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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, gail.hairston@uky.edu

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, whitney.harder@uky.edu

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 www.bikeleague.org/university. A full list of Bicycle Friendly Universities can be found here. To learn more about the BAC, visit www.uky.edu/pts/BAC.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365; sarah.geegan@uky.edu

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 http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/01/23/watch-colleges-spread-across-the-country-like-confetti-with-this-map-that-traces-u-s-history/.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396, whitney.harder@uky.edu

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; sarah.geegan@uky.edu

 

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; sarah.geegan@uky.edu

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 http://www2.ca.uky.edu/hes/piukp/.  

 

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, mallory.powell@uky.edu

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 www.scfatickets.com 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; whitney.hale@uky.edu

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 timothy.bill@uky.edu.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365; sarah.geegan@uky.edu

'Dark End of the Street' Author to Speak at UK

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 15:44

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 26, 2015) — The historic rape of black women by white men helped launch the civil rights movement, according to a recent book by Danielle McGuire, associate professor at Wayne State University, titled “At the Dark End of the Street.” McGuire’s book declares that black women’s protests fueled civil rights campaigns throughout the South and cites the important role Rosa Parks played in these protests as an NAACP investigator.

 

McGuire will visit the University of Kentucky campus to discuss her book on Feb. 5. A reception will begin at 6 p.m. in the Alumni Gallery of the William T. Young Library, followed immediately by the lecture at 6:30 p.m. in the library’s UK Athletics Association Auditorium. The lecture is co-hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences departments of Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS) and African American and Africana Studies (AAAS) and the Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women (OPSVAW). The lecture is a celebration of GWS and AAAS becoming formal affiliates of the OPSVAW. Their unique, but often shared, missions have brought them together as affiliates, and inspired the lecture.

 

“I am so honored to have the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies and the African American and Africana Studies Program join the Department of Psychology and the Department of Political Science as affiliates to our program,” said Carol E. Jordan, executive director of the Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women. “Our joint effort to bring Dr. McGuire to campus is a perfect exemplar of our intertwined missions and our interest in advancing substantive conversations in the area of racial and gendered violence.” 

 

“The partnership we have created with the OPSVAW is an excellent opportunity for our faculty and students to access additional resources and share expertise on issues related to gendered violence,” said Karen Tice, chair of the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies. “We are very excited to have this opportunity to bring Dr. McGuire to campus to talk about how sexualized racial violence played a major role in sparking civil rights activism.”

 

“Dr. McGuire’s work is well known among our faculty, and we are pleased to join our partners in welcoming her to campus,” said Melynda Price, director of the African American and Africana Studies Program.  “Her work toward continuing to explore all dimensions of the civil rights movement and those it impacted the most is a substantial contribution.” 

 

Danielle McGuire is an award-winning author and associate professor in the history department at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She is the recipient of the 2011 Frederick Jackson Turner Award. Her dissertation on sexualized racial violence and the African-American freedom struggle received the 2008 Lerner Scott Prize for best dissertation in women’s history. Her essay “It Was Like We Were All Raped: Sexualized Violence, Community Mobilization and the African American Freedom Struggle,” published in the Journal of American History, won the A. Elizabeth Taylor Prize for best essay in southern women’s history and was reprinted in the Best Essays in American History 2006.

 

McGuire is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians and has appeared on National Public Radio and BookTV (CSPAN). Her essays have appeared on the Huffington Post, TheGrio.com and TheRoot.com.

 

McGuire's first authored book, “At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape and Resistance ‒ a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power,” was published by Knopf in 2010. Her second book project will investigate the ways in which ordinary people experienced the 1967 Detroit racial uprising. She will use the murder of three African-American men by police at the Algiers Motel and their subsequent trials as the main narrative thread to investigate larger themes central to the uprising, especially police brutality and racial discrimination in the urban North. In 2011, she also co-authored an edited book titled “Freedom Rights: New Perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement” with the University Press of Kentucky.

 

For more information on the lecture or the co-hosts, contact: Karen Tice, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, karen.tice@uky.edu; Melynda Price, African American and Africana Studies Program, melynda.price1@uky.edu; and Carol E. Jordan, Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women, carol.jordan@uky.edu

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Gail Hairston, 859-257-3302, gail.hairston@uky.edu

UK Researchers Solve Metabolic Mystery Lending Insight Into Lafora Disease

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 15:31

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 26, 2015) — Scientists at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine have determined how an enzyme essential for energy metabolism functions, solving a mystery eluding molecular biologists for decades.

 

Matthew Gentry, Ph.D, and Craig Vander Kooi, Ph.D, associate professors of molecular and cellular biochemistry, and researcher Madushi Raththagala, Ph.D, recently discovered the role of the enzyme laforin in modifying human glycogen and thereby preventing neurodegeneration. Their work provides fundamental insights that link energy metabolism with the fatal, neurodegenerative form of epilepsy called Lafora disease. These findings were reported Jan. 22, 2015, in the journal, Molecular Cell.

 

Lafora disease was first described by Gonzalo Rodriquez-Lafora in 1911. In 1998, a team of scientists at University of Toronto identified the laforin gene as being mutated in Lafora disease patients. Mutations in the gene encoding the laforin protein result in the accumulation aberrant glycogen-like accumulations called Lafora bodies that resemble plant starch more than human glycogen.

 

Previous research showed Lafora bodies are the driving agents of Lafora disease. Lafora disease patients develop normally until their second decade of life when they experience an epileptic episode. These episodes increase in severity and number until the patient eventually dies from a massive seizure, status epilepticus or aspiration pneumonia.

 

Through their research, Raththagala, Vander Kooi, and Gentry determined the structural basis for the specific enzymatic function of laforin. This discovery allowed them to define how laforin modifies glycogen to inhibit Lafora body formation. Additionally, their work defines why specific patient mutations in laforin result in the disease, which opens pathways to understanding and treating the disease.

 

“A number of groups have tried to determine the structure of laforin over the last 17 years and no one had succeeded,” Gentry said.  “Dr. Raththagala worked tirelessly trying different strategies that we developed to achieve this goal. When we realized our success to get over the final hurdle, I had to sit down to fully comprehend our accomplishment. It is exciting to report this structure, but even more exciting to now consider potential therapeutic possibilities.”

 

To view the published article online, click here

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Adams, elizabethadams@uky.edu

Mathematics Names New Royster, Edwards Chairs

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 09:23

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 26, 2015) — The University of Kentucky Department of Mathematics, within the College of Arts and Sciences, is proud to announce the appointment of Benjamin Braun to the Wimberly and Betty Royster Research Professorship, and Uwe Nagel to the Ralph E. and Norma L. Edwards Research Professorship. 

 

The Royster and Edwards professorships serve to recognize the Department of Mathematics' most active researchers and to support their research. Both positions are three-year terms and include a stipend to support salary or research expenses.

 

Recommendations for the professorships are made by the mathematics faculty who are best able to judge the quality of research. Department of Mathematics Chair Russell Brown says that outstanding faculty tend to be outstanding in all areas, and the department's best researchers are often its best teachers, too.

 

"Ben is an award-winning classroom teacher and works hard to involve students at all levels in his research program," said Brown. "Uwe, in addition to his strong research record, is an outstanding classroom teacher and advisor to graduate students."

 

Braun, named the Royster chair, studies problems that involve counting finite collections of objects using techniques from geometry and algebra. He says that although mathematicians have studied problems of this type for hundreds of years, there remains many mysterious and difficult problems in the field. Braun has published 15 research papers on the subject, and has received competitive research awards from the National Science Foundation, National Security Agency and American Institute of Mathematics.

 

Internationally recognized for his work, Braun has been invited to conferences and workshops at Kyoto University (Japan), the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications at the University of Minnesota, the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences at the University of Toronto (Canada), and the Casa Matemática Oaxaca at El Centro de las Artes (Mexico). He was awarded the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award in 2011-2012.

 

Braun graduated with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and English from Truman State University in 2001, and earned his doctorate in mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis in 2007. He joined UK faculty in the fall of 2007 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in July of this year.

 

During his time here, he has been active in supervising undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral researchers, and published two papers on the scholarship of teaching and learning. Braun is also co-director of the Central Kentucky Mathematics Circles and editor-in-chief of the American Mathematical Society blog, "On Teaching and Learning Mathematics."

 

Nagel, named to the Edwards Research Professorship, conducts research focused in algebraic geometry and commutative algebra. The interplay between algebraic objects and their geometric properties is at the heart of his research. Nagel also helped develop the Liaison Theory, which addresses the question, "Do two geometric objects have similar properties if only their defining equations are known?" His results have been published in two monographs and 82 research papers. He is regularly invited to international conferences and mathematical research institutes, including research stays at research centers in Berkeley, Oberwolfach (Germany), Banff (Canada), Luminy (France), Paris (France), and Trento (Italy).

 

Nagel joined the UK faculty in 2002 and held the position of Royster Research Professor in 2007. Nagel served as a New Directions Visiting Professor at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) at the University of Minnesota from 2006 to 2007. He has enjoyed exploring problems with graduate students and collaborators. His doctoral students have gone on to careers in government, the private sector, and academic careers at research and teaching intensive institutions.

 

Before his time at UK, Nagel received his undergraduate degree in mathematics at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, a German university, in 1987. He earned his doctoral degree in 1990, and his habilitation degree, the highest German degree following a doctoral degree, in 1996 at the University of Paderborn in Germany. 

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Harder, 859-323-2396, whitney.harder@uky.edu

WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Explores New Website of Appalachia Initiative

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 19:45

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 23, 2015) — WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell.  Sitting in for Godell this week is WUKY News Director Alan Lytle.  His guest is Mallory Powell, communications director for the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science and curator for the new Rooted in Our Communities-UK In Appalachia website.

 

To listen to the podcast interview from which "UK Perspectives" is produced, visit http://wuky.org/post/uk-perspectives-rooted-appalachia-part-two.

 

"UK Perspectives" airs at 8:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. each Friday on WUKY 91.3, UK's NPR station.

 

UK Students 'Explore Brass in Greece'

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 18:12

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 23, 2015) — Jason Dovel and 10 University of Kentucky students traveled to Greece over winter break to attend the Exploring Brass in Greece international musical festival. During the visit, the UK students performed in Thessaloniki and Leptokarya, Greece.

 

As part of the trip, which ran Jan. 2-10, UK students performed as the university's Brass Ensemble, and joined trumpet ensembles, horn choirs, low brass ensembles and large brass ensembles made up of participants from around the world.

 

Jason Dovel, assistant professor of trumpet in the UK School of Music, led a warm-up clinic, coached chamber ensembles and taught the seminar “Perspectives of Science in Modern Brass Pedagogy” while in Greece. Other educators on the trip included George Babarakos (artistic director), Vincent DiMartino (former UK and Centre College faculty member and international soloist), Jason Crafton (Virginia Tech), Mike Davison (University of Richmond), Alex Van Duuren (University of Tennessee), Rich Illman (Michigan State University), Gerassimos Ioannidis (Orpheon Conservatory of Athens), Judith Saxton (North Carolina School of the Arts) and Daniel Zehringer (Wright State University).

 

UK students stayed at the Poseidon Palace Hotel in Leptokarya but also visited Thessaloniki, Meteora, Dion, Vergina and other areas in northern Greece. The students in particular enjoyed their visit to Meteora, which is one of the largest and most important complexes of Greek Orthodox monasteries in Greece.

 

UK students who participated in the festival included: trombone player and music education sophomore James Alford, of Lexington; trumpet player and music performance freshman Morgan Bay, of Butler, Kentucky; trombone player and music performance junior Denver Coprade Pascua, of Frankfort, Kentucky; trumpet player and music performance sophomore Caden Holmes, of Hanson, Kentucky; trumpet player and music performance freshman William Lovan, of Lexington; French horn player and music education senior John Andrew Osborne, of Georgetown, Kentucky; trumpet player and music education junior Zachary Robinson, of Lexington; trumpet player and Spanish and music education senior Kathryn Safa, of Zionsville, Indiana; French horn player and music freshman Mya Scheib, of Lexington; and French horn junior and music performance senior Emily Wilson, of Lexington.

 

This trip to Greece was organized as a study abroad experience through UK Education Abroad, with help from Education Abroad staff Ben Vockery and Tony Ogden.

 

UK Education Abroad is the university's comprehensive resource for study abroad, research abroad, intern abroad, and other educational experiences worldwide. The office's goal is to provide academically sound international experiences that promote intercultural competence, disciplinary scholarship and foreign language acquisition for all students. 

 

The UK School of Music at 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; whitney.hale@uky.edu

Former UK Professor Appointed to NCAA Board of Directors

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 15:48

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 23, 2015) — George C. Wright, who began his career in higher education as a faculty member in the history department at the University of Kentucky, has been appointed to the NCAA Division I Board of Directors. Wright's term runs until the fall of 2019.

 

The Board of Directors oversees six NCAA committees that focus on essential topics including academic performance, infractions, and legislation. It consists of presidents, athletic directors, senior woman administrators, faculty representatives and student-athletes.

 

Wright, who recently began his second decade as president of Prairie View A&M University in Texas, is a native of Lexington who earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in history at UK, before attaining his Ph.D. at Duke University. In 2004, Wright was awarded an honorary doctorate from UK.

 

Wright already serves on the NCAA Division I Presidential Advisory Group.

 

Over his long and distinguished career, he has directed the Afro-American studies program at Duke University, been the executive vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Texas at Arlington, and authored three books including one which earned him the Governor’s Award by the Kentucky Historical Society.

 

Prairie View was the first state-supported college in Texas for African Americans.  Established in 1876 during the Reconstruction period after the Civil War, the university now boasts enrollment over 8,000 including more than 2,000 graduate students.

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT:  Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200; carl.nathe@uky.edu.

Fallin to Participate in National Nursing Faculty Policy Program

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 15:22

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 23, 2015) – Amanda Fallin, assistant research professor at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, has been selected as one of eight distinguished nurse educators to participate in the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s (AACN) Faculty Policy Intensive (FPI) program.

 

Now in its third year, FPI is a fully-funded, four-day immersion program designed for faculty at AACN member schools interested in elevating their role in shaping health policy as well as enhancing their existing knowledge of policy and advocacy.

 

The 2015 cohort was chosen from a highly competitive pool of more than 30 applicants throughout the country. Fallin will travel to Washington D.C. on March 23-26 to participate in the program.

 

"It is important for nurses to take an active role in shaping public policy. If policymakers considered the health implications of all policies, we could make great strides in improving the health of the community and in reducing health disparities," Fallin says.

 

Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or ann.blackford@uky.edu 

It's the Best Week of the Year!

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 14:41

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 26, 2014) — Today, DanceBlue kicks off the bi-annual Blitz Week; a fun-filled week of activities will happen on campus and in the Lexington community from Monday, Jan. 26, through Friday, Jan. 30. Blitz Week culminates with the fundraising deadline for students participating in DanceBlue 2015. DanceBlue is a 24-hour no-sleeping, no-sitting dance marathon that benefits the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic and the Markey Cancer Center.

 

Blitz Week begins on Monday, Jan. 26, with DanceBlue Spirit Day. Gold ribbons will be sold at the Student Center for $1 and students are encouraged to wear DanceBlue gear in celebration of the upcoming marathon.

 

On Tuesday, Elena’s Lemonade Stand will sell lemonade outside Starbucks at the Student Center as part of the fundraising effort. In addition, Mellow Mushroom will donate a portion of their sales from Tuesday night to DanceBlue.

 

Wednesday marks Social Media Day! Tweet, Facebook and Instagram why you love DanceBlue using #DB15 and #FTK. DanceBlue will be answering questions about the marathon on the University's Twitter account, @universityofky, from 11: 30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Tweet questions about DanceBlue using the hashtag #AskACat or post your questions on the UK Facebook page.

 

Thursday, DanceBlue will host a Zumba class from 6-7 p.m. in the Student Center Small Ballroom and students who attend will receive spirit points. A restaurant night will be held that evening at City Barbeque, and alumni are encouraged to attend the Fayette County UK Alumni Club event at West Sixth Brewery. Both events will be raising funds for the cause.

 

Friday at 7 p.m. the University of Kentucky Gymnastics Team will host the University of Alabama at Memorial Coliseum for their meet supporting DanceBlue.

 

Friday, Jan. 30, marks the fundraising deadline for students participating in DanceBlue. The DanceBlue 2015 marathon will be from 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, until 2 p.m. Sunday Feb. 15, at Memorial Coliseum on UK's campus. This year’s marathon marks the 10-year anniversary of DanceBlue at the University of Kentucky.

 

For more information about DanceBlue or to support its efforts, visit www.danceblue.org.

 

 

DanceBlue Contact: Michael Danahy, pr@danceblue.org

MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett, katy.bennett@uky.edu, 859-257-1909

Students Invited to PRSSA Meeting

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 14:12

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 26, 2015) – The UK Chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America serves to enhance its members’ knowledge of public relations and provide access to professional development opportunities. The organization is open to all students but is directly focused toward integrated strategic communication students as well as students within the College of Communication and Information.

 

PRSSA is kicking off the spring semester with their first meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27, in the Student Services Center in the Grehan Building. This meeting is open to students, members and nonmembers. Anna Harris, ISC graduate and current assistant director of admissions for recruitment, will be speaking about how her background in integrated strategic communication has taken her to an unconventional field of work.

 

PRSSA is an excellent organization for students to discover more professions within their field of study, deepen their knowledge of public relations and seek internship opportunities. For questions, contact Rebecca Stratton at becca.strat1@gmail.com.

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett, katy.bennett@uky.edu, 859-257-1909

Spring Into Involvement!

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 12:39

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 23, 2015) — The Office of Student Involvement will be hosting an involvement fair from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27, in the Student Center Grand Ballroom. This involvement fair will feature many of the university’s more than 550 student organizations. 

 

Students will have the chance to meet members of current student organizations, connect with other students interested in becoming involved on campus and enjoy free food, hot chocolate and giveaways.

 

Students are urged to explore OrgSync, a website dedicated to connecting students with organizations on campus, at www.OrgSync.com before the fair to learn more about the multitude of organizations available on campus.

 

Any questions can be directed to Assistant Director for Student Organizations Shauna Prentice at shauna.prentice@uky.edu.

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett, katy.bennett@uky.edu, 859-257-1909

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