Lesley Owens

Assistant Director, Advising, Communication, & Engagement
Primary office:
785-864-3248
Nunemaker Center
Room 208


I'm a native Kansan and a graduate of the KU Honors Program (B.A. English, Humanities 2006). After graduating from KU, I earned an MFA at the Pennsylvania State University in creative writing. While I continue to be passionate about writing, literature, and the value of the arts in general, I also love working in public higher education. As a first-generation college student, I believe in the transformative power of public universities. I have worked at KU in administrative and advising positions since 2010, and I've been with Honors since the fall of 2014.

What I Do at Honors

I'm responsible for the consistency of communication across Honors Program projects and media. I manage our website, weekly newsletter, alumni publications, social media, and communication with students. I also support advising in Honors by working with Honors Mentors to help them provide outstanding advising to our students. Finally, I work to coordinate the Honors event calendar and provide academic and social programming to increase student engagement. I work closely with Anne D. and Ed on these programming and advising projects.

Why I Love Working in Honors

I believe deeply in the power of education, particularly public universities and the opportunities they can provide to those who might not otherwise have access to college. I want to be a part of the work KU and the Honors Program can do to make the world a more equitable, creative, and thoughtful place. Of course, while I believe very strongly in these abstract goals, I also love getting to know individual students through advising and helping them figure out how they want to change the world. (Also, a big part of my job is talking about how great our students are, which is really fun!)

I Can Help With . . .

  • Communicating with Honors students
  • Honors advising
  • Honors programming and co-sponsorships
  • Majoring in English or Humanities at KU
  • Careers in public administration and higher education
  • Biking around Lawrence
  • The Lawrence literary scene
  • Vegetarian cooking, gardening, and composting

Course offerings are “among the most comprehensive in the nation,” according to “A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs”
98% of University Honors Program graduates are employed or accepted to graduate school within six months of graduation
40% of students in the University Honors Program conduct research before graduation
9 to 1: Average ratio of KU honors students to faculty advisors
1 of only 7 programs nationwide to receive a top rating from “A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs” in 2014
60% of University Honors Program students study abroad
KU honors students select their advisors from top-ranked KU faculty
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