News from NCHC | December 2019

In This Issue...

From the President

NCHC19 by the Numbers

What's Your Honors Story?

NCHC19 Conference Photos

Honors and AP

Dates & Deadlines

NCHC Holiday Hours

NCHC Affiliated Events

SocialLink Tip

New NCHC Monograph Available

HIP Call for Submissions

JNCHC Call for Papers

GEICO Member Discount

From the President

Dear NCHC Colleagues,

December often is seen as a good time to reflect on the past year (or rest and recuperate after a busy fall semester and holiday season). Conversely, it can be viewed as a time to think about the future. Perhaps a bit of both will best serve our needs today.

The New Orleans conference, with its focus on creativity and innovation, resulted from a combination of familiar and new elements and faces. The city welcomed 1,967 honors administrators, faculty, students and staff—all with the intent of actively engaging in the culture and activities of honors and the city. The sessions and conversations were filled with idea exchanges, learning and sharing. New this year were some notable innovations:

  • Video recording of the Best Honors Administrative Practices sessions - now available online for members' viewing
  • A speed socializing event, where over 50 attendees gathered to meet, mingle, and network
  • A Brain Break room filled with games, puzzles, creative tables, and more, all designed to provide the ever-so-important respite from constant input
  • Luncheon meetings with the leaders of NAAAHP and Advanced Placement discussing common interests and ideas
  • 686 conference sessions and events—reviewed by an expanded group of specialty program leaders and general sessions chosen by a blind review process
  • The return of early morning yoga with Lisa Coleman
  • A post conference workshop on teaching through improvisation with Carrie Lobman, associate professor and chair of the department of Learning and Teaching at the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education
  • A student-centered workshop on exercising one's right to free speech by local Dillard University president Dr. Walter Kimbrough, whose opening plenary session spoke to the very relevant and timely topic of free speech
  • A filled-to-capacity hands-on workshop on engaging our creativity by keynote speaker Lynda Barry

Our keynote speaker, Lynda Barry (I highly suggest you check out her graphic novels, including Syllabus, which is filled with interesting activities to incorporate into classes) certainly touched every emotional node, from laughter to crying, as she shared personal insights, experiences, and research on the importance of creativity in all aspects of life and personal development. Her generosity and genuine interest in others led to over 2.5 hours of book signing, drawing and personal chats with everyone who stayed to interact with her.

I cannot thank enough all of the people who contributed in some way to the success of this conference, from suggestions of topics, to proposal readings, to speaker suggestions, to general support of me and my sometimes crazy ideas, etc. Everything I could have imagined and more came from the contributions of everyone, including those who could not join us physically but certainly were present in spirit. This truly was the work of many, many people. Even more, I want to thank the NCHC office staff, for their tireless efforts to keep me moving forward. Without them and meeting planner Julie Holm, we would have had a very different looking event—if it occurred at all.

As I sat in the Annual Business meeting, listening to my friend, Richard Badenhausen, reflect on his presidency, I was reminded of the talks (both presidential and elsewhere) in the previous years, that highlight many of the tenets of honors and NCHC: Research, teaching and learning, academic excellence, creativity, innovation, best practices, diversity and inclusion, civil discourse, and collegiality, just to name a few, for all the extended members of our organization: administrators, faculty, students, staff, and the family members who support us.

Every single member of the NCHC community (yes, each of you) plays an important role in the perceptions, offerings, and achievements of honors on our home campuses, nationally and internationally. In a time when many of the positives humans achieve can be outshone by seemingly overwhelming negatives, I feel honors education, and NCHC, can be the lights used to help us refocus. I look forward to working with each and every one of you over the next year as we pursue some of the greatest accomplishments we can hope for: to actively listen to one another with the desire to assist; to celebrate differences and find commonalities; and to encourage our students and ourselves to be positive explorers of truth, integrity, tolerance, and the pursuit of lifelong learning.

I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season and a relaxing, rejuvenating break.

Elaine Torda,
NCHC President



What's Your Honors Story?

We asked attendees at NCHC19 to leave us a video message during the conference, telling us their honors story or how honors has changed them. See what they had to say!

Tell us your honors story: send a short video (under 2 minutes) to, and we may use your story in upcoming messaging about NCHC and honors!

Share Your Honors Story


NCHC19 Conference Photos

See all the excitement from our Annual Conference in NOLA in the Conference Photo Gallery!

View 2019 Photos

Honors and AP

Dear Honors Friends and Colleagues:

NCHC has made great strides over the past few years helping support, generate, and highlight research in the area of honors. Our journals, monographs, and conferences are increasingly chock full of valuable data and findings about who is in honors, how our students behave, and the value-added effect of honors. In fact, the most recent monograph published by NCHC this fall is devoted to research in honors while one of the five major initiatives of our new strategic plan focuses on research. In short, if you care about data-driven findings about honors, NCHC is the place to be.

Another pillar of the strategic plan is advocacy. That initiative serves as a reminder that we are a membership organization whose mission is focused on helping advance the cause of honors education for our members, a project that can take many different forms. For example, one conversation taking place over the past year among the NCHC leadership has cut across both of those strategic priorities: the tension between honors and AP.

We have heard from our membership that the College Board's AP program has disrupted their programs in numerous ways:

  • by turning away qualified students from honors who possess high amounts of college equivalency credit due to AP exams;
  • by giving students a false sense of their own abilities and thus harming their academic performance in post-introductory coursework;
  • by diminishing the powerful impact of honors in suggesting to families that AP work in high school is similar to honors coursework.

As a result, we have engaged representatives from the College Board—including both the chair of the AP Advisory Committee and the Senior Director of Higher Education Outreach—in conversation about this issue, so they better understand some of the tensions that exist, so we can pursue research to better understand how those tensions play out on individual campuses, and so we might provide our membership with some ideas around how to address the problem using data-informed decision-making.

Those efforts have includes sharing the fall 2016 issue of JNCHC, which contains a Forum thread on the role of AP in honors, literature the Advisory Committee was not aware of; meeting with College Board representatives in spring 2019 to discuss the issue; surveying NCHC board members at the summer board meeting on how these issues effect their own programs and having an additional forum at our annual meeting in New Orleans. Just two weeks ago, we held a conference call designed to identify some pointed questions we will gather data on, a project that will be sharpened next month at an AAC&U roundtable I am holding with members of the College Board and fellow honors administrator David Marshall from California State University, San Bernardino.

Ultimately, we hope to identify a few partner institutions that will pilot a research project examining the impact of AP on their local population, share those results at next year's NCHC meeting in Dallas, and then hopefully expand the scope of that work to include more institutions, using the excellent model established by Andrew Cognard-Black in his work this past year tracking honors student engagement via the NSSE survey.

This is a long-winded way of saying that many of our NCHC committee leaders, national office staff members, journal and monograph editors, and fellow honors colleagues are engaged in research on issues that matter deeply to our member institutions and whose ultimate goal is to advocate for programs in those institutions, to help make honors a thriving environment for student learning, even in the face of the many headwinds present in higher education.

Finally, I'd like to end by saying what a pleasure it has been serving as NCHC's president this past year. I continue to be amazed by the commitment of hundreds of NCHC volunteers to making our organization successful and improving the lives of so many students across the country and throughout the world.

Have a wonderful holiday break with friends and family, as well as a healthy, productive New Year.

Richard Badenhausen

Dates and Deadlines

Take note of these upcoming important dates for NCHC members!

December 20NCHC Office Closes for Holidays
December 31
2019 NCHC Memberships Expire
January 1Deadline for HIP Submissions
January 2NCHC Office Reopens after Holidays
January 31Place as Text: Charleston Registration Closes
February 3-27Proposals Accepted for NCHC20

NCHC Holiday Hours

The NCHC Office will be closing Friday, December 20 for the holiday season, and reopening on Thursday, January 2. We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season, and we'll see you in the new decade!

NCHC Affiliated Events

See the calendar below for events hosted by NCHC member institutions that may be of interest to the honors community.

June 15-17, 20205th Honors International Faculty Institute
August 20 -December 7, 2020Grand Canyon Semester @ Northern Arizona University

NCHC members are invited to submit their faculty and student honors events for inclusion in the Affiliated Events calendar. Submitted events will be reviewed monthly.

Submit Your Event

SocialLink Tip

Have you checked out your brand new SocialLink profile yet? Simply log in to NCHC's member portal to get started!

It's simple to set your user preferences:

  1. After logging in, click on your name in the top right banner, and choose Account + Settings
  2. As you complete your profile and account information, you can click the small red icons to make your information either visible to Members Only, or private to just you and NCHC administrators. "Save Changes "when complete.
  3. If you choose Information and Settings in the left menu, you can select your preferred notifications and emails, set your time zone, choose daily or weekly digests for SocialLink updates, and more!

If you have any questions or issues with your new SocialLink profile access, please reach out to the NCHC Office for assistance!

New NCHC Monograph


Get your digital copy here (Digital Commons)

About The Demonstrable Value of Honors Education:

"We all know—instinctively, experientially—that what we as honors teachers and administrators do for our students adds value to their college education and general college experience. Providing hard, demonstrable evidence for that which we know in our bodies as it were... turns out not to be so easy, a fact anyone who has had to make the case for additional, or even simply continued, honors funding to a new dean or college president has likely encountered. The results presented in this volume provide, in a diversity of ways via a diversity of research approaches, the sorts of evidence honors teachers and administrators have long needed. Will that evidence be enough to convince every dean or college president of the need for continued honors sustenance? The answer may have to depend on the particular dean or president in question. I believe the essays in this monograph provide the strongest case for the added value of honors that has been made to date." —Dr. Rusty Rushton, University of Alabama at Birmingham

HIP Call for Submissions


We are adding a new feature to Honors in Practice called "Brief Ideas about What Works in Honors." Please see below for details.

Call for Submissions

Honors in Practice is accepting submissions for Volume 15 (2020). The deadline is January 1, 2020. Submissions and inquiries should be directed to Ada Long at Below you will find the editorial policy and submissions guidelines. The list of Editorial Board members, instructions for abstracts and keywords, and a style sheet for NCHC journals can be found on the NCHC website.

Editorial Policy for Honors in Practice

Honors in Practice (HIP) is a refereed journal of applied research publishing articles about innovative honors practices and integrative, interdisciplinary, and pedagogical issues of interest to honors educators. HIP employs a double-blind peer review process. Authors should include discussion of how central ideas and practices may be applied in campus settings other than their own, and the thesis should be located within a larger context such as theoretical perspectives, trends in higher education, or historical background. Essays should demonstrate awareness of previous discussions of the topic in honors publications and other relevant sources; bibliographies of JNCHC, HIP, and the NCHC Monograph Series are available on the NCHC website.

Brief Ideas about What Works in Honors

These short descriptions of a successful course, project, idea, or assignment should be 500-750 words long, and the abstract should be one sentence.

Submission Guidelines

We accept material by e-mail attachment in Word (not pdf). We do not accept material by fax or hard copy.

If documentation is used, the documentation style can be whatever is appropriate to the author's primary discipline or approach (MLA, APA, etc.), employing internal citation to a list of references (bibliography).

All essay submissions to the journals must include an abstract of no more than 250 words and a list of no more than five keywords. For a submission to "Brief Ideas about What Works in Honors," the abstract should be one sentence.

Only the "Brief Ideas" have minimum or maximum length requirements; the length should be dictated by the topic and its most effective presentation.

Accepted essays are edited for grammatical and typographical errors and for infelicities of style or presentation. Authors have ample opportunity to review and approve edited manuscripts before publication.

All submissions and inquiries should be directed to Ada Long at

Abstracting and indexing services providing coverage of HIP are Academic OneFile; Cabell's Directory of Publishing Opportunities in Educational Curriculum & Methods and Educational Psychology & Administration; Current Abstracts; Education Abstracts; Education Index; Education Research Complete; Education Source; Educator's Reference Complete; ERIC; InfoTrac; and OmniFile Full Text Mega. Current and back issues of HIP are available in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Digital Commons repository: and for purchase on the NCHC website.

JNCHC Call for Papers

The next issue of JNCHC (deadline: March 1, 2020) invites research essays on any topic of interest to the honors community.

The issue will also include a Forum focused on the theme "The Professionalization of Honors." 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 Patricia J. Smith. In her essay, "The Professionalization of Honors Education," she cites the theory of how an occupation becomes a profession advanced by sociologist Theodore Caplow in 1954: "Caplow identifies four stages whereby a developing profession transitions to a professional association: organizing membership, changing the name of occupation from its previous status, developing a code of ethics, and after a period of political agitation, beginning a process by which to enforce occupational barriers." Synchronizing the evolution of the NCHC with the Caplow's stages of professionalization, Smith argues that the issue of certification, which has been controversial and disruptive in NCHC's past, is likely to arise again as a matter for serious attention.

Questions for Forum contributors to consider might include the following:

  • Is certification—the establishment and enforcement of "occupational barriers" (Caplow) or the use of "a nationally accepted instrument to be used in a process of certifying honors colleges" (Smith)—a necessary next step in the professionalization of honors?
  • Is the professionalization of honors inevitable? Is it necessary? Is it desirable?
  • Is standardization a necessary consequence of professionalization?
  • What values does certification add to or subtract from honors education?
  • If the NCHC were to "establish and sustain its jurisdictional authority" over honors education, what might be the responses of various interest groups such as two-year colleges and research universities? Would they accept this authority or withdraw from it? What would be the effect on the internationalization of honors, given the different structures and values of honors education in other countries?
  • What characteristics of honors education might (or might not) distinguish the NCHC from the kind of professional organizations that Caplow describes?
  • If honors develops as a discipline rather than a profession, is Caplow's argument for the inevitability of "occupational barriers" or certification irrelevant to honors?

Information about JNCHC—including the editorial policy, submission guidelines, guidelines for abstracts and keywords, and a style sheet—are attached and are also 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.

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