National Collegiate Honors Council



Samuel Schuman

Date of this Version



Copyright 1999 Samuel Schuman and the National Collegiate Honors Council


This little pamphlet first appeared in 1988 which, from the perspective of American higher education, is either just yesterday or eons ago. At the end of the '80s, in that First Edition, it was still possible to suggest that a fully-equipped Honors office space should have "a computer or typewriter," a suggestion which today sounds more appropriate for a museum of antique office machinery than an up-to-date operation. On the other hand, some of the same questions about access and elitism which troubled us over a decade ago continue to be contemporary concerns. This revision, like most, seeks to preserve what may continue to be useful, to eliminate the antique, and to add discussions of those issues which have come to the forefront recently. .

Those issues include: new student populations in Honors Programs, and new populations of colleges and universities creating Honors Programs; new curricular movements and different pedagogies (often first explored in Honors) used to teach them; the ongoing revolution in learning technologies, and associated issues such as distance learning and for-profit post-secondary opportunities.

Appendix A of the brochure now contains a handful of very brief, sample, small college Honors Programs, based upon real models, but no longer identified with particular institutions. As it happens, I've tried to go back to some of the colleges originally profiled in 1988, mostly for my own curiosity. But I am now persuaded that the descriptions of actual models created some problems which a slightly more abstract group of samples can avoid. I have chosen to follow Aristotle's preference for literature over history. The profiles include two year, four year, and graduate degree granting institutions; public and private colleges; traditionally majority and historically minority schools; ambitious and modest Honors Programs.

Appendix B is a statement by the national Honors organization attempting to describe a cluster of features which tend to characterize "fully developed Honors Programs."

Neither Appendix should be understood to be definitive nor prescriptive, but to supplement the text in suggesting possibilities and multiple models from which to pick and choose, to modify, adopt, or ignore depending upon institutional need and culture and history.