NCHC Fellows

NCHC Fellows Award

NCHC Fellows are distinguished individuals who have given substantial time and energy to furthering the cause of honors education. Their years of dedication and leadership, paired with recognition on their home campus for outstanding honors teaching, make them invaluable sources of knowledge in the honors community.

NCHC members are invited to nominate those who have made a national impact on the honors community for distinction as an NCHC Fellow.

This award recognizes our honors colleagues who demonstrate a long-term commitment to honors education at their home institutions and leadership with the National Collegiate Honors Council. Significant state and regional honors involvement is also taken into consideration.

Factors considered for nomination include:

  • NCHC, regional, and/or state honors organization leadership
  • Scholarly activities relating to honors education
  • NCHC, regional, and/or state honors special events, institutes, etc.
  • Recognition for outstanding honors teaching on the home campus
  • Assistance provided to other honors programs/colleges (site visits, consulting, etc.)
  • Demonstrated record of sustained commitment to honors education

Nominated candidates for the Fellows distinction must have the support of three letters from current NCHC professional, student, or institutional members, only one of whom may be from the same institution as the candidate.

NCHC is proud to recognize honors educators who have a significant record of commitment and service to the honors community.

2024 NCHC Fellows Nominations

Nominations will be accepted February 1 - March 15, 2024.

Please use the form below, or at this link.

2023 Class of Fellows

Suketu Bhavsar

Caly Poly Pomona

What is your favorite NCHC memory?

"In my first couple of years; the warm and inviting way individuals in NCHC leadership welcomed me, an unknown and very new to honors, in their gatherings."

What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement?

"As an Astrophysicist, my contributions to quantifying the Large Scale Structure of the Universe. In Honors, the many students who tell me that my mentoring changed their lives."

Jim Buss

Ball State University

What is your favorite NCHC memory?

"For me, NCHC has always been about the community of honors practitioners and the long-standing friendships that this community has afforded me. Thus, my favorite memories (and there are many) involve spending time with honors friends at conference, workshops, and committee and board meetings. They also include memories of caravanning students from my home campuses to NCHC and witnessing their sheer joy at being in company with so many other honors students from across the globe.

If I had to pick one memory from these experiences, however, it would be the year that our university brought the two student editors of the campus honors newsletter to NCHC in Denver. Convinced that we were not in competition for any awards, and at the request of one of the newsletter's editor who desperately wanted to visit the "Unsinkable" Molly Brown home, the three of us struck off for the Molly Brown museum shortly before the awards ceremony. As we stood in line to visit the home, I received a text from an NCHC colleague that those students would be receiving an award. Thus, we hopped out of line and ran ten blocks or so from the museum to the hotel. We were a sweaty mess by the time we arrived, but the students were thrilled to receive the award and proud to bring home to our campus. I still keep in touch with one of those former students who still reminds me that I owe her a ticket to the Molly Brown house.

This memory sticks out for several reasons. First, for many students who attend conference, it is a signature experience and a lifelong memory. Nearly a decade later, and one alumni still remembers the sprint to accept her award. Second, for practitioners in the honors community, this is truly a large, yet intimate community. The person who texted me about the award somehow realized that I wasn't in attendance at the awards ceremony (the only time I've skipped in more than a decade). I've been active in my disciplinary organizations for two decades and have never felt the level of acceptance and belonging as I do with my colleagues in NCHC; they are family. I think that is why so many of us consider NCHC home."

What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement?

"The work toward developing the NCHC Shared Principles and Practices of Honors Education certainly sticks out as a highlight in my professional career, because the process involved many individuals from a diverse range of honors programs and colleges across the country. That diversity in thought and application of honors taught me so much about the larger honors community. I also think that the broad range of viewpoints, which included different types of honors programs and colleges, as well as people involved in honors--director and deans, faculty, staff, students, etc.--resulted in a document that reflects the vast experiences for those of us involved in honors education around the globe. It was a long, deliberate process, but one that turned out to be incredibly rewarding. I truly hope that it aids the honors community for many years to come."

David Coleman

Eastern Kentucky University

What is your favorite NCHC memory?

"I have so many great memories of lessons learned from and friendships made with honors colleagues from across the nation since my first trip to NCHC in 2001. If I have to choose a single favorite moment, it would be proudly seeing my honors capstone mentee Sam Shearer present his Portz Scholar-winning thesis at the NCHC in Denver in 2014 (and then having it published in JNCHC the following year)."

What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement?

"While I am very proud of my books and articles in my scholarly research field, I am even more proud of the traditions that were started in EKU Honors by my fabulous predecessors Bonnie Gray and Linda Frost--and on which I believe that we have continued to build in my decade-plus as Executive Director. Specifically, I am most proud of the energetic culture of innovation, creativity, and service that pervades the faculty and student body alike in EKU Honors."

Kevin W. Dean

West Chester University (retired)

What is your favorite NCHC memory?

"The annual NCHC International Welcome Reception, celebrating our international members and guests attending the national convention, have formed some of my favorite NCHC memories. Lifelong friendships and collaborative opportunities have grown from these events. I am so grateful for the global view that NCHC embraces, and for the leadership NCHC provides in encouraging all its members to promote educational enrichment experiences around the globe for our students and institutions."

What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement?

"I probably should say that my greatest professional pride came from building and developing, over 25 years as Honors director, a curricular model for Honors education at West Chester University oriented around servant leadership, based on the Kellogg National Fellowship which I was privileged to receive from 1995‐1997. It was there that I learned that leadership and civic engagement can be taught. Thus, with the support of enthusiastic colleagues and three deeply invested presidents, we created an interdisciplinary servant leadership program to form the academic backbone of honors education at West Chester University. In addition to challenging students to embrace their intellectual gifts to become agents of change in their communities, the program includes a robust interdisciplinary curriculum, a living/learning community for each entering class, multiple opportunities for civic engagement, and international education opportunities that have introduced our students to community, political, and educational leaders from Cape Town to St. Petersburg. The South Africa program and the relationships it engendered has been sustained from 2001 to the present. Most recently, students have worked with the Norwegian Nobel Peace Institute, where members of the Norwegian Nobel Peace Committee have invested deeply in helping them view leadership through peacemaking. All of these things fill me with pride as I watch student after student discover their callings to use their gifts for the greater good.

But I wonder if my greatest professional achievement is better represented by a phone call I received this spring from a former Honors student. Demetrius came to our program beset by more challenges than most. During his freshman year he struggled financially, academically, and socially, and one night got in a scuffle in the dorm that led to police intervention. As a person of color, he was given no breaks when it came to the law‐‐‐and as honors director, I was the person he came to when he was in trouble. He was scared to death so I went with him to the court hearing, which he got through with admirable grace and maturity. The following year he traveled to South Africa with 40 of his peers. He was deep in thought for most of the trip. During a side‐tour of a winery, I asked him if everything was okay. He shook his head in disbelief: “People like me don’t get to come to places like this.”

As the years went on, Demetrius overcame challenge after challenge, and eventually landed a coveted spot in medical school. In May, Demetrius called to invite me to his medical school graduation. I sat through the ceremony with his mother, both of us near tears and prouder than we had words to speak. We both knew this day could not have happened without the honors community at West Chester, where friends cheered him on and faculty would not let him quit. I drove home thinking about what a privilege it has been to help create a community like that, and what an honor it has been to walk with students like Demetrius on their way to becoming the people they long to be. I can’t take credit for these students. But to have been part of their journey, at such pivotal moments in their young lives, and to have stood with them at the crossroads as they chose their paths… These are the memories that both fill me with both pride and humility. Of course the curriculum we developed for honors at West Chester, and Demetrius’ experience, are connected. But perhaps by a greater hand than mine."

Steven C. Edwards

Delgado Community College

What is your favorite NCHC memory?

"I have enjoyed all of my NCHC conference and committee experiences. My favorite memory relates to my work with the Arts Master Classes. At my first NCHC conference - years ago - I wandered into a room because I heard music (I didn't know NCHC had master classes, at that point). I was not only welcomed, but put to work and immediately recruited to help plan the next year's conference. In a process that resembled becoming the Dread Pirate Roberts in The Princess Bride, I ended up as coordinator, and have thoroughly enjoyed working with my NCHC arts colleagues and, especially, encouraging our incredibly talented students."

What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement?

"My greatest professional achievement is surviving being denied tenure and continuing my academic, professional, and personal life."

Beata M. Jones

Texas Christian University

What is your favorite NCHC memory?

"In 2014, amidst the NCHC National Conference, fate granted me the opportunity to meet Marca Wolfensberger from Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen, the Netherlands. Marca and I discovered an instant connection, that led to a friendship rooted in our shared professional passions.

Over the course of a decade, our bond lead us on a journey filled with honors, other fantastic honors colleagues and mentors, such as John Zubizarreta, honors adventures, and countless lessons. Together, we embraced new horizons, seized every chance to learn, and celebrated a tapestry of achievements.

As I reflect on that serendipitous encounter, gratitude fills my heart for the transformative friendship we forged amidst the NCHC's embrace."

What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement?

"In 2005, I had the privilege of helping to establish and consequently lead for seven years a unique business honors program at the Neeley School of Business, Texas Christian University. Named Neeley Fellows, this initiative became a sanctuary for aspiring business leaders, where dreams took flight and innovation knew no boundaries. Witnessing its continued success in 2023 fills my heart with immense pride. Neeley Fellows has left an indelible mark on the lives of countless students, igniting their curiosity and fueling their ambitions. Its legacy stands tall as a testament to the power of passion and perseverance, as each participant evolves into a leader, innovator, and change-maker. The story of Neeley Fellows represents the transformative potential that resides within us all and reminds us of the profound impact we can make on the world."

David Jones

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

What is your favorite NCHC memory?

"I have so many wonderful memories of NCHC conferences that it is extremely hard to pick one! But I will have to pick the 2018 NCHC conference in Boston. I arranged for our honors office manager to attend with me, Ms. Pam Golden, who did so many things to make the program successful despite not having opportunities to travel. We had a reunion dinner with the four honors staff from the early 2010s at UW-Eau Claire: Jeff Vahlbusch, Ivy Gerbis, Pam and me. We were also joined by a colleague I had just met from Illinois, who happened to be a friend of Ivy's from high school! I don't remember the cuisine from that dinner, but I sure do remember how enjoyable it was to be surrounded by beloved colleagues!

There are also so many great memories from working with colleagues from the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the NCHC Board, the many folks who developed honors monographs, the national staff... I am truly blessed and humbled at the amazing interactions with so many dedicated and talented colleagues in honors."

What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement?

"I'm especially proud of my role in helping to integrate diversity and inclusion as constructs and practices in honors education. I was a co-author of the NCHC's first official statement affirming the importance of diversity and inclusion. Through NCHC, I have widely shared the lessons learned from the successful implementation of holistic admissions and a more diverse curriculum at UW- Eau Claire. It is deeply encouraging to see that the honors community is widely engaged now in the pursuit of inclusive excellence. Even as we face unjustified backlash against critical race theory and holistic admissions, the previous work we have done leaves us better prepared to articulate the case for inclusive education in honors."

Jonathan Kotinek

Texas A&M University

What is your favorite NCHC memory?

"There are so many great NCHC memories! Some top memories include working with my Diversity co-chairs Lisa Coleman and Alan Oda on our monographs and Diversity Forum, working with Betsy Yarrison and Annemarie Guzy on the Education of the Gifted SIG, serving on the Board, and renewing friendships each year at conference. Having the opportunity to tag along to Pub Board dinners is one of the top, too!

Perhaps the most impactful was the roundtable discussion that Joan Digby and I hosted at the 2010 conference, "Defining Honors: Distilling Meaning from a Chorus of Voices" since that conversation has continued to shape the way that I work in honors both at my institution and in various professional connections."

What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement?

"The things that I think of in terms of professional achievement--the diversity monographs, the definition of honors education, and, more recently, the Justice Challenge USDA grant--have all been collective efforts that I have been grateful to be associated with. In that sense, I think my greatest professional achievement has been to develop and expand a fabulous professional network that has, in turn, provided me with opportunities to contribute to the field of honors education."

Lucy E. Laufe

Montgomery College

What is your favorite NCHC memory?

"There are many wonderful memories that I cherish from NCHC from giving my first presentation at a conference, participating in signature programs such as Beginning in Honors and Developing in Honors to becoming a Board member. What unites these experiences is becoming part of the national honors community and sharing ideas with colleagues, and now friends, who share my commitment to working with honors students and strengthening honors education."

What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement?

"Community colleges have some of the most diverse student populations in higher education --first in their family to attend college, first generation students, non-traditional age students, veterans, international students, undocumented students and other under-served populations. Working with these students to help them find transfer and scholarship opportunities is some of the most important work in my career. My involvement with the Major Scholarship Committee has helped me become a better mentor to students as I share what I have learned from colleagues. I am proud of the programming the Major Scholarship Committee develops for NCHC."

Mark Law

University of Florida

What is your favorite NCHC memory?

"I've been an honors kid at heart, so I have to list my first NCHC in 1979 or so at Kent State as my most memorable moment. Two things struck me - the discussion of service/leadership and the sacrifices of the Vietnam War protestors shot there just a few years earlier. It made me think about how I could make a difference for others and was a factor in my becoming a professor."

What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement?

"That is no other achievement as great as having an impact on the students that travel through your classes, research, and programs. I am proud to say I am in touch with many of our alums and attended two of their weddings this last spring. Those relationships and impacts are the lasting legacy of any teacher."

Christina McIntyre

Virginia Tech

What is your favorite NCHC memory?

"So many great conference memories over the years, but Bryan Stevenson as plenary speaker for NCHC and NAAAHP in Atlanta, GA in 2017 is a moment that stands out."

What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement?

"The Partners in the Parks projects and the partnerships that allowed NCHC faculty and students to connect with National Park Service staff for personal and professional growth."


Kyoko Amano (2019)

Larry R. Andrews (2012)

William Atwill (2016)

C. Grey Austin (2011)

Richard Badenhausen (2010)

Elizabeth C. Beck (2010)

Gary Bell (2010)

Patrice Berger (2015)

Suketu Bhavsar (2023)

Irmgard Bocchino (2012)

Bernice Braid (2010)

Ron Brandolini (2012)

Earl Brown (2015)

Margaret Brown (2015)

Kate Bruce (2010)

James Buss (2023)

Catherine Cater (2011)

Andrew J. Cognard-Black (2021)

Ira Cohen (2010)

David Coleman (2023)

Lisa L. Coleman (2012)

Richard J. Cummings (2012)

Lydia R. Daniel (2010)

Freddye T. Davy (2012)

Kevin Dean (2023)

Joan H. Digby (2010)

Steven Edwards (2023)

Steven Engel (2018)

Ted Estess (2012)

Barry Falk (2016)

Linda Frost (2020)

Keith Garbutt (2021)

John Grady (2012)

Annmarie Guzy (2015)

Jerry Herron (2018)

Bonnie Irwin (2010)

Jocelyn Jackson (2011)

Melissa L. Johnson (2018)

G. Hewett Joiner (2013)

Beata Jones (2023)

David Jones (2023)

Kathleen King (2015)

Jonathan Kotinek (2023)

Carolyn Kuykendall (2013)

Jennifer Lane (2010)

Greg Lanier (2010)

Lucy Laufe (2023)

Mark Law (2023)

Donzell Lee (2010)

Ada Long (2010)

George Mariz (2014)

Virginia McCombs (2012)

Christina McIntyre (2023)

Dail Mullins (2010)

Mary Kay Mulvaney (2015)

Timothy Nichols (2019)

Rosalie Otero (2010)

Anne Ponder (2012)

Jeffrey Portnoy (2010)

John Portz (2011)

Alison Primoza (2011)

Ann R. Raia (2013)

Mary Beth Rathe (2020)

P. Brent Register (2013)

Jack Rhodes (2012)

Jessica Roark (2014)

Rae Rosenthal (2018)

James Ruebel (2015)

Hallie Savage (2010)

Samuel Schuman (2010)

Rick Scott (2011)

Ricki Shine (2012)

Charlie Slavin (2011)

Patricia J. Smith (2022)

Laurie Smith Law (2018)

Art L. Spisak (2019)

Robert Spurrier (2010)

Elaine Torda (2013)

Lothar Tresp (2016)

Norm Weiner (2012)

Marca Wolfensberger (2013)

Len Zane (2015)

John Zubizarreta (2010)