The mission of the Frederik Meijer Honors College is to inspire and empower motivated students to be intellectually-curious lifelong learners who contribute to a body of knowledge, and serve as capable leaders and active global citizens.
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 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 world views and promote personal development. The designation “Meijer Honors College Graduate” on a Grand Valley State University 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 twenty-five 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 drawn from many disciplines teach Meijer Honors courses; in fact, many classes are team-taught, offering students significant individualized attention. Working with a faculty mentor, Honors students design and complete an independent project in their senior year.
The greater student-faculty interaction, as well as classes which 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, honor 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 extra-curricular 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, 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 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 and medallion at Commencement.
Applicants must first be accepted to GVSU before applying 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 State University 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 found on the website (www.gvsu.edu/honors).
To remain in good standing in the Meijer Honors College, a student must maintain a 3.2 grade point average. Failure to do so will result in the student being placed on probationary status and given two consecutive semesters 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 withdraw from honors but will be responsible for completing the regular General Education Program of the university if they do so.
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 freshmen-are encouraged to live in one of the two Honors housing centers, so that they strengthen the bonds of community and reinforce each others’ 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 brand new residential and academic center which provides optimal housing for first-year honors students because it builds rich and deep community.
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.