By Delainey Kein, Staff Writer

New Honors Program Director Eric Brown (photo courtesy of Delainey Kein)

New Honors Program Director Eric Brown (photo courtesy of Delainey Kein)

The University of Maine at Farmington’s (UMF) Honors Program will be welcoming a new director next year. He is currently working diligently, planning and preparing for some significant changes within the program in the years to come.

Eric Brown, English professor at UMF and the newly appointed Honors Program director thinks that some serious changes are in order for the program. “There should be a more active curriculum, there should be speakers coming in. There should be more opportunities to travel. I’d like to see an honors fellowship or scholarship; 500 bucks is totally doable for a program like Honors,” said Brown.  “It’s just been complacent for too long.”

Brown has had a hand in various school’s Honors Programs throughout most of his adult life.  He had nothing but positive things to say about these programs; how a good honors program helps students immensely.  “UMF has exceptional students that can be competitive with any other student in the country if we can assist a little bit, help them navigate in ways that might be particular to them,” he said. “There is a way to make a difference. I think I can bring something to this.”

Emily Lewia, a freshman elementary education major in the Honors Program hasn’t been involved with the program for long, but she is already hoping for change. “I would like to see more opportunities to meet other honors students such as group gatherings or dinners,” she said. “I hope to see an improvement over the years within the social aspect.”

Lewia met Brown for the first time at the honors student recognition night.  “I got a good first impression from him,” she said. “I loved his keynote presentation, it was very entertaining and he seems like a very good professor, one that I would want in the future.”

Shannah Cotton, senior creative writing major, arguably knows Brown better than any other student at UMF. She took a class from him three years ago, and she is currently the teaching assistant for his English 181 class. “I think [honors director] is a great position for him because he works really well with people who are driven and honors students are the most driven students on campus,” said Cotton. “I think he’ll excel at helping them.”

Cotton was exuberant when commenting on her opinion of Brown, “He’s awesome. He’s kind of the man. Well he is the man. He’s literally the best man on campus,” she said.  “As a teacher he’s so inspiring, I mean you can really talk to him about anything.” Cotton finished her description with a thoughtful, “He believes in his students, and that’s really important.”

Brown wants to encourage honors students to share their honest opinions about the program with him.  “I really would love to hear from students and what they want to get out of the program,” he said earnestly. “I’m in an information gathering stage, promotional stage.”

It is apparent through his action’s and student’s voices that Brown cares immensely for his students. “To me, maybe the most important thing is that I’d like to see students that are in honors really get more involved,” said Brown. “It changes the kind of experience you have as a student here, and ideally, it makes a difference for when you come out.”