Blue Abroad: Saying Cheers to England

Sun, 07/06/2014 - 06:43

LONDON, ENGLAND (July 10, 2014) A group of 15 UK students was seeing blue across the pond this summer. In a course designed specifically for first-generation students, students who are the first in their families to attend college, the group explored global communication and business in London, England, led by Director of First Generation Initiatives Matthew Deffendall.


Throughout their journey, UKNow highlighted some of their experiences by publishing their blogs.


Emily Griffin is a marketing and management major from Louisville, Kentucky. Her blog is below:


This is my last post from London.  CHEERS!

Today has been very bittersweet.  We started out the morning with a coach ride to Coca-Cola.  I felt like a kid in a candy shop.  I was so excited to learn about the marketing and production of such a huge corporation.  We got to see the different types of branding, the global communication Coke uses, and the best part was the production line.  We got to see the machines that stack the Cokes, make the Cokes, and distribute the Coke.  It was so neat to be in such a global business environment.  After this, we got lunch at Pret where I had a delicious salmon and cheese sandwich.  I will miss this grab and go sandwich place that was always convenient.  Afterwards, I had my final workout at the gym and got ready for our dinner.  


Farewell dinner was at Strada on the Thames River.  It was really delicious because this time we got to choose our meal!  I had sausage and pasta and chocolate fontenta for dessert. The chocolate chip gelato with it was amazing!  Afterward, we all got to talk about our time abroad.  I really felt like I made a family here.  Even being all from UK, we are still so diverse, which made this trip that much more enjoyable. Matthew cried, we laughed, Sarah's boyfriend got pooped on by a bird, and we just enjoyed each other's company.


I have been wanting to travel abroad for years now. The fact that my time here in London, England, is coming to an end is extremely bittersweet. I have been preparing for months, and thanks to many of my friends and family, I have had the most amazing trip I could ever ask for. I got to see the most historical places in the world (walking the London Bridge, seeing London from a huge farriswheel, cruising on the Thames River, standing in two hemispheres at once, seeing the homes of queens and kings of the past and present, and much much more) while being in the most diverse city in the world. I could walk down the street and hear English, French, Spanish, Russian, and many more languages spoken all around me.


I have learned a lot about myself in the time I have been here. I feel more adaptable to my surroundings. People here in London take the time to appreciate nature and to communicate with friends after work by going to a local pub or by sitting out in a park just breathing in the fresh air. Even though I am in a different culture and country, I have never felt out of place here. I met the most amazing family and friends while abroad, and I know that no matter what happens we can all share this common bond.


The beauty that I have seen on this trip cannot be put into words. I have really enjoyed my time here, and I am coming home with a new outlook on life and learning to appreciate the little things more often. I loved being able to work with global businesses because it really made me realize that I chose the right major for me, and that I graduated in the field of study that I am extremely passionate about. I can't think of a better way to end my undergraduate career then being fully immersed into a brand new culture.


I really do appreciate every single person's support, time, money, and anything else they invested in me and this trip. My family, friends, and boyfriend have been so supportive of me and made my time away from home that much easier and enjoyable.  We can never replicate this time abroad again, however, no one can ever take this away from us — and that is truly the most rewarding part of my time abroad.  I am so lucky to have had this experience.  I am excited to go home, but I know that I have found a second home to me, and a second family. 


So, London and all the wonderful people here, it is not goodbye — it is see you later. CHEERS!


Blue Abroad: Spotting the Queen of England

Sun, 07/06/2014 - 06:33

LONDON, ENGLAND (July 8, 2014) A group of 15 UK students spent three weeks seeing blue in England this summer. In a course designed specifically for first-generation students, students who are the first in their families to attend college, the group explored global communication and business in London, England, led by Director of First Generation Initiatives Matthew Deffendall.


Throughout their journey, UKNow has been highlighting some of their experiences by publishing their blogs.


Ryan Wilhite is a freshman majoring in political science. An account of his experience is below:


One of the most memorable moments from London happened completely by accident. To put it simply, two of my classmates and I got completely lost and accidently managed to bump into the Queen of England.


I'll explain this starting at the beginning. One of our assignments for our class was to explore a particular borough of London. We were divided into five groups of three and tasked with exploring the borough, interviewing people who live and work there, and wondering through the borough's market.


Our group — consisting of N' Deyah, Betty and me — was assigned the Covent Garden market in the Westminster borough. We all left our flats early on a Saturday morning to go explore our area, but at that point, we didn't realize how massive the area of Westminster is. The market was actually walking distance from our flats, but we took the Tube instead, deciding to get off at the Green Park stop and walk to Westminster.


When we got off at Green Park, we saw a huge crowd of people. Green Park is right next to Buckingham Palace, so first we thought the crowd might be there to see a changing of the guard ceremony. We were still surprised at how many people had turned up for that, however. So, we decided to stick around for a while and see what was causing all of the commotion.


The next thing we knew, the crowd started to part as a horse-drawn carriage made its way toward the Palace; the people started going nuts. As we had wandered through the crowd, not knowing what was happening, we had actually managed to secure a pretty sweet spot to view what we then realized was happening — it was the Queen coming back from a ceremony. No big deal; we were just casually staring at Queen  Elizabeth II. Right when we realized who we were seeing, all three of us started waving… and then coolest part of the story happened: she waved back!


This experience was really interesting and surreal. I find it really strange that I've now been able to lay eyes on another country's monarch but that I've never been even nearly as close to our own president. It was definitely a unique cultural experience.


Later that day, we did eventually find our way to the market we were assigned to explore. I've got to say, though, I'm really glad we got lost that morning. 

Three UK Artists Exhibit at Lyric

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 10:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 7, 2014) — University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts faculty and staff Garry Bibbs, Sonja Brooks and Bobby Scroggins are exhibiting their artwork in “Black Roots: Art Creations 2014.” The exhibit is on display through Oct. 11, at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, located at 300 E. Third St. in Lexington.


“Black Roots: Art Creations 2014,” curated and named by Garry Bibbs, is an exhibit showcasing the work of several noted African-American artists mostly from the Lexington area. Each artist’s work has influenced another’s expressing Kentucky’s history and diverse culture through a variety of mediums. The exhibit is open for viewing between the gallery hours of 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.


Garry Bibbs and Bobby Scroggins are both faculty members of the UK School of Art and Visual Studies. Bibbs is an associate professor with an expertise in sculpture and printmaking. He is the head of the Sculpture Area of the school. He is also an active member of Lexington’s Pew Civic Entrepreneur Initiative, which is a coalition group whose goal is to confront and solve issues relevant to the community on race relations and leadership.


Bibbs received his bachelor’s degree in art studio from Kentucky State University and his master’s degree in art from UK. After graduation, he received a Ford Postdoctoral Fellowship to study at The Chicago Art Institute, and over the years he has completed more than 35 public art commissions throughout the eastern region of the United States. Bibbs' exhibition history includes showings presented through the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., the Ruschman Art Gallery in Indianapolis, the Hertz Gallery in Louisville, and the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati.


Scroggins received his bachelor’s degree of art studying sculpture and ceramics at The Kansas City Art Institute. While Scroggins was a student there he became the first African-American artist in Missouri to construct a public monument, The Leon M. Jordan Monument. He received his master’s degree in sculpture from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville where he was a University and Ford Foundation Fellow.


The ceramicist joined the art department at UK in 1990 as head of ceramics and has been an associate professor since 1996. From 1993 to 1995, Scroggins, served as director-at-large for the National Council on Education for The Ceramics Arts. For the past seven years, he has also served on the visual art faculty at the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, spending two years as chairman of the visual art division. He previously served as the chairman of ceramics and sculpture pilot programs at The Northwest Academy of the Arts in Donegal, Northern Ireland, and Derry, Northern Ireland. Most recently in 2012, pieces from Scroggins’ “Shades of Clay” were selected for a traveling exhibition that was shown at several major museums throughout the U.S. In January 2014, Scroggins was commissioned by the Aviation Museum of Kentucky to honor two of the most famous Tuskegee Airmen commanding officers in a sculpture, which is now apart of the museum’s permanent collection along with his portrait bust of African-American aviatrix Willa Brown.


Brooks, a museum educator at the Art Museum at UK, attended Howard University and Catholic University. An active philanthropist most of her life, in 2003 Brooks and her husband formed the Sisohpromatem Art Foundation Inc., where she serves as executive director. The Sisohpromatem Art Foundation’s mission is to help children develop into independent, creative members of the community through participation in the arts as "sisohpromatem" is metamorphosis spelled in reverse.


Brooks’ passion for the arts formed primarily when she was in college. She spent two years working in clay and then moved on to 2D and 3D collages. Brooks loves to work with color and texture to form paper and fabric art from a collection source of repurposed reusable materials. She also enjoys inspiring a new generation of artists through her work at the museum.


The UK School of Art and Visual Studies, at the UK College of Fine Arts, is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of art studio, art history and visual studies, and art education.


The mission of the Art Museum at UK, part of the UK College of Fine Arts, is to promote the understanding and appreciation of art to enhance the quality of life for the people of Kentucky through collecting, exhibiting, preserving and interpreting outstanding works of visual art from all cultures. Home to a collection of more than 4,500 objects, including American and European paintings, drawings, photographs, prints and sculpture, the Art Museum at UK presents both special exhibitions and shows of work from their permanent collection.



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

UK Participating in Multi-State Collaborative on How to Best Assess Student Learning

Thu, 07/03/2014 - 10:42

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 7, 2014) — The University of Kentucky is one of 68 institutions of higher learning in nine states to join the Multi-State Collaborative (MSC) to Advance Learning Outcomes Assessment, an initiative to develop and test a new system-level approach to assessing student learning. 


Northern Kentucky University and Hazard Community and Technical College also are participating in the project.  All three institutions will work collaboratively with the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education to meet the requirements of the MSC.


The schools will document how well students are achieving key learning outcomes, such asquantitative reasoning, written communication and critical thinking.


“The MSC is testing a different model for student learning outcomes assessment – a model that is very similar to what UK is already doing on campus,” said Tara Rose, director of university assessment.  “It’s critical that institutions actually look at what students can do with what they know by gathering actual student work.  Our assessment process within the UK Core curriculum is a premier example of advancing the assessment of student learning outcomes. I am passionate about assessment and thankful UK has the opportunity to be a part of this exciting project. It is reassuring to know that the assessment process we have been implementing here at UK for years is what the nation is moving toward.”


The Multi-State Collaborative is an initiative steered by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO)The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded the first phase of the project. Other states participating include Connecticut, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, Rhode Island and Utah.


The project will impact UK by affirming commitment to the improvement of student learning, providing faculty development opportunities in assessment, and measuring the growth in demonstration of learning by comparing results from learning assessment in the MSC to learning assessment in the UK Core general education program.

Rose Street Closure for Construction Delayed

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 23:31

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 3, 2014) —  As site preparation and utilities upgrades continue for construction of the new Academic Science Building at the University of Kentucky, the portion of Rose Street between Huguelet Drive and Funkhouser Drive will close July 14 rather than the originally scheduled date of July 7.


The portion of Washington Avenue that has been closed from Limestone to Gladstone is expected to reopen July 14, at which time Washington Avenue from Gladstone to Rose Street will close.



UK Vocalists, Army Band to Present Patriotic Concert as Salute to Heroes

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 14:47

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 3, 2014) — Patriotic music from a live military band and a University of Kentucky chorus will help ring in Independence Day festivities at Lexington’s Fourth of July Patriotic Music Concert scheduled to begin 8 p.m. Thursday, July 3, on the Old Morrison lawn of Transylvania University. "A Salute to Heroes" is free and open to the public.  


The 202nd Army Band of the Kentucky National Guard will play an all-patriotic music program joined by singers from the UK Opera Theatre’s production of "It’s A Grand Night for Singing!"


The 202nd Army Band will be under the direction of Chief Warrant Officer 4 Greg Stepp, while UK Opera Theatre Director Everett McCorvey will conduct the singers from UK.   


The evening will also feature a special appearance from a member of the U.S. Soldiers’ Chorus, the premier military chorus in the nation. Staff Sergeant Charis Strange, who is a native of Campbellsville, Kentucky, will travel to Lexington to sing with the band and the UK vocalists. Strange is one of five graduates of UK School of Music’s vocal performance program to serve with the Soldiers’ Chorus. UK has the highest number of singers in the Soldiers’ Chorus of any university conservatory in the country. 


The all-patriotic concert will also feature UK Opera Theatre Artist-in-Residence and Metropolitan Opera tenor Gregory Turay and such "Grand Night" favorites as Alicia Helm McCorvey and Darian Sanders, among other cast members.   


The concert will take place on the steps of Old Morrison, with seating on the lawn and in nearby Gratz Park. The public is invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets and stake out spots from which to enjoy the concert. Food and drink will be available for purchase.


Heather French Henry, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs, and Kevin Christopher, news anchor for WLEX-TV (Channel 18), will be co-hosts for the concert.


WLEX TV-Channel 18 and the Downtown Lexington Corporation are sponsoring the event this year, with assistance from Alltech and the Henderson Music Company.


The concert is a prelude to a full day of activities at the Fourth of July downtown celebration on Friday, July 4. The festivities kick off Friday morning with the Bluegrass 10,000 foot race, feature a large street festival and parade, and end with fireworks over downtown Lexington. Details on all these events can be found at:


UK Opera Theatre is one of a select group of U.S. opera training programs recommended by the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. The Tucker Foundation is a nonprofit cultural organization dedicated to the support and advancement of the careers of talented American opera singers by bringing opera into the community and heightening appreciation for opera by supporting music education enrichment programs.


The UK School of Music at the UK College of Fine Arts has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, and theory and music history.



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

Old School Skills

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 14:28

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 7, 2014) — When University of Kentucky student Erica Mattingly enrolled in one of Andrew M. Byrd’s linguistics courses, she had no idea she would be rewriting history — or at least re-speaking it.


Byrd, assistant professor of linguistics in the College of Arts and Sciences, and his students have drawn national attention for their groundbreaking work to reconstruct and understand prehistoric languages.


Byrd has devoted much of his research time translating the language known as Proto-Indo-European (PIE). The language is thought to have been first used over 7,000 years ago, with some suspecting it was spoken even earlier. Byrd’s work focuses on the sounds and structure of the PIE language, aiming to understand what it sounded like when spoken a millennia ago.


“To figure out what PIE sounded like, we must compare it to the most ancient Indo-European languages, like Latin, Ancient Greek and Sanskrit,” Byrd said.


While the nuts and bolts behind reconstructing stories in PIE is quite complicated, Byrd describes the translation process as fairly straightforward. The difficulty, he says, comes from knowing which words the PIE speakers used, which requires study and knowledge of the culture.


“For each sentence you want to write, you must consider the words the PIE speakers used to convey concepts as well as the word order. Once you have those, you’ve got yourself a reconstructed sentence,” said Byrd.


Mattingly, a linguistics and Spanish senior, took Byrd’s Indo-European course last year. She says her experience in the class played no small part in her decision to pursue a career in linguistics. After a study of the culture of the PIE speakers and the makeup of their language, Byrd issued a unique challenge to his class: To translate the third-ever fable into PIE.


When Byrd told his class that they would be reconstructing a fable into the PIE language, no one knew what an undertaking it would become. Mattingly recounts the pressure to reconstruct the language accurately.


“It was so, so difficult at first, because we wanted so badly to do it correctly,” she said. “These are words our linguistic ancestors spoke. So to bridge that gap in class was very meaningful to me.”


Byrd keeps his dynamic classroom environment full of challenge and opportunity, offering up research studies to his students interested in translating other works written in PIE and other ancient languages. These independent studies are flexible, chosen based on consideration of student interest and Byrd’s work.


“The work that comes out of these studies is stellar,” Byrd said.


Last year, Mattingly had the opportunity to complete an independent study with Byrd. Knowing her strengths after having her in class, Byrd pushed Mattingly to take a leap and work on something new. She chose to look at the adaptation of the Spanish language between the years 711 and 1400 and how it shifted as a result of an influence from Arabic.


“Dr. Byrd inspired me to work on something that incorporated both languages that I speak," she said. "Before working alongside him, I hadn’t thought about Islamic conquest in terms of how it affected the evolution of the Spanish language.” 


Byrd says he likes to make his classes stand out from other linguistics courses so that his students learn the material they need while having fun.


“While students are asked to undertake lots of linguistic analysis, I always like to bring a little bit of fun and silliness into it, whether it’s translating a fable into PIE or analyzing the made-up language of Ramma Lamma Ding Dongian,” he said.  


It’s that environment that encouraged Mattingly to further pursue her linguistics passion. She emphasizes the value of having Byrd as a mentor who can check in on her and she can approach with questions or concerns, as she recalls not always having the answers as a first-year student.


“Dr. Byrd knows his craft really well," she said. "If I have a question, he will either have a hard answer or he’ll know exactly where to send me. He’s a great asset as a resource.” 


For incoming linguistics students, Byrd recommends a strong desire to learn other languages and a willingness to look at things from other perspectives, which, he says, go hand in hand.


“My advice is to take courses in both ancient and modern languages from the wonderful faculty in the MCLLC department and Hispanic Studies Department here at UK,” he said.


After she graduates, Mattingly plans to pursue a master’s degree in linguistics and later start a career in translation and linguistics for the federal government. Byrd’s teaching style, in which he compares translation to solving a riddle, allowed her to see how much she enjoyed the process.


“It really opened me up to realizing how much I love linguistics,” she said. “I love finding the answer and doing research that has never been done before, whether it’s PIE, Bengali or Swahili. It gives us insights not only into those cultures but our own as well.”


To read the translated fables and other student work, visit the linguistics blog.


HDI Names Allie Rhodes as 2014 Burberry Award Winner

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 12:06

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 3, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute (HDI) has named Allie Rhodes as the winner of the 2014 Paul Kevin Burberry Award. 


Rhodes is a a doctoral student in the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Rehabilitation in the UK College of Education and the HDI Evaluation Unit research assistant. Her doctoral work has focused on communication disorders.


The award is named in memory of the Berea native who pioneered a trail in the public school system as the first student with significant physical disabilities, due to cerebral palsy, to complete Berea Community High School. Burberry graduated with highest honors and went on to attend Berea College and the University of Kentucky, where he was majoring in philosophy. He was an exemplary student whose life was cut short prior to his anticipated graduation, with honors, in May 2004.


The award — the highest student honor awarded annually by HDI — is given to a student involved with HDI who has exemplified in his or her life the leadership, advocacy and commitment to persons with disabilities and their families that Burberry demonstrated in his own life.


“More than anything else, Allie shows us that every child can learn, that every life must be meaningful, that every person has something valuable to contribute," said Chithra Adams, HDI director of evaluation and Rhodes’ supervisor. "In other words, she is the very personification of HDI and what we stand for."


HDI Director Harold Kleinert commended Allie for her "passionate focus" on the application of assistive technology to improve the life of individuals with the most significant disabilities.  


"Allie is a tremendously positive person, who deftly handles the demands of wife and mother, doctoral student, and evaluation assistant, with a truly balanced and wise outlook on those parts of our lives that matter most deeply," he said. 

UK Researcher Uses New Technology to Preserve Ancient Artifact

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 11:02

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 3, 2014) — This July, a University of Kentucky professor is headed back to Lichfield Cathedral in England to continue a labor of love: digitizing the nearly 1,300-year-old St. Chad Gospels.


William Endres, an assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies, has already captured multispectral and historical images of the St. Chad Gospels and rendered the manuscript  in 3-D in 2010. However, he recently received a grant from the West Semitic Research Project to digitize the precious relic using a new technology called Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI).


To learn more, visit a podcast by Endres and a video that explains the process of 3-D rendering.


Endres said RTI was a necessary step in helping to preserve the priceless artifact. The manuscript has a long and turbulent history. The jeweled binding was likely torn off by marauding Vikings, and the delicate vellum pages have become warped over the years from water damage and ambient moisture. "Vellum absorbs water much more quickly than pigments; so as vellum expands, it puts stress on the pigments. When stress is placed on pigments, they crack. Once they crack sufficiently, chips of pigment break free," said Endres.


The detailed, high-relief view that RTI affords will allow scholars to see where pigment on the pages is rising up and preparing to flake off. Through RTI, preservationists will be able to pinpoint and address trouble spots that may have arisen since the manuscript’s pages were flattened, treated with liquid nylon and rebound in 1962.


RTI will also allow scholars around the world to see an intriguing facet of the St. Chad Gospels: its dry-point glosses. By design, dry-point glosses are notoriously difficult to see and nearly impossible to capture with regular photography. They are etched into the vellum with a stylus but no ink. However, these glosses are highly important. In the St Chad Gospels, these glosses are likely the names of scribes, who added their names because they believed that a great gospel-book like the St Chad Gospels functioned as a book of the living, that St. Peter would look at their manuscripts on Judgment Day and give a free pass into heaven for anyone whose name appeared in the margins.


Another surprising fact about the glosses is that three of the names are female. In the margins of the Magnificat page, where the pregnant Virgin Mary sings a song of praise to God, three Anglo-Saxon women's names appear: Berhtfled, Elfled and Wulfild.


"So if we're correct about these names, it's likely--or at least possible--that these women worked in the scriptorium at Lichfield Cathedral, had access to the St. Chad Gospels, and inscribed their names," said Endres.


He believes the presence of these names secures the manuscript's place as an important piece of feminist history, especially since so little is known about the day-to-day life of women in early medieval England. "But this page also speaks to a reclaiming of women's contributions to culture in a much larger way than just within the St. Chad Gospels. I find it's emblematic for the power of the feminist movement and the richness that the movement adds to our lives and understanding of our history."


In appreciation to Lichfield Cathedral for allowing him access to the St. Chad Gospels, Endres said he plans to give a series of lectures about the manuscript while he's in Lichfield, and he will also hold a class to teach local children how to do their own calligraphy, illumination and interlace art.


Endres said it's important for scholars to contribute to the communities that preserve important artifacts at great expense. Lichfield Cathedral, for example, receives no State funding to help care for the St. Chad Gospels and the Cathedral, even though the costs are substantial.


"This manuscript is very precious to Lichfield," said Endres. "I try to do things that will honor the manuscript's position within the community. It is a touchstone for the community’s Christian origins in Lichfield. The St Chad Gospels might be a treasure of the world, but it is the Lichfield community that has protected and preserved it through the ages.”




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