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Jan. 16, 2019

Ford appointed to lead Northwest honors program


Dr. Elyssa Ford

Dr. Elyssa Ford

Northwest Missouri State University has named Dr. Elyssa Ford, an associate professor of history, as the next director of the honors program at the institution.

As director of the program, Ford will advise and mentor 200 of the best and brightest students at Northwest; work with faculty and the University’s Honors Advisory Committee to offer state-of-the-art, innovative honors courses designed to challenge and educate honors students; and work with University administrators and the National Collegiate Honors Council to develop strategies that allow Northwest’s honors program to continue to thrive as a vibrant community of scholars.

The honors program at Northwest includes sections of courses that are enhanced for academically motivated students and offers opportunities for laboratory work, capstone experiences and field trips. To be considered for admission into the program, a student must have a minimum ACT composite score of 26 and a minimum high school GPA of 3.5.

Ford inherits the leadership of the program from Dr. Gregg Dieringer, a professor of biology who had directed it in since the spring of 2015.

Dr. Mike Steiner, Northwest’s associate provost of undergraduate studies, said the Honors Advisory Committee supported a concept of integrating more fully with other campus programs and activities that serve academically high-performing students. Ford is co-sponsor of the Society of President’s Scholars and assists students applying for competitive international scholarships.

“This is a natural evolution of the significant changes we made last year to the honors program under Dr. Dieringer’s leadership in shifting completion of the honors credential from being fully based on course credit to more experiential and independent options for completion,” Steiner said. “Dr. Ford’s breadth of experiences will provide excellent leadership as we continue to innovate with the program.”

Ford, who joined the Northwest faculty in 2011, teaches courses in U.S. history and women’s history while her research focuses on women’s history, specifically looking at gender, race, sexuality, identity and memory. Additionally, she advises Northwest students applying for the prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, and four Northwest students have received that scholarship award in the last three years.

“My goal is to focus on expanding the program and offering even more opportunities to our honors students,” she said. “Through high-impact learning, the Academic Living Communities, and support for study abroad and other experiences, our honors program is changing in exciting ways.”

Before joining the Northwest faculty, Ford taught at Paradise Valley Community College in Arizona and held fellowships at Rowan University in New Jersey and Babes-Bolyai University in Romania. She also has professional experience working at multiple museums, including the National Cowgirl Museum and the Arizona Jewish Historical Society.

She has a bachelor's degree from Colby College in Maine and earned her master’s, doctorate and graduate certificate in museum studies from Arizona State University.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468