About Us

What do we stand for?

  1. We are advocates for maintaining excellence in public universities. Put another way, we oppose efforts to make public universities mere vocational training institutions without a full range of courses in ALL academic disciplines.
  2. We believe that excellence within public universities is most evident in the honors colleges and programs that have become a prominent feature of their parent universities.
  3. Our advocacy carries with it a call for transparency and accountability. Public universities that promote honors colleges and programs should fully support the genuine enhancement of undergraduate studies.
  4. Accordingly, as we continue to advocate for excellence in public universities and their honors components, we also provide evaluations of their courses, class sizes, graduation rates, honors housing, and commitment to honors work across four years.

The editor of Public University Press is John Willingham, who is also the editor of PublicUniversityHonors.com. He works with a statistician who was involved with the first edition of the Review. In the summer of 2012, John completed a training session with the National Collegiate Honors Council NCHC), University of Nebraska-Lincoln, on how to conduct evaluations of honors colleges and programs. In all editions, he has followed the recommendations of the NCHC in emphasizing the importance of honors curricula and completion requirements. He conducted a session on ratings and rankings on October 15, 2016, at the annual meeting of the NCHC in Seattle.

He has also worked as a consultant for the Parthenon Group on the development of honors colleges abroad, and he has shared his research with honors professionals and administrators in the U.S. The books are widely used by college consultants and counselors across the country.

John became interested in the field of higher education when he was a graduate student in American history at the University of Texas at Austin, earning an M.A. in American history before deciding to pursue careers in journalism and, later, in election administration in Texas. During a 25-year career in elections, he served as a monitor in Bosnia after the brutal ethnic wars and was selected to be on a national task force of election officials convened to make reform recommendations to Congress after the 2000 presidential election.

Earlier, John had received a B.A. from UT Austin, with honors, majoring in history. His minor fields in graduate school were education and journalism. He now spends most of the year in Portland, Oregon, but returns to Austin, Texas, for several visits each year. His articles, essays, op-eds, and fiction have appeared in the Southwest Review, Texana, the Texas Observer, History News Network, Religion Dispatches, and the San Antonio Express-News. 

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