Recognition and Responsibility for Excellence - It is an honor when strong academic students choose Virginia State University for their college experience. The Honors Program provides superior learning opportunities that will challenge these young scholars to reach new levels of academic excellence.
The Program is designed to meet the unique educational needs of the University’s academically talented and highly motivated undergraduate students. Special opportunities are offered that enable students to acquire the skills and attitudes for intellectual development, cultural enrichment, and leadership development.
Participants in the Honors Program have access to the Honors House, a meeting place for study/study circles, seminars, colloquia, tutorials, guest/faculty lecturers, and social activities. The two-story facility is equipped with a computer lab, reading/seminar room, multi-media study/meeting room and lounge. The offices of the Honors Program director and staff are located in the building.
Upon admission to matriculate at VSU because of a demonstrated record of outstanding academic achievement in high school, first-year students are invited to become participants in the Honors Program as Presidential Scholars (with a minimum 3.2 GPA and an 1100 SAT or 24 ACT score) andProvost Scholars (with a minimum 3.0 GPA and a 1000 SAT or 21 ACT score). These scholars are eligible for a $7,000 or $3,500 scholarship, respectively (with $2,000 waived for room and board.) The scholarships are renewable for 3 years, providing the students maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, acquire a minimum 30 semester hours per year, and participate in required Honors Program activities.
In addition to the above scholars, continuing VSU students are invited to participate in the Honors Program as University Honors Scholars. These students must have a minimum 3.4 GPA and must have completed at least one semester (15 semester hours) or no more than three semesters of course work (45 semester hours). Scholarship opportunities for these students are available through the Financial Aid Office upon application.
Honors Residence Hall
As the Honors Program is an intentional learning community that is both experience-based and residence-based, Langston Hall, a co-ed Honors residence hall, is available for Honors scholars’ use. This residential learning environment is a joint effort between the Honors Program and the Office of Residence Life to create a model living-learning center. This living-learning experience is designed to acclimate students to collegiate Honors education, focusing on developing skills to enhance students’ academic success and to reinforce a variety of essential life skills. Students residing in this Honors community have access to a common space for meetings and discussions, study lounges and a computer lab.
An important aspect of developing in Honors is the opportunity to enroll in Honors courses. The courses emphasize the development of analytical, critical and creative thinking skills, as well as excellence in written and oral communication. Additionally, the courses also promote discussion over lecture, focus on depth over acceleration, and offer students the opportunity to become more responsible learners. Honors faculty are highly qualified experts in their own fields and are genuinely concerned about teaching and student success in learning. They create in their classrooms an atmosphere conducive to student’s interchange and collaborative learning where conversation is encouraged both inside and outside the classroom.
Honors Course Requirements
Honors courses are typically sections of General Education courses with an honors designation. During the first two years of enrollment, Honors students are required to enroll in designated Honors courses, depending on requirements in their major.
In continuing Honors education in upper level courses, Honors Contract courses are advised for major courses or related courses. An Honors contract is a mechanism for giving Honors depth and worth to a regular course. Specifically, an Honors Program student makes an agreement with the course instructor to engage in Honors quality course work in order to receive Honors credit for the course. The Honors Contract concept can be viewed as an opportunity for “bringing scholarship to Honors Education.” Honors Program students must confer with the Honors Program director before initiating an Honors Contract with an instructor. Terms of the contract and departmental approval must be completed within the first two weeks of each semester.
Honors Program Scholarly Participation
The Virginia State University Honors Program is a member of several Honors organizations. These affiliations give Honors Program students the opportunity to participate in programs and events with other Honors students across the country. They include the following:
- National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC)
- National Association of African American Honors Programs (NAAAHP)
- Southern Regional Honors Council (SRHC)
- Virginias Collegiate Honors Council (VCHC)
Honors Program Students and Leadership Involvement
Many Honors Program students are and have been involved in leadership roles on campus and off campus. Proudly, the Program can boast of two students, Alicia Fritz and Crystal Burns, who served as student vice president of the National Association of African American Honors Programs (2004-2005) and the Virginias Collegiate Honors Council (2002 -2003), respectively. Currently, among the executive student leadership on campus, Shantae Perkins serves as “Miss Virginia State University,” Nathaniel Graves is the reigning “Mr. Virginia State University” and Bianca Brodie serves as the student vice president for business and finance. Other scholars serve as class kings and queens and officers in the many campus organizations.
Honors Program Community Service
The Honors Program participates in the following community service activities:
- Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk – Richmond, VA
- Walk Against Hunger – Downtown Churches United, Petersburg
- Mind Games – Petersburg Public Schools
- W.E.B. Du Bois Invitational Honors Conference – Host (Local middle and high school students)
Triple “R” Reading Club (Readers Reaching Readers)—Virginia Avenue Early
- Childhood Learning Center, Petersburg Public Schools
- Reach Out and Read Virginia—Reading to Children in Doctors’ Offices,
- Petersburg Alliance for Children and Families