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Jerry Herron
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Institution: Wayne State University

Location: Detroit, MI

Phone: 313-577-3469

Institution Type: 4-year, Public, Doctoral University/Highest Research Activity (27,222 enrollment)

Program Type: Honors College, Institution-wide 

Program Enrollment: 2,185

Present Position: Dean, Irvin D. Reid Honors College, 2008

Previous Honors Positions: Director, Honors Program WSU, 2002-2008

NCHC Member Since: 2002

Program Reviews and Consultation

  • Consultation: University of California-Irvine, 2011
  • Consultation: IUPUI, 2008

NCHC Activities Related to Honors Program/College Assessment & Evaluation:

In my CV, I list participation in NCHC conferences, including being a facilitator in BIH and DIH, all of which I believe are relevant here. I have also listed positions i have held at my institution on various committees and work groups - relative to student success, enrollment management, and assessment.

Activities in other areas or organizations related to assessment or site visits, workshops, etc.: 

Other activities relevant to those seeking honors program/college site visitors

I have served as an academic administrator since 1990, with an appointment in honors since 2002. I believe the experience I have gained - serving on a range of university committees, and working with university administrators, including presidents, provosts, fellow deans, and department chairs - will provide me with useful background. In my role as Honors Director and then Dean, I have worked with a faculty colleague to develop an ongoing Value Added, longitudinal analysis of my program's outcomes. When I became Vice President of NCHC, I set out to collaborate with colleagues to establish some strategic goals for our organization. The goal on which I have worked most is research, which I see as a crucial element of our activities in assessment and program review.

Self-Identified Areas of Special Interest and Experience

  • Research in Honors Education
  • Honors Value Added Assessment
  • Recruitment and Scholarship Programs
  • Development and Donor Relations
  • Honors First-Year Experience
  • Experiential Learning Opportunities
  • City-based Curriculum
  • Research-based Curriculum Development for Undergraduates
  • Staff training and Development
  • Community Engagement
  • Honors Constituent Boards
  • Enrollment Management

The Role of an NCHC-Qualified Site Visitor 

Based on my training this summer and my own experience with site visits and program reviews, I see the role of visitor as defined by three good and useful objectives undertaken on behalf of NCHC: to represent, to advise, and to advocate.

Starting with the first, it’s the site visitor’s job to represent NCHC best practices, which means arriving with an expert’s knowledge, starting with the Guiding Philosophy, and including all our relevant documents and assessment instruments, as well as documents provided by the program or college under review. It’s our job, as visitors, to be sure that everyone is clear about what is expected from the program or college under review, so that their self-presentation is full and appropriate to agreed-upon goals for the visit. As site visitors, we are there to represent both what we know and what we will have learned, and to represent the expectation that claims for best practices should be supported with data and measurable outcomes. We must be both clear and transparent when it comes to evaluative instruments, and how these are developed collaboratively, and equally clear and transparent when representing our findings. And this provides us with the opportunity to be representatives for the considerable resources of our organization as well, with research (in journals, monographs, on-line assets) that extends across the whole array of institutions that define American (and now global) honors education.

The next question is how best to go about the good work of representing the program review process, which leads to the second function of reviewers, and that is their advisory role. Assessment is central to what we are doing, of course. But if we are to make the most of a visit, I feel that depends on site visitors’ being able to assume the role of advisors (as opposed, say, to evaluators or judges)—colleagues who share a common purpose, which is appreciative inquiry, and a commitment to student outcomes that are measurably broader, deeper, and more complex, as our Definition of Honors Education explains. This will require us to be mindful of the culture of the institution we visit, and to appreciate its distinctive character and challenges and to establish relationships based on transparency, mutual understanding and respect, whether with the students, faculty and staff immediately under review, or with senior administrators and other stakeholders. If we are to be good advisors, we must be seen as allies, working to achieve shared goals.

My third expectation is that reviewers will not only offer appreciative advice, but that they will also act as advocates—for NCHC best practices, for our Basic Characteristics, for our Review Instrument, for all that our organization so honorably represents. This means advocating on the way into a review, with the program or college requesting our visit, making clear the scope and value of resources that NCHC provides, and our expectation that these should be put to good use. And it means acting as advocates during the review process itself. As we know, honors programs and colleges are a real growth industry, but unfortunately the request to grow (or grow from program to college) is too often based on unfunded mandates. As advocates, it is our job to make a good case for the unit under review, to represent fairly the story our local colleagues are trying to tell, appreciating both strengths and also challenges—and then to advocate for resources appropriate to institutional expectations. Being appreciative in our advisory role does not mean we shouldn’t advocate strongly, and critically, when it comes to the values of honors education.

In conclusion, then, a site reviewer should be able to represent honors education with an expert’s command of best-practice resources, to advise with relevant stakeholders appreciatively to achieve a culture of student learning that is sustainable, ethical, and open to continuous improvement, and to advocate forcefully on behalf of the values of honors education and of the program or college under review. And finally, we should take all the good results back home, knowing that a reviewer has as much to learn as to teach.

more Calendar

5/21/2018 » 5/27/2018
Partners in the Parks: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

5/31/2018 » 6/5/2018
Faculty Institute: Yellowstone Border Towns

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