The Honors Program at Green Mountain College promotes academic excellence and intellectual rigor across the campus through the ELA curriculum, Honors Forum, and extracurricular scholarly activities.
We seek to attract and retain academically motivated students and provide them with an enhanced learning experience. The Program is dedicated to building community among honors students, thus creating an inviting environment that promotes intellectual curiosity and the aggressive pursuit of knowledge.
Newly accepted students who meet the Honors Program requirements will receive an invitation to join the program. If a student is on the fence about whether or not to join it’s important they know two key things: You can withdraw from the program at any time with no penalty (simply request withdrawal from the Director via email); and in order to complete the program you need to take all four of the required ELA Core Courses in Honors designated sections. The first of the four Core Courses, Images of Nature and Culture, is taken during the first semester. So if you decline the invite and later change your mind you will face significant hurdles in joining the program.
We seek to attract and retain academically motivated students and provide them with an enhanced learning experience. There is no “extra work” per se, but honors classes tend to cover more material in greater depth. Students challenge and inspire each other. The Program’s greatest strength is its students: A community of self-motivated individuals who are engaged with learning and each other, curious about how the world works, and who want to be an integral part of a program that promotes intellectual curiosity and the aggressive pursuit of knowledge.
Green Mountain College’s Honors Program (GMC HP) is organized around our innovative Environmental Liberal Arts Program (ELA) and a one-credit Honors Forum course that serves as an orientation to the program and academic life. A central requirement of the program is to take the Honors sections of the four ELA Core Courses (http://www.greenmtn.edu/academics/environmental-liberal-arts-program/the-foundation/): Images of Nature and Culture; Voices of Community; Dimensions of Nature; and A Delicate Balance. These sections are specifically designed and reserved for Honors students, allowing students to delve deeply into course material, challenging themselves and each other with difficult and important issues. The remaining credit requirements to receive the Honors Certification will generally be fulfilled by taking the Honors sections of the required ELA distribution courses (see the course rotation below). To receive the Honors Certification students must complete twenty-five (25) credits in Honors designated courses. By following the HP course rotation of distribution courses (listed below), and taking the honors sections of the Core Courses, almost all of the required credits can be completed by the end of the second year.
In cases where a student is unable to fulfill the credit requirements by taking the ELA Honors sections offered (i.e. a student studies abroad, or at one of our fellow EcoLeague schools (http://www.greenmtn.edu/academics/learning-resources/off-campus-study/eco-league/), for a semester or a year; or a student arrives at GMC having already fulfilled many of the ELA requirements), students can contract with an instructor and the Director of the HP to take a 3000 or 4000 level course for Honors credits–this is especially useful for Independent Studies (for more detail see the Honors Contract section below which includes a link to the contract form). In rare cases students may take a non-honors ELA distribution course as an Independent Study for honors credit with permission from the Honors Director and the course instructor. Exceptions will be made for students who arrive at GMC with 30 or more credits — sophomores are required to complete eighteen (18) ELA honors credits, juniors and seniors are required to complete twelve (12) ELA honors credits.
The Honors Floor and Honors Community
Honors students will have opportunities to participate in Honors seminars and activities throughout their college careers. Incoming HP students will be assigned a space on the Honors Floor, but there is no requirement that they live there. It is strongly recommended to at least live on the floor for your first semester at GMC. This is a designated floor in an academically oriented dorm reserved for program participants. This is the physical center of our Honors community, and members of the program and the floor will have control over what activities they want to host, how the floor will be governed, and how to be of service to the wider GMC community (i.e. to offer specialized tutoring to complement the existing tutoring services offered at the Calhoun Learning Center).
The Honors Certificate
Students who complete all requirements of the College Honors Program, while maintaining an overall grade point average of 3.30 or higher, will be awarded an Honors Certificate recognizing their special academic achievement. In addition, both your College diploma and your official transcript will note your successful completion of work required for College Honors.
Honors ELA Distribution Course rotation:
When registering for next semester’s classes Honors students need to keep this course rotation in mind. Each semester an honors section is offered in one of the ELA distribution areas. HP students should fulfill these requirements by taking the Honors sections and plan ahead accordingly.
- Fall 2017 Natural Systems
- Spring 2018 The Examined Life
- Fall 2018 Aesthetic Appreciation
- Spring 2019 Human Systems
- Fall 2019 Quantitative Environmental Analysis
- Spring 2020 Moral Reasoning
- Fall 2020 Historical Contexts
- Spring 2021 Natural Systems
Honors Forum (HON 1000)
The one credit Honors Forum is a first semester orientation to the GMC Honors Program (HP), and to college academics. Over the course of the semester you will participate in shaping the program, and you will work with and get to know well the HP members in your cohort. The semester is broken in three. In the first third students are formed into committees that each take on a specific task. Committee duties vary from year to year. Some examples: organize Honors Program activities; nominate symposium speakers; refine Honors Floor governance responsibilities; and propose initiatives to continue the ongoing development of the program. The middle third consists of writing short reflective essays that we then discuss as a group. We will reflect on what a great honors program would look like, what our life goals are, who were the major influences in our lives, and how all of this reflects on our academic and career goals. This is where we get to really know each other well, get to know ourselves better, and reflect on what made us who we are today and who we want to be in the future. The final five weeks consist of the Honors Symposiums: Speakers who were chosen by the class from the faculty, staff, or community who will join us to give a short presentation and then engage us in discussion on their topic.
The Honors Program Contract
The Honors Program Contract was designed to provide some flexibility in the program for students who are having difficulty meeting the credit requirements. The HP Contract allows students to receive Honors credit for non-Honors courses that are at the 3000 level and above, for Independent Studies, and for classes offered in one of the MA programs. This will be very useful for students who arrive with college credit, transfer students, and students who want to study abroad. Studying abroad, or spending a semester or a year at one of our fellow EcoLeague schools, is encouraged and the contract will make it easier to do that and finish the program. There is more detailed information about this contract on the contract application form: GMC Honors_Program_Contract
Director of the Honors Program:
Matthew Osborn, Ph.D
Professor of History and Environmental Studies