Tai Houser, PhD., recently ventured to the “Emerald City” of Seattle to present at the annual National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) Conference. The English professor and Broward College Faculty Senate President was privileged to represent Broward College, along with others from the institution. The conference brings together directors, deans, faculty, staff and students for an exchange of ideas.

Here Houser looks back on his memorable experience:

“For academics, as for other professionals, attending conferences is a vital part of our work. It allows us to engage with other experts, energize our spirits, and explore the nuances of our disciplinary, pedagogical, and professional passions. I was pleased to represent Broward College and the Robert ‘Bob’ Elmore Honors College at the annual meeting of the National Collegiate Honors Council. This is one of my favorite conferences and I’ve been attending, first as Honors director and currently as Honors faculty, for several years.

counciltrip5Working with colleagues from James Madison University and Northern Virginia Community College, I discussed best practices in transfer and articulation between two-year and four-year programs. The session was well attended.

Among the 50 or so guests was the current Honors Director, Quakish Liner, and our previous Honors Director, Dr. Sheila Jones.

How fun to have all three of us in the same room! The audience was especially excited to hear about how our ‘LINK to FAU’ program has students working with FAU advisors while attending Broward College, and how our FIU relationship allows students to have an FIU ID in order to access services at the university. Some younger program directors were eager to implement their own version of our practice of helping Honors students transfer to four-year programs by sending letters of recommendation from the Honors director along with the student application — and the success we see in that letter helping students secure scholarships.

Conferences are also about learning. In fact, it’s the best way to keep up with the state of our art. I was able to attend some exciting sessions and learn about the explosion of Honors programs happening outside of the United States, specifically in Europe, and the increasing practice of offering Honors study abroad programs. Clearly, the Broward College Robert ‘Bob’ Elmore Honors College was at the forefront of offering Honors abroad. I was able to share how I worked with our international partners to offer Honors certificates to our students earning a degree from the College in South America and Asia. And many of our college partners were excited to learn about our spring counciltrip4break study abroad trip for Honors college students.

Because NCHC is such a large organization, the meeting requires the resources offered by a large city. This year, Seattle proved to be just as engaging as the conference. From the City as Text experience offered by NCHC, to the famous Pike Place Market, Space Needle, museums, and fine restaurants, we were never without options of things to do in the evenings. Of course, I saw Mount Rainier from the Space Needle, enjoyed an amazing Mediterranean-style dinner with the Broward College crew at Sareavo Restaurant (complete with flaming cheese), and an intimate, locally sourced luncheon.

Throughout my years of activity in the NCHC, the Southern Regional Honors Council — where I sit on the Board of Directors — and among my colleagues at the College, I have formed some exciting professional and personal friendships. I know that I can call on people at major research institutions, folks at liberal arts colleges, friends from community colleges, and co-workers at Broward College to find a support network and engage in mutual academic pursuits to help students succeed at Broward and transfer into strong four-year institutions.”

For more information on the Honors College, visit Link to: http://www.broward.edu/academics/honors/Pages/default.aspx.