Our program leaders have collective expertise in all areas of the Honors experience, from course development and advising to study abroad and experiential learning. An accessible, hands-on group, this enterprising team connects directly with students and faculty across campus to shape and guide our program at all levels.
- Dr. Mark E. Law, Director
- Dr. Melissa L. Johnson, Senior Associate Director
- Regan Garner, Associate Director
- Dr. Kristy Spear, Assistant Director for Honors Experiential Learning
- Honors curriculum and courses
- Campus partnerships
Dr. Mark E. Law is the Director of the University of Florida Honors Program. A visionary for Honors student opportunities, Dr. Law leads and inspires staff and students across campus.
As an Honors faculty member and longtime leader at UF, Dr. Law applies his skills in the Honors office, classroom and beyond. Known for tying diverse interests to career success, students have myriad opportunities to explore with Dr. Law through courses like “Engineering in the Renaissance” and “Waitress, Pies, and Life.” He holds degrees in Electrical Engineering and has been an associate producer for the shows “Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic” Off-Broadway and “Slava’s Snowshow” on Broadway.
As a former Honors student, Dr. Law understands the difference an Honors Program can make, and finds it exciting to cultivate opportunities for our future outstanding alumni to excel while on campus. He also oversees the Honors Luminaries.
Prior to becoming Director, he held the position of Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (2009-14) and Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering (2003-09) in the College of Engineering. He earned a B.S. from Iowa State University in 1981 in Honors, an M.S. from Stanford University in 1982 and a Ph.D. from Stanford in 1988. He was named a UF Research Fellow in 1998, has written over 250 papers in the area of process and device modeling, advised 25 Ph.D. students and has been involved in more than $25 million in funding during his career.
Both inside and outside of Honors, Dr. Law can be located aurally – just listen for the sound of showtunes.
- Outstanding Undergraduate Mentor, HWCOE 2020
- Distinguished Teaching Scholar 2019
- 2013 SEMI North America Award
- 2013 SIA University Research Award
- 2010 IEEE EDS J.J. Ebers Award
- 2006 SRC Aristotle Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Advising
- UF Research Fellow in 1998
- UF College of Engineering Teacher of the Year in 1996-97
- 1993 SRC Technical Excellence Award
- 1992 NSF Presidential Faculty Fellow
Senior Associate Director
- Honors strategic initiatives
- Program requirements
- Student involvement
- Annual giving
- Special Events
- Therapy dog activities
Direct report areas:
Dr. Melissa L. Johnson is the Honors Program Senior Associate Director. A lifelong “honors” student, Dr. Johnson’s personal drive for challenge and growth is the groundwork for her commitment to high-achieving Gators – and her role in facilitating the office committed to them.
Known across the country as a leading expert in honors advising, Dr. Johnson focuses on advising and student success, enrollment management and program representation. She supervises Honors staff members, admissions, advising operations and program completion, and advises student organizations including Prism, Honors Ensemble, and Honor Chords. Helping students understand the value of the holistic Honors experience – including support by a staff who champion their ambitions, intellect and drive – provides meaningful purpose and lifelong connection (she’s still in touch with alumni from her first year with UF Honors over 15 years ago!).
The 2nd youngest ever to be named a Fellow in the National Collegiate Honors Council, Dr. Johnson has been active in Honors on a national scale—she has published, presented and facilitated national institutes on all aspects of the Honors experience. She is regularly requested to serve as an external consultant and program reviewer for honors programs and colleges across the country. Previously she was an Editorial Board Member for the NACADA Journal and Honors in Practice and a member of the NACADA Academic Advising Consultants and Speakers Service.
Dr. Johnson’s Gator-connections extend beyond her position with Honors, too. She earned her Ph.D. from UF and serves on the executive board of the Phi Beta Kappa, Beta of Florida chapter. She has served numerous university committees over the past 20 years, including Academic Assessment (co-chair), University Libraries (chair), Faculty Senate (steering committee), and Infrastructure Council.
Both on and off campus, Dr. Johnson can be found with her greyhound, Kenzie – a certified therapy dog! Learn more about Kenzie here.
- Fellow of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 2018
- Field and Fork Faculty Teaching Fellow, 2017-2018
- Faculty Honoree, UF Anderson Scholars, 2008, 2011-2014, 2016
- Professional Advisor of the Year for Undergraduate Affairs, 2015
- Outstanding UF Service Learning Faculty of the Year, 2009
- Outstanding New Advisor Certificate of Merit, NACADA Region 4, 2007
- Internal scholarship questions (Lombardi/Stamps, Davis UWC)
- Study abroad advising
- Social justice/activism opportunities
Regan Garner is an Associate Director for the Honors Program. She serves as the coordinator for the Honors’ selective internal scholarship programs: the Davis United World College Scholars Program, the John V. Lombardi Scholarship Program and the Stamps Scholars Program. Regan believes the tenacity, motivation and curiosity of these scholarship recipients demonstrates how to thrive in an increasingly complex world, which she is proud to support.
Previously, Regan worked as an Assistant Director and National Merit Scholar Recruiter in the UF Office of Admissions. She’s a double Gator with a BA in Classical Studies and M.Ed. in Social Foundations of Education. Vast past experience as study abroad program director and Fulbright Program Advisor make Regan a great resource for all Honors students interested in studying abroad.
Outside of Honors, Regan is deeply involved in the community. She is a leader in the Gainesville chapter of National Women’s Liberation, active member of the Alachua County Labor Coalition, the Civic Media Center, the Gainesville Anti-Fascist Committee, and United Faculty of Florida at UF.
Also: Regan is an active cyclist and radical feminist with intimate knowledge of local restaurants and outdoor activities. Wondering where to, say, kayak and eat tacos? Ask Regan!
- UF International Educator of the Year Award 2016
Assistant Director for Honors Experiential Learning
- Seeking or promoting experiential learning opportunities
- Student teaching
- Internship credit
- First-generation Honors
Dr. Kristy Spear is the Assistant Director for Honors Experiential Learning. She supports Honors students by creating and curating opportunities for professional development, purposeful engagement, and active experimentation. She believes learning involves action and reflection - often outside of an individual’s comfort zone. Kristy finds it rewarding to support our students’ growth and development as they seek and engage in meaningful experiences.
Before joining the Honors Program, Kristy worked in human resources and career services. She served as the chair of the Advising High Achieving Students Community through the National Academic Advising Association from 2016-2018.
Kristy received her M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and her Ph.D. in Educational Technology with a graduate certificate in Digital Humanities from UF. Her research is focused on designing online courses that foster learning and engagement for high-achieving students.
Kristy’s interest in experiential learning may be a product of her unique employment history which includes ballroom dance instructor, Scareactor at Halloween Horror Nights and pyrotechnician.
- Scholarship Award, NACADA, 2018
- Professional Advisor of the Year, Office of Undergraduate Affairs, University of Florida, 2018
- Outstanding New Advisor, University of Florida, 2017
- Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate Award, University of Florida, 2016