News from NCHC | May 2018

In This Issue...

From the President
From the ED: Choices
Treasurer's Report
NSSE Honors Consortium

CAT & CAT: Master Class in Boston
NCHC18 Workshops
2018 Faculty Development

NCHC Scholarships & Awards
Call for Papers: JNCHC
Member Benefit: GEICO Discount

From the President:

I always tell my students that honors is not a checklist of experiences, it is a community of relationships – and that holds true for NCHC as well. As president, I have the privilege of working closely with a remarkable group of people – Mary Beth Rathe and the NCHC staff, my fellow officers on the Executive Committee, and the dedicated members of our organization's Board of Directors.

One of the greatest advantages of NCHC membership is not our annual conference (although I can't wait to hear bell hooks in Boston!) the opportunity to go camping with your colleagues (although I highly recommend the Partners in the Park faculty retreat this July – there are still spots!), or even the tremendous array of publications to support you in your work (watch for the forthcoming JNCHC focused on "Honors and Social Justice"). Rather, it is the opportunity to serve on the board, an exceptional group of directors, deans and honors administrators reflecting the full range of institutions that make up our membership. Uniquely among organizations such as ours, NCHC – in keeping with the best practices articulated in our "Basic Characteristics" – includes students as fully-voting members of the board.

According to the NCHC constitution, the "Board of Directors has the authority to govern NCHC between annual business meetings of NCHC on all matters as provided in the Constitution and Bylaws." In addition to fiduciary responsibility for the organization, the board addresses issues such as membership, bylaws and governance, committees, and strategic planning.

Although the deadline for nominating others to serve on the NCHC board of directors has passed, there is still time to nominate yourself, and I urge you to consider it. The Board meets three times a year – in February (for the past two years, in a southern locale), in June (your opportunity to see the NCHC offices in Lincoln), and, finally, on the Wednesday that starts the annual conference. NCHC covers two hotel nights, except at the conference; your institution is responsible for your transportation.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your interest, please feel free to contact me, or to reach out to Immediate Past President Art Spisak, who is chair of the Nominating Committee. Self-nominations close June 1st.

Naomi Yavneh Klos, Ph.D.
President, NCHC

View the NCHC Board Candidate Packet

From the Executive Director: Choices

Mary Beth Rathe, NCHC Executive Director

If you had your choice, would you buy the book or would you check it out from the library?

If money was no object, would you watch an online video and fix something yourself, or would you call in an expert?

If winning a bet with your friends depended on choosing between something that you really wanted and something else that they really needed, how would you pick?

Our life story is really all about choices. We've heard it since we were old enough to understand a caregiver use that tone and ask us, "What made you go and do a thing like that?"

The work of a national association is really no different. Decisions are made by the office staff, by the board, and by committee members. Sometimes we opt to work on the information flow ourselves and provide information that we know is historically accurate. Other times, we have to find an expert for the solution, whether it's in research, an honors publication, or through the expert honors practitioners in the network.

And we wish that money was no object.

But no matter the question, the answer should be made to benefit the majority of the members--as many of the 800+ institutions in our network as we can consider. And, since all of those decisions come at a cost to someone/somewhere because no decision is ever 100% amenable to all parties, there are bound to be, delicately put, differences of opinion.

Over the course of the next months, your leadership and staff will be reviewing more programming and membership numbers than we've ever compared, considering significant changes to the governance documents, and debating strategic goals and 2019 operating budget. It would be a lot to consider even if those decisions could be made without knowing some colleagues will feel discouraged.

But here's the thing about the network: if the decisions made now are done with a vision for the future, and for the benefit of both those who are already members as well as those not yet affiliated with NCHC, the resources, volunteers and projects will follow.

And those are the decisions that will maintain the network. That's what makes us do the things we do.

Mary Beth

Treasurer's Report

Steven Engel, NCHC Treasurer

NCHC is at a financial crossroads. Our institutional dues rate of $500 per institutional member has not changed since 2005. Our costs of running NCHC, however, have increased with inflation over the past thirteen years. In fact, if we had put in an inflation adjustment in 2005, our current dues rate would be $634.21. In short, we are holding ourselves back from serving our membership as best we can. Now, more than ever, we should be working together as best we can to support a strong national voice for honors education.

After over two years of study and planning, the NCHC Board of Directors at the winter meeting voted to submit to the membership a proposal for a new tiered-structure for institutional dues. This proposal is meant to create a transparent and fairer system for assessing the costs of organizational membership. This proposal will be on the ballot for the membership to vote upon immediately following the 2018 conference. If approved, it will not go into effect until 2020.

You can access the details of the proposal on the NCHC website here: To help answer questions about this proposal, we will be hosting several conference calls in the coming months. Stay tuned for details about those. And, there will be a special session at the 2018 conference in Boston dedicated to fielding questions about this proposal. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to contact me directly at

Steven Engel
NCHC Treasurer

NSSE Honors Consortium Project

We are pleased to announce a call for NCHC member institutions to join an Honors Consortium for the Spring 2019 administration of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). The NSSE is one of the most widely used surveys of undergraduate student experience in the United States, asking questions on high impact practices and dozens of other items of interest to honors educators.

This project opens up to participating four-year degree** institutions the possibility of comparing honors to non-honors students on every item in the standard NSSE survey as well as small set of additional questions written by a special working group of the NCHC Research Committee.

While spring 2019 may seem like a long way off right now, registration for NSSE opens this summer and will close in early fall. Honors leaders interested in pursuing this possibility should initiate conversations with campus leadership soon in order to find out whether their institutions will be participating in the Spring 2019 NSSE and whether they meet other eligibility criteria.

Honors program leaders who are interested in this project should work with their campus stakeholders to secure commitments and submit a signed NSSE data sharing agreement by August 21, 2018, in order to be considered for NCHC grant funds to help institutions offset a portion of the consortium fee added to the standard NSSE charges.

For more detail, please read the project overview and complete Call for Participation here!

** For those who are at two-year degree institutions, we are in conversations with the Center for Community College Student Engagement about assembling a similar consortium for a future administration of the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE). Stay tuned to honors channels for any future developments regarding the potential for such a consortium.


Registration is Now Open

Click here for NCHC18 conference information!

CAT: Boston

Are you ready to explore Boston this November with NCHC's City as Text program? We've got an exciting list of locations to discover! On Thursday during NCHC18, CAT participants will attend an opening session, and then split into groups to explore Boston's neighborhoods and historic sites. After returning to the hotel groups will work together in a writing and reporting exercise, and then reassemble with the whole group for a closing session.

Check out locations you can select as a part of your NCHC18 registration below. If you sign up for CAT, you will receive a survey this fall to indicate your preferred location!

If you've been a part of City as Text at a previous conference, consider attending the CAT Master Class, taking place in Boston just before the conference begins. You'll get an intensive look at Boston, and at the pedagogy principles that makes City as Text such a successful form of experiential education. Learn how to plan and execute an event using Place as Text with your own students!

  • Copley Square (25 participants) Bounded by Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library, Copley Square is one of the most central squares in the city. Explore some of Boston's most celebrated buildings while observing the intersection between public and private spaces in this historic site.
  • Newbury Street & Commonwealth Mall (40 participants) Known today for its high-end shopping, restaurants, and cafes, Newbury Street was once under water and part of Boston Harbor. Starting in 1857, the area that is now one of the trendiest and most beautiful in the city, was built out of dirt moved from other neighborhoods. Be sure to note the cross streets which fall in alphabetical order (something known to Boston insiders). The historic brownstones on Newbury Street and the parallel Commonwealth Avenue, give you a glimpse into Boston's past.
  • The Public Garden and Boston Common (75 participants) The first botanical garden in the country, Boston's Public Garden, founded in 1857 is home to the Swan Boats, and setting of the popular children's book Make Way for Ducklings. Across the street, the Boston Common was founded even earlier, in 1634, as the nation's first public park whose paths still reflect the early walkways on which Bostonians traveled across the city. Today, the Common is the site of local concerts, softball games, historic monuments, and the Frog Pond that, in the summer is a spray pool and carousel for children and, in the winter, is frozen for outdoor ice skating.
  • Beacon Hill & Charles Street (40 participants) One of the oldest and most expensive residential areas in Boston, Beacon Hill is filled with Federal style row houses, gas-lit streets and sidewalks made of brick. At the top of the hill is the gold-domed Massachusetts State House and the neighborhood is bordered to the south by the Boston Common. Charles Street, which sits at the "bottom" of the hill, is known for its antique shops, restaurants and cafes.
  • The South End (40 participants) One of the Boston neighborhoods created by the landfill project of the 1800s, the South End is one of Boston's most diverse neighborhoods, economically, ethnically, and historically. Its tree-lined side streets boast Victorian townhouses, wrought iron fences, and small residential parks, while the main streets host art galleries, trendy restaurants, and store-front businesses.
  • Faneuil Hall & Quincy Market (75 participants) Originally designed as an indoor site for food stalls, Quincy Market was re-imagined in the 1900s as a destination for tourists and locals alike looking for food, shopping, and outdoor entertainment, including jugglers and other street performers. Sitting adjacent is the historic Faneuil Hall, an early market and meeting place that still offers visitors the chance to shop for souvenirs on the first floor and to visit the second floor assembly room where local politicians from Senator Ted Kennedy to President Barack Obama have given speeches. The space is still used for debates between Massachusetts' political candidates.
  • Kenmore Square (40 participants) A rapidly developing area, Kenmore Square lies just south of Boston University's urban campus and just east of Fenway Park. A sometimes-jarring mix of college students, Red Sox fans, and clubgoers, the Square has an enticing, vibrant history and culture. And don't miss—as if you could—the iconic Citgo sign that sits atop 660 Beacon Street, in the center of the square.
  • The North End (40 participants) Boston's "Little Italy" is one of the oldest parts of the city and includes the Paul Revere House, the Old North Church, and the self-guided Freedom Trail (keep an eye out for the red line along the sidewalk). The North End backs into the Rose Kennedy Greenway on one side and the waterfront on the other. Home to Italian restaurants, cafes and shops, this bustling part of the city was also home to the Great Molasses flood of 1919.
  • Rose Kennedy Greenway (75 participants) One of the newest parts of Boston, the Rose Kennedy Greenway was built as part of Boston's "Big Dig" and links the waterfront with Quincy Market and other downtown destinations. The Greenway, which is actually a series of connected parks, includes a carousel, gardens, fountains and is the location for food trucks and markets.
  • Seaport District (75 participants) Once the home of harbor warehouses, fishmongers, and textile factories, this area is one of Boston's newly developed areas. Sitting right on Boston Harbor with access to water taxis, buses, the subway, and a pedestrian walkway along the waterfront, Seaport has rapidly become a popular dining, residential, and commercial area.
  • Central Square (40 participants) One T stop before the better known Harvard Square, Central Square is one of the more eclectic and diverse neighborhoods on the Cambridge side of the Charles River. Slated to be replaced by an 8-lane highway in the 1950s, the neighborhood has undergone a resurgence of technology companies, cafes, nightclubs while retaining its gritty essence.
  • Harvard Square (40 participants) Harvard "square" is actually the juncture of three Cambridge streets: Massachusetts Avenue, John F. Kennedy Street and Brattle Street. Marked by the an international newsstand, a visitor information kiosk, and a small open-air performance space ("The Pit"), students, locals, and tourists alike cross from Harvard Yard to the busy eateries and shops on the adjacent streets. The Harvard "COOP," is a favorite destination as are the Harvard Art Museums, including the recently renovated Museum of Natural History.
  • Chinatown (30 participants) Boston's Chinatown is the third largest in the country, after San Francisco and New York City. Densely populated, and bordered by the Boston Common, Theater District and Downtown Crossing. This neighborhood is an exceptional microcosm of Asian culture that includes traditional Chinese groceries and other shops.
  • Boston Public Library (30 participants) One of the highlights of Copley Square, the Boston Public Library, or "BPL" to native Bostonians, is one of the largest public libraries in the country. The center courtyard invites outdoor seating in a quiet reprieve from the busy city streets. The newer section of the building, along Boylston Street, is home to local public radio station WGBH which broadcasts live each week in its studio which is visible from inside the library as well as from the street.
  • Downtown Crossing & Theater District (30 participants) These two adjacent neighborhoods have been the site of changes in recent years. Once Boston's Red Light District, the area is home to department stores, numerous historic theaters--including the Opera House, the Schubert, Colonial, and Wang Center for the Performing Arts--along with Emerson College.

Don't Miss These Add-Ons to the NCHC18 experience! Plan now to include them in your traveling schedule:

  • Pre-Conference Workshop: International Education (Workshop fee: $50)
    Wednesday, Nov. 7 :: 2:00-5:00 PM
    Interest in international study and globalization opportunities for honors students has increased in recent years, yet the prospect is daunting for program directors, particularly those with little international experience. This short course offers concrete and practical guidance for creating and sustaining international short-term experiences.

    Critical elements of pre-program and post-program planning are covered as well as strategies to make the international component of the experience truly honors worthy. Participants will workshop a possible program for individual institutions with particular attention to pre- and post-program development.
  • Beginning in Honors (BIH): No additional fee
    Wednesday, Nov. 7 :: 12:00-4:00 PM
    Beginning in Honors is a workshop designed for new honors directors and deans or those leading or creating new honors programs and colleges.

    This workshop starts off in a large group, and then is broken down to small groups, focused upon specific institutional types -- large universities; medium-sized institutions; small public, private, and faith-based colleges; and two-year schools.
  • Post-Conference Workshop: Small Teaching for High-Achieving Students (Workshop fee: $150)
    Sunday, Nov. 11 :: 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    Intensive post-conference seminar for honors faculty with pedagogy expert James Lang, author of the acclaimed book Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Teaching.

See all NCHC18 Participation Opportunities Here!

2018 Faculty Development

There's still time to take part in one of NCHC's Summer Professional Development Trainings to boost your honors career!

Partners in the Parks Directors & Faculty Retreat at Highland Cove Lake, NC

Enrollment Management Institute- Orlando, Florida

Best Practices in Honors Assessment Institute - Lincoln, Nebraska

New Directors Institute - Lincoln, Nebraska

NCHC Scholarships & Awards Now Open!

NCHC has many Scholarship and Conference Award applications now available! Check out the details for the following:

Call for Papers: JNCHC

The next issue of JNCHC (deadline: September 1, 2018) invites research essays on any topic of interest to the honors community.

The issue will also include a Forum focused on the theme "Gifted Education and Honors." We invite essays of roughly 1000-2000 words that consider this theme in a practical and/or theoretical context.

This Forum has two lead essays, which are available for download below. The first is by Nicholas Colangelo, Director Emeritus of the Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development and Dean Emeritus of the College of Education, University of Iowa. His essay, "Gifted Education to Honors Education: A Curious History, a Vibrant Future," describes the special needs of gifted high school students that are often surprising or invisible to honors professionals, and he calls for more communication between scholars and practitioners in the fields of gifted and honors education in order to serve gifted students more effectively. This communication is just now beginning in shared programs of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) and the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC). The second essay, "Honors Is a Good Fit for Gifted Students—Or Maybe Not," is by Annmarie Guzy, Associate Professor of English at the University of South Alabama, NCHC Fellow, and author of Honors Composition: Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Practices. Guzy contrasts the typical traits of gifted students and high-achievers (honors students), pointing out incompatibilities that often prevent gifted students from joining or being successful in an honors environment. Like Colangelo, she argues that if honors teachers and administrators want to recruit and retain gifted students, they need to understand and implement changes that welcome these students.

Contributions to the Forum may—but need not—respond to the two lead essays.

Questions that Forum contributors might consider include: A focus on one or more contrasting traits of gifted and honors students and how to interpret and accommodate them. Discussion of insights gleaned from past experiences in trying to accommodate gifted students in honors. The assets and liabilities of adjusting the honors culture to make it welcoming to gifted students. A discussion of not just how honors program can help gifted students but of how gifted students can help honors. An argument that maybe gifted students really do not belong in honors. A discussion of why honors educators have remained unconcerned or unaware of issues in gifted education for so long. Concrete suggestions for better adapting honors programs to the needs of gifted students. Suggestion of a road map for ways that NAGC and NCHC can work together in the future.

Forum essays should focus on ideas, concepts, and/or opinions related to "Gifted Education and Honors" and not just on descriptions of practices at individual institutions.

Information about JNCHC, including the editorial policy and submission guidelines, is available here on the NCHC website.

Please send all submissions to Ada Long at

NCHC journals and monographs are included in the following electronic databases: ERIC, EBSCO, Gale Cengage, and UNL Digital Commons. Both journals are listed in Cabell International's Directory of Publishing Opportunities.

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