LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 19, 2013) – The University of Kentucky's all-male a cappella group, the acoUstiKats, have advanced to the next round of NBC's "The Sing-Off" and are among the competition's top five a cappella groups. The show will next air 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19.
On "The Sing-Off," a cappella groups perform show-stopping numbers with no lip-synching or backup bands. They sing music from today's top pop chart, to R&B, rock, country and more. This season's performers are critiqued by celebrity judges and vocalists Ben Folds, of Ben Folds Five; Jewel; and Shawn Stockman, of Boyz II Men.
The last round, featuring popular music from the movies, saw the acoUstiKats sing xxxx by xxxx from xxxx. One group is eliminated each episode. Episode five saw xxxx eliminated from the competition. The last group standing will be awarded a cash prize and an Epic Records/Sony Music recording contract.
Hosted by Nick Lachey, TV host of "The Winner Is," solo artist and member of 98 Degrees, the holiday series will run for seven episodes culminating with the last show set to air 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 23.
The acoUstiKats were founded in 1993 during Director of UK Choral Activities Jefferson Johnson's first semester at UK School of Music in the UK College of Fine Arts. As a subsection of the nationally renowned UK Men’s Chorus, this 12-member group serves to promote and encourage male singing of all ages.
MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716; email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 19, 2013) — The University of Kentucky School of Human Environmental Sciences recently announced the recipients of the Patricia Brantley Todd Awards for Excellence in Human Environmental Sciences. The awards, recognizing excellence in national program leadership, extension and teaching, were presented at the school’s All-School Conference.
Patricia Brantley Todd is an alumna of the school and the wife of former UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. The Todds provided the funding for the biannual awards to recognize and reward excellence among the faculty and staff at the school, which is a part of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Winners receive a plaque and $1,000.
The 2013 award recipients are:
National Program Leadership: Janet Kurzynske. Kurzynske, extension professor, is a national leader for at-risk audiences. During the past 20 years, she’s received $2.2 million in funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Children, Youth and Families at Risk (CYFAR) State Strengthening program. These programs have reached more than 15 Kentucky counties. Since 1998, Kurzynske has served as one of six national technical assistance liaisons with CYFAR. She is also co-director of the Children, Youth and Families Education Research Network (CYFERnet), which has received $3 million in funding to provide web access to peer-reviewed resources and professional development opportunities for those working with at-risk audiences.
Extension: Martha Yount. As the Breathitt County family and consumer sciences extension agent, Yount has worked to reach underserved audiences in her community through a variety of methods, including social media. Yount’s programs are geared toward meeting the needs of Breathitt County families and annually reach around 10,000 people. Her programming ranges from nutrition education to financial management to environmental stewardship.
Teaching: Jason Hans. As an associate professor in the UK Department of Family Sciences, nearly half of Hans’ time is spent teaching undergraduate and graduate students. Students have consistently given him outstanding teaching evaluations. As an instructor for large enrollment classes, Hans has worked to integrate interactive elements into the courses. He also works with students to publish research and has co-authored 10 refereed journal articles with students, with five more articles in press or in review.
MEDIA CONTACT: Katie Pratt, 859-257-8774.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 19, 2013) — A student in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment earned a coveted entomology internship with Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
Rebecca Wente, an agricultural biotechnology senior from Grayson, was selected as one of two undergraduate students serving as entomology interns.
“It’s a confirmation of my life path,” she said. “I’ve been working hard in the lab for two years, and this is a signal to me to continue to pursue a career in entomology and that I can succeed at a higher level in this field.”
Beginning at the end of December, she will spend six months working in Epcot’s The Land Pavilion. Her internship will include working with the theme park’s integrated pest management program. Her job responsibilities include rearing and maintaining insect colonies, releasing beneficial insects and predators into the greenhouses and assisting with pest monitoring and greenhouse IPM programs. She will also lead informative and interactive guest tours through the greenhouses, labs and aquaculture facility, and staff the Behind the Seeds Tour desk.
For the past two years, Wente has worked with doctoral student Katelyn Kowles in the lab of James Harwood, UK associate professor of entomology.
“Rebecca has a good foundation of biological control knowledge and agricultural knowledge to be successful in this internship,” Kowles said.
Kowles and Wente conducted a study this summer on the beneficial insects lacewings and lady beetles and their interaction with each other and with the bird cherry-oat aphids. The aphids carry the barley yellow dwarf virus, the most widespread and destructive virus of wheat.
Kowles and Wente tracked the time each pest came into the field and determined what ate them using molecular gut content analysis. This cutting-edge technology allows them to obtain and analyze the DNA of prey found in a predator’s digestive tract to gain a better understanding of food webs. This research was recently presented at the annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America in Austin, Texas. The paper, presented by Wente and co-authored by Kowles and Harwood, won first place in the President’s Prize competition for undergraduate students.
“Understanding how different predators interact with each other is important to pest management programs, because they can either complement each other or interact in detrimental ways,” Harwood said. “This internship will help Rebecca build upon what she’s been trained on in the lab and afford her the opportunity to advance her career in entomology.”
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 18, 2014) — University of Kentucky College of Education senior Taylor Blair will graduate with a degree in secondary English education this Friday while also taking part in an important Commencement tradition: serving as student speaker.
Blair, from Louisville, was selected among several candidates by UK President Eli Capilouto to represent his class at the December 2013 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony.
"I got a call from Dr. Capilouto the day before I was set to go home for Thanksgiving," said Blair. "I didn't recognize the number of course, and the voice said 'Hi, Taylor, this is Eli Capilouto.' So immediately I was anticipating an exciting phone call. He extended the opportunity to speak at Commencement, and I was very privileged to accept the honor."
While there's much to say about his UK experience, Blair decided to focus on those who made his experience possible.
“You cannot condense the many months of an undergraduate career into a three to five minute speech – but you can begin to thank the people that helped us earn our degrees," said Blair. “That's why I wanted to speak. Our parents, professors and others have earned a lot of credit."
Blair has been very active on campus during his undergraduate years, serving as a Wildcat Ambassador for the UK Office of Undergraduate Admission and Registrar, a peer instructor for UK 101 and 201, and a member of the K Book editorial board. He is also a Provost Scholar. After graduation, Blair plans to continue working for UK Admissions while earning his Master’s degree. He then plans to become a high school teacher.
“I find tremendous joy in seeing a high school student reach his or her goals,” said Blair. “In particular, I appreciate seeing high school students attain their goals of pursuing a college career at this university.”
But for now, Blair is just counting down the days until Commencement.
"I'm excited to know that I'll be leaving Memorial Coliseum holding a tangible representation of my work at UK, along with so many of my peers."
The December 2013 Commencement Ceremonies will be held Friday, Dec. 20, in Memorial Coliseum. The Graduate and Professional Commencement Ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m., followed by the Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony at 6 p.m. The ceremonies will also be live streamed on UKNow.
For more information about the December 2013 Commencement Ceremonies, visit www.uky.edu/Commencement.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jenny Wells, 859-257-5343; firstname.lastname@example.org
Employees who enroll in the Safe, Swift, Sustainable W-2 program give the University consent to only provide their W-2s online. Enrolled employees will no longer receive a paper W-2 in the mail but will be able to view and print their W-2 at an earlier date. The enrollment period is now through Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, and prizes will be given as an incentive to enroll.
The benefits of this new opportunity are:
• Earlier access to your W-2 statement than the traditional mail process;
• Email notification when online W-2 statement is available;
• Eliminate the possibility of your W-2 statement being delayed or lost in the mail;
• Access to your W-2 statement at any time;
• Ability to print W-2 at your convenience;
• Contribute to UK’s sustainability initiative; and
• 2013 and future W-2s will remain online for multiple years.
"Safe, swift and sustainable really are key aspects of this program," said Ronda Beck, UK controller. "Electronic versions of W-2 statements are expected to be available for viewing as early as Jan. 25, whereas extra time is needed for printing and mailing paper versions, which are required to be mailed no later than Jan. 31. Also, employees have the added security of knowing their salary and social security number aren't on paper in the mail system."
The program fits well into UK's overall sustainability efforts by reducing the use of paper, and promoting cost savings. Beck estimates UK will see approximately $35,000 in annual savings in paper and postage costs.
For instructions on how to enroll in the Safe, Swift, Sustainable W-2 program, visit http://www.uky.edu/hr/hr-home/new-online-w-2-tax-statement-option.
All employees who consent to receive online W-2s will be entered into a random drawing for prizes, which include four pairs of UK basketball tickets and one pair of airline tickets. Winners will be notified Friday, Jan. 24, 2014.
Employees who do not want to enroll in the new program do not have to take any action. They will have a paper W-2 form printed and mailed by the University of Kentucky no later than Jan. 31, 2014, to the employee’s permanent address on file in the SAP HR/Payroll system. Employees who have separated employment from the University of Kentucky will have a W-2 paper form printed and mailed.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 18, 2013) – University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto and Major General Ed Tonini, Adjutant General for the Kentucky National Guard, signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining a framework for a wide range of collaborative projects.
"The National Guard has a unique dual mission, with both federal and state assignments," Tonini said. "This partnership with the University of Kentucky will help our citizen-soldiers fulfill all their responsibilities to their fellow countrymen, whether responding to natural disasters here at home or on federal missions abroad."
While many of the specifics for collaborations are still under development, initial efforts will focus on providing guardsmen with resources in job training, behavioral health, and leadership skill development. UK will also explore the possibility of creating more flexibility in education programs that would accommodate the diverse needs of soldiers and their families. Additional collaborations are being discussed in areas such as leadership exchange, information sharing, medical research and athletics.
Capilouto hailed the partnership as a significant opportunity to strengthen each institution for the benefit of the Commonwealth.
"These initiatives will benefit both institutions, but ultimately all Kentuckians are the winners," Capilouto said. "The University of Kentucky and the National Guard each serve this state in different ways, but with notable overlap in some areas. Sharing ideas, skills and resources with one another will make both institutions stronger, smarter, and therefore more agile in delivering our services to the people of Kentucky."
As an example, Capilouto cited a new initiative that will allow Kentucky National Guard medics to shadow staff in the UK Chandler Hospital Emergency Department. This project will further refine the state's emergency preparedness skills and could be one of the first such initiatives of its kind in the country.
Dr. Roger Humphries, chair of the UK Department of Emergency Medicine, said huge potential for performance improvement exists in the shadowing project. "As the region's only Level 1 Trauma Center, our staff has a great deal of experience handling complex, life-threatening injuries," Humphries said. "This collaboration will expose guardsmen to triage and treatment of traumatic injury patients so that they are better prepared when they face these injuries on the battlefield."
Capilouto emphasized UK's tradition of partnerships with the armed forces and likened the Kentucky National Guard MOU to the master alliances the university has signed with Kentucky businesses and industries.
"Kentucky is a safer place under the support rendered by the Kentucky National Guard and the University of Kentucky is honored to bolster that mission and play a mutually beneficial role in extending the long history both institutions have in serving Kentucky," Capilouto said.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 18, 2013) — The University of Kentucky Academy for Creative Excellence (ACE) is proud to present the pilot performance of "Elf Jr." for iTheatrics and Music Theatre International (MTI). The musical, based on the popular holiday movie, will take the stage for six performances Dec. 19-21, at Lexington Christian Academy.
In "Elf Jr.," audiences follow Buddy the Elf on his journey from the North Pole to New York City to find his human father, Walter Hobbs. Buddy discovers that a family is the best Christmas gift he could ever receive, and he spreads plenty of cheer along the way.
Based on the Warner Brothers movie starring Will Ferrell and the original Broadway musical "Elf," ACE will present the first-ever glimpse of the junior script and score for live audiences in the Bluegrass. A preparatory department of UK Opera Theatre, ACE was selected for the first-ever pilot of a workshop of "Elf Jr." by iTheatrics, an educational theater company based in New York City which produces junior versions of Broadway musicals for MTI, one of the world's major dramatic licensing agencies.
"Elf Jr." will enchant audiences beginning at 2 and 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 19-21. Tickets for this show are $12 for children, and $15 for general admission. All students are eligible for discounted tickets of $10 at the Thursday and Friday "Schools' Out" matinee performances. To purchase tickets in advance, call 859-257-TICS (8427). Tickets may also be purchased at the door.
UK Opera Theatre is part of the UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts. The School of Music has garnered national recognition for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, and theory and music history.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 18, 2013) — The University of Kentucky invites nominations and applications for the job position of director of the Gaines Center for the Humanities and John R. Gaines Endowed Chair in the Humanities.
Founded in 1984 by a generous gift from John and Joan Gaines, the Gaines Center for the Humanities functions as a laboratory for imaginative and innovative education on UK's campus. Devoted to cultivating an appreciation of the humanities in its students and faculty, the center embraces varied paths of knowledge, and particularly strives to integrate creative work with traditional academic learning.
The center is also designed to provide a link, intellectual as well as geographic, between the campus and town communities. It sponsors an array of public events — seminars, workshops, and culinary events — that bring rich and varied resources of the Lexington community and UK together.
As part of its curriculum, the Gaines Center provides an intensive education for approximately 25 third- and fourth-year undergraduate students. The main components of the center’s pedagogical program include an annual Gaines seminar taught by multiple faculty and a senior thesis under the direction of a faculty advisor.
The Gaines Center director and chair is expected to be a distinguished scholar in a humanities discipline or a closely related discipline who is committed to excellence in undergraduate education and has the ability to work both at the university and with the larger public to advance the humanities and humanistic learning. The director and chair will hold a tenured appointment in an academic department and will be expected to contribute to the academic life of the department, which may include teaching. The center director reports to the associate provost for undergraduate education.
Applicants should submit a letter of application, curriculum vitae and names of at least four references (including at least one former student). Upon initial review, the search committee may request additional materials. Application materials should be sent to: The Gaines Center Search Committee, University of Kentucky, Office of the Associate Provost, 557 Patterson Office Tower, Lexington, KY 40506-0027.
Review of applications will begin Jan. 10, 2014, and will continue until the position is filled.
For additional information on the director and chair position with UK's Gaines Center for the Humanities, contact Professor David Hamilton, UK Gaines Center Search Committee Chair, at email@example.com.
MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716; firstname.lastname@example.org
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 18, 2013) — The University of Kentucky has announced the formation of an Unmanned Systems Research Consortium (USRC) to advance unmanned aerial, ground and underwater systems, and to explore commercial applications for the technology in Kentucky.
Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) technology has increasingly captured private-sector interest — as well as the public's imagination and news headlines — over the past year, with prospective applications being developed in agriculture, remote sensing, materials transport, forest fire detection, weather surveillance, mine exploration and minerals production, search and rescue, and even point-to-point delivery of small consumer items.
John Walz, dean of the UK College of Engineering, announced the USRC's launch at a Kentucky summit on unmanned aerial systems, held Dec. 11 in Lexington. The USRC will partner faculty, students and businesses to focus on development and performance evaluation of systems, platforms, components, sensors, and software, in addition to sharing resources for increasing statewide industry awareness and understanding national directions and policies.
"This is exactly the kind of scenario where everybody wins," Walz said. "Our researchers are able to make significant strides and then pass on the fruit of their labor to businesses, who give feedback and introduce new problems to solve — it’s a loop that enhances research and has real-world implications."
The consortium includes affiliated faculty from the College of Engineering as well as a diversity of academic disciplines across campus, and it boasts a 1,200-square-foot laboratory with in-house manufacturing and access to high precision machining.
Capabilities include custom platform design for payload requirements including remote piloted and fully autonomous control, electric, nitro-methane and gas propulsion systems, a unique mobile LiDAR 3-D scanning truck that can rapidly capture high-quality, geo-registered 3‑D point cloud data at a large scale, multiple in-house options for 3-D printing, PCB fabrication and rapid prototyping, complete composite fabrication from mold-making to custom carbon-fiber lay-ups, low-turbulence and custom wind tunnel test facilities, and commercial autopilots.
Walz said consortium partners will benefit from being able to work directly with faculty experts, as well as meeting hopeful future employees from among the student body. And to ensure that consortium partners have a deep talent pool to choose from, he said, the College of Engineering is working diligently to increase its number of graduates.
"It’s a need that has been recognized by Lexington mayor Jim Gray, Louisville mayor Greg Fischer, myself and many others," Walz said. "As we graduate more well-trained engineers and put them to work, businesses will benefit, the commonwealth will benefit and Kentucky will become a leader in the field of unmanned aerial systems and much more."
The next consortium event will be a booth at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville in mid-February highlighting agricultural uses of unmanned aerial systems for increased productivity and efficiency.
More than 80 individuals from across Kentucky and out of state attended the Dec. 11 summit, held at the Commerce Lexington building in downtown Lexington, including entrepreneurs, business leaders, government leaders, university researchers and leaders, students and hobbyists. The summit was jointly sponsored by UK College of Engineering, the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs and the Von Allmen Center for Entrepreneurship and the Lexington ICC.
Those who would like to find out more about the USRC may contact Professor Suzanne Weaver Smith at email@example.com or 859-323-4545. Requests for information may also be sent by mail to Prof. Smith at University of Kentucky, College of Engineering, 151 RG Anderson Bldg., Lexington, KY 40506-0503.
MEDIA CONTACT: Keith Hautala, 859-323-2396; firstname.lastname@example.org
HAZARD, Ky. (Dec. 18, 2013) – Gretchen Norling Holmes, assistant director of research at the University of Kentucky Center of Excellence in Rural Health (CERH) in Hazard, has been selected by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) as a 2014 Rural Health Fellow.
Following the completion of a competitive review process, Holmes was one of 15 fellows selected from across the nation to participate in a yearlong, intensive program aimed at developing leaders who can articulate a clear and compelling vision for rural America.
“We are very pleased to announce this new class of fellows as this program enters its eighth year. Once again, this class represents various levels of rural health expertise,” NRHA CEO Alan Morgan said. “With the successes achieved by the previous classes, we look forward to continuing the tradition of building rural health care leaders through this valuable program.”
Holmes, holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication from New York University and a doctorate (PhD) in health communication from UK. She is currently the principle investigator on several research projects at UK CERH focusing on health communication and health disparities in rural populations. She holds an adjunct assistant professor appointment with the Department of Communication at the UK College of Communication and Information and is a lecturer for the UK College of Medicine.
Throughout her career, Holmes has focused her research on interpersonal health communication, particularly patient-provider communication, as well as cancer communication and prevention. She has publications in Health Communication, Psycho-oncology, Cancer Control, and other top journals. She has presented her research at national and international conventions.
While teaching at the University of Memphis, Holmes co-created, produced, wrote and was the on-air talent for “Let’s Talk Health,” a joint project with the department of nursing, created to address health disparities and health literacy issues in the Memphis and surrounding rural area. The health communication radio spots were designed to provide patients and providers with techniques that would improve communication by encouraging providers to speak in plain language and teaching patients to ask questions when they don’t understand.
Holmes said her previous work has led to her interest in health literacy.
“Research indicates more than half the population has trouble with basic math skills making it difficult for many to understand medication dosing directions. This issue gains even more significance when we consider the complexities of our rapidly changing health care environment that require consumers to navigate increasingly sophisticated health information,” said Holmes.
“We need to do more research to find out the most effective methods to improve health literacy and then get the information and programs into our communities. Helping providers and patients to become better health care partners is also critical, particularly in rural populations where we often see a higher prevalence of chronic disease and limited access to health care."
“It is truly an honor to be selected as one of the 2014 NRHA fellows. I believe it will increase my knowledge, ability, and awareness, which will allow me to elevate my work here at the Center and beyond,” said Holmes.
“We are pleased to have a member of our team from the UK CERH as an NRHA Fellow. I am confident that Dr. Holmes’ communication expertise and passion for rural health will be a wonderful complement to the fellowship as they work to develop a strong voice for rural health,” said Fran Feltner, director of the UK CERH.
Formerly of Midland, Mich., Holmes currently resides in London, Ky,. with her husband, Ronald Holmes.
The mission of the UK CERH is to improve the health of rural Kentucky through education, research, service, and community engagement. Based in Hazard, a coal mining town of about 6,000 people, the UK CERH employs approximately 180 people across the Commonwealth, including counties in eastern and western Kentucky and along the southern border. With a presence in nearly two-thirds of Kentucky’s 120 counties, including the Delta and Appalachia regions, the Center has a long history of award-winning programs and innovative collaborations between academic, community, and government groups. For more information about UK CERH visit www.kyruralhealth.org.
NRHA is a nonprofit organization working to improve the health and wellbeing of rural Americans and providing leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communications, education and research. The NRHA membership is made up of more than 21,000 diverse individuals and organizations, all of whom share the common bond of an interest in rural health. For more information about NRHA visit www.RuralHealthWeb.org.
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 17, 2013) ― The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees today approved a resolution authorizing issuance of $265 million in bonds to help finance expansion of the Gatton College of Business and Economics building; construction of the Academic Science Building; and renovation and expansion of Commonwealth Stadium.
With the passage of House Bill 7 earlier this year, the 2013 General Assembly approved UK's proposal to self-finance these three major projects that contribute to the overall revitalization of UK's campus infrastructure. These projects, along with the replacement of outdated residence halls with an increased number of modern living spaces, are transforming the UK campus.
Through a combination of private funding, issuance of bonds, internal sources, and a unique plan to use athletics funding of academics, UK will completely fund:
- A $65 million renovation and expansion of the Gatton College of Business and Economics. The $65 million project will be initially funded with $25 million in gifts and $40 million in agency bonds;
- A $100 million Science and Academic Building where Donovan Residence Hall currently sits. The 263,000-square-foot building will be funded by agency bonds and is the result of a partnership with UK Athletics unlike any other in the country. UK Athletics will fund 65 percent of the building's debt service ― about $65 million
- A $110 million renovation of Commonwealth Stadium and the Nutter Training and Recruiting Center. The project ― which will add suites and club seating, while improving the fan experience throughout the stadium ― will be paid for by agency bonds and funded through the construction of suites. UK already has a waiting list for suites.
LEXINGTON, Ky, (Dec. 17, 2013) ― The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees today accepted nearly $6.5 million in gifts and pledges to UK.
The pledges include:
- $535,000 from the Davis and Beverly Marksbury Foundation of Nicholasville, Ky., to fund capital projects within the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics; and
- $2 million from Terry Woodward of Owensboro, Ky., to support the Gatton College of Business and Economics Capital Campaign and will be used for the Gatton building expansion now underway.
- More than $1.7 million from the estate of Judith M. Janssen, formerly of Evanston, Ill., to add to the existing Guy M. Davenport Endowed Professorship in English;
- $735,000 from the estate of Maywin S. Lauderdale, formerly of Lexington, to create and endow the Robert. A. and Maywin S. Lauderdale Graduate Fellowship Fund in the College of Engineering;
- $1 million from Roger E. Mick of Brentwood, Tenn., to support the Gatton College Capital Campaign and use for the Gatton building expansion;
- More than $491,000 from the estate of Joy R. Wills, formerly of Richmond, Ky., to create and endow the Joy R. Wills DanceBlue Endowment Fund, which will provide additional support for social workers and programs dedicated to pediatric oncology, as well as support for research in pediatric oncology at Kentucky Children's Hospital; and
- $12,400 from multiple donors given to the existing Earth and Environmental Sciences Endowed Alumni Professorship in the College of Arts and Sciences.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 17, 2013) — The appointment of Nancy Cox as dean of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment was approved by the UK Board of Trustees today. Cox has served as the college's associate dean for research for the past 12 years.
In announcing the appointment three weeks ago, UK Provost Christine Riordan cited Cox's compelling vision for the future of the college and a national reputation for leadership. She will begin her new position Jan. 1, 2014.
Under her leadership as associate dean for research at the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, extramural funding grew from less than $10 million in 2001 to $25 million in fiscal year 2013. She worked to secure renovated facilities for the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, with a $30 million state investment, and she has worked extensively with the Kentucky Farm Bureau and numerous agriculture commodity boards to promote UK's agriculture research and extension programs.
She is widely regarded as a leader in the field of agriculture, serving on several national policy boards and organizations and has close ties to both civic and agricultural leaders throughout the Commonwealth, who enthusiastically supported her candidacy for dean.
Cox earned a bachelor's degree in 1975 from Furman University, a master's from the University of Georgia in 1977 and her Ph.D. in 1982 from North Carolina State University. She came to UK from Mississippi State University where she taught and conducted research. Cox will succeed Scott Smith, who has led the college since 2001. He plans to return to the faculty, where he has been a member for 35 years.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Dec. 18, 2013) — SECU, the Academic Initiative of the Southeastern Conference, has expanded its presence on the Internet with a new website, www.thesecu.com, which launched this week.
The site features comprehensive information regarding each of SECU’s eight programs, along with the latest news and upcoming events.
Through SECU, the SEC sponsors, supports and promotes collaborative higher education programs and activities involving administrators, faculty and students at its member universities. The SEC also provides additional opportunities for SEC university administrators and faculty to collaborate and for SEC students to study abroad.
After operating as the SEC Academic Consortium (SECAC) for five years, the SEC Presidents and Chancellors in 2010 voted to relocate the operation from the University of Arkansas to the SEC headquarters in Birmingham. One year later, SECAC was renamed SECU and the vision was re-framed to include a more direct relationship with the SEC office.
The transition made the SEC the first major collegiate conference to actively support an academic-based effort that is unrelated to intercollegiate athletics.
MEDIA CONTACT: Sean Cartell, firstname.lastname@example.org; Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 17, 2013) — An essay by Lisa Zunshine, a University of Kentucky professor of English, appears in the Dec. 13 edition of The Chronicle Review, published by the Chronicle of Higher Education.
The essay, titled "Why Fiction Does it Better," argues that works of fiction — which operate on varying levels of sociocognitive complexity — help to drive the development of both a rich vocabulary and "theory of mind," and are essential reading for preparing young minds for college.
A scholar of 18th-century British literature, Zunshine is Bush-Holbrook Professor of English at UK, where she teaches courses in Restoration and 18th century British literature and culture. She is the author or editor of 11 books, including, most recently, "Getting Inside Your Head: What Cognitive Science Can Tell Us about Popular Culture," published in 2012.
The essay is available to read on the Chronicle Review website (subscription required) at http://chronicle.com/article/Theres-No-Substitute-for/143363/, or as a PDF on Zunshine's website at http://www.lisazunshine.net.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 17, 2013) — Ani Katchova, an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Kentucky, recently completed a fellowship awarded by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Through the AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship, Katchova worked as an AAAS fellow and visiting scholar at the Economic Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.
The AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships provide an opportunity for scientists to learn about policy making while contributing their knowledge and analytical skills to the federal government. The fellowship classes, now more than 250 fellows annually, are competitively selected based on their qualifications and interest in applying their technical knowledge at the intersection of science and policy.
“The AAAS Fellowship provided by ERS allowed me to work on policy-relevant research addressing the needs of young and beginning farmers,” Katchova said. “I am grateful to ERS for hosting me and providing the opportunities to network and collaborate with colleagues at ERS and other agencies in Washington.”
Katchova’s research as an AAAS fellow concentrated on farm transitions, defined as transferring the farm business from one generation to the next, and changes over the farmer life cycle. Her findings inform policymakers about the strategies that young and beginning farmers use to start their businesses and expand them over time. Research was also conducted to determine the entry and exit rates into agriculture informing the public policy goal of bringing more farmers into agriculture. Her research has been presented as briefings and seminar presentations to various agencies and offices at USDA.
Katchova participated in many professional development events organized by AAAS. She was a member of the USDA’s Know Your Farmer Know Your Food Task Force. She also had the opportunity to attend seminars, network, and interact with the House and Senate Committees on Agriculture, PCAST and CEA, NSF, COPAFS, C-FARE, IFPRI and the Farm Foundation.
“The AAAS Fellowship was an educational and professionally fulfilling experience. I have been able to bring my Washington policy experience back to UK, and to the citizens of Kentucky," Katchova said.
MEDIA CONTACT: Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200; email@example.com.
Video by UK Public Relations and Marketing
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 17, 2013) — Many of us have obstacles to overcome at some point in our lives. For one UK College of Medicine student, those struggles started early as she grew up in poverty before ultimately spending her senior year of high school in a Northern Kentucky homeless shelter.
Carl Nathe shares Kayla Kinker's journey in this "UKNow halftime report," which aired during the UK Hoops' game on Sunday, December 15.
For more information, visit: http://uknow.uky.edu/content/uk-medical-student-uses-challenges-motivation-success.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 17, 2013) — A Mount Sterling man, who upon his death saved and enhanced the lives of many others through organ and tissue donation at the UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital, will be featured on the Donate Life Float in the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, Calif., and honored by Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) on Dec. 18 in the UK Chandler Hospital Pavilion A atrium.
Jeff Ballard’s face will be one of 81 donors featured as individual floragraphs on the annual Donate Life Float. The floragraphs are facial images created from natural products such as seeds and petals.
Sponsored by KODA, Jeff’s mother Connie and his daughter Samantha, will travel to Pasadena to help decorate the float. They will bring the floragraph to Kentucky to finish it before sending it back to Pasadena in time for the parade.
Connie will put finishing touches on the floragraph at UK Chandler Hospital on Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 2:30 p.m. in the Pavilion A ground floor atrium. Refreshments will be served.
Since Jeff’s death in 1998, Connie has stitched together 10 quilts made of squares furnished by families to memorialize their loved ones who were donors. KODA displays the quilts throughout the state.
For more information, contact Charlotte Wong, Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates: firstname.lastname@example.org or 859-351-7777.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 17, 2013) – Though she acknowledges that “ambitious” is a valid descriptor, UK HealthCare Chief Administrative Officer Ann Smith says there’s a different term she’d use to describe how she’s developed her career path.
“I call myself ‘chronically curious,’” Smith said. “The word ‘ambitious’ sometimes carries a negative connotation – so I prefer ‘curious.’”
It’s her innate curiosity – and a willingness to try just about anything new – that took Smith from working as a hematology lab tech to one of the top administrative positions for UK HealthCare.
Originally from Tennessee, Smith’s family moved to Winchester when she was a teenager, and upon graduating from George Rogers Clark High School, she came to UK and majored in medical technology.
Technically, Smith says she began her UK career 40 years ago, when she served as a babysitter for a UK personnel director. From there, she started a more official form of temporary employment, working in the hospital’s human resources department during the summer of her junior year of college.
After earning her bachelor’s degree, Smith said she had worked out a plan: work in a lab at UK for three years to garner experience, then move back to her hometown of Chattanooga, Tenn.
“And then,” she says with a laugh, “I would slowly but surely move closer to the beach!”
However, she found herself staying in Lexington and taking on new challenges in the lab – even after being told by a supervisor that there would be no higher career path for her at UK. Whenever a new opportunity arose, Smith said she was always willing to jump in, whether it was trying a task she’d never done before, or simply offering a suggestion.
“I was always right there, ready to go,” she said. “I was always willing to give things a shot.”
She moved up from a lab tech to the medical plaza’s lab supervisor, then on to lab administrative manager. Meanwhile, as UK’s medical center grew, new positions popped up. After then-CEO Joe Claypool created service line areas for the medical center, Smith took on the role of Director of Diagnostic Services, which involved overseeing the lab, radiology and special diagnostics areas and technology – just before the Y2K scare of 2000.
When her boss retired in 2001, he suggested that she should apply for his job. Smith was put off by the academic requirements of the position, which would require her to go back to school to earn a graduate degree. But she was prodded into action by one simple statement.
“He said, ‘Ann, not everyone chooses to limit themselves,” she said. “And so I started back to school a month later.”
Over the next five years – and two babies – Smith earned a masters degree in public administration with a concentration of classes in health care management. She moved up on the ladder again, accepting the role of Associate Hospital Director.
Then, as the plans for Pavilion A began in earnest, Smith says she was called into the office of Dr. Richard Lofgren, who was chief clinical officer at the time. With so much administrative focus on Pavilion A, another new position had been created, one with a senior-level focus on the day to day operations of the existing UK Chandler Hospital and Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
Smith accepted the job, becoming the interim Chief Administrative Officer in 2008 and formalizing the position in early 2009. Since then, her concentration has been on ways to keep the daily hospital operations running efficiently while still maintaining a personal touch in regards to patient care. In 2012, UK Good Samaritan Hospital was added to her responsibilities.
Fostering an environment that builds camaraderie between staff and respect and humanity between the patients and caregivers is very high on her list of priorities. She embraces change, especially any changes that may have a positive effect on patient care.
“The challenge is to not get stuck thinking, ‘It’s always been this way,’” she says, noting that she and her staff talk with colleagues at other major medical centers all across the country to share ideas.
Much has changed around campus in Smith’s time at UK – when she began her career, the UK medical center landscape looked very different. The UK Markey Cancer Center didn’t yet exist, nor did the Kentucky Clinic. There was no critical care tower at Chandler, and the VA hospital was only a few years old.
Looking forward, Smith said she’s eager to open up new floors of Pavilion A for patient care. As for what’s next in her own career path, Smith said she always keeps her mind open.
“Whenever I’ve been ready for an opportunity, UK has always provided one,’” she said. “That said, there are opportunities everywhere. One just needs a bit of curiosity!”
MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 17, 2013) − Self-care interventions that overcome environmental and personal barriers to reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors could be successful in rural, socioeconomically disadvantaged areas of the country and possibly other communities at high risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Kentucky.
The study was featured on the front page of the American Heart Association's 2013 Special Sessions newsletter.
The study, led by Debra Moser, professor and Gill Endowed Chair of Cardiovascular Nursing at the UK College of Nursing, was conducted in rural Kentucky's Appalachian region with high poverty and unemployment rates and low literacy rates. The area also has high rates of inadequate or no health insurance and poor access to health care.
The study was conducted in two phases. Phase I was a 12-week self-care cardiovascular disease risk-reduction program focused on reducing environmental and personal barriers that affect cardiovascular disease risk. It involved 425 adults with two or more cardiovascular disease risk factors and were randomized to either immediate intervention or a wait-list control group.
Phase 2 involved 2,756 adults in four Kentucky communities who participated in the same self-care intervention and were followed for six months after participating in the program to assess the effectiveness and sustainability of the intervention.
The 12-week program in Phase 1 was a one-on-one cardiovascular disease risk-factor management education and support program. It also involved a referral strategy whereby patients were referred to an identified provider for risk management supplemented by cardiovascular disease risk-reduction guidelines. Participants were encouraged to eat a healthy diet, be more physically active and to identify and try to overcome their environmental and personal barriers.
The intervention resulted in a significant decrease in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) among the participants from an average of 110.5 mg/dL to 95.8 mg/dL, an increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in men from 34.5 mg/dL to 39.8 mg/dL and in women from 49.6 mg/dL to 55.7 mg/dL, and a decrease in total cholesterol from 190 mg/dL to 180 mg/dL (p>0.001).
Before the intervention, 21 percent of the participants engaged in moderate physical activity for 30 minutes a day at least four days a week, but after the intervention, 60 percent of them did. In addition, body mass index decreased from an average 32.6 to 28.4.
Phase 2 involved intervention reinforcement through the community, especially local churches. It resulted in a significant 10 percent or greater reduction in cardiovascular risk factors.
“People in this rural area were very open to participating in the study,” Moser said. “People flocked to the opportunity to be in it, and they stayed in the study, too. The intensive intervention program concentrated on self-management.”
In the long term, she believes this sort of intervention is sustainable.
“We were careful not to just give a special diet for weight loss,” she said. “Instead, we talked about how people should live every day to minimize not only their risk of heart disease but all chronic diseases, about how to adapt what they eat to eat better, and about how to be more active given where they live.”
Success depends on relying on the individual to self-manage risk factors, especially in areas with poor access to preventive medical care, and getting the local community involved in supporting behavior change, Moser said.
Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or firstname.lastname@example.org