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Academically talented students tend to learn at a different pace and hold different interests than the general population, but grades alone cannot distinguish them. An “A” might be earned under great hardship for one, but passively by another. The key question is whether all students are full stewards of their capacity. The academically talented are at risk of failing that test because school can feel relatively easy. They should experience a curriculum that addresses this capacity. It should not be organized for difficulty, but distinction.
The mission of the Olivet Honors Program is to encourage and nurture academically talented students in the integration of Christian faith and scholarship, preparing them for servant leadership in the church and world. This provides not only an academic and spiritual community, but social as well. In fact, prior to the sophomore year, all Honors students are provided a one-night, two-day city tour (architecture, museum, the arts) at a regional point of interest.
This 18-credit plan has two phases. First, participants take one Honors course per semester for the initial two years. They are populated only by Honors students, and led by a faculty cohort of four. These 12 credits are substitutes – not additions – for the following general education courses, unavailable for CLEP credit: COMM 105 - Fundamentals of Communication, ENGL 209/210 - College Writing II, THEO 101 - Christian Formation, and PHED 190 - Wellness. The courses are interdisciplinary and team-taught to cultivate prowess in intellectual integration.
Examples of Honors course topics include: Faith and Film, Subtle Messages in Advertising, Rare Books Seminar, Reproductive Technology and Bioethics, and the like. Such courses are novel and might not be repeated from cohort to cohort.
Second, participants earn six credits during the final two years for a substantial, faculty-mentored research project. (It may be “performance” for relevant disciplines such as Music, Theater, Art, etc.). The first semester of the junior year is devoted to the construction of a research proposal, then two semesters are spent conducting the work. The final senior-level semester is dedicated to the preparation and presentation of results at a campus Research Symposium and/or a regional Honors event through the National Collegiate Honors Council. If appropriate, the faculty-student project may be featured in a professional venue. Funds are provided to support this process.
Throughout these four years, students will also participate annually in an on- or off-campus service organization, serving progressively from attendance to project leadership, and if suitable, officer status. Meanwhile, students attend one cultural event per year, supplemental to course content.
Fewer than 30 are admitted each year, constituting roughly 5% of the undergraduate population. Applications are made in February and March of the preceding academic year. Contact the Admissions Office or Honors Director for more information.