Purdue Honors College Dean to Chair National Honors Committee

Editor’s Note: The following post comes from the Purdue Honors College. Dean Rhonda Phillips will be an asset in bringing greater attention and support to honors programs and colleges within major public research universities.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — With honors colleges growing in popularity among high ability students, the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) has selected Purdue Honors College Dean Rhonda Phillips to co-chair its NCHC Large Research University Committee alongside Mark Law, director of the University of Florida Honors Program.

“NCHC has an opportunity to support large universities and research to build effective honors education by convening R1 institutions,” said Hallie Savage, executive director of the NCHC.  “Through the collaborative work of these institutions, we will engage a broad range of expertise in honors programs and colleges.  This is a unique opportunity for members of large institutions in program development.”

Phillips will head to Seattle for the 51st annual NCHC Conference later this month.  She is uniquely poised to serve as committee co-chair, as she has successfully built the Purdue Honors College to a scholarly community of 2,200 students in just three years.  Under her direction, the college has burgeoning enrollment and a new academic home, tailor-made for gifted students.  The 324,000- square-foot, $90 million Honors College and Residences opened in August.  It houses learning studios, faculty and staff offices, a STEAM lab and large community gathering spaces, among other things.

“I look forward to working with colleagues from around the U.S. to examine the needs of Honors Colleges at large research institutions and determine how we can better serve our students,” Phillips said.  “Right now, honors education has a great deal of momentum.  More students and families are recognizing the added value we provide.  We want to refine honors programming, while ensuring that sustainable growth continues.”

Currently there are dozens of public universities making investments in honors colleges, hoping to compete with historically prestigious private schools to attract the best and brightest.  For example, Rutgers opened an $84.8 million, 170,000 square foot honors college facility in August of last year.  Phillips says in many cases, that focus is paying off.

“Students find we offer many of the same perks and outcomes as the Ivy League for a fraction of the cost, small and supportive classes, undergraduate research opportunities, and a distinguished faculty and student body,” Phillips said.

The National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) is a professional association of undergraduate honors programs, colleges, directors, deans, faculty, staff and students.  With more than 1,300 members in the U.S. and abroad, it provides support to institutions and individuals as they develop and expand honors education.

About Purdue Honors College:

The Honors College, which admitted its inaugural class in 2013, brings together students from all areas of study across campus, along with faculty, staff, alumni and organizational partners, in pursuit of academic excellence. Fostering transformative scholar and leadership development, the college is a community of scholars who learn together and explore ways to connect to Purdue and to the world beyond through engaged service. Website:  https://honors.purdue.edu/