National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version

Spring 2008


Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 9:1, Spring/Summer 2008. Copyright © 2008 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


Charlie Slavin’s excellent essay on “Defining Honors Culture” raises a host of compelling questions. As the director of an honors program just taking its first steps, I found myself returning again and again to the limits of my own role in shaping a nascent honors culture. Can honors administrators create an “honors culture”? Probably not, even in the case of a newly created honors program. The larger institutional culture and the particular characteristics of the first honors students make the creation ex nihilo of an honors culture difficult, if not impossible. But the stated goals of a particular honors program and the attitudes of honors administrators certainly play a crucial role in the development of the honors culture. When those goals and attitudes are enshrined in the admissions process, curricular requirements, and co-curricular activities of an honors program, honors administrators may enjoy a decisive role in the evolution of an institution’s particular honors culture.