National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version

Spring 2012


Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Spring/Summer 2012, Volume 13, Number 1, special issue on The Economy of Honors


Copyright 2012 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


Richard Badenhausen’s essay “Costs and Benefits in the Economy of Honors” has been a splinter in my mind since I first read it. As Director of the Honors Program at Indiana University Southeast, I have been immersed in what Badenhausen describes as the financial issues that honors faculty and administrators may not, as a group, be sufficiently aware of. Yet, despite wrestling on a regular basis with student financial difficulties, finite honors program scholarship resources, long-term planning (in which I propose improvements that cost money), I find, thanks to Badenhausen, that I have been neglecting the issue of the distinctiveness of the honors learning experience. He writes:

I would argue that we are all better served by a recruiting process that emphasizes the distinctiveness of the learning experience in honors and that we should spend most of our time educating families about the way honors classes are different rather than better. Of course, this strategy only works if honors faculty have thought intentionally about the unique features of honors pedagogy. . . .

If we want to move beyond career goals and entitlement privileges as motives to join honors, Badenhausen argues, such questions about what makes honors special need careful thought and specific responses.