In This Issue...
From the President
The last few months have been a blur of activities across the nation, on campuses, and at the NCHC office, in more ways than one! As Amber "goes to electronic press" with this newsletter, we have watched and/or participated in social movements, political debates, COVID-19 adjustments to life and instruction, and the commencement of the first-ever online NCHC conference!
The work our NCHC staff of five put in to envision and then make this conference come to fruition is not only commendable, but amazing. And to all of you who agreed to convert your presentations and offerings to new formats—I salute another note-worthy endeavor. I want to take this opportunity to thank the staff and each of you. As a result of everyone's vision and efforts, we thus far have welcomed over 1200 registrants to the 2020 conference. Kudos to everyone!
As we all re-imagine and restructure honors amidst the challenges of the day, know that the office, the Execs, the Board, and committees continue to work on behalf of the organization and its members.
From March until the present, we offered ten webinars and trainings to assist people in their conversion to remote learning, including holding a virtual commencement celebration.
In February, the Board members committed to a 30:30 exercise that continues to provide results. Two of these were a calendar to assist the staff in determining the best times to send tools on different topics and the most recently published position paper on more inclusive honors enrollment practices. The latter has received much positive commentary, so well done to that group! At the June meeting, we focused on three of our strategic pillars and produced a statement on social injustice.
We also charged an ad hoc committee to revise the NCHC governing documents. This group, comprised of George Mariz, MaryBeth Rathe, Eddie Weller, and Andrew Cognard-Black, has worked so diligently this summer and fall that we anticipate sharing the results in the very near future.
At both meetings, I alluded to a project that, I am happy to say, has since commenced: I convened an ad hoc committee to review the "Basic Characteristics" documents. That soon-to-be-finalized group, co-chaired by Richard Badenhausen, James Buss, and Julia Fennell, will be tapping into the resources of NCHC and the membership to examine these documents (purpose, audience, and content) amidst the changing times in which we find ourselves in honors and higher education.
As the characteristics have not been modified since 2014, it is well past time to do so. As we each are re-imagining honors at our home institutions, so, too, must we do at NCHC. This project will be thoughtfully done, far-reaching, and inclusive. It will engage committees, the office, members new and experienced, and others in our attempts to explore what we currently offer and where we need to move to remain on the forefront of higher education.
Our process will not be rushed. Once the committee comes to agreement on proposals, these will be shared with the Board, and then disseminated to the membership for public comment. The ad hoc committee will take the input and revise as necessary to re-present to the Board for formal vote. We anticipate this taking us into late 2021.
But enough on the governance side of things. As we celebrate the NCHC20 Virtual Events over the next six weeks, thanks to thank each and every one of you for your efforts to remain positive and progressive as we move into this new unknown. Without your leadership and work, honors would not be where it is today—continuing to present the best educational and life opportunities we possibly can to our students, our staff, and our peers. As we move through our days, in which every task takes ever so much more time and effort than we imagine, remember that you are part of and supported by the community that comprises NCHC.
I wish you happiness, health, and sanity as we continue our work on so many levels.
From the ED
Hi all! How are you?
It's no longer a casual, off-hand-answer-quickly-so-I-don't-have-to-look-at-you kind of question. It's a mark of self-awareness to be able to answer the question with clarity, and a sign of personal well-being to be able to answer with empathy and support. I think we're all learning how to "flex" instead of "fix" when it comes to our conversations, our workspace, and our priorities.
And as we all know, not all conversations are as simple as we'd like. Sometimes, even when we thought we had heard the question and provided phenomenal assistance and support, we discovered our interpretations have not always been accurate. The circumstances out of our control changed before our solutions could even be implemented.
Over the past seven months, this methodology of fixing and flexing has been as challenging as the conditions we can't control. Debates ensued. Solutions implemented. Conditions changed. Repeat. Sometimes a random, spontaneous reaction worked. Sometimes a meticulous plan failed. Debate again. Redesign again. Change again. And again.
And now, there's a bit of cautious optimism about the flip of a calendar year. Many of you have begun to plan for 2021. Some are already planning New Year's Eve parties just to celebrate the end of 2020!
NCHC has been doing some of that same planning (albeit, we should probably add more glitter!). While words like pivot, unprecedented, and pandemic changed many of the comfortable traditions of NCHC, it has also allowed us to "fix or flex."
- You'll see elsewhere in the newsletter some initial data on the first presentations of the fall virtual event. Led by two keynote speakers, Jennifer Eberhardt and Megan Phelps-Roper, their presentations could not have been more timely or provided better conversation prompts around implicit bias and epistemological humility.
- Conversations about 2021's conference continue. We are scheduled to meet in Orlando, Florida on October 27-31, 2021. Knowing that we'll have quite a number of conditions outside of our control (travel accomodations, budget restrictions, vaccine availability, event industry standards), we're continuing to flex our decision-making timeline for a few more weeks.
- Professional development opportunities offered online in Spring/Summer 2020 were received well, and more are planned for 2021. Look for updated schedules coming after the first of the year.
- We'll be posting nominee interviews with Board of Director candidates in lieu of personal appearances at the Annual Conference. More information on that coming in the next few days as the scheduling is finalized.
One thing is certain about NCHC and its membership: the interest in fixing and flexing certainly overshadows the third option: freezing. It's a rare moment when someone on staff, board, or committee doesn't have a plan to assist in moving a project forward.
I hope that you have found a safe space to be at ease, someone to share your concerns, some tool or pastime to minimalize the overthinking and anxiety.
Until we meet in person – enjoy the space in your journey,
NCHC Executive Director
#NCHC20 Virtual Events
Can you believe we're already in Week Three of NCHC20 Virtual Events? With over 1,200 members of the NCHC community registered, we've been loving the opportunity to see your faces and learn new skills and concepts together.
We kicked off on September 30 with an opening plenary by Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt, followed by a keynote from Megan Phelps-Roper and two days of student content on October 8 & 9. Today debuts the first two sessions of the NCHC0 Professional series, and Session I of Beginning in Honors (BIH) takes place this Friday. You'll find more content for honors professionals throughout October, with two intensive days full of training and networking on November 5 & 6! We're excited to pioneer this virtual series with you, exploring new options to network online and absorb helpful honors information.
Here's a few fun facts about the Virtual Events so far:
- Our 1,200 registrants are 55% students and 45% professionals
- Of our professional attendees:
- 26% are Administrators
- 48% are Faculty
- 26% are Staff/Other Positions
- At an average NCHC conference, well over 50% of attendees are also session presenters. For this year's virtual events, presenters make up only 37% of registrants; 63% of registrants have signed up just to learn & network!
- NCHC20 has attendees from institutions in 44 states and 4 countries! Some attendees may belong to a U.S. institution but are tuning in from elsewhere - we've seen viewership from Greece, Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, and more!
- States with most representation:
- Tennessee: 103 registrants, 14 institutions
- Florida: 123 registrants, 17 institutions
- Texas: 209 registrants, 27 institutions
There's still time to sign up and join in the fun!
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NCHC20 Sponsors and Grad Hub
Student Board Nominations
Students: Picture Yourself at the NCHC Board Table...
Nominations are still being accepted for student positions on the NCHC Board of Directors, including both 1-year and 2-year terms. Because student nominees must have support from their honors director to run, nominees can download the form below, and return it completed to the NCHC Office before November 15. Accepted nominees received in advance will be presented as part of the slate at the online Annual Business meeting. Nominations will still be accepted at that meeting, date yet to be determined..
"Running for the board provides a unique opportunity to voice your opinion, and bring the perspectives from your school and community. Our organization is made up of a bunch of different universities and programs, and being part of the board gives us a chance to collaborate on the future of honors."
Amber Rolland, University of Central Arkansas
Past NCHC Student Board Member
2020 Committee Meetings
Each year, NCHC Committees hold open meetings as a part of the Annual Conference so that members can get a glimpse into the work they do, and consider joining a committee for the following year. Many of our committees will be holding virtual meetings before the end of the year, and we invite you to take part! You can find these open committee meetings on the NCHC Event Calendar; once you RSVP, you will receive an email with information on how to join.
October 21 - Professional Development Committee
October 22 - Teaching & Learning Committee
October 22 - Publications Board
October 23 - Two-Year College Committee
November 13 - Advocacy Committee
November 16 - Assessment & Evaluation Committee
December 9 - Research Committee
This year I have the honor of serving as Chief Editor of NCHC's Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity. UReCA provides students the opportunity to have their academic and creative pursuits published alongside the work of some of their brightest and most dedicated peers. We receive submissions from schools both in the United States, as well as from institutions overseas, and each of our associate editors studies at a different NCHC-affiliated university. We strive to show the power of undergraduate work by transcending the boundaries of state, region, and discipline.
Each year I am inspired and impressed by the submissions we receive, and I hope to help as many students as possible have the opportunity to share their work. We encourage you to share this information with your students and with colleagues who may supervise undergraduate academic and creative endeavors. Our submissions deadline is October 16th. In the meantime, feel free to direct any questions my way. Below you will find a link to our 2019 publication. Thank you!
Call for Submissions: NCHC Monograph
Abstracts Due: October 15, 2020
Papers Due: June 1, 2021
Editor: Dr. Victoria Bryan, Dean of the Honors College (Cleveland State Community College)
This collection will include theoretical approaches to honors education in virtual environments and more tangible examples of reimagined course design and assignment design tailored for an online classroom. The purpose of this volume is to offer the honors community an opportunity to see how honors education can be reimagined for virtual learning while keeping the importance of community, student voices, and student needs at the center of our course design and classroom discussions. Articles should present and discuss demonstrable evidence of the effectiveness of their online/virtual instruction practices. While the collection will give space to voices cautious about what is actually possible in an online environment, my hope is that contributors can use that sense of caution to design honors experiences that serve our students well. Honors faculty, administration, and current/recently graduated students are welcome to contribute to this volume.Ideally, this collection will include contributions organized into two sections:
- Structural, theoretical, and pedagogical approaches to online education in honors programs and honors colleges (4,000-7,000 words).
- Shorter pieces that outline assignments, lecture structures, social events, and extracurricular activities that work well in a virtual learning environment (1,000-1,5000 words – flexible depending on content, formatting, etc.).
*Abstract for either classification of contribution should be 200-300 words. For further details about style and content, please see the full Call for Proposals.
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Call for HIP Submissions
(including a special section on the coronavirus) Honors in Practice is accepting submissions for Volume 16 (2021). The deadline is January 1, 2021.
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 HIP also publishes short descriptions of a successful course, project, idea, or assignment. Submissions should be 500-750 words long; they should have three keywords; the abstract should be short (preferably one sentence); and references (if any) should be internal.
Special Section on Dealing with the Coronavirus For the 2021 volume of HIP, we invite contributions to a special section on how honors faculty and administrators have been dealing with the coronavirus. Submissions might focus on the difficulties or delights of online teaching in honors, any challenges you have faced resulting from anxiety (mental, emotional, medical, or technological) among your students and/or you, any unexpected experience you have had, and any advice you have for other honors educators based on your experience. We suggest an essay length of 1000-2000 words but do not plan to be strict about word count.
Submission Guidelines We accept material by e-mail attachment in Word (not pdf). We do not accept material by fax or hard copy, nor do we receive documents with tracking. 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 short (preferably one sentence) and include a maximum of three keywords. 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. Please send all submissions to Ada Long at email@example.com.
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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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