November 2, 2010
A student and faculty delegation from Missouri State University’s Honors College attended the National Collegiate Honors Council Annual Conference in Kansas City, MO from October 20th-23rd. The N.C.H.C. conference assembled 1700 participants from honors colleges and programs across the United States in order to discuss current issues and best practices in honors education.
Amy Legg, a senior majoring in Professional Writing, joined Dr. Arthur Spisak, Young Honors College Professor, and Tracy Dalton, Senior Instructor in the English Department, in presenting A Case Study of an Honors College Facilitated Undergraduate Research Journal. The presentation centered upon the production of LOGOS: An Undergraduate Research Journal, a student run annual publication that highlights undergraduate research at Missouri State. Legg is currently serving as the Chief Editor and had the opportunity to share her experiences with the audience. “Dr. Spisak and Tracy both made me feel comfortable with the topic at hand. We all worked together to decide what the focus of each of our segments would be to ensure that everything would flow smoothly and that the audience would take what we wanted them to from our presentation. They were both extremely easy to communicate with about any questions and concerns I had and they made for very enjoyable presenting partners.”
|Amy Legg, Nicole Clement, and Meredith Muenks|
Meredith Muenks, a sophomore majoring in Art Education, collaborated with Dr. Carol Shoptaugh, Professor of Psychology, in presenting An Examination of Blended Course Design in Honors Education, which examined the experiences of students and faculty in an Introductory Psychology course that combined traditional classroom instruction with online tutorials and exercises. Muenks reflected, “I feel that I benefited from my participation in the conference because I got the chance to improve my public speaking skills. It is a great experience to be able to present at a national conference and in the future if I have to do it again I will feel more confident.”
The final student presentation, Dedicated Honors College Housing, featured Nicole Clement, a senior majoring in Entertainment Management. Clement and Spisak profiled Scholars House and Hutchens Scholars Floor, Missouri State’s residence life facilities for students in the Honors College and discussed strategies for community building in honors programs. Clement explained, “The presentation itself was enjoyable, as well as the feedback from the audience about the topic because it made it seem like I contributed ideas to staff around the country.”
Shoptaugh outlined the benefits of conference participation for Honors College Students. “I believe it helps them develop a professional identity and professional behaviors. It afforded them the experience of learning from others in this area (compare our honors program to others, hear about what other schools are doing, bring back suggestions for improvement, etc.). I also believe it allowed them to share their thoughts and experiences with others and to network. In my opinion, networking is the biggest advantage of conferences. Just the experience of presenting to a professional audience and successfully answering questions will help them develop their professional presentation styles and develop confidence.”
Dr. Mark Richter, Professor of Chemistry, represented the faculty in his presentation Challenges and Strategies for Teaching Introductory Chemistry to Honors Students. He shared his experiences as an honors instructor with faculty members from across the country and outlined his approaches to introducing undergraduate students to research in the natural sciences.
When asked if she would recommend the conference experience to other students, Legg replied enthusiastically. “I would suggest that the Honors College try to attend this conference every year and always take a few students to give presentations. I also think it would be extremely worthwhile to attend as a student even if you weren't presenting because you can learn so much to be brought back to our Honors College and as an Honors Student in general. It was a great experience and I plan on joining the N.C.H.C. just so I can attend the conference next year, even if I'm not presenting!”
|Left: Dr. Art Spisak and Nicole Clement||Right: Meredith Muenks presenting|