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Mission and Charter of the Society

Mission statement

The purpose of the Bouchet Society is to recognize outstanding scholarly achievement and promote diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate. The Bouchet Society seeks to develop a network of scholars who exemplify academic and personal excellence, and serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy. In the spirit of Edward Alexander Bouchet and the scholarship, leadership, character, service, and advocacy he exhibited, inductees into the Bouchet Society must exhibit these same outstanding qualities. The Northwestern Bouchet Society is committed to intellectual excellence and interdisciplinary work, with the additional goal of using this knowledge in the service of society.


The Bouchet Society is an academic honor society that is committed to the goals of lifelong education, as well as the production and the dissemination of knowledge in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Members of the Society are committed to contributing to the development of their field(s) of study and to the application of knowledge into action that improves the lives and conditions of their communities.


Bouchet Society members exhibit the highest values of their university, through their integrity, honor, and exemplary conduct and behavior. Character may be exemplified through an individual’s emotional courage, principles, endurance, and perseverance. He or she must be reliable and consistent. At each member’s core must be an awareness of the importance of contributing and working for the good of society.


The Bouchet Society members take their responsibility for their departments and their academic fields of study seriously. Bouchet Society scholars are the embodiment of the ideals of their respective universities. They not only represent the mission of their university, but they also demonstrate strong initiative. Northwestern Bouchet Scholars play a leadership role in extending access to the university to a wider community by creating and sharing knowledge.


Each member is expected to actively contribute to the well-being of society by giving, remaining involved, sharing personal gifts and talents, and exhibiting a Bouchet-like commitment to the service of others. Examples of service might include participating in an educational program for youth, serving in local or state politics, or volunteering with a local non-profit organization.


Each member should advocate for broader access to graduate education and other resources within the academy. Activities might include advocating for the concerns of diverse faculty members and students, serving as a mentor, helping to address the needs of communities, and educating others on the issues that may be at the heart of the continued inequities and disparities in our society, particularly in education.

The society was established by Yale University and Howard University to recognize the life and academic contributions of Edward Alexander Bouchet.

Yale and Howard serve as the founding chapters of the Bouchet Society. One national charter with two chapters was inaugurated in 2005 on Bouchet’s birthday. Since 2005, chapters at Washington University, Georgetown University, and Cornell University have been inaugurated.

Since 2005, chapters have been inaugurated at the following institutions:

  • Yale University*
  • Howard University*
  • Cornell University
  • Emory University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Northwestern University
  • Rutgers University
  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  • The George Washington University
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Florida
  • University of Miami
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • Washington University, St. Louis

*Denotes founding chapter

Chapter requirements

Eligibility for an institutional chapter is limited to doctoral-granting institutions with a sustained record of training scholars who are traditionally underrepresented in the academy. Interested institutions must show evidence of prior reform efforts designed to promote diversity and excellence in doctoral education.

Eligibility requirements

Eligibility to become an Bouchet Society charter institution are limited to Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) granting colleges and universities. Induction into the society is by invitation only. All invited institutions must exhibit a track record of promoting diversity within graduate education through both matriculation and graduation statistics of underrepresented groups within the academy.

Chapters should demonstrate commitment to graduate education through Ph.D. granting programs, as well as a track record of training underrepresented students for work in academy.

Edward A. Bouchet Honor Society Committees

The National External Advisory Board (NEAB) is the committee responsible for advising the National Steering Committee. Each member serves a term of four years. This committee will meet once or twice a year, usually in the fall and/or spring, but always on September 15 (if it falls on a weekday) beginning in 2005.

National External Advisory Board Members

  • President of member Universities or President’s representative from each chapter
  • Provost or Provost’s representative from each chapter
  • Invited CEOs
  • Invited Presidents of foundations

The National Steering Committee (NSC) is to be partially comprised of Howard University and Yale University member representatives. This committee will serve as the body responsible for the national oversight and administration of all Bouchet Society chapters, including the review and acceptance of new chapters from eligible institutions. The National Steering Committee is the highest governing body of Bouchet Society members. All final decisions or discrepancies about the operations of individual chapters are ultimately decided upon by the National Steering Committee. The National Steering Committee reserves the right to decline, revoke, or suspend the charter of chapters determined to be functioning outside of the guidelines and mission of the Bouchet Society. The National Steering Committee, which is advised by the National External Advisory Board, can revise the charter as needed. Each member of the National Steering Committee serves a term of three years except for the doctoral student members and the postdoctoral or alumni members who all serve two-year terms. In case of a voting tie, simple majority wins.

National Steering Committee Members

  • Dean of Graduate School or Dean designate from each chapter
  • Faculty member from each chapter
  • Doctoral student from each chapter
  • Postdoctoral representative or alumna/nus from each chapter

Institutional Steering Committee (ISC) is responsible for the administration of the member institution’s chapter activities in accordance with the Bouchet Society’s national charter and the institution’s governing by-laws. The Institutional Steering Committee is responsible for budgetary appropriations within the chapter. This committee is also responsible for determining the personnel of the Membership Selection Committee. A member of the National Steering Committee may also serve on the Institutional Steering Committee. In case of a voting tie, simple majority wins. All committee members must be current members of the national Bouchet Society and the local chapter. Member representatives from the dean’s office and the provost’s office will serve a term of four (4) years on the ISC. All faculty members, doctoral students, postdoctoral representatives and alumni serve a term of two (2) years.

Institutional Steering Committee Members

  • Dean of Graduate School or Dean designate
  • Representative from the Provost’s Office
  • Faculty member from one of the four divisions at the University of Michigan
  • Doctoral student from each discipline division
  • Postdoctoral representative or alumna/nus

Membership Selection Committee (MSC) is responsible for identifying prospective members and chapters and for ensuring their subsequent compliance of eligibility requirements. The Membership Selection Committee will review nomination documents (see Nomination and Selection Process), vote on each nomination, and present possible inductees to the National Steering Committee (NSC). The NSC is then responsible for inviting members for induction into the Bouchet Society. The Membership Selection Committee is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that current members from their respective institutions maintain eligibility. Moreover, the Membership Selection Committee may reserve the right to revoke an individual’s Bouchet Society membership in instances of noncompliance with the mission and goals of the Society. Members of this committee or faculty members from across the university (regardless of their membership status) may nominate an individual for membership. Only a university or college faculty member (regardless of their membership status) or an administrator may nominate a doctoral student for membership. All committee members must be current members of the Bouchet Society and the local chapter.

Bouchet Scholars Research Roundtables

During the academic year, Bouchet Scholars will be invited to semester lunch-hour roundtables by Northwestern faculty and postdoctoral fellows focused on the faculty’s area of research relevant to the Northwestern Bouchet theme of the “scholar-activist.” The initial year will feature roundtables hosted by current faculty serving on the Bouchet institutional steering committee.

Bouchet Community Connection Network

A network of Bouchet Scholars will be created to promote and advertise the expertise of each member. This network can also be advertised more widely to promote the scholars as “experts” in their respective fields. In addition, the network would provide opportunities for communities to connect with scholars regarding important issues affecting them.

Bouchet Scholars “On the Market” Network or Web-link

This multidisciplinary network would provide a major channel for information dissemination on research, grant, postdoctoral, and other relevant opportunities for the scholars at Northwestern University and at other Bouchet universities. The website would allow scholars to post their CV and other materials from prospective organizations seeking employees or faculty/researchers.

Bouchet Travel Award

A limited travel award to the annual Yale Bouchet conference held in New Haven, CT. This annual conference is an opportunity to present one’s work in an interdisciplinary setting and form connections with peers across disciplines and institutions.