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It stands as the backbone of the University of Kentucky's commitment to leading the Commonwealth in education, research and service. At no time has the emphasis on undergraduate education and teaching through academic programs, research and community involvement at UK been greater.

The University of Kentucky Honors Program recently reorganized and refreshed it's curriculum, allowing leading faculty in the arts and humanities and in the social, natural and physical sciences to offer engaging courses from disciplines across the university's undergraduate colleges. The program saw a record number of applications for the 2013-2014 academic year.

"President Capilouto has expressed a vision of Honors as a magnet, an intellectually attractive program that draws students from Kentucky and other states to Lexington," Interim Associate Provost and Dean for Undergraduate Studies Benjamin C. Withers said. "The ultimate goal is to help create a program that will stand as a symbol for the quality of education that students can get at UK, calling attention to the excellent teachers and students found in every college and department on campus."

Teaching the next generation of researchers, UK will also shine bright as a beacon for undergraduate research in the coming year. UK will host the 2014 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), the largest conference of its kind.

This past year at NCUR 2013, more than 30 UK students, some even in their first year, traveled to Wisconsin to present research that ranged from studies about parasitic fish whose genome could lead to new insights on cancer, to investigations of EIAV, a horse virus similar to HIV.

The UK Office of Undergraduate Research pairs faculty mentors with undergraduate students to facilitate the optimal teaching and research experience for students.

Programs such as The Chellgren Center Student Fellows Program also demonstrate that some of the most important teaching at UK occurs outside of the classroom.

Chellgren Student Fellows learn about the many ways they can enrich their academic skills, broaden their minds and embellish their credentials through service learning and community engagement, among many other initiatives.

"Experiences like service learning are invaluable in enabling students to expand their horizons in ways that promote life-long learning and start them on a path toward engaged citizenship," said Phil Kraemer, chair of the Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence.

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