Honors College faculty and two honors students attended the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) Conference in Dallas last weekend for the first time since 2018.
The conference ran from Thursday to Saturday and included guest speakers, a grad school fair, research presentations, a student party and an awards ceremony. Assistant professor of art and design and incoming associate dean for the Honors College Trey Shirley was one of the faculty that attended the conference.
“One of the reasons that I came to the conference was to learn about best practices for living learning communities and just see what other institutions are doing in terms of programming to help build community among students,” Shirley said.
In Fall 2023, the Honors College plans to implement a new Living Learning Community in Wessel Hall exclusive to Honors students. The Honors College wants to expand this community beyond just the new dorm. Shirley thinks the required honors contracts can be utilized in this effort, especially when it comes to building mentorship between students and professors.
“How do we move contacts from being a purely cognitive exercise into being a behavioral and emotional practice as well?” Shirley said. “I think that presents a lot of opportunity.”
With the developing Learning Living Community and incoming associate dean, the Honors College is looking ahead and hoping to create impactful changes for honors students. Junior biochemistry major from Amarillo and Honors College liaison Aspen Malone was one of the students that experienced the conference last weekend.
“As the [Honors] Council, we first need to identify the common ground that all honors students have and work from there,” Malone said. “Just know your audience and plan around that to build community.”
ACU Honors College dean Jason Morris and teaching and learning specialist in the Adams Center Amy Boone presented research at the conference. Their research focused on the shift in male versus female populations in higher education over the past 50 years. ACU’s Honors College is currently 75% female and 25% male.
“Dr. Morris and Dr. Deeg and I have been working on this research with Cullen grant funding,” Boone said. “We decided we would submit a proposal and when it was accepted that sealed the deal to come back to the conference, especially with it being in Dallas.”
This year’s theme for the conference’s 30th anniversary was centering community, aligning well with ACU Honors College’s hopes for the future. To learn more about ACU Honors and view upcoming honors events, visit @acuhonors on Instagram.