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.


Honors colleges are springing up across the country. In the last several years public institutions of higher education from Vermont to Cal State Fresno and from Maine to South Florida have started honors colleges. Private universities such as Baylor, Hofstra, and Auburn have honors colleges as well (see Digby, 2002). At least one writer, Murray Sperber (2000) of Indiana University, has speculated that the primary purpose for creating such colleges is to solicit funds from one or more major donors. Others point out that the transition from program to college is primarily symbolic, signifying a stronger central commitment to honors students and honors education (Zane, 2002). More recently, Sederberg (2003) lists characteristics an honors college should have beyond a fully developed honors program. Most of these characteristics pertain to infrastructure and operations. Generalizations are difficult to make because of the individuality of various honors programs or colleges, but the truth is more complex and textured than these publications depict. There are few publications available to describe either the more subtle or substantial differences between an honors program and college.