program for new students. It is an excellent place for honors students to make a difference in and outside of Honors, and to develop leadership skills and experience.
Peer Mentor Program
Upper-class Honors students may apply to be peer mentors to incoming freshmen. Mentors assist freshmen with the transition to the Meijer Honors College and university life in general, and act as ambassadors for the Meijer Honors College.
Arend D. and Nancy Lubbers Scholarship. Those who are awarded Presidential Scholarships are eligible for a prestigious honors-only scholarship — the Lubbers Scholarship. This award can add as much as $2,000 onto merit-based scholarships, and is renewable for up to 10 semesters. It is a significant honor to receive this scholarship, but a student is only eligible for this award if he or she has qualified for and participated in the scholarship competition and has applied to and been accepted by the Meijer Honors College prior to the last scholarship competition of the year.
The Frederik Meijer First Generation Honors College Student Scholarship is a full-tuition scholarship for a select number of extraordinary freshmen who are the first in their immediate family to pursue a college degree. Candidates must be eligible to participate in the scholarship competition, must have been accepted to the university and the Honors College, and must enroll full-time as a degree-seeking student. The scholarship is renewable up to a maximum of eight semesters. Recipients must stay in good standing in the Honors College to renew this scholarship.
The Ruth Chamberlain Global Issues Scholarship was initiated by John (“Jack”) Chamberlain in memory of his wife Ruth. The scholarship will provide support for one or more students in the Meijer Honors College who have shown significant promise, growth, or improvement, and have demonstrated a research or career interest in solving global problems (for example, issues of climate change, natural disasters, energy, population change, sustainability, etc.). Areas of study may include but are not limited to: natural resources, biology, chemistry, or related sciences. The scholarship may be awarded for a maximum of two semesters, but may be renewable.
For more information on applying and competing for scholarships, contact an admissions counselor at firstname.lastname@example.org or (616) 331-2025 or (800) 748-0246. For all of the possibilities, see www.gvsu.edu/financialaid or call (616) 331-3234 or (800) 748-0246.
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