Gary H. Bischof
The mission of the Carl and Winifred Lee Honors College is to offer an exceptional undergraduate experience for high achieving students, to inspire in our graduates a thirst for the lifelong pursuit of creative inquiry and discovery, to provide our students with the skill and passion to address critical challenges, and to foster personal responsibility informed by a global perspective.
Lee Honors College students pursue majors and minors in all seven of the WMU academic colleges, and engage in honors courses, internships, research and creative endeavors, community work and social activities. The Lee Honors College promotes critical thinking and active learning through small enrollment honors courses taught by expert faculty.
Honors students are encouraged to engage in study abroad, independent study, internships or field experiences, as well as original research and creative activities. The Study in the States program allows honors students to travel with their peers and exceptional instructors to complete honors study outside of Michigan while earning academic credit. Competitive scholarships available only to honors students provide financial assistance for them to pursue study abroad, research and creative activities, and to travel to present scholarly work at national or international venues.
Honors students are encouraged to participate in honors-college sponsored lectures, events and trips. These include the weekly Lyceum Lecture series and Mix It Up - an evening series of professional workshops and social events. Honors students may also choose to live in our honors residence communities.
The Lee Honors College actively supports students through the Peer Student Success Team, a group of upper-level honors students who serve as academic and social mentors for incoming first year honors students. The honors college serves as the campus office for the WMU chapter of the national freshman honorary Alpha Lambda Delta and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi for upper classmen. These organizations sponsor academic, social and volunteer opportunities throughout the academic year, both across campus and in the larger Kalamazoo community. The Lee Honors College is a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Honors Education at Research Universituies and the Mid-East Honors Association.
Admission to the Lee Honors College
The Carl and Winifred Lee Honors College admits students as incoming first year students, institutional transfer students and current WMU students. Incoming first year students are invited to join the college based on high school grade point averages and American College Test (ACT) or Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores. Transfer students and current WMU students are invited to the college based on college or university grade point averages. Students may also apply for admission to the honors college. Detailed admission information is available on the Lee Honors College website: wmich.edu/honors/admission.
Requirements for Graduation from the Lee Honors College
To successfully graduate from the Lee Honors College, each student must meet the following requirements:
- Maintain a minimum cumulative G.P.A. of 3.50.
- Successfully complete a prescribed number of honors approved semester credit hours as detailed in the letter of acceptance to the honors college.
- Earn a minimum grade of “C” in courses counted toward the honors credit requirement.
- Complete and defend a faculty-mentored and evaluated honors thesis or approved equivalent.
- Complete a minimum of twenty hours of approved community service per year.
- Attend a minimum of four honors college sponsored events during the first year and two during the second year. Transfer students must attend two honors college sponsored events during their first year in the honors college.
- Complete one credit of HNRS 4980 and one credit of HNRS 4990 or approved equivalent courses or experiences.
- Complete specific requirements for graduation outlined in the honors college student handbook in effect at the time of initial admission to the honors college as well as in the letter of acceptance to the honors college.
The Academic Program of Study
The Lee Honors College partners with each of the academic colleges to provide a well-rounded curriculum. Honors students choose one or more major(s) and minor(s), and honors classes and programs serve to complement and enrich the undergraduate experience. Students joining the honors college in their first year are required to complete a minimum of 18 credit hours of honors-approved coursework. Students joining the college after their first year have their honors credit hour requirement prorated based on total hours earned at the time they join the college. A wide variety of honors courses and seminars are offered each semester, many of which may be used to fulfill general education or other curriculum requirements. Honors students may also be eligible to receive honors credit for approved independent study, study abroad and field experiences, study of a foreign language, varsity sports or specified courses in fine arts. Available honors courses change each semester, and are described in the Lee Honors College course catalog, which is available online. Honors courses are typically taught in small seminar formats to foster discussion and dialogue among professors and fellow students. These courses are intended to encourage dynamic interchanges of viewpoints and ideas and emphasize experiential learning, teamwork and communication skills, rather than rote memorization of facts. For the current honors course catalog please see: wmich.edu/honors/advising/courses.
Students must complete 1 credit of HNRS 4980: How and Why to Write an Undergraduate Thesis at least one year in advance of their expected date of graduation. The culmination or capstone of the honors experience is HNRS 4990: Honors Thesis. Students must complete one credit of HNRS 4990 or an approved equivalent course or experience. The honors thesis is an original work of scholarship or a creative activity, appropriate to a student’s field of study and career interests. The thesis should reflect the academic standards of the field of study, and must be guided and approved by a full-time WMU faculty mentor who serves as the honors thesis committee chair, and at least one additional committee member with significant expertise in the area of study or a closely related discipline. Examples of honors theses include senior engineering design projects, creative works of fiction, original documentaries, novel educational curricula, original performances or works of art and traditional research papers. The thesis project is expected to serve as a valuable component of a student’s portfolio for employment or admission to graduate and professional schools.
Honors courses are indicated as such on student transcripts. Graduation from the Lee Honors College is also noted on WMU transcripts and diplomas, as well as in the University Commencement Program.
For further information on specific aspects of the Lee Honors College, please visit the honors college website at: wmich.edu/honors or contact the college via phone: (269) 387-3230.