The MVNU Honors Program is not about having gifted students simply do more work; instead, the program exists to enrich the academic and cultural experience for gifted students by offering unique and challenging courses, special extracurricular opportunities, and a supportive environment in which students can excel.
Honors scholars begin their experience before they ever move onto to campus, engaging in the Summer Reading Assignment that invites students to read a common text and to think in ways that will prepare them for higher education and an MVNU experience. During their first semester, Honors scholars take Honors sections of the university's introductory course, Discipleship of the Christian Mind, where they will further engage the questions raised in the Summer Reading Assignment. Then, in a two-course sequence of courses, Core Conversations I and II, students will engage in a discussion with each other, with their professors, and, above all, with some of the seminal thinkers in the western tradition. The conversation focuses on perennial human concerns: the nature and purpose of humanity, the interplay of faith and reason, the quest for justice and the need for mercy, the balance between individual liberty and the wellbeing of society, and so forth.
As an ideal complement to Core Conversations, Honors scholars enroll in an Honors Seminar during six of the eight semesters they are at MVNU. Each semester's seminars explore contemporary issues and questions from multiple perspectives and involve guest lecturers from MVNU and other area universities, field trips, experiential-learning opportunities, and even travel-study options. While Core Conversations introduces students to a rich, textured background, Honors Seminars examine problems as they confront us in the particularity of our current situation. Recent seminar topics and titles include “Human Trafficking,” "‘Saints’ and ‘Sacred Places’: The Presidential Landmarks of Washington, DC," “Modern Apologetics,” and “‘The Last Great Literature of Ideas?: Contemporary Science Fiction Television.’”
In their junior year, Honors students design a research project and form a faculty committee to guide them. One member of the faculty serves as a mentor, teaching the student how to conduct research and directing them through the project. Once completed and approved, Honors scholars present their findings at the university’s annual Symposium for Undergraduate Research and Creative Work (sURC). The Honors Project often serves as a critical link between undergraduate and graduate education or as a step towards a future career. It is an ideal preparation for "the next step" Honors scholars frequently aspire to take.
In addition to these academic opportunities, the Honors Program offers designated Honors housing, early registration, extracurricular events and trips, and connection to internships and study abroad options.