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Learn More About Diversity in Honors Education

Learn more about diversity in Honors Education by visiting the links below.


  • Badenhausen, Richard, James Joseph Buss, et. al. “Honors Enrollment Management: Toward a Theory and Practice of Inclusion.” National Collegiate Honors Council (2020):
    • In recent years, the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC)—an organization that represents over 800 honors programs and colleges from around the world—has directly challenged historical privileges in honors education through annual conference programming with themes such as “Just[ice] Honors (2017),” “Learning to Transgress (2018),” “Disrupting Education (2019),” and “Big Hearts, Big Minds (2020).” Keynote and plenary speakers, including Bryan Stevenson, Nikki Giovanni, Walter Kimbrough, and Jennifer Eberhardt, have addressed systemic racism, social justice issues, implicit bias, and the need for more inclusive approaches in higher education. During the past three years, NCHC Board members have conducted workshops and seminars at AAC&U meetings focused on inclusive models for honors education, while in 2017 NCHC emphasized its commitment to this work by issuing a formal, board-approved “Diversity and Inclusion Statement” as an extension of its “Definition of Honors Education.” All of these efforts, from conference programming to organizational programming to strategic planning around diversity efforts, address historical inequities in honors education and provide a new language for talking about honors. While conferences, speakers, and statements laid the groundwork, this report offers examples about how this work might be conducted at the institutional level--especially via enrollment management practices--and why it is so crucial.
    • While these approaches will not appeal to all, this report is intended for a broad audience of higher education administrators — presidents, provosts, enrollment management and admission officers, honors deans and directors — who might consider how honors programs and colleges can lead diversity and inclusive excellence efforts on their campuses.

  • Scott, Stephen C. “Black Excellence: Fostering Intellectual Curiosity in Minority Honors Students at a Predominantly White Research Institution.” Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 18, no. 1 (2017): 109-133,
    • As a recent alumnus of the West Virginia University Honors College, I recognize my honors experience as a multi-faceted, intellectual journey that pushed me academically, professionally, and personally to become the lifelong learner that I am today. As the only Black honors student in my graduating class, I was aware of my tokenism, especially in my honors courses, in the honors college office, in the honors learning center (testWELL Learning Center), and in university and honors college committee meetings, but I never let it bother me much. My peers misperceived me as an “Oreo”; my physical appearance was Black, yet my mannerisms and opinions were “White” to them. Again, that did not bother me because I felt at home among my honors college peers—until my senior year, when I took my first study abroad trip. After that trip, I experienced my first engagement with the Black community at the university and spent a semester unpacking my distorted understanding of African Americans in American history primarily through the mentorship of a remarkable Black woman. By the end of the semester, I understood the importance of correcting my White friends’ sense of privilege, representing and advocating for my community in this elite academic space of honors, and paving the way for other Black students to succeed in higher education. My self-awakening came at a pivotal time in my life, and it sealed my interdisciplinary interest in law and education.


  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Honors Education, ed. Graeme Harper. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018. 
    • In education, sorting students according to attainment is common. Such sorting clearly sets up the potential for exclusion, based on the attainment ideals and on the modes of selection. Ideals of inclusion suggest diversity, and those of equity, by reference to impartiality, suggest freedom from bias. Honors education, which celebrates excellence, and references honor and all that word and concept infers, heightens and promotes the principled recognition of attainment, giving rise to questions of diversity, equity and inclusion.

      The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), in its Ten Steps to Equity in Education, notes that inclusion is intertwined with fairness. How can honors education and in the case of the discussions in this book, largely honors in US higher education promote fairness, be diverse, and support equity? If it does not do so, how can it at all claim to be offering a principled version of what the National Collegiate Honors Council (USA) says are opportunities for measurably broader, deeper, and more complex learning-centered and learner-directed experiences for its students?

      In 2015, the National Society for Minorities in Honors ( was launched in the USA to specifically explore, support and promote diversity, equity and inclusion in and across honors colleges and programs. The first annual NSFMIH conference was held at Oakland University, Michigan. This book began at that inaugural conference, and has been enhanced by enthusiastic contributions beyond that event as well.