National Collegiate Honors Council


Cultivating Institutional Change: Infusing Principles of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into Everyday Honors College Practices

Tara M. Tuttle, University of Kentucky
Julie Stewart, Westminster University
Kayla Powell, University of Kentucky

Copyright 2023, National Collegiate Honors Council. Used by permission


Envisioning and implementing strategic changes around diversity, equity, and inclusion in honors can be paradoxical. While honors colleges are traditionally regarded as tight-knit communities that serve as centers of curricular and pedagogical innovation, they have also been sites of exclusion because of outdated definitions of excellence based on inequitable presuppositions inherent to the university admissions process. Because many honors programs endeavor to produce publicly engaged graduates, creating a diverse, inclusive, and equitable learning environment is a moral imperative. Not only does it provide a safe and welcoming environment for learners, but it also models the type of behavior we want to see in our students. In this chapter, we compare and contrast the strategies for DEI work devised by Westminster College (Utah) and the Lewis Honors College at the University of Kentucky, noting the various ways these honors colleges prepared and implemented their strategies based on their distinct institutional profiles as, respectively, a small, private liberal arts college and a large, research-intensive, public land-grant university. We also identify how honors colleges might respond to their findings once they have gathered information on students’ lived experiences relative to diversity, equity, and inclusion to achieve a true culture of belonging.

Alternate title: Cultivating Institutional Change: Infusing Principles of DEI into Everyday Honors College Practices