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Thankful for What We've Accomplished Together this Year

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 08:48

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

In February of this year, I was entrusted with the incredible honor to serve as provost of this great university—a place devoted to achieving excellence across each area that we touch.

With each passing day, with each achievement that our community reaches together, I’m more thankful for this responsibility, and for the compelling work that we undergo, together. We—as a UK family—have an enduring commitment that permeates through all of our work in teaching, research and service: a commitment to academic excellence.

Look at what we’ve accomplished this year.

Strategic plan

This year we’ve strengthened this excellence, by adopting a new strategic plan. This plan will guide our efforts and how we measure our progress as we build upon our momentum. The strategic plan is composed of five objectives:

Undergraduate Student Success - Be the University of choice for aspiring undergraduate students, within the Commonwealth and beyond, seeking a transformational education that promotes self-discovery, experiential learning, and life-long achievement.

Graduate Education - Strengthen the quality and distinctiveness of our graduate programs to transform our students into accomplished scholars and professionals who contribute to the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world through their research and discovery, creative endeavors, teaching, and service.

Diversity and Inclusivity - Enhance the diversity and inclusivity of our University community through recruitment, promotion, and retention of an increasingly diverse population of faculty, administrators, staff, and students, and by implementing initiatives that provide rich diversity-related experiences for all, to help ensure their success in an interconnected world.

Research and Scholarship - Expand our scholarship, creative endeavors, and research across the full range of disciplines to focus on the most important challenges of the Commonwealth, our nation, and the world.

Community Engagement - Leverage leading-edge technology, scholarship, and research in innovative ways to advance the public good and to foster the development of citizen-scholars.

You can read the complete plan, which includes the objectives, initiatives, action steps and metrics at the Strategic Plan Website.

We also continued to transform the academic infrastructure of our campus, empowering our excellent faculty to deliver instruction in a way that further supports student success:

Academic Science Building

The Academic Science Building will open in 2016, and be home to the largest active learning space on campus, where students will have the opportunity to experience and engage with science. Plans for the ASB emphasize environmental responsibility, utilizing natural light, outdoor teaching areas and rainwater recycling.

But the value of the ASB's design extends far beyond its construction — the innovative lecture halls and classrooms inside will help the College of Arts and Sciences realize its vision of improving science education through exciting new models of engaged in class teaching. The teaching space in the ASB will be composed of next- generation lecture halls and groundbreaking TEAL (Technology Enabled Active Learning) classrooms.

Art and Visual Studies Building

The College of Fine Arts’ School of Art and Visual Studies moved into its new home on Bolivar Street in September 2015. This space is a 21st century research laboratory that fosters collaborative, interdisciplinary projects, with student and faculty studios housed close together.

In addition to traditional artist studios and instructional spaces the new building currently features five digital media labs and a 3D fabrication lab.  The building also features a state-of-the-art gallery for student and faculty shows and for special exhibitions such the Alumni Show currently on view and the upcoming exhibition of contemporary art from the United Arab Emirates.

Gatton College of Business and Economics renovation

The Gatton College of Business and Economics completed the first phase of its expansion this fall. When complete in April 2016, this $65 million renovation and expansion will create one of the finest business facilities in the country with high-tech classrooms, a simulated trading floor, and places for our campus to congregate and exchange ideas.

Click here to view a video of the facility:

At the start of the project, the Gatton College was serving a total of 2,800. The plan calls for the college to serve nearly 4,000 students by the time the construction work is finished.

We also welcomed several new deans to the UK family throughout 2015.

Health Sciences

Scott Lephart  joined the UK family in March, after previously serving as a Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh.

Having served on the University of Pittsburgh faculty for 27 years, Lephart is widely published and recognized as a leader in sports medicine, particularly with regard to neuromuscular and biomechanical analysis of human movement associated with musculoskeletal injury, prevention, surgery and rehabilitation.

Lephart also has secured multiple research grants as the principal investigator leading the Department of Defense Human Performance Research initiative.


Dr. Stephanos Kyrkanides joined UK in August.

He previously served as the associate dean for research and faculty development and chair of the Department of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry at the Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine. Stony Brook, part of the New York State higher education system, is one of the leading public research institutions in the country.

We are pleased to recruit someone of Dr. Kyrkanides' caliber, who is an outstanding clinician, researcher and administrator. His experience in innovative care delivery, cutting-edge research and intellectual property generation as well as quality education delivery makes him the ideal person to help the College of Dentistry continue to excel.


Mitzi Vernon assumed the position of dean of the UK College of Design in September.

Vernon was previously a professor of industrial design at Virginia Tech.  Vernon has works of architecture, furniture, interiors and product design in Phoenix, Los Angeles and Chicago..

We are thrilled that Mitzi Vernon is joining the University of Kentucky in this critical leadership position. Professor Vernon has a unique background and diverse set of scholarly interests that make her an outstanding fit for a college that blends different disciplines and is renowned for its quality and service across the Commonwealth.

Public Health

Donna Arnett, former associate dean at the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) School of Public Health and former president of the American Heart Association, will become the next dean of the UK College of Public Health. 

Fostering a spirit of research collaboration across schools and disciplines, Arnett has served as the chair of the UAB School of Public Health’s epidemiology department since 2004. Since her arrival, the epidemiology department has escalated to one of the top-10 research programs in the nation. Faculty members within her department serve as interdepartmental leaders and engage with faculty members in the School of Public Health.

A native of Kentucky, Arnett sees her new role as an opportunity to address health disparities relevant to the region, including cancer and drug abuse. She aims to strengthen the college’s relationships with state and regional health agencies and expand the college’s portfolio of National Institutes of Health-funded research. She will also partner with the faculty, staff, and students to develop a strategic plan for the college through 2020. Arnett believes the future of population health depends on successful interdisciplinary partnerships, and hopes to facilitate such networks to grow research opportunities and educational capacity at UK.

Thank you.

I’d like to thank each member of the UK family for continuing to nurture this environment of academic excellence. Together, we will continue to build upon our momentum.

Tim Tracy

3rd Annual SEC Game Winning Food Drive

Thu, 11/12/2015 - 09:41

Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015

This year, the University of Kentucky will compete in the 3rd Annual SEC Game Winning Food Drive — an SEC initiative to combat the hunger crisis in local university communities.

As we face off this year against the University of Tennessee, University of Alabama, University of Florida, University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, and University of Missouri, we want to promote and inspire a spirit of giving,-- not to "win," but to support the health and welfare of all of our students. 

The canned good donations from UK will go directly to the Big Blue Pantry, a food bank for students in the basement of Whitehall Classroom Building. About 200 individual students use the Big Blue Pantry regularly, with more joining each week. Any type of nonperishable food items are accepted, but the most needed items are canned meat, cereal, canned fruit and vegetables, peanut butter, and pre-made meals.

UK will collect canned goods for the food drive through Nov. 30. Individuals or groups can donate nonperishable canned food in collection bins at the following locations:

  • The Johnson Center
  • Patterson Office Tower
  • University Health Services Building

For groups collecting very large amounts of food, arrangements can be made for pick-up on a limited basis by contacting Campus Recreation at

While they will not count toward the food drive final totals, toiletries and paper products are greatly needed by the students who regularly stop by the Big Blue Pantry as well.

Thank you for supporting such an important cause.

For more information on the Big Blue Pantry, a part of UK’s Center for Community Outreach, visit

Timothy S. Tracy



Metrics to Measure our Progress: The UK Strategic Plan

Wed, 11/04/2015 - 19:59

Thursday, November 5, 2015

As a UK community, we have a vision for what we aspire to achieve together. Our goal is to be a nationally recognized public institution with global reach and a commitment to our Commonwealth. 

You see this commitment across our campus, in various ways, and through numerous stories.

You see it in our new high-tech residence halls, where students live, learn, collaborate and build community. You see it in our new vibrant learning and research spaces, where our talented faculty members are not just gatekeepers of knowledge, but facilitators of learning. You see it through an undergraduate core curriculum that is drawing national praise and through researchers recognized around the globe for the work they do to changes lives and communities

That's our vision; and we are working together each day to achieve it.

And, as you know, every vision requires a plan.

Last month, President Capilouto communicated with you about the outstanding conversations that took place at the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees retreat, which took place October 22-24. Our board endorsed the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan after hearing from the faculty and staff experts who will lead the implementation phase.

It was a data-rich conversation about the multifaceted mission of our University. The dialogue highlighted our commitment to our objectives, initiatives and action steps and, as importantly, the ways which we will measure our progress.

Following that dialogue, the board endorsed five strategic objectives and the related strategies and metrics for our plan: 

Undergraduate Student Success - Be the University of choice for aspiring undergraduate students, within the Commonwealth and beyond, seeking a transformational education that promotes self-discovery, experiential learning, and life-long achievement.

Graduate Education - Strengthen the quality and distinctiveness of our graduate programs to transform our students into accomplished scholars and professionals who contribute to the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world through their research and discovery, creative endeavors, teaching, and service.

Diversity and Inclusivity - Enhance the diversity and inclusivity of our University community through recruitment, promotion, and retention of an increasingly diverse population of faculty, administrators, staff, and students, and by implementing initiatives that provide rich diversity-related experiences for all, to help ensure their success in an interconnected world.

Research and Scholarship - Expand our scholarship, creative endeavors, and research across the full range of disciplines to focus on the most important challenges of the Commonwealth, our nation, and the world.

Community Engagement - Leverage leading-edge technology, scholarship, and research in innovative ways to advance the public good and to foster the development of citizen-scholars.

You can read the complete plan, which includes the objectives, initiatives, action steps and metrics at the Strategic Plan Website.

Thank you for your part in building upon our vision. Together, we will continue to improve the lives of those we touch and teach.

Timothy S. Tracy


The UK Strategic Plan: A Reflection of our Vision and Values

Wed, 10/14/2015 - 08:28
Wednesday, October 14, 2015 This past year, in celebration of the University of Kentucky’s 150th anniversary, UK Associate Professor and Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X Walker captured the spirit of this place we love in his poem titled, “Seedtime in the Commonwealth.” "There is no vaccination against ignorance, but there is us. There is this university. And we still have heavy doors to open, unmet obligations to the land and its people. There are still leadership opportunities to advance the Commonwealth, this nation, and our world towards fulfilling its potential, towards meeting its lofty promises … Let men and women come here as seeds, let us invest in them until they form sufficient roots and leaves to obtain their own food. Let them grow from here not just trees, but a fruit-bearing, deeply-rooted forest." He reminds us: "There is us." There is this University. Through the education we provide, the creative research we conduct, and the care and service we render, we are the University for Kentucky. We are the institution our Commonwealth has charged with confronting the most profound of challenges -- in education, economic development, health care, and cultural and societal advance. It has been our mission for more than 150 years. Next week, President Capilouto and I will present the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan to our Board of Trustees at its retreat. This plan provides guidance—a blueprint—for us to build on our commitment as the Commonwealth’s indispensable institution. After the June 19 Board of Trustees meeting, the President communicated to campus that the leadership team, comprised of individuals from across campus, would continue its work throughout the summer and early fall in developing implementation steps and metrics. I’d like to thank that team for its tireless work, and I’m pleased to announce that we are ready to present the plan to the campus. You can view it here. The Strategic Plan is a reflection of our vision and our values. Since our founding in 1865, the University of Kentucky has been more than a public research university; we have been home to the state’s greatest aspirations — an idea of a new and brighter tomorrow. I look forward to sharing that future with you. Timothy S. TracyProvost @UKYProvost#AcademicExcellence

Academic Excellence: Q&A With Janie Heath, Dean, College of Nursing

Wed, 10/07/2015 - 09:46

Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015

At the University of Kentucky, it is truly an honor to work with such a large and diverse group of talented people. As we prepare to take our Strategic Plan to the Board of Trustees later this month, I am particularly grateful for our 18 academic deans.

Having served as a dean myself for five years, I’m humbled by the talent and dedication we see among our deans and their work on behalf of our institution. The deans provide visionary leadership in the advancement of their educational, research and service missions, while managing financial and human resources, promoting success among faculty, staff and students, and overseeing fundraising and alumni relations.

It is through their hard work that we promote a culture of academic excellence on our campus, allowing us to profoundly impact our community and the broader world we serve. For that reason, I am excited to begin a blog series that celebrates deans and the leadership of their respective colleges.

This week, I asked Dean Janie Heath from the College of Nursing to answer a series of questions.

Dean Janie Heath, PhD, APRN-BC, FAAN, has 39-year-long career in critical care nursing, nursing administration, advanced practice and academia. She joined the College of Nursing in 2014, as its fifth dean and Warwick Professor of Nursing.

What are your biggest priorities as Dean of the College of Nursing?

My primary priority is to improve the College of Nursing’s working and learning environments. However, it’s not just about the bricks and mortar, it’s about people and relationships. When we have that foundation, it creates a culture that is engaged and empowers students, faculty and staff to reach their full potential.

Today’s landscape in higher education and nursing is under attack with numerous pressures - financial, regulatory, and economic. My priority is to relentlessly advocate for, garner and protect our resources so that we can continue to enhance our environments and our reputation as the great educators, researchers and practicing professionals that we are.

The outcome is to advance nursing science and graduate more students who will serve as nurse-scientists, educators, practitioners and leaders who transform our country’s health care systems.

What are your biggest successes so far?

If I had to just name one thing, it is how our faculty, staff and students are coming together to take the College of Nursing to the next level. They have been open and responsive to change and have embraced new leadership structures that will ensure our community is fully engaged and transparent.

It is important that the College’s faculty and staff are fully engaged in decision-making, developing a new strategic plan for the college and in creating new processes and efficiencies that will improve the way we teach, practice and conduct research.

I truly believe that our biggest success so far is recognizing and taking care of our most valuable resource – people. I see it in the little things everyday that make a difference in the lives of our students, our faculty and our staff, and that's what I'm most proud of.

What is your favorite thing about being Dean of the College of Nursing?

There is nothing I don't love about serving as the Dean– even the tough conversations that take place when advocating for resources, because it will help our faculty, staff and students get to a better place.

It is a true honor to listen to our community of interest (faculty, staff, students, alumni and clinical partners) and be the voice of the College of Nursing and for the profession – it is a privilege and an honor to be able to help make a difference in the lives of so many.

The most fun part of serving as the Dean is enjoying every moment with the fullest presence as possible – the University of Kentucky has so much to love, absorb and treasure. Whether celebrating academic performance victories, student athletic victories, or welcoming alumni, or national or international dignitaries to the campus - it doesn't get any cooler than that.

A lot of people might not know how impactful nursing research is, could you talk about nursing research?

Faculty researchers are doing groundbreaking work at the College of Nursing and are producing amazing outcomes for Kentucky, the U.S., and throughout the world.

The College’s accomplishments in research have been profound. Despite shrinking dollars, our faculty members have been successful at obtaining the resources they need to perform research that’s making a difference in disease prevention and health promotion, managing and eliminating symptoms and enhancing lives.

Three senior researchers at the College have played significant roles in advancing research at the College.

Professor Ellen Hahn, PhD, RN, FAAN, is a pioneer of tobacco research and smoke-free policy whose work has brought about dramatic changes in Kentucky. She is director of the Clean indoor Air Partnership and Kentucky Center for Smoke Free Policy, co-director of the College of Nursing’s NIH funded Center for Biobehavioral Research in Self Management for Cardiopulmonary Disease and has a joint appointment as a faculty member at the Markey Cancer Center.

Professor Debra Moser, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN, is a prominent nurse researcher in cardiovascular disease. She is a founder and co-director of the Research and Interventions for Cardiovascular Health RICH Heart Program, co-directs the Center for Biobehavioral Research in Self Management of Cardiopulmonary Disease and is co-editor of the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing. She was also the first researcher in Kentucky to receive a Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Grant.

Professor Deborah Reed, PhD, MSPH, RN, FAAOHN, is the former director of the Occupational Health Nurse PhD Training Program and has worked with multiple organizations to further the cause of occupational health in agriculture. Currently one of only five agricultural health researchers at Research I universities across the country, Dr. Reed has dedicated her career to understanding health and injury risks in agriculture and how they can be prevented.

Through their own achievements, they have drawn attention to the College as a top center for nursing science; through their dedication to mentorship, they are helping to develop the College’s up-and-coming researchers.

President Capilouto often likes to say that this is the University for Kentucky. How does the College of Nursing serve the Commonwealth of Kentucky?

With Kentucky having some of the most pressing health needs in the country in particular with high prevalence of smoking, high percentage of children in poverty and high rate of preventable hospitalization, the demand to make a difference could not be greater. The good news is that nurse responsibilities and scope of practice have greatly increased, which means nurses can lead significant change and make a difference in health and wellness in the Commonwealth.

We are helping Kentucky develop its nurse workforce through our Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Evidence shows that patient outcomes are directly linked to the level of a nurse’s education.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM), a division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, has responded to this fact by calling for 80% of nurses to hold a minimum of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree by 2020.

A recent study conducted by Dr. Nora Warshawsky, PhD, RN, CNE, assistant professor in the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, showed that only 40 percent of Kentucky’s nurses have at least a BSN.

To meet this demand the College Nursing has increased the size of its incoming freshman class – from 160 students to 200 students each year.

We are also looking at new models that will ensure the delivery of high quality, safe and compassionate health care. The College of Nursing has been on the forefront with the interprofessional education (IPE) movement, and I look forward to helping accelerate and advance that agenda.

We are also looking at other models such as a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Option, which is an accelerated MSN pre-licensure nursing education option for second-degree students. We are also exploring how our seamless programs of study for doctoral education such as a BSN-to-DNP and a BSN-to-PhD can have a further reach.

Our graduates not only deliver high quality health care in Kentucky, but they are also the leaders and innovators who are creating new, innovative health care delivery models that are changing our country’s health care systems.

What drew you to this field?

Unlike most, I didn’t grow up wanting to be a nurse. My motivation was pure economics. I came from a military family that experienced a few challenges, including the death of my mother when I was ten years old and a father who made some poor health choices. Living pretty much on our own, my brother and I learned fairly early the true meaning of “extended family and friends.” By the time I was in high school, I knew the day was coming when I’d need to get a “real” job so I asked my counselor if there were any scholarships available. She pulled information on one out of her desk and asked, “How about nursing?” Although the rest is history, working on my associate’s degree was a real struggle, financially and academically. But so many, including Dean Delores Kruger, believed in me and saw something in me that I did not and helped me earn my nursing degree. From that day on, through each successive academic degree, I was driven to be a better nurse, teacher, researcher and leader. Growing up in the military taught me how to be more flexible and adaptable to change; overcoming life challenges at an early age taught me how to be more resilient and resourceful; and having great mentors taught me how to help others reach their full potential.

Timothy S. Tracy


Academic Excellence: Progress on our Priorities

Tue, 09/29/2015 - 11:13

Wednesday, September 29, 2015

Over the last four years, the University of Kentucky has strived to establish a foundation of excellence that permeates the institution. As Dr. Capilouto recently shared with our Board of Trustees, from faculty to student success, UK is committed to academic excellence in everything that we do.

The preliminary 2015-16 enrollment numbers highlight that commitment and that record.  With 30,704 undergraduate, graduate and professional students enrolled, we now have more students on campus than at any other time in our history. However, we are not just enrolling more students; we are enrolling more academically prepared students—and providing them with better support—than ever before.

This year we achieved a record 87.2 percent first-to-second year retention rate and a 61 percent 6-year graduation rate.

More than 700 students in this first-year class had ACT/SAT scores of 31 or above. We also have more National Merit, Hispanic and Achievement Scholars enrolled than at any time in our history—395 of these outstanding students.  The class is 11 percent African American, compared to the 7 percent of African Americans who live in Kentucky. It is the most diverse student body in our history.

Though we have established the foundation of excellence, now we must build on it. We are aspiring to create a campus, both physically and academically, that assists in cultivating success and excellence in each of our students.

Click here to see our enrollment quick facts, which demonstrate the progress we've made on our priorities.

Timothy S. Tracy



Building a Quality Class and Quality Support-System

Tue, 09/15/2015 - 14:37

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Last week in Hazard, President Capilouto and I had the pleasure of announcing the first-to-second year retention rate for 2015. At 82.7 percent-- highest first-to-second year retention rate in UK history-- our numbers are climbing and our priorities are clear: we are a students-first university. So, as we build a quality class, we also must concentrate our efforts on helping them succeed once they arrive on campus.

To recruit them to campus and wash our hands of our responsibility would be a disservice and dereliction of the promise we make to each student. It is our most sacred duty to make sure that they leave our campus with a college degree and with the critical thinking skills and practical knowledge to succeed.

We understand the pressure to succeed-- and obstacles to success-- often linger in students’ minds. We are developing ways to address these issues in multiple arenas on campus. It is important to build a quality class, but it is even more important to build a quality support-system.

During the 2014 spring semester, we formed the Committee on Student Success (CSS). Composed of academic administrators, faculty and professional staff, CSS works to plan and implement concrete actions for institutional improvement through campus educational efforts and coordinating activities with our various campus partners. CSS collaborates with my office, academic colleges, undergraduate education, enrollment management, student affairs and institutional diversity to lay the foundation of a culture of student success across all departments at UK.  

Because of these efforts, we saw the largest number of returning students this fall: 4,253 Wildcats.

That is roughly 463 additional students since this time last fall. 463 more students continuing their path to a degree. 463 potential graduates who can serve our state.

We also saw the second highest six-year graduation rate of 61 percent.

Retention and graduation rates are indicators of a broader campus culture dedicated to the academic achievement and personal development of those who make up our university community. With that in mind, we are consistently setting aggressive student success goals to accelerate the efforts of retaining and graduating students.

We will continue to build an inclusive, welcoming campus where students are able to achieve their long-term goal of graduating from the University of Kentucky. And, of course, we will continue to proudly put our students first in all we do. I’d like to thank each member of the UK family for your role in that promise.

Timothy S. Tracy


Get to Know our Director, Office of LGBTQ* Resources, Lance Poston

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 08:33

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 

The University of Kentucky Office of Institutional Diversity has established its first Office of LGBTQ* Resources to create a more inclusive environment for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer members of the campus community.

The new UK Office of LGBTQ* Resources, led by Lance Poston, intends to grow its outreach to reliably serve all the LGBTQ* individuals on campus and to function as a communication and educational hub for the entire community in sustainable and organized ways.

I asked Lance to answer a few questions, to introduce himself to the UK family.

What are your goals for the Office of LGBTQ* Resources?

In the broadest sense, my goal is to create signature programs and protections that increase LGBTQ* visibility and decrease marginalization on campus. As I think about crafting tangible goals that can be realistically operationalized, I’m focused on building an office that does three things well: educate, advocate, and foster community growth. Since we are an office that serves all students, faculty, and staff, our efforts in any one of those three focus areas varies significantly.

What is your background and involvement with the LGBTQ* community?

I’ve been an LGBTQ* advocate and educator for several years. I’m trained as a social historian of US gender and sexuality and spent the last two years as a Visiting Instructor and Ph.D. Fellow in Ohio University’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. While at Ohio, I also founded the university’s annual LGBTQ* History Month Lecture and annual Queer Studies Conference. Beyond the university, I’m active in state and regional LGBTQ* focused organizations. I currently serve on the board of Equality Ohio, the Buckeye State’s largest LGBTQ* policy institute and political action group, and am one of the founding partners of the Kentucky Association of LGBTQ Higher Education. This Kentucky Association is a collaborative project with the other three LGBTQ* university directors in the Commonwealth, focused on creating a statewide network for consulting, educating, and programming. I also identify as a gay cisgender man and believe that my personal journey informs my work in some very crucial ways.

You are developing a pilot program called SafeZone. What is your vision for the program?

One of the key components of our educational focus is developing a SafeZone workshop that can be offered by request. This workshop is essentially an LGBTQ* 101 experience that aims to increase cultural competencies about diverse gender identities and sexual orientations. Key topics in the workshop will include understanding appropriate terminology, exploring basic LGBTQ* histories, and figuring out how to become an effective ally. With time, this SafeZone format will allow us to expand our network of supportive Wildcats who can serve as “safe zones” for folks who need support and referrals to other resources. 

What events does the office have in store for this semester?

There are several exciting events planned for this semester. On Friday, August 28, we’ll host a large welcome back event on the patio of White Hall Classroom Building from 4-6pm. This welcome back will feature representatives from over 30 campus and community groups that are LGBTQ* focused or proudly open and affirming. We’ll also have free t-shirts and food for everyone who visits the event.

We’ve received warm receptions at several community events in the last couple months and plan to continue outreach beyond the university. On September 19, the office will have a presence at the Louisville Pride Festival on Bardstown Road. We’ll also be attending several Preview Nights with the Office of Enrollment Management. In late December, we’ll host an evening gathering on campus to kick off our first annual LGBTQ* Alumni Leadership Award and look forward to travelling around the state with our inaugural recipients to talk about the exciting diversity and inclusion work happening at UK.

Finally, we are excited to sponsor several educational events this semester with the help of campus and community collaborators. First, we are hosting an event in Young Library this Thursday, August 27 around the fifth anniversary of the passage of the Shepard Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The event will feature members of the Shepard Family, US Attorney Kerry Harvey, UK Law School Dean David Brennen, and UK Police Major Nathan Brown. Later in the semester, we are co-sponsoring a lecture by trans* activist Kristen Beck about her experiences as the first Navy Seal to openly transition in 2013. For information on these events and more, like the office’s Facebook page!

What are you most excited about for your new role in the UK community?

I’m most excited about the potential impact of my position and this new office at UK. The University of Kentucky is an institution with a great deal of momentum. While walking across campus can be a bit tedious due to all of the active construction, it is exhilarating to think about the massive physical transformation that is currently underway at the state’s flagship institution of higher education. It is, perhaps, even more exciting to realize that we are not only making significant changes to our infrastructure, but we are also making huge strides in ensuring that all students, faculty, and staff can openly flourish as their authentic selves on this beautiful campus. In the quest to be a leading national research institution and citizen-focused land-grant university, UK’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is essential. I’m happy that my new position can play a key part in those ongoing transitions and expansions!  

You can learn more about Lance and the Office of LGBTQ* Resources here.

Please join me in welcoming Lance to the UK family.

Timothy S. Tracy


UK Scholarships: Meeting the Needs of Students, Families

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 17:42

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

We all know the feeling: a sudden jolt awakens you at 3 a.m., with a furrowed brow, damp with sweat, beset by worry. The causes can vary: Family worries or financial woes; pressures at work; conflicts with a colleague or simply the sense of foreboding and stress of a deadline.

At the University of Kentucky, I see and talk with students almost every day. They, too, confront the same sensation, the early morning or late night sleeplessness and worry. And their concerns are, almost invariably, one of three things:

  • Doing well academically and what that means for the future
  • Financial difficulties, related to work or concern about paying for school
  • A feeling of being alone, the result of either being away from home for the first time or the challenge of finding their place, that sense of community we all want

We know that whether a student returns to school after one semester, and whether they ultimately graduate, depends a great deal on successfully navigating and coping with these issues. And, increasingly, financial concerns -- particularly what we call unmet financial need— play a predominant role in the question of student success.

It's why this year we have announced changes to our scholarship programs for the 2016-2017 school year. We've modified eligibility requirements for some scholarships, such as the Singletary and full-tuition scholarships.

That announcement has led to questions about our plans. That's understandable. Our diligent enrollment management team is working with families and students who apply for all of our scholarships to address the questions.

Our goal, though, is the right one for our students and for Kentucky: Find ways to better balance the academic merit scholarships we provide with need-based scholarships and aid.

Under the leadership of President Eli Capilouto and our Board of Trustees, we've devoted more and more resources toward scholarships and aid at UK. This year alone, we are investing more than $100 million in institutional scholarships and aid, up from $75 million just a few years ago.

But the vast majority of that aid today goes toward competitive scholarships. Those are important, but we need to strike a better balance with resources that target the financial need of prospective students and their families as well as initiatives that seek to help students stay in school once they join our community.

We know, for example, that $500, $1,000 or $1,5000 can make the difference between staying in school and going home. It can help determine whether a student works one job or two, while going to school.

In the coming months, we will be announcing a number of initiatives— in addition to our scholarship offerings— aimed at addressing financial need and the challenges that confront many of our students.

It's part of a focus we place at UK on the student experience, the idea of putting students first in everything that we do.

Much of the nearly $2 billion transformation occurring on our campus right now is focused on improving the student experience and instilling an even greater sense of community throughout our campus. Thousands of new residence hall beds, with dozens of classroom and gathering spaces, are designed to foster enhanced living and learning experiences for our students.

We know when students live on campus, particularly that first year, they are more likely to be retained, to do well academically, and to become involved in organizations and initiatives that give them a sense of social support and well-being.

This comprehensive approach and steadfast commitment is how we place students at the center of all that we do. After all, being the University of Kentucky requires us to think strategically and thoughtfully about these issues. It's part of what it means to be the university for Kentucky.  

Timothy S. Tracy


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