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April Dove
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Email: April.Dove@gvltec.edu

Institution: Greenville Technical College

Location: Greenville, South Carolina

Phone: 864-250-8036

Institution Type: 2-year, public

Program Type:

Program Enrollment:

Present Position: Honors Program Directors

Previous Honors Positions: GTC Honors Sociology Faculty (2012-present)

NCHC Member Since:


Program Reviews and Consultation


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


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

Self-Identified Areas of Special Interest and Experience.


The Role of an NCHC-Qualified Site Visitor
My views on the role of an Honors Program or Honors College site reviewer are guided by the NCHC mission statement which focuses on providing support for Honors Programs and Colleges at two-year and four-year institutions to develop, implement, and continuously improve upon Honors education experiences for undergraduate students nationwide. Such support includes, but is not limited to, curriculum development,
assessment practices, service leadership development, research opportunities, and best practices in administration within Honors Programs and Colleges. Formal program reviews afford institutions the opportunity to receive an objective, in-depth, and hands-on analysis of their programs by qualified NCHC representatives who can offer support and guidance to strengthen the Honors experiences those institutions provide their students.
 
A program review can provide excellent feedback not only to the director or dean of the Honors Program or College under review, but also to the administration of the institution on how Honors Programs and Colleges can successfully fit into and enhance the broader mission statements and strategic goals of higher education institutions. A program review not only serves as an analysis of the current structure and operation of a program, but also provides strategic advice on how to strengthen and improve the program and the opportunities it provides for student development. As colleges and universities are becoming more data driven to assess the value-added elements of various programs offered to students, it is increasingly important for Honors Programs and Colleges to address how they add value to student academic and service learning experiences. To an institution’s administration, retention, persistence, and graduation rates matter. To potential employers and community leaders, critical thinking and problem solving skills, communication and soft social skills, and the ability to work with a diverse population matter. Program reviews can help Honors Programs and Colleges develop ways to demonstrate the added value they offer to their students and to their college and local communities.

Characteristics of a Quality Reviewer
The importance of the role a program reviewer plays cannot be understated. Institutions put a substantial
amount of resources into requesting and scheduling a formal review and deserve a reviewer who is committed to offering her/his full attention and time to the review process. Building on what I learned in the Program Reviewer training workshop in July, there are several characteristics essential in reviewers to ensure a quality review. A reviewer should first and foremost do their homework before arriving for the review – spending time reading about the institution, its history, its current structure and mission, and how the respective Honors Program or College fits into the institution’s strategic goals. The reviewer should also know her/his audience as she/he will be communicating with people in various positions with varying degrees of involvement with the Honors Program or College being reviewed. Also, the ability to communicate clearly, effectively, and consistently, to document information properly as warranted, and to be flexible in scheduling appointments with relevant campus personnel are all necessary characteristics of a quality program reviewer. Ultimately, the primary characteristic of a successful program reviewer is the ability to simply listen to the people involved in the review process, be it administrators, directors or deans, faculty and, most importantly, students, as their learning and development is the core of any college program. Providing participants with a comfortable (as much as possible in a review setting) and safe environment will encourage them to share their experiences in an open and honest manner, leading to a more thorough and thoughtful program review analysis by the reviewer. Increased Two-Year College Involvement in NCHC

While I am committed to fostering the growth and development of any Honors Program or College, I do have
particular interest in Honors Programs at two-year institutions. Two-year colleges enroll the majority of undergraduate students nationwide and serve as major pipelines to four-year institutions. As more and more two-year institutions seek out formal affiliations with NCHC as they develop Honors Programs of their own, I believe it is incredibly important to provide them with equal access to professional opportunities within NCHC – especially access to program reviewers with Honors education experience at two-year colleges. While traditional four-year institutions and two-year institutions face many of the same challenges in offering quality Honors education for their students, there are some structural differences between these two kinds of
institutions that warrant distinction. I am committed to assisting any college or university as a site reviewer, but given my experiences with NCHC thus far and my role as Director of the Honors Program at Greenville
Technical College, I believe I can be of particular assistance to two-year colleges interested in the review
process.
 
A NCHC Program Reviewer is also an expert.  I have attended NCHC every year since 2011, when I started in Honors.  My own journey on the road to life long learning is every year enriched by my attendance to the annual NCHC meeting (and some regional ones), as well as my conversations with colleagues throughout the Honors network across the world.  Standing on the shoulders of Honors giants has allowed me to retool the Honors Program at the University of Kansas in just over five years starting with the Freshman seminar and implementing a new curriculum last fall.  I may not know everything (yet!), but I know where to find answers; I am a creative problem solver, an expert planner, and a strategic thinker.
 
My training in American Studies has also led me to develop sharp skills in the realm of facilitation of difficult conversations: at a time when resources are in short supply, especially at public universities, justifying Honors can become one such difficult conversation.  I am devoted to help you make the positive change I know Honors education can make!  As an ambassador of Honors education, my responsibility is to support you as you create educational experiences that will prepare students for the interconnected and increasingly diverse world we live in. 
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