National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Fall/Winter 2012, Volume 13, Number 2


Copyright 2012 by the National Collegiate Honors Council


Research has shown that honors programs often provide active networks of students that contribute to the development of the students’ talents (De Boer & van Eijl; van Eijl, Pilot & Wolfensberger). These contact networks are also described as “learning communities” (Wilson et al.) and “honors communities” (van Eijl, Pilot & Wolfensberger). Such communities foster productive interaction among students, teachers, and other professionals during their affiliation with the program and beyond. As a result of such connections, students discover new learning opportunities and gain experience in organizational and leadership skills. In honors programs, in particular, these contacts are an essential component of what defines and separates honors activities as special enhancements of a student’s overall educational experience (van Eijl, Wolfensberger & Pilot). Our study focuses on design principles, key characteristics, strategies, and successful examples that characterize the development of honors communities.