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January 2013

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2013 Conference

Proposal Submissions Deadline Monday, March 4, 2013

Proposal submissions for the 2013 NCHC Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, November 6-10, 2013, are now being accepted. NCHC is seeking proposals in the following categories:

Student-Logo-13-1170X1152Forum on Diversity
Forum on Teaching and Learning
General Sessions
Faculty Poster Session
Idea Exchange
Master Classes
Roundtable Discussions
Student Poster Sessions
Student Interdisciplinary Research Panels
Student Moderators

Complete details and further information about each of the sessions are available on the proposal guidelines page.

Note: You will need to sign in using your Members Only user id and password. Begin here.

Several NCHC Committees including Research, Science & Mathematics, and International Education among others are interested in organizing sessions at the conference. Those interested in participating in a committee-sponsored session should contact the appropriate committee chair for more information and then submit their presentation proposal in the General Session category.

All proposals must be submitted on-line no later than Monday, March 4, 2013 at 11:59 PM, CST. Proposals received after 11:59 PM, CST March 4, 2013, will not be accepted.

  • In order to submit a proposal, your institution must be a current member of NCHC.
  • Proposals may be submitted in only one category.
  • The same proposal may not be submitted in multiple categories.
  • The same proposal may not be submitted by different main presenters.
  • Duplicate submissions will be disallowed.
  • Participants are limited to two presentations, excluding pre-conference BIH and DIH sessions.
  • Presenters of accepted proposals must have paid conference registration fees no later than September 16, 2013.

If you need assistance with the proposal submission process, please contact Trish Souliere at  or 402-472-9172. If you have questions about conference proposals, please contact conference chair Jim Ruebel at
We look forward to receiving your proposals!

Jim Ruebel
2013 Conference Chair

2013 Membership Renewal
Membership Renewal Deadline is January 31, 2013

NCHC membership renewal continues through January 31, 2013.  All memberships for which we have not received payment will lapse on January 31.  Our new database will automatically change your membership to a non-member status so you will need to call the NCHC office in order to renew.  Please renew your membership now online or call the office if you need assistance.

Our final membership total for 2012 was 1432 members in the following categories:

Institutional members 890
Lifetime Professionals 1
Professional members 405
Non-institutional Professionals22
Affiliates 10
Students 86
Honorary/Lifetime 17

Thank you for maintaining your membership and your continuing support of NCHC.  If you have not watched the Todd Rose workshop presented at conference, please login with your NCHC login and password here. There are many conference highlights and Committee Reviews on our website if you attended conference or if you were not able to attend, they will be of special interest.

Membership certificates are available upon request.  Please send your order with your name and institution to

Partners in the Parks

Partners in the Parks is an NCHC outdoor experiential learning program co-sponsored by Southern Utah University and Cedar Breaks National Monument.  In 2013 we will be hosting a variety of academic adventures at national parks across the country. These week-long projects include seminars led by university faculty and park rangers as well as exciting recreational opportunities to broaden participants’ understanding of the overall value of national parks to our country and its citizens. PITP programs are open to honors faculty and students from all majors and disciplines.  If you are interested, send inquiries to

Proposed projects for 2013

. Cedar Breaks Nat. Monument, UT (Jan 18-21)
. Buffalo National River, AR (May 13-19)
. Virgin Islands National Park, VI (May 18-25)
. Grand Canyon-Parashant, AZ (May 27-Jun 1)
. Great Basin National Park, NV (July 27-Aug 2)
. Black Canyon of the Gunnison, CO (Aug 4-10)
. Sequoia National Park, CA (Aug 5-10)
. Olympic National Park, WA (Aug 5-11)
. Everglades National Park, FL (Dec 26-Jan 1)

More information and online registration can be found on our web site:

What students have said…

  • “I loved being in the backcountry and seeing snow in the desert.” Zion National Park 2010
  • “I loved meeting new people and sharing our thoughts and ideas. “ Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument 2009
  • “The seminars by rangers and faculty were all well done.  The parks are a wonderful and difficult responsibility.“ Black Canyon of the Gunnison National park, 2009

Financial Assistance is available for Partners in the Parks.  The NCHC Student Stipend award provides $300 towards participation in a 2013 Partners in the Parks project. This funding is provided to help financially challenged students participate in the academic adventures hosted through Partners in the Parks. We encourage honors administrators to promote the stipend awards and encourage qualified candidates to apply. Two stipends will be provided for each of the eight projects in the 2013 schedule.  The online application and more information are available at the PITP website:

Matt Nickerson, Co-Chair
Partners in the Parks Committee

President's Column

2011-fellows-scott-rick-1The issue of online course delivery in higher education has been heating up over the past decade.  Online education represents both an opportunity and a challenge to our teaching practices.  Mass online open courses (MOOCs) have been proliferating, and it remains an interesting question about whether university administrations can find ways to charge tuition for them.  It goes without saying that distance-education online courses are being designed all the time to deliver, for a fee, degree-based courses (often related to graduate education).  Perhaps your school has these.  We do at UCA.  These courses appeal to students of non-traditional age, full-time workers, and those residing in remote areas.  They also appeal to university administrators charged with keeping an eye on the bottom line—online courses are “profit centers.”

For honors educators, distance-education online courses appear far from ideal, even if we can and have become comfortable with hybrid courses (combining face-to-face meetings with an online component).  I addressed this issue in an editorial posted in the NCHC Newsletter of May, 2012.  Permit me to quote extensively from it:

"…facets of honors education (that we value) are experiential, in which honors students develop skill sets (e.g., writing, speaking, research, critical thinking, integrated scholarship, interdisciplinary learning, leadership, team work, intercultural competence, community engagement, etc.).  Skills develop by practicing them, collaborating on projects, engaging in service learning, and having an intense give-and-take in face-to-face class sessions and out-of-the-classroom co-curricular events…How important is face-to-face community for the practice of these skills?  My inclination is to accord it (high)… value, but when I imagine working with students one-on-one through mediated technology I quickly see that proficiency in writing, speaking, research, critical thinking, integrated scholarship, interdisciplinary learning, leadership, team work, intercultural competence, community engagement, and so on, can indeed be developed through virtual classrooms and online communities.  Many of us have hybrid courses already (combining an online presence with face-to-face meetings) and praise them for being effective.  Can we imagine honors-education-as-distance-education, with no face-to-face component?"

To answer my own question, I can imagine it, but I don’t care for the image.  Perhaps it could work if we were talking about synchronous virtual classroom meetings in which, Skype-like but including all students enrolled in the course, we convene on screen at regular intervals for discussion and student presentations, shared readings and viewing and commenting on writing assignments in a paperless fashion.  It strikes me as a little bloodless, but that would be far better than an asynchronous, MOOC-like course.

Let me bring this closer to where we live as honors educators.  What produces a sinking feeling is the fear of being out of the loop in thinking through and implementing changes as pronounced as these.  Not only can university administrations push us toward incorporating cost-saving measures via educational technology, but so can state legislators, not to mention services offered university administrations by for-profit educational organizations.   If educational technology has arrived, and it clearly has, then the question becomes this: how best can we direct what transpires with it?  The NCHC Board of Directors has begun a discussion in an attempt to offer an answer.

In Greg Lanier’s “From the President” column in the June 2012 NCHC Newsletter, he listed items that would be discussed by the Board of Directors just prior to its summer meeting.  Consider this group of topics for the agenda, taken from his column:

"Reach Out to Other honors Groups/Entities

  • Engage with American Honors, Inc. to explore curriculum & assessment standards
  • Explore methods of offering Honors courses in a distance education format"

American Honors, Inc. (AHI) is a for-profit educational organization.  Visit their website ( and you will learn the following:

"American Honors is a selective, two-year program for students seeking a high-quality education at an excellent value. In collaboration with the Community Colleges of Spokane (CCS), American Honors provides an honors education that includes CCS faculty, like-minded honors peers, small class sizes, an innovative online learning platform, and personalized student advising. Our program helps students transition successfully to a four-year university of their choice, and works with students to help ensure that their credits transfer. We’re building a national network of community colleges and four-year transfer universities to offer students broader opportunities and create a high quality learning experience."

Notice that course delivery will take place through AHI’s proprietary online platform.  Are there red flags here?  Or instead, is there an opportunity to provide useful tools to honors faculty at two-year schools and help honors directors accomplish what I was told is among the most important goals for honors directors at two-year colleges, namely, to find a good four-year program for their graduates.  I suspect the answer, from our vantage point, is based upon whether honors educators will be involved in directing what transpires.

AHI reached out to NCHC in the spring of 2012 to make us aware of their start-up company and to inquire about honors-level curriculum and program assessment and evaluation.  They sent a slide show to NCHC officers that contained the kinds of information now available on their website.  In addition Greg Lanier had discussions with AHI to learn what sort of relationship AHI sought with NCHC and then presented information to the Board of Directors last summer, as articulated in the agenda items above.  Board members had what I recall as a halting discussion.  We were not entirely certain what specifics they sought, but we were certain they would move forward with their business plan regardless of NCHC’s involvement.  We resolved to explore the relationship further.  One cannot direct what transpires without engagement.

We were hopeful that at the 2012 NCHC Conference in Boston AHI representatives would be able to meet with NCHC officers and even some committees (e.g., Two-Year College), but we were not able to have that come to pass.  Greg Lanier attended the Two-Year College Committee meeting to answer questions about AHI.  Since then I have been presented with concerns by honors directors at two-year schools that NCHC has a formal relationship with AHI and that NCHC officers are members of the AHI Board.  They are worried the former is inappropriate and that the latter is a conflict of interest.  They are worried that they will not be able to direct what transpires and that NCHC is paving the way for their irrelevance.

Here is what I know. First, NCHC has made no agreements to work with AHI (there is, in fact, no agreement to do anything at all). Second, there are no NCHC officers on an AHI Board.  I believe that would be a conflict of interest were that the case.  The AHI website does not list a Board of Directors, but they do list four advisors, none of whom are from NCHC (and none, in fact, list any honors education experience in the bio on the website).  Third, I don’t yet know whether or to what extent honors educators at two-year colleges will be able to direct what transpires.  If plans are made at two-year feeder schools or four-year receiver schools without consulting honors educators, as President I will urge NCHC to protest that practice and instead reach out to AHI to involve honors educators at all levels of planning and implementation.  In a phone call after the Boston meeting with AHI President, Chris Romer, I expressed that concern.  I believe that he heard me and understood.  As long as honors educators are allowed to participate in processes that shape our future practices and arrangements, our fears will subside.

Here is where we are headed.  We are still in the learning-what-they-want phase.  In my first column as NCHC President in the December 2012 NCHC Newsletter, I listed initiatives to be pursued in 2013 based on strategic plans devised in 2012 by the Board of Directors.  I quote one section:

  • Learn what for-profit organizations seek from NCHC
    • Action: Determine what kind of assistance for-profit schools and for-profit honors organizations want
    • Action: Discuss what is learned with the Board of Directors
    • Action: Report this discussion to the membership

NCHC will be in contact with AHI in an effort to better understand what, if any assistance, it wants from us.  After we learn that, the Board of Directors can map a plan of action, share it with the NCHC membership and get feedback.  After listening to the membership and consolidating the feedback, the Board can devise a way forward.

In the meantime I have formed an Ad Hoc Task Force with the following members:  Jon Kotinek, Texas A&M University; Greg Lanier, University of West Florida; Jim Ruebel, Ball State University; Art Spisak, University of Iowa; and Elaine Torda, State University of New York-Orange.  I charged them with the task of defining honors education.  I quote from the charge:

The need for this task arose in discussions among the NCHC Board of Directors in 2012 in order to have a stronger, more reliable basis upon which to respond to challenges and opportunities represented by for-profit education, online courses, international honors education, and voluntary certification.

I am asking them to produce a document by mid-May that has two parts: “(1) a delineation of the process by which you explore and ultimately frame the issue of defining honors education; (2) a statement that answers the question, ‘what is honors education?’”  This is the best next step we can take as NCHC pursues answers to questions raised by educational technologies; for-profit organizations; program assessment and evaluation and certification; and the spread of honors education around the globe.  Honors has become an emerging profession, and we are experiencing the growing pains of defining the boundaries of the honors profession, naming what is inside those boundaries, and advocating how best it can be practiced.  The clearer we can be about who we are and what we do, the better we can respond to the pressures around us.  What we want is to transform a challenge into an opportunity, do we not?

Rick Scott
2013 NCHC President

Preserving Place and Conserving Culture: The Challenges of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
May 20-25, 2013

yellowstone-lower-falls-AER WilmingtonDEThe NCHC Honors Semesters Committee and Longwood University would like to invite you to embark on a new adventure in learning, the Place as Text faculty institute “Preserving Place and Conserving Culture: The Challenges of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem”.

This Institute will provide participants with an opportunity to see Yellowstone National Park through new eyes. Using Place as Text pedagogy, participants will “read” our first national park and its surrounding area, paying particular attention to complex and contrasting cultures and landscapes. The Institute will address contemporary questions about the stewardship of public lands such as how tensions between the tourism industry and environmental preservation are negotiated, what complexities are generated when differing cultures and stakeholders lay claim to a particular location, and how notions of wilderness are constructed. After gaining some experience with experiential learning strategies, participants will explore how the Place as Text methodologies can be adapted to different campuses and a variety of disciplines.

For complete details, see the Yellowstone Institute Brochure. To register, complete the online form.

Questions? Contact any of the facilitation team, Bernice Braid at, Alix Fink at, Joy Ochs at or Jesse Peters at The registration deadline is April 5, 2013. Space is limited so register online now.

City Squares and Coastal Ports of Greater Boston: (Re)Configuring Public Spaces

Join your NCHC colleagues June 26-30, 2013, in exploring how public space is used, and re‐used, through exploration of the city squares and coastal ports of historic greater Boston. Home to some of the oldest public spaces in the country, Boston offers participants the opportunity to explore urban and coastal sites that have been re-purposed for contemporary use.

The City Squares and Coastal Ports of Greater Boston institute is designed for honors and non-honors faculty and administrators who wish to incorporate interdisciplinary and field-based elements into their courses and programs.

For complete details, see the Boston Institute brochure. To register, complete the online form. Questions should be directed to Bernice Braid.

Registration deadline is May 1, 2013

New Directors Summer Camp
June 27-30, 2013

The Professional Development Committee will host an institute for new honors directors and deans at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, June 27-30, 2013. Participants in the Professional Development faculty institute will take part in two full days of nuts-and-bolts sessions where they will be immersed in an honors experience that will prepare them to be successful in their new position as honors administrators. The schedule will include opportunities to engage in one-on-one sessions with experienced honors administrators and to work in small groups to develop short- and long-term strategies and goals. Fees for the institute will be $550.

For more details, see the institute brochure. To register, please complete the online form.

Registration deadline is June 12, 2013

Call for DIH Topics

Dear NCHC Colleagues,

Thanks, one more time, to all of the NCHC members who shared their expertise during the 2012 Developing in Honors (DIH) Workshop--and to Rick Scott and everyone involved with putting together an outstanding conference in Boston.

Believe it or not, the time has come to solicit topic ideas for the next edition of DIH that will be part of our 2013 national conference in New Orleans.

On behalf of Jessica Roark and myself, 2013 DIH co-chairs, I would like to invite NCHC members to send your DIH topic ideas to me at This is your workshop, and we look forward to receiving your topic suggestions.

Also, if you have participated in DIH and have any general thoughts or suggestions about the workshop, please feel free to pass them along as well.

Please reply by February 1, 2013, and include all of the following information in your e-mail reply:

Your Name:

Your Institution:

Your e-mail address:

DIH Topic Idea #1:

DIH Topic Idea #2:

DIH Topic Idea #3:

Thanks in advance for your help in structuring Developing in Honors for 2013 in New Orleans.

We hope to hear from you soon!
Ricki Shine

Student Affairs

Greetings from the Student Affairs Committee!

I would first like to take the opportunity to thank NCHC for the honor to serve as a member of the Board of Directors.  In the months since conference, I have been busy reading through all of the NCHC governing documents. I am very much looking forward to the next two years with NCHC.

As we begin a new semester, it will be easy to get bogged down by new classes, homework, projects, internships, etc.  Do not forget to take some time for service to your honors program.  Whether or not your honors program has an active social community of honors students, a quality event can be a great way to bring people together.  Plan a social event or service opportunity, and invite all of the students from your honors program.  Even if only a few people participate, I can guarantee that all involved will enjoy the experience.  After planning your event, let us know how it went by sending an email to

In addition, it is never too early to start thinking about the 2013 conference November 6-10 in New Orleans! Conference proposal submission is now open so why not submit a proposal to present at the 2013 conference. Start talking about this conference to your fellow honors students now and encourage them to become student members of NCHC. Deadline for submissions is March 4, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST. I hope to see you all as well as new faces in November!

As always, please do not hesitate to let us know if you need assistance of any kind.  Working together is what NCHC is all about.

Best of luck as we begin a new semester!

Many thanks,

Zach Samples
Co-Chair, Student Affairs Committee
Eastern Illinois University | Honors College

Call for Portz Fellowship Grant Applications

The National Collegiate Honors Council Portz Fellowship Committee will be accepting applications from January 1 - February 10, 2013 from undergraduate honors students for Portz Fellowship Grants. This award is named for Dr. John and Mrs. Edythe Portz, pioneers in honors education whose support of imaginative ventures in undergraduate education has benefited college students in Maryland and throughout our nation since the late 1960s.  The highly competitive award is open to students at NCHC's 825+ member institutions around the world.

The Portz Fellowships support original and extended interdisciplinary projects for up to eighteen months.  Applications for the fourth round of grants will be accepted January 1 - February 10, 2013.

If you would like more information about the Portz Fellowship, please contact Dr. Patrice Berger at, or 402-472-5425.

Applications and information about the Portz Fellowship are available online.

Call for Fellows of NCHC Nominations

The NCHC Awards and Grants Committee is pleased to invite nominations for Fellows of the National Collegiate Honors Council.  This award will be given annually to distinguished members exemplifying a commitment to honors education. Fellows will be selected based on:

  • NCHC, Regional, and/or State Honors organization leadership
  • Scholarly activities relating to honors education
  • NCHC regional and/or state honors special events, institutes, etc.
  • Recognition for outstanding honors teaching on the home campus
  • Assistance provided to honors programs/colleges (site visits, consulting, etc.)
  • Content of the nomination letter
  • Demonstrated record of sustained commitment to honors education

An individual must be nominated by three (3) current NCHC members in order to be considered for selection as an NCHC Fellow.

Please consider nominating as many NCHC members as you believe to be deserving of this recognition.  The deadline for nominations is 11:59 PM (CT) February 11.  Nomination materials are available For more information contact Kate Bruce or Ann Eisenberg, co-chairs of the Awards and Grants Committee.

JNCHC Call for Submissions

The next issue of JNCHC (deadline: March 1, 2013) invites research essays on any topic of interest to the honors community.

The issue will also include a Forum focused on the theme "Nontraditional Honors Students." We invite essays of roughly a thousand words that consider this theme in the context of your campus and/or a national/international context.

The lead essay for the Forum, which is available on the NCHC website, is by Janice Rye Kinghorn and Whitney Womack Smith of Miami University Ohio; each of them has directed an honors program at a commuter campus of the university. Their essay—titled “Nontraditional Honors”—describes the benefits that honors programs and nontraditional students can and should provide to each other. Contributions to the Forum may—but need not—respond to their essay or the issues they address.

Questions that Forum contributors might consider include: What is the definition of “nontraditional students,” and why do they need their own category? Is there any such thing as a traditional student? Do honors programs have a social, moral, or economic incentive or responsibility to accommodate nontraditional students? What are good ideas for recruiting them? Are some kinds of honors programs, e.g., those focusing on the liberal arts, more easily able to accommodate nontraditional students than others are? What specific advantages do nontraditional students bring to honors? Are there down sides to increasing the numbers of nontraditional students in an honors program, and, if so, what are they? Do nontraditional students participate as fully, less fully, or more fully in extracurricular honors activities than nontraditional students do? Do the curricular and co-curricular requirements of honors programs work for nontraditional, non-residential students? Is a cadre of alumni and alumnae who were nontraditional honors students a benefit to, for instance, fundraising? Does the current state of the national and global economy have an impact on the role nontraditional students can and do play in honors?

Forum essays should focus on ideas, concepts, and/or opinions related to "Nontraditional Honors Students.” Examples from one’s own campus can be and usually are relevant, but essays should not simply be descriptions of “what we do at our institution.”

Information about JNCHC, including the editorial policy and submission guidelines, is attached and is also available on the NCHC website.

Please send all submissions to Ada Long at

NCHC Portz Grants

The NCHC Portz Committee solicits applications from NCHC institutional and professional members for small grants (up to $500.00) and for large grants (normally up to $1,000.00) with twice-yearly deadlines of March 15 and September 15. NCHC Portz Grants are intended to support Honors program/college innovation. NCHC Portz Grant Application Form and supporting narrative are required for a grant application.  NCHC Portz Grants are made to Honors programs/colleges (not to individuals) to help them engage in program innovation rather than to fund ongoing operations or meet ordinary expenses. Applications that demonstrate clearly the way in which the innovation will be of benefit beyond the confines of the institution’s own Honors program/college normally are favored as are applications that demonstrate commitment of the institution’s own funds (not fractions of released time for faculty or administrators, computer usage, and the like). The narrative statement should address the way in which an NCHC Portz Grant will help your Honors program/college in terms of one or more of the Basic Characteristics of a Fully-Developed Honors Program or Basic Characteristics of a Fully-Developed Honors College. NCHC Portz Grant may not be used for food, drinks, on-campus space rental, or student travel to conferences.

For additional information about the NCHC Portz Grants, please contact Dr. Kate Bruce at or 910-962-3374

NCHC Officers, Board, & Staff


Rick Scott, University of Central Arkansas

President Elect
Jim Ruebel, Ball State University

Vice President
Barry Falk, James Madison University

Immediate Past President
Greg Lanier, University of West Florida

Kyoko Amano, University of Indianapolis

Gary Bell, Texas Tech University

Board of Directors
Suketa Bhavsar, Cal Poly Pomona
Lisa Coleman, Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Riley Cook*, University of Iowa
Emily Jones*, Oklahoma State University
Joe King, Radford University
Jonathan Kotinek, Texas A & M University
Cheryl Dabney Lauersdorf*, Lee College
Franklin McGuire*, The Citadel
Soncerey Montgomery, Winston-Salem State University
Mary Kay Mulvaney, Elmhurst College
Barbra Nightingale, Broward College
Marjean Purinton, Texas Tech University
Jeremiah Sammons*, Gallaudet University
Zachary Samples*, Eastern Illinois University
Laurie Smith Law, Iowa State University
Art Spisak, University of Iowa
Elaine Torda, Orange County Community College
John Zubizarreta, Columbia College, South Carolina

*Student Board Member


Cindy Hill, Executive Director

Carolee Martin Brink, Membership Director

Teri King, Finance Manager

Kristi Smith, Project Coordinator

Trish Souliere, Technology Manager

Betty Talley, Director of Operations


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