The National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) is the professional association of undergraduate honors programs and colleges; honors directors and deans; and honors faculty, staff, and students. NCHC provides support for institutions and individuals developing, implementing, and expanding Honors education through curriculum development, program assessment, teaching innovation, national and international study opportunities, internships, service and leadership development, and mentored research.
Honors education in the United States first appeared in the 1920s. By the late 1930s, there were over 100 honors programs in the United States. There was a lull in Honors education during and after World War II, but the Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1956 brought a new growth in honors programs. In 1957, the Inter-University Committee on the Superior Student (ICSS) was formed as a clearinghouse for information on honors activities. ICSS received funds from the Carnegie Corporation, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Office of Education to help establish honors programs at colleges and universities across the United States. In 1965, ICSS disbanded, when its external funding expired. A number of people felt that there continued to be a need for a professional association of honors educators, to share their ideas and provide a strong national voice for excellence in higher education. As a result, in 1966, the National Collegiate Honors Council was formed.
NCHC carries out its mission by serving honors professionals and by advocating support for and excellence in higher education for all students. In furtherance of this mission, NCHC has issued the following Core Values Statement:
The National Collegiate Honors Council values an atmosphere that promotes academic opportunity and challenge for honors students and faculty. Within this intellectual environment, members of Honors communities demonstrate integrity, respect, and excellence. Through the honors experience, participants realize enhanced personal, social, and intellectual development. The NCHC recognizes the importance of life-long learning and social responsibility in preparing individuals for an increasingly complex world. These beliefs and values are reinforced among member institutions through the collegiality and shared purpose of the NCHC.
At its annual fall conference and throughout the year, NCHC provides access to a network of honors expertise, including consultants with extensive experience in all elements of Honors teaching, learning, and administration.
Unusual among professional organizations in higher education is NCHC’s inclusion of undergraduate students on its conference programs and as elected members of its governing board. All members, whether professionals or students, are involved in the ongoing projects undertaken by NCHC’s committees.
NCHC is a non-profit (501c3) organization, governed by a 24-member Board of Directors: President, President-Elect, Vice-President, Immediate Past President, Secretary, Treasurer, and eighteen members at large elected by the membership, including six student members.
NCHC’s national office and professional staff, managed by our Executive Director, is located on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.