Why Don’t Some Well-Known Honors Colleges and Programs Appear in Our Book?

Update March 25, 2016 to account for changes scheduled for our 2016 book.

Some visitors to our site and readers of A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs might wonder why the honors colleges or programs at several prominent public universities are not reviewed. Those schools include Colorado, Florida, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Pitt.

The fact that these and other programs were not included in the Review does not mean that they are not strong options for an honors education. Every one of the colleges and programs above can rightfully point to outstanding accomplishments and alumni. On occasion we post information and links to these and other programs that were not reviewed in the book.

The reasons for exclusion vary, but they include the following:

(1) Some programs do not have designated honors membership or hard and fast requirements, preferring to give students maximum freedom in course selection. This is an issue for us because our key metric assesses the hours and credits required for honors completion and the specific course offerings available to meet those requirements.

(2) Some programs were in transition at the time we sent out the questionnaire. Neither they nor I thought it was fair to rate them under those circumstances.

(3) A few honors colleges and programs expressed strong opposition to our project and to the idea of ranking or rating honors programs, and therefore declined to participate at all.

The Review makes it clear that we no longer consider numerical rankings to be valid, as they tend to create distinctions (based on tiny statistical disparities in scoring) where no meaningful distinctions exist. But we do rate the programs, and that allows us to group several that are essentially equivalent. For example, we list 7 programs as having 5 “mortarboards” on a scale of 5. We do not rank those or other programs in strict numerical order, however.

Honors News is a regular (not always daily) update, in brief, of recent news from honors colleges/programs and from the world of higher ed. Occasionally, a bit of opinion enters the discussion. These brief posts are by John Willingham, unless otherwise noted.

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