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.


When my National Collegiate Honors Council monograph Honors Composition: Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Practices was in its dissertation stage, an early draft contained information about potential administrative problems in offering honors composition courses. The initial questionnaire did not include specific questions regarding administrative concerns, but I was prompted to include such questions in the follow-up interviews after receiving a somewhat troubling email message from a questionnaire respondent, an excerpt of which is included here:

Our program is so different from those typically offered that I am not sure if any of our answers would be relevant to your concerns. Because our mandate was to create a program which would not result in special courses provided only to honors students, the powers (power, really) insist that anything smacking of “elitism” is verboten. In addition there is no separate budget or staff; the program simply offers an honors “option” to regularly scheduled classes. This means that each semester a number and variety of General Education courses will be offered with an honors option. Since these classes are part of the regular curriculum, the option for honors is technically open to anyone (thus the claim is made that this program is inclusive).