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Young named new Honors Program director

Bryan Young

C. Bryan Young, associate professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering, began in June as the director for the University Honors Program. He replaces Jonathan Earle, who left KU for Louisiana State University.

Bryan is the first Honors Program alumnus to be its director, and his late father, J. Michael Young, was the director of the Honors Program from 1990 to 1995. His son, Cal, is a sophomore in the Honors Program.

Bryan plans to use his background and experience as both a student and faculty member in the Honors Program to “engineer” a new direction for Honors students.

“The fact that I’m an alumnus motivates me to continue to be a part of the program,” he says. “The experiences I had in the program as a student, I want to make sure the current Honors Program students have and will continue to have those.”

Bryan has plans and goals for the program and its students – he wants to make sure the Honors experience provides challenges and opportunities for students both in and out of the classroom.

“The students are here to get an education. The degree is part of that, but it’s not the only thing. There are so many co-curricular and engaged-learning opportunities that we need to make sure the students are aware of – we are hoping to improve and enhance the ways we communicate with students, to make sure they are as actively engaged as possible,” he says.

The Honors Opportunity Awards that the program provides to students are one such way for students to be engaged with research and travel – an important component of what the program offers, he says. He plans to increase fundraising efforts, to ensure that the Honors Program continues to provide transformative experiences for students for generations to come.

One of the hallmarks of the Honors Program always has been its personal and focused advising. Bryan is meeting with departments across campus, to connect with faculty advisers and make sure that the Honors Program staff are providing support and guidance along the way.

He also is looking at the Honors curriculum, to make sure it meets the needs of students – and of course, that it remains rigorous and relevant to the ever-changing needs of students on their career paths.

Bryan has been extensively involved with the Honors Program since he began teaching in the School of Engineering in 2000. In addition to being a faculty fellow and advising Honors students, he has served on the standards committee, taught the Honors Commons course, and taught Honors freshman seminars.

Although it is a change to move from being “in the trenches” to director of the program, Dr. Young has his sights set on a bright future for Honors Program students.

He and his wife, Roura (also an Honors alumna), have three children: Cal, a KU Honors sophomore; Ellie, 16, a junior in high school, and Angela, 12, a 7th grader.

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KU Today
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