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John Loughney
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Institution: Westfield State University

Location: Northampton, Massachusetts


Institution Type: 4-year public,comprehensive

Program Type: institution-wide, some honors in major

Program Enrollment: 150

Present Position: retired honors director

Previous Honors Positions:

  • Director, 2003-2005
  • Committee Member, 2006-2010, 1998-2005, 1979-1986

NCHC Member Since:2004

Program Reviews and Consultation

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

  • NCHC Consultant, 2012, 2009, 2007, 2006 - NCHC annual convention
  • candidate, NCHC National Board, 2009

Activities in other areas or organizations related to assessment or site visits, workshops, etc.: 
  • Site visitor, Eastern Connecticut State University, Spring 2008
  • Member, Westfield State College Honors Program, 2006-10 ; 1998-2005; 1979-1986
  • Honors courses, 11 to date at Westfield
  • Honors courses (Liberal Studies), 4 at Purdue University (1975-79)

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

Self-Identified Areas of Special Interest and Experience

  • Admission criteria
  • Advising honors student
  • Advisory boards & Governance
  • Articulation among institutions
  • Assessment of honors outcomes
  • Budgeting
  • Graduation criteria
  • Handbooks for students and faculty
  • Priority enrollment
  • Honors residence halls
  • Recruitment and retention of students
  • Self-studies 

The Role of an NCHC-Qualified Site Visitor

Based on my more than forty years’ experience in university and college-level honors teaching, and the topics encountered at our NCHC Workshop, I would emphasize concerns such as the following (a partial list):

  1. What is the nature or health of relations between the honors faculty supervising and those teaching in the program?
  2. What is the quality of relationships between those administrators supervising or linked to honors and the overseeing faculty, the participating faculty, other faculty interested in honors (including those involved in individualized student projects, other student activities, or evolving honors campus initiatives), and related support staff (including
    librarians, technical, community-outreach, and campus housing, et al)?
  3. What measures of student enthusiasm for honors courses, affiliated initiatives, and linked programs are employed?
  4. What is the quality of such student interest?
  5. What campus resources are available and (if different) actually in use? How do the affiliated faculty and staff feel about the support kinds and levels?
  6. How many students are taking honors courses? Are “program enrolled”? How are new students sought by the program? What “levels” of participation exist?
  7. Has there been continuity of personnel in the program, measured how? If not, why?
  8. What techniques introduce new personnel to honors: faculty; counselors; staff; other institutional officers?
  9. What measures exist for examining “program satisfaction” by those taking classes, “enrolled,” graduating, or graduated?
  10. How is program governance structured? To what extent are those devoted to the program consulted about or structurally involved in choosing leaders for the program?
  11. What campus documents govern? Is there a specific handbook, website, or charter
    document which outlines either faculty possibilities and duties or student performance expectations or project options?
  12. What non-campus resources are usually available to faculty, students, and staff for support of the program? Is the current level broadly felt to be sufficient? Are there plans to seek more support?
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