Northwestern College Honors Program Gains National Recognition

Two Northwestern College professors, Dr. Jennifer Feenstra, psychology, and Dr. John Vonder Bruegge, biblical and theological studies, recently presented at the National Collegiate Honors Council’s (NCHC) annual conference in Boston.

Feenstra and Vonder Bruegge, who serve as co-directors of Northwestern’s Honors Program, were invited to speak at the event as Northwestern was one of only two schools in the nation to receive a Portz Grant from NCHC last year. The grant allowed for stipend money to be given to three Northwestern faculty to develop new courses for the Honors Program curriculum.

Their presentation, “An ‘Undisciplined’ Honors Curriculum,” explained how Northwestern’s honors curriculum deliberately blurs disciplinary lines and takes on big ideas and questions.

“Our honors courses are intentionally multidisciplinary, capitalizing on the fact that honors students who take them come from nearly every department on campus,” says Vonder Bruegge. “We want them to see the benefit of approaching problems and issues from different angles.”

NCHC’s annual conference is an opportunity for honors program scholars and professionals to present their research and honors programs.

Northwestern’s Honors Program, comprised of more than 65 students, was recently redesigned and includes honors courses in the general education curriculum and select elements of courses within students’ majors. In addition to completing honors courses, members of the Honors Program must complete an Honors Scholarship project and maintain a minimum of a 3.5 GPA.