National Collegiate Honors Council



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Copyright 2003 NCHC Inc.



Figuring It Out


1. "Just a Buzzword?" by Margaret Brown ... 1 In the next article by Ron Dotterer he asks if assessment will still be a hot topic in 2008-and he was writing in 1988. What is the answer?

Why Do It?

2. "Assessment: A Retrospective Look" by Ron Dotterer ... 2 In this article, Ron Dotterer, at that time honors director at Susquehanna University and a member of the NCHC Executive Committee, provides an overview of assessment, which he calls "a new and improved brand name" for evaluation. Assessment, Dotterer asserts, focuses too much on outcomes. This 1988 article questions if "assessment" will still be dominant in the 2008 NCHC conference. With assessment models and bibliography. From The National Honors Report 9.3 (Fall 1988): 1-2,4.

3. "Their Assessment and Mine" by Ira Cohen ... 6 Ira Cohen, former director of the honors program at Illinois State, former NCHC president, long-time chair of the Publications Board, questions why assessment (something honors programs do all the time) has become politicized. Outside agencies require assessment, but how can we measure the impact of higher education on students? Must assess, Cohen says, but can't assess. Very provocative. From The National Honors Report 9.3 (Fall 1988): 8-9.

4. "Between Inputs and Outputs" by Carol Guardo ... 8 Carol Guardo in 1988 asks how to measure success when honors programs begin with talented students and end with talented graduates. Guardo, then president of Rhode Island College and chair of the Board of Directors of the Association of American Colleges, suggests that honors programs work with the students in front of them, not necessarily the ideal student honors programs are usually based upon. She suggests value-added assessment over time—over students' undergraduate education-as a realistic way to provide students (not external agencies) with feedback on their academic progress, career choices, and development into educated, well-rounded people. An excellent article reminding honors to assist their students in tracking their own learning. From The National Honors Report 9.2 (Summer 1988): 1-4.

And When?

5. "That Honors Program Rhythm" by Earl B. Brown, Jr ... 12 Part One "Slower is Faster" Consultant, honors program director, and columnist for The National Honors Report, Earl Brown advises new program directors when NOT to hire a consultant, how to keep a new program on a leash so that it doesn't grow too fast. Be patient, Brown says. Be patient. From The National Honors Report 13.1 (Spring 1992): 12-14. Part Two "When the Train Overheats" In Part Two, Brown explains how he fixed a problem once he recognized that he really had one. A reminder to a new director (even to an experienced one) that not every consequence can be anticipated. Solve the problem Brown says, even if it's awkward to discuss. From listening to student and faculty complaints, he recognized that students and faculty had different expectations in the classroom. One solution for faculty-a workshop in teaching teachers to teach honors-was not exactly met with approval. From The National Honors Report 13.3 (Fall 1992): 18-20.

And By Whom? Self-Study

6. "The Fall and Rise of An Honors Program" by Bob Holkeboer ... 17 Holkeboer, at the time the director of honors at Eastern Michigan University, wrote this series of articles beginning in 1984. These articles are the result of his study of his own failed honors program. A very thoughtful look at the components of an honors program. Interesting to read with "Basic Characteristics of a Well-Developed Honors Program" also in this issue. Part One: Why Honors Programs Fail A big problem with honors programs: they're too dependent on factors beyond their control. Holkeboer wants to construct an honors program not at the mercy of university and outside forces, a program with university support. From The National Honors Report 5.1 (March 1984): 11. Part Two: Starting With the Essentials Reasons why colleges and universities need honors programs. Reasons for institutions to support honors. With eight objectives any director can use as a starting point. From The National Honors Report 5.2 and 5.3 (Summer and Fall 1984): 12. Part Three: The Feasibility Study Reviving an honors program. Be prepared for "But what was wrong with the old one"? With many questions to think about before restarting a program. Excellent. From The National Honors Report 5.4 (Winter 1984): 11. Part Four: Marketing the Proposal Strategies for involving the campus community in an honors program. The need for flexibility (and patience) in the planning; the desirability of offering several alternatives to the administration. From The National Honors Report 6.1 (Spring 1985): 11. Part Five: Getting Started Ideas for an Honors Advisory Council to begin with and objectives for that council. A list of achievements completed by the Council at Eastern Michigan. From The National Honors Report 6.3 (Fall 1985): 9-10. Part Six: The Program Major elements that can make or break an honors program. For new and redesigned programs. From The National Honors Report 6.4 (Winter 1985): 7-8. Part Seven: Curriculum and Faculty Designing a curriculum that balances the easy way and the idealistic way. Holkeboer addresses considerations of faculty to teach in honors. See also Brown's concerns in two previous articles in this issue. From The National Honors Report 7.1 (Spring 1986): 8-10.

A Consultant?

7. "How a Consultant Can Help Your Program" by Grey Austin ... 29 Grey Austin, a former president of the NCHC and editor of The National Honors Report, shares the why's for hiring a consultant. Also, the how's, from advance preparation by the honors program to a sample timetable. Excellent. For your information, the national office makes available a list of consultants who have attended an NCHC faculty institute on assessment. Austin's article is from The National Honors Report 10.1 (Spring 1989): 16-17.

8. "Basic Characteristics and How They Grew" by Richard Cummings ... 32 One more time: the history of an NCHC guideline to fully developed honors program. With the guideline itself, reprinted in the NHR many times. "Basic Characteristics" is included in every start-up package for new members. From The National Honors Report 16.3 (Fall 1995): 21-23.

9. "An Honors Program Review: A Case Study" by Jay Kopp ... 36 Honors Director Jay Kopp from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa shares his program reviews at Loras College usually carried out over two semesters. The ten steps in this program review point to identifying strengths and needs-and are excellent. Kopp also shares some of the general areas identified during the program review that Loras' Honors Program should address. From The National Honors Report 19.2 (Summer 1998): 1-4.

10. "An Evaluator's Experience" by Suzanne Molnar ... 39 Suzanne Molnar, a consultant to Loras College (see above), is currently director of honors at the College of St. Catherine as well as a member of the NCHC's Evaluation Committee. In her article, she offers suggestions to both consultants as well as to those seeking a consultant. Probably her most important point is for both the consultant and the honors director: who is actually asking for the program review and what is to be done with the final report. Very good ideas for consultants about preparing for a visit. Very helpful to directors about planning a visit. From The National Honors Report 19.2 (Summer 1998): 4-6.

11. "Using Assessment Properly" by William Whipple … 41 Five suggestions for using assessment. Poorly planned assessment, Whipple says, wastes time and money. Assessment, an end in itself, is even worse. William Whipple was director of honors at the University of Maine at Orono at the time he wrote this article. From The National Honors Report 9.3 (Fall 1988): 9-11.


12. "Assessment is No Longer a Fad" by Earl B. Brown, Jr ... 42 Brown, former columnist for The National Honors Report and its editor from 1994- 1997, co-wrote with Steve Culver an article in Assessment in Practice edited by Trudy Banta, et. al. He has an article coming out in a book on portfolios ed. by John Zubizarreta, University of South Carolina and member of the NCHC Executive Committee. At Radford University, Brown served as chair on assessment and co-authored the Department of English's report for the SACs accrediting team.