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TODD ADDRESSES SACS VISITING TEAM

By Dan Adkins

 

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"All universities go through accreditation reaffirmation every 10 years, but this is not a routine activity. The self-study and the team visit help us identify both our strengths and our weaknesses, so we can build on those strengths and correct our deficiencies."

-- John J. Piecoro Jr.,
director, UK self-study

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April 16, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr. today outlined his vision for the university to 27 visiting academicians here to reaffirm UK's accreditation.

In remarks to representatives of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Todd noted the value of the state's "Bucks for Brains" program designed to attract more world-class faculty to campus. He noted the funding for the program is likely to shift from direct allocations from the state budget to bond support.

Todd unveiled few surprises, although he used the occasion to announce his administration has created a new position: a vice president for academic outreach and community service. Advertising for that position begins this week.

He also revealed that he and Acting Provost Michael Nietzel are discussing possible ways for UK and area independent colleges to jointly hire faculty. This would permit the independents to employ strong teachers who could pursue their research interests at UK.

Todd said the joint hire discussions are an example of how UK is reaching out to other higher-learning institutions in Kentucky -- not just the independents, but also to the University of Louisville and Kentucky's other public comprehensive universities.

"I declared peace with the University of Louisville," Todd quipped, referring to his bridge-building effort to overcome a long-standing -- and, he said, unproductive -- rivalry with Kentucky's other major research university.

This morning's remarks launched the visit by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges, led by University of Alabama President Emeritus E. Roger Sayers. The group arrived in Lexington Monday and completed organizational meetings.

Todd formally welcomed the group to UK at a reception and dinner Monday night at Spindletop Hall, a UK-owned estate north of Lexington near the Kentucky Horse Park.

After Todd's remarks, the visiting team began two days of some 500 interviews with students, faculty and administrators, evaluating UK's academic, athletic, student affairs and other programs.

The visiting team will base much of its activity on the results of a two-year university self-study directed by John J. Piecoro Jr., professor in the College of Pharmacy.

"All universities go through accreditation reaffirmation every 10 years, but this is not a routine activity. The self-study and the team visit help us identify both our strengths and our weaknesses, so we can build on those strengths and correct our deficiencies," Piecoro said.

Among the universities represented on the visiting team are the University of Florida, the University of Georgia, Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Virginia Polytechnic Institute.


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