Elected to Four-Year Term in Leadership Role for National Collegiate Honors Council

PHOTO: Elaine TordaMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – Elaine Torda, professor of English and coordinator of SUNY Orange’s Honors Program, has begun serving a four-year term as vice president of the National Collegiate Honors Council following a membership-wide vote this past winter.

Torda, who also chairs the College’s Interdisciplinary Studies Department, is serving an organization in which 65 percent of honors programs (nearly 900) in the United States hold membership. The NCHC is the oldest and largest organization made up of honors educators and students, and has grown to include international members as well.

The NCHC vice president serves in that capacity for one year, before ascending to the role of president-elect (responsible for planning the Council’s 2019 conference in New Orleans, La.) for one year. Single-year terms as president and immediate past president follow. Torda is the only community college representative in the Board’s current rotation of officers.

A member of the NCHC for nearly 15 years, Torda has been a strong advocate for two-year college programs. As chair of the NCHC Two-Year College Committee, Torda created, administered, and summarized membership surveys; facilitated numerous NCHC annual conference presentations; and wrote articles for the NCHC newsletter—circulated to over 1,000 NCHC institutional and professional members.

In 2015, Torda received the Council’s Ron Brandolini Award for Excellence at a Two-Year Institution. The award recognizes a two-year college honors director or faculty member for outstanding contributions to the honors community. Additionally, Torda was named an NCHC Fellow in 2013.

PHOTO: Honors Program graduates at 2017 SUNY Orange CommencementTorda joined the SUNY Orange faculty in 2000 as an English instructor. She has coordinated the College’s Honors Program since 2003 and has overseen steady growth in the program, to include expansion on the Newburgh campus. In 2013, she was named as a recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Professional Excellence.

Under her supervision, and with the aid of faculty mentors from all corners of the College, SUNY Orange’s Honors Program students have strongly represented the College via award-winning presentations at such prestigious student seminars as the Northeast Regional Honors Council Conference and the Beacon Conference.

The SUNY Orange Honors program highlights the cross-disciplinary nature of learning while seeking to augment academic inquiry with cultural awareness, community building, community service and leadership. The College’s program features smaller, discussion-based classes and assignments that allow for individual research and creativity. Faculty members stress the benefits of classroom education as well as the importance of non-traditional learning. Students who complete the honors program are well-rounded individuals with much to offer transfer institutions, employers and communities.


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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940