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Elaine Torda
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Institution:Orange County Community College

Location: Middletown, New York


Institution Type: 2-year

Program Type: institution-wide

Program Enrollment: 80

Present Position: Honors Program Coordinator (2003-present)

Previous Honors Positions:

NCHC Member Since: 2004

Program Reviews and Consultation:

  • Portland Community College May 2015
  •  Flathead Valley Community College site visit: Oct. 2013
  •  Prince George's Community College peer review: Summer 2011
  •  SUNY Ulster: Program Review of Education: 11 Nov. 2008
  •  Capital Community College: site review to develop new program: May 2009-May 2010

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

  • NCHC Consultants' Center
  • NCHC Site Evaluator Training

Activities in other areas or organizations related to assessment or site visits, workshops, etc.: 
  • Working group member for two sections of SUNY Orange's Middle States assessment report
  • Elected to serve as faculty representative to the NCHC Board of Directors: 2011 to present
  • Serve as Two-Year College Committee Co-chair since 2007
  • Presentations at NCHC conference since 2005; topics include working with small budgets, gaining faculty buy-in, avoiding honors director burnout and honors students as special needs
  • Also serve as facilitators for Beginning in Honors (two-year focus), Developing in Honors (two-year issues) and Best Honors Administrative Practices (advising)

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

Self-Identified Areas of Special Interest and Experience

  • Two Year College Program
  • Beginning Honors Programs
  • Types of course offerings (contracts, traditional, etc)
  • Interdisciplinary Courses
  • Team Teaching
  • Capstones
  • Budgets

The Role of an NCHC-Qualified Site Visitor
The roles of a site visitor could be myriad, based on the needs and requests of the specific institution in question. He or she may be asked to address a specific area, problem or concern at a more established program or to offer insights and suggestions to begin the development of a new program, or anything in between. The possibilities are limitless. For many academic institutions, a site visitor can serve as that needed voice of authority, bringing an unbiased external perspective.  At the heart of the matter, though, is the ability to provide input and feedback that, ultimately, aids an institution in its attempt to develop and/or strengthen a program. While different parties involved may have numerous and diverse reasons for requesting a site visit, the evaluator’s tasks are to determine the actual nature of the request, solicit sufficient information to understand both the institution and the honors program, and then make an informed response.  The final product, whether written or verbal, reviews the strengths, weaknesses and potentiality of that program and makes suggestions to help it continue on its path to innovation and excellence, never losing sight of the most important foci: students and faculty seeking academic distinction.
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