News from NCHC | February 2021

In This Issue...

From the ED

Celebrating Black History Month

2021 Conference Update

2021 Events & Institutes

2021 Awards Closing Soon

Dates & Deadlines

Call for Monograph Submissions

JNCHC Call for Papers

GEICO Member Discount

From the ED

In a week that celebrates both Presidents and Valentines, it seems appropriate that we take a moment to acknowledge the leadership and relationships that helped NCHC remain a key resource for honors directors during 2020. The NCHC Annual Report shares a story of your persistence in providing honors resources regardless of the circumstances.

The expertise of the network shone from the beginning of the year as individuals jumped online to assist colleagues with moving honors coursework online - and it culminated in a virtual event that provided a digital honors footprint unlike any other in the organization's history: NCHC20 provided presentations, networking, and re-connections through the fall months, and continues to serve as a resource for those who registered.

The previous year tested our agility, and it's clear that this year is going to challenge our patience, our vision, our creativity, and our adaptability. Again. But I hope that every time you think about how your organization responded in 2020, you find encouragement and can reflect on your connections to colleagues throughout the network.

Maybe February isn't too late to set 'resiliency' as the NCHC word for 2021.

Be safe & be well,

Mary Beth

View the 2020 Annual Report

Celebrating Black History Month

As we celebrate Black History Month in February, we hope these resources can support your classroom and honors discussions!

2021 Conference Update

We hope that you have been thinking about your conference proposals, even if you are in the very beginning stages of just reviewing your research or considering collegiate collaborators!

While many of you are used to having proposals open at the end of January, we want to let you know that we are continuing to weigh all the options and opportunities for presentations and networking. The changes to event planning are far-reaching, and we recognize that many of you are also working with budgets, schedules, and student obligations in flux from day to day.

With all those parameters in mind, the board and staff, along with many members of the conference planning committee, are working to think through this event to provide you with another conference experience that lets you "Reimagine Honors" in 2021.

Look for additional information in your inbox as it becomes available.

2021 Events and Institutes

Our facilitators and committees are finalizing details on upcoming events, but you can save the dates for these virtual institutes! More online roundtables and faculty chats will be forthcoming, so watch your inbox for more opportunities to engage and interact with your honors colleagues!

Virtual Summer Institutes

June 8-10Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Honors Programs and Colleges: Approaches to Anti-Racism in Honors

June 23-25 Gateway City as Text Institute: Reading the Local in the New Now

July 12-13New Directors Institute

July 14Admissions & Recruitment Institute

July 15-16Honors Assessment Institute

July 28-30The Future of Honors

Partners in the Parks Series

Starting in March, Partners in the Parks is bringing you an all new online opportunitiy, FREE for NCHC members! Every Third Thursday at 3, you can join in the conversation to learn more about our national parks and interact with trip leaders and National Park Service personnel. Registration opening soon!

NCHC Awards Closing Soon

NCHC Founders Award closes March 1:
The Founders Award serves to honor members who have been instrumental in the development and advancement of NCHC and its programs. They have continually given of their time and talents to support honors faculty and students across the country, and their contributions have been vital to the growth of NCHC and the development of its future.

NCHC Fellows closes March 1:
NCHC Fellows are distinguished individuals who have given substantial time and energy to furthering the cause of honors education. Their years of dedication and leadership, paired with recognition on their home campus for outstanding honors teaching, make them invaluable sources of knowledge in the honors community. NCHC members are invited to nominate those who have made a national impact on the honors community for distinction as an NCHC Fellow.

Portz Interdisciplinary Fellowship Awards close March 15:
The Portz Interdisciplinary Fellowship program is intended to support creative and innovative endeavors that cross boundaries, inviting application from individual students who wish to undertake cross disciplinary research or from a team of two students from different disciplines who propose a single collaborative project. The project will be funded for a period of up to 18 months.

Spring Portz Grants close March 15:
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)!

Dates and Deadlines

Take note of these upcoming important dates for NCHC members!

March 1JNCHC Submissions Due
Fellows Applications Close
Founders Applications Close
Administrative Excellence Award Opens

March 15Portz Interdisciplinary Fellowship Applications Close
Spring Portz Grant Applications Close

March 31Administrative Excellence Award Closes
Consultant Grants Close

Call for Submission: Honors College Monograph

Abstract Proposals Due: April 15, 2021 (400-600 words)

Essays of Accepted Abstracts Due: Nov. 15, 2021 (4,000-7,000 words)

Editor: Richard Badenhausen (Dean of the Honors College at Westminster College; Past President of NCHC)

Contact: / 801.832.2460

A dozen years have passed since the publication of Peter Sederberg's Honors College Phenomenon (NCHC, 2008), a volume that investigated the operations of 35 NCHC member institutions surveyed on their respective honors colleges. That text helped flesh out the "Basic Characteristics of a Fully Developed Honors College" (approved by the NCHC Board of Directors in 2005) and offered insight into the burgeoning honors college movement.

Today there are more than 250 honors colleges in the United States alone with more coming online each semester. No longer a mere "phenomenon," honors college are an entrenched part of the higher education landscape, often playing a key role in a university's enrollment management tactics, strategic positioning plans, and fundraising efforts. At a time when many sectors in higher education are contracting, honors colleges represent a growth industry, often one of the first features a new university president will look towards to engage donors, innovate in curriculum, and grow enrollment. In light of that context and the massive changes to higher education over the past decade, the time is ripe for a new volume exploring the role honors colleges play on campuses across the country (and abroad, if applicable).

This volume will be of use to those hoping to start or transition to an honors college and those looking to enhance an existing honors college. It will help university personnel who are not part of the honors community better understand the key role played by honors colleges and it will provide benchmark data on honors colleges to help programs budget, plan, and innovate.

The volume will be anchored by an essay written by Trisha Smith and Andrew Cognard-Black on the characteristics of the 21st-century honors college, based on national survey data. While all topics will be considered, the subjects mentioned in the chapter outline at the end of this document are of particular interest.

With the exception of the case studies, authors are encouraged to move beyond the "here's what we do at our place" orientation and instead provide well-researched essays that explore honors more broadly and acknowledge the literature on honors education, honors colleges, and higher ed. A range of perspectives are welcome, including those from faculty, staff, and administrators.

Email proposals of 400-600 words to Richard Badenhausen at before April 15, 2021 and include a current vita or resume.

Draft Outline

Part One: Context

  1. History of Honors Colleges
  2. Characteristics of the 21st Century Honors College (Smith & Cognard-Black)
  3. Why start an honors college?
  4. Transitioning from honors program to honors college: moving beyond changing the sign on the door
  5. Other?

Part Two: Honors College Case Studies

  1. Large R1
  2. Regional University
  3. Private 4-year
  4. Two-year college
  5. Honors College LLC
  6. Honors Colleges at HBCU
  7. Other?

Part Three: Targeted Issues

  1. Enrollment management strategies within an honors college
  2. Honors college curricular models
  3. Honors college budgeting strategies
  4. Fundraising strategies in honors colleges
  5. Honors college advisory boards (or, more broadly, the role of alums in honors colleges)
  6. Marketing and communication (internal and external) strategies for honors colleges
  7. The role of the honors college dean
  8. Honors colleges and campus politics
  9. Fellowship advising and the honors college
  10. Honors colleges as leaders in diversity, equity, and inclusion
  11. Other?

* * * * *

Final Call for JNCHC Submissions

The next issue of JNCHC (deadline: March 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 "The Boundaries of Honors." We invite essays of roughly 1000-2000 words that consider this theme in a practical and/or theoretical context.

In his lead essay for the Forum, Christopher Keller of East Tennessee State University considers whether the boundaries of honors are or should be permeable. While the outside world impinges on honors in obvious ways that include institutional, state, and federal mandates, he questions whether honors can or should break through its traditional boundaries in order to admit and impinge on the world outside of it. In his essay, titled "‛Mad and Educated, Primitive and Loyal'": Comments on the Occupations of Honors," he notes that outside forces like "economic injustice, systemic racism, and anti-democratic movements" inevitably break through boundaries to occupy a space within honors curricula and scholarship. A more compelling question is whether honors should break out of its boundaries in order to become an active participant and interlocutor in these same forces. In an essay that primarily raises questions, Keller asks us to consider whether honors has any power outside itself, whether it has a voice or an audience to hear it, whether it has any business impinging on social movements and issues outside its domain, and whether it brings help or harm outside its own sphere of influence.

Contributors to the Forum on "The Boundaries of Honors" may, but are not obliged to, respond directly to Keller's essay. He has, however, asked a broad range of questions that should suggest approaches to the general topic. Distilled and added questions might include the following:

  • If honors has identifiable boundaries, what are they?
  • If honors does not have identifiable boundaries, is that a benefit or a deficit?
  • Is promoting direct involvement of honors students in activist movements appropriate, effective, moral, wise?
  • What does honors have to offer to movements like Black Lives Matter or Occupy Wall Street?
  • Given a widespread and powerful contingent of American society that denounces academic outreach into social issues or activism, is moving beyond a purely academic boundary dangerous to the future of honors education?
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

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