National Collegiate Honors Council


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From: Housing Honors, edited by Linda Frost, Lisa W. Kay, and Rachael Poe. National Collegiate Honors Council Monograph Series (Lincoln, NE: 2015).


Copyright © 2015 by National Collegiate Honors Council.


In its “Basic Characteristics” of fully developed honors programs and colleges—lists that have become increasingly prescriptive over the years—the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) identifies “best practices that are common to successful” honors programs and colleges (2014a). One of those practices includes the establishing of separate honors residential opportunities for students, despite the fact that such dedicated space is a bad idea in many instances. In light of the old saying that “one man’s castle is another man’s prison,” I will lay out some of the reasons why honors housing is not a good in itself. I hope to complicate the understanding of the benefits and risks of cordoning off honors students from the rest of the campus population in the hopes that programs and colleges considering honors residential arrangements might interrogate their own assumptions about the value of such a move. Doing so will help those groups ask hard though useful questions about student learning and development, the allocation of resources in challenging financial times, and the way in which honors relates to the campus-wide community.