National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Chapter 15 in Honors Colleges in the 21st Century; Richard Badenhausen, editor

Pages 385–400

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


The architecture of student leadership in honors colleges is a formative decision that affects students’ experience and development. Through a broad view of student leadership structures across U.S. honors colleges, four common modalities are identified and described: governance, programming, mentorship, and ambassadorship. Relevant models, variations, combinations, and specializations are provided. Student leadership, as a hallmark of honors education, is one way in which honors colleges distinguish themselves both within and outside the university. As intentional learning communities, honors colleges incorporate student leadership into the nature of honors education, as part of mission, and as a defining outcome of the honors experience. This chapter identifies various ways in which strong student leadership structures enhance the honors college while also providing important experiential learning opportunities for emerging leaders.