National Collegiate Honors Council


“It Is What You Make It”: Opportunities Arising from the Unique Roles of Honors College Deans

Jeff Chamberlain, University of North Florida
Thomas M. Spencer, Texas A & M University - Kingsville
Jefford Vahlbusch, Appalachian State University

Copyright 2023, National Collegiate Honors Council. Used by permission


Grounded in the shared experiences of three current honors college deans and in comprehensive interviews with another two dozen honors deans at diverse institutions of higher education across the U.S., this chapter argues that the uniqueness of honors college dean roles and work can—and indeed should—lead to innovative and transformative change and improved student experiences, outcomes, and success, not only in honors colleges and within the scope of honors education, but across entire institutions. Ultimately the chapter contends that, while there can be manifold frustrations in running an honors college, the position of honors dean is one of the best administrative jobs in academia and creates tremendous opportunities for transformational change for leaders who are energetic and agile in their approaches.