National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version

Fall 2006


Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 7:2, Fall/Winter 2006. Copyright © 2006 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


In his 1986 article, “Honors Program Leadership: The Right Stuff,” Rew Godow, Jr., makes a compelling argument for honors program director as Renaissance man or homo universalis, someone who is able to do many things well, undaunted by the fact that his job, like the job of astronauts evoked by Godow’s title, exacts commitment, ability, and sheer guts along with daunting paper work, management and budgeting expertise, the habit of building and maintaining a constituency, and the entrepreneurship required to sell a program.
Looking to my eight-year administrative relationship with the Honors Program of my university, Coordinator for two years and Director for six, I see that I have played all the roles that Godow tells us belong to his ideal “Academic Leader”: “Lover of Wisdom,” “Curriculum Reformer,” “General Administrator,” “Entrepreneur,” “Admissions Officer,” and “Student Activities Coordinator”—some with a greater degree of success than others. But as a kind of postmodern supplement to the characteristics of leadership that Godow proposed back in 1986 and to the Renaissance model that they presuppose, I would like to put forward an alternative—a kind of philosophical anti-model that reflects a simpler, more power-diffuse, collaborative role for the director of honors in the twenty-first century.