National Collegiate Honors Council


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From: The Demonstrable Value of Honors Education: New Research Evidence, edited by Andrew J. Cognard-Black, Jerry Herron, and Patricia J. Smith. (Lincoln, NE: NCHC, 2019). Copyright 2019 by National Collegiate Honors Councils.


The Keene State College Honors Program began as the vision of a former college president to attract more high-achieving students to this particular public liberal arts college. In the fall of 2007, after the college had secured initial funding, a small cohort of twenty first-year students were selected for the honors program by admissions staff for their achievements and promise. The numbers were intentionally small, but the goals were ambitious for a rural college that serves a high percentage of first-generation college students (43%). The students selected for admission into honors would enroll in an honors-level writing course and live together in a “parliament” inside one of the residence halls designed to link living and learning experiences. As second-year students, they would complete a global engagement faculty-led course that would culminate in immersive travel outside the United States. They would also complete several electives and a senior seminar that met their integrative studies requirements outside their major field of study. Students would receive honors advising, tickets to selected arts and theater events on campus, and priority course registration.