Report of the SRHC Annual Conference 2014
The Southern Regional Honors Council met for its annual conference this year in Savannah, Georgia. The meeting was held from Thursday, March 27th to Saturday, March 29th at the Savannah Riverfront Marriott. The conference, “Making Waves: Tradition and Innovation in Honors,” explored the ways honors education has challenged and changed education overall. It was a showcase for outstanding undergraduate research along with best practices and new innovations in honors programming. Conference chairs were Jonathan Roberts of Armstrong Atlantic University and Steve Engel of Georgia Southern University.
The 2014 Conference was well attended, with 602 participants overall, a 20% increase over the prior year. The participants shared 253 papers and roundables, as well as 81 posters and visual art exhibits, over the course of the conference. Fully 145 students, faculty, and staff members partook of a special program in City as TextTM– organized by Rachel Neuhauser and Francis Desiderio of Georgia Southern, Christopher Hendricks of Armstrong Atlantic, and Kathy Lyon of Winthrop University – on the first morning of the conference. Paticipants in City as TextTM developed a unique understanding of that city’s sense of place.
On the evening of Thursday, March 27th, members took to the Savannah River for a riverboat gala. The cruise included a full dinner, riverside views of downtown Savannah and the bustling Port of Savannah, and a visit to Old Fort Jackson, built in 1808. In a silent auction for Second Harvest/Coastal Empire, $273 was raised. We are happy to say that the $500 sponsorship from NCHC helped to defray the cost of visiting historic Fort Jackson.
The conference luncheon on Friday, March 28th featured Dr. Darin Van Tassell, Associate Professor of International Studies and Political Science at Georgia Southern University. He has taught and conducted research on international relations, foreign policy, and qualitative research methods. In addition to his academic role as a professor, he is also a small business owner and has served as a commissioner with the International Baseball Federation, competition director for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and youngest head coach in Olympic history. Tassell was also once an honors student himself, graduating from the Bell Honors Program at Georgia Southern in 1989. Dr. Van Tassell’s keynote talk was entitled “The Art of Joe DiMaggio: or Why There is Nothing Natural about Being a University Honors Student.”
The SRHC membership thanked Linda Frost of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga for her leadership this past year as President of the SRHC. The incoming president is Jonathan Roberts of Armstrong Atlantic University. At the General Business meeting, members approved a new Constitution and Bylaws. Constitution revisions were made by a task force composed of Tai Houser, chair, and Lydia Daniel, Tom Jones, Frank Provenzano, and John Zubizarreta. Honorary lifetime memberships were conferred upon Lydia Daniel and John Richardson. The membership welcomed new Executive Committee Members Saba Munir, Julie Rosenau, Alana Daniel, Jessica Doscher, and Shadrika Martin. Alana Daniel of Miles College is the new faculty-staff representative. Several Sanctuary awards were announced: Jamie Hammer of Greenville Tech won an award for Poetry. Franklin McGuire Jr. of The Citadel won for Art. The Prose award went to Angie Jones of Eckerd College. All SRHC schools receive the literary journal Sanctuary, with offices at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, as a benefit of membership.
Planning, preparing, and delivering the conference required the work of a great many people. The conference organizers thanked John Richardson, Linda Frost, Lauren Furry, and Phil Frana, who were helpful and understanding consultants. They also thanked the many students who volunteered their time to serve as the SRHC 2014 Student Leadership Team. The team included: Katie Babineau, Lydia Biggs, Catie Cofied, Michon Craig, Chandler Goldman, Cody Goss, Kelsey Keane, Rachel Neuhauser, Feagin Oliver, Paola Robelo, Mallory Taylor, and Darby Wiggins. Paola Robelo of Georgia Southern, designed the conference logo and prepared the layout and design for the conference program. Work in preparing the program for Guidebook was handled by James Kelly of Georgia Southern. Thanks also went to Kori Williams, Cameron Feriante, and Bill Irby for their assistance in building panels. Special thanks was given to Thomas Bertram of the University of Central Arkansas for his service as SRHC webmaster, and for spearheading all of the many technical details concerning the proposal submission system.
The next meeting will be held in Greenville, SC and is hosted by Greenville Technical College, with a Gala reception at the Children’s Museum. The dates for next year’s conference are March 19th-March 21st. The 2016 Conference will be held in Orlando, Florida, and is sponsored by the University of West Florida.