Per the NCHC Bylaws, notification to the membership for the following ballot concerns has been made available for review:
- Change to the qualifications for nomination of the Vice President;
- Current slate of Board Nominees. (Additional candidates can be nominated from the floor at the NCHC Annual Business Meeting, November 9, 2019 at 9am)
If you are a current member of NCHC, and are listed as the contact for your institution, you will receive an email invitation to vote in early December 2019. Elections are held by an independent vendor, Big Pulse, and results are vetted through the accounting firm, HBE.
If you have questions concerning this vote or process, please contact the NCHC office at email@example.com
Change to the NCHC Constitution regarding Qualifications for Officers and Board of Directors:
Proposed change to the qualifications for the office of Vice President: Candidates for Vice President must be professional members of NCHC at the time of nomination, and should have substantive experience in both honors education and NCHC, including previous service on either the NCHC Board of Directors or a comparable board. They must also have at least two years of service as NCHC committee chair, or, alternately, at least one term as a board member of a state or regional honors council.
Constitution IV, Sec. 9 of the Constitution currently reads: All candidates for positions as Officers or Professional At-Large Members of the Board of Directors must at the time of voting begins be institutional member representatives, professional members of NCHC, or affiliate members of NCHC and must continue to be members of NCHC during their terms of office. Student At-Large members of the Board of Directors must at the time of assumption of office be student members of NCHC and must continue to be members of NCHC during their terms of office.
Several factors have contributed to the need to expand the qualifications for the incoming Vice President, and as such have challenged Nominations Committees to find candidates for the four-year term:
1. The qualification that a candidate must have served on the NCHC board prior to consideration of a Vice Presidential nomination has limited the pool of candidates:
o Prior board members may no longer be engaged in the honors community;
o Prior board members may no longer be financially able to serve independently in a board role due to retirement or employment status;
o A 2016 vote to reduce the board size creates fewer potential candidates for consideration;
2. Considering additional perspectives for board seats adds compliance for the NCHC priority of diversity and inclusion.
A vote FOR the change to the Constitution supports the expansion of qualifications for Vice President to include board service comparable to NCHC's Board of Directors.
A vote AGAINST the change to the Constitution keeps the current qualifications for Vice President, requiring service on the NCHC Board of Directors for nomination.
I typically don’t seek positions of leadership, but when called upon to serve I am willing to step up. These past three years serving on the NCHC Board have been a learning experience, expanding my view of Honors education across the country, the globe, and across the spectrum of institutional types. I celebrate our range and feel we have room to grow as an organization to better serve our current members and expand this network to the honors programs and colleges that are not currently members.
My two years as interim director at Virginia Tech, a large R1 public institution, allowed me to reflect on my own leadership style. Ironically I rarely do this, but as a fellowship advisor, I am constantly challenging our students to do so. I recognize that I try to build consensus, which requires time for listening to others and ensuring that a broad spectrum of the community has been heard. I am in the habit of picking up the phone to encourage a conversation and avoid misunderstandings. More recently my time serving as a NCHC Board member and on the national board of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi has reinforced the importance cooperative management and ensuring that action aligns with the mission of the organization.
My primary leadership strength is that I value communication, collaboration and networking. I enjoy meeting new people from honors programs and colleges from across the country and the world. I value hearing how things are done differently at other institutions. And I appreciate how each institution is an eco-system with a unique culture. I welcome that honors looks different at different institutions, that there is not a “right” or a “wrong,” just different. I greatly value that we come together through NCHC to share ideas to strengthen the honors experience for students. I appreciate the joint projects through NCHC, like Partners in the Parks, Winterim Semesters, and Advocacy Trends where all of our students can benefit. Always, my leadership is driven by what is right for students.
Working with honors students is a privilege and a challenge. Through NCHC I have met many supportive colleagues who have inspired me to do better. Many of these individuals I consider close personal friends. I appreciate the collaborative environment that NCHC fosters. I recognize that NCHC continues to serve all of us through the service of those who attend, present, participate in and lead committees, engage in the meetings, and serve on the board. I put my nomination for Vice-President forward only at the urging of others whose judgement I value. Honors education has evolved over the last several decades. I am pleased to see an increase in the focus on experiential learning and inclusive excellence. NCHC recently completed a strategic planning process to hone in on the objectives of research, advocacy, diversity and inclusion, professional development and operational excellence. As Vice President of NCHC I would strive to carry this plan forward keeping in mind the intended spirit and a willingness to evolve this plan through on-going conversations with the membership. The future of honors education is exciting and will require all of us to be creative and adaptive. I celebrate our differences and challenge NCHC to continue to navigate the changing landscape of higher education.
In 2000 I became the director of the then Honors Program at West Virginia University. Over the next 14 years I developed the program into a College significantly increasing the enrollment and, in 2009 as part of my role as Dean of the Honors College, I became the resident faculty leader for an Honors Residential College in a custom-built residence hall. In 2014 I moved to Oklahoma State University as the inaugural Dean of the Honors College. Over the past five years we have developed the program, implementing new opportunities for students, including most recently, in response to the problems of AP and concurrent credit, a new experiential component to the program. I have been active in NCHC since 2000 attending conferences, serving as Committee chair or co-chair of the Science and Mathematics (now Science, Mathematics and Sustainability) Committee multiple times. I have published in both JNCHC and Honors Monographs, including being the co-editor of a monograph with Ellen Buckner on Science Education and Honors.
In regard to the qualifications needed for the position of Treasurer as described in the NCHC Constitution I am currently a member of the board of NCHC completing my third year of service and I have served on the Finance Committee for 5 years and I was very involved in the deliberations and design of the new dues structure and understand its implications for the NCHC budget.
I have been the Treasurer for two Friends (Quaker) Meetings, and while these communities are much simpler than NCHC in their structure and budgets they have given me a good understanding of the process of budgeting and the balancing of resources based on the priorities of the community, as has my service on the NCHC Finance Committee. Perhaps more importantly I discovered I enjoy the role of Treasurer, feeling it gave me the opportunity to give back to the organization.
The position of Treasurer of NCHC is a crucial one to the organization. It is the responsibility of the Treasurer in conjunction with the Finance Committee to ensure the financial health of the organization. This means overseeing financial operations of the organization and producing appropriate budgets balanced to match income and expenditures. The Treasurer and the Finance Committee must find a way within the limits of the resources of NCHC to support and further the priorities of the NCHC leadership and Board. Experience has shown that this is a complex matter as good ideas far outweigh the resources available to support them.
NCHC has been crucial in my development and success in honors during the last 19 years. Beginning in Honors was a lifesaver for a new director, and the programs and publications of NCHC became important tools in both my personal development and the development of my program and Colleges. Over these years I have gained experience and benefited from the wisdom of many at NCHC, help that I hope I can, at least in part, repay by service to NCHC as Treasurer.
My parents met in the US Army, as Specialist 4 and 5 respectively, and I watched as they served as leaders at their civilian jobs. Sometimes they had titles to accompany their moral authority, and sometimes management knew, for instance, that my father was going to prioritize work and deploy people to it as he deemed appropriate, so they might as well include him in discussions whose results would ultimately involve him.
When I encountered my parents’ colleagues, whether they were superiors, subordinates, or at the same level on the organizational charts, they told me that my parents were excellent and fair leaders, and that they were workhorses, always looking for ways to improve processes, address inefficiencies, and assure that the company, or the team, was fulfilling its promises ethically and well. You’d think that such relentless perfectionism would alienate people, but in fact, both my parents managed upward, laterally, and down, with almost everyone following their example, and gaining pride and satisfaction in so doing.
Neither of my parents rose particularly high-up on organizational charts, although both did important work, and led effective and cohesive teams. And I’ve been told (but never by my parents) that they were the people senior leadership looked to for support when they had lost, or never established, trust with the people who worked for them. While always middle-management, my parents inspired enough trust in their coworkers that they could help shore up trust and support for senior leadership.
My parents were my first role models as leaders, and I added to my knowledge of and about leading and managing by reading numerous management books, and even more leadership books. Through a combination of personal experience and acquired knowledge, my philosophy of leadership comes down to a couple of simply expressed (if nonetheless complicated) notions:
1) Regardless of title, or number of people for whom I am responsible, I’m an effective leader when people are willing to follow or walk with me on the path toward to the goals we are trying to achieve.
2) As a leader, I must do my homework about the road forward and walk point, most particularly if the terrain is unfamiliar.
3) As leader, I must keep my promises to people, building and maintaining trust simultaneously.
4) Leaders eat last, in the military maxim, and in the safer terrain of the academic world, this means that l must give everyone else credit for successes, take responsibility for mistakes, and know enough about my colleagues’ work to know when it’s appropriate and necessary to take some of that work away from them, so that they can regain their strength and continue the journey.
5) Leaders hold their teams to high standards and must hold themselves to higher ones. As a leader, I can understand, value, and absorb the human fragility of my teammates, but I cannot allow myself to take shortcuts, or to make excuses for myself when I fall short.
If I am honored with the opportunity to serve as NCHC’s Treasurer as it sets forth to meet its goals on behalf of its constituents and posterity, I will seek to earn a robust sense of human and organizational aspirations, concerns, and priorities. I will seek a three-dimensional understanding about how people, programs, and committees see themselves enacting the mission of NCHC, and will seek to conduct myself, as Treasurer, in ways consonant with the responsibilities of my role.
This is not to say that everything will be easy, or that everyone will always be happy. After all, questions of institutional priorities, often revealed in financial recommendations and decisions, can cut to the heart of what we think the organization stands for. Also, the world outside the university and academic organization sometimes threatens our ability to think deliberatively, and to act ways that are simultaneously proactive and reflective. And yet, the world outside our organizations (virtual and otherwise) is also in need of our attention, whether in sharing our collective expertise with our campus, digital, and world community, or in refining program outcomes and resources to more clearly align with the needs of the fields and professions our honors graduates are entering.
In such an environment, I will be collaborative and transparent, connecting people and organizations who can help each other, outlining the contexts for specific tasks at hand, as well as the desired outcomes of those tasks, and providing the leadership, encouragement and support required to allow for effective and timely attainment of the goals or tasks at hand.
I thank you for your gracious consideration of these thoughts.
- Victoria Bryan
- Angela Canda (Jones)
- Scott Cook
- Kathy Cooke
- Teddi Deka
- Marc DiPaolo
- Steven Edwards
- Lucy Laufe
- Keith Miller
- Kris Miller
- Daniel Roberts
- Peter Sands
- Thomas Spencer
- Christopher Syrnyk
- Eddie Weller
Were I to be nominated to NCHC’s Board of Directors, I would contribute a familiarity with the needs of community college honors programs, a dedication to initiatives that facilitate student success, and a commitment to inclusivity and diversity initiatives.
I have served as the honors program director at Cleveland State Community College since 2015, and in that time, I have worked closely with our Honors Program Committee to turn our contract-based curriculum into a fully developed program that offers five tracks towards the honors diploma. We have two tracks focused on general education, one of which was designed specifically for adult students and students who desire more flexibility in their course scheduling. We also offer three field-specific honors tracks: Honors Nursing, Honors Business, and Honors Mechatronics. We established these tracks based specifically on student needs, and in doing so, we have been able to expand our enrollment by more than 600 percent in the last four years, establish articulation agreements with three universities in the state, and assist two of our students in earning NCHC’s Two-Year College Student-of-the-Year award (2017 and 2018).
These experiences have given me the opportunity to develop my organizational leadership skills, but they’ve also encouraged me to think about the role of honors education for two-year college students. In order for our program to be successful, I have had to reach into the high schools in our service area to recruit motivated students who desire a challenge during their first two years in college. I have also had to reach beyond our community college campus and be in continuous dialogue with the four-year schools to which our students often transfer to determine what their honors colleges require and make the case for establishing articulation agreements (when possible) and/or establishing close relationships with their staff to ensure manageable transfers for our graduates.
Beyond my work with the honors program, I am also a founding member and faculty sponsor of Cleveland State’s Social Justice Club and a trainer for the Allies/Safe Zone program that I helped establish on our campus in the fall of 2016. Since its founding, the Social Justice Club and the honors program have worked hand-in-hand to offer advocacy initiatives for marginalized groups on campus. Bringing together honors education and social justice advocacy not only communicates to honors students that the advantages of an honors education come with responsibility to lift up marginalized groups. It also communicates to our campus that the honors program is a place where LGBTQ+ students, students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, and other marginalized populations can find a home. This partnership has come about as an afterthought; it has taken intentional planning and collaboration among various stakeholders on our campus. That commitment to collaboration that fosters inclusivity aligns with NCHC’s dedication to making honors a more inclusive space, and it is a commitment I would bring to the Board of Directors were I to be elected.
Angie Canda (Jones) spent the last seven years actively engaged in honors education, including directing the John Carroll University Honors Program for the past four years. As director, she led a dramatic change in the program. These changes included: developing a new curriculum that aligns with NCHC recommended best practices; establishing a living learning community; introducing a student peer mentorship program; and securing funding that prioritizes and directly supports students as they engage in experiential learning. She initiated and coordinated efforts to establish a formal institutional structure to support students (honors and non-honors alike) who pursue competitive national and international fellowships and scholarships. The success of these programmatic changes and other new initiatives encouraged the administration to charge Angie with doubling the size of the honors program to 10% of the university population. She met early growth targets while increasing the quality of incoming students; the last two incoming classes possess stronger credentials than the recent past.
As a member of a Jesuit Catholic institution, Angie built an honors community that aligns with university mission and goals. She secured grant funding to offer workshops that bring together honors students with faculty/staff to discuss and deepen understanding of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. Angie also worked with Campus Ministry to develop an honors-specific urban immersion experience. These, and other, community building efforts successfully brought together a diverse set of backgrounds/beliefs and illustrated the common goals they share.
Angie’s energetic, collaborative nature enabled her to garner resources, as well as grow and strengthen the John Carroll University Honors Program, at a time when most institutions, John Carroll included, face significant resource challenges. She collaborates widely on campus with diverse partners to achieve University goals, both academic and non-academic. Angie’s skills, coupled with her background in cognitive psychology, will bring a unique perspective to the national honors landscape if elected to the NCHC Board of Directors as honors programs and colleges address issues related to the changing landscape of higher education, resource challenges, the need for collaboration to address diversity and inclusion issues, and the shifting academic interests of honors undergraduates.
Madisonville Community College, Provost
I have created the Madisonville Community College’s first honors program in its 51-year history, set to launch fall 2019. Madisonville Community College is a member of NCHC, and I was presented twice at the 2018 conference and am accepted to present twice at the 2019 conference. In addition, I served as a consultant at the 2018 conference, which I have done at NCHC each year beginning with the 2014 conference. I currently sit on two NCHC committees: the Two-Year College Committee and the Assessment and Evaluation Committee.
Motlow State Community College, Honors Program Director
I was involved with honors education at Motlow State Community College for ten years, serving on the Honors Committee 2008-2018 (chair, 2010-2018) and as the MSCC Honors Program Director for eight years (2010-2018). During that time, I stabilized and grew a program from two campuses with a haphazard selection of classes and no graduates to a program with four thriving campuses that recognized and implemented NCHC’s 17 Basic Characteristics of a Fully Developed Honors Program. In spring 2018, the program anticipated 65 graduates, and during the 2017-2018 academic year, approximately 300 students participated in honors courses and a myriad of co-curricular and extracurricular learning experiences.
As director, I was active in the Tennessee Collegiate Honors Council and the National Collegiate Honors Council. While at MSCC, I attended each NCHC conference, beginning with the 2014 conference in Denver, and I served each year as a program consultant. In 2014, I also served as a student poster judge. Each year, I presented either faculty posters or a general session at the conference. For three years (2014-2016), the MSCC Honors Program won the NCHC Two-Year Student of the Year. In addition, I applied for and received a 2017 Portz Grant “Improving a Sophomore Mentor Program Through an Integrated Retreat Model” and 2017 Tennessee Board of Regents Student Engagement, Retention, and Success Grant for “Welcome Week Honors Crash Course.”
At the state level, I was actively involved with the Tennessee Collegiate Honors Council beginning in 2013, and for four years, the MSCC Honors Program had more student presenters and attendees than any other program in the state. In both 2013 and 2018, I presented at the conference. Between 2015 and 2017, I served the Tennessee group in leadership: vice president (2015-2016), president (2016-2017), and conference chair (2017).
My experiences as an honors program faculty (teaching American History I and II; Religion, Heresy, Magic, and Myth Honors Seminar; Sex and the Supernatural Honors Seminar; Leadership in Honors; and Community/Service Learning Honors), as director of a nationally recognized honors program, and as a collegiate administrator (with administrative and executive experience as a chair, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges Accreditation Liaison, Vice President for Quality Assurance and Performance Funding, and Provost) position me well to contribute to the National Collegiate Honors Council. I have routinely assumed multiple roles simultaneously throughout my career, demonstrating my ability to work well within demanding and complex environments.
My goals for service on the Board of NCHC is to promote the advantages of honors education for two-year schools, particularly in rural and economically disadvantaged areas, and to foster NCHC’s commitment to diversity in honors education.
I am Founding Dean of the Honors College and Professor of History at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama, where I moved in 2017. My leadership in honors education began 2004 when I became Founding Director of the University Honors Program at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. I am currently a member of the board of the Southern Regional Honors Council, and also served for two years on the board of the Northeast Regional Honors Council. Beyond this specific leadership experience, I have a PhD in history and history of science from the University of Chicago (1994), and continue in active scholarship studying the history of biology and reproduction in American history, especially breeding and social reform movements. In my ongoing work, I examine the relationship between late nineteenth century “race betterment” movements and early twentieth century American eugenics.
Over the course of my academic career, I have lived in and worked at a wide variety of institutions from all across the country, including Chicago, Southern California, New England, and the Southeast, and at institutions ranging from small and mid-size private universities and colleges to my current position at a mid-sized regional public university. Through this geographical and institutional movement, I have come to know a wide variety of educational needs that exist throughout the nation, and in particular the ways in which these needs relate to particular populations of honors students. As a member of the board, I would bring a voice that recognizes the needs of an array of institutions. I am mission-driven, and will regularly ask if the Council and its actions map onto its values and mission.
If elected to the board, I would bring my strategic mindset, broad-based experience, and good humor to Council leadership. I also will bring my successful record of increasing diversity and access to my own Honors College; my experience earning grants and developing community partnerships; my commitment to nurturing undergraduate research and study abroad; and my understanding of advocating for honors education within and beyond the local university/college context.
In particular, I will work to be sure that the NCHC continues to advance inclusivity in honors education, such that honors communities can represent the widest range of human thinking and experience.
I also will aim to increase available tools at the annual meeting that will provide an environment for directors, deans, students, and staff to discuss the intellectual and evidence-based mission and values for honors, improving our ability to advocate for the essential purpose and mission of honors education in higher education.
Each of these goals is motivated by my deep desire to be, as suggested by philosopher Martha Nussbaum, “an intelligent reader” of human experience. French-Lebanese author Amin Maalouf argues that individuals with composite heritages create “mediators” between “communities and cultures.” This is part of my own story—I moved to Alabama in part to extend my “reading” skills, and to create the possibility of joining the ranks of intellectual mediators between north and south, red state and blue state, rural and urban. When it comes to honors, my goal is to structure an honors education for my students so that they can do the same.
Other honors colleges and programs will have different goals. I hope that thanks to my work on the board, the NCHC and its national meeting will increase opportunities for articulating the many different visions—and activities—possible in honors, so that as a whole honors education represents the broadest possible value to higher education, and to the larger culture.
I am currently a professor of developmental psychology (22 years) and honors director (7 years) at Missouri Western State University. I divide my time between faculty responsibilities and directing our honors program, consisting of 185 honors students, an honors committee, and small staff. Our university is open-admissions and focused on outstanding undergraduate education of 5000 students including many first-generation students. I have had extensive opportunities for leadership experiences serving on university committees involving general studies, honors, and campus-wide evaluation. I am a strong supporter of student-directed leadership and research, sponsor of four student organizations and several capstone honors theses. In our community, I serve on the Education Empowers Committee, and interagency council sponsored by the Heartland Foundation involved in early childhood learning, and received their heart award for volunteerism. I am an assistant scoutmaster for boy scouts and a troop leader for girl scouts, supporting young peoples’ development. Nationally, I am on the national council for Alpha Chi Honors Society (3 years) and serve as its Midwest region secretary, and on its conference planning and scholarship selection committees. I believe that serving on the NCHC Board of Directors will be a progressive step for me and I have several strengths that will contribute to NCHC. I have had extensive experience conducting and analyzing data for campus and community initiatives including United Cerebral Palsy, St. Joseph Gifted Program, and Heartland Foundation. I have a keen eye for improvement of programs using data analyses. As Honors Director, I developed skills in program assessment which I believe will be an asset to NCHC. I have been an innovator with our program and my experience with NCHC has assisted me tremendously by providing excellent ideas and strong guidelines for what an honors program should be, and what it could be. I believe one of the future challenges for NCHC is to bolster the importance of honors education with students. We are living in a time where value is equated with money and time rather than quality. High-achieving students are able to access opportunities that other students may not, including honors curricula, integration of general studies skills, research and mentorship. It is our challenge to equate value with quality while still being conscious of value as money and time. I look forward to working with other members of the NCHC Board of Directors to strengthen honors education.
I am excited by the opportunity to nominate myself as a Professional At-Large Member of the Board of Directors. My near decade of experience in honors administration began in 2008, when I became assistant director of honors at Alvernia University, an urban, private institution in Reading, Pennsylvania. I served four additional years as assistant director of honors at the performing arts college Oklahoma City University. I am now in my second year as assistant director of the honors program at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, a rural, public institution where I am tenured in the department of language and literature. My experiences working at very different institutions on the East Coast and in the Midwest have broadened my perspectives and made me professional contacts nationwide in a manner that distinguishes me from other candidates.
Having read the guidelines for the nominees, I understand what would be expected of me as an at-large member. I will be able to attend the three annual board meetings, arriving familiarized with the action items and data distributed in advance, ready to offer substantive thoughts and eager participation. I am aware of the need to be a flexible and reasonable board member. I will act in good faith, keep confidences, and be a collegial and ethical board member. I will monitor regular communications, vote when ballots are mailed out, serve on standing committees such as finance, diversity, awards, grants, and/or the publications board. Furthermore, I stand ready to act on behalf of the board when I attend other conferences, cultural events, and networking opportunities, and in my dealings with NCHC membership.
For the past twenty years, I have been an interdisciplinary teacher-scholar who has taught and published in multiple fields in the arts and sciences, ranging from literary studies to comics studies to journalism to political science to environmental studies. I have a Ph.D. in transatlantic romantic literature from Drew University, but I am an internationally recognized cultural studies scholar who has published nine books with presses such as SUNY, Bloomsbury, Pearson, and the University Press of Mississippi. I have also been interviewed in news articles and on educational radio and television programs in the United States, Great Britain, and Malaysia. The breadth and depth of my interdisciplinary academic knowledge underscores my ability to interact comfortably with faculty from a number of departments (both at my home institution and in my work with the NCHC) and enhance the learning experiences of students from the broadest possible range of majors.
The driving aspiration in every educational moment is to cooperate with students, faculty, staff, alumni, administration, and community stakeholders to provide honors students an enhanced undergraduate educational experience. I cultivate living-learning communities that meet the needs of students from majors in the arts and humanities, social sciences, STEM fields, and professional programs while maintaining academic rigor and modeling servant leadership and lifelong learning.
I have formal National Collegiate Honors Council training in best practices in honors assessment, as well as in the writing of annual reports and strategic plans. I have supervised program, committee, and student organization budgets, organized fundraisers, compiled cost-benefit analysis reports, and helped students secure funding for internships and study abroad initiatives. Since completing a Grant Trainer Center course in grant-writing, I wrote four successful funding applications. In 2016, I co-wrote a profitable $40,000 National Endowment for the Humanities development grant for the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’s American POP! exhibit. Working with Christopher G. Carron, director of collections, I helped the museum articulate how the new permanent exhibit would make challenging cultural studies research about American popular culture accessible to a multigenerational family audience. In addition to this grant, I secured three personal research grants with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Southwest Commission on Religious Studies. I will be able to write similar grants on behalf of the board.
I would be honored to serve as an at-large member of National Collegiate Honors Council Board of Directors.
I am eager to serve on the board of the National Collegiate Honors Council because NCHC has been such an important part of my professional development and has provided a network of supportive colleagues. I am Director of the Honors Program and Professor of Music at Delgado Community College in New Orleans, LA. I teach honors courses in Music (Introduction to Music Literature and Jazz Appreciation) and Humanities (Modernism and the Arts and Structure of Western Thought: Ancient Greece.) Since 1990, I have served as Music Director of Symphony Chorus of New Orleans, leading performances with the New Orleans Symphony and its successor, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. I am active as guest conductor of orchestras, opera and musical theatre, and as pianist in vocal recitals and instrumental chamber music.
Some strengths that I can bring to the NCHC board:
- Experience on the boards of several non-profit organizations; I offer presentations and workshops on non-profit management and board development.
- Extensive training and experience in the design, delivery, and assessment of online education including certification by Quality Matters as a Master Reviewer and Program Reviewer for Higher Education and for Continuing and Professional Education.
- Fellow, Salzburg Global Seminar.
- Leadership of honors education and music performance travel to Spain, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, and Greece.
- Climate Reality Leadership Corps; I offer presentations based on Vice President Al Gore’s famous Climate Reality Keynote to area schools, churches, and civic organizations.
My goals for service in NCHC include being part of a team working on strategic planning, expanding professional development offerings, and – especially as NCHC implements a new, hierarchical dues-structure – focusing on valueadded services for members and member institutions.
At Montgomery College, the research-based mission to offer interested and qualified students an enriched learning experience initially attracted me to the honors world. Being an honors mentor is a wonderful journey of discovery. My students’ projects lead me to subject matter beyond the regular course content which expands my knowledge. It is thrilling to watch a student find their academic voice as the honors experience has the capacity to help students grow as scholars and as individuals. As an anthropologist working in honors, I have focused on the importance of creating community both for my students as well as for faculty and staff. For more than a decade my involvement in three honors organizations, the National Collegiate Honors Council, the Beacon Conference and the Maryland Collegiate Honors Council helped me understand the broader honors community and the opportunities offered. I enjoy working as part of a team but also am willing to lead when I believe I can make a difference. My tenure as a Co-Chair of Major Scholarships, Conference Host and Steering Committee Member for the Beacon Conference as well as MCHC Board Member and Past-President provide a rich foundation for serving as a member of the Board of Directors for NCHC. At the NCHC conference, I am always revitalized by being with colleagues and friends who are so willing to share their ideas about how to be innovative while retaining core academic values. NCHC is also about creating community and I want to work to be sure that engaging with NCHC will be as meaningful to future members as it has been to me.
The vision of honors programs is aspirational, how can we create better opportunities for our students. At a time when Inside Higher Education is often highlighting declining enrollment, budget challenges and program cuts, honors programs are unique. They can inspire our students to do their best work and the work we do with these students often reminds us about the transformative possibilities inherent in being an educator. Working at a two-year institution, I worry about the high cost of education for many of my students who are first generation in their family to attend college, returning students and veterans and international students. Creating access and a culture of inclusivity is vital to the success of honors education and reduces stratification in higher education. I would like to support NCHC’s rich legacy of defining honors education, serving diverse constituencies (students, faculty and honors directors from various types of institutions) and planning for the future in a rapidly changing educational environment.
At the University of Denver, I have been the Director of the University Honors Program since 2014. During that time, we have focused our efforts on strengthening our honors community by intentionally connecting co-curricular programming to the honors curriculum as well as expanding course options for our scholars. I also serve as the Faculty Athletic Representative of the university. In that capacity, I am an advocate for student athletes, working with faculty, administrators and coaches to ensure our student athletes appropriately balance their commitments between academics and athletics. Prior to going to graduate school and pursuing my career in academia, I was a nuclear power officer in the United States Navy, serving both as a watch officer directing the operation of the two nuclear power plants on the USS Nimitz, and as a division officer leading a division of over 60 sailors.
My past and current experiences, both as a leader and team member, inform how I work with and lead people. The skills and knowledge that I believe will make me a contributing member of the board include honesty, the ability to listen to and be constrictively critical of ideas of others, my commitment to personal accountability, and the experience to provide input based on my perspectives from working in complex administrative positions, both in and outside of academia.
The NCHC has been instrumental in my professional development as a new honors director through both resources that have been made available to me and the wonderful new colleagues that I now consider friends and mentors. Higher education is faced with significant challenges now and into our future. I firmly believe that we can overcome these challenges with creative thinking and collaboration, and that the NCHC community can be a leader is this space. Thus, my goals for service to the NCHC are 1.) to give back to the community that has well prepared and supported me in my role as an honors director, 2.) to support NCHC’s strategic initiatives, specifically those that address advocacy for honors education and diversity and inclusion efforts within our member institutions, and 3.) to serve were best needed to support the broader mission and vision of NCHC.
I would be honored to join the collaborative leadership of an organization that has changed the lives of so many students, staff, and faculty around the world—including my own. I can bring to the board expertise in organizational communication and strategy, professional team development, honors research and collaborative idea-sharing, creative advocacy and partnership construction, and inclusive community-building, all key initiatives of the NCHC’s 2018-21 strategic plan. Not only do I believe that these strategic initiatives are crucial to the NCHC, but I have taken deliberative, imaginative, and concrete action on each of them at my land-grant institution, in NCHC publications and presentations, and with NCHC committee work.
Such action—on all five initiatives—has defined my work as an honors administrator and researcher. Even more than showcasing the work of honors students, staff, faculty, and administrators, the NCHC creates a collaborative community for innovation across institutional, regional, national, and international boundaries. To benefit all members, this collaboration must be transparently organized and expertly communicated, with public, accessible results. I am currently editing an NCHC monograph on honors learning contracts that showcases how such thoughtful collaboration can inform pedagogical practice. More broadly, as I argued in a recent JNCHC essay, honors programs and colleges become key institutional leaders when they create partnerships (among and between faculty and students, various campus collaborators, and community stakeholders) that yield indispensable and measurable benefits for all. My honors program’s partnerships with our institution’s center for civic engagement, task force for inclusive excellence, and faculty senate, for example, have resulted in recognition of honors as one of the first community-engaged departments on campus; co-planning and sponsorship of—as well as participation in—USU’s annual Inclusive Excellence Symposium, and innovative and institutionalized faculty professional rewards for student mentoring and honors engagement. Articulating and marketing these benefits has been crucial to my work in moving the USU Honors Program from the fringes to the heart of our institution.
As an NCHC board member, I would be most interested in building upon my past experience with three levels of forward-looking collaboration:
- Within Honors: Because a shared language best communicates the value of an honors education, I hope to help the NCHC add to its outstanding resources of conferences, publications, summer institutes, Partners in the Parks, City as Text experiences, committees, research, and data-sharing with the creation of targeted online forums, curated digital exhibits, and best-practices toolkits for professional development, inclusivity, and advocacy. My aim here is to engage students, faculty, staff, and administrators in asking questions, sharing ideas, and developing ongoing common narratives about honors. For students, I would like to see a series of “Honors Experiences for Undergraduates” (HEUs, following from the NSF’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates), which I see as cross-institutional, interdisciplinary workshops about how honors prepares students for purposeful work with experiential learning, undergraduate research, community engagement, and collaboration with people from diverse socio-economic, ethnic, racial, and disciplinary backgrounds.
- Across Higher Education: The emphasis in honors education on high-impact practices allows experimentation with innovations that might benefit all college students. I hope to build upon existing NCHC partnerships by expanding connections with groups such as the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), the Council for Undergraduate Research (CUR), and the National Association of Fellowship Advisors (NAFA), with the aim of integrating honors education more fully into the broader mission of higher education.
- About Public Discourse: The collaborative work described above is central to current public debates about the value of liberal arts education, the equity of admissions processes, and the inclusivity of honors education. I hope to create forum space at the annual conference and online for students, faculty, staff, and administrators to consider how the NCHC might productively and meaningfully shape public discourse about higher education.
My teaching, research, and administrative work with honors students and faculty over the twenty-four years of my career has yoked my own innovative approach with the power of cross-disciplinary collaboration. I have won awards for Teacher of the Year, Researcher of the Year, and Faculty Advisor of the Year; as director of the USU Honors Program, I have extended my skills in these areas to a population of about 725 honors students and 500 active honors faculty at USU. I have forged partnerships for the USU Honors Program on campus, within the community, and across the country; advocated for and supported undergraduate research and creative work; established institutional recognition in the promotion and tenure process for faculty’s honors-related work; and built a widely recognized culture of cross-disciplinary collaboration and collegiality. I served on the leadership team for USU’s Carnegie Community Engagement Task Force, won USU’s 2016 Community Engaged Faculty Award, focused the honors curriculum on experiential learning, team-teaching, and community engagement, collaborated with faculty and administrators across the state to bring honors to USU’s regional campuses, and worked with USU’s General Education committee to scale and extend some honors high-impact pedagogical practices to the broader student population. I have been particularly interested in retention of first-generation students, for whom we are developing a dedicated—and subsidized—honors study abroad experience. I have grown and proactively developed the skills of USU Honors Program staff, expanded our space on campus, and increased funding for students in what is now a thriving program. I would be honored to bring this expertise to the NCHC leadership team, and I appreciate your consideration of my candidacy.
Over the course of more than twenty years in higher education, I have had the very good fortune to have worked with some exemplary scholars and leaders at a wide range of different, and sometimes unique types of institutions. As a political scientist by training with expertise in democratization studies, I am also an international educational leader with experience guiding students and faculty in most parts of the world. Indeed, for four years I served as the director of the European Office for the Institute of International Education (IIE). For the past seven years I have been an enthusiastic leader and advocate for honors education from Virginia State University, the first publicly funded HBCU in the United States. Throughout my career I have held leadership positions, both small and large, and have grown from each. It is, however, the combination of these experiences and background that has prepared me, quite powerfully, for service on the NCHC Board of Directors.
Central to my candidacy for the NCHC Board is my rich experience leading the honors program at Virginia State University. Over the past seven years we have wholly transformed the honors experience on the campus, nearly doubling the size of membership (to nearly 500 students), increasing scholarship support by nearly one million dollars per year, developing a full “Living-Learning Community” for honors with more than 250 beds, creating honors-designated study abroad options, and creating the Honors Service Award Program, which allows students to develop career and graduate school skills through annual placement experiences. While we still have much more work yet to complete at VSU, we are well on our way to having created a model program.
Our engagement and embrace of all that is good and aspirational in the broader world of honors education has also led to the success and growth of VSUs Honors Program. Students now attend and present at four key honors conferences per year: NCHC, National Association of African American Honors Programs (NAAAHP), Southern Regional Honors Council (SRHC), and Virginias Collegiate Honors Council (VCHC). VSU students have in turn been recognized at these events, and have served in leadership positions in all of these organizations, including most recently on the NCHC board.
Giving credit where it is due, I rush to note that the continued strengthening of the VSU program has followed from the ideas and best practices which our students and I have taken away from participating in these honors conferences and meetings. One of the lesser known strengths of honors education is the collegiality of its members and their openness to sharing ideas, programming, etc. It is true that “iron sharpens iron”; I have benefited enormously from colleagues from all parts of the honors world, but in particular from my fellow directors and deans in Virginia. I have grown from my participation in formal training programs sponsored by NCHC, ranging from honors advising and program review, to experiencing the Honors International Faculty Institute in the Netherlands
My preparation to assume a leadership position on the NCHC Board also follows from my more than ten years of leadership in international education. The globalized work allowed me to interact with students and faculty from all parts of the world. It included serving as the director of a strong and truly internationalized campus program, which supported U.S. student and faculty abroad as well as international students. Moreover, my four years of leading the Institute of International Education’s European Office from Budapest, Hungary was extremely important and relevant as it included significant responsibilities for identifying academically high-achieving students from principally European countries (but also from the US) and matching them with scholarship opportunities. To lead in this way also meant designing and implementing programming for their further development. Most of the students entrusted to me would have fit perfectly in honors programs had such entities actually existed in these students’ countries and home universities. The internationalization of my own professionalism allowed me better to understand how diverse educational systems reward and encourage excellence.
These most fortunate educational leadership experiences cause me to know that I can contribute effectively as a member of the NCHC Board of Directors. I will bring a rare and uniquely edifying perspective that is particularly informed by HBCUs, universal programs that are being recast, international honors, and international education. I shall lend, also valuable insights and skill-sets which have been time tested through leadership positions within the strong Virginias Collegiate Honors Council, an organization that boasts a membership of more than twenty-five active institutions of variegated profiles. Further, I will bring experience gained from service on the assessment and evaluation committee and the related experiences from having served as a program reviewer. I will serve as a board member with veritable strength in many key areas relevant for the future and empowered development of honors education under NCHC.
Given my background and the established strategic initiatives of NCHC, I believe my greatest contributions will follow in the areas diversity and inclusion and advocacy. The ground under the honors umbrella is large and it can and must accommodate all. When we fall short of this standard, honors is something less. I would like to work with the board to ensure that our outreach efforts are robust and that impact assessments are likewise. NCHC will strengthen as an organization as it further embraces differences. With regard to advocacy, NCHC and honors education generically remains largely absent from national discussions including with regard to higher education policy. This is unfortunate on many levels as this makes it more difficult for honors be recast as something other than an exclusive space for elites.
And on an organizational note, I would like to use my position on the board of the directors to assist in strengthening, where possible, the relationships between NCHC and the regional councils as well as the National Association of African American Honors Programs , state level councils, and emerging international groupings. I believe there are multiple areas in which direct cooperation would bolster collaborating organizations, all while strengthening honors education.
I would welcome with enthusiasm the opportunity to bring my voice to the NCHC Board of Directors!
I have been Director of the Honors College at UWM since 2014. In that time, I have successfully shepherded the College, in existence since 1960, through a period of financial and enrollment upheaval in the UW System, have altered the organizational structure of the College to permit appointment of an Associate Director and an Assistant Director, recruited and strengthened our in-house advising staff, and reshaped the in-house faculty teaching our core courses. As the College leader, I have reimagined our staffing and instructional structure within constraints outside of our control to successfully redistribute responsibilities and enhance teaching and co-curriculars in the College. I’m proud to say I’ve largely succeeded through organic, holistic approaches that play to and develop the strengths of wonderful colleagues.
UWM's Honors College has worked to increase its student diversity under my stewardship, part of a campus-wide effort to better serve southeast Wisconsin and the city of Milwaukee in particular. Like many Honors Colleges, we are constrained to recruiting from students already admitted to our institution, which argues for our involvement in campus-wide efforts to increase both the diversity of our student body and the numbers of high-achieving students selecting our campus. I would take seriously the charge to perform outreach and service in the NCHC to model and perform inclusive excellence, which I understand to be an effort to give real teeth and import to increasing and sustaining diversity of all kinds and at all levels of an organization. This can be done through selection and promotion of speakers, emphasizing scholarship in and pedagogy of diversity and inclusion in the NCHC journals, and by promotion of conference sessions that both report on and generate actionable conversations in and around diversity and inclusion. I would like to learn more and contribute to these efforts.
In addition to my service in the Honors College, I have participated regularly in NCHC conferences and institutes, developing a cohort of colleagues across the country on whose expertise and collective wisdom I rely, and have encouraged and supported participation by our faculty, staff, and students as well, out of a belief that the wider Honors community is an invaluable resource to which we also should contribute.
Outside of my work in honors, I am President of the Society for Utopian Studies, the oldest international scholarly organization in the field, and I am chair of Slow Food WiSE, the southeast Wisconsin chapter of Slow Food USA. As SUS President, I am responsible for coordinating the annual conference, managing the Steering Committee and subcommittees, and sitting on the editorial board of Utopian Studies, our journal. As Slow Food WiSE chair, I am in charge of the board and of coordinating our charitable and other work around slow food, equitable access, and local agriculture in southeast Wisconsin. As well, because the chapter had been moribund for some time, the current board, under my leadership, is rebuilding its membership and coordinating with other chapters statewide to reinvigorate the organization and raise needed funds.
I believe that my leadership experience in a sizeable honors college, my eight years before then as associate chair for undergraduate studies in my home department, and my experience on both non-profit and scholarly boards and associations has prepared me to contribute my fair share to the NCHC as a member of the board of directors.
I have been in honors for eleven years on three different regional university campuses in Missouri, Illinois, and now in South Texas. I have served as an Honors Program Director and faculty member, an Honors Administrator, and now as an Honors Dean and humanities faculty member. I have worked with faculty and departments across the campuses of all three universities to strengthen honors education and to create Honors Living-Learning Communities. I have supervised honors thesis projects. I have evaluated and been involved in the hiring process of Resident Assistants for honors floors and residence halls. I have served at two different traditional regional institutions in the Midwest and now serve honors students at a very diverse Hispanic-Serving Institution. I feel I have the depth of experience necessary in honors to represent the interests of honors programs of all different sizes and student compositions. I’d like to think my greatest skills are organizational leadership experience as well as a passion for honors advocacy and a desire to be involved in professional development.
I have been involved in honors at the national and regional level. I began attending the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference in 2009. I currently serve on the NCHC Advocacy Committee and have served on the Teaching and Learning committee for the last nine years. I have found the NCHC conference to be a very useful resource for me and a great networking opportunity professionally as well. I learn something every year that I find useful. I also have been involved in regional honors meetings as well, having been involved with the Honors Council of the Illinois Region (HCIR), the Great Plains Honors Council, and the first meeting of the Texas public university honors directors and deans group last summer. I have found all of these groups to be collegial and I would like nothing more than to give back to the greater honors community.
As a representative from a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, I feel I have an additional voice to add to the national honors conversation on diversity and inclusion. While I have only been here two years, I’ve already seen amazing stories as my students overcome incredible odds to become Goldwater Scholars, doctoral students in elite research programs, and have gained admission to professional schools. Many go on to become successful in their chosen fields as well. With the right environment and some hard work, there is no reason that excellence cannot be inclusive. I see it every day.
In closing, I would greatly appreciate your vote for the NCHC Board of Directors.
My Three-Sentence Honors Story
I started collaborating with Oregon Tech’s Honors Program as an assistant professor, at the invitation of the Honors Program’s previous director. When I became only the second director of our new Honors Program, I immediately began participating in those great NCHC opportunities for professional development and personal growth which define the NCHC, like Beginning in Honors. What brings me to this point is clear to me: I have a consistent history of appreciating the collaborative, intellectual, and civic value of administrative work, and I’d like to share that sense of purpose on the national level by leading and learning with a great group of like-minded NCHC Board members: together we can promote the mission of honors education.
Why Not Someone Else and Why Me?
I have served as an elected faculty senator on our university’s faculty senate (and now re-elected for a second term), on numerous departmental and university-wide committees, I have served for seven years on, and chaired for a 2+ year super term, our state-wide Oregon Writing and English Advisory Committee, which is comprised of Oregon’s 7 public universities and 17 community colleges; we address legislative matters, access and equity, and many curricular-focused policies. And at the national level, I have served as a representative for the state of Oregon on various educational initiatives. I likewise have been an active member, also at the national level, on the NCHC Partners in the Parks and Small Colleges Committees. And regionally, we are members of the WRHC! In 2016, I successfully pursued the opportunity for my university to be the inaugural NCHC Annual Conference “Host State Sponsor”: this endeavor required securing the funding from our university to participate and support NCHC at this level. Thus, I’m willing and able to act as an ambassador for the NCHC, to represent the Western region, and seek out unique, important opportunities as much as seek the potential ways and means to support Honors. These different levels of involvement—from the university, to state, to the national level—show my experience at working with various groups to move their work forward. In all ways, I seek to improve an organization’s culture with a positive attitude geared toward productive collaboration. My experience is diverse and significant: as a Board member, I can serve a diverse constituency and contribute significant work.
Here is My NCHC Vision
As an NCHC Board of Directors member, I would:
- Work where the work is needed to be done: I appreciate the chance to grow and learn, to apply myself to the completion of a project, the advancement of an organization, and the tasks of a committee.
- Work to promote meaningful connections: I seek to bring together current and new Honors educators and administrators, and to work across all institutions that appreciate honors education, for by fostering meaningful connections we value all members and promote a sense of shared community.
- Work to extend the value of the NCHC: I wish to work at policy formation that ensures the future viability and relevance of the NCHC, which is important work we can do as Board Members in our service to and as ambassadors for NCHC and honors education.
With over two decades of work in honors education, I believe I can bring a wealth of experience to the Board. As for my leadership experiences in honors, I have served as the President of the Great Plains Honors Council (2016-2017), Chair of the 2-Year College Committee (2004-2006; 2018-2019), and Chair of the Gulf Coast Intercollegiate Honors Council (2001-2002). In other academic areas I have served as the President of the Southwestern Social Sciences Association (2011-2012), President of the Southwestern History Association (2004-2005), and on the Board of Directors of the Texas State Historical Association (2007-2013, Secretary 2013-2014). I would like to serve on the NCHC Board of Directors in order to give back to an organization that has given much to me, and my college, over the years. NCHC is a fine organization and I would like do everything I can to make it even better.
I strongly support the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan; I think the five Strategic Initiatives bode well for NCHC. I would like to advance these initiatives. The three I am most interested in are Diversity and Inclusion, Organizational Excellence, and Professional Development. I have fought for diversity and inclusion my entire professional life. I want to continue the great strides that NCHC has made over the years. NCHC must be a reflection of our world—with everyone working together to improve honors education and the lives of our students. I would also like to see NCHC continue to improve as an organization, first learning of and then meeting the needs of our members. One of these needs is finding ways to help our members improve their skills through professional development. No organization compares to NCHC in offering opportunities for improving honors at our home institutions. I want to make it available to as many members as possible.
One last area I would like to work on closely is articulation agreements and easy transfers between community colleges and other colleges and universities. Community colleges can often bring a greater diversity to university honors colleges and programs. These students often bring a different perspective; many are poor, even going homeless at some point during their first two years of college. These transfer students are often forgotten, yet they can add so much depth to a college or university. I want to advocate for them.
As someone who as worked in various places and has done various jobs across my campus, I believe that communication with students is key. Students and their involvement in organizations are the backbone to keeping the ball rolling and aid in the organization moving forward to becoming even more excellent and well-rounded. Since I have been a part of student welcoming and student recruiting, engaging in students is what I have found I enjoy and I love trying to help others get more involved and find their passion. For me, it was being involved in the Southern Regional Honors Council as a Student Representative at Large and I helped reach out to students who had never been involved before. I also ran with the plan to increase student involvement and get the creative and performing arts more involved. I am a big advocate for the creative and performing arts in honors and through SRHC, I helped plan events where student performers and artists could be recognized for their work and they were recognized on the first night of the recent conference. I also promoted the conference through social media and online presence to draw more attention to everything the conference has to offer. Being a part of that organization as a first-generation and minority student and knowing how much of a difference it made to others helped make the experience even more worth while to me. Knowing how much of an impact an organization like that can have on just one student makes me determined to further this till it helps impact even more students across different universities.
I believe all of this and more help make me a candidate for National Collegiate Honors Council. I would want nothing more to help raise student involvement, promote student research and their academic achievements, and spread the word that an organization like this exists. Though that representation has been lacking in the past, I believe that NCHC is a great platform to kickstart that recognition and representation in that discipline. Since it spans so many universities and states, it offers so much potential to bring the arts more to the table in honors education. With all of this, I believe NCHC can become even better and help it works towards an amazing future with students from so many backgrounds along the way.
Like many of you, it feels like I have been résumé building since I was in middle school. Things I did because my parents signed me up became things I stuck with because I enjoyed them, then morphed into things I did because suddenly I was considering what looks good on a college application, then finally settled into things that help me de-stress after writing out my to-do lists. I have had the joy of serving my track team as its captain and cheerleader, of leading my dance teammates as captain and choreographer, of serving my class as representative, treasurer, then president, and of six weeks of learning how leaders are followers first at West Point. I have learned the value of practicing the way you perform--because practice makes permanent, not perfect; I have felt the rush of leading four hundred people in front of an entire county; and I have learned the importance of being able to lean on your fellow squad members through thirty-six hours of rain in the field and blitz attacks by cadet cadre. I am a natural talker who has learned the value of listening. That has been my priority these last two years. I have listened and observed my peers, mentors, and administrators. I have had the opportunity to sit at tables where I was needed for diversity, but not wanted for inclusion, and I have learned from all of you. I learned about what goes into getting a group of students on a trip like this, and I’ve helped applied band-aids to raw ankles when an ambitious friend decided to break in a pair of heels while she presented. I have taken in as much as possible so that I would feel qualified to apply for a position as a Student at Large. My goals would be to help the NCHC close the chasm between diversity and inclusion, to continue to learn about the experiences of my peers that vary so greatly from my own, and to participate in the meetings as an informed advocate. I would use my seat to give a voice to what I have learned and will continue to learn about what honors students choose to dedicate themselves to, and what it takes for them to get to share it. As a Student at Large I would be honored to serve on behalf of students who, each day disrupt the expected, and contribute to honors with excellence.
Collaboration between university faculty, students, and staff is the backbone of academic research. As an aspiring anthropology college professor, I am eager to use my leadership skills and interest in undergraduate research to promote collaboration and inclusion as a student member of the NCHC Board of Directors.
I am an undergraduate student at Ball State University studying the connection between history and biology, with minors in anthropology and Spanish. The fusion of these two sciences reflects my diverse interests in critical film analysis and specifically, Honors education and teaching.
For me, honors education has always been a forum for discussing diversity and understanding, specifically through with my work as Saturday Night Cinema Coordinator. I am an active member of Student Honors Council, the governing body of the Ball State Honors College, and this is one of their events. Last semester, I served as the Academic Committee Chair and alongside planning trivia night and an honors course forum, I focused on my interest in Saturday Night Cinema events, where an Honors professor selects and discusses a film relevant to modern concerns, ranging from immigration to gender equality to toxic masculinity. This spring semester, the SHC officers recognized my passion for this event and created the position of Saturday Night Cinema Coordinator for me.
These films helped to break down barriers about who all could contribute to these discussions, which is everyone. Conferences fulfill the same mission by bringing together a diverse group of people, and I am eager to promote inclusion of sexual orientation, ethnic, racial, socioeconomic class, and gender minorities at NCHC by opening up discussions of how diversity affects research opportunities, possibly creating a program to empower everyone to pursue and present research.
My passion comes from my leadership as a Peer Mentor in the Ball State Honors College. Through this position, I run an Honors College leadership seminar class for Honors freshman students, where Honors freshman students have an opportunity to discuss their fears, concerns, and goals for the next four years. To connect my students with the community, I coordinated a program to make cards for pediatric patients at Ball Memorial Hospital, called Cards for Kids, and my students and I delivered them in person. This experience as well as my work with powerful film discussions provide me with the skills to facilitate open and compassionate conversations about research and the undergraduate honors experience.
I am also experienced as a fundraiser and promoter. This past year, I served as the Treasurer for Fine Focus Club, an organization that partners with an immersive learning class publishing a biannual international journal for undergraduate microbiology research. I was eager to take this position to learn skills researching and writing grant proposals, and this semester, I was elected President for Fine Focus for the next academic year. This position has provided me with useful budgeting and fundraising skills and will now help me to practice leadership serving as the club representative.
I have been involved organizing and presenting at the Mid-East Honors Association Conference (MEHA) at Ball State this spring, serving as a moderator and presenting my film anthropology research. As an undergraduate researcher presenting at MEHA and the Butler Undergraduate Research Conference this past spring, I am knowledgeable about conference proceedings and have ideas about what really enhanced my experience as a student presenter.
As an undergraduate researcher and aspiring college professor, I look forward to learning more about conference planning and development through the wonderful opportunity of serving as a Student Representation on the NCHC Board of Directors.