National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Honors in Practice, Volume 9 (2013)


Copyright 2013 by the National Collegiate Honors Council


This volume of Honors in Practice covers a spectrum from visionary to practical, providing an array of inspiration, insights, models, advice, and information in the service of honors education. At the same time, a recurrent motif in many of the essays is the conflict between safety and risk, structured achievement and challenging exploration. This motif, introduced in the first essay, threads it way through much of this volume of HIP so that, more than a collection of essays, it provides a discourse on the nature of honors education as a safe haven and a dangerous voyage.

The volume begins with an essay that all teachers, students, and administrators in honors should read and reread when they need renewed inspiration for their chosen work. “‘In Landlessness Alone Resides the Highest Truth’; or, At Sea with Honors,” by Don Dingledine of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, is an eloquent, intricate, and ingenious essay that likens the risky adventure of honors education to the dangerous quest for truth undertaken by Ishmael in Moby-Dick. Honors programs, like the Pequod, propel students beyond the familiar lands of their majors and professional goals, sending them out to sea where, like Ishmael, they examine that big whale of Truth from all angles, traditions, and disciplines, always seeking but never quite grasping the unknown and the unknowable. Dingledine describes models of honors education that exemplify the highest ideals of community, interdisciplinarity, integrity, and truth-seeking, connecting these ideals to our individual and collective survival. He inspires us to practice and cherish honors “not by clinging to the ‘slavish shore’ but by heading out to sea.”