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James Buss
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Institution: Northern Kentucky University

Location: Highland Heights, KY

Phone: 859-572-5946

Institution Type: 4-year, Public, Comprehensive

Program Type: Institution-Wide

Program Enrollment:

Present Position: Dean, Honors College (2013-2018)

Previous Honors Positions:

  • Dean, Honors College, Salisbury University (2013-2018
  • Director, University Honors Program, Oklahoma City University (2011-2013)
  • Distinguished Honors Professor, Oklahoma City University

  • NCHC Member Since
    : 2008

    Program Reviews and Consultation

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

    • Committee Member, Assessment and Evaluations Committee (2013-2018)
    • Committee Member, Advocacy Committee (2017-2018)
    • Chair, Best Honors Administrative Practices sessions at NCHC Annual Conference (2015-2018)

    Activities in other areas or organizations related to assessment or site visits, workshops, etc.: 
    • Treasurer, Northeast Regional Honors Council, (2014-2018)
    •  Faculty Representative, Maryland Collegiate Honors Council (2014-2015) 

    Self-Identified Areas of Special Interest and Experience

    • Transition from Honors Program to Honors College
    • Honors Programs and Colleges at Public Regional Universities
    • Honors Programs at Small, Private Universities
    • Honors Living and Learning Communities
    • Honors Faculty Fellows Programs
    • Honors Budgeting and Resource Allocations
    • Honors Strategic Planning and Assessment
    • Honors Annual Reporting

    The Role of an NCHC-Qualified Site Visitor 

    Program review is one of the great services provided by the National Collegiate Honors Council.  Coupled with the resources of NCHC, particularly research and data on national trends in honors education, program reviews have the potential to aid Honors Programs and Colleges in situating themselves within the frameworks of their institutions. 

    As someone who has directed an Honors Program at a small private liberal arts school and an Honors College at a mid-sized public regional comprehensive institution, I have witnessed the influence of external reviews in making both Honors Programs better and better serving our students.  In the first instance, a formal review led to additional NCHC consultation visits that influenced the future direction of the Honors Program and aided faculty and administrators in strategic planning.  In the second instance, the university decided to transition its Honors Program into an Honors College.  By utilizing the NCHC’s program review training documents, including the basic characteristics and the newest review rubric, and relying on research published in NCHC journals, the university has taken measures to fully support an Honors College that will undergo program review upon its transition.  In both cases, NCHC visitors led to greater support for honors education and helped administrators and faculty members improve the quality of the honors experience for students.

    Program reviewers provide an objective eye for Honors Programs and Colleges to address issues and celebrate successes.  In addition, they aid honors administrators, faculty, and students by acting as advocates for honors education.  As program reviewers and site visitors gain experience by visiting universities and colleges, they gain a broader perspective about how honors education is delivered in a variety of contexts and at a number of institutions.  This experience aids programs and colleges under review in that they gain from those broader perspectives.  NCHC and member institutions also gain as reviewers can provide the broader honors community (and he NCHC office) with data and examples of best practices.

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