- In Response to the Recent Racist Violence on a University Campus
- Collegiate Honors Societies
- For-Profit Honors Education
The leadership of the National Collegiate Honors Council has released the statement below in response to the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
In the wake of racist violence and hate on the University of Virginia campus and then in the city of Charlottesville, the leadership of the National Collegiate Honors Council is mindful of the role its members can play in fostering the critical analytic and evaluative skills, the civic engagement, the global understanding and the ethical compass severely lacking in public discourse today.
The 872 higher education institutions that comprise the membership of NCHC are public and private, two- and four-year, faith-based and secular. Our students represent all academic disciplines, come from every U.S. state and many other nations, and are both citizens and undocumented residents. Many are the first in their families to attend college; many are veterans of our military forces. They represent people of all backgrounds, inclusive in race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and country of origin. We denounce all groups such as the KKK, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis who use colleges and universities as a stage for their violent theater that threatens that rich inclusiveness of our campuses.
Rather than using methods such as threats, bullying tactics, and violence, honors education helps students from all backgrounds to understand the world in its complexities through critical thinking, the ability to listen to and engage with divergent opinions to effect a workable compromise, and a moral compass that guides their actions. Now, more than ever, it is essential that we offer students, and ourselves embrace, the tools we can wield to correct injustice: the analytic skills to discern between fact and fiction, a nuanced and informed understanding of the complexities of history and the global community, and a tradition that embraces a plurality of voices.
Honors students are frequently offered membership in a wide and bewildering array of honor societies, but are often concerned about their value and legitimacy. In general, the honor societies that have a chapter on your campus are an honor you can proudly place on your resume. For all others, NCHC recommends that honors students, directors, and deans go to the website of the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS), founded in 1925 as the impartial certifying agency for college and university honor societies. According to its website, "ACHS sets standards for organizational excellence and for scholastic eligibility for the various categories of membership: general, specialized, leadership, freshman, and two-year honor societies."
Of particular interest is ACHS’s web page titled "How to Judge the Credibility of an Honor Society." In addition to many positive criteria, ACHS lists "Factors that Raise Questions about Credibility," which include an address limited to a post office box, missing information about the organization’s chief executive officer, vague and flexible eligibility standards, no institutional chapter structure, and an on-line application. "Certified honor societies issue invitations to all qualified candidates from institutional chapters." You can find a list of certified members of ACHS at the ACHS Member Societies page.
Following the Board of Directors meeting on June 28, 2013, NCHC Board members developed the following statement related to for-profit Honors Educational organizations:
Essential tenets of the National Collegiate Honors Council include that honors directors and deans have primary authority over honors curriculum, governance, policy, development, and evaluation decisions (see the Basic Characteristics of a Fully Developed Honors Program, Numbers 2, 3, and 10 ).
The NCHC Board of Directors is aware that for-profit educational organizations are approaching two-year and four-year institutions of higher education with contractual offers to deliver honors education and to develop articulation agreements. Honors directors and deans must be involved in any discussions—from inception to decision—regarding proposals that affect the honors education and its delivery.