Pavlis Honors College at Michigan Tech

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the Michigan Tech Pavlis Honors College is to support highly motivated Michigan Tech students as they achieve the highest standards of academic excellence. The current Honors Institute for high-achieving undergraduates will represent the core of the Pavlis Honors College. In addition to this core, the Pavlis Honors College at Michigan Tech will also serve undergraduate students university-wide by providing an academic home for the systematic utilization of "plus factor" programs in leadership, research, and service as envisioned by Frank E. Pavlis, a 1938 alumnus of Michigan Tech, who came forward to support the new Honors College. These active learning practices will build upon the outstanding degree options at Michigan Tech and include the Enterprise Program; the Pavlis Leadership Program; the Research Scholars Program; the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program; and the National and International Scholarships and Fellowships office. The new Dean is expected to provide leadership to grow existing activities and cultivate new high value added programs that will make a difference in our students' success. These programs can often be the differentiating factor in a graduate's career. An honors college that is highly visible and broad in scope will expand the appeal of Michigan Tech as a whole.

Mission Statement

The Pavlis Honors College will provide an all-university home for challenging, interdisciplinary, undergraduate scholarly activities and enriched academic opportunities available in and through Michigan Tech.

Description of Proposed Activities

The Pavlis Honors College will provide a new structure for the current activities listed below—including the role and programs of the Institute for Leadership and Innovation—will create synergies and explore in collaboration with all departments on campus expansion of existing programs, new enriched academic opportunities including service learning, and new ties to outreach activities to engage high-achieving pre-college students. The Dean of the Pavlis Honors College will look at new ways to engage students, faculty, alumni, and friends to provide the best possible educational experience for Michigan Tech's students.

Honors Institute

The Honors Institute is a community of scholars, researchers, and creative thinkers looking to improve the university through student initiative and involvement. The Honors Institute provides the support students need to grow in their leadership skills and a community where students can work together. Becoming a member of the Honors Institute provides lifelong benefits and friendship. The Honors Institute currently includes about 350 talented students.

Eligibility Requirements:  minimum 30 ACT Composite; maintain a minimum 3.5 cumulative GPA.

Enterprise Program

The Enterprise Program integrates active, discovery (or practice) based learning into the undergraduate curriculum. The Enterprise Program has become one of Michigan Tech's signature programs and typically has between 700 and 800 students participating in a given year. It is an externally supported program—that attracts STEM discipline, business, and other students to Michigan Tech, keeps them through increased retention and graduation rates, and makes them more marketable on graduation.

The continuation and expansion of these activities, including the High School Enterprise program, and the development of a Graduate Enterprise program, will increase the national and international recognition of the program and Michigan Tech. The Enterprise program has a faculty governing board which oversees program policies. 

Pavlis Institute for Global Leadership

The Pavlis Institute is focused on providing students with a comprehensive leadership experience. From the first day of class to the day students graduate, students learn leadership through a combination of course work, self-discovery, and hands on experiences. Pavlis is all about cultivating leaders who are prepared to thrive in a global economy. The program culminates in a five-week global experience where students identify and implement their own projects abroad. As with the Enterprise Program, the Pavlis Program has increased retention and graduation rates and makes the graduates more marketable on graduation. 

The Pavlis Leadership program was piloted in 2006-07 with 7 students and managed program growth resulted in 100 student participants in 2013-14.

Research Scholars Program

The Research Scholars Program is designed for engineering students (but should be broadened to include students in non-engineering fields) who desire to be an integral part of research at the University level. Through discussions with professors, presentations from researchers, and tours of the many research facilities at Michigan Tech, students will gain an awareness of the extensive opportunities available to them. The goal of this program is to nurture those students who are interested in becoming involved in research and who may develop an interest for advanced education. Students will be introduced to faculty who are doing research in a variety of fields across the College of Engineering and the University.

Students in the College of Engineering Research Scholars Program (RSP) are guaranteed admission into the College of Engineering graduate degree program providing they pursue undergraduate studies in the College of Engineering, receive a B.S. degree from the College, and maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in their undergraduate study.

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program

The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program provides funding for undergraduate students interested in spending 7 to 14 weeks to conduct a research project under the guidance of a Michigan Tech faculty mentor, during the summer semester. Research experience as a proven high-impact practice results in higher rates of persistence in STEM fields. Our undergraduate research program is effective—our Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program has a STEM persistence rate of 94% since 2002.

Competitive National and International Scholarships and Fellowship Advisor

The competitive scholarship advisor will identify, mentor, and effectively support students for major scholarship and fellowship opportunities.

Other High-Impact Practices to be Explored

  • Diversity/Global Learning
  • Service Learning, Community-Based Learning

Other Activities

The National Collegiate Honors Council has identified best practices that are common to successful and fully developed honors colleges.

From among these best practices:

  • The head of the honors college is a dean reporting directly to the chief academic officer of the institution and serving as a full member of the Council of Deans if one exists. The dean has a fulltime, 12-month appointment.
  • The honors college exercises considerable control over honors recruitment and admissions, including the appropriate size of the incoming class. Admission to the honors college may be by separate application.
  • Like other colleges within the university, the honors college may be involved in alumni affairs and development and may have an external advisory board.


In addition to the core Honors Institute, Michigan Tech offers currently many of the teaching and learning practices that have been shown to be beneficial to college students, increase retention and graduation rates, and provide highly desirable learning outcomes. Programs like Enterprise and the Pavlis Institute have achieved recognition in their own right. However, many of the activities could or should be offered to more students because their efficacy has been proven. These honors, active learning and enriched academic experiences can be utilized more systematically and efficiently by providing leadership and a structure conductive for synergies. The Pavlis Honors College will provide the framework to grow existing activities and cultivate new high value added programs that will make a difference in our students' success. It will provide an academic home and will expand the visibility and appeal of Michigan Tech as a whole.

Expected Outcomes from the Pavlis Honors College

Outcomes from the proposed Pavlis Honors College for the student include the following:

  • Enhanced career opportunities
  • Increased professional skill development
  • Enhanced leadership opportunities
  • Increased global and cultural experiences
  • Enhanced active, discovery-based learning opportunities
  • Increased networking opportunities and long term relationship building with honors students

Outcomes from the Pavlis Honors College for Michigan Tech include the following:

  • Increased visibility of signature programs and enhanced recruitment of top students
  • Increased retention and graduation rates for students
  • Enhanced capability to grow existing activities and to develop new activities in the Pavlis Honors College
  • Better ability to market the university and increase its stature nationally and internationally

Spin-off Benefits

In addition to the outcomes detailed above, the Pavlis Honors College is expected to result in several spin-off benefits to Michigan Tech, including:

  • Long term honors alumni development with increased program support
  • Increase in the number of highly successful alumni who could make a difference for Michigan Tech
  • Increase in the number of "plus factor" programs, bringing together business, engineering and the sciences
  • Unique programs will clearly differentiate Michigan Tech from other universities