News from NCHC | May 2019

In This Issue...

Travel & Training with NCHC


Dates & Deadlines

Portz Fellowship Updates

Research Calls for Participation

NCHC Member Resources

Final Call for Board Nominations

Call for JNCHC Submissions

GEICO Member Benefit

Professional Development

Summer is the perfect time to catch up with your NCHC Colleagues and participate in training to grow your honors skills! Which adventure will you choose?

Best Practices in Honors Assessment & Program Review
Destination: Lincoln, NE
Registration Deadline: June 14
*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.

PITP Directors Retreat
Destination: Harpers Ferry, WV
Registration Deadline: June 14

Partners in the Parks Directors Retreats were created as an annual opportunity for honors directors, faculty, and professional staff to immerse themselves in a Partners in the Parks adventure, learning first-hand about experiential education and the pedagogy applied during an NCHC Partners in the Parks project. If you are interested in leading a Partners in the Parks project through NCHC, or implementing a similar type of project on your own campus, this retreat will connect you with the resources and the know-how to successfully develop an impactful adventure using Partners in the Parks principles.

New Directors Institute
Destination: Lincoln, NE
Registration Deadline: June 14
*Travel Discounts Available!

The NCHC New Directors Institute provides new honors directors and deans with best practices in curricular management and research, based on shared experiences from NCHC colleagues. Participants will take part in nuts-and-bolts sessions including:

  • Developing your honors program
  • Creating budgets and curricula
  • Addressing staffing /administration issues in honors
  • Identifying key resources and allies on campus
  • This immersive honors experience will prepare you to be successful in your new position as an honors administrator. Sessions include individual consultation as time permits.


    #NCHC19 City as Text Announced!

    Every year at NCHC's Annual Conference, City as Text is among the event's highlights. Registered participants break into small groups and use their navigational and observational skills to explore a designated part of the host city. By interacting with local residents and areas off the beaten path, attendees get a unique perspective of a new location, and return to the hotel to write and reflect about their experiences.

    Interested in participating in CAT at NCHC19? Register today, and add City as Text to your registration. You'll be contacted in the fall to choose your destination!

    See 2019 City as Text Destinations!

    Dates and Deadlines

    Take note of these upcoming important dates for NCHC members!

    June 1 Deadline to nominate self / complete candidate packets for Board of Directors
    June 14 New Directors Institute Deadline
    Best Practices in Honors Assessment & Program Review Deadline
    June 15Deadline for Ron Brandolini Award for Excellence at a Two Year Institution
    Deadline for Sam Schuman Award for Excellence at a Four Year Institution
    June 30 Honors Newsletter Competition Closes
    July 1NCHC19 Hotel Block Opens

    2019 Portz Interdisciplinary Fellowship Awards

    Seven students have been selected by NCHC's Portz Fellowship Committee as recipients of 2019 Portz Interdisciplinary Fellowship awards. Three $5,000 awards and three $1,000 awards were distributed to recipients to support their original research projects.

    The Portz Interdisciplinary Fellowship program launched in 2010 through a gift from John and Edythe Portz, who were pioneers and advocates of honors education. These awards support creative and innovative endeavors that cross boundaries, inviting application from individuals who wish to undertake cross-disciplinary research or from a team of two students from different disciplines who propose a single collaborative project.

    Congratulations to 2019's Portz Interdisciplinary Fellowship Winners!

    Alexis Hepburn - $5,000
    Project Title: "Exploring Improvements of Miniaturized Hall Thrusters for Long Duration Satellite Missions"
    Alexis is a student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Prescott Campus), majoring in Aerospace Engineering with a concentration in astronautics. Faculty sponsor is Dr. Daniel White.

    Anisha Mittal - $5,000
    Project Title: "Structural and Functional Characterization of Acinetobacter baumannii Superoxide Dismutase B"
    Anisha is a student at Fisk University, majoring in Biology with a minor in Music. Faculty sponsor is Dr. Steven Damo.

    Louisa Sholar - $5,000
    Project Title: "Gender Justice and the Global Population Debate: A Case Study in Guyana"
    Louisa is a student at Elon University, majoring in International and Global Studies with minors in Poverty and Social Justice Studies, Political Science, and Environmental Sustainability Studies. Faculty sponsor is Dr. Rebecca Todd Peters.

    Alejandra May - $1,000
    Project Title: "The effect of climate change on the niche space of North American proboscideans."
    Alejandra is a student at Purdue University, majoring in Anthropology with a focus in Archaeology. Faculty sponsor is Dr. Erik Otárola-Castillo.

    Griffin Woods and Nancy Morrissey - $1,000
    Project Title: "Cancer Research. Understanding the roles of transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ), signal transducers and transcription modulators of multiple signaling pathways (SMADS), bone morphogenetic protein (BMP-9), the type I TGFβ receptor Activin-Like Kinase 1 (ALK-1), endoglin, and activin A on cancer cells in blood vessel formation in endothelial tumor cell growth, and how these components could be manipulated to arrest metastatic pathways from developing."
    Griffin is a student at South Florida State College, majoring in AA Liberal Arts and Science (Dual Enrollment Senior Year). Nancy is a student at South Florida State College, majoring in AA Liberal Arts and Science. Faculty sponsor is Dr. James R. Hawker, Jr.

    Susan Naseri - $1,000
    Project Title: "From War to Civilian Life: Evaluation of Integration Policies for Urban Refugees in Amman, Jordan"
    Susan is a student at University of Connecticut, majoring in Political Science and Human Rights. Faculty sponsor is Dr. Kathryn Libal.


    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 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

    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 NSSE Participation

    Complete Call for CCSSE Participation

    NCHC Member Resources

    Have you taken advantage of these NCHC member resources available to you on the web?

    NCHC Job Board
    View job opportunities in the field of honors education, or post open positions at your institution to the NCHC community!

    Honors Syllabi Archive
    Does your syllabi need a refresh? Adding a new honors course to your lineup? View submitted syllabi from a variety of honors classes to spark new ideas and see how others approach their coursework.

    Call for Board Nominations

    Want to make a difference in honors? Have you thought about running for the NCHC Board of Directors?

    Board service provides NCHC members the opportunity to get involved in the governance of an organization that represents the full spectrum of honors colleges and programs, nationally and internationally. In order to ensure an inclusive perspective, NCHC seeks a board that reflects the full diversity of our organization, including race, ethnicity, gender orientation and personal background; type of and geographic location of institution represented; and role in honors. Board members, however, do not just represent their own institutions, Carnegie designation, or geographic location; rather, they are called to consider what is in the best interest of NCHC, and the honors community as a whole.

    Nominations are now open for several board positions, including Vice President, Treasurer, three Board Members at large, and three Student Board Members (two 2-year terms and one 1-year term).

    Details about how to run can be found here.

    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?
    Information about JNCHC—including the editorial policy, submission guidelines, guidelines for abstracts and keywords, and a style sheet—are available on the Publications page of the NCHC website.
    Please send all submissions to Ada Long at 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.

    Member Benefit: GEICO Discount

    With your NCHC membership, you could save even more with a special Member Discount on auto insurance. Get a quote today! (And when you've completed your free quote, GEICO makes a contribution back to help support NCHC!)