Date of this Version
Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 19:1 (Spring/Summer 2018), p.
Even in these perplexing times, most citizens of the United States would agree that social injustices in this country need to be addressed and alleviated. Most would acknowledge the high rates of poverty, hunger, illiteracy, incarceration, economic inequality, racial discrimination, and bias in college admissions, for instance, that undermine the ideals essential to a thriving democracy. The challenge, though, is getting beneath these abstractions to a level of empathy that can bring about change. While the National Collegiate Honors Council has taken on this challenge in years past, the energy and commitment required to meet the challenge has generally waned as years have passed and as programmatic, institutional, and organizational issues directly related to honors education have taken precedence. Under the leadership of NCHC president Naomi Yavneh Klos of Loyola University New Orleans, a new agenda to address social injustices is now underway to make diversity and social justice a central focus of the organization, and so it is fitting that she opens this issue of the Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council with the lead essay for a Forum on “Honors and Social Justice.” A Call for Papers on the Forum topic went out via the NCHC website, listserv, and e-newsletter inviting members to contribute to the Forum. The Call included a link to Yavneh Klos’s essay, “Thinking Critically, Acting Justly,” with the following comments:
"Yavneh Klos asks readers to consider two questions: “first, how to engage our highest-ability and most motivated students in questions of justice; and second, how honors can be a place of access, equity, and excellence in higher education.” She describes the ways her program has wedded traditional and experiential educational goals with justice education to fulfill the Jesuit honors mission to “embrace diversity; foster reflection and discernment; promote social justice and preferential care for the poor and the vulnerable; and bring ‘intellectual talents into service of the world’s great needs.’” Rejecting the notion that a student’s qualification for honors can easily be identified by test scores and high school GPA, she suggests ways that admissions policies and curriculum decisions can achieve equitable and inclusive excellence for the public good."