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Craig Kaplowitz
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Emailckaplowitz@judsonu.edu

Institution: Judson University

Location: Elgin, Illinois

Phone: 847-628-1126

Institution Type

Program Type:

Program Enrollment:

Present Position: Director of The Honors Program; Chair, Department of History

Previous Honors Positions:

NCHC Member Since:


Program Reviews and Consultation


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

  • Small Colleges Committee member
  • DIH Panelist at NCHC conference

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

7 years' experience directing an honors program; Program Prioritization, Gen-Ed Quality Initiative review, and Higher Learning Commission Criterion self-study for Judson University; Department of History self-study; External Reviewer for Trinity Christian College; Faculty Advisor and Organizer, Alpha Mu Kappa
chapter of Phi Alpha Theta national honor society for history


Self-Identified Areas of Special Interest and Experience


The Role of an NCHC-Qualified Site Visitor
The purpose of a program review, in short, is to enhance the honors experience and advance the cause of honors education. The role of a program reviewer, then, is formative rather than simply evaluative. The reviewer contributes training, experience, and insight to the institution’s project of enhancing its ability to serve, challenge, and develop its high-achieving students. While different contexts will call for different emphases, common key elements of the reviewer’s role include:
  • Holding a mirror up to the program to help its members see its particular strengths and
    weaknesses more clearly.
  • Providing a fresh set of eyes through which to analyze the overall relationship among the
    program’s stated goals/values, its practices, and its outcomes.
  • Stimulating ideas and providing encouragement for the prioritization and application of
    general best practices to the specific local context.
  • Advocating for enhanced honors education.

In accomplishing these, the reviewer’s role unfolds in stages, and while each is different they all have the potential to serve the formative purpose. 1) Pre-visit, the role is to request and take in as much information about the program as possible through the provided documentation and other sources. Adequate preparation is vital to an effective site visit and review. In addition, requesting documents and data and preparing for the visit with the campus representatives can serve to stimulate self-assessment about their honors program. 2) During the visit, the reviewer’s role is most essentially to listen and gather as much on-the-ground information as possible, both data and impressions. At this stage the reviewer will not yet have fully-processed feedback to provide, and must resist the temptation to lecture. But the reviewer contributes to the formative goal during the visit by asking incisive questions, expressing enthusiasm at clear strengths, probing at areas of apparent weakness, and generally encouraging thoughtful reflection and self-assessment. In other words, the reviewer is modeling healthy program assessment while gathering data for the final report. 3) The reviewer’s voice will be heard most directly post-visit, via the observations and recommendations in the written report and possibly through ongoing informal communication.

One final point: the role of a reviewer is also to be a learner. Insights gained from one review will undoubtedly prove valuable for another review, as well as for other roles the reviewer has pertaining to honors. Each program visit has the potential to serve the cause of honors education through these ripple effects, and reviewers must be attuned to the opportunities for ongoing development.

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1/12/2018 » 1/15/2018
Partners in the Parks: Cedar Breaks National Monument

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