A little history
The Kairos Scholars Honors Program—colloquially referred to as just “Kairos”—began in the fall of 2003 with Dr. Matthew Melton serving as the founding director. The first class of Kairos students consisted of 17 freshmen and 12 sophomores. In the coming years, more students committed to the program across all years and from various departments—the beginning of the truly interdisciplinary program it is today.
Since then, Kairos has served as a community of students who engage in scholarship and service together as they seek to learn and develop themselves. We are not only committed to producing good scholars, but also to developing our members as people who will contribute to their other communities now and in the future.
Kairos is first and foremost a community, providing the opportunity for Kairos members to establish close relationships with each other and with Kairos faculty members. Our program is designed to incorporate and accentuate a liberal arts education by emphasizing a discussion-based community that extends beyond the classroom. Kairos hosts community-wide events that provide opportunities for students to forge connections, building familiarity, friendship, and trust.
We also pair each incoming freshman with an upperclassman mentor to foster supportive community from the beginning. Mentorship develops stronger connections within our community and helps incoming students connect with college life. Kairos students frequently describe the program as a “family” or “home” at Lee, and Kairos provides opportunities for students to find their voices. We help students learn how to use their disciplinary knowledge to contribute to broader, interdisciplinary conversations. The Kairos community provides support for students during their entire collegiate journey, developing students far beyond just their time in the program.
The unique Kairos community accompanies the program’s deep commitment to facilitating learning. Kairos is a community of students who are not only academically talented, but also uniquely dedicated to learning and questioning. Our curriculum utilizes a cohort model where students proceed through the General Education core together, carrying conversations between classes and learning from each other. The purpose of this cohort model is to join community and academics, challenging students to discuss important questions together.
These core classes are small (usually fewer than 15 students) and are taught by faculty who are known for their disciplinary expertise and their ability to foster robust discussion about the important questions that arise in these classes. Our honors classes emphasize discussion and analysis over memorization, challenging our students with a view toward the development and success of the community of students who take these classes.
As we seek to develop our student community both academically and individually, we encourage our members to cultivate a disposition of service. As members of the Body of Christ, we are committed in our service to God and others. We believe that a true liberal arts education should not encourage students to disengage from non-academic areas of life. Rather, a true education should also develop students in these areas beyond the classroom, library, or lab. In Kairos, this development includes engaging in service within our broader community in Cleveland.
Whether this service is engaging in local tutoring programs or reaching out to various groups in our community, Kairos seeks to develop students with servant-hearted dispositions. Part of the holistic development of Kairos is the cultivation of a spiritual community where students serve together, worship together, pray together, and bear one another’s burdens. The focus on service and spiritual community within Kairos is one of the most integral parts of our program, as this focus is crucial in our goal to develop well-rounded students both and in and out of the classroom.