National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Chapter i4 n Honors Colleges in the 21st Century; Richard Badenhausen, editor

Pages 109–134

ISBN: 978-1-945001-21-5

National Collegiate Honors Council Monograph Series; Jeffrey A. Portnoy, series editor

Published by the National Collegiate Honors Council, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, United States


Copyright 2023, National Collegiate Honors Council. Used by permission


As institutions of higher education evolve to better meet the needs of highly motivated students, conversations have focused on the role of an honors education in the undergraduate collegiate experience. Specifically, administrators have been evaluating the value and merits of maintaining an honors program or deciding to make a transition to a new honors college. This chapter clarifies the essential differences between these two approaches to honors education. Additionally, it provides some guiding principles that can generate widespread support and facilitate the development of impactful student experiences that are generally applicable to a broad range of institutions. Overall, honors colleges amplify the essential nature of an honors education, enhance the mission of a given institution, and leverage those unique strengths that identify a university’s culture and make it distinctive. Transitioning an established program to a new college is an exciting endeavor, and this chapter will help others generate innovative ideas for their institution while also highlighting important considerations that can assist in a smooth, collaborative decision-making process.