Skip to main
University-wide Navigation

Our Commitment

The Lewis Honors College affirms the commitment of the University of Kentucky to enhance the diversity, equity, and inclusivity of our University community through recruitment and retention of an increasingly diverse population of faculty, administrators, staff, and students, and by implementing initiatives that provide rich diversity-related experiences for all to help ensure their success in an interconnected world. Because we know that structural inequalities affect students of minoritized and underrepresented groups, our initiatives aim to increase understanding of and reduce bias, discrimination, and prejudice, as well as affirm the identities of our students, faculty, and staff. Fostering an inclusive and diverse Lewis Honors College community is crucial to the fulfillment of our mission to better the Commonwealth of Kentucky by helping students to explore their purpose, develop intellectually, and lead with integrity.

How LHC supports DEI

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Council

Throughout the academic year, the Lewis Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Council, which includes faculty and staff from each area of the College, meets regularly to strategize ways to build a stronger, more diverse Lewis community and to advise the Dean of the Lewis Honors College on matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We do this by ensuring robust course offerings that promote cultural agility, providing a variety of programs, speakers, trainings and events that strive to increase cultural competencies and an appreciation for our members’ various identities, addressing concerns about barriers to equity, and generating ideas to foster a true culture of belonging and compassion at Lewis Honors College. The co-chairs of the DEI Advisory Council are Dr. Tara Tuttle ( and Ramla Osman ( 

Lewis Student Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coalition

In addition to the student representatives on the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Coalition, a group of Lewis Honors College students meets regularly with Dr. Tara Tuttle to advocate for students from underrepresented and minoritized groups, as well as first-generation college students, and to generate ideas for building a culture of belonging at Lewis Honors College. They work with Dr. Tuttle to coordinate programs such as film viewings, panel discussions, heritage month observations, workshops, and other activities promoting inclusive excellence. They also attend recruitment events to share student perspectives of the Lewis Honors College experience. All Lewis Honors College students are welcome to join the coalition. If you are interested, contact Co-Presidents Isha Chauhan and Leena Haider or Erin Newell.

Programs and Trainings

Each academic year, the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Council and Student DEI Coalition sponsor a variety of programs aimed at promoting inclusive excellence, including book clubs, film viewings and discussions, trainings, and workshops. We also co-sponsor events with other centers and departments on campus. Our most popular signature program, CommuniTeas, is a series of talks that provide an intimate setting for guests from across UK and the Lexington area to share their research and their passion with the Lewis Honors College. We aim to highlight individuals who are change-makers in their fields and whose work showcases concepts that are powerful and intersectional. Our conversation-style gatherings encourage students, faculty, and staff to join in the discussion and further explore ideas that generate thought-provoking conversations and help connect our students with important people across the community. We always welcome suggestions for programs and collaborations with other departments and organizations across campus and the community. Email Erin Newell ( to discuss potential activities to help us build a culture of belonging.


To best support students, the Lewis Honors College is test optional, allowing students the flexibility to decide whether or not they wish to submit test scores as a component of their application. ACT/SAT scores are not a primary consideration. In reviewing applications, the Lewis Honors College selection committee considers the following: strength of application essays, academic rigor of high school courses, unweighted GPA, and level of involvement in curricular and extracurricular activities. Any student with a strong academic record should apply. The recruitment, admission, and retention of outstanding scholars from different backgrounds, including individuals from groups that have been historically underrepresented in honors education is a chief objective of the Lewis Honors College. As a college, we recruit students from underrepresented groups by participating in programming and recruitment events focused on students of color, in Kentucky and key markets for the University. The Lewis Honors College Ambassador Team builds relationships with students from under-represented groups to diversify our pool of applicants from this identified population. In addition to this effort, the Honors College hosts recruitment events for high achieving students of color in the Lexington area, while supporting university-wide programs that facilitate the recruitment of all students.

Academic Affairs

Associate Dean Pearl James works with the faculty of the Lewis Honors College to ensure a broad range of curricular offerings that promote discussions and activities about diversity and inclusivity, providing student opportunities to explore various perspectives on issues in a variety of disciplines. In addition, Lewis Honors College students are eligible to engage in study abroad opportunities that build cross-cultural competence.

HON 140 Knowledge and Society, our interdisciplinary foundation seminar, explores how knowledge is constructed in society and how oppression shapes what may be known. The course also invites students to consider how they can put what they come to know through research to use improving their communities. This is why Honors education expects students to be active participants in the creation of knowledge in the classroom and why honors education encourages intellectual risk-taking, dynamic discussions, creative thinking, and collaboration. Previous course topics include international relations, the French graphic novel, performance and raced identities, social justice foundations, sex and society, 9/11, Asian philosophy, and gender and sexuality in American popular culture. Topics vary each term.

Center for Personal Development

The Center for Personal Development (CPD) at Lewis Honors College affirms its mission to partner with students in their exploration of purpose to cultivate self-awareness, well-being, and career readiness. In conjunction with CPD goals to cultivate self-awareness, the center hosts a variety of events that promote diversity and sensitivity to others.  Self-awareness is an important, ongoing goal as students understand their strengths and growth areas. It is equally important to understand the impact you have on those around you. Taking time for honest self-examination results in increased effectiveness and sensitivity as you engage with your community.  

Unconscious Bias Training 

In conjunction with Inclusive Excellence and Diversity Education, CPD offers unconscious bias training to help students, faculty, and staff become more aware of automatic stereotypes and attitudes and to take steps to become more sensitive and deliberate as we navigate daily interactions.

Emotional Intelligence

Lewis Honors College students may participate in an emotional intelligence workshop to increase your capacity to be aware of, control, and express your emotions while also learning ways to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathically. In addition, student leadership development trainings provide a more in-depth study of emotional intelligence.

Individual Personal Development Counseling Services

Each honors student is paired with a designated counselor throughout their time at UK.  Counselors are available to support students as they navigate their college experience (both in and outside the classroom).  Counselors work with students to listen, set goals, support progress, and refer to appropriate resources.  Students meet with counselors regarding many topics, including stress management, self-confidence, setting boundaries, time management, public speaking, nonverbal skills, career decision-making, experiential education, job search strategy, graduate school planning, resume/CV writing, interviewing skills, and networking.

Student Engagement

Belonging begins with the creation of an inclusive environment for all students to feel welcome to participate. One way to help students feel a sense of belonging is through programs. The Lewis Honors College hosts multiple programs that enrich student lives. As a result, students grow personally, socially, and professionally. Through these programs, our community comes together. We celebrate and learn about each other through opportunities that allow us to acknowledge multiple points of view about critical issues. Our diverse group of Peer Mentors and Residential Advisors collaborate through program planning to complement the efforts of the Lewis Honors College. In addition, we provide resources for any student who desires to plan a program that addresses a specific community need or concern. 

For more information about our DEI initiatives at Lewis Honors College or to get involved in our efforts, contact Erin Newell.

Additionally, students and employees are always welcome to share concerns and ideas with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Pearl James and the Dean of the College Christian Brady directly.