News from NCHC | September 2017

In This Issue...


From the President
From the ED
Call for Publication
Faculty Award Winners
PITP: Everglades


2017 Conference Deadlines
Volunteer at NCHC17

President's Post

Dear NCHC Friends and Colleagues:

Greetings for the Fall semester. Hope yours has begun well.


The NCHC executive director, Mary Beth Rathe, and the NCHC Executive Committee, which is comprised of your six elected officers and acts for the Board of Directors between meetings, have been in recent months pushed to consider under what conditions NCHC should take a public stance on issues. As an example, one of the latest issues was President Trump's rescission of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). This decision will affect a number of students at colleges and universities, some of whom will be honors, and a number of leaders in higher education, including the American Council on Education, have protested against the decision.

Is this a political issue or a moral issue involving human rights? Or, to put it differently, would NCHC be partisan in taking a public stance against the rescission of DACA, or should we, as the representative organization for excellence in higher education, own the vital role that learning and knowledge play in shaping what social justice is? We in the NCHC leadership struggled on how or whether to respond. For NCHC is the voice of honors education – representing over 800 institutions and over 300,000 honors students – and we as an organization have the role and responsibility of speaking on events and issues that affect honors education.

So that the leadership is better prepared in the future on making decisions to take a public stance in response to issues and events, I've asked the newly formed Advocacy Committee to draft guiding principles for NCHC. This would be similar to guidelines that the American Historical Association has developed. The guiding principles that committee develops will then go to the Board of Directors for revisions and then approval.


NCHC Executive Director, Mary Beth Rathe, as part of her restructuring of the office, has recently hired Edmund Tan as an assistant for the financial and data processes completed in the office. Edmund is a 2016 University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate. If you have questions or concerns on this restructuring of the office staff, please feel free to contact Mary Beth or me.


"Just Honors" is the theme for this year's annual NCHC conference in Atlanta, and today is the final day to register for the early bird conference rate. For more information on the conference itself, check out the event on the NCHC website. The conference will be filled with exciting and enlightening events centered around social justice and the honors community, and I hope to see you there!

All for this month. More updates on current NCHC happenings in my October post.

These posts are intended to keep you informed on selected issues and decisions that your leadership is facing and making. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at I'm happy to get your feedback and respond to questions.

All best for the semester,

Art L. Spisak
President, National Collegiate Honors Council
Director, University of Iowa Honors Program

From the Executive Director

NCHC: A Step Above Virtual Reality

Almost everyone has taken a virtual tour of a real estate listing, viewed a vacation resort online, or fought the forces of the universe in a virtual battle. I'd challenge you to think of conference as a "living" virtual reality experience, a chance to explore in person what you've been reading about online. As the proceedings transpire, there are multiple ways to take advantage of the expertise onsite.

  • If you've been considering how to vote for the upcoming board elections in December: Introduce yourself to the slate of board leadership candidates, and discover what each of them might offer to the organization, to institutions like yours, to your honors students and to your professional career.

  • If you've wondered about submitting your research to HIP, JNCHC or a Monograph: Interact with the editors and authors of the publications printed by your organization. Discover upcoming topics, potential research and ways that you can contribute to the information that individuals from more than 1,365 institutions and 133 countries have read or downloaded in 2017.
  • If you've followed along on the perimeter of an NCHC discussion: Explore one of the standing committee or special interest group meetings. NCHC has a deep pool of volunteers, with interests ranging from development to pedagogy. Supported by a renewed investment in strategy for advancing honors education, the board and committees need your expertise and voice to make things happen across the nation and internationally.
  • If you've scanned the NCHC website, or spent hours on internet searches: Collaborate with a mentor during the hours of the Consultant Center. Touch base with someone exploring a new project at Idea Exchange. Visit the possibilities offered by the sponsors. The conversations are endless with the variety of expertise at the conference.
  • With fewer than 50 days before we ship the contents of the office to Atlanta for the annual business meeting and conference, the staff and leadership are busy planning more than 600 sessions and meetings for the five days we convene. To make the best of the days in Atlanta, be ready to immerse yourself in the city and events of the NCHC network.

    Engaging as part of a live network is the best way to create a long-term reality for all of honors education.

    And in the meantime, if you need a 10 minute virtual break, click here.

    See you in Atlanta,

    Mary Beth

    Call For Papers

    Call for Submissions

    Honors in Practice is accepting submissions for Volume 14 (2018). The deadline is January 1, 2018. Submissions and inquiries should be directed to Ada Long at

    Below you will find the editorial policy and submissions guidelines. The list of Editorial Board members and a style sheet for NCHC journals are listed on the Publications page of the NCHC website.

    Editorial Policy for Honors in Practice

    Honors in Practice (HIP) publishes articles about innovative practices in individual honors programs and nuts-and-bolts issues of concern to the members of the National Collegiate Honors Council. HIP employs a double-blind peer review system. Essays should present ideas and/or practices that will be useful to other honors administrators and faculty, not just descriptions of "what we do at our institution." Essays should advance a thesis located within a larger context such as theoretical perspectives, trends in higher education, or historical background. Essays should also demonstrate an awareness of previous honors discussions of the topic.

    The complete bibliography of NCHC publications— —will be helpful in guiding you toward previous work on your topic.

    Submission Guidelines

    We accept material by e-mail attachment in Word (not pdf). We do not accept material by fax or hard copy.

    If documentation is used, the documentation style can be whatever is appropriate to the author's primary discipline or approach (MLA, APA, etc.), but please avoid footnotes. Internal citation to a list of references (bibliography) is strongly preferred, and the editor will revise all internal citations in accordance with MLA guidelines.

    There are no 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.

    All submissions and inquiries should be directed to Ada Long at or, if necessary, 850.927.3776.

    NCHC Faculty Award Winners

    Congratulations to our 2017 Faculty Award winners!

    2017 Ron Brandolini Award for Excellence at a Two-Year Institution
    Dr. Lucy Laufe, Montgomery College

    Each year at the NCHC Annual Conference, there are nearly 2,000 attendees—ranging from the student to faculty levels. And according to many of her colleagues, it's no exaggeration to say Dr. Lucy Laufe may speak with each and every one of those attendees over the course of that week.

    NCHC Board of Directors member, Christina McIntyre, recalls Dr. Laufe as the type of person who will strike up a conversation with anyone. "Lucy is always talking about her students—she is their champion—their strongest advocate," McIntyre said, recalling her relationship with Laufe. "That also comes with high standards and expectations," McIntyre added, "Her students achieve one of the highest records of Jack Kent Cooke Scholarships of any community college in the nation."

    With 2017 marking 20 years teaching within the honors program at Montgomery College, Dr. Laufe currently serves as the college-wide honors coordinator across three campuses—and hosts more than 25 workshops per semester on topics varying from "Teaching in Honors," to "Writing Effective Letters of Recommendation," and "Understanding Transfer and Scholarship."

    While recalling his first encounter with Dr. Laufe, Ryan Diehl says she is always looking towards the greater good of how she can help as many deserving students as possible. "Here she was, telling a packed room of other honors program directors and honors college deans tips that would help make their students competitive against her own," the Hutchinson Community College honors program coordinator said, "A lesser person would have kept all of this information to him/herself, but that is not Lucy. I left that session that day greatly admiring both her success and her as an honors director."

    When asked by her home-campus colleagues about her contributions to honors, many say Dr. Laufe has not limited her outstanding contributions to Montgomery College. English professor, Joan Naake, says "She has acted at the state, regional, and national level to enhance programs for honors students, to increase the number of honors students, and to heighten awareness of the significance of honors programs and honors students at two-year colleges."

    2015 NCHC Ron Brandolini Award recipient, Elaine Torda, says the most important aspect to note of Dr. Laufe's honors resume is her commitment to honors education, from working with honors organizations at the local, state, regional and national levels, while remaining focused on the most important aspect of honors: students. "Her students regularly transfer to excellent four-year schools and often receive major scholarships," said the SUNY Orange Honors Program coordinator of her colleague. "She continues to teach and mold honors students, inspiring and assisting them to make the most of their opportunities."

    Montgomery College colleague and Paul Peck Humanities Institute director, Sara Bachman Ducey, says Dr. Laufe is remarkably generous with her time—always focused on student opportunity and success. "She is a great teacher, mentor, leader and collaborator," Ducey added. "She epitomizes the word 'excellence.'"

    The National Collegiate Honors Council is proud to award Dr. Lucy Laufe as recipient of the 2017 NCHC Ron Brandolini Award for Excellence at a Two-Year Institution. Dr. Laufe will be presented with as the recipient of this award on Saturday November 11th, during the NCHC Awards presentation in Atlanta, as part of #NCHC17.

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    2017 NCHC Sam Schuman Award for Excellence at a Four-Year Institution
    Prof. Kathryn MacDonald, Monroe College

    Behind every successful honors program is someone passionate about pushing it forward. For the people who work around Kathryn MacDonald, there is one word many of them use to describe her: infectious.

    "Kathryn is the epitome of a phenomenal educator and colleague," says Monroe College English professor, Gina Negrin, who regards MacDonald as the most supportive faculty member she has ever encountered in over a decade at MC. "She will arrive to work earlier than most and leave after everyone," Negrin added, "She works diligently on strategies for amazing lessons to enlighten her students and for the Honors Program."

    Professor Kathryn MacDonald has been with the Monroe College Honors Program for nearly 10 years. Colleagues credit her real-life approach with students, incorporating service learning beyond the classroom, and cultivating long-lasting relationships with the community. "She is selfless," Negrin says, "the Monroe Honor Students work at soup kitchens, senior day care programs, park clean ups in New Rochelle and Yonkers, visits to the New Rochelle Library, visits to the nature center and the teen and women's support center."

    Point Park University Honors Program director, Prof. Hellen Fallon, says "Kat" is personable, intelligent, down-to-earth, and just fun to be around. "Kat is passionate about honors education and her students, knowing the difference it can make in their lives and careers," Fallon said. "She is their voice, their advocate and their best mentor—keeping them engaged and interested in honors beyond their campus."

    Aside from heading the Honors Program at Monroe College, Prof. MacDonald is heavily involved within the Northeast Regional Honors Council, where she is beginning a term as vice president of the NRHC executive board.

    Southern New Hampshire University professor and NRHC president Dr. Andrew Martino says Prof. MacDonald has enriched the NRHC in profound and lasting ways. "When she became involved with the student aspect of the conference, the region witnessed, almost instantaneously, a rise in the bar for student events and involvement." Martino said. "Over the next few years, and under Professor MacDonald's careful guidance, student events and involvement have been transformed into a professional, high profile series of events."

    Martino says it's Prof. MacDonald's humble demeanor that is most important to note. "She never once sought credit or recognition for herself," Martino stated, saying she "epitomizes what I think Sam Schuman theorized as the ideal honors teacher in that she brings together a love of learning, and a love of students, to form an engaged and dedicated participation in honors education."

    Even Prof. MacDonald would say the most important part of her job is her students. And her students agree, many within the program referring to her as a motherly figure in the program, giving many of them a home away from home in New York. Monroe College senior and 2016 NCHC Student of the Year, Nathalie Waldschmidt, says Prof. MacDonald's work with Monroe has changed the way students experience honors. "Honors has become the special community that it is today because of her innovations and commitment."

    Waldschmidt says she regards Prof. MacDonald as more than their professor, but someone who has truly changed her life. "She inspires us each and every day to grow and to do the best we can." Waldschmidt said. "This is what honors is truly about."

    The National Collegiate Honors Council is proud to award Prof. Kathryn MacDonald as recipient of the 2017 NCHC Sam Schuman Award for Excellence at a Four-Year Institution. Prof. MacDonald will be presented with as the recipient of this award on Saturday November 11th, during the NCHC Awards presentation in Atlanta, as part of #NCHC17.

    Atlanta Awaits Summer Giveaway Contest  - Atlanta Skyline

    The Early Bird Deadline for NCHC17 may have passed, but you can still win a free registration from NCHC! If you register before midnight on September 24, you'll still be entered to win the final free registration for this year's conference.The final winner will be drawn on September 25.

    Register Today!

    Volunteer for NCHC17

    We need your assistance! Find out ways to get involved below:

    • NCHC 2017 Student Poster Competition - Call for Judges
      If you are a faculty member, honors director, or dean attending the Atlanta conference please consider devoting two hours of your time to serving as a judge for the student poster competition in one of the categories listed below. The Student Poster session is the main mechanism through which students participate in our annual conference and judging posters is a wonderful way in which to interact with students and give them feedback. Please contact Mike Sloane at
      Judges must be available to review posters and talk with about 8-12 student presenters during one of the two-hour sessions on Saturday, November 11th at the NCHC conference in Atlanta. Exact judging times will depend on your discipline and are indicated below. Judges interact with students and submit ratings and some written feedback which the presenters will receive back. We need judges in the following poster groupings at the following times:

      Saturday November 11, 9:00 am-11:00 am
      1. Arts & Visual Media;
      2. Arts & Humanities;
      3. Diversity;
      4. Education & Pedagogy;
      5. Social Justice

      Saturday November 11, 11:30 am-1:30 pm
      1. Business, Engineering, Computer Science;
      2. Environmental Sciences;
      3. Social & Behavioral Sciences

      Saturday November 11, 2:00 pm-4:00 pm
      1. Health Sciences;
      2. Natural Sciences & Mathematics

      Please contact Mike Sloane at for more information, and indicate: a) your first and second category preference; b) your academic discipline and areas of expertise.
    • Call for 2017 Student Moderators
      Students – we need you!
      Have you ever wanted to be able to tell a faculty member or honors director that their time was up? If so, you will enjoy being a Student Moderator at the 2017 NCHC Conference in Atlanta!
      Honors Directors: If you would like your students to participate as student moderators for General Sessions at the 2017 NCHC Conference in Atlanta and be included in the program, please submit the online application by August 1, 2017. Students will receive information about their responsibilities and will be expected to contact the presenters of the sessions to which they have been assigned.
      If you have any questions about the Student Moderators or submitting a candidate, please contact Jack Rhodes at

    Thank you to our 2017 Conference Sponsor!

    One Final PITP Project for 2017!

    The 2017 Partners in the Parks projects have been a huge success, taking students all over the country for experiential learning opportunities in some of our nation's most beautiful and interesting natural spaces.

    Registration is now open for one final project this year - in Everglades National Park! One of our most popular trips, it takes place December 27, 2017 - January 1, 2018. Join faculty and staff from Hillsborough Community College as we explore the "river of grass" during the holidays – the best time to be in Florida. Slough slog to cypress domes, nature's cathedrals. Paddle untamed marshland among gators and crocodiles. Observe birds from a bygone era. Celebrate the new year watching fireworks across Florida Bay along the Florida Keys with new friends. Your adventure awaits!

    Register here today!