National Collegiate Honors Council



Date of this Version


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Copyright 2001 NCHC Inc.


1. "Issues in Honors” by Robert C. Angel… 1 Reprinted from The Superior Student Vol. 3, No.4 (May/June 1960): 18-24. A 1960's presentation which raises concerns faced now, forty years later: admission, enrichment or acceleration, for example. Angell poses questions, makes suggestions based on his experience but always puts forth an alternative point of view for consideration. A thoughtful presentation. For newcomers to honors as well as faculty and directors in established programs.

2. "[T]he ICSS 1959” by Joseph W. Cohen… 6 Reprinted from The Superior Student Vol. 2, No.6 (October 1959): 3-5. From an opening address by one ofthe founders ofICSS (Inter-University Council on the Superior Student, a precursor of the NCHC). Abbreviated here. Cohen shares a check list to answer the question: how to best "meet the responsibility ofthe college to its superior students" (3). Includes goals, followed by objectives to meet those stated goals.

3. "Honors in a Dishonorable Age" 6y Sam Schuman … 7 Reprinted from The National Honors Report Vol. XIII, No.4 (Winter 1993): 1-2. Ideals of honors programs in the context of short-sighted attitudes to education. How honors means stepping out of what is already known into realleaming. The value of honor. From Schuman's Presidential Address in 1992.

4. "Noblesse Oblige: Does It Apply To Honors?” by Richard J. Cummings…. 9 Reprinted from The National Honors Report Vol. IX, NO.4 (Winter 1988): 24-25. Cummings argues that elitism should not have a negative connotation. A call for positive elitism, the opposite of snobbery and an emphasis on the substance of honors, not the show of honors. A reminder for programs to think about the contribution honors students can make as a way ofre-enforcing (as Cummings says) the professional and personal education received in honors work.

5. "Honors: Getting Started" 6y Sandra Y. Etheridge. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 Reprinted from The National Honors Report Vol. XIII, No.2 (Summer 1992): 7-12. Ethridge presents a scheme complete with helpful diagrams for organizing the very beginning of an honors program, even before it offers its first course. Full of useful advice. Excellent for someone recently appointed or named "Honors Director." Or a committee charged with considering the possibilities for a program.

6. "If I Had My Way" 6y John Peterson … 18 Reprinted from The National Honors Report Vol. VII, No.2 (Summer 1986): 15-16. No absolutes. Peterson stresses that honors programs are not alike at all times, nor should they be. Ideas to consider in fashioning a program within the specific culture existing on a specific campus. Provocative.

7. "[B]uilding an Honors Program" 20 Reprinted from The Superior Student Vol. 1, No.1 (April 1958): 11. One of the first attempts to identify goals for honors programs. Goals to consider when a program is in its formative stage. A check-back for existing programs as they have grown and changed. One of the documents serving as a source of NCHC's "Basic Characteristics ofa Fully-Developed Honors Program," also included in this issue.

8. "Major Features of a Full Honors Program" … 21 Reprinted from The Superior Student Vol. V, No.4 (March/April 1963): 9-11. A set of goals to reach, not all at one time. Worth reading if only to see the 40+ years of struggling to define the nature of honors. See "Basic Characteristics" in this issue (and at least once every year) written and approved by the NCHC in 1994.

9. "Basic Characteristics of a Fully-Developed Honors Program” from the NCHC …22 Reprinted from The National Honors Report Vol. XIX, No.4 (Winter 1999, Special Edition): 17-18. Sixteen suggested goals to reach. Colleges and universities have used this document in evaluation of their honors programs, in requests for additional office space, personnel, honors opportunities, standing within the university structure, for example. For use in examining short-term as well as long-term goals. [See also Spurrier's article, "Ten Suggestions for Using Your Institutional Process to Benefit Your Honors Program" and Menis and Case's "Beginning in Honors: Approaching 'Basic Characteristics' From a Small College Perspective," also in this issue.]

10. “Beginning in Honors: Approaching ‘Basic Characteristics’ From a SMall College Perspective” by Donna Menis and Robert P. Case . . . .24 Reprinted from The National Honors Report Vol. XVIII, No.1 (Spring 1997): 42-44. Applying "Basic Characteristics of a Fully-Developed Honors Program." Adapting these goals to fit into a small college culture. Useful in prompting other programs to use "Basic Characteristics" to fit their own campus. Excellent for evaluation purposes, for a guideline to share with administrators. Fine example for viewing "Basic Characteristics" as a living document.

11. "Honors in the Ivies” by David Duvall and Janice Harris … 27 Reprinted from The National Honors Report Vol. X, No.2 (Summer 1989): 18-19. An interesting view of honors. In small colleges and state universities, honors becomes a stand against the "downhill slide" (18) in education. Ivies think all their courses are honors. Harris disagrees. She sees honors as cohesive in campuses growing more heterogeneous, less emphasis on specific missions (teachers' ed, for example). Good discussion of missions from two perspectives.

12. "Ten Suggestions for Using your Institutional Process to Benefit Your Honors Program" by Bob Spurrier … 29 Reprinted from The National Honors Report Vol. XIV, No.2 (Summer 1995): 21-25. Five/Ten-Year accreditation. Be prepared, Spurrier says. Accreditation is the time to join the team studying undergraduate education to make sure honors is included. Have documentation of honors on your campus, for example. Sensible advice for demonstrating how the honors program enhances education campus-wide, how it is part of the campus culture.

13. ''Why an Honors College” by Ottavio M. Casale … 33 Reprinted from The Newsletter for the National Collegiate Honors Council Vol. IV, No.4 (December 1983): 3-4. Several indisputable reasons for an Honors College: it becomes a partner with other departments in a college or partner with other colleges in a university. Biggest advantage: clout. A separation of honors from the whim of its one (and maybe only one) dispenser of funds.

14. "A Day in the Life of an Honors Director" by Hudson Reynolds …35 Reprinted from The Newsletter for the National Collegiate Honors Council Vol. V, No.1 (March 1984): 12-13. You don't want to know. But you should. Recruiter, interviewer, teacher, working with Admissions on a new brochure, and that's just the morning. Another twelve-hour day. Busy but fulfilled. You wouldn't have any other job on campus.

15. "Divided Selves:: Part-TIme Directors” by Jay Ward …37 Reprinted from The National Honors Report Vol. XII, No.4 (Winter 1992): 25-26. A good companion-piece to Hudson Reynolds' article preceding. Making the most of limited resources, limited time, and minimal staff (if any at all). Concerns about how home department views honors work. A positive outlook.

16. "Ten Things I Wish I’d Known as a New Honors Director” by Virginia McCombs…39 Reprinted from The National Honors Report Vol. XVIII, No.4 (Winter 1998): 14-16. Excellent. Full of sensible advice. A popular article, often used in workshops and shared among campuses.

17. "If I Had It To Do All Over Again” by Anne Ponder …42 Reprinted from The National Honors Report Vol. XII, No.3 (Fall 1991): 11-12. Six rules (or so Ponder calls her "hints" for new directors) to make life easier. Sensible, yet full of surprises, such as needing to have a chauffeur's license. Ponder says she'd make other mistakes were she to do it again, but not these mistakes. A good sense of humor everyone will appreciate.

18. "Selecting and Training Honors Faculty” by Faith Gabelnick … 44 PART I: Reprinted from The Newsletter for the National Collegiate Honors Council Vol. III, No.2 (June 1982): 16. Selection of honors faculty: a three-month process. PART II: Reprinted from The Newsletter for the National Collegiate Honors Council Vol. III, No.3 (September 1982): 14-15. Selection of honors faculty: scholars and/or teachers. PART III: Reprinted from The Newsletter for the National Collegiate Honors Council Vol. IV, No.1 (March 1983): 5. Honors faculty and/or faculty who teach honors courses.

19. "The McDOnald’s Mentality” by Arno F. Wittig … 48 Reprinted from The National Honors Report XIV, No.1 (Spring 1993): 32-34. Facing the Fast Food generation. Faculty must encourage risk-taking and the pushing away of easy answers. Need for faculty to understand students' world and then use it to connect with them. Making honors an atmosphere students will welcome. A response to Bob Rhode's "The Disenchanted Generation" reprinted in Winter 1999's Classic issue.

20. "Letter from Fred’s Mother” shared by Freddye Davy … 51 Reprinted from The National Honors Report Vol. XXI, No.3 (Fall 2000): 3. Directors should share this letter. Faculty should tape a copy where it's handy. A wish list from a mother whose son is just entering an honors program.A mother's request for her son's education, of course, but more. Honors as a life experience.

21. "Selection of Honors Students” by John L. Holland … 52 Reprinted from The Superior Student Vol. VII, No.2 (March/April 1965): 16-19. Forget about the 1965 date. Current programs wrestle with selection every day. Emphasis here on tying selection to a specific program's goals. Selecting students likely to succeed in your program. Tracking qualifications of students accepted/students rejected. Have concrete evidence of students' achievements relating to college success. A call for accumulating research about differences between honors/non-honors students. [Such research can be found in several articles by John Roufagalas in The National Honors Report: "Tracking Potential Honors Students" Vol. XIV No.1 (Spring 1993): 25-31; "Tracking Potential Honors Students: Some Further Results" Vol. XV No.4 (Winter 1994): 20-27.

22. "Honors and Non-Honors Students: How Different Are They?” by Thomas B. Harte…55 Reprinted from The National Honors Report Vol. XV, No.2 (Summer 1994): 12-14. Harte's article begins with the differences in honors/non-honors students, but his conclusions speak more to his teaching. An expected and not-expected observation of the differences in honors and non-honors. An excellent observation about these differences in his courses.

[For other articles dealing with honors/non-honors students,you can look in Forumfor Honors Vol. XVII, Numbers 1-2 (Fall-Winter 1986-1987) for "A Comparative Investigation of Honors and Non-Honors Students" (17-25) by Jane Stephens and James A. Eison; "Characteristics of Honors Students in a Large Southern University" (36-45) by Bill Seay, N. W. Gottfried, Luis Cordon, and Curt Shafer; and "Are Honors Students Different?" (46-52) by Cathy Randall and Shay Copeland. Also Forumfor Honors Vol. XVII, No.3 (Spring 1988) for "Elements of Instructional Excellence" (35-47) by James Eison and Jane Stephens.}

23. "Re-Thinking Non-Honors COurses” by Rick Clewett58 Reprinted from The National Honors Report Vol. XV, No.2 (Summer 1994): 15-17. Thinking and planning for honors courses should carry over into thinking and planning for non-honors course that might be on auto-pilot (as he says). Education is not just covering material. "Done well" is more important than "Done." Written by teacher of both honors and non-honors courses, a reminder to him (and others) to re-think non-honors courses without turning them into honors courses.

24. "On Being Elite Without the Elitism: Small School Honors Programs as Curricular Models” by Patt McDermid …61 Reprinted from The National Honors Report Vol. XI, No.2 (Summer 1990): 22-23. Small College Honors brings together divergent courses, provides many honors options. It is not an "academic sanctuary" for good work.

25. "The Case for Non-elitist Selectivity” by Rew A. Godow … 64 Reprinted from The National Honors Report Vol. X, No.4 (Winter 1990): 8-9. About elitism versus selection. About justifying the negative impact of elitism, accepting the reality of selectionwhich are not contradictory. About identifying "real honors students" in a way that takes into account students who might not have succeeded in standardized tests or who carry low high school GPAs .

26. "On What Basis Selectivity” by Earl B. Brown, Jr. … 66 Reprinted from The National Honors Report Vol. XI, No.2 (Summer 1990): 15-16. A response to Godow's article, above. A long-time honors director, a columnist for the NHR and its former editor pushes directors and honors councils to examine their admission policies for students and qualifications for faculty. Honors as risk-taking for students whose standardized test scores and high school GPAs might not qualify them for a traditional program. Honors as faculty development since an honors program encourages experimentation with curriculum and teaching methods.

27. "Notes Toward an Apologia for Honors Education” by Roger A. McCain… 69 Reprinted from The National Honors Report Vol. XII, No.3 (Fall 1991): 13-15. Another discussion of honor In on-honors: students, faculty, courses and programs. Honors as providing education that otherwise may not be addressed on campus. Honors building a bridge from education into meaningful life. A good overview of purpose and the many ways to encourage honors students to work within and enjoy a program committed to its stated purpose.

28. "Another Reason Students Don’t Take Honors Courses: The Imposter Phenomenon” by David Sanders…73 Reprinted from The National Honors Report Vol. V, No.4 (Winter 1984): 1,4. Describes students who consider their successes as a happy accident ofluck. Students without a sense of belonging in honors, thus hiding their self-doubt in many different ways: procrastination, perfectionism blocking their work, or even conflict. A phenomenon that might explain some difficulties in recruitment or retention.

29. "Honors for Grown-Ups: Honors Educations for Non-Traditional Students” by Betsy Greenleaf Yarrison…75 Reprinted from The National Honors Report Vol. XVIII, No.2 (Fall 1997): 20-28. Flexibility. Honors Programs must recognize the changing population of students. Non-traditional students tend to be active learners and can be good role-models for other students. Problems, however, might include family demands, jobs, and their need for evening courses. Even low self-esteem. Non-traditional students might not have had the opportunity to compare their work with other students. Many surprised by invitation to take honors courses.