History of HERU

For a number of years, directors and deans of Honors Programs and Colleges in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, CIC (the schools of the Big Ten Conference and the University of Illinois at Chicago) have met annually to discuss the best practices and challenges of Honors education. In 2008, the University of Maryland was invited to join these institutions at its annual meeting. University of Maryland is a similar university in terms to mission, size, and scope. They are now, of course, part of the BIG 10 Conference and the CIC. It was felt to be a great benefit to all and so began the practicing of inviting a different peer institution to the annual meeting each subsequent year. Although other Honors focused conferences and meetings have much to offer, it quickly became evident that none were meeting the specific needs of Research 1 institutions. Honors Programs and Colleges needed a way to expand their CIC based annual meetings to allow the larger nation-wide community to meet and share best practices and scholarly work on providing enhanced educational experiences for high achieving students. Thus, Honors Education at Research Universities (HERU) was born.

A key decision, agreed upon by general consensus, was that effort would be made to keep HERU from becoming another society with a corresponding overhead, committees, and politics. Instead it would be a bi-annual meeting with a "daisy-chain" structure of committees, passing along decision making one to another. Thus the 2013 Planning Committee created a sub-committee for Site Selection of the 2015 HERU Conference. Once the new site was selected (Oregon State University) a new Planning Committee was created, with the host serving as the Chair of the committee. And so on. Finally, it was also agreed that, as the founding members of HERU, each committee would always have representation from the CIC.

It was the hope of the founding committee and inaugural conference that HERU would be an opportunity for our peers to come together, sharing best practices and build relationships that will benefit us all. Furthermore, it is hoped that this structure will allow for organic growth of HERU that is responsive to changing needs without imposing a cumbersome or imposing structure. In the end, HERU belongs to those who attend the conference and choose to participate.