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Jeff Chamberlain
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InstitutionUniversity of North Florida

 Location: Jacksonville, FL

Phone: 904-620-3954

Institution Type: 4-year Public

Program Type: Institution-Wide College

Program Enrollment: 530

Present PositionDean, Hicks Honors College, 2017-Present

 Previous Honors Positions:  

  • Director, Frederik Meijer Honors College, Grand Valley State University (Allendale, MI), 2007-2017
  • Founder and Director, Duns Scotus Fellows and Scholars Program, University of St. Francis, Joliet, IL

NCHC Member Since
: 1999

Program Reviews and Consultation

  • Carroll University - Waukesha, WI (April 2017)

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

  • NCHC Annual Conference Consultants Lounge (2013-2017)
  • NCHC summer workshop on Assessment and Evaluation (2012)
  • NCHC summer workshop for program reviewers (2016)

Activities in other areas or organizations related to assessment or site visits, workshops, etc.:
  •  AAC&U Assessment workshop 

Self-Identified Areas of Special Interest and Experience

  • Living/Learning Communities
  • Recruitment
  • University Partnerships
  • Program Promotion to University & Community

The Role of an NCHC-Qualified Site Visitor

I have been involved in National Collegiate Honors Council since the late 1990s when I was working to start an honors program at a small catholic college (the University of St. Francis, Joliet, IL).  At the time, I had never experienced a professional organization like the NCHC.  The friendliness, support, and advocacy that I received from presenters, consultants, and NCHC staff was a breath of fresh air after participating primarily at disciplinary conferences.  I benefited by a couple of consultant visits (one formal and one informal) when I was getting that program up and running, and I received help and support from the NCHC listserv and other more experienced people I encountered along the way.  I enjoyed Honors so much that I decided to stay in Honors permanently.  I became director of a much larger program—the Meijer Honors College at Grand Valley State University—in 2007.  Since then I have continued to benefit from my relationship with the NCHC, its staff, and members.  My program profited from a consultant visit, and I have been to every national conference that I could, and have taken staff, faculty, and students.  I also became heavily involved in the Mid-East Honors Association (including becoming president for a few years) because it was a great venue for students to present off-campus.  All of this help and support has enabled the Meijer Honors College to grow and develop into flourishing program with rich, innovative team-taught interdisciplinary courses, a robust living/learning community, and strong recognition and support from administration and faculty alike.  I was delighted when our president agreed to submit an essay to the 50th anniversary issue of JNCHC—he not only authored it; he directed that it be distributed to the Board of Trustees, the President’s Cabinet, The Provost’s Cabinet, Honors faculty and alumni, and major university donors.  We do, of course, have many issues to work on and many hopes and dreams yet to accomplish, so we will be requesting a program review again soon. 
I became dean of the Hicks Honors College at the University of North Florida in July 2017.  Once again, I am benefitting from program reviews of an honors program—this time reviews that were done before I arrived.  As we are growing and further developing the program, we are using insights and recommendations from those reviews.

I became a program reviewer for two reasons.  One was to give back in gratitude for what was given me.  I have no doubt that I would not have been nearly as successful as an Honors director had I not received such generous support.  The other is because I have been deeply involved with Honors long enough that I am sure I can be helpful.  I have, in fact, been sought out as an informal consultant for many years now.  I have become an unabashed booster of Honors and am an effective advocate.  I also have a wide range of experience.  Having worked in Honors in three institutions, I have worked through a lot of issues: I have dealt both with skeptical and supportive administrations; I have run a program on a shoestring and have worked with a foundation in an endowment; I have had to beg, borrow, and steal faculty, and I have overseen a unit with 12 tenured/tenure-track faculty; I have fostered innovative curricula at very different institutions; I have developed and implemented assessment programs that fit unique situations; and I have solved problems at every level.  Having said all of this, however, my style as a consultant/reviewer is to ask penetrating questions that allow the answers to bubble up from the principle people involved and to suggest possibilities; I hew closely to NCHC’s “Basic Characteristics,” but I elicit from faculty, staff, and administrators ways in which they can best implement programs at their institutions rather than set rigid parameters.  My motivation to become a reviewer is my fervent belief in Honors education—I have seen first-hand how it transformed several different universities—and I want it to be as good as it can possibly be at every type of institution of higher education.  I want, ultimately, to do everything I can to help students to thrive. 

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