New Honors Deans at Univ of North Florida, TAMU-Kingsville

Dr. Jeff Chamberlain will be the inaugural dean of the newly created Hicks Honors College, starting in August.

The Hicks Honors College was a university program; however, the current Honors Director, Dr. Jeff Michelman helped elevate the program to a college. Michelman will return to the Coggin College of Business faculty as a professor.

Chamberlain served as the director of the Frederik Meijer Honors College at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan for the last 10 years. He also worked as a professor of history at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois. His interests include social, political, intellectual, and ecclesiastical history of Tudor/Stuart and Georgian England.

Dr. Chamberlain holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.


Dr. Thomas M. Spencer has been selected as the sole finalist for the position of Dean for the Honors College at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. His appointment is pending approval from the Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System.Dr. Thomas Spencer

Spencer has served as the Director of Honors Student Affairs at Eastern Illinois University’s Sandra and Jack Pine Honors College since 2012. His duties there have included overseeing the day-to-day administrative matters for some 500 honors students; coordinating 24 departmental honors programs; and managing 190 scholarships worth approximately $1 million annually.

During his time at Eastern Illinois University, its Honors College’s share of the incoming freshman class increased to more than 12 percent for three straight academic years from 2014 to 2016. Spencer helped create and develop the Pine Honors College Housing Community in 2014. He has also been in charge of social media for the Pine Honors College since 2013, among other accomplishments.

Prior to his time at Eastern Illinois University, Spencer was Director of the Honors Program at Northwest Missouri State University and a tenured Professor of History. He oversaw the Honors Program there from 2008 to 2012, and was a faculty member from 1997 to 2012.  His scholarship includes the publication of three books and several articles.

Spencer is active in the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) and has made a number of presentations as well as led workshops for Honors administrators at the NCHC Annual Meeting. He served on the NCHC External Relations Committee from 2010 to 2013 and currently serves on the NCHC Teaching & Learning Committee.

Spencer received a Ph.D. in History from Indiana University, Bloomington; an M.A. in History from the University of Missouri-Columbia; and a B.A. in History from Trinity University, San Antonio.

Appalachian St Honors College Names Dr. Jeff Vahlbusch New Dean

BOONE, N.C.—After an extensive national search, Dr. Jefford Vahlbusch has accepted the position of dean of The Honors College at Appalachian State University effective July 17. Dr. Vahlbusch comes to Appalachian from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, where he currently serves as the Director of the University Honors Program.

“Dr. Vahlbusch demonstrated measurable successes in catalyzing the honors program at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire,” Provost Darrell Kruger said of the new dean. “Over the course of his term there, he built a thriving and diverse program dedicated to intellectual, personal, and professional growth of the students. We are very pleased to have such a qualified and experienced leader join our faculty.”

Vahlbusch is charged with providing a vision and strategic direction for The Honors College and will act as an advocate and leader for honors education across the campus and beyond.

During his nearly eight years as director of the honors program at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the number of students in the program and the number of honors courses offered more than doubled, and the enrolled students of color increased from 2.51 percent to 11.57 percent.

Vahlbusch earned his Ph.D. in Germanic languages and literatures, his master’s in German literature and philology, and his bachelor’s in German and English literature from the University of Michigan in ’98 ’82 and ’79, respectively.

He has taught at Berea College, Berea, Kentucky; Washington College; Chestertown, Maryland; Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He was a lecturer at Johannes Gutenberg–Universität, Mainz, Germany.

About The Honors College
More than 750 students are enrolled in Appalachian’s Honors College, which attracts high-achieving students who are in the top 5 to 10 percent of their graduating high school class. The program develops independent and creative thinking, promotes open and provocative discussion, and nurtures a cultured and caring exchange of ideas. The college’s enhanced academic experience prepares students for leadership roles in their career as well as for graduate or professional school.

About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

Georgia St Honors College Gets $200k Grant for Human Rights Initiative

ATLANTA—The Georgia State University Honors College will endow the Herndon Human Rights Initiative with a $200,000 grant from the Rich Foundation.

The initiative will use teaching and research on the Herndon legacy to enhance community understanding of historical and modern-day human rights issues.

Born into slavery in 1858, Alonzo F. Herndon imagined a better life and worked tirelessly to build it. He achieved business success unprecedented in his day, first as a barber and later as founder and president of Atlanta Life Insurance Company. His only son, Norris, committed financial resources to the student-led Committee on the Appeal for Human Rights in Atlanta and the modern civil rights movement in general. Herndon’s contributions were critical, yet quiet and behind the scenes.

More than 150 years after Alonzo Herndon’s birth – and 90 years after the formation of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company – the Honors College occupies the company’s former home at 100 Auburn Ave. The Honors College is committed to educating its students and surrounding community about Alonzo and Norris Herndon’s lives, their values and character, and their role in the modern Civil Rights Movement.

The Herndon Human Rights Initiative focuses on four major components:

  • Herndon Human Rights course
  • Digital mapping project
  • Lecture series
  • Student scholarships

“The Georgia State University Honors College is making a difference in our community thanks to the generous and continuing support of the Rich Foundation trustees,” said Larry Berman, founding dean of the Honors College. “Their decision to endow in perpetuity the Herndon Human Rights Initiative will allow generations of young Honors College students to make a difference in the human rights challenges of the present and future.”