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ERIC Number: EJ1082626
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1559-0151
Building a Vibrant Honors Community among Commuter Students
van Ginkel, Stan; van Eijl, Pierre; Pilot, Albert; Zubizarreta, John
Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, v13 n2 p197-218 Fall-Win 2012
Research has shown that honors programs often provide active networks of students that contribute to the development of the students' talents (De Boer & van Eijl; van Eijl, Pilot & Wolfensberger). These contact networks are also described as "learning communities" (Wilson et al.) and "honors communities" (van Eijl, Pilot & Wolfensberger). Such communities foster productive interaction among students, teachers, and other professionals during their affiliation with the program and beyond. As a result of such connections, students discover new learning opportunities and gain experience in organizational and leadership skills. In honors programs, in particular, these contacts are an essential component of what defines and separates honors activities as special enhancements of a student's overall educational experience (van Eijl, Wolfensberger & Pilot). Our study focuses on design principles, key characteristics, strategies, and successful examples that characterize the development of honors communities. We focus particularly on commuter students because they comprise the majority of honors students in the Netherlands. Nearly all universities in the Netherlands are city universities, where students either rent rooms in the neighborhood or live at home. One of the challenges for an honors director is to create a vibrant honors community within this specific context. We make the assumption that for commuter students a more careful and intentional implementation of an honors community is necessary because most students leave campus when classes are finished (Jacoby). And, as Kuh, Gonyea and Palmer found in their research, commuter students are overall less engaged than students who live on campus. Extra activities have to be organized and strategically timed to suit these students, and the challenge is complicated by competition with numerous other events taking place in the city. Our study analyzes five different honors communities of commuter students in order to suggest some best practices for creating maximum benefits for students.
National Collegiate Honors Council. 1100 Neihardt Residence Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 540 North 16th Street, Lincoln, NE 68588. Tel: 402-472-9150; Fax: 402-472-9152; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Netherlands; United States
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A