National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version

Spring 2004


Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 5:1, Spring/Summer 2004. Copyright © 2004 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


Three papers (Estress, 1984; Roemer, 1984; Schuman, 1984) were published twenty years ago on the subject of research in honors. The purpose of this paper is to re-examine those thoughts in today’s context and to build forward on them where possible.

Honors programs have a tremendous, but as yet unrealized, potential to make a difference in the quality of higher education. Of course, honors programs should make a profound difference in the learning experience of all honors students. As Renzulli (1998) noted, we have “a responsibility to develop gifted behavior, not just find and certify it.” Yet, there are few recognized scholars on honors education at the collegiate level and no recognized area of study on the subject. However, honors education in practice is often a learning laboratory for undergraduate education more generally. Honors programs can test the feasibility and impact of various teaching pedagogies, assessment methods, and outcomes from which wider efforts can be launched. From this broader perspective, research that addresses questions about honors education is not only needed but should be a high priority within individual institutions as well as the general community of higher education.