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Rick Scott
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Institution: University of Central Arkansas

Location:Conway, Arkansas

Phone: 501-450-3198

Institution Type

Program Type:

Program Enrollment:

Present Position: Dean and Professor, Schedler Honors College (Fall 2016)

Previous Honors Positions:

  • UCA Honors College - Assistant Director (1986-1989)
  • UCA Honors College - Associate Director (1989-2000)
  • UCA Honors College - Interim Director (2000-2003)
  • UCA Honors College - Director Director (2003-2009)
  • Schedler Honors College at UCA - Dean and Professor (2009-Present)

NCHC Member Since:

Program Reviews and Consultation

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

  • Conducted honors program reviews at 2 institutions
  • Conducted assessment-based curriculum development workshops at 2 institutions

Activities in other areas or organizations related to assessment or site visits, workshops, etc.: 
  • Helped develop the assessment plan for the Schedler Honors College

Self-Identified Areas of Special Interest and Experience

The Role of an NCHC-Qualified Site Visitor
Professional review of an institution’s honors program or college is one of the most important services the National Collegiate Honors Council can provide. It brings a broader perspective to a local operation that can help spur advancement. With assessment and continuous improvement plans becoming ever more widespread in American higher education, periodic, external program review should be a key component in the portfolio of evaluative information serving to determine whether and to what degree a mission is being successfully delivered.
Program reviewers, or what NCHC once called site visitors, function best for the institution and NCHC only if they undergo recurring training in the use of a standard methodology. As the knowledge base grows through increased research of institutional characteristics and practices, an area in I have a keen interest, that methodology can and should be informed by systemic knowledge that can augment, and perhaps to a large extent, replace, personal experiences of honors directors and deans, experiences that could be more idiosyncratic than they realize. Recent decisions by the NCHC Board of Directors to develop a review instrument is a crucial first step in moving down that path. Program review training to learn how to use the instrument this summer in Lincoln is the second crucial step. What will happen next, I hope, is ongoing collection of information from program reviews that will deepen and enrich what we know about the delivery of honors education to help reviews thereafter to have better and better perspective.

It is also important that NCHC assign program reviewers in an impartial way. Reviewers can then enjoy the NCHC imprimatur, making more effective their recommendations to central administrations of the institutions reviewed. Research I have conducted of institutional characteristics across the national landscape of honors education has convinced me that the prior growth period during honors expanded has slowed considerably. Instead of new honors programs being started to engage in intercollegiate competition for a perceived scarcity of high ability students, budget constraints throughout higher education, especially in public institutions, are forcing honors operations into intramural competition with other sectors of campuses over a scarcity of resources. Program review can be a powerful aid to honors
directors and deans in helping demonstrate to central administrations what they need as well as what value they are adding.
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