National Collegiate Honors Council

National Collegiate Honors Council

The National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) is the United States non-profit professional association of undergraduate honors programs, colleges[1], directors, deans, faculty, staff, and students. NCHC has more than 700 members across all fifty states and provides support for institutions and individuals to develop, implement, and expand honors education through Curriculum development[2], program assessment, teaching models, national and international study opportunities [3], internships, and independent research.


Core Values

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. NCHC recognizes the importance of Lifelong 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 [4] of NCHC.


Honors education originated at Oxford and Cambridge Universities in 1830 with the establishment of separate ‘pass’ and ‘honors’ degree designations. A variant on that program was later adopted at Harvard, followed by the first major efforts at creative reconstruction[5] Honors education in the United States expanded in the 1920s, with the dominant focus on the liberal arts college, the departmental major, and juniors and seniors.[6] By the late 1930s, over 100 honors programs existed in the United States. A lull in Honors education occurred during and after World War II, but the Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1956 brought new attention to 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 a continued need for a professional association of honors educators who would share 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 was established as and continues to serve as a resource center and network for those involved in honors education.

Officers and governance

NCHC is governed by a 24-member Board of Directors[7]: President, President-Elect, Vice-President, Immediate Past President, Secretary, Treasurer, and eighteen members at large elected by the membership, including six student members. The current president of NCHC is Dr. Hallie Savage, of Clarion University, who serves until October 24, 2008. The President-Elect is Dr. Lydia Lyons of Hillsborough Community College.

NCHC’s national office and professional staff, managed by Ms. Cynthia M. Hill, Executive Director, is located on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.



Faculty, staff, and students interested in honors education have access to a variety of resource and scholarly materials published by the organization. NCHC publishes a monograph series and two refereed journals. The Journal of the National College Honors Council (JNCHC) publishes scholarly articles on honors education. Honors in Practice (HIP) features articles on the nuts-and-bolts operations and activities of honors programs and innovative practices in honors teaching and programming. The monograph series includes a variety of handbooks and texts addressing specific aspects of honors learning, teaching, and administration[8].

Annual Conference

Each fall, NCHC holds its annual conference in a major city in the United States. Honors educators and students gather for a rich variety of workshops and presentations and for the opportunity to interact and exchange ideas with others involved in honors. Each conference also features master classes in the arts, plenary speakers, and City as Text , an experiential-learning exploration of the host city.


NCHC offers a variety of professional development workshops for faculty and administrators. Each fall, workshops on Beginning in Honors and Developing in Honors are held in conjunction with the NCHC conference. Every other year, NCHC also hosts an intensive summer workshop on assessment and evaluation.

Recommended Site Visitors

NCHC maintains up-to-date listings of faculty and administrators willing to provide consulting [9] services for and external reviews of honors programs and colleges. All site visitors have completed an NCHC Faculty Institute in assessment and evaluation.

Honors Semesters

Honors Semesters are designed to immerse highly motivated students in field studies, research, internships, and seminars at a host site. Honors Semester locations have been offered in such diverse settings as Washington, D.C., the Grand Canyon, Morocco , Greece, and the United Nations headquarters.

Portz Scholars Fund

Named for one of the first presidents of NCHC, the Portz Scholars Fund [10] annually recognizes three outstanding undergraduate honors papers to be featured at the national conference. The fund also annually recognizes honors programs and colleges for their leadership in enhancing honors programming for students.

External links

Notes and references

  1. ^ Honors Programs, Education Encyclopedia
  2. ^ Honors Course Design
  3. ^ Honors Semesters & Faculty Institutes
  4. ^ Honors Philosophy
  5. ^ Guzy, Annmarie. "A History and Context for the Scholarly Study of First-year Honors Composition", FYHC: First-year Honors Composition 1, Spring 2006. Retrieved on 2008-07-21.
  6. ^ Waggoner, George. "Independent-Study Programs". The Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 36, No. 7. Ohio State University Press, October, 1965), pp. 405–406. Retrieved on 2008-07-21.
  7. ^ NCHC Board of Directors
  8. ^ NCHC Publications
  9. ^ NCHC Site Visitors
  10. ^ Portz Scholars Fund

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