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ERIC Number: EJ1172629
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1559-0151
Black Excellence: Fostering Intellectual Curiosity in Minority Honors Students at a Predominantly White Research Institution
Scott, Stephen C.
Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, v18 n1 p109-133 Spr-Sum 2017
As a recent alumnus of the West Virginia University Honors College, I recognize my honors experience as a multi-faceted, intellectual journey that pushed me academically, professionally, and personally to become the lifelong learner that I am today. As the only Black honors student in my graduating class, I was aware of my tokenism, especially in my honors courses, in the honors college office, in the honors learning center (testWELL Learning Center), and in university and honors college committee meetings, but I never let it bother me much. My peers misperceived me as an "Oreo"; my physical appearance was Black, yet my mannerisms and opinions were "White" to them. Again, that did not bother me because I felt at home among my honors college peers--until my senior year, when I took my first study abroad trip. After that trip, I experienced my first engagement with the Black community at the university and spent a semester unpacking my distorted understanding of African Americans in American history primarily through the mentorship of a remarkable Black woman. By the end of the semester, I understood the importance of correcting my White friends' sense of privilege, representing and advocating for my community in this elite academic space of honors, and paving the way for other Black students to succeed in higher education. My self-awakening came at a pivotal time in my life, and it sealed my interdisciplinary interest in law and education. As I have learned so far in law school, an individual who wants to change the status quo needs first to understand all the nuances and intricacies of an issue, so I address this essay to honors administrators--and other readers-- who need to understand how to effectively foster Black students' curiosity in honors. First, through the eyes of Black millennials, I define intellectual curiosity as Black Excellence and show the struggle and resilience of those who strive to be excellent. Next, I contextualize this struggle by analyzing national population statistics, enrollment data at four-year public research institutions, and student anecdotes about their educational experience. I continue by creating a foundational outline of the areas that honors colleges and honors programs can use to foster Black Excellence at their institutions, and finally I provide suggestions for honors colleges and programs to build upon the foundational outline and effectively foster Black Excellence.
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 - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: West Virginia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A