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Christian Brady - inaugral T.W. Lewis Dean of the Lewis Honors College and Professor of Ancient Hebrew and Jewish Literature, University of Kentucky

Honors Education has existed at the University of Kentucky since 1958, but in 2015 Tom and Jan Lewis gave a gift of $23.5M to establish a new and innovative Honors College. From the outset the goal has been ambitious, with the lead donor laying out clear timelines and goals for the University and the College. This began with the unique formation of an External Advisory Board (EAB) to help plan the college and which included three deans of honors colleges from other universities and continues with an involved donor and a committed University President.

This presentation will consider the process and challenges that have been faced in transforming a two- year 200 student honors program into a 2,200 student honors college.

  • Planning – From inspiration to inception, including staffing, curriculum, and recruitment.

  • Buy-in – Building institutional support, navigating University Senate, and creating a culture of collegiality.

  • Innovation – Creating the “Center for Personal Development,” which “provides professional, career, and personal resources for Lewis Honors College students as they engage in a discovery process designed to foster self-awareness, personal wellness, professional confidence, and career readiness.”

  • Community – Creating an honors community that provides a sense of place and purpose for our honors students while enhancing the entire university.


Finally, the framework for all of this development are the Mission and Vision of the Lewis Honors College:

The mission of the Lewis Honors College is to better the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the world by helping students to explore their purpose, develop intellectually, and lead with integrity.

The Lewis Honors College will provide a world class honors experience that is known for the success of its students, the quality of its faculty and curriculum, the respect of its peers, and the economic and social progress of our communities.


Initiating honors -

the institutional view

Dr. Christian M.M. Brady is the inaugural T. W. Lewis Dean of the Lewis Honors College and Professor of Ancient Hebrew and Jewish Literature and joined the University of Kentucky in July 2017. Brady has more than a decade and a half of experience in honors education and twenty five years in higher education administration. The Lewis Honors College distinctive features include the Center for Personal Development, dedicated honors faculty, and programming to develop student wellbeing. Prior to arriving at UK, Brady served ten years as dean of the Schreyer Honors College at the Pennsylvania State University and co-founded the Honors Education in Research Universities conference. In fall 2021 he was appointed as interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

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