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Four Pillars

Community. Service. Research. Career.

These are the four pillars that define the undergraduate experience for members of the Irvin D. Reid Honors College. During each year of study, you'll concentrate your efforts on one of the four pillars.

As an Honors graduate, you will be better prepared thanks to career-building experiences, beginning with the freshman seminar, service-learning experiences, undergraduate research, and faculty mentoring. These experiences will prove beneficial in applying for jobs, as well as for graduate or professional study.

Community - Year One

The focus of the Honors first year is community and the urban experience. You will enroll in a two-part signature course, The City and Citizenship, which focuses on urban issues and history, introducing you to different disciplinary approaches to the city.

The course includes both lectures and a freshman seminar, and creates a sense of community within the Honors first-year class. You will get to know one another and take advantage of the Cultural Passport, which includes cultural and entertainment events. The year culminates with students working in small groups to create a community-based research project on topics such as child literacy, recycling, or poverty.

Service - Year Two

Year two involves service learning, which takes the skills you have cultivated in the classroom and puts them to use in real-world situations.

Service - learning is not volunteering - it's serving and learning. It provides solid, needed work to the community and enriches your knowledge and understanding of society while advancing your academic preparation in your chosen field of study. Honors collaborates with community partners organizations that know how to target needs and monitor students' work to achieve maximum benefit for all participants.

Service-learning courses combine academic skills with hands-on applications. For example, many students participate in the Detroit Fellows Tutoring Project, a service-learning opportunity within Honors. Tutors earn two to four Honors credit hours while teaching reading skills to Detroit Public Schools students in kindergarten through second grade.

Other students undertake community-based service projects that grow out of the Honors first year courses, which may range from archaeoglogical digs to working with non-profits on marketing materials. There are also opportunities to take service-learning global. Recent Honors collaborations with Pro-World, a non-profit, have enabled students to serve in the health care sectors of Belize and South Africa.

Through whatever approach you may wish to take, service-learning involves students as responsible, active participants in the life of their community.

Research - Year Three

In year three, you are encouraged to develop individual, funded research projects. Hands-on research experience provides important preparation for graduate school as well as professional opportunities.

Working with full-time faculty mentors, you can apply for Undergraduate Research Grants which provide funding of up to $2,300. You can even apply to present your work at the university's Undergraduate Research Conference or the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, annual events that showcasethe university's best undergraduate research projects and allow student researchers the opportunity to share their work through panel and poster presentations. Financial support is available for students accepted at these symposia.

Through your research, you become a vital contributor to the research mission at the university.

Career - Year Four

You begin working on a career plan the day you enter the university. But you concentrate your efforts in year four, when you complete a senior thesis, which is the culmination of your undergraduate work and the first step towards a postgraduate career. The thesis is a substantial research-based project written in collaboration with a faculty mentor in the your major, and is required to graduate with Honors.