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2013 Conference



Student-Logo-13-1170X1152In a few weeks, over 2000 of you (2075 had registered by October 15), perhaps close to 2200, will convene in New Orleans for the 48th Annual Conference of the National Collegiate Honors Council. This attendance will set a record for NCHC, a strong signal of the value of the conference for you as professionals and for the development of the students you will bring with you. I believe you will find the program reflects your interests and your students’ interests, and the city of New Orleans will provide a rich environment for exploration and discovery. We still have almost exactly 600 presentations of various kinds for your enjoyment.

These record numbers are making some wonderful opportunities available to you. For example, our Conference Planner, Julie Ann Maasen, has successfully negotiated a special NCHC price for Wi-Fi accessibility throughout the meeting space for Tuesday – Sunday. This means you will now have full internet access in all spaces in the hotel: your room, the hallways, and the meeting rooms. A word of caution, though: you still can’t plug in your own LCD projector for presentations. If that happens, you (the presenter) will get billed an exorbitant fee for the full day for that room.

In addition, the online program will thus be accessible at any place or time in the conference hotel. The conference program, fully updated with the most recent changes, is already online at the NCHC web site. Currently, web access is the only efficient mode for accessing this form of the program. A mobile app is in preparation, which we hope you will try out. It will be available by the time we set out for the conference. We are continuing to experiment with efficient ways to deliver the program (and its updates) to you. Your feedback on what is available is crucial to improvement and to developing a system that meets your needs. As always, a hard copy of the printed program will be available to you as you check in; a pdf of the printed version will be available soon.

The size of the program and the number of people attending will also present challenges, logistically. Our hotel is arranged vertically, rather than horizontally, so movement up and down could become crowded. I urge you to exercise your customary patience and understanding.

I am very excited about this conference and I look forward to joining you there!

Jim Ruebel
2013 Conference Chair
NCHC President Elect

President's Column
2011-fellows-scott-rick-1Is there a law that describes why starting the fall semester seems to get busier every year?  It cannot simply be the “law of aging,” can it?  I hope you have been able to avoid excessive busy-ness with the start of your semester, but I suspect that to be a wish unfulfilled.  We are just under a month away from gathering in New Orleans.  Stop and say hello to me at the conference.

I want to provide a brief update on our activities this summer.  The Board of Directors adopted a stronger Conflict of Interest policy for those in service to the organization.  We formed a search committee to receive applications for the NCHC Executive Director’s position.  We are working on new survey modules that will be conducted later this year and early next year, following the release this summer of our first ever comprehensive survey of member institutions.  Assessment and Evaluation proposed a preliminary version of a process for voluntary certification.  And most recently, the Finance Committee adopted a 2014 budget to recommend to the Board. Let me discuss these.

The new Conflict of Interest policy requires your NCHC representatives to list organizations that we work with that might create a conflict of interest with our NCHC affiliation.  This is an additional step beyond the prior policy and reflects a widespread practice for non-profits as well as state agencies (including colleges and universities).

The Executive Director (ED) Search Committee put out a call on August 28 for applications, looking to begin formal review after September 30.  The committee consists of the Immediate Past President (Greg Lanier), President (me, serving as search committee chair), President Elect (Jim Ruebel), Vice President (Barry Falk), Treasurer (Gary Bell) and Secretary (Kyoko Amano) and three members of the Board of Directors to broaden the range of voices in the group, namely, Laurie Smith Law, Zach Samples and Soncerey Montgomery.  We have been reading applicant materials in preparation for the formal review.  I can say that we have strong applicants, judging from their backgrounds.  We are going to wait until the second week of October to hold a conference call, during which we will choose finalists.  If we are able to make a hiring decision prior to conference, then we would like to introduce the new ED at New Orleans.  If we are not able to complete the search before conference, then we could hold finalist interviews on site.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the search.

We have begun work on a survey of two-year institutional members that we expect to conduct after conference.  Questionnaire items will ask about benefits of NCHC membership for two-year schools and inquire about needs not being met.  We are assembling additional questions by reaching out to the Two-Year Committee, and I will attend their meeting in New Orleans to discuss it further.  I am proposing two other survey modules for the Board to consider for 2014.  One is on budget and scholarships, and the other is on admissions and retention practices.

The Assessment and Evaluation (A&E) Committee completed a preliminary proposal for a process of voluntary certification.  They presented it to the Board at the summer meeting in June, and then refined some of the issues related to its implementation over the summer.  The Board has been studying the proposal in the past month with an opportunity to make initial comments.  The proposal and Board comments are now on the NCHC website.  You will have a chance to review the proposal and weigh in.  A pilot test of the process was conducted at Oklahoma State University in October, and the results will be used to adjust and improve the process.  The Board will vote on a final version of the proposal in 2014, either at the Winter or Summer meeting.

The Finance Committee met in Chicago on September 20-21, under the able leadership of Doug Peterson and Steve Engel.  Many participants said it was one of the best Finance meetings they had attended.  Forecasting of revenues and expenditures has tightened up considerably because the budget has become far more transparent—Teri King and Cindy Hill have done a great job in presenting the organization’s finances in an accessible manner.  We used strategic planning by the Board to establish funding priorities; they are:  provision of data services, support for teaching and learning, outreach to build stronger relationships with regional honors councils and overseas honors conferences, professional development support, and increased member benefits.  Recent investment policies have resulted in a healthy endowment with earnings that now flow into the budget to pay for member benefits.  We have a bright future.

As I wrap up my presidency, I want to close this column by inviting your comments and suggestions, as always.  You can write me at  I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you in New Orleans.  If our semesters don’t slow down before the conference, then we should adopt the Big Easy attitude while there and leave the to-do lists in the suitcase and let the stress melt away.  Laissez les bon temps rouler.

Rick Scott
2013 NCHC President

Student Affairs

The Student Affairs Committee is planning three events for conference this year, and we cannot wait to meet students from across the nation at these events.

Honors Student Welcome and Orientation will be the kickoff event Thursday morning at 9 AM to 10 AM. Honors students: You have made it to the NCHC New Orleans Conference, now what?  This informative and fun welcome will help you to answer that question, and will give you an opportunity to meet student members of NCHC's Board of Directors.  Come for raffle tickets, prizes, and some great information about conference! This event is designed to welcome students to NCHC and to explain how the conference week works.

Student Party is the next event on Thursday evening from 8:00 PM-11:00 PM in the beautiful Armstrong Ballroom. DJ Cool Hand will spin great music for you as you connect with honors students from across the nation in a fun-filled setting featuring some great local flair!

NCHC Honors Students Tools for Success is Friday at 1:00 PM-1:50 PM. Do you like scholarships, tshirts, and fun?  Find out what NCHC can do for you at this session with the NCHC Student Affairs Committee.  NCHC funds research and creative activity through the Portz Fellowship, offers scholarships through the Student of the Year Award, and does so much more.  Find out how you can be successful as a member of NCHC! This meeting will discuss how to further your involvement in the National Collegiate Honors Council and how to apply for some scholarship opportunities!

The Student Affairs Committee in partnership with the National Office will be selling conference t-shirts this year in New Orleans!  The shirts are purple with the conference logo on the front.  The best part is that the shirts are only $10.00 with proceeds benefiting a local charity.

conf tshirt

We will also have fun ribbons available to add to your conference name badge.  These are $5 each and the funds raised will also go to charity.

If you are a student and are planning on coming to conference this year either as a participant, moderator, or presenter, consider joining the National Collegiate Honors Council as a Student Member!  Check out for more information!

As always, feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance.  See you in a few short weeks!


Zach Samples
Co-Chair, Student Affairs Committee

Tips for Students from the University Honors Program at Loyola University New Orleans

Exceptional Experiences for Exceptional Students 

New Orleans is a wonderful, culturally-rich city unlike any other.  It is also a city of disparities – a foody mecca and a food desert, the mansions on St. Charles Avenue and the still-ravaged homes in the lower 9th ward.   You can party like no place else but we also have the highest per capita homicide rate in the country.

1. Where to go:  You will of course take advantage of the wonderful presentations and opportunities at the conference itself, but you should also see some of the sights.  The French Quarter is right across Canal from the Sheraton.  Walking in on Royal will take you past antique stores, clothing shops, and the Historic New Orleans Collection, which has an amazing, FREE, New Orleans history exhibit, including paintings, maps, photographs and material culture artifacts.   Walking in on Bourbon, especially at night, will show you the true debauched side of New Orleans, with a frozen daiquiri place every few feet, wall-to-wall people and strip clubs.  However you walk in, you will probably want to see St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square, where at night you can have your palm or tarot cards read, visit the French Market to buy masks or other gifts for the folks back home, and cover yourself in sugar by eating Beignets from Café du Monde, which is open 24 hours.  You can also walk along the Mississippi, eat delicious food and see the oldest building in Louisiana, the Ursuline Convent.

Frenchman Street is where to go at night to hear great music.  You can walk through the Quarter, or take a cab.

If you want to view the beautiful homes and trees on St. Charles Avenue, see beautiful Audobon Park (with a wonderful zoo) or visit our campus, for $1.25 you can take the streetcar.  The streetcar is very safe, and the driver will tell you when you reach your stop if you ask, but they are slow and sometimes break down.  This is the same streetcar at the basis of the Plessy vs Ferguson (“separate but equal”) Supreme Court case back in 1890.

For shopping, visit the Quarter or go to Magazine Street.

2. Foods to try:  We really have some wonderful food here, and although it might seem easy to grab a slice of pizza or hit Arby’s or McDonalds, you should definitely try the local cuisine.  In addition to the beignets (fried dough covered in powder sugar), you may want to try gumbo, barbecue shrimp (which does not have barbecue sauce but is rather more garlicky), po’ boys (sort of like a sub sandwich – “dressed” means with lettuce, tomato, pickle and mayonnaise, “gravy” is any kind of sauce, so that a meatball po’boy with gravy has red tomato sauce, not roast beef gravy, and “debris” is pan drippings – red beans and rice, bread pudding  and probably a bunch of other things.

3. Safety: New Orleans has a high crime rate.  Always go out with at least one buddy or a small group, especially at night.  Stay off deserted streets.  People, in general, are very friendly and will be happy to offer directions, and also to stop and chat for a bit.  Taxis are relatively inexpensive and are a good idea if you are coming back to the hotel from Frenchman at night.

4. Drinking and Drugs:  Once you get here, you will notice that it is not against the law to drink in public, or to drive with alcohol in your car provided you are not drinking and driving and you are of legal age.  (If you go to a drive-through daiquiri place, the driver must leave the paper tip on the straw.)  What does this mean for you?  First of all, watch out for drunk drivers.  You will not be arrested for drinking in public if you are of legal age, but you can be arrested for being a nuisance or for urinating in public.  And the legal drinking age is 21, as it is in the rest of the country.  New Orleans’ relaxed attitude toward alcohol does NOT extend to drugs; if you are caught with marijuana you will probably end up in NOPD Central Lock-up.  I promise you, you don’t want this.  Keep in mind that you are a representative of your honors program or college and you should comport yourself as such.

HIP Call for Submissions

HIP Editorial Policy

Editorial Policy for Honors in Practice

Honors in Practice (HIP) publishes articles about innovative practices in individual honors programs and nuts-and-bolts issues of concern to the members of the National Collegiate Honors Council.  HIP employs a double-blind review system.  Essays should present ideas and/or practices that will be useful to other honors administrators and faculty, not just descriptions of “what we do at our institution.”  Essays should advance a thesis located within a larger context such as theoretical perspectives, trends in higher education, or historical background.  Essays should also demonstrate an awareness of previous honors discussions of the topic.

Submissions and inquiries should be directed to Ada Long at

HIP Deadline

HIP is published annually.  The deadline for submissions is January 1.

Submission Guidelines

We accept material by e-mail attachment. We do not accept material by fax or hard copy.

If documentation is used, the documentation style can be whatever is appropriate to the author’s primary discipline or approach (MLA, APA, etc.), but please avoid footnotes.  Internal citation to a list of references (bibliography) is strongly preferred, and the editor will revise all internal citations in accordance with MLA guidelines.

There are no minimum or maximum length requirements; the length should be dictated by the topic and its most effective presentation.

Accepted essays are edited for grammatical and typographical errors and for infelicities of style or presentation.  Authors have ample opportunity to review and approve edited manuscripts before publication.

All submissions and inquiries should be directed to Ada Long at or, if necessary, 850.927.3776. 

Nominees and Nominations from the Floor

Candidate statements and pictures of NCHC members who have agreed to stand for election for 2014 offices are available on the website.  Please visit the NCHC website and find out more about the candidates running for election   Nominations will also be accepted from the floor during the Annual Business meeting at the New Orleans Conference, Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 8:30 AM in Napoleon B3-C3 Ballroom.  Any candidate nominated from the floor must provide a statement of qualifications to the Secretary before the adjournment of the annual business meeting.  In the case of candidates for At-Large Student Members of the Board of Directors, the candidate must also provide written assurance of support from their institution for travel to Board meetings during his or her term of office if elected.

NCHC Portz Scholars

Congratulations 2013 NCHC Portz Scholars!

NCHC’s Awards and Grants Committee is pleased to announce the 2013 NCHC Portz Scholars for the 23rd year of the competition.  Members of the committee read 48 outstanding papers during the summer and selected the top three student papers.

The NCHC Portz Scholars Program began in 1990 to enable NCHC to acknowledge John and Edythe Portz's many contributions to honors education.  We continue to honor their memory by selecting the top research/creative papers by undergraduate honors students who have been nominated by their institutions for their outstanding work.

The three NCHC Portz Scholars will present their papers at a plenary session at the National Collegiate Honors Council conference in New Orleans, Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 1:30 PM. and will be awarded complimentary conference registration and a $350.00 stipend at a plenary session earlier that day.

The 2013 NCHC Portz Scholars are:

Lianne Barnes – University of Nevada at Reno; Honors Director, Dr. Tamara Valentine

“Six is Sapphire, but is Sapphire Six? Bidirectionality and Numerosity in Grapheme-Color Synthesis”

This paper addresses the issue of bidirectionality in grapheme-color synesthesia to see if specific colors elicit the information represented by graphemes in a manner that is cognitively accessible to the synesthete observer.  The study uses psychophysics and event-related potential (ERP) waveforms to demonstrate that bidirectional synesthesia exists, as evidenced by synesthetes’ ability to complete an arithmetic verification task in which some or all graphemes have been replaced with patches of color that match the synesthetes’ grapheme associations.  The research adds a crucial piece to the puzzle of how both synesthesia and numerical concepts are represented in the brain.

Alexandro Leme – The University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Donaghey Scholars Program; Honors Director, Dr. Earl Ramsey

“Documentary Photography and Surrealism in Interwar Paris:  A Dialectical Resolution”

This paper examines surrealist photography to establish a dialectical reconciliation between the real and the surreal and the real and the constructed.  Underpinning the study is the premise that a single photograph may shift meaning as it moves from the place where it was taken to the place where it is published or viewed.  The paper also investigates what the surrealists, chiefly André Breton, might have said about photography.  The essay aims to show that the articulation of a photograph within the context of its reception can unveil its surrealist dimension and claims that this type of documentary photography can be more disruptive of conventional norms than the contrivances of darkroom manipulation.

Cecilia Morales – Texas A&M University; Honors Director, Dr. Sumana Datta

“Creating Mother:  Mothers’ Legacies in the Context of the Conduct of Literature of Seventeenth-Century England”

This paper examines the genre of 17th-century Mothers’ Legacies in relation to the conduct literature written during the same period.  It discusses the manner in which the women writers of Mothers’ Legacies both confirm and deny the ideal form of womanhood laid out by conduct writers.  By writing from the place of the mother, these women were fulfilling a socially prescribed role, but by publishing for a wide audience, they stepped out of their traditional domestic domain.  The paper ends by delineating and explaining the gap between what 17th-century women were told to do and what they actually did.

Honors deans and directors can download the application for the 2014 NCHC Portz Scholars competition at the NCHC website. The deadline for the NCHC Portz Scholars competition is always the first Friday in June, which falls on Friday, June 6th in 2014.

~ Ann R. Eisenberg, Co-chair, Awards and Grants Committee
University of Texas at San Antonio

2014 Membership Renewal

2014 Renewal will be sent October 28, 2013.  Your NCHC membership is on a calendar year basis and expires December 31, 2013.  If you prepaid your 2014 membership, you will not receive a renewal notice. If you have any questions about your membership status, please contact the NCHC office at or call 402-472-9150.

PLEASE note the January 31, 2014 deadline for all memberships.  As a courtesy to those institutions not able to process a membership renewal during the current membership year, NCHC grants a grace period for the month of January.  If your institution needs to pay in January, please pay by credit card or make sure your check reaches NCHC before January 31, 2013.

Our new database does not allow extensions so all membership accounts will be closed on January 31 unless payment has been processed by NCHC.

2013 Membership Report

881       Institutions
1         Lifetime Professional membership
388       Professional memberships
15        Non-institutional Professional memberships
10        Affiliate memberships
61        Student memberships
21        Honorary/Lifetime memberships

As always we appreciate you renewing and thank you for your continuing membership in NCHC.  Your NCHC office is available to assist you Monday-Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm CST.

NCHC Officers, Board, & Staff


Rick Scott, University of Central Arkansas

President Elect
Jim Ruebel, Ball State University

Vice President
Barry Falk, James Madison University

Kyoko Amano, University of Indianapolis

Gary Bell, Texas Tech University

Past President
Greg Lanier, University of West Florida

Board of Directors
Suketa Bhavsar, Cal Poly Pomona
Lisa Coleman, Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Emily Jones*, Oklahoma State University
Joe King, Radford University
Jonathan Kotinek, Texas A & M University
Cheryl Lauersdorf*, Lee College
Franklin McGuire*, The Citadel
Soncerey Montgomery, Winston-Salem State University
Mary Kay Mulvaney, Elmhurst College
Barbra Nightingale, Broward College
Fatima Ojeda Rojas*, Paine 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

Amber Klaus, Project Coordinator

Trish Souliere, Technology Manager

Betty Talley, Director of Operations


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