Date of this Version
Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Fall/Winter 2014, Volume 15, Number 2.
In her essay “My Objections to Outcome [Note the Singular] Assessment,” Joan Digby rails against the rubrics and templates of outcomes assessment that have pervaded contemporary higher education, arguing that faculty “enjoy teaching and feel rewarded by the successes of their students. Bingo. That’s it. Nothing more to say or prove. No boxes to fill in. Anyone with an urge to produce data can take attendance at Commencement.” I must confess that I do just that with the students who have taken my honors freshman composition courses. At the end of each spring semester, our honors program holds an Honors Senior Showcase on the day before commencement. Each graduating honors senior presents his or her thesis work, most in poster form but a few in brief oral presentations, and then each student is recognized in a hooding ceremony. Family, friends, faculty, and administrators are invited to celebrate the students’ accomplishments, and I am always curious to see how many of my honors composition students have navigated through four years or more of their major coursework, honors requirements, and thesis projects to graduate from the program.