NCHC Sam Schuman Award for Excellence at a Four-Year Institution

“Teachers need to love their subject matter,
and they need to love their students,
and they need to love bringing them together.”

-- Dr. Sam Schuman

NCHC is pleased to present the Sam Schuman Award for Excellence at a Four-Year Institution. Presented to an honors program director or faculty member at the NCHC Annual Conference, this award serves to recognize those who are making outstanding contributions to the honors community at four-year institutions.

Samuel Schuman, who passed away on November 11, 2014 left a legacy as an accomplished scholar, professor, and administrator. As the author of “Beginning in Honors” and an annual presenter at NCHC conferences and workshops, Sam exemplified the spirit of honors education and was passionate about sharing his love of honors with his students and peers. NCHC and the honors community owe Dr. Schuman their continuing gratitude for all that he contributed to the growth and development of honors.

Schuman Award winners will receive $500, along with an engraved plaque. The winner will be announced prior to NCHC's Annual Conference and awarded at the event.

2021 Winner

Dr. Steven Engel, Georgia Southern University

Jeffrey Portnoy

When presented with a situation most people would run from, colleagues all agree Dr. Steven Engel steps up to the plate with humor, humility, and his signature wit.

“Whether I consider his scholarship, professionalism, and character as a well-known and highly respected member of NCHC and SRHC, I always recognize that he is an expert and generous honors educator who has dedicated his career and personal life to outstanding teaching and to the growth and success of his students,” recalled colleague Dr. John Zubizarreta of Columbia College-South Carolina.

Serving as Dean of the University Honors College at Georgia Southern University, Engel has been leading the college since 2005. A published scholar in his discipline of political science, Engel has been a long-time member of both the National Collegiate Honors Council and the Southern Regional Honors Council—having recently completed his role as Executive Treasurer of NCHC for a number of very successful years. Through his conscientious and exact stewardship of organizational resources, the NCHC has managed to thrive, able to offer its members many wonderful opportunities. Within NCHC, he has lent his hand to various committees, including several years on the NCHC Board of Directors. At annual conferences, Engel has been a regular presenter in various strands of the meetings, and he has written several pieces in both the Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council and Honors in Practice, while also serving on the Editorial Board of HIP. Engel has also been an SRHC President and conference chair, as well as President of the Georgia Collegiate Honors Council, adding to his broad influence in honors.

“Steve has a long-standing commitment to honors at GSU. The growth of the program is not merely in size of student population but rather in course offerings, co-curricular opportunities, and intensity of student engagement,” Associate Director Dr. Francis Desiderio shares of Engel. “He has also worked to create honors-sponsored alternative spring break trips and study abroad opportunities in a variety of countries including Egypt, Albania, Malaysia, and Ireland. All of these activities and initiatives have helped the program grow and serve as a model for what honors education can look like.”

Colleagues from across the nation credit Engel for upholding comradery among honors professionals. “Restoring the feeling of community in these organizations may not have been his raison d’etre when he assumed the role of President of SRHC or of Treasurer of NCHC, but they have—in my mind—been hallmarks of his service,” Dr. Linda Frost of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga warmly shares of Engel. “He has led with an open and truly attentive ear, an unmovable loyalty to the democratic process, an impressive but self-effacing competence, and a truly fabulous sense of humor.”

The National Collegiate Honors Council is proud to award Dr. Steven Engel of Georgia Southern University as recipient of the 2021 NCHC Sam Schuman Award for Excellence at a Four-Year Institution. Engel will be presented as the recipient of this award on Saturday October 30th, during the NCHC Awards presentation in Orlando, as part of NCHC21.


2022 Nominations open January 25, 2022 and close June 15, 2022.

Applications are available via the form below or at this link.