Dean Barry Falk
When I arrived at VCU in August 2014, people inside and outside VCU told me what an opportune moment I’d picked. This was, they said, an exciting time of growth for both the university and the Richmond area. They were right on both counts! This has also become an exciting time for the Honors College as we aspire to ascend from a well-respected, very good honors college to a nationally prominent, great honors college.
The Honors College enrolls more than 1,000 students from majors across the university, seeking a diverse group of high-ability, highly motivated students who want the unique academic challenges and opportunities the Honors College provides. There is no major that will not “work” with honors. Nor is there any part of a “normal” college experience you will have to give up to succeed in the Honors College. Our students are engaged and serve as leaders in every aspect of student life. They are also active in the Richmond community. Our enrollment includes students who have entered directly from high school (about 200 each year), current VCU students whose successful academic performance earned them a place in the Honors College and qualified transfer students.
The three most important words to describe the Honors experience are, in my opinion, “community, community, community.” The community of Honors students is a supportive, respectful, diverse and inclusive community in which students work collaboratively to help one another succeed. This sense of community, along with close and personalized engagement with Honors advisors, faculty, staff and alumni, combine to give VCU’s Honors College the feel and benefits of a small liberal arts college within the context of a premier large, urban, research university.
There is no major that will not “work” with honors.
The Honors College experience at VCU provides its students with unique opportunities to develop the skills they need to become the leaders who will solve tomorrow’s problems. These skills are developed partly through learning in the classroom, where Honors students are taught in small, discussion-oriented classes by outstanding faculty. They are also developed outside the classroom, where learning is made relevant and immediate through innovative programs engaging students in research, study abroad, civic engagement and creative endeavors. Our students don’t just “make it real,” they make a difference!
Students who meet all of the requirements of the Honors College graduate with the distinction of “University Honors,” the highest academic recognition bestowed by VCU on its undergraduates. They remain an important and valued part of our community as Honors alumni. Following graduation many of our students go on to top graduate and professional schools, including those at VCU. In fact, we offer unique opportunities for qualified students to receive guaranteed admission into a number of our professional programs. Others pursue successful and rewarding careers in law, business, the arts, social work and education, to name just a few.
I invite you to explore our website and see how VCU’s Honors College is (a) Defining Experience.