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Art Spisak
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Institution: University of Iowa

Location: Iowa City, Iowa

Phone: 319-335-1681

Institution Type: 4-year public, research

Program Type: institution-wide, general education

Program Enrollment: 3100

Present Position:

  • Director, University of Iowa Honors Program (2011 to date)
  •  NCHC Past President, 2017

Previous Honors Positions:

  • NCHC Ad Hoc Committee member on Defining Honors Education, 2013
  •  Director, Missouri State University Honors College, 2006-2011
  •  Rich & Doris Young Honors College Professorship, Missouri State Univ., 2007-2011
  •  NCHC Board of Directors, 2011 to 2014
  •  NCHC Assessment and Evaluation Committee; 2011 to 2016; Co-Chair 2013 to 2014
  •  NCHC Vice President 2015
  • NCHC President Elect 2016
  • NCHC President 2017

NCHC Member Since:2006

Program Reviews and Consultation

  • Des Moines Area Community College Honors Program; April, 2017
  • Syracuse University Honors Program; November, 2016
  • Honors Program at University of Nebraska, Lincoln; October, 2016
  • Honors Program at Ferris State University; March, 2016
  • Consultancy at University of Maine Honors College; March 2015
  • Program Review of Honors Program at Minnesota State University-Mankato; Oct. 2014
  • Program review of Northern Illinois University Honors Program; Dec. 2013
  • Consultancy at Des Moines Area Community College Honors Program (to form up a new Honors Program); August, 2012
  • Consultancy at Ozark Technical Community College Honors Program (to form up a new Honors Program); June, 2008

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

  • Publication: "How the Implementation of Honors Sections Affects the Academic Performance of Non-Honors Students" (with S. Van Horne and K. Hornbuckle, Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 18.2 (Fall/Winter 2017)
  • Publication: “The Effect of Honors Courses on Grade Point Averages” (with Suzanne Carter Squires), Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 17.2 (Fall/Winter 2016)
  • Revamp of Program Review Process as co-chair of the A&E Committee, 2014
  • NCHC Ad Hoc Committee member on Defining Honors Education, 2013
  • 2012 NCHC Summer Institute on Assessment and Evaluation
  • 2010 NCHC Summer Institute on Assessment and Evaluation

Activities in other areas or organizations related to assessment or site visits, workshops, etc.: 
  • Self-Assessment of the University of Iowa Honors Program, 2011-12
  • Over twenty-five national conference presentations on various honors education topics (see CV)

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

Self-Identified Areas of Special Interest and Experience

  • Fundraising and development
  • Research and experience on defining Honors
  • Honors curriculum design
  • Honors faculty development
  • experience and familiarity with upper level higher ed administration and community and legislative tie-ins with higher ed
  • NCHC board and leadership involvement
  • Honors recruitment and retention
  • Personal experience with large public R-1 institutions
  • personal experience with metropolitan, comprehensive public institutions
  • familiarity with honors programs in Community Colleges
  • 20 years of Honors teaching experience
  • 11 years of Honors administrative experience
  • grass roots understanding of honors education from my training as a classicist

The Role of an NCHC-Qualified Site Visitor 

As a baseline a program reviewer should follow the direction of Otero and Spurrier in their publication on assessing and evaluating honors programs/colleges: “The site visitors who are selected will do their best to provide an objective evaluation of the Honors Program or Honors College as well as any challenges that it faces, but they also will be advocates for Honors education.”

Also as a baseline a program reviewer would use the NCHC’s Basic Characteristics of a Fully Developed Honors/College, and, ideally, the NCHC program review instrument, although with the knowledge that every honors program or college has developed in unique ways for reasons that make sense in that particular environment.

To my mind, a site visitor’s main purpose is to use the time before the visit, while onsite, and in any interaction afterwards to understand what the program or college encompasses and really does, and, as much as possible in the short time, why it is as it is. Some of that understanding comes through documentation, but most comes through personal interaction. Therefore, a program reviewer should give a lot of time listening, observing, and getting answers to questions, some of which are not scripted, that are relevant to the specific situation.

A program reviewer’s final report will be highly sensitive to the local situation in that it will support and benefit the program/college under review while at the same time placing it within a national framework and perspective so that areas needing attention are apparent.

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