Date of this Version
Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 19.2 (Fall/Winter 2018) ISBN 978-1-945001-01-7 ISSN 1559-0151
Over the past decade of my academic career, I have increasingly noticed the gap between K–12 gifted education and honors college education as my research has forced me to straddle the two areas. My doctoral education at Ball State University included a specialization in gifted studies, which was a natural fit with my own interests in creative cognitive processes. During this time, I worked with a team that amassed a large data set from the honors college students, with twelve different measures ranging from topics of temperament to perfectionism to social dominance orientation. These measures addressed mostly psychosocial and emotional constructs, which are important considerations within K–12 gifted education. However, as I first began presenting and publishing findings from this data set, I noticed a gap between the conceptualizations of elementary, middle, and secondary-level gifted education and the function of honors colleges within higher education. This disconnect was further illuminated through my work at the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, where I noticed that many of my colleagues from doctoral programs in higher education, in contrast to my own background in educational psychology, used different terminology to explain what seemed to be essentially parallel constructs. I also discovered extensive research on honors colleges and programs, which largely seemed to be separate from gifted education, i.e., published in different journals, presented at different conferences, and not often cited in one another’s works. Colangelo’s essay in this issue, “Gifted Education to Honors Education: A Curious History, a Vibrant Future,” presents an excellent description of many similarities between the two fields while Guzy’s “Honors is a Good Fit for Gifted Students—Or Maybe Not” points out some of the distinctions we should keep in mind. Given the important points in these essays, along with my own personal experiences spanning the two fields, I have generated three general suggestions for how my fellow researchers might better address the disconnect between gifted and honors education.