The origins of CoHE-APLU stem from ideas generated at a meeting between Dr. Lynda Coon (University of Arkansas) and Dr. Sheila Amin Gutiérrez de Piñeres (University of Central Florida) in November 2019. They recruited two more leaders, Dr. Charles Adams (University of South Florida) and Dr. J.D. Bowers (then at the University of Missouri, now at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey) to develop a leadership council and begin to shape the direction of the ideas and laying the foundations for future conversations. The goal was simple: elevate honors education to the forefront of the missions and visions of major institutions and their leaders.
The organizational elements emerged in March 2020, and shaped by the unique demands of the pandemic, the first meeting was held virtually. From there, other schools learned of the group and its goals, as well as the substance of its meetings, and by the time an organizational charter and by-laws were developed in June 2021, the group had over eighty institutional members, many of whom added several individual
members as well.
The June 2021 bylaws adopted an Executive Board structure with seven members serving staggered terms and created an Executive Director position (for a term of three years). The bylaws also implemented a series of strategic goals to further not just the organization, but honors education.
By the end of 2021 the organization had already hosted two nation-wide, virtual honors conferences, built a series of different virtual meetings and forums, and had begun promoting research and strategic programmatic development with each other as well as in connection with other higher education leaders.
In early 2022 the organizational leadership also formalized the role of Director of Operations, who handles the management of the organizational rosters, technology, and communications. In conjunction with the annual HERU meeting held at the University of Houston in June, CoHE co-sponsored several panels and a half-day workshop on fellowships and awards. In November of 2022, CoHE held its first in-person conference, aligned with the APLU meetings in Denver, hosted by the University of Colorado, Denver.
Beginning in 2023, the organization began reorganizing, restructuring, and shifting operations to be more aligned with the needs of the national honors community and be more attuned with the growth and increased organizational strength of CoHE. Plans were developed to shift the annual meetings to coincide with other national meetings in honors, as well as end and beginning of the operational year every June 30 and July 01.
Today, CoHE-APLU is the leading voice for honors at almost all of the leading land grant, public universities across the nation. Our past success bodes well for our future potential.