National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Published in Honors in Practice, volume 5. Copyright 2009 National Collegiate Honors Council.


What makes an honors program a community? And how does one build a vibrant honors community at a commuter community college? In the City University of New York’s LaGuardia Community College Honors Program, we have been grappling with such questions especially because ours is an urban, non-residential campus that serves a diverse, non-traditional student population. Our student population is roughly 38% Hispanic, 21% Asian, and 20% Black; in 2007, 58% of our students were foreign born, 19% took evening classes, and 46% were part-time students. How can we provide the program with a sense of cohesion without the infrastructure of a residential college, and with most of our students holding jobs (part-time or full-time) and/or taking care of family? Furthermore, having no dedicated space, budget, or administrative support for managing the day-to-day affairs of the honors program makes it difficult to sustain an active program, let alone grow it and build an engaged honors community.