Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo founded its University Honors Program in 1999. The mission of this program is as follows:
"The University Honors Program provides an academically enriched learning experience for the University's most outstanding and highly motivated students. It brings together students, faculty, and friends of the University to seek challenges, participate in experiential and interdisciplinary learning, grow as individuals, and expand the boundaries of their academic potential."
The Honors Program has identified ten Program Learning Objectives that support the program mission and define what Honors students will know and be able to do by the time they graduate from Cal Poly and the Honors Program. These objectives are:
- Demonstrate attitudes supportive of the Honors Program community;
- Mentor peers effectively;
- Communicate effectively with others;
- Apply leadership principles to organize and direct the efforts of a group;
- Make reasoned decisions based on an understanding of diversity, sustainability, global perspectives, technology, and ethics;
- Function effectively as a member of an interdisciplinary group or team;
- Integrate knowledge and skills from different disciplines to solve problems;
- Plan, carry out, document, and defend a capstone project;
- Demonstrate skills in information literacy and the ability to self-direct ones' learning; and
- Demonstrate a strengthened sense of community, civic responsibility, and philanthropy.
In support of these learning objectives, the Honors Program provides curricular and extracurricular programming designed to foster intellectual engagement, knowledge discovery, and the mutual exchange of ideas. Honors faculty are partners in this journey and contribute greatly to the success of the program. Having the opportunity to work closely with interesting, engaged, motivated, and caring faculty members is often cited as a program strength by Honors students.
Honors courses, research projects, teaching assignments, service learning projects, study abroad programs, dedicated meeting/study space, campus housing, and other activities provide Honors students with many opportunities to expand and enrich their academic experiences in the company of similarly motivated peers. Following Cal Poly's distinct hands-on approach to education, students may participate in community projects and co-curricular activities to enhance their coursework, develop leadership skills, gain global perspectives, and build relationships across academic disciplines.