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Honors Courses

Characteristics of Honors Courses

The Honors Curriculum comprises of courses that are taught by passionate faculty committed to providing students with instruction offered in a format that is rigorous; interactive; promotes dialogue and discussion; provides students opportunities for experiential learning and authentic assessment; engages the community either through guest speakers, travel or other partnerships. Additionally, Honors courses include:

  1. Structuring and devoting time for reflective learning—journaling, blogging, or other means that allow students to make meaning of content;
  2. Expressing learning through written communication skills;
  3. Engaging in small group and large group discussions to learn, refine, and practice oral communication skills;
  4. Providing instruction that supportively challenges students to analyze, synthesize, and engage in other higher-ordered learning;
  5. Creating conditions that allow students to understand and communicate about content in ways that demonstrate affiliation with a particular discipline; to think and act like an emerging scholar-practitioner;
  6. Promoting independent, critical thinking and problem solving.

Selection of Honors Courses

Honors courses are purposefully selected to be in compliance with the Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA). This agreement was established to improve transfer student articulation between two-year and four-year colleges and universities in Michigan.  Honors courses are offered for both first and second year students and helps to fulfill GRCC’s Associate in Arts Degree (AA) and Associate in Science Degree (AS). Click here to see how our courses transfer to Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University and Davenport University.

Fall 2015:


Code Course  Title Days Instructor Credits
4393 EN 101 English Composition-1  M/W 9:30-11:00 Joan Gearns 3
4400 EN 101 English Composition-1  T/Th 2:15-3:45 Kellie Roblin 3
3607 EN 240 Consulting with Writers W 1:00-2:30 (Hybrid) Joan Gearns/Kellie Roblin 3
2675 BI 101 General Biology T/Th 9:00-10:30 Laurie Foster 4
2676 BI 101 General Biology (lab) T 11:15-1:15 Laurie Foster  
2885 CHM 150 Honors Chemistry Lecture M/W 10:00-12:00 Tom Neils 4
2886 CHM 151 Honors Chemistry Lab F 9:30-12:30 Tom Neils 1
1748 PY 201 General Psychology M/W 2:15-3:45 Sophie Rubin 3


Winter 2016:

Code Course  Title Days Instructor Credits
4068 CHM 160 Honors Chemistry M/W 10:00-12:00 Thomas Neils 4
4069 CHM 161 Honors Chemistry Lab F 9-12:00 Thomas Neils 1


EC 252

Principles of Microeconomics

T/Th 11:15-12:45

Lisa Gloege


1827 EN 102 English Composition-2  M/W 11-15-12:45 Kellie Roblin 3
3512 EN 240 Consulting with Writers W 1:00-2:30 (Hybrid) Joan Gearns/Kellie Roblin 3
1575 PS 110 Survey of American Government T/TH 1:00-2:30

Gordan Vurusic

3448 PY 232 Developmental Psychology M/W 9:30-11:00 Kate Byerwalter 3


Honors Course Descriptions

All of the Honors courses are listed below, with a brief description of the course and the professors for the course. Not all courses are offered every semester.The majority of courses are offered during the Fall and Winter semesters. 

BI 101 General Biology (Taught by: Laurie Foster, M.A.C.T.)

Honors Biology (BI 101H) is a course for students who need to satisfy their transfer requirement for a study in science with a laboratory component.  It is intended at the same time to provide an enhanced experience of this discipline. The course will provide a broad perspective on the fundamental scientific realm of biology. It will explore concepts including: the cellular basis of life, the genes and their control of organisms, energy and its capture and use by organisms, the application of evolution as a strand throughout all of biology, the dynamics of populations and their environment, and the diversity of living things and their interactions with each other.The course is specifically designed to promote the curiosity of learners who are comfortable and motivated to apply these biological concepts in a variety of modalities including online learning, papers, journal articles, field visits, and a service learning component.  With this course, students will be given opportunity to apply accumulated biological knowledge, address issues facing us as a society, gain confidence in problem solving strategies and actively demonstrate good scientific investigation.

COM 135 Interpersonal Communication (Taught by: Dennis Sutton)

Interpersonal Communication is a course designed to study and practice effective communication techniques for developing and maintaining healthy relationships. Verbal and nonverbal communication, active listening techniques, gender communication styles, diversity, and conflict management will also be examined. This course emphasizes student participation and interaction through small group and dyad exercises. Group discussions and reflective assignments will encourage critical thinking and application of course material to interpersonal relationships. In pairs, students will develop and deliver a presentation related to studies and research geared to interpersonal communication and relationships. Students will also write both a self-assessment paper, tied to personality and self-concept assessments, and a paper analyzing a special, ongoing relationship in their life.

CHM 150 Honors Chemistry (Taught by: Thomas Neils, Ph.D.)

CHM 150 is intended for students majoring in science or engineering who have excellent backgrounds in the theory and practice (lab) of high school chemistry. This course will help students gain more depth and understanding in the fundamental concepts of first semester general chemistry. Emphasis will be placed on topics such as atomic and molecular structure, chemical bonding, intermolecular forces, phases of matter, solutions, stoichiometry and thermodynamics. The lab is designed to introduce and reinforce lecture topics with an emphasis on quantitative methods. This course meets only in Fall semesters and consists of four hours of lecture and three hours of lab.

CHM 160 Honors Chemistry (Taught by: Thomas Neils, Ph.D.)

CHM 160 is the second course in the yearlong chemistry sequence CHM 150/160. It serves students majoring in science or engineering with excellent backgrounds in the theory and practice (lab) of high school chemistry, and provides a more in-depth study of the topics discussed. Emphasis is placed on topics such as gas properties, chemical equilibrium, chemical kinetics, acids and bases, solubility, redox chemistry, electrochemistry, coordination chemistry, nuclear chemistry and a brief introduction to organic and biochemistry. The lab component (CHM 161) of this course is designed to introduce and reinforce lecture topics with an emphasis on quantitative methods. CHM 160 is offered only in Winter semesters and is 4 hours of lecture per week.

EC 252 Principles of Microeconomics (Taught by: Lisa Gloege, Ph.D.)

Microeconomics examines how individual people and firms make choices and how those choices interact. The class introduces basic economic models of consumer and producer behavior, then extends these models to incorporate a wide variety of market failures. These include market power (why is your book cheaper at Amazon than the college bookstore), externalities (why the government should help you pay for college but tax you for gasoline), and public goods (who should pay for Sesame Street). The Honors section of this class will allow students to spend additional time reading, writing, and debating public policy issues through an economic lens. We will study such diverse topics as the environment, healthcare, poverty and education. Honors students in any major may want to consider this course. It is a requirement for a wide variety of undergraduate majors as well as graduate programs in many fields.

EN 240 Consulting with Writers (Taught by: Kellie M. Roblin, M.A.  and Joan Gearns)

This course is designed for Honors students who would like to develop their writing and leadership skills while contributing to a collaborative learning environment. There are three basic components: classroom discussion and lecture, writing lab tutorials, and online discussions and assignments. As a result of their weekly tutoring sessions in the Writing Tutorial Lab, students will experience a leadership role on campus, developing their leadership skills, improving their writing skills, and contributing to a collaborative learning setting. Students will work one-on-one with instructors and professional tutors, individually, and follow self-directed studies pertinent to their efforts in the lab. Students will be provided the unique opportunity to work with ESL students and others who have diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and learning styles. Students will meet once a week in the classroom, and the remainder of each week will be spent tutoring two hours per week in the Writing Tutorial Lab and working on-line with their classmates and professors. Students who have received an A in EN 101 are strongly encouraged to apply.

PS 110 Survey of American Government  (Taught by: Gordan Vurusic)

This course introduces students to the institutions and processes of American Government, and improves student’s skills in describing and analyzing the context of American politics. The Honors section of this course will include additional journal readings, critical thinking scholarship, and writing-intensive exercises. With a smaller class size, students will have more of an opportunity to engage in discussion that analyzes politics, the role of government in society, and public involvement in government. Students should expect significantly more reading and writing. With this additional responsibility, it prepares the students for the lively give-and-take conversations that take place. By the end of the class, students will be able to intelligently discuss the institutions in American government; the civil liberties and rights issues that America has faced and continues to battle; the various ideologies and interactions of political parties, interest groups and the media; as well as evaluate the alternative economic and social policies.

PY 201 General Psychology  (Taught by: Sophie Rubin, Ph.D.)

This course will use hands on activities, in-class discussions, and supplemental material to explore the science of psychology. A primary emphasis will be to revisit foundational research studies which have shaped the discipline. As an honor’s section, there will be a greater emphasis on critical dialogue, historical context, and the application of the theories to contemporary issues. Topics to be covered include research methods, neurobiology, human development, learning, memory, cognition, personality and the identification and treatment of abnormal behavior.

PY 232 Developmental Psychology  (Taught by: Kate Byerwalter, Ph.D. )

Honors Developmental Psychology is an interactive lecture course that covers human development from the prenatal period through late adulthood. Students have the opportunity to learn from empirical research in the field, and apply that learning via critical thinking and reflective learning exercises in class. The course also includes class discussions, a field trip and a guest speaker to supplement textbook and lecture.

PY 233 Child Psychology  (Taught by: Kate Byerwalter, Ph.D. )

Child Psychology is a course beneficial to anyone who is interested in children or teens. We will explore 27 topics that shape physical, cognitive and socio-emotional development during childhood and adolescence, including the importance of nutrition, moral development, parenting, socioeconomic status, peers, child care, schools, and more. Students will also participate in Academic Service Learning, enabling them to complete the service learning requirements of the Honors Program. The course is taught by professor Kate Byerwalter, Ph.D.