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Melissa Johnson
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Institution: University of Florida

Location: Gainesville,FL


Institution Type: large, 4-year public

Program Type: institution-wide

Program Enrollment: 3,300

Present Position: Associate Director, UF Honors Program, 2014-present

Previous Honors Positions: Assistant Director, UF Honors Program, 2005-2014

NCHC Member Since: 2009

Program Reviews and Consultation:

  • 2016 University of Nebraska

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

  • NCHC Board of Directors
  • Co-chair, Professional Development Committee (2018-present)
  • Member, Professional Development and Teaching & Learning Committees
  • Institute Facilitator, Inaugural Academic Advising Institute (2017) and Enrollment Management Institute (2018)
  • Participant, NCHC Consultants Center (2010, 2011, 2015, 2016)
  • Publications in JNCHC, HIP, and NCHC monographs

Activities in other areas or organizations related to assessment or site visits, workshops, etc.: 
  • Past President / President / Vice President, Florida Collegiate Honors Council
  • Member, Academic Advising Consultant and Speaker Service, NACADA Global Community for Academic Advising
  • Facilitator, eTutorial on Advising Theory and Practice, NACADA (2016)
  • Faculty Member, NACADA Research Symposium (2016)
  • Advising High Achieving Students Commission Chair, NACADA (2014-2016)
  • Keynote Speaker: University of Texas at Arlington Advising Association conference (2016); Claflin University Orientation (2014)
  • External Grant Reviewer, Paul P. Fiddler Research Grant, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition
  • Faculty Member, Institute on Effective Teaching and Learning Practices for First-Year Students (2013), NRCFYESIT
  • UF Quest Task Force on Experiential Education
  • Senator, UF Faculty Senate / Senate Steering Committee
  • UF Infrastructure Council
  • UF General Education Committee (2007-2013)
  • Dissertation: "Pioneers, Guinea Pigs, and Rebels: Perspectives of Early Adopters in Online Honors Education"

Self-Identified Areas of Special Interest and Experience

  • Academic Advising and Coaching
  • Admissions / Recruitment
  • Orientation and First Year Experience
  • Marketing and Communications (including social media)
  • Student Activities and Leadership Development
  • Annual Giving / Parent Programming
  • Honors Completion Requirements
  • Pedagogical Uses of Technology
  • Research about Honors
  • Professional Development

The Role of an NCHC-Qualified Site Visitor

Listen. Support. Advocate.


These three objectives are key for any program reviewer. Reviewers may be brought to campus for a variety of reasons - a need for fresh perspectives, changes in leadership, strategic planning, and more. A reviewer must be willing to listen and learn to determine both the explicit and the implicit WHY for the visit. As a qualitative researcher, I excel at data gathering through interviews, observations, and document collection in order to systematically search for overarching themes. With this background I can quickly, but thoroughly, synthesize information collected before and during a review that will be used to construct supportive recommendations in the final report. I can also draw upon a 15-year career in higher education administration and a wide variety of involvement in professional associations to determine transferability of ideas and recommendations, while recognizing the unique context of the program or college being reviewed.


It is crucial that we use program reviews to provide support for our fellow honors colleagues. Budgets, visibility, recruitment, retention, accountability and assessment, institutional priorities - these are just some of the challenges faced by honors deans and directors. I empathize with those challenges, and some of the most supportive words a reviewer can say to the honors team is “You are not alone.” As a strengths coach for my honors students, I specialize in helping others pinpoint their greatest strengths and learn how to harness those strengths to counteract their weaknesses. I can do the same during a program review, where we identify the strengths and provide recommendations for leveraging those strengths to combat the challenges faced.


Finally, a program reviewer serves as an advocate - for NCHC, for undergraduate honors education as a whole, and for the program being reviewed. When an honors program or college succeeds, we all win. We often know anecdotally that we do great work, however we don’t always know how to prove it, show it, or share it. We not only need data about honors, but we also need to strategically share that information. A reviewer can provide guidance in both of those areas. Having worked closely with both institutional research and strategic communications departments on my campus, as well as directing the marketing and communication aspects of my program, I am uniquely positioned to provide strong recommendations for advocacy efforts.

more Calendar

12/27/2018 » 1/2/2019
Partners in the Parks: Big Bend National Park

1/18/2019 » 1/21/2019
Partners in the Parks: Cedar Breaks National Monument

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