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New Director of the Gaines Center

A new director for The Gaines Center for the Humanities has been announced.  Read more about it in a message from Dr. Ben Withers, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education below: 

Dear Colleagues:

Following a national search, I am pleased to be able to announce that Dr. Phil Harling, a Distinguished Service Professor in UK’s History Department, has accepted the offer to become the next Director of the Gaines Center for the Humanities (subject to approval by the BoT) .

Dr. Harling was selected from a strong, national field of applicants. From this field, the search committee identified four finalists, including Dr. Harling, each with impressive records of accomplishment in teaching, research, and service.

Dr. Harling has taught at UK since 1992. Building on his doctoral work at Princeton University, he has developed an international reputation as a scholar of British history, witnessed by his appointment as a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2012. At UK, he was promoted to full professor in 2002, and has held the Chellgren Endowed Chair for Undergraduate Excellence and the Theodore Hallam Professorship in the College of Arts and Science. He is one of this year’s recipients of the Provost Teaching Award, one of UK’s highest honors. In addition, he has served as Associate Dean of Faculty and as Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

It is this combination of recognized excellence in research and teaching, combined with his extensive service to UK and his knowledge of the administrative workings of our university that makes Dr. Harling an ideal Director for the Gaines Center. His skills and background fit closely with the needs of the Center as identified in the unit’s last External Review. Using his knowledge of the faculty and staff at UK,  he will work to improve the visibility of the Gaines Center on campus at the same time as he builds the already solid reputation of the Center in the community and extends the academic opportunities of the Gaines Scholars. I am confident that he will contribute to the growing sense of community in the Academy of Undergraduate Excellence even as he maintains the unique sense of purpose that defines the Gaines Center. He will help us all make sure that the Gaines Center remains one of UK’s defining features, providing an unparalleled opportunity for undergraduates to explore ideas, discover their own voices, and learn from UK’s best faculty and staff

My thanks to Prof. David E. Hamilton for leading the search and to the search committee members: Prof. Carol A. Mason (Gender and Women’s Studies), Melody J. Flowers (Gaines Alumna and UK Staff), Dominque Luster (Gaines Fellowship, Class of 2014) Prof. Richard Smith (Psychology); Prof. Ben Arnold (Music), Lisa Broome (Gaines Center), The Honorable Jennifer Coffman (Gaines Center Board), and Steve Grossman (Gaines Center Board).

-- Dr. Ben Withers

Read more from UKNow

Learn more about the Gaines Center

Learn more about Dr. Harling

Phil Harling