News from NCHC | July 2021

In This Issue...

From the ED

From the President


2021 Events & Institutes

2021 Fellows

Davy Winner: Raymond Smikle

Digital Tools: Place as Text

2022 Board Candidates

Dates and Deadlines

JNCHC Call for Papers

GEICO Member Discount

From the ED

Grand Re-Openings. Grander Results.

Like you, I have an inbox that is screaming for relief. Click here, join now, urgent read. And recently, many of those subject lines have included additional keywords regarding the fall semester and the resulting impact of the pandemic on student learning and retention.

While some of you may have been on campus during the spring, others of you and your students may be planning for the first steps and first interactions on campus since March 2020. Policies have changed. Perceptions and reality have changed. You have changed.

I was particularly struck by a conversation I had recently with a young woman I know. She spent her entire freshman year online. Her grades didn't suffer. But she commented about the fall being stressful because she'd be seen as more than just a face (self-image issues), and she'd have to interact for more than a single hour at a time (introvert). Plus, she had no concept of living in the dorm (separation anxiety and newfound freedoms), or campus maps (time/space concerns). She was a high school graduate all over again, only she had 29 credit hours on her transcript.

Earlier this month, The Chronicle shared an article about the achievement gap that continues to grow with the impact of limited classroom structure over the past 18 months. The external barriers to learning ballooned exponentially. The transition back to classroom structure seems equally challenging.

Honors instruction has long led the way for building new approaches for teaching and learning. Many of you have already done the hard work of thinking through how your fall semester will create the most impact and provide the best opportunities; others may still be juggling idealistic versus pragmatic options.

NCHC's member community thrives on the shared ideas and practices of honors colleagues nationwide. We encourage you to contribute your innovations, plans, projects, (even your t-shirt designs and silly photos 😊) for others to aid in their brainstorm. How are you and your campus considering the new wave of post-pandemic work? Any ideas on first-gen students? Innovative mentoring projects? New offices or approaches for early identification/prevention/intervention for at-risk students? We want to hear from you!

If you have an idea to share, please upload a brief synopsis to the 21-22 Innovations thread in the NCHC Discussion Board. Check back often for additional ideas as others contribute. We'll share ideas as we can!

Meanwhile, everyone at the national office wishes you the best of the last days of summer, all while absorbing the positive energy of a grand reopening!



From the President

Dear NCHC members,

The 2021 Summer Board Meeting in June was the fourth successive board meeting we have convened virtually. What has been accomplished demonstrates that what is essential to move forward can and will continue and we can and will adapt to circumstances.

The main achievements at the meeting were:

  • The board accepted the committee report on transition from our "Basic Characteristics of Honors Programs and Colleges" list to "Priorities & Practices." Additional conversations will happen over the fall as a plan is developed.
  • The board approved adding NCHC's name to the list of supporters on the AAUP's Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure.
  • The board approved the slate of candidates submitted by the Nominating Committee.
  • The board discussed the value of meeting in person, in a hybrid format, and virtually. We also discussed this in the context of equity, considering and comparing the expense and access needs of both the organization and individuals with various constraints. and entertained the suggestion of adding virtual meetings to the current schedule of 3 meetings annually.

Last, but not least, culminating several years of effort by the committee members:

  • The decision to move forward on format changes to the Constitution and Bylaws. More information will be forthcoming. Several opportunities during fall will be available for members to contribute to the discussion both pre and during the annual conference.

We still have much to accomplish. Making diversity, inclusion, and equity a priority for NCHC means that we look at everything through this lens, constantly asking: "Who is actively included and supported? Who is passively excluded? Are our conferences available to everybody, or are some groups systematically, if unintentionally, left out? Are we inactively supporting systems of economic injustice? Can our organizational resources be more equitable? Are our decisions in alignment with our values not just in the short term or proximally, but for the long term and distally?" Are we, at every level and in every activity or communication, saying to all groups, "You are welcome, you are part of us, you are important and valuable"?

Suketu Bhavsar
NCHC President


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 August 1, the next name will be drawn from all registered attendees to receive a free conference registration. Registrations must be received by 11:59 pm CST on July 31 to be eligible to win. All registrations received by NCHC prior to August 1 are included as eligible for the drawing.

Winner #1: Dr. Alexander Hirsch, University of Alaska-Fairbanks

Two more winners will be drawn on August 1 and September 1; the earlier you register, the more chances you have to win!

PRESENTERS: Don't forget! All NCHC21 presenters must be registered and paid by August 31 to secure their place in the conference schedule.

Register Today

. . . . . . . . .

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.

2021 Events and Institutes

Virtual Summer Institutes
July 28-30 The Future of Honors
Honors has thrived in the social and economic conditions of higher ed since the 1990s, but those conditions are changing. We do not yet know the combined impact that the global pandemic and increased awareness of systemic racism will have on higher education, but added to the already existing trends of ubiquitous digital technology, disinvestment by state legislatures, demographic shifts, and the college debt crisis we can be certain that little will remain unchanged. Whatever happened, 2020 was a critical year for higher education. Will honors thrive in the new landscape of higher education, or merely survive? What will honors education look like in 10 years? Join us as we discuss future directions in honors education, and how our programs and colleges can prepare for the uncertainty. Participants will:
  • Become familiar with trend forecasting and scenario envisioning as methodologies
  • Recognize and analyze major trends in honors and higher education
  • Identify and explore innovations in honors education

2021 Fellows

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.

Join us in congratulating the 2021 Class of NCHC Fellows!

Andrew J. Cognard-Black

St. Mary's College, Maryland

What is your favorite NCHC memory?
My best memories are at the interstices of NCHC, where its seams are stitched together informally by people and a rich network of friendships and friendships-to-be. For me, they often take place in the corridors between conference sessions, at or near the hotel bar, or over meals. I once ran into Jim Ruebel and his wife, Connie, getting on an elevator in Chicago. Jim was wearing a tuxedo. Earlier that year, Jim and I had a delightfully esoteric (and surprisingly long) e-mail exchange about, as I recall, the nuance of split infinitives. Our encounter at the elevator was brief, but he said something in Latin (of course): omnia mutantur, nihil interit, which I now know translates as "everything changes, nothing dies." It was the year after he had given a beautiful presidential address featuring Ovid, which I had just commented on, and it was, though I did not know it then, the last time I would see him alive before he passed away the following year. I remember running into one of my students, Colleen, at the top of the escalators in New Orleans, where she told me excitedly about the presentation she had just given with Dutch collaborators from the University of Rotterdam. I laughed to exhaustion with Kathleen, Stacy, and Art as Linda ranted phrenetically about nothing in particular while we all sat around a warm patio fire one night after a board meeting. In Boston, butter dripped down my face as I tried but failed to eat my first lobster roll gracefully while Jane and I talked about plans for a new research project. There is no single memory that stands out above all others, but when I die these and countless other faces and memories will rush together in a confluence that I will feel warmly as the National Collegiate Honors Council.

What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement?
I hope that my greatest accomplishment is yet to come, and I will let others be the judge. In the meantime, I will highlight a private e-mail exchange last spring with one of my students: "I want to thank you for being real with us this semester," he said. It was during a pandemic, remember, so I hold that up as a measure of great accomplishment. At the same time, I worry that we make too much of personal accomplishments. As Fred Rogers and countless others have reminded us, very few of us accomplish anything on our own. What we accomplish, we nearly always accomplish with the help of others—friends and family, perhaps, or the earlier giants on whose shoulders we stand. I will close this short essay with the words of Margaret Atwood, from her poem "Moment," reflecting on those things we often like to claim as our own: "No, they whisper. You own nothing. / You were a visitor, time after time / climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming. / We never belonged to you. / You never found us. / It was always the other way around."

Keith Garbutt

Oklahoma State University

What is your favorite NCHC memory?
What I enjoy most about NCHC is the community all the "corridor conversations", meals and late-night discussions. But on reflection, the NCHC Story Slam at the 2018 conference was definitely a standout memory.

What do you consider to be your greatest professional achievement?
I have never thought this to be an appropriate question for someone, surely this is something others should evaluate. What I am proud of are the achievements of the students and junior colleagues I have mentored over the years. Being privileged to work with remarkable young people is what makes being in Honors so rewarding. We should not only leave the ladder down but also give a hand up.

NCHC Student Awards and Scholarships

2020 Freddy T. Davy Student Scholarship Winner: Raymond Smikle

Traditionally, the Freddye T. Davy Scholarship is intended to help students attend the NCHC Annual Conference. Because the Annual Conference did not take place in 2020, the recipients of the 2020 Freddye T. Davy Scholarship received $1,000 each to use toward the costs of an honors event or activity that will honor the award's spirit of participation in the educational community, along with free registration to the NCHC20 Virtual Events.

2020 Winner Raymond Smikle used his Davy Scholarship funds to support "Now We're Cooking: The NJCU Food Pantry Community Cookbook". As identified in his application, Raymond recognized a unique challenge that students in his community faced during the COVID-19 pandemic:

"As many, including myself would eventually realize, preparing a decent meal is nothing short of onerous. When a novice home-chef attempts to cook anything remotely new, unintentional mistakes force themselves into every part of the process. Even with an online recipe at hand, mistakes occur as naturally as breathing. ...While I was teaching myself how to cook, I had been fortunate enough to have sufficient ingredients for a second, or even third attempt, if I were to completely botch some process. However, not everyone is as fortunate. I am sure some going through the same process couldn't afford to make those same mistakes.

Within the college that I attend, New Jersey City University, there is an open food pantry in which students are free to take raw ingredients to prepare their own food. While the pantry does an amazing job at providing its community with security and relief, students may still find themselves in a suboptimal position if they do not know how to properly utilize those ingredients. One can only imagine the difficult time that students, unversed in cooking, may have had while preparing food via the pantry's limited catalog. These are the students that couldn't afford to mishandle their ingredients; unrecoverable mistakes could mean going hungry for a night.

We should not stop at assisting students once they set foot outside of the pantry. We should extend our help further, thus providing that security right onto their plates. I think it would be great to establish a partnership between the NJCU Honors Program and Gothic Knight Food Pantry. These organizations would work together to produce a pantry cookbook that features ingredients found within the pantry itself. This cookbook would serve as a comprehensive catalog of meals and the steps needed to accomplish those meals, without fault. We could further assist students who rely on the pantry by teaching them how to maximize their received ingredients via a cookbook based within the pantry itself."

Raymond used the funds from the 2020 Davy Scholarship to kickstart this collaboration on his home campus, and shared some photos of the event:

2021's Freddy T. Davy Scholarship returns to provide funding for students to attend NCHC21, where they can collaborate with other honors students at the Annual Conference about projects just like Raymond's. We also encourage you to apply for the NCHC Community Engagement Award, where you can receive national recognition for your project and share it with others on a national platform. Information to apply is below.

Congratulations Raymond on a successful project launch that will impact many!

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

Community Engagement Award (closes August 1)
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

Digital Tools: Place as Text

The virtual faculty institute, Re-Reading Local Spaces, met from June 23-25, 2021. During this institute, participants experimented with new technologies that they might use for multimedia assignments in the coming year. Perhaps you would like to try some of the applications used during the institute:

  • Adobe Rush
  • Adobe Spark
  • Audacity
  • Canva
  • Google Jamboard
  • Google Site
  • Google Maps
  • Mentimeter
  • Miro
  • Padlet
  • Perfect Video
  • Sifter
  • Storymaps
  • Wakelet

There will be more detailed information about virtual City as Textâ„¢ strategies in the forthcoming NCHC monograph, "Honors Online: Teaching, Learning, and Building Community Virtually in Honors Education," released in Fall 2021.

submitted by Amaris Ketchum, University of New Mexico
Place as Text Institute Facilitator

2022 Board of Directors Candidates

Elaine Torda, Immediate Past President and Chair of the Nominations Committee, submitted a slate of candidates for consideration by the NCHC Board at their summer meeting in June. The names and board seats approved are listed below.

Candidates currently on the ballot for the December vote include:

Vice President:
Eddie Weller, Honors Director, San Jacinto College

Carrie Pritchett, Honors Program Director, Brazosport College

Professional Board of Directors (Three open seats):
Beata Jones, Honors Faculty Fellow, Texas Christian University
Christopher Kukk, Honors College Dean, Longwood University
Minh Nguyen, Assistant Dean, Honors College, Florida Gulf Coast University
Daniel Roberts, Executive Director, Virginia State University
Alannah Rosenberg, Honors Program Chair, Saddleback College

Student Board Member, 1 Year Term (1 seat):
Matthew Goldman, University of New Mexico
Belinda Dapreis, Georgia State University

Student Board Member, 2 Year Term (2 seats):
Oluwandamilola Oke, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

Institutional members still have opportunities to support additional candidates for open seats.

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

Dates and Deadlines

Take note of these upcoming important dates for NCHC members!

July 28-30 Summer Institute: The Future of Honors
August 1Freddye T. Davy Scholarship Closes
August 1Community Engagement Award Closes
August 16Fall Portz Grant Applications Open
August 31NCHC21 Early Bird Pricing Ends

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

As NCHC members, you could be already eligible for a special discount on GEICO car insurance. Get a quote today. (And when you've completed your free quote, GEICO makes a contribution back to help support NCHC!)