News from NCHC | September 2019

In This Issue...

From the ED: Changes

2020 Board Candidates

NCHC19 Final Giveaway

Call for Poster Judges

Final Call for Master Class Submissions

From the Conference Chair: Pro Dev at NCHC19

Dates & Deadlines

Fall Portz Grants

2020 CCSSE Consortium

2020 Membership Dues

HIP Call for Submissions

GEICO Member Discount

From the ED: Changes

September has been a reflective month for me. Personally, it was the first time in more than two decades that we didn't celebrate a "first day of school" for anyone in our family. It's been a month to reflect on what future choices will be limited with the decision to not attend college. Professionally, the NCHC staff is sorting through a decade of paperwork, preparing for a move from the Doric columns of Neihardt Residence Hall and into the 21st century of technology and upgrades across the street.

If you've been part of NCHC for a while, you know that there hasn't always been a national office—that the conversation began just twenty years ago in 1999 (think Y2K scare), about the same time that some of the students in your classrooms were born. The doors to NCHC didn't open until 2005, nearly six years later.

Students born in that time frame grew into their educational age under tumultuous change. September 11, 2001 happened – personal security versus homeland security. No Child Left Behind was signed into law in 2002 – grades, data and standard assessments were common vocabulary words. iTunes was launched in 2003 by Apple – and instant entertainment interrupted/erupted. The Mars rover began transmitting data in 2004 – the universe got smaller, and achievement expectations rose. YouTube opened online in 2005 – technology giants began to (e)merge. While the scientific and tech advances may have contributed to an immediate "wow" factor, lifetimes in the past twenty years have seen significant changes, all of them perhaps faster than a young person could understand, and faster still than larger institutions could adapt.

This year, many campuses began their fall semesters with lower enrollment and less funding. Two students of my own are opting out of college this semester- one didn't start, one didn't go back. Broadcasts debating the value of academia, accepting the fact that part-time work won't cover the cost of what remains after student loans, and the haunting comments of faculty who inferred someone lacked the perseverance or grit to succeed have all undermined the decision-making process.

It's a lot to accommodate, for all of you in honors with responsibilities to students, deans, families, and administrators. To react to the whole person walking through the door, not just to point them to where they think they're going, but to address the history that could be a barrier those plans. To anticipate the safety nets you'll need to provide, whether it's financial, academic, social, health, or emotional is daunting.

That's also a lot of change for an organization to consider, particularly since the changes in the academic world and beyond were not even part of the basic design questions for starting a national office. Over the past year, NCHC has finalized the framework of a strategic plan that has opened conversations about the value of organizational membership. And while we're excited about that accomplishment, we recognize it's a single, small step. We have much to do to increase our technology capacity, for training and communications. We have challenges in growing our professional network, expanding the resources that members can access as part of NCHC. And we believe our programming should provide each member with, at a minimum, the most basic of tools for building a safe, engaging, thriving honors program/college.

And much of that is just to catch up to your world on campus today.

We have to dream bigger to anticipate what you may need for a student entering your office in 2040.

It's not that far away.

Mary Beth Rathe
NCHC Executive Director

Meet Your 2020 Board Candidates

As a valued member of NCHC and the honors education community, an important way to make your voice heard is by voting in the NCHC Annual Election and Member Vote. Please take a moment to review the candidate statements submitted by those members running for the NCHC Board of Directors positions, available now on the NCHC website. There is also a proposed change to the NCHC Bylaws that requires the attention of the membership in this year's vote.

View Voting Details and Candidate Statements Here

As a reminder, all paid members of NCHC will receive an email on the first day of voting with their personal link to vote in the 2019 Election (from the Big Pulse online voting system). Voting opens at 6:00 AM CST on Monday, December 2, and closes at 12:00 PM CST on Monday, December 9th.

If you have questions concerning this vote or process, please contact the NCHC office at

Ask Your Questions In-Person at NCHC19!
NCHC Election 2019: Meet the Candidates Forum
Saturday, November 9 :: 9:00-9:50 AM

After the Annual Business Meeting, come and meet the people running to serve on the NCHC Board of Directors. Hear from them firsthand on why they want to become more involved in the organization and how they plan to influence honors education through the NCHC.


Early Bird Registration Pricing Ends Friday, September 20!

#NCHC19 Summer Giveaway

NCHC is bound for New Orleans this November! We're giving away ONE MORE FREE REGISTRATION to #NCHC19, and all you have to do to enter is register! On September 23, the final name will be drawn from all registered attendees to receive a free conference registration. Registrations must be received by 11:59pm CST on September 22 to be eligible to win. All registrations received by NCHC prior to September 22 are included as eligible for the drawing.

Register Today

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Call for Student Poster Judging

If you are a faculty member, honors director, or dean attending the New Orleans 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 providing him with your areas of expertise and judging category preferences (see below)

Judges must be available to review posters and talk with about 8-12 student presenters during one of the two-hour sessions on Friday, November 8th at the NCHC conference in New Orleans. Before committing to a particular session, presenters should check the time(s) of their own presentation(s) to make sure they are available for the two-hour student poster period. 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:

Friday November 8, 8:30am-10:30am

  1. Arts & Visual Media
  2. Arts & Humanities
  3. Diversity
  4. Education & Pedagogy
  5. Social Justice

Friday November 8, 11:00am-1:00pm

  1. Health Sciences
  2. Social & Behavioral Sciences

Friday November 8, 2:00pm-4:00pm

  1. Business, Engineering, & Computer Science
  2. Environmental Sciences
  3. Natural Sciences & Mathematics

Please contact Mike Sloane at and indicate: a) your first and second category preference; b) your academic discipline and areas of expertise.

Thank you for your participation!

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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 October 4.

Directors: Encourage your honors students involved in the arts to apply for this NCHC19 opportunity!

Submit a Master Class Proposal

From the Conference Chair

NCHC19 Provides Pro Dev and More

Professional development has been a hot topic on my campus this year, as we are in the third year with no contract. One of the obstacles? The proposed removal of professional development funding for faculty and staff. Knowing that enrollment and budgets are concerns for many institutions in higher education (hence our lack of contract), the NCHC conference in New Orleans may seem out of reach or require compelling reasons to attend: my list (in no specific order) includes immersing myself in honors, learning about honors within specific disciplines, exploring new ideas and a new (or familiar) city, "borrowing" ideas and tools from others, sharing my ideas and techniques, and, most importantly, networking and socializing with people like me—actively engaged in honors (more on this in a minute).

From several NCHC surveys, we know that networking is one of the top reasons many of us attend conference and join the NCHC. Like many of my colleagues, I consider NCHC staff and members cherished colleagues and even "chosen" family, people who understand me and who will support me when I need that. Conference provides me a chance to spend quality time with those same people and renew my commitment to honors education and, more importantly, my students.

Obviously, conferences are an important part of professional development (Ismus, 2019). Life-long learning is one of the mainstays of honors education, which suggests we need to dedicate ourselves to learn at every opportunity and then share what we learn with others. This sharing can occur by presenting and volunteering at the conference, by contributing to various NCHC publications, and more importantly, by communicating at our home campuses. Curtis and Coulter (July 2019), in addition to the points raised above, also list the importance of "digging deeper" and gaining tools and skills not available elsewhere.

Those of us who can attend conferences must make the most of them. Ismus (2019) divided her piece on attendance into stages: pre-, during, and post-conference. For the former, she recommends spending time with the program and/or downloaded conference app to lay out the presentations and events to attend, making use of social media and bringing business cards (remember: networking!). At the conference, stepping out of one's comfort zone to hear topics and talk with people whom you might not otherwise (yes, taking risks, as we tell our students); connecting with speakers of interest; taking notes; and getting involved. While many of us do many of these, her post-conference suggestions merit attention as well. She suggests "paying if forward" (sharing with colleagues who did not attend, reporting back to higher ups, and staying connected with people met on site (Ismus, 2019). How might we do this? Have a mini-conference on your own campus for interested faculty, administrative staff and counselors. Try something new in your honors classes. Follow up with new contacts. And do make that presentation to your direct report that demonstrates clear takeaways from attending conference. Who knows?! It may establish the merits for next year's conference budget line.

I know that for me, some of the takeaways may be less tangible. Simply immersing myself in ideas and spending time with like-minded people serves as a reset button: the exhaustion from travel is offset by a head awash with ideas and new contacts and more importantly, my own re-commitment to ensure my students have positive honors experiences. I am rejuvenated to fight the good fight and have even more resources to do so.

I know not everyone can join us this fall in New Orleans. With the help of the office staff and NCHC members, we are working on ways to bring parts of the conference to everyone. While more on this will come over the next few newsletters, we want everyone to be able to access and experience even a portion of what for me is an important part of my academic life.

I look forward to seeing some of you at conference and sharing with everyone whatever we can to assist in that intellectual and emotional renewal.

Elaine Torda
NCHC President Elect
NCHC19 Conference Chair

Dates and Deadlines

Take note of these upcoming important dates for NCHC members!

September 20NCHC19 Early Bird Registration Deadline
September 28Fall Portz Grant Application Deadline
October 4NCHC Master Class Deadline

Fall Portz Grants

Are you seeking to infuse some energy in your honors program with an innovative project? NCHC wants to assist you in making your dream a reality! The NCHC Awards & Grants Committee invites interested NCHC institutions and professional members to submit an application for an NCHC Portz Grant. These grants are intended to support honors program/college innovation and can be small (up to $500) or large (up to $1,500)! Complete the NCHC Portz Grant Application Form below, including your supporting narrative and proposed project budget.

Fall Portz Grant applications are open August 1 - September 28, 2019.

NCHC Fall Portz Grants

2020 CCSSE Honors Consortium

There is still time for interested parties at two-year degree institutions to signal their interest to join the Honors Consortium for the spring 2020 administration of the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE). Interested parties with questions about the project or those wishing to signal their intention to join the CCSSE Honors Consortium may send direct correspondence to consortium coordinator, Dr. Jane Honeycutt, chair of the NCHC CCSSE Honors Consortium Working Group (email: ). Consortium members should be current institutional members of the National Collegiate Honors Council.

Member Dues

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. Your 2019 membership does not expire until December 31, 2019, but you may pre-pay for 2020 dues at any time. 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!

HIP Call for Submissions


We are adding a new feature to Honors in Practice called "Brief Ideas about What Works in Honors." Please see below for details.

Call for Submissions

Honors in Practice is accepting submissions for Volume 15 (2020). The deadline is January 1, 2020. 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, instructions for abstracts and keywords, and a style sheet for NCHC journals can be found on the NCHC website.

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

These short descriptions of a successful course, project, idea, or assignment should be 500-750 words long, and the abstract should be one sentence.

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.), 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 one sentence.

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.

All submissions and inquiries should be directed to Ada Long at

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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