OVERLAND PARK — Academically exceptional students in Kansas City have a new way to get the most out of their college experience through the KU Edwards Campus (KUEC) Honors Program, an extension of KU's top-ranked University Honors Program. All incoming KUEC undergraduate students may apply, and community college transfer students who participated in a community college honors program can easily transfer their previous honors work for KU credit.
“We want students to have access to the opportunities and challenges that an honors education provides in the Kansas City region,” said Shannon Portillo, assistant vice chancellor for undergraduate programs at the Edwards Campus. “KUEC now provides access to the same high-quality opportunities and challenges that the University Honors Program has historically offered in Lawrence, with the community college transfer student in mind.”
A founding member of the National Collegiate Honors Council, KU’s University Honors Program is tied for first in the nation, according to Public University Honors. Students involved in the program enjoy a small liberal arts college experience, combined with the benefits of the resources available from a Research I, Association of American Universities institution. University Honors Program students take challenging, specially designed courses, are involved in hands-on learning experiences and receive personalized advising to help them succeed in the classroom and after graduation.
Portillo said these program qualities, which also apply to the KUEC students in the program, are part of why KU Honors students experience professional success more often, and earlier, than their peers, and have more opportunities to take part in graduate-level research and study abroad.
“Students in Honors at KUEC work closely with faculty, take advantage of enhanced learning experiences that prepare them for the workplace and make connections with other honors students and KU Honors alumni in the Kansas City region,” Portillo said. “In addition to challenging classroom experiences, students participate in co-curricular activities that help them apply their coursework to workplace and lifelong learning opportunities.”
KUEC Honors students will complete two honors seminars, 18 hours of honors courses and four enhanced learning experiences. Students who have completed an honors program at a community college can reduce their required number of KU honors courses to nine credit hours.
Enhanced learning experiences give students hands-on opportunities to combine study and community involvement through public service, global citizenship, social justice, professional development, leadership and other areas.
“Enhanced learning experiences are designed to challenge students to pursue projects and goals outside the normal purview of more traditional college curricula,” said C. Bryan Young, director of KU’s University Honors Program. “We have had students launch startup companies, create mental health initiatives on campus and publish everything from poetry to research. Through these experiences, we can encourage our students to pursue their passions unhindered by concerns that in later life might prevent them from striking out on paths less traveled.”
KU Edwards Campus Vice Chancellor David Cook said the honors program will help KUEC students find new ways to challenge themselves and prepare for professional success, as well as provide Kansas City’s workforce with exceptionally skilled, knowledgeable employees.
“The rigor and work ethic fostered by KU’s University Honors Program prepares students for a bright future, with high placement in graduate school, professional programs or full-time employment,” Cook said. “We’re excited to bring this program to the KU Edwards Campus. I look forward to following the achievements our students accomplish.”
About the University of Kansas
KU is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. Its mission is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world. The KU Edwards Campus at 127th Street and Quivira Road in Overland Park brings the high-quality academic, professional and continuing education programs as well as research and public-service benefits of KU to the Greater Kansas City community in order to serve the workforce, economic and community development needs of the region.