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New UK Vice President to Focus
on Community Outreach

By George Lewis

Photo of Retia Scott Walker
Retia Scott Walker

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"I am excited about the opportunity to work on a concept that I have embraced for many years - university engagement in the community. Too often our universities are seen as ivory towers where people do things that the community is unaware of and can't relate to. I hope to help change the culture in the academic community so that more faculty are interested in outreach scholarship and their students' involvement in service learning."

-- Retia Scott Walker

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July 19, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- Retia Scott Walker, dean of the University of Kentucky College of Human Environmental Sciences, has accepted the position of vice president for Academic Outreach and Public Service, UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. announced today. Walker's appointment will take effect Aug. 14, pending approval of the UK Board of Trustees.

In this newly created position, Walker will oversee the Office of Experiential Education, develop additional service learning and volunteer opportunities for students, provide coordination for academic outreach and service programs, and promote the university's efforts to improve the health, environment, social and cultural well being of the citizens of the Commonwealth.

"I am looking forward to working with Dr. Walker in this new and important position," said Todd. "I am very impressed by her passion for academic outreach and her engagement in community issues."

Walker will develop outreach partnerships between the university and the local communities, and serve as university liaison to local, state and national agencies concerned with academic outreach and service learning. She will report directly to Todd.

"I am excited about the opportunity to work on a concept that I have embraced for many years - university engagement in the community," Walker said. "Too often our universities are seen as ivory towers where people do things that the community is unaware of and can't relate to. I hope to help change the culture in the academic community so that more faculty are interested in outreach scholarship and their students' involvement in service learning."

During her tenure as dean, Walker has worked tirelessly to make improvements within the College of Human Environmental Sciences, said Acting Provost Mike Nietzel. The college established a doctoral program in family studies; upgraded its computer labs; incorporated "smart" classrooms in the curriculum; increased student enrollment, particularly that of minorities; revamped the hospitality management program; established an alumni hall of fame; raised funds for four endowed professorships; and added a master's degree program in hospitality and dietetics.

Walker came to UK in 1994 from the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, Md., where she was chair of the department of human ecology. She has a doctorate in education administration from Iowa State University.


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