News from NCHC | August 2017

In This Issue...


From the President
From the ED - Belonging
Budget and Resources Survey
Calls for Publication
NCHC Portz Grants


2017 Conference Deadlines
Summer Registration Giveaway
Conference Scholarships Available


PITP Everglades

President's Post

Dear NCHC Friends and Colleagues:

Greetings for the late summer. Hope yours has been rewarding.

In partnership with our new executive director, Mary Beth Rathe, the NCHC board leadership has taken on a number of structural challenges that will help us to expand our reach and capabilities.


NCHC officers have been aware since soon after the hire of our new executive director, Mary Beth Rathe, that she would be looking at the structure of the staffing in the office to ensure the different staff functions were meeting the needs of the membership. After a careful evaluating of current positions, she has begun her restructuring of the office. The process will be ongoing for the next several months.

Change invariably raises questions or concerns, and there will certainly be a transition period while new staff members are hired. I'm confident, however, that Mary Beth will make it go smoothly. For the immediate future, she encourages members to use NCHC's general email – – for all usual business matters.

If you have questions or concerns on this restructuring of the office staff, please feel free to contact me or any of the executive officers:

Art L. Spisak –
Naomi Yavneh –
Richard Badenhausen –
Steve Engel –
Kyoko Amano –
Jerry Herron –


Higher education and honors education have changed and developed over the past decades, and the NCHC, in order to serve honors professionals and students, has also been developing more and more as a profession. For example, while the NCHC years ago was mostly geared towards honors deans, directors, and students, today it serves honors professionals in many capacities, such as those in advising, scholar development, and undergraduate research. We want to make sure we're reaching all honors education professionals with our communications and services, and our intent is to be more mindful of that going forward.

This expansion of the field of honors education also has led us to reexamine the structure of our membership. On the one hand, we're looking at membership fees that are more inclusive in their structure – tiered membership dues – so that we're more accessible to honors programs that have limited budgets. To implement this, the board of directors has requested that the Finance Committee review a tiered dues structure at its annual committee meeting in September. Work has already been done to create several models for dues structures, and we're looking for recommendations at the Fall board meeting. Any changes to the dues structure must be voted on by the membership, so stay tuned.

On the other hand, as the reach of NCHC has expanded and our visibility and reputation have grown, we're becoming more mindful of including as members those partners and organizations who are in accord with our own mission. To that end, we've had several ad hoc committees reviewing membership and membership categories over the last year or two. I expect recommendations at the Fall board meeting and will keep you informed.


As I noted in my last post, NCHC finished the 2016 fiscal year in the black. We have also had positive reports on financials for this fiscal year (2017) to date, although conference is a major component and is of course yet to happen.

We also recently got our results from our annual audit, and there were no sanctions or even concerns. Congratulations to Mary Beth and Alana Giesemann for all their careful work in monitoring revenue and expenses, all well as their attention to all the other many regulations that nonprofits have to follow. Unless you've been involved with running a nonprofit, you have little idea of all that's involved!

Work on the 2018 fiscal year budget has begun this month, as the Finance Committee reviews all budget requests from other committees and the leadership. The Committee will meet in September to finalize its own recommendation for a budget, which must be balanced. That recommended budget then goes to the board at its Fall meeting for any adjustments and finalization.


If you are new to honors education, we welcome you to the community! The NCHC can provide you personal direction via a mentor, a toolkit, or a publication. We invite you to reach out to us individually, or call the national office, and we'll find you the resource you need.

You should have gotten an invitation from Andrew Cognard-Black, NCHC's research consultant, to complete the Budget & Resources Survey launched in May. If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to complete the survey. The data Andrew gathers with his surveys ultimately can benefit all of us. If you did not receive this invitation directly, please email a request to Note that completing the survey enters you into a drawing for a chance to win one of two institutional annual memberships to NCHC for 2018!

"Just Honors" is the theme for this year's annual NCHC conference in Atlanta, and the early bird deadline for registration is September 22. For more information on the conference itself, check out the event on the NCHC website. I hope to see you there!

All for this month. More updates on current NCHC happenings in my September post.

These posts are intended to keep you informed on selected issues and decisions that your leadership is facing and making. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at I'm happy to get your feedback and respond to questions.

All best for the start of the semester,

Art L. Spisak
President, National Collegiate Honors Council
Director, University of Iowa Honors Program

From the Executive Director: Belonging

It's that time of year on the NCHC calendar. Anticipation is building and there is a buzz in the air: packing and preparing for travel and double-checking payments and crossing items from lists replace the lazy hum of summer.

Not just on your campus, but here in the national office as well.

In less than 100 days, NCHC members will meet in Atlanta for the 52nd Annual Conference.

And while you are preparing to facilitate and present and learn and network around your honors classroom and practices, there is also an undercurrent nationally among anyone in higher education: leaders on campuses are facing financial deficits; educators are facing increasingly difficult student stories of limitations and barriers; students are coming of age among technological and sociological changes that will impact generations to come. And the politics and unrest continue – and our concerns escalate while our time slips away.

There's a bit of an uncertainty, a tendency to isolate, not unlike when any of us stepped on campus for the first day of the first semester of those first experiences on campus.

But what you soon learned--maybe later that same night on an ice cream run with a roommate, or later in the week packed in a car headed to a football game, or even later the next semester when a professor recognized you or you heard your name whispered across the library—was that you were becoming part of a group.

Belonging. It felt good and made the anxiety and the doubt a little less overwhelming.

At the center of NCHC is that same perspective. All because you belong to something bigger than you could imagine.

You may feel at a loss in this phase of the year. But someone in the NCHC network can help with the resources you need. Connecting with others while you're at conference, and as part of this large growing international organization can help ease your mind. Someone can change anxiety to anticipation.

Your membership means that someone in the organization has an interest in your work in honors. Someone is interested in learning what expertise you have that can provide support to others. Someone is waiting for you to share a solution that you didn't even know was an answer to a problem.

We're glad you're here. Whether it's in Atlanta in November or in an online committee forum or at a professional development institute. Whether you're new at this, or looking to become part of the NCHC legacy.

Your engagement in the NCHC community means that you may save someone a little time, a lot of anxiety, or from a late night recreating a wheel.

And by asking the question that triggers the response that initiates the collaboration?

You may just have become a catalyst.

Our challenge to you is to challenge us, with the opportunities that NCHC and leadership in honors education can develop to address individual needs, campus concerns, higher education issues.

NCHC can do more with you – and for you – to move us all forward.

Mary Beth Rathe
Executive Director, National Collegiate Honors Council

Budget and Resources (BAR) Survey

The deadline is nearing for the BAR Survey! Submit your questionnaire by AUGUST 31 to be entered to win one of two Institutional Memberships for 2018!

On May 12, we launched the NCHC Budget and Resources Survey. The Budget and Resources Survey is the final survey in a series of three projects including last year's NCHC Census of U.S. Honors Programs and Colleges as well as the 2015 Admissions, Retention, and Completion Survey. Results from those earlier surveys already appear on the Research page of the NCHC member site, and together with the Budget and Resources Survey we hope we will provide a better picture of the landscape of honors education in the United States, the students we serve, and the constraints within which we all labor.

If you are the head of honors at your school and did not receive an e-mail invitation to participate in this groundbreaking project, please contact NCHC Research Director, Andrew Cognard-Black at

Call For Papers

The next issue of JNCHC (deadline: September 1, 2017) invites research essays on any topic of interest to the honors community.

The 18.2 issue of JNCHC will also include an Open Forum for Honors. We invite you to submit an informal essay of roughly 1000-2000 words on any current concern in the honors community. Below is a list of the topics we have addressed in the Forums for Honors since the beginning of the journal and the millennium; you are invited to submit an essay on one of these or on any other topic of your choosing.

Liberal Learning in the New Century (1.1) (the only issue not available digitally)
Science in Honors (1.2)
Honors Education (2.1)
Honors and the Creative Arts (2.2)
Liberal Learning (3.1)
Technology in Honors (3.2)
Students and Teachers in Honors (4.1)
Multiperspectivism in Honors Education (4.2)
Research in Honors (5.1)
The Psychology and Sociology of Honors (5.2)
Students in Honors (6.1)
What Is Honors? (6.2)
Outcomes Assessment, Accountability (7.1)
Honors Administration (7.2)
Grades, Scores, and Honors (8.1)
Managing Growth in Honors (8.2)
Honors Culture (9.1)
Honors and Academic Integrity (9.2)
Social Class and Honors (10.1)
Honors in the Digital Age (10.2)
Honors and Athletics (11.1)
Helping Honors Students in Trouble (11.2)
Honors Study Abroad (12.1)
The Institutional Impact of Honors (12.2)
The Economy of Honors (13.1)
Honors Around the Globe (13.2)
Nontraditional Honors Students (14.1)
Admissions and Retention in Honors (14.2)
Honors for Sale (15.1)
Rubrics, Templates...Outcomes (15.2)
Honors and the Future of the Humanities (16.1)
The Value of Honors (presidents' issue) (16.2)
Research in Honors (17.1)
AP and Dual Enrollment Credit in Honors (17.2)
National Scholarships and Honors (18.1)

Forum essays should focus on ideas, concepts, and/or opinions and not just on practices at individual institutions.

Information about JNCHC, including the editorial policy and submission guidelines as well as a style sheet for the journal, is available here on the NCHC website.

Please send all submissions to Ada Long at

NCHC Portz Grants Now Open

Are you seeking to infuse some energy in your honors program with an innovative project? NCHC wants to assist you in making your dream a reality!

The NCHC Awards & Grants Committee invites interested NCHC institutions and professional members to submit an application for an NCHC Portz Grant. These grants are intended to support honors program/college innovation and can be small (up to $500) or large (up to $1,500)! Complete the NCHC Portz Grant Application Form below, including your supporting narrative and proposed project budget.

Fall 2017 Portz Grants applications are now open and close September 15.

Apply Here Today

#NCHC17 Registration Information


All Conference Presenters must be registered and paid for the 2017 Conference by August 15th in order to secure your presentation in the schedule! Don't delay!

Dates & Location
November 8-12, 2017 | Atlanta, GA | Westin Peachtree Hotel
Conference kicks off with registration check-in on Wednesday evening, November 8. Take part in the popular Student Open Mic Night, or just settle in and plan your event schedule for the next few busy days! Conference sessions begin bright and early on Thursday morning, so be sure to get check-in for you or your group out of the way on Wednesday.

Hotel & Travel
See our Conference Travel Page for all the details on our hotel block, and member discounts on airfare! You can save up to 10% on your flights, and discounts are underway for ground transportation as well.

New Member Registration Process
Because our member registration software is all new this year with YourMembership, here are a few tips to get you (or a group) registered for NCHC17.

  • You can access the Conference event registration through the Conference Event page on the website, or the Calendar at the bottom of your member login page.
  • Each conference attendee in your group will need to be added as a "contact" into the YM member database. (Your institutional contact should already be in the YM system, as well as any additional professionals or students who hold a paid membership.) This will link them to your member institution in our database, so they can access member prices for conference registration. Sign Up Your Contacts Here They'lll receive an email notification, and THEN you may start registration for #NCHC17.
  • If one person is registering your entire group, you'll complete a full registration for each person by selecting "Save and Add Another" at the end of the process. When you're finished, you will receive an invoice for the whole group.

Conference Programs:
Did you know that Americans use an average of 749 pounds of paper per person, per year? In an effort to reduce our conference footprint (as well as your conference costs!), we are now including a print program request as a part of your conference registration. If you would like a printed copy of the conference program when you arrive in Atlanta, please select that option as you register each individual attendee. Printed programs will only be available until the Early Bird Deadline, to allow for printing time, so register early if you're a lover of the printed page! We encourage you share within your group, or go paperless for 2017.

If you do pass on the printed program, try our Mobile App! The NCHC conference app provides a full event schedule with the ability to build your own custom schedule. You can also view our sponsors and speakers, receive notifications and updates in the app, and much more! The app will be free to download in the App Store, with a code for the NCHC event coming this summer. Watch for details as our schedule develops!

Atlanta Awaits Summer Giveaway Contest  - Atlanta Skyline

NCHC's Summer Registration Giveaway is Back!

Atlanta Awaits this November! NCHC is giving away THREE FREE REGISTRATIONS to #NCHC17, and all you have to do to enter is register! On August 25th, the 2nd name will be drawn from all registered attendees to receive a free conference registration. Registrations must be received by 11:59pm CST on August 24th to be eligible to win. All registrations received by NCHC prior to August 25th are included as eligible for the drawing.

The final winner will be drawn on September 25; the earlier you register, the more chances you have to win!

Register Today!

Scholarships and Awards Now Open!

In addition to the Summer Registration Giveaway, NCHC has several Scholarship and Conference Award applications currently open! Both the Freddye T. Davy and the John J. Hanigan memorial scholarships provide funds toward student conference registration and travel.

One Final PITP Project for 2017!

The 2017 Partners in the Parks projects have been a huge success, taking students all over the country for experiential learning opportunities in some of our nation's most beautiful and interesting natural spaces.

Registration is now open for one final project this year - in Everglades National Park! One of our most popular trips, it takes place December 27, 2017 - January 1, 2018. Join faculty and staff from Hillsborough Community College as we explore the "river of grass" during the holidays – the best time to be in Florida. Slough slog to cypress domes, nature's cathedrals. Paddle untamed marshland among gators and crocodiles. Observe birds from a bygone era. Celebrate the new year watching fireworks across Florida Bay along the Florida Keys with new friends. Your adventure awaits!

Register here today!