Lewis Honors College makes changes to benefit students

Emily Baehner

The first dean of the Lewis Honors College met with honors students to discuss upcoming changes in the college and to brainstorm ideas for a college mission statement.

Dean Christian Brady and Sally Foster, Director for Personal and Career Development Programs for the college, gathered with 11 honors students to answer questions about changes that will occur as a result of program restructuring. These program developments come after a $23 million donation from UK alumnus Thomas W. Lewis.

“I want to hear your concerns. I want to listen to your questions and be available,” Brady said. “I’ll start and end this meeting by saying this: I’m here.”

Brady and Foster discussed the incoming personnel changes to the department: Within the coming months the college hopes to add a Director of Academic Affairs, an Associate Dean and a Director of College Life. Brady said the college hopes to build up the personnel in an effort to continually develop the entire department.

In addition to increases in staff, the college plans to create a fully articulated plan for the recruitment of students, offer engaging lecture series and increase a sense of community within the college.

“Honors has been present at U.K. since the 60s. All of the opportunities are here to create one of the best honors colleges in the nation,” Brady said.

Students were able to voice their concerns, one of which was the fees that will now be associated with membership within the college. Brady explained that all personnel hiring will be paid for with those student fees and to provide excellent engagement and advising opportunities.

Foster’s department will provide services funded by those student fees.

“Our career counselors will look for patterns and themes in a student’s past, to see how that can be weaved into their future,” Foster said.

Another concern was the diversity of classes offered in the college.

“I’m not a hard science major,” integrated strategic communcications junior Ellie Wnek said. “Sometimes it feels like honors doesn’t cater to students like me.”

Brady said that going forward, the college seeks to build a diverse student community of race, geographic origin, economic status and academic discipline. This means finding ways to appeal to all majors.

Brady and Foster led students in a discussion about developing a mission statement. Students agreed that whatever the finished mission statement looks like, it should include a focus on leadership, students’ finding their passions, self-actualization and creating a positive learning atmosphere.

“Being in honors means being a top student. We push ourselves to be better versions of ourselves,” mechanical engineering sophomore Halley Burge said.

Brady said the meeting is an example of the collaborative nature of the Honors College. He expressed his optimism for the future of the college’s ability to influence students, who are the central focus of all the changes being made.

In describing his ideal honors student, Brady said, “it’s not just the smarts. It’s the hearts as well.”