News from NCHC | August 2021

In This Issue...

Academic Freedom & Tenure

NCHC Fall Portz Grants

From the Conference Chair

Florida Freebie Giveaway

Call for Student Moderators

Ad Hoc Committee on Basic Characteristics

Student Awards & Scholarships

Open Call for NSSE

2022 Board Nominations

JNCHC 22.1 Now Available

JNCHC Call for Papers

GEICO Member Discount

NCHC Signs on to 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure

The "1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure" is a document that only few have read, yet most NCHC readers will readily voice support for the vision of academic freedom articulated therein. Many readers are also protected on campus and at work by faculty bylaws that draw heavily from this monumental treatise. Predicated on the idea that education is conducted for the "common good," and that "the common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition," the Statement of Principles exists as a forceful reminder to faculty, administrators, politicians, and the public alike of what is at stake when, as the U.S Supreme Court later warned, socio-political forces "cast a pall of orthodoxy over the classroom" (Keyishian v. the SUNY Board of Regents, 1967).

The result of decades of conferences, drafting, and revision by representatives from the American Council on Education (ACE), the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and what later became the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), the 1940 Statement of Principles subsequently has been endorsed by hundreds of scholarly societies. Until recently, however, the National Collegiate Honors Council was not among them.

That all changed earlier this summer when the NCHC Board of Directors voted unanimously to add NCHC to the growing list of endorsements. Those interested in seeing the full list of endorsing associations, as well as learning more about the 1940 Statement of Principles, can find additional information online at the following link:

NCHC Portz Grants

NCHC Fall 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 2021 Portz Grants applications open August 1 and close September 28.

Apply Today

From the Conference Chair

Dear NCHC members,

The 56th NCHC Annual Conference begins 64 days from today!

We are looking forward to seeing folks at NCHC21 this October in Orlando, Florida. I want to acknowledge that COVID cases have been rising nationally and assure you we are keeping an eye on the situation on-site and communicating with the hotel on a regular basis. There is time for the current curve to peak and come back down. I am encouraged that Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort and the Walt Disney World parks require masks of all, regardless of vaccine status. Bookmark the following page to learn more about the hotel's and Disney's efforts to maintain a COVID safe environment:

Additional safety information for Orlando can be accessed here:

NCHC's conference sessions will take place on levels that can be navigated by escalators. Plan your day so that you do not have to go back to your room frequently during the day. Over the last 18 months, we have learned to be more self-contained in our travel. Establish a personal travel plan and adjust as needed. Pack masks, travel-size sanitizer, refillable water bottles, and snacks. Incorporate "outside time" into your day.

I personally implore you to get vaccinated for your safety and for the safety of others who are unable to get vaccinated. The science backs the model that if we can reach a critical mass of vaccinated individuals we can beat this. Ultimately, we each need to make the decision whether to and how to travel as the landscape is evolving. Let's all do our part to improve the outlook.


Christina McIntyre
NCHC President-Elect
NCHC21 Conference Chair


NCHC is Florida-bound this October! We're giving away THREE FREE REGISTRATIONS to #NCHC21, and all you have to do to enter is register! On September 1, the final name will be drawn from all registered attendees to receive a free conference registration. Registrations must be received by 11:59 pm CST on August 31 to be eligible to win. All registrations received by NCHC prior to September 1 are included as eligible for the drawing.

Winner #1: Dr. Alexander Hirsch, University of Alaska-Fairbanks
Winner #2: Tanya Radford, Dominican College of Blauvelt

Register Today

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Additional Disney Theme Park Tickets

Visit the Hotel & Travel Page or your hotel reservation page for a link to book discounted additional tickets for Disney Theme Park experiences while in Florida. Please Note that Disney Theme Parks are currently operating at a reduced capacity. Please see the Walt Disney World website for all COVID-19 guidelines and important details about visiting the parks.

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Call for Student Moderators

NCHC21 will be filled with opportunities to learn, engage, share, and make meaningful connections. Students can make the most of their conference experience by volunteering as a session moderator! This is a great way to network and lead in our honors community. (Training will be provided.)

Student Moderators are assigned to conference sessions upon review of a student's application to participate. Responsibilities of Student Moderators include—but are not limited to—the following:

  • Arriving early to assigned General Session room
  • Ensuring presentation room is set up correctly
  • Introducing session presenters
  • Keeping track of time for each presentation
  • Reminding presenters of time frames
  • Encouraging and facilitating discussions following each presentation
  • If you are interested in serving as a Student Moderator at #NCHC21, please fill out an application below. Before you fill out the application, please reach out to your honors director, and verify that your institution will be paying for your conference registration, as well as your travel/lodging in Orlando.

    If you are also a conference presenter, there is a section of the application to indicate the time/date of your scheduled presentation(s). Times for #NCHC21 presentations will be released soon; please wait until you find out your scheduled presentation time to complete your application.

    Student Moderator Application

    Ad Hoc Committee on the Basic Characteristics

    Dear Colleagues:

    I am pleased to announce that at its summer meeting, the NCHC Board voted to affirm the current direction of the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Basic Characteristics, co-chaired by Richard Badenhausen (Westminster College), Jim Buss (University of Northern Kentucky), and Carrie Pritchett (Brazosport College).

    You might recall last year's newsletter where I announced the formation of this 12-person group and charged it with examining these guiding principles first approved by the NCHC Executive Committee in 1994. The committee has engaged in year-long generative conversations to update these central principles so they reflect current theories and practices of the academy. I am particularly appreciative of the diverse perspectives of the committee, which represents administrators, faculty, and staff at public and private institutions, colleges and universities, two-year and four-year programs from just about every region of the country, and small, medium, and large honors colleges and programs.

    When the committee co-chairs presented to the board a few weeks ago, these were the most salient points that struck me and my board colleagues:

    • The committee's decision to move the Basic Characteristics from a check-list of "stuff" toward a set of shared principles that stake out the most important features of honors education.
    • The new term "shared principles and practices" to head the document to emphasize the larger values and philosophies that unite members of the honors community.
    • The proposed form of the "shared principles and practices" document serves as a positioning/branding document that helps NCHC do a better job "owning" honors education in a way that AAC&U, for example, now owns High Impact Practices, while still borrowing heavily from the language of the Basic Characteristics.
    • The committee's framing of honors education is much more inclusive in both spirit and execution than the Basic Characteristics, which don't feature the words "diversity," "equity," or "inclusion" anywhere in their text. This fact makes the current document problematic as a representation of our organization, especially in light of NCHC's Statement on Diversity and Inclusion.
    • The new document centers students and teaching/learning in the honors experience in a way that is less evident in the Basic Characteristics.
    • Finally, there are many other exciting features of this new approach that I am eager to share – including a revised structure and the inclusion of toolkits to help programs enhance their practices – and you can learn about these developments in forthcoming open forums, both at our annual conference in Orlando (Saturday, Oct. 30 at 1pm EST) and in a virtual forum after that (Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 2pm CST). Look for announcements about these events soon.

    I offer my gratitude to the committee for its hard work over the past year and am eager to follow their continued conversations, especially as it processes membership feedback and brings this process to a close by the winter board meeting in February 2022.

    Elaine Torda
    NCHC Past President

    NCHC Student Awards and Scholarships

    There's still time to submit for these student awards and scholarships! Share with your honors student boy to

    Freddye T. Davy Student Scholarship (EXTENDED to August 31)
    Four $1,000 scholarships toward travel costs for NCHC21

    Community Engagement Award (EXTENDED to August 31)
    Online platform to promote community project + national recognition

    John J. Hanigan Student Scholarship (closes September 8)
    One $500 scholarship toward travel costs for NCHC21

    NCHC Student of the Year Award (closes September 8)
    $1,000 to one 2-Year and one 4-Year Institution Winner

    National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)

    Open Call for Participation in the Fourth Year (2022) of the NSSE Honors Consortium

    Deadline: September 22, 2021

    The NCHC Research Committee is pleased to announce a call for interested parties at NCHC four-year degree member institutions to join the Honors Consortium for the Spring 2022 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 special interest to honors educators. This will be the fourth year in a multi-year effort to maximize participation among interested schools that participate in NSSE in alternating biennial or triennial cycles.

    This project opens up to participating institutions the possibility of comparing honors to non-honors students on every item in the standard NSSE survey, as well as a small set of additional questions designed by a special working group of the NCHC Research Committee. More than 20 schools have already participated in the last three administrations of NSSE, generating rich student-level data for comparison of the honors student experience with that of the general student body. For instance, evidence from the NSSE Honors Consortium Survey has shown us that honors program participation in the first year of college is a positive predictor of intention to return to an institution the following school year.

    For full details, please visit

    Honors program leaders who are interested in this project should work to secure commitments from campus stakeholders and submit a signed NSSE data sharing agreement by September 22, 2021. Those pursuing such commitments are encouraged to indicate their intention to join the Honors Consortium as soon as possible.

    For those interested in joining the NSSE Honors Consortium, please contact consortium coordinator Dr. Andrew Cognard-Black (e-mail:, co-chair of the NCHC Research Committee.

    2022 Board of Directors Nominations

    Institutional members still have opportunities to support candidates for open seats on the 2022 Board of Directors.

    Candidates can be nominated from the floor of the Annual Business meeting at the NCHC Annual Conference in October. Those interested in submitting a nomination form are encouraged to do so below, up to and including the day of the Annual Business meeting.

    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 2021. Elections are held by an independent vendor, Big Pulse, and results are vetted through NCHC's accounting firm, HBE.

    If you have questions concerning this vote or process, please contact the NCHC office at

    JNCHC 22.1 Now Available

    Disputes over boundaries arise in every individual and collective phase of human interaction, from wars over national borders to arguments in domestic relationships. Boundaries define us as people, communities, and nations, distinguishing between what is ours and not ours, determining not only who or what we are but what opportunities and restrictions direct our actions. Exploring the boundaries of honors education goes to the heart of our purpose, of all that we try to accomplish in honors and of what we each do day to day. Christopher Keller's lead essay in this issue's Forum on "The Boundaries of Honors" takes on the full range of the big questions about what we mean by "honors education": what it does, what it can do, and what it should do given adherence to or defiance of its real and imagined borders.


    Download JNCHC 22.1 Today

    Final Call for JNCHC Submissions

    The next issue of JNCHC (deadline: September 1, 2021) invites research essays on any topic of interest to the honors community. The issue will also include a Forum focused on the theme "Honors after COVID," in which we invite honors educators to look beyond the urgencies of the moment and imagine the pandemic's impact on the future of honors in higher education. We invite essays of roughly 1000-2000 words that consider this theme in a practical and/or theoretical context.

    The lead essay for the Forum is by François G. Amar of the University of Maine. In his essay, "Honors in the Post-Pandemic World: Situation Perilous," Amar provides a wide-ranging yet succinct description of the changes wrought by COVID and speculation about how these changes, though perilous, can lead to significant future benefits. He stresses the moral and educational imperative of making our way through the current crisis by adhering to "the core values of honors, such as diversity, community, student agency, and inclusive excellence," which will help honors weather the coming financial contractions. At the same time, the pandemic has taught us lessons and offered future pathways that can advance the value of honors through benefits, like interinstitutional collaboration, that have become a necessity during the crisis. The synchronicity between the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement has also highlighted inequities that require renewed attention and new action that can transform honors, infusing it with deeper introspection of past and current inadequacies in addressing issues of racial and social justice. Contributors to the Forum on "Honors after COVID" may, but are not obliged to, respond directly to Amar's essay.

    Questions that Forum contributors might consider include:

    • Will the technologies that have been thrust upon all educators and students be a threat to future learning or a doorway into enriched educational options?
    • Will the "core values of honors, such as diversity, community, student agency, and inclusive excellence" gain strength from the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement?
    • Will these "core values" elicit skepticism among those who see honors as elitist?
    • Will the access made possible through Zoom and other internet connections make honors more feasible and attractive to previously skeptical or excluded students?
    • Will the financial gains of relying increasingly on distance learning disrupt the sense of community that honors fosters?
    • Will privileges for honors students—such as small class sizes, close relationships to instructors, and opportunities for research, study abroad, and service leaning—come under fire as unaffordable luxuries?
    • What specific forms of intra- and inter-institutional cooperation might benefit honors both nationally and in individual programs and colleges?
    • Are national test scores likely now to become less influential in admissions to institutions and to honors, and to what effect?

    Information about JNCHC—including the editorial policy, submission guidelines, guidelines for abstracts and keywords, and a style sheet—is available on the NCHC website. Please send all submissions to Ada Long at NCHC journals (JNCHC and HIP) 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.

    Member Benefit: GEICO Discount

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