National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Fall/Winter 2013, Volume 14, Number 2


Copyright 2013 by the National Collegiate Honors Council


In “Notes toward an Excellent Marxist-Elitist Honors Admissions Policy,” Jerry Herron argues that “a well-conceived admissions policy tells us much more than whom to recruit; it becomes the basis for a quantitative defense of what we do with data and puts a convincing dollar value on the good evangel of excellence.” As a rhetorician who worked at an advertising agency in a previous life, I can certainly acknowledge the value of promoting a product, whether we are pitching our programs to prospective students or performing feats of statistical prestidigitation for upper administration. I am also, however, skeptical about administration’s increasing overreliance upon quantitative data to the exclusion of all other assessment measures. True, numbers are easy to review and use for longitudinal and latitudinal comparisons, but do they effect authentic, productive change in our institutional and educational practices, or do we merely rotate instruments or revise existing ones until we achieve the desired results?