In This Issue...
From the President
Dear Honors Colleagues:
One of the pleasures of being part of the NCHC community is the fact that our membership is made up of so many different kinds of institutions: large and small; public and private; two-year and four-year; faith-based and secular. This diversity makes our organization stronger and I particularly enjoy hearing the perspectives of colleagues from those various institutions, all of whom are committed to our common purpose of helping support and advance honors students.
I had one such opportunity a few weeks ago while giving a talk at the most recent HERU (Honors Education at Research Universities) conference, the biennial meeting of R1 honors programs and colleges. At a plenary session with my co-presenter Art Spisak, honors director at the University of Iowa and a past president of NCHC, we discussed NCHC's new strategic plan, approved by the Board at its winter 2019 meeting. At one point, we invited the 100 or so attendees to consider the following question: "how might NCHC's strategic planning support the work of honors at research universities?"
The feedback was thoughtful, creative, and wide-ranging. There was vigorous excitement over the plan's focus on research and a desire for easily-accessible, useful data. In particular, attendees wanted research that makes the case for the value-add of honors, data that helps support more inclusive admissions practices, and baseline profiles of honors colleges and programs.
There was particular enthusiasm for the advocacy initiative, both in terms of exploring partnership arrangements and pursuing grant opportunities. Some asked for help in making the case for honors to prospective students and their parents, a different kind of advocacy, while Art referenced an occasion during his presidency when he helped advocate for an honors program at a two-year institution that was under threat of being closed down by the school's administration.
A number of participants applauded the focus on diversity but also reminded the audience that diversity should include regional and national differences while also noting that the strategic plan will have different implications for institutions of different size, type, and mission.
The plan's focus on operational excellence is partly a function of NCHC having so many moving parts now and also a result of evolving from our longstanding volunteer culture to an organizational culture appropriate for a $1.7 million non-profit with a national office and professional staff. Attendees had numerous suggestions that fell under this heading, including posting more resources on the NCHC website (especially ones that were more accessible) and calling out the vast amount of volunteer work already performed by NCHC members in our 24 committees. "We already have enough work to do in our day jobs," noted one NCHC committee co-chair, a helpful cautionary note as we move to operationalize this plan. It will take time and patience to stage in the various action items.
Our annual conference was discussed, with one attendee floating the idea of a tiered fee structure that would allow more students to attend, designing a clearer presentation of the hundreds of sessions offered so that the sheer volume of programming was not so overwhelming, and including professional development workshops for students, which is actually a program that has already been successfully piloted by our colleagues Christina McIntyre and Jeff Vahlbusch at the two most recent conferences.
Feedback like this is always helpful as the board continues to work in concert with our NCHC committees and national office staff to execute the strategic plan, and so I hope you will always feel free to contact me to share your ideas. I wish you well as you launch into your summer of research, teaching, and travel.
#NCHC19 Summer Giveaway
NCHC is bound for New Orleans this November! We're giving away THREE FREE REGISTRATIONS to #NCHC19, and all you have to do to enter is register! On July 15, the first name will be drawn from all registered attendees to receive a free conference registration. Registrations must be received by 11:59pm CST on July 14th to be eligible to win. All registrations received by NCHC prior to July 15th are included as eligible for the drawing.
Two more winners will be drawn on August 15 and September 23; the earlier you register, the more chances you have to win!
PRESENTERS: Don't forget! All NCHC19 presenters must be registered and paid by August 9 to secure your place in the conference schedule.
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NCHC19 Hotel & Travel
Experience the best of New Orleans when you stay at the downtown Sheraton New Orleans Hotel! The NCHC member rate hotel block will open on July 8, 2019. For details on hotel rates, along with discount codes for air travel and info on ground transportation, visit the Hotel & Travel page on our website.
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Master Class Submissions Open
Master classes are performance classes in drama, music, poetry, and film and allow for individual or group creative presentations at the NCHC 2019 Annual Conference. In all areas, submissions that emphasize the conference theme will be given priority for acceptance. The culminating Master Class Showcase will feature selected presentations from each master class. Submissions will remain open through the summer of 2019.
Directors: Encourage your honors students involved in the arts to apply for this NCHC19 opportunity!
Can your honors newsletter compete? Entries are still be accepted through June 30 for the 2019 Honors Newsletter Competition! The Newsletter Contest has two divisions: electronically published and print published. Within each division there are two categories: student published and faculty/administrator/student published. To be eligible for the contest, you must enter two consecutive newsletters published by your honors program or college within the 12-month period ending on June 30, 2019. Websites are not eligible for this contest.
Student Awards & Scholarships
Don't let these student opportunities for funding and recognition pass you by! Nominate your excellent honors students for:
Freddye T. Davy Student Scholarship (closes August 1)
Four $1,000 scholarships toward NCHC19 travel & fees
John J. Hanigan Student Scholarship (closes September 8)
One $500 scholarship toward NCHC19 travel & fees
NCHC Student of the Year Award (closes September 8)
$1,000 to one 2-Year and one 4-Year Institution Winner
Dates and Deadlines
Take note of these upcoming important dates for NCHC members!
|June 30||Deadline for Ron Brandolini Award for Excellence at a Two Year Institution
Deadline for Sam Schuman Award for Excellence at a Four Year Institution EXTENDED!
|June 30||Honors Newsletter Competition Closes|
|July 8||NCHC19 Hotel Block Opens|
|August 9||NCHC19 Presenter Registration Deadline|
|September 20||NCHC19 Early Bird Registration Deadline|
Summer is the perfect time to catch up with your NCHC Colleagues and participate in training to grow your honors skills!
Best Practices in Honors Assessment & Program Review
Destination: Lincoln, NE
*Travel Discounts Available!
This workshop will provide directors, deans, and other honors personnel with an overview of strategic planning; discuss the benefits and limitations of academic assessment; lead participants through the process of identifying, measuring, and mapping learning outcomes for their program; introduce participants to NCHC resources that can be used for benchmarking their program; discuss how to create an effective annual report; and prepare participants for undertaking a self-study and external program review. Program and curricular assessment is an integral part of continuous improvement.
All 2019 members should have received an early invoice for 2020 dues, to aid in planning for the change to a tiered dues structure in 2020. 2020 membership invoices can also be accessed by logging into your Member Portal profile. Have questions? Contact NCHC and a staff member will be happy to assist!
Final Call for NCHC ARC Survey
We are excited to continue distribution of the NCHC 2018–2019 Admissions, Retention, and Completion Survey (ARC). Directors, deans, and other institutional contacts should have previously received an e-mail invitation to participate. The survey will remain open until June 30th.
If you are the NCHC contact of record for your institution and you did not receive your invitation to participate, please contact NCHC at firstname.lastname@example.org. The ARC survey is one of three membership surveys that NCHC conducts on a recurring basis to collect national benchmarking data. More information about the NCHC survey program, as well as summary results from ARC and other previous surveys, can be found at www.nchchonors.org/research.
CCSSE & NSSE Consortium Projects
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 2020 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 interest to honors educators.
New in 2020, we are also seeking interested parties at NCHC two-year degree member institutions to join the Honors Consortium for the spring 2020 administration of the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE). The CSSE is a well-established and widely utilized tool that assists community colleges in their quest to engage in sound educational practice and identify needed improvements in student programs and services.
These projects open up to participating institutions the possibility of comparing honors to non-honors students on every item in the standard NSSE and CCSSE surveys. For full details, see the complete calls below!
Complete Call for CCSSE Participation
JNCHC Call for Papers
The next issue of JNCHC (deadline: September 1, 2019) invites research essays on any topic of interest to the honors community.The issue will also include a Forum focused on the theme "Risk-Taking in 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 Andrew Cognard-Black. In his essay, "Risky Honors," he surmises that honors educators almost all encourage their students to take risks. Starting with Joseph Cohen in 1966, a recurrent honors mantra has been that honors students "want to be 'threatened,' i.e., compelled to question and to reexamine"; they need and want to question their values and the values of their community. This mandate is now subsumed in the "critical thinking" movement. Cognard-Black challenges us to formulate strategies for implementing this mandate when we know that students have to weigh it against the importance of grades: "higher education is clearly a high-stakes enterprise, and grades are the most visible currency in that enterprise." The motivation for students to play it safe is real and compelling, so honors educators need to come up with strategies to encourage their students to take risks while at the same time acknowledging the forces that discourage them from doing so. Cognard-Black suggests one method for resolving this tension and dares honors educators to come up with others. In addition to meeting Cognard-Black's challenge, Forum contributors might consider other questions such as the following:
- What might be the benefits and liabilities of the "automatic A" policy that Cognard-Black describes, and how could it be modified?
- If teachers reward students for risky behavior, is it really risky?
- Do teachers model risk aversion when they adopt grading or assessment policies that are required by their institution but that they find counter to their values?
- Tenure, promotion, and salary raises are the currency of academic employment in a way similar to the status of grades for students; are faculty members hypocritical when they preach risk-taking to students but play it safe in placing their personal advancement above, say, long-term research projects or commitments to teaching that do not yield such rewards?
- Is critical thinking so fully the lingua franca of the academic world now that it is the safe route for students rather than the risky path of stubbornly holding onto their cultural, intellectual, religious, or political beliefs?
Please send all submissions to Ada Long at email@example.com. NCHC journals 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.
UReCA, the NCHC journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity, is seeking submissions from all currently enrolled undergraduate students. The deadline to submit is August 10. Please allow three months for a decision. The following list contains what we would like to see:
- Science and Technology
- Business and Commerce
- Health and Professional Sciences
- Social Sciences
- Honors Education
- Video and Audio
- Visual art
Works submitted may be works produced for classes or works produced outside of a classroom environment. Undergraduate students who are currently enrolled in any college or university are eligible to submit. Works must be a maximum of 15 pages double-spaced.
Authors may submit one work at a time. Please wait for a decision on your submission before submitting a subsequent work. All submissions are processed through https://ureca.submittable.com/submit and are subject to a double-blind peer review process. Do not include your name or college affiliation or other identifying information within your work. Within the appropriate fields on the submission form, please do include personal information.
Images that accompany the text or other images should be of sufficient quality to display online at the size desired. A minimum of 72 dpi is acceptable.
In regard to style of presentation, refer to the preferred style in your field.
Once your submission is received, it will be assigned to three editors for review. A decision to accept/reject will then be made. Decisions to accept may be accompanied by a request for revisions before a final decision is made.
Submit works here: https://ureca.submittable.com/submit The next issue will be released October 2019.