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It may come as disappointing news, but as far as honors administrators go the “right stuff” in many ways resembles sound medical practice: there are seldom cases of heroic intervention; good protocols and practices are better formulas for success than sheer talent or the bold stroke; and so good preparation counts for more than genius. A comprehensive essay on an honors administrator’s role in academic leadership, curriculum design, administrative organization and reportage, and other honors desiderata would make a hefty book, and so these brief remarks will address specific but important aspects of administration, faculty recruitment, and student advising.
Above all, being well prepared in administrative terms means having a clear, consistent, well developed message describing in detail honors’ importance to the institution, its benefits to colleges, departments, and programs, its role in improving academic standards, the competitive advantages it provides in recruiting the most able students, and its place in fund raising for itself and the institution. The message must be concise, and it must highlight honors as the single most important element in improving overall academic quality and in maintaining academic standards in an era when they are increasingly challenged.