National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version

Spring 2021


Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 2021, 22(1):115–133


Copyright © 2021 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


Common to most colleges and universities across the United States, honors programs are often criticized as havens for academically elite and privileged students. To help address concerns about the recruitment and retention of diverse honors students, this study presents a systematic review (2000–2019, inclusive) of published literature relating to diversity in honors education (n = 66). Identifying six emergent themes, authors examine the types of research presented in the literature; how diversity is defined by scholars; and programmatic best practices for increasing student diversity. A thorough description of one program’s flexible, innovative, and adaptive strategies for curricular improvement, recruitment practices, and the admissions process reveals how research-driven initiatives can yield substantial gains in recruiting and retaining students from minority and lower socioeconomic backgrounds. A discussion of inclusive community building and social justice orientation is provided, and ideas for future research are suggested.