Student Engagement in the Lewis Honors College
The mission of the College Life in the Lewis Honors College is to provide a community-oriented learning environment by engaging students in enriching experiences that complement their academic lives and lead to intellectual, personal, and social growth. To fulfill this mission, activities of College Life focus on these goals:
• Students will engage with faculty of the college outside of the classroom.
• Students will engage in quality interactions with other members of the academic community and student affairs personnel.
• The Office of College Life will create a supportive environment.
Students are encouraged to reach beyond the classroom and engage with college and university units that provide specially designed resources: Academic Affairs, the Center for Personal Development (CPD), and UK Residence Life. By establishing collaborations with and among these units, College Life cultivates a sense of belonging through engagement. Indeed, College Life’s success depends upon these collaborations, which include a variety of programs, relevant special events, and educational opportunities. With a primary focus on student engagement, the Director of College Life and Peer Mentors create and facilitate integrated, seamless gateways for Lewis Honors College students to connect beyond the academic sphere.
Student Activities and Peer Mentor Initiatives
College Life activities are organized around five themes: Community, Leadership, Curriculum, Wellness and Co-curricular Experiences.
Each academic year is marked with a continued and distinctive re-shaping of the student experience in the Lewis Honors College. We want our students to create meaningful relationships as they build community. New and innovative options for student involvement include workshops, academic- and career-oriented lectures, presentations and debates on timely social issues, student-led open mic nights, cooking demonstrations, podcasts and more. Students are presented with structured opportunities to participate in volunteer activities within the college, across campus and in the greater UK community.
Peer Mentors and Leadership
Peer mentors are key and influential leaders toward the success of the College Life Program. They play a critical role in engaging students in activities of the Lewis Honors College as well as activities of the UK as a campus. Peer mentors play a vital role in another part of the strategy of community building. Part of being a resource as peer mentor is to encourage group members to maintain connections with other important resources provided by the campus community. Peer mentors work diligently to implement relevant programming, establish individual relationships and foster a true sense of community within the four residence halls of the Honors Quad and beyond the Honors Quad. Peer mentors also contribute academically by creating and leading both generalized and specific study groups for Honors students, including those that focused on Chemistry 105, Chemistry 107. The study groups also meet in the William T. Young Library for research and discussion. To support their efforts, the College Life offers a restructured HON 399 curriculum, a required course for all peer mentors, to provide a classroom venue for discussion, collaboration and leadership education.
One of the goals for College Life is for students to engage in quality interactions with other members of the academic community and student affairs personnel. Among many ways of achieving this goal is to provide diverse programming where students get a chance to engage with each other in activities and conversation. The College Life unit presents numerous learning experiences outside of the classroom for students. College Life plays a central role in bringing together all the programming that is offered in the College by creating a central calendar that shows all programming for an entire semester. College Life also makes sure that students have access to the program calendar through multiple channels of communication.
• College Life collaborates with other units of the College and Residence Life to ensure student engagement with a diverse schedule of programs. For example, through a collaborative relationship with Residence Life, peer mentors and residential advisors plan 14 programs throughout the academic year. Our plan is to continue reaching out to the more than 1300 students who live in the Honors Quad. Students will attend programs that will give them a sense of community and stability in their schedule.
• College Life offers programs throughout the academic year, giving students flexibility with their busy schedules.
Student Organizations and Clubs
The students of the Lewis Honors College participate in student organizations formed within the College and numerous other organizations and clubs across campus. These include the pre-health-focused Apollo Society, the Spanish-language-focused “Hay Que Hablar,” the Lewis Honors College Student Council and the Literature Club. Other groups include a creative writing group called “Work in Progress” and the Global Education Initiative for elementary schools. All these are spearheaded by peer mentors and other student leaders. Our programming is a part of larger campus-wide effort to help students grow intellectually, personally, and professionally outside of the classroom. Many of our students are also engaged in other programs, organizations and clubs on campus. They also participate in community outreach programs. Many provide leadership in these campus-wide initiatives.
Programs within the Community of Scholars.
The Community of Scholars is a special Living Learning opportunity in the Honors Quad (HQ). The “HQ” is the home of the Lewis Honors College and is comprised of Lewis, Haggin, Donovan and Johnson Residence Halls. The goal is for members of the Community of Scholars to become life-long learners as they aspire to live a balanced life of academics, wellness and leadership in their communities beyond the UK experience.
The Residence halls are new and equipped with kitchens, laundry rooms and several study rooms. The Lewis Honors College Scholars Lounge is one of the best study and activity areas on campus. Students have access to classrooms and the lounge for programs throughout the day. Right next door to the Lewis Honors College is The 90 dining facility and the William T. Young Library. The central location of the college makes it easy for students to walk to classes and other parts of campus.
Lewis College Life works with UK Residence Life to serve students in our community. Our 84 peer mentors and residential advisors receive specialized training and collaborate to plan programs for all students living in the Honors Quad and beyond.
Student Interaction with Faculty and Staff
College Life aims to see students engaging with faculty outside of the classroom as well. Faculty and staff are active beyond their classrooms and offices by joining student programs including hiking trips to the Red River Gorge, volunteerism at Farm to Fork, monthly podcast interviews with the Dean, individual interactions and more. Each semester, there are more than 70 sessions that bring together faculty, staff and students.
Collaborative work extends beyond the Lewis Honors College and the Honors Quad. To facilitate student wellness, a representative from the UK Counseling Center is available weekly at Lewis Hall, on a drop-in basis, to address mental health and wellness issues.
College Life creates a supportive environment for students. Students are a part of both the small Honors community and the larger UK community. College Life aims to create a universal sense of belonging for all students.