Campus News

What Beagles Can Teach Us About Alzheimer's Disease

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 17:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 30, 2015) -- A commentary by Elizabeth Head, Ph.D., of the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging was recently featured on the website, "The Conversation," an independent source of news and views from the academic and research community.


"What Can Beagles Teach Us About Alzheimer's Disease?" chronicles insights from Head's research with aging beagles, which began more than 20 years ago.


"It turns out that dogs are arguably the best reflection of our own aging process, both behaviorally and physiologically," Head says. "If we can find ways to improve brain health in old dogs, there's hope that these approaches can translate to healthy aging in people as well. One of the unique aspects to helping our older dogs be healthy is that we can engage in the same behaviors with them, and in turn, keep our own brains healthy."


Head's commentary appears in its entirety below.  A link to the article on The Conversation is


Every 67 seconds someone in the United States is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and new estimates suggest that it may be the third leading cause of death of older people.


Alzheimer’s disease is associated with losses in memory in older people that become severe enough over time to interfere with normal daily functions. Other signs of Alzheimer’s include changes in the ability to communicate, losses in language, decreased ability to focus and to pay attention, impairments in judgment and other behavioral changes.


People with Alzheimer’s disease experience changes in their brains (which we can see in autopsies). Over the course of the disease, clumps of protein (called senile plaques) and tangles in neurons (called neurofibrillary tangles) accumulate. These plaques and tangles interfere with how the brain works and disrupt connections that are important for intact learning and memory ability.


The majority of studies to develop treatments for Alzheimer’s disease use mice that are genetically modified to produce human proteins with mutations. But these mutations are usually present in less than 5 percent of people with Alzheimer’s disease. This limitation can make it difficult to translate benefits of a treatment tested in mouse studies to people. However, there are several animals that naturally develop human-like brain changes that look much like Alzheimer’s disease, including dogs.

Old dogs, new research tricks

Old dogs may teach us a great deal about aging. As dogs get older, some develop learning and memory problems, much like we do. And like people, not all old dogs become impaired. Indeed, some old dogs remain bright and able to learn just as well as younger dogs, although they may be a little slower in reaching high levels of performance.


When an older dog has cognitive problems, we may see them as changes in behavior that can be disruptive to the relationship between owners and pets. For example, an old dog with cognitive problems may forget to signal to go outside, may be up at night and sleep all day, or have trouble recognizing people or other pets in the family. This is similar to a person with Alzheimer’s disease who may have difficulty communicating, disrupted sleep/wake cycles and trouble remembering family and friends.


When aged dogs show cognitive changes not caused by other systemic illnesses, they are related to brain changes that are strikingly similar to people. For example, old dogs develop senile plaques in their brains that are made of a protein that is identical to one that humans produce. This protein, called beta-amyloid, is toxic to cells in the brain.


Unlike mice and rats, old dogs naturally develop significant brain pathology like we see in people. In this way, aging dogs may resemble aging humans in a more natural or realistic way than mice with genetic mutations.


There are many other changes in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease that are similar in aging dogs. These include changes in the blood vessels of the brain, the accumulation of damaged proteins and losses in cells, and chemicals that support cells in the brain. These changes may be modified by lifestyle factors.

Healthy living, healthy aging

There are many reports of how our lifestyle can be good or bad for aging. The food we eat can be a potent contributor to how our brains age. For example, several studies in people show that antioxidant-enriched diets (including lots of fruits and vegetables) and the Mediterranean diet are associated with healthier brain aging.


Physical exercise and good cardiovascular health also appear to be associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and cerebrovascular disease, which is a cause of dementia. Keeping your brain active and challenged with puzzles, brain games and an engaging social life, are all linked to better memory and less risk of disease and studies are ongoing in people to measure the effects systematically.

Beagles and the brain

Dogs may be very well suited to help us understand how these lifestyle factors help our brains as we get older. Our lab initially began studying beagles in the early 1990s, as there was interest in developing a drug to treat “dog dementia” based on pet owners observations of changes in behavior in their older dogs. At that time, little was known about learning and memory changes in aging dogs (beagles over eight years of age) and our earliest research was designed to find ways to systematically measure these changes.


The first step in doing this was to teach dogs to look at different objects (for example a Lego block or a toy truck) and learn that one of the two always hid a food reward. When we switched the food reward to the object that was previously not rewarded, older dogs kept choosing the wrong object. Young dogs very quickly switched over to the new object.

When we counted the number of errors dogs make to learn the problem, old dogs made many more errors overall. Interestingly, not all old dogs were impaired. Another subset of old dogs showed significant losses in their ability to remember information and some showed changes in their ability to be “flexible” in changing behaviors.


This is very similar to people. Not everyone ages in the same way – some people remain sharp as tacks well into their older years. After measuring learning and memory changes in dogs, we next studied the brain changes that were most strongly linked to these cognitive losses. We found that senile plaques in the brains of old dogs were more frequent in the animals that had learning and memory problems. In our more recent studies, we have been seeking ways to improve brain health in old dogs with the hope that these approaches can translate to healthy aging in people.


For instance, in several studies of aging in beagles, we have found that a diet rich in antioxidants that includes vitamins E and C, and importantly, fruits and vegetables, can lead to wonderful benefits in learning and memory ability that can be maintained for years.

For example, dogs that had trouble remembering where they had seen a food reward (this is an example of spatial memory) showed significant improvements in their memory over time. Also, old dogs showed rapid improvements in their ability to modify their behaviors when the rules had changed in the task they were learning (an example of enhanced executive function).


In addition, providing dogs with physical exercise, social enrichment and “brain games” (like the food reward game) can also significantly improve cognition as they get older.


If we take these factors into account, we may be able to engage in strategies and lifestyle changes that will be good for both species. Exercise, social interaction, learning new tricks – participating in the same activities with our aged companion animals, the benefits will be twofold: for them and for us.


The Conversation ​launched in the U.S. last year. and is funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.



UK Home to First Collegiate Presentation of Live Orchestration of '2001: A Space Odyssey'

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 15:59


Video by Jenny Wells/UK Public Relations and Marketing. 


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 29, 2015) — This weekend the Singletary Center for the Arts and the University of Kentucky School of Music will make history in presenting a live orchestration of Stanley Kubrick’s legendary film, “2001: A Space Odyssey,” featuring the UK Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John Nardolillo, and the UK Chorale, conducted by Jefferson Johnson. This will be the first-ever performance of the repertoire by a university orchestra and chorus. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, and 3 p.m. Sunday Feb. 1, in the Singletary Center Concert Hall.


Highly regarded as the most groundbreaking sci-fi movie of all time, "2001" is a masterpiece achievement of artistic innovation in cinema. Known for its astute integration of music in film, it features a score like none other. From the iconic first notes of Richard Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra” to the gentle drift of Johann Strauss’ “Blue Danube Waltz” and the dramatic tension of Gyorgy Ligeti’s contemporary compositions for orchestra and choir, the power and beauty of the score accompany breathtaking large-format scenes of outer space exploration to create an unforgettable journey “beyond the infinite.”


This program has been presented by an exclusive selection of the world’s greatest orchestras including the London Philharmonia Symphony, The New York Philharmonic, The Brussels Symphony, and the National Symphony. The UK Symphony Orchestra and UK Chorale have the prestigious honor of being the first university ensembles to perform this concert. 


"It will be a full orchestra on stage with a full chorus doing all of the sound effects and music from the movie score, and above the orchestra and chorus will be a full screen movie of '2001: A Space Odyssey' with special projectors and sound systems that we had to scour the United States to find. It's basically a technical feat for our hall to stage this show but our technical director, Tanya Harper, and our crew have figured it out and it's going to be pretty exciting," said Michael Grice, director of the Singletary Center.


UK's presentation of "2001" is the product of a successful partnership between Nardolillo and Grice. The pair began working together in 2008 to identify major artists and musical opportunities to highlight the talents of UK students with some of the world's best artists and programs.


The magnitude of these opportunities and being given the opportunity to be the first university ensemble to perform "2001" is not lost on the students. "That's where the pressure hits. Our parts are actually from the New York Phil, one of the top orchestras in the world. So now the pressure is on us to have the caliber of music that they do. That's an honor to be playing on parts that they performed with as a collegiate orchestra," said Nathan Williams, arts administration and music performance senior from Louisville, who plays the French horn.


While UK's students are used to playing and singing a myriad of masterpieces by the world's most celebrated conductors, "2001" stretches their musical muscles with the unearthly, unusual sounds evoking space travel.


To be prepared for such a different concert, UK Chorale had to develop its own rehearsal methods beyond just screening the film. "2001" calls for approximately 20 individual sounds from the vocalists performed in a group. In order to be ready to sing the notes given to them, members of UK Chorale practiced not only as a group but often individually with their smart phones and metronome apps that helped them properly time their individual parts.


"It's a wonderful experience. It has definitely helped us grow a lot as an ensemble and as individual musicians because it is very challenging music. It demands a lot of outside of class work and it is definitely a lot of ear training for all of us, so it is helping us become better musicians," said Laura Salyer, a December 2014 vocal performance graduate from Lexington.


Since Nardolillo took the conductor's podium of the UK Symphony Orchestra, it has enjoyed great success accumulating recording credits and sharing the stage with such acclaimed international artists as Itzhak Perlman, Lynn Harrell, Marvin Hamlisch, as well as the Boston Pops. In addition to its own concerts, the orchestra provides accompaniment for much of the UK Opera Theatre season. UK Symphony Orchestra is one of a very select group of university orchestras under contract with Naxos, the world's largest classical recording label. To see the UK Symphony Orchestra's season brochure, visit


The UK Chorale is the premier mixed choral ensemble at UK School of Music. The ensemble consists mostly of upperclassmen and graduate students. While the majority of singers are music majors, there are a number of other academic disciplines represented within the ensemble. The Chorale prides itself in performing a wide variety of choral literature from Renaissance to 21st Century.


Tickets prices range from $40 to $30 for the general public, and $20 for UK students, faculty and staff (all tickets subject to box office fees). Tickets can be purchased via the  Singletary Center Box Office by phone at 859-257-4929, online at or in person.


A part of the UK College of Fine Arts, the Singletary Center for the Arts presents and hosts around 400 artistic, cultural and educational events annually for the university community, Lexington community, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.




MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716;

Public Forum, Opportunity to Shape Transportation Master Plan, Set for Jan. 29

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 15:14



Watch the livestream of the second Transportation Master Plan public forum from 2:30-4 p.m. Thursday, Jan, 29 in Pavilion A Auditorium at Chandler Hospital.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 29, 2015)  The University of Kentucky will host a public forum — an opportunity for community members to provide input and shape the Transportation Master Plan — Thursday, Jan. 29, from 2:30-4 p.m. in the Pavilion A Auditorium at Chandler Hospital.


UK has begun work on a Transportation Master Plan aimed at improving access and mobility to, from and around campus for all members of the UK community.


As part of the planning process, the university is seeking input and feedback on both the challenges facing the university in terms of transportation, parking and mobility, as well as ideas about potential solutions.


Sasaki, a Boston-based planning firm, was selected to develop the UK Transportation Master Plan. Working with Sasaki consultants to ensure integration with the overall Campus Master Plan, the university is holding two forums open to the public. The first was held on Wednesday, Jan. 28, in the Student Center.


Additionally, community members are encouraged to visit the Transportation Master Plan website to receive updates and submit feedback.




MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365;

UK Division of Instructional Communication and Research Hosts Annual Basic Course Director’s Conference

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 13:43

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 29, 2015) — The Division of Instructional Communication and Research housed in the University of Kentucky School of Library and Information Science hosted the 53rd annual Basic Course Director’s Conference at the Lexington Hyatt Regency Jan. 22-24.  


A different university hosts the annual conference each year, and this was first year UK earned the bid to do so. The conference planning team, led by Brandi Frisby, consisted of Amy Gaffney, Deanna Sellnow, Marjorie Buckner, Michael Strawser and Mary Ann Nestmann.


The conference theme was “Building on the Basics: Renovation and Innovation in the Basic Course” and attracted program directors, directors of undergraduate studies, department chairs, deans, publishers and graduate students from institutions across the country.


Historically, conference attendance is intentionally held to between 75 and 100 participants. This size allows for an intimate, productive and interactive conference. The 90 participants that attended this year hailed from 21 states and 46 universities and included 37 first-time attendees.


The conference participants focused on issues related to administering, revising and assessing the basic course including, for example, best practices for using new technologies; employing online and hybrid course delivery formats; integrating and assessing listening; promoting the value of the basic course on campus and in the community; training graduate teaching assistants; and managing organizational change. The participants heard from keynote speaker Steve McSwain on the power of listening and enjoyed dinner music from the Taylor-Murtaugh Duo from the University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts. To conclude the conference, many attendees joined a social gathering to learn about Kentucky bourbon at the Town Branch distillery.


“This conference always brings together so many passionate and engaged administrators and administrators-to-be," the primary conference planner, Brandi Frisby, said. "It is a great opportunity for us to share both challenges and solutions to common issues associated with administering a basic communication course, which is so critical to student development and success as they progress through their studies at the university.  We leave the conference feeling rejuvenated and inspired each year. This year was no different.”




MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365;

UK's Moecher Receives NSF Grant to Understand Magma Formation in Earth's Crust

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 10:58

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 29, 2015) — Dave Moecher, University of Kentucky professor and chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, has been awarded a $155,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to understand how the Earth's crust produces magma, specifically, how unusually hot granites were formed 1 billion years ago.


The grant, a collaborative effort with Scott Samson and students at Syracuse University, will support two years of research from a UK graduate student, undergraduate student and at least one Lexington high school student, who will each work on a different component of the research. Undergraduate and high school students will not only work alongside the graduate student and Moecher, but will also have a hypothesis to test or problem to find the solution for.


Moecher, who has received two previous grants related to his research on the formation and evolution of the Earth's crust, will use this grant to prove the existence of 900-1,100 degrees Celsius granite magma in the crust, well above the average temperature of hot granites (700-800 degrees Celsius). Moecher says in the last decade, he and his team have identified a period in Earth's history, approximately 1 billion years ago, when there appears to be widespread production of this unusually hot granite magma.  


Exposed in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, Moecher and his team have discovered what they think to be abnormally hot granites, produced when a large chunk of the North American crust was formed. Moecher says that chunk of crust underlies the eastern third of North America and is exposed in several places in the Appalachian Mountains, Adirondack Mountains, eastern Canadian Shield, and in drill holes that penetrate to “basement” rocks, otherwise known as the "crystalline rocks beneath the sedimentary rock layers one sees in road cuts driving around Kentucky."


Extremely hot granites require that conditions in the lower crust and mantle, where magma is generated, were hotter than usual 1 billion years ago, and were hotter across a very large area. One hypothesis for how the crust became so hot is the "lid" hypothesis. The lid theory proposes that the large expanse of existing crust kept a lid on the heat generated in the core and deep mantle, which is normally dissipated by continents breaking up and drifting apart (plate tectonics).


"However, to test the "lid" hypothesis, we must first prove that the purportedly "hot granites" were in fact hot. That is what we plan to prove with our new grant," said Moecher. 




MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396,

A&S Alum Builds New Internship Program for A&S Students

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 16:49

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 28, 2015) — Despite differences in subject matter and methods, students in disciplines like biology and English have some common ground: they are part of the College of Arts and Sciences. Recently, this common ground connected two University of Kentucky alumni who graduated over 30 years apart.


Bob Burke graduated from UK with a degree in sociology in 1970 and Casey Robinson with a degree in mathematical economics in 2014. Their shared ties to A&S led to a valuable opportunity for Robinson, made possible by Burke. On a sunny day last spring, Robinson and Burke met for lunch to celebrate their plans.


Since graduating, Burke has built a successful career in the insurance industry. He is the president and CEO of Colonial Group in Greensboro, N.C. Thanks to Burke, the Colonial Group has partnered with American Modern in Cincinnati, Ohio, to offer an internship exclusively for a UK A&S student.


Robinson was the first recipient of the internship, which he worked at in the summer months of 2014. Burke recalled that the applicant pool was impressive, but Robinson gave a great interview and “came out on top with Colonial and American Modern votes.”


In explaining his reasoning for developing this internship specifically for A&S students, Burke said, “Since I graduated with a degree from A&S and ended up in the insurance business, I thought the opportunity for this kind of experience would be something of value for an A&S student. Also the insurance industry is one that covers all aspects of life, for most everyone purchases insurance of some sort during their lifetime.”


For Robinson, the internship fit his own career plans. He said, “I had an interest in becoming an actuary, which are primarily hired by insurance companies. Because of that, I wanted to see how the insurance business worked and this internship would allow me to shadow employees in different areas of insurance.”


Robinson spent four weeks at Colonial Group (a wholesale agency) and four weeks at American Modern (an insurance carrier). This was a paid internship that even provided housing for Robinson in both Greensboro and Cincinnati, Burke noted. Having just finished his degree, Robinson said that through his experiences at both companies, he “was able to see how math and economics were combined to solve real life problems.”


With the help of the staff at Colonial Group and American Modern, Robinson learned about the insurance industry, how to run a business, and the art of sales.


The insurance underwriters and actuaries he worked with helped Robinson become familiar with policy inspection and risk — important aspects of the industry. He and a different intern did a final presentation to the staff at Colonial Group about their experiences — a video of which can be seen here.


Robinson’s favorite part of the job was “going on sales trips with the agents and learning how the different sales agents built rapport and gained trust from customers.” He and Burke agreed that the skills Robinson developed through his internship will give him an advantage as he moves up the career ladder.


Looking back on his experiences, Robinson talked about Burke as a mentor, saying Burke “mentored me by encouraging me to take chances in my career and helped me understand that failing is part of the process and to not be afraid to fail.” This is the kind of insight that can only come from someone with years of valuable professional experience.


Currently, Robinson lives in Bardstown, Kentucky, and is a medical claims processor at ACS Healthcare Provider Solutions. He hopes to begin working toward an MBA. Burke confirmed that Colonial Group and American Modern want to continue the internship each year.




MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396,

Applications Available for SGA President, Senate

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 13:05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 28, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Student Government Association is now accepting applications for president and vice president, college senators and senators-at-large for the 2015-16 academic year. Applications are available at


The election timeline and rules can be found on the website by clicking on the link to the application.


The due date for completed applications is noon Wednesday, Feb. 4. All completed applications must be turned in to the SGA office in 120 Student Center. No late applications will be accepted.


The SGA elections, which will take place March 4-5, 2015, will include voting for president and vice president, college senators and senators-at-large (for both undergraduate and graduate students).  


More information about voting will be available as the election date approaches. For any questions regarding the elections, email Elections Board Chair Julia Vega at or SGA advisor David Wright at



SGA CONTACT: Blair Hoover,

MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett,, 859-257-1909

Signups Still Open for UK Economic Outlook Conference

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 12:01

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan.  28, 2015)  While more than 200 people already have registered for the 26th Annual Economic Outlook Conference to be held in downtown Lexington Tuesday, Feb. 3, there still is space available. The event is presented by the Don and Cathy Jacobs Executive Education Center at the University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics, in cooperation with Commerce Lexington, Inc. and The Lane Report


The Lexington Convention Center is the event site with registration and continental breakfast from 8 to 8:30 a.m. and the conference itself from 8:30 to noon. 


Expert speakers and presenters this year include:


·         Christopher J. Waller, senior vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Waller is a former faculty member at the Gatton College. His principal research interests are monetary theory, political economy, and macroeconomic theory.


·         Jennifer A. Hunt, deputy assistant secretary for economic analysis at the U.S. Department of Treasury and former chief economist at the Department of Labor. Her research is on unemployment and unemployment policy, immigration, wage inequality, the science and engineering workforce, transition economics, crime, and corruption.


·         Christopher R. Bollinger, director of UK's Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) and Gatton Endowed Professor of Economics in the Gatton College. Bollinger will provide an overview of the economic outlook for 2015, highlighting the relationships between the local, state, and national economies.


·         Kenneth R. Troske, senior associate dean for administration, faculty and research and Sturgill Endowed Professor of Economics in the Gatton College. Troske's presentation will focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the Kentucky economy.


·         Merl Hackbart, director of UK's Martin School of Public Policy and Administration and Gatton Endowed Professor of Finance and Public Administration, will serve as conference moderator.


"This annual conference  provides an outstanding opportunity for business leaders and other interested citizens to hear from experts on a range of issues impacting our economy," said David W. Blackwell, dean of the Gatton College. "The event never fails to be compelling and extremely informative."


In addition to the presentation, this year’s schedule includes audience participation in the form of Q&A with the entire panel, followed by Q&A breakout sessions with each speaker toward the end of the program.  


Early registration is recommended for the 26th Annual Economic Outlook conference and can be done online. The registration fee of $115 includes continental breakfast and all materials.  For groups of five or more, a discounted registration fee of $100 per person is offered.


For more information, visit




MEDIA CONTACT: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200;

UK Sanders-Brown Researcher Receives NIH Grant Totaling $1.1 Million

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 10:45

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 27, 2015) -- Dr. Gregory J. Bix of the University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, has been awarded a $1.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study a promising treatment for ischemic stroke.


The five-year grant expands Bix's earlier research on a protein called Perlecan Domain V, which appears to foster healing after strokes caused by blood clots in the brain.


"Perlecan seems to promote neurorepair in endothelial cells by blocking a receptor called A5B1 Integrin," Bix said. "In fact, genetically engineered mice that are completely deficient in the A5B1 receptor in endothelial cells show amazingly little to no injury after a stroke."  


"It's therefore logical to postulate that eliminating the A5B1 Integrin receptor in brain blood vessel cells or blocking its activity early on after an ischemic stroke may be profoundly neuroprotective," he added.


In other words, Bix and his lab will use this grant to go backwards, in a sense, to study A5B1 integrin itself, its role in ischemic stroke, and its potential as a therapeutic target in ischemic stroke. 


The Bix lab has identified two molecules known to block the A5B1 Integrin receptor:  ATN-161, a peptide that has been used in clinical trials for brain cancer, and a modified experimental version of this peptide that is predicted to be even more effective at blocking the receptor.  


"It's obviously better to intervene early and prevent or minimize the effects of stroke than to try to repair the damage after the fact," Dr. Bix explains. "So if ATN-161 or its modified version are effective, and since at least ATN-161 has an established safety track record in people, it might very nicely lend itself to human stroke clinical trials."


According to Dr. Linda Van Eldik, director at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, Dr. Bix's work on new treatments for ischemic stroke is extremely timely.


"Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the US and a leading cause of disability, yet the current treatment strategy for strokes caused by blood clots has barriers to its use and, even when indicated, has mixed results," Van Eldik said. "There is an urgent need for new and better stroke therapies, which makes Greg's work both sorely needed and highly promising."

UK Faculty Invited to Grand Opening of Faculty Media Depot

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 10:24


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 28, 2015) — An opening reception is set for Jan. 30 to celebrate the Faculty Media Depot and its services for University of Kentucky faculty. UK Analytics and Technologies’ Academic Technology Group (ATG) and the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) are bringing together technology and pedagogy in the depot, nestled away in the Science Library, located in the M.I. King Library.


The opening reception for the Faculty Media Depot will take place from 9 to11 a.m. Friday, Jan.30, with the official opening and ribbon cutting at 10:15 a.m. All UK faculty are invited to stop by to tour the space and chat with staff. Coffee and refreshments will be provided.


The new recording studio and editing facility is open to all UK faculty looking to develop video and interactive instructional materials for their courses. The Faculty Media Depot, located in Room 213H of the Science Library, is a technology and media facility staffed and supported by ATG’s Office of eLearning, also located in the King Library. Within the new space, faculty can reserve time in two recording studios: a voiceover recording studio for screen capture and narrating course lectures, and a larger studio for multi-camera video productions to be recorded or streamed live.


A common workspace also provides drop-in support for faculty to learn how to implement educational technologies in the classroom. Faculty may make appointments to consult with eLearning staff and/or CELT staff, or may arrange for other collaborations to take place in the Faculty Media Depot.


An innovative teaching option available to faculty in the larger studio is a Lightboard enabling faculty to present to their audience in a frontward facing manner, demonstrated in the video below, in contrast to the back and forth of a traditional whiteboard or blackboard. Integrating this tool with the existing set of multi-media production tools enables the creation of inventive and engaging lectures in a recorded format.


The Lightboard came to the Faculty Media Depot as the result of an eLearning Innovation Initiative (eLII) grant with the faculty from the Department of Statistics. Conceptualized during the early state of the collaborative process between the faculty grant winners and representatives from CELT and eLearning, the Lightboard became a centerpiece for the initiative, which took the time and industriousness of Derek Eggers at CELT and Alex Cutadean of eLearning. 


"While CELT and eLearning used the open-source hardware plans developed by Dr. Michael Peshkin at Northwestern University, Derek and Alex have contributed some significant design and technology improvements that took this Lightboard to the next level,” said Christopher Rice, associate director for teaching and technology at CELT. “Changes such as the use of software to perform the image reversal and the inclusion of a Kinect 2 and a contact film on the Lightboard to enable 3-D manipulation of content by instructors is a marked improvement to the original concept. I’m proud of both Derek and Alex for making contributions like this to the open-source hardware Lightboard community that will help improve the student and faculty experience not only at the University of Kentucky, but at other universities that will be adopting the Lightboard technology."


“The Lightboard offers a whole new range of possibilities for blended and online learning. It allows for more dynamic and integrated presentations than voice-over PowerPoints or Kahn Academy-style tablet presentations,” said William Rayens, a professor in the Department of Statistics and the lead for the eLII grant. “One can even imagine professors using this type of setup in front of a large lecture hall, with the real-time camera feeds being dispersed to screens and personal devices around the room – or even around the world. There are just so many possibilities. Our first priority in the Department of Statistics will be to use it to develop and deploy the content for our new online master's program. We are confident that it is the ideal medium to communicate highly technical, graphical, and computational material to a remote audience. We can’t wait to get started.”


Initially, the Department of Statistics will be given priority for scheduling Lightboard sessions as they develop the content for their new online master's program. CELT and eLearning, however, look forward to working with a variety of faculty to create their own pedagogically innovative uses for the Lightboard and Media Depot space.


Sarah Wylie VanMeter is one of the first instructors who has been able to experience the Faculty Media Depot firsthand while developing videos for her "Intro to Digital Art" course. This hybrid UKCore class, offered through the School of Art and Visual Studies, will include recordings of guest speakers discussing and displaying their artwork using the audio and visual resources of the Faculty Media Depot.


VanMeter voiced her enthusiasm at the opportunities offered in the space. “I was so excited and inspired by the outfitting, including two Black Magic cameras, excellent lighting, and a number of backdrop and furniture options. It was clear that there were a ton of possibilities for using the space. I couldn't stop thinking of the ways my courses and the students could benefit from it."


For more information about the Faculty Media Depot visit or call 859-218-5574.



   MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396,


Social Theory Seminar Intrigues Its Professors

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 09:42


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 29, 2015) — Sitting at the front of the room at a seminar table crowded with more University of Kentucky students than anyone imagined, professor Francie Chassen-Lopez said, “I always say I have one foot on either side of the border.”


Chassen-Lopez is one of four instructors teaching Social Theory 600, a College of Arts and Sciences graduate seminar called “Transnational Lives.” The professors include Ana LiberatoCristina Alcalde, and Steven Alvarez ‒ each representing a different discipline and approach to the course.


“What makes this so exciting,” Alcalde said, “is we’re all coming at this from different perspectives.”


In many ways, they all have one foot on either side of one kind of border or another ‒ be it a disciplinary border or geographical one. They all describe themselves as living transnational lives. As they introduced themselves on the first day of the Spring 2015 class, each one discussed their relationship with national borders and the foundation of their interest in topics of migration and identity. 


For instance, after studying and teaching in Mexico for 18 years, Chassen-Lopez returned to the U.S., an “immigrant in reverse,” as she put it. For over 20 years, she’s been teaching courses on Latin America at UK in the Department of History. She noted that her work keeps extending backwards in time, from her previous work on modern Mexico to more recent projects on Mexico in the 19th century.


A social inequalities faculty in Department of Sociology since 2007, Liberato studies race, ethnicity and gender in the context of migration. Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Liberato’s research is deeply connected to her experiences. One ongoing project centers on Dominican immigrants in Switzerland while another comparative project examines Dominican migration in Spain, Switzerland and the U.S. She’s also working on a project comparing Cuban and Dominican mobility.


Like the others, Alcalde explained that issues of transnationalism are both professional and personal for her. She has lived in England, the U.S. and Peru, which is where she was born. She is an associate professor in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies. One of her areas of interest is what she calls “return migration” among immigrants who go back to a place they had previously called home. Her current work “theorizes the ideas of home and belonging,” which changes, she explained, based on “different intersecting identities.”


Alvarez, an assistant professor in Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Media, explained his own transnational life as a child of parents who were born six miles on either side of the Mexican-U.S. border. His research has allowed him to “reconnect to my Mexican roots,” he said. Since coming to UK in 2011, Alvarez has worked with immigrant students in the area, and he has taught a course at UK on “Mexington,” a Latino community in Lexington. He is interested in exploring language and literary hybridity in the course.  


A few years ago, Liberato and Alcalde collaborated with Chassen-Lopez on a project about immigration, and the "Transnational Lives" course is an extension of that. As Liberato explained, “most immigrants in the world are transnational.” They invited Alvarez to join them so he could bring his literary expertise, as Chassen-Lopez explained, to the class.


Liberato and Alcalde have co-taught a course together before on migration, but this is the first time any of them will be teaching along with three other professors. Which begs the question: How is that even done? 


Every spring the Committee on Social Theory, which grants a graduate certificate, offers the team-taught seminar ‒ always with four professors. So, there is something of a template. Previous course themes/names for the seminar have included “Law, Sex, and Family,” “Autobiography,” and “Security.” But previous seminars may not have spoken so directly to the professors’ personal backgrounds as “Transnational Lives” does with this team of four.


Following the model of past seminars, Chassen-Lopez, Liberato, Alcalde, and Alvarez will each lead a three-week unit. This means each takes a turn as the primary instructor, picking the texts students will read and directing discussion. But all the professors participate in every class, learning along with the other students. Each unit culminates with a reflection paper, graded by the instructor in charge of that unit. 


Central to the three-week sections and to this curriculum is the integration of the Social Theory Spring Lecture Series. Beginning with Glick Schiller on Feb. 6, the series welcomes visiting scholars, who each delivers a public lecture. Students enrolled in the Social Theory 600 seminar get the added bonus of reading the scholar’s work and discussing it in class with the author. A reception follows where the conversations raised in the lecture and class can continue over food and wine.


disClosure, the Committee on Social Theory’s journal, will feature an issue on the course theme and include interviews with the guest speakers. The journal is edited by students pursuing the Social Theory Certificate, including those enrolled in “Transnational Lives.”


Professor Marion Rust, director of the Committee on Social Theory, said that the enrollment for “Transnational Lives” reached the cap on the first day it was open with graduate students in English, Hispanic studies, gender and women’s studies, education, anthropology and philosophy. 


The students mirror the professors’ excitement and investment in themes of identity, belonging, and migration. Many, likewise, live transnational lives, straddling one or more borders of all kinds. With a mix of disciplines and backgrounds, the faculty and students of “Transnational Lives” are sure to traverse rich territory together this semester. 




MEDIA CONTACT: Gail Hairston, 859-257-3302,

UK Operating on Regular Schedule Today

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 06:08

The University of Kentucky is open and operating on a regular schedule today, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015.  All offices are open and classes in session at their regular times.  All UK HealthCare hospitals and clinics are operating on a regular schedule.

'Green Talks' on WRFL Features Student Sustainability Efforts

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 17:01

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 27, 2015) — "Green Talks," a new weekly talk show on WRFL 88.1, is focusing on student-funded sustainability efforts at the University of Kentucky. With efforts ranging from bottle filling stations and outdoor recycling bins to keynote speakers and funding assistance for research, travel and symposia, there is a lot to talk about. Listen to the show from 4-4:30 p.m. every Wednesday.


Funding for these initiatives comes from a mandatory student fee called the Environmental Stewardship Fee, which was initiated in 2009. Each full-time UK student pays $3.25 per semester into the fund, which generates approximately $160,000 annually. A student organization, the Student Sustainability Council (SSC), was chartered in 2009 to oversee how the funds are spent and meets each month to review and vote on funding proposals submitted by the campus community. 


On "Green Talks," host Ellen Green, the director of outreach for the SSC, will interview faculty, staff and students who have received funding to implement projects, and will discuss the impacts these projects are having on students and the UK campus. 


The show launched on Jan. 14, and previous episodes will be available on WRFL's website. Below is a schedule and descriptions for upcoming shows. 

  • On Jan. 28, the show will focus on Amelia Baylon’s recent trip to the Dominican Republic to learn about human rights challenges in the global textile industry and the role universities can play in safeguarding those rights. 
  • On Feb. 4, "Green Talks" will focus on a partnership between the Student Sustainability Council and the Physical Plant Division to install a 30KW solar photovoltaic array on the roof of the Ralph G. Anderson Building.




MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396,

UK’s Bicycle Friendly University Status Upgraded to Silver

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 14:46

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 28, 2015) The University of Kentucky has improved its standing with the League of American Bicyclists as a Bicycle Friendly University. UK, which had previously been awarded the Bronze level designation, increased its standing to Silver as part of the fall 2014 award class. UK was one of only seven universities in this recent round of awards to improve their standing.


The Bicycle Friendly University program recognizes institutions of higher education for promoting and providing a more bicycle-friendly campus for students, employees and visitors. Applicants are judged on their initiatives in five categories: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation and planning.


Since the inception of the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly University recognition program in spring 2011, UK has steadily increased its standing. In the first award class in March 2011, UK earned honorable mention status. In the fall of 2012, the University moved up to the Bronze level designation, before ascending once again in 2014. There are now a total of 100 BFUs in 37 states and Washington, D.C.


The University’s Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC), a group headed by Parking and Transportation Services and composed of faculty, staff and students, was formed in 2011. This committee is responsible for steering many of the accomplishments that helped propel the University to Silver bicycle friendly status.


The Wildcat Wheels Bicycle Library (WWBL), a campus fixture since 2004, has continued to grow its fleet and services, which include a regular schedule of bike safety and maintenance classes. In the 2014 fall semester, a fleet of 160 new WWBL bikes, dubbed Big Blue Cycles, hit the road. The Big Blue Cycles program is a collaboration between the Office of the Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, Parking and Transportation Services and the Student Sustainability Council, resulting in residential students who signed a one-year car-free commitment being granted the use of an 8-speed commuter bicycle for the 2014-2015 academic year. Participants were also required to go through a hands-on orientation and safety training. Student Government provided locks for all bikes in the program, and the UK HealthCare Level I Trauma Program provided helmets.


The campus bicycle infrastructure dramatically improved in the past two years, including a 76 percent increase in paved shared use campus paths and a 30 percent increase in on-street bike lanes. Major roadway initiatives in the past two years include the addition of bike lanes to the final section connecting University Drive to Alumni Drive, bicycle lanes on Cooper Drive from Nicholasville Road to Sports Center Drive, and 75 sharrows – shared lane arrows – on two miles of streets near campus, which was done in collaboration with the city.


Additionally, UK began actively replacing, expanding and enhancing its bike parking infrastructure in 2012. Since that time, more than 750 bicycle parking spaces — representing 20 percent of the existing campus bicycle parking — have been upgraded. 


The BAC is also actively working to strategically expand the campus bicycle parking capacity in key academic areas. Approximately 200 new spaces have been added, including near the Thomas Hunt Morgan Biological Sciences Building, W.T. Young Library and the Student Center. Parking and Transportation Services funded more than 700 new bicycle parking spaces at the various new residential developments across campus, 188 of which are covered.


The BAC also holds bicycle education events throughout the year. Pedalpalooza, a bicycle education outreach event geared toward incoming students, has been held annually since 2012 as part of K Week. The event is designed to encourage students to use a bicycle as their primary mode of transportation and to equip them with the skills necessary to do so, and reaches approximately 1,000 students with bicycle skills challenges, stunt performers and giveaways. Bike Week has been held annually since 2013 as part of Earth Days in the Bluegrass, and includes 7-10 events aimed at educating and encouraging bicycle commuters and potential bike commuters.


To learn more about the Bicycle Friendly University program, visit A full list of Bicycle Friendly Universities can be found here. To learn more about the BAC, visit




MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365;

UK's Thelin Quoted in Washington Post

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 10:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 27, 2015) — University of Kentucky College of Education Professor John Thelin was recently quoted in a Friday, Jan. 23, Washington Post article titled, "Watch colleges spread across the country like confetti with this map that traces U.S. history."


In the article, Susan Svrluga examines an eCollegeFinder map visualization that tracks the growth of colleges offering four-year degrees. Svrluga says that the map gives a "vivid broad-brush look at the trend lines over time that historians have studied," and writes about the beginnings of colleges in the U.S., with Harvard College in 1636, and current trends of enrollment.


“We are a nation of college-builders,” said Thelin, who teaches educational policy studies and evaluation. Every new community wants the benefits and prestige of a college, he said. “It’s comparable to landing an NFL franchise; I recall the joy in Washington, D.C. when you got your major-league baseball team: It made you complete.”


After explaining the method eCollegeFinder used to create the map — using a list of four-year colleges from the U.S. Department of Education and eliminating online-only schools and those for which a founding date wasn't readily available — Svrluga goes on to comment on Thelin's expertise in the subject.


"But Thelin — who has so much expertise in this that he not only wrote a book, ' A History of American Higher Education' (Johns Hopkins University Press), but even, with a summer job in construction, helped build the University of California at Irvine — said the number of colleges is always a little fluid, since they close, merge, adapt."


To view the article, visit




MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396,

Public Forums, Opportunities to Provide Input on Transportation Master Plan, Set for Jan. 28,29

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 10:33

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 27, 2015) The University of Kentucky will host public forums — opportunities for community members to provide input and shape the Transportation Master Plan — on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.


UK has begun work on a Transportation Master Plan aimed at improving access and mobility to, from and around campus for all members of the UK community.


As part of the planning process, the university is seeking input and feedback on both the challenges facing the university in terms of transportation, parking and mobility, as well as ideas about potential solutions.


Sasaki, a Boston-based planning firm, was selected to develop the UK Transportation Master Plan. Working with Sasaki consultants to ensure integration with the overall Campus Master Plan, the university will hold two forums open to the public on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, Jan, 28, 9:30-11 a.m., in the Center Theater in the UK Student Center
  • Thursday, Jan. 29, 2:30-4 p.m. in the Pavilion A Auditorium at Chandler Hospital


Additionally, community members are encouraged to visit the Transportation Master Plan website to receive updates and submit feedback.




MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365;


Alessandro Brings Disney Marketing Magic to Kentucky

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 08:35

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 27, 2015) A senior marketing executive with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts will deliver the first Irwin Warren Lecture in Advertising and Digital Media. The Warren Lecture is a new lecture series in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications in the College of Communication and Information.


Jim Alessandro is senior vice president, marketing and sales strategy for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. His lecture is titled “Walt Disney: A Visionary Marketer.” 


Alessandro’s talk will show the evolution of the Disney Parks and Resorts division, and how its growth and evolution to a global portfolio of family vacation experiences, designed to take families nearly anywhere in the world, is directly tied to Walt Disney’s original vision for the brand. His talk will reinforce concepts such as the importance of consumer centricity and how Disney uses it to drive enhancements for its business. Alessandro will also talk about both his own role and the role of the Disney Parks and Resorts’ marketing and sales organization in the process.


Alessandro holds a business degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.


"It was a lecture during my junior year in college that confirmed my desire to pursue a career in marketing,” Alessandro said. “I’m honored to speak at the first Irwin Warren Lecture and hope that I can provide the same inspiration to others.”


Alessandro has been with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts since 1993. He previously worked in advertising at Foote, Cone and Belding, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Price McNabb Communications.


“This new lecture series is a wonderful addition to our Integrated Strategic Communication program,” said Beth Barnes, director of the School of Journalism and Telecommunications. “We’re delighted to welcome Jim Alessandro to the University of Kentucky as our first speaker. Many of our students either have interned at Disney or hope to do so, and I know they will benefit from Mr. Alessandro’s insights.”


Alessandro’s lecture will take place at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29, in the William T. Young Library auditorium.


The Irwin Warren Lecture in Advertising and Digital Media honors the memory of Warren who was the creator of some of the nation's most successful advertising campaigns. During an advertising career spanning more than 40 years, Warren worked at Doyle Dane Bernbach, BBDO and other leading agencies, before moving to McCann Erickson, the world's largest advertising agency, where he retired as senior creative director in 2006. The lecture series was established by Patrick Mutchler, a graduate of the School of Journalism and Telecommunications, who worked with Warren while in marketing with Johnson & Johnson.




MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365;

UK Partners with Community-Based Programs Working to Improve Access to Healthy Food

Sun, 01/25/2015 - 13:21





LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 26, 2015) — Valerie Horn spent most of her career as school counselor in Letcher County, Kentucky.  During that time, she worked with the BackPack Program, which provides healthy weekend meals for children.


"We had one kindergartener carrying around his backpack all week with a lock on it. That surely speaks to food security issues," she says.


According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly 50 million Americans experience food insecurity, meaning that they don't have reliable access to a sufficient amount of affordable, nutritious food. On a practical level, this means worrying about where your next meal — or your children's next meal — will come from. The causes of food insecurity are complex, including geographic access, affordability, and even knowledge of food preparation.


These days, Horn works to promote food security in her community as director of the Appal-TREE Project, which stands for Appalachians Together Restoring the Eating Environment, based in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Appal-TREE is a collaborative community research and demonstration project between Community Farm Alliance (CFA) and the University of Kentucky to increase access to healthy foods in eastern Kentucky. 


Mark Swanson, Ph.D., associate professor in UK's College of Public Health, serves as principal investigator of the National Institutes of Health grant that funds the Appal-TREE project. Other partners include Grow Appalachia, the Cowan County Community Center, and the Mountain Garden Initiative.


Unlike many research projects that require outlining a specific plan in order to compete for funding, the priorities and scope of Appal-TREE's work were determined by a Community Advisory Board after the grant was funded. The first year of the grant was dedicated to gathering community input through focus groups with community residents and conversations with key stakeholders.


"This project is unique in that the community got to determine the pathway and the goal of the grant funding," said Horn. "We wanted to talk to the people who have the most influence about food issues, as well as those people who are most affected by those decisions."


Horn is not new to this type of work. Before Appal-TREE, she worked extensively with Grow Appalachia and the local food pantry. She's also co-chair of the Letcher County Farmers Market. Her grassroots efforts represent what Horn sees as a growing awareness about local, healthy foods in Eastern Kentucky over the last several years. Collaborating with this existing local momentum and expertise, the Appal-TREE project brings in a research component and additional funding through UK's partnership.


"This is about seeing food as an economic development tool," says Swanson.  "The problems related to nutrition are ones that can be solved locally and they're not insurmountable. We have solutions in the communities. It's neat when UK can help communities solve own problems. We don’t know the solution — they do. It's the idea of paring academic knowledge with local expertise."


With the guidance of the Community Advisory Board, Appal-TREE will commit the remaining two years of the grant to several key projects, two of which focus on schools. The first is a "water first" campaign to encourage middle and high school students to choose water over sugary drinks. The middle and high schools in Letcher County are being outfitted with water bottle filling stations, and each student will receive a stainless steel water bottle customized with their school colors and mascot. The filling stations will provide filtered water, which Horn hopes will help to increase water consumption by filtering out the high chlorine levels that can give the water a bad taste.


Modeled after the Better Bites program in Lexington, Kentucky, the second project will focus on increasing healthy options in school concession stands. Horn acknowledges that one of the challenges will be increasing healthy snacks without disrupting the revenue of these concession stands, which provides funding for extracurricular activities.


"We'd like to work with the schools to help them see that at a ball game, you can still make money selling snacks that are less harmful," she says.


Another Appal-TREE project will provide healthy food options for county children when school is out of the summer. The summer feeding program, which began last summer as a partnership between the Letcher County school system and CFA, serves free, healthy, local food to anyone under 18 at the Saturday farmer's market. A meal is only $1.50 for adults.


"On Saturday mornings, we would buy food from the growers," Horn explains. "We have a trailer that was donated by the Mountain Shrine Club, and we prepared the food right there at the market. The meals were usually smoothies with yogurt and fresh fruit, a breakfast wrap with fresh eggs (which is pretty novel in the school food system), local meats from the Chop Shop and fresh vegetables — a nice whole meal."


Appal-TREE will also organizing six programs of free cooking classes throughout Letcher County. Each program will include six sessions that emphasize healthy food on a budget. Participants will receive basic kitchen supplies like a chef's knife and measuring cup, key ingredients for each recipe, and a grocery card to use on a grocery tour and meal-planning trip. Local chef Regina Niece, of Four Star Village, will lead the classes.


"(Niece) has been a chef/caterer for about 20 years, and just as importantly, she's been a mother of young children on a budget. If you've ever been there, you'll remember it," says Horn.


Horn knows that food is fundamental to any community, and that there's a rich culture of cooking in eastern Kentucky.


"Food is tied to so many things here -- when there's a funeral, dining room tables are covered with cakes and dumplings and just the best of food. We have wonderful cooks here," she says. "I say that it's like being a talented musician and learning another instrument — it's just learning another way to make food."


Plating it Up in Clay County

In nearby Clay County, UK extension agent Lora Lee Frazier Howard also works to promote food security through community cooking classes. In late 2014, Howard was named Educator of the Year, and an award exemplified by her commitment to the health of the communities she works with. For the last three years, Howard has presented the Plate it Up Cooking School in Clay County.


Each cooking class uses recipes from Plate it Up Kentucky Proud, a partnership between UK Cooperative Extension Service, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, and the University of Kentucky School of Human Environmental Sciences. The project project provides healthy, tasty recipes using Kentucky Proud products. Recipes and a seasonal food chart are available at  


In each class, Howard demonstrates how to prepare three Plate it Up recipes, sharing the nutritional information and letting the participants taste each dish. The main ingredients are always a vegetable, fruit, or meat that could be raised, produced, and harvested in Kentucky. She says that about 75 percent of cooking class participants keep their own gardens. Additionally, the UK extension service helped to start Clay County's first farmers' market last summer.


"One of my next recipes will be broccoli chowder," she says. "In class I would tell you that this is a vegetable that you could grow in your garden, harvest, and prepare for your family. And you could you store it — maybe freeze it for later use," she explains. "The idea is that if you see this demonstrated recipe and you can taste it, then you're more likely to make it at home."


Howard also runs a program called the Art of Canning to teaches families how to can their own food.


"Canning is a heritage skill, and there's a need to share that with people who have never done it before, or we'll lose it," she says. "This program allowing families to have access to better food — they know what they're eating, and they're learning a new skill.


She also hopes that the cooking classes create opportunities for participants to see that what they eat affects how they feel.


"There's a need for individuals to realize that the food that they eat impacts how their body maintains itself," she says "It impacts how you feel today, but also the food that you eat today will impact the body, 10, 15 or 20 years from now. A lot of people don’t understand that."



Media Contact: Mallory Powell,

UK Dance Minor 'Captures Momentum'

Sat, 01/24/2015 - 04:23

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 26, 2015) — Capitalizing on the growth of the dance program at the university, dance students of the University of Kentucky Department of Theatre and Dance will leap into the semester with “Capture Momentum,” the program’s fourth annual dance concert, Jan. 30–Feb. 1, at Guignol Theatre.


“Capture Momentum” includes performances by UK dance minors performing works by guest choreographers Derrick Evans, Theresa Bautista and Stephanie Harris as well as by Susie Thiel, the director of the UK Dance Program.


Derrick Evans’ work, “11,” is a jazz dance set on 11 dance minor students that takes place in the near future on top of a skyscraper as the sun is about to rise. The sleek arrangement of the song “Here Comes The Sun,” the vocals of Nina Simone and this talented cast of dancers inspired the movement. Evans has danced in both the concert world and the commercial world, as well as with Michael Jackson.


Without identity, are we significant asks Louisville-based choreographer Theresa Bautista as she questions the relevance of identity in her new work, “Signification,” set on seven dancers. Her descripton of the piece on the Caputre Momentum website: "Who we are begins with the mentoring and teaching from others and continues to be shaped by our personal experiences from choices we make. Whether we accept or reject the labels others use to define us, we often cannot escape them. As we struggle to find our place in the world, memorabilia is collected signifying important markers in our lives. In the end what may define us most is what we leave behind for others."


Lexington artist Stephanie Harris’ work “Confluence” begins with an examination of the balance between our internal and external dialogue and how they both play a powerful role in relationships. The website description of the work: "Often times the things we tell ourselves and what we tell others differ to some degree based upon our perception or certain truths that we create for ourselves to provide structure for our lives and how we navigate through them. The first section references compromise as the movement vocabulary provides an opportunity to examine how we push, pull and organize our lives to not only suit ourselves, but those that we wish share our lives with. The second section is a focus on commitment and tradition. As the work progresses different relationships are presented and through the movement we examine the deep connection that is present within a relationship or union. In the third section, the piece references the work of our commitments to marriage, family and children and how nurturing all of those things can be our greatest challenge, but also where our most satisfying reward is found."


“Shame: A Fragrance by Calvin Klein” is a duet which explores the various shades of shame from the humorous to the poetic to the deeply personal. It is described as "Inspired by memory, humiliation and the private realms of humanity, this work encompasses a mixture of vignettes of moving, speaking and singing bodies. The two characters express shared experiences and their own individual exposed snapshots of shame." The work was created in collaboration by Thiel and dance minor seniors Lester Gibbs and Megan Jellison, both of Hopkinsville, Kentucky. The work first premiered at the 2014 American College Dance Festival at the University of Arkansas and received first runner up to attend the American College Dance National Conference.


“Capture Momentum” will be presented 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 30, and Saturday, Jan. 31, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 1. Admission is $10 for students and $15 for general public. Tickets are available through the Singletary Center ticket office and can be purchased online at or by phone at 859-257-4929.


The UK Department of Theatre and Dance at UK College of Fine Arts has played an active role in the performance scene in Central Kentucky for more than 100 years. Students in the program get hands-on training and one-on-one mentorship from a renowned professional theatre faculty. The liberal arts focus of their bachelor's degree program is coupled with ongoing career counseling to ensure a successful transition from campus to professional life.



MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716;

UK Selected To Host 2016 National Speech and Debate Tournament

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 17:12

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 26, 2015) The University of Kentucky has officially been selected to the host of the Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament in March of 2016.


This national forensics tournament is one of the largest annual collegiate speech and debate competitions in the country, with more than 80 teams and 1,000 competitors usually taking part from across the nation. The event features competition in more than 20 different public speaking and debate categories from poetry interpretation to persuasive speaking and student congress.


UK Forensics placed 14th in the nation at last year’s tournament.


“This is an incredible opportunity for the university and our forensics team,” says Director of Forensics Timothy Bill. “We are incredibly excited and humbled to have the chance to host such a great tournament.”


Currently UK Forensics hosts the Bluegrass Invitational speech and debate tournament on campus in October. UK has also been selected to host the Kentucky Forensics Association state championship tournament in February. The team’s local Pi Kappa Delta affiliate, the Kentucky Nu chapter, was formed when the team began operation in August 2012.


The announcement of the 2016 national host site was made at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association in Chicago. To be selected to host the tournament, an institution must successfully bid against other schools to demonstrate why it is the most suitable host site for the tournament. Because of UK’s rich history of hosting large academic events such as the National Conference on Undergraduate Research and the high school Tournament of Champions, UK Forensics was able to persuade the Pi Kappa Delta national council that UK was up to the challenge.


This will be the first time Pi Kappa Delta has returned to the Province of the Southeast for a national tournament since 2008.


This year’s Pi Kappa Delta national tournament will be held at Ohio University in March. The team’s next invitational tournament will be the Gorlok Gala hosted by Webster University in Webster Groves, Missouri.


UK Forensics is a student organization within the College of Communication and Information. The team competes in 12 different public speaking events and three forms of debate.


To find out more, please contact Director of Forensics Timothy Bill at




MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365;