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ERIC Number: ED566728
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 256
Abstractor: ERIC
ISBN: 978-0-9835457-8-1
If Honors Students Were People: Holistic Honors Education. National Collegiate Honors Council Monograph Series
Schuman, Samuel
National Collegiate Honors Council
Although honors students are highly motivated and intellectually promising, they are not empty cognitive vessels ready to be filled with professorial knowledge. They are, instead, complex, multifaceted young people, sometimes troubled, often delighted and delightful. While at college they are learning how to live their lives not just as intellectual creatures, but as whole, integrated human beings, with minds, spirits, and bodies. Unfortunately, college and university teachers, administrators, and staff in today's institutions and in honors programs and honors colleges may be less likely than in the past to view students as complex, many-sided individuals. Because many professors may find that compartmentalizing their function in the institution is inviting, they interact with students not as whole people but as disembodied intellects. A century ago, virtually every college and university in America had a physical education requirement, and most, even the public institutions, also required chapel. By the middle of the twentieth century, required gym and chapel (sometimes called convocation) were increasingly obsolete, and they became objects of student and faculty dissatisfaction in the 1960s. With a few exceptions, mostly at specialized institutions such as faith-based private colleges and military institutions, these requirements have been eliminated, going the way of the freshman beanie and the housemother. This evolution in postsecondary education seems natural and proper; few lament their passing and most applaud it. Attention to the bodies and spirits of students has moved to the optional periphery of colleges and universities. Emulating the Germanic model of the research university, American colleges redefined their role away from the earlier cultivation of the whole individual in favor of an entirely intellectual core mission. Honors programs have often embraced this mission with even more zeal than the rest of the institutions of which they are a part. But when universities did away with required gym and chapel, by and large they forgot to ask what genuine human needs those mostly outdated elements of collegiate culture had been serving and what, if anything, should take their place. This monograph seeks to demonstrate why and how contemporary American postsecondary honors education might restore some balance in the cultivation of minds, bodies, and spirits. Because of the austerity plaguing American postsecondary institutions during the early decades of the twenty-first century, they cannot easily afford the time, personnel, energy, and money to attend to their students' spirits and bodies as well as their minds. In a period when educators struggle to find the resources to perform their primary functions of teaching and learning, why should they assume more responsibilities for students' lives? In these chapters, some answers to this question emerge. This discussion does not seek to substitute spiritual growth and physical wellness for cerebration; however, it does suggest that the brain is best served by simultaneously cultivating the body and the spirit. The cultivation of physical vigor and spiritual depth enriches intellectual development. Throughout "If Honors Students Were People", interviews with a variety of individuals provide a personal perspective to the larger issues being described. These conversations appear between and within chapters and include honors students, a faculty member holding a named professorship in honors, a campus chaplain, and a national higher education leader. The table of contents provides the following chapters: (1) Introduction; (2) History; (3) Mens Sana in Corpore Sano; (4) College Spirit; (5) Snapshots; and (6) Concluding Thoughts. The following interviews are also included: (1) Dr. Richard Chess; (2) Two Honors Student-Athletes: Natalie Pearson and Heide Overton; (3) Rev. Catherine Quehl-Engel; and (4) Dr. Diana Chapman Walsh.
National Collegiate Honors Council. 1100 Neihardt RC, 540 North 16th Street, Lincoln, NE 68508. Tel: 402-472-9150; Fax: 402-472-9152; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Books; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC)
Identifiers - Location: California; Canada; Illinois; Minnesota; North Carolina; North Dakota; Oklahoma; Pennsylvania; South Carolina; Texas
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A