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Updated: 1 hour 6 min ago

A Diverse and Inclusive Campus

Wed, 09/21/2016 - 09:19

Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016

 

President Capilouto recently wrote to the campus about the decision UK made to uncover the Memorial Hall mural, while also taking significant steps to cultivate an environment of inclusivity and belonging for everyone in the UK community. He also addressed this topic through a campus video message.

 

This is, without doubt, an important step.

 

Our campus must be a place where everyone — regardless of race, gender, background, religion, ethnicity, identity, and any other human characteristics — feels a sense of safety and belonging.

 

Plans for accomplishing this goal are infused throughout our strategic plan. It will serve as a guidepost throughout our efforts to achieve the environment we desire with respect to diversity and inclusion.

 

But, of course, the most important guideposts for this important undertaking are our people—the students, faculty and staff that make up the UK family.

 

We have been fortunate over the past several months to engage in constructive dialogue with a wide range of UK community members from our underrepresented populations.  President Capilouto, Interim Vice President for Institutional Diversity Terry Allen, and I—among others—are anxious for that dialogue to continue in the consistent spirit of transparency, honesty, and respect.

 

Through these conversations a broad consensus emerged that progress needs to be made in a number of areas. In particular, our students presented us with five core pillars upon which we should focus with respect to people, resources, curriculum and performance measurements. Those five areas include:

  

  • Accessibility to resources and funding for organizations, scholarships and programming
  • Restructuring of the Office of Institutional Diversity
  • Measurable benchmarks for diversity and accountability
  • Increasing the number of African-American professors and staff and increasing retention
  • A class on race and ethnicity that is part of the core curriculum
  • These concerns are real. And we’re grateful to our community members for highlighting them  .

 

So, while more progress undoubtedly must be made, I’d like to highlight some of the things we are doing to address these important issues. In the spirit of openness and collaboration, we will continue to provide updates on the progress we’re making in these crucial areas.

 

Accessibility to resources and funding for organizations, scholarships and programming

 

Last year, we initiated the Provost Persistence Grant program— a program which provides grants to students with financial holds due to small sums of money. In the 2015-2016 academic year 209 students were awarded this grant. More than half of those students were from underrepresented populations. Having analyzed the data from past efforts with this program, we want to continue and expand it.

 

We’ve also increased funding for both the William C. Parker scholarship, an undergraduate scholarship, and the Lyman T. Johnson Fellowship program, a graduate scholarship. Both of these programs contribute significantly to diversity and inclusion efforts, as well as recruitment of underrepresented minority students.

 

Restructuring of the Office of Institutional Diversity

 

Last spring, President Capilouto spoke individually with more than 60 members of the campus and broader community about the Office for Institutional Diversity and its direction. He appointed Terry Allen to serve as interim vice president for institutional diversity and to begin the work of restructuring and reinvigorating efforts to support inclusivity throughout campus.

 

The Office for Institutional Diversity has contacted other institutions to gather information on best practices for this type of work. Internally, a survey instrument was created and distributed to 3,000 students and 1,500 faculty and staff to gather feedback.

 

The university will continue to look at the structure of the office with input from students, faculty and staff.

 

Measurable benchmarks for diversity and accountability

 

Last October, our Board of Trustees adopted the 2015-2020 strategic plan, which entails ambitious plans for closing retention and graduation gaps for underrepresented student populations.

 

One of the plan’s five objectives focuses entirely upon creating the kind of environment we all desire with respect to diversity and inclusion. Our goal is to “enhance the diversity and inclusivity of our University community through recruitment, retention and promotion of an increasingly diverse population of faculty, administrators, staff, and students, and by implementing initiatives that provide rich diversity-related experiences for all to help ensure their success in an interconnected world.”

 

Importantly, this emphasis is not only reflected through this objective. Our ambitions to become a more diverse, welcoming campus are suffused throughout the strategic plan, in each objective and every iteration of our shared vision.

 

Transparent communication of outcomes and mechanisms of meeting strategic plan benchmarks will be ongoing.

 

Increasing the number of African-American professors and staff and increasing retention

 

After declining or remaining flat over the last four years, UK has seen an increased number of female, underrepresented minority (all groups), and, specifically, African Americans, among faculty and executive/administrative/managerial staff in the last year. Of course, we want to continue and improve upon this progress.

 

We’ve begun to develop and implement plans, in line with our strategic plan, to provide formal inclusiveness and diversity professional development for all faculty, staff, managers, and supervisors.

 

One example is the Unconscious Bias initiative. This 3-5 year campus-wide initiative provides a sustainable road map for impacting awareness on campus for all members of the community beginning with leaders. Among the initiatives are faculty search committee trainings, along with trainings for community members, speakers, and scholarly research activities.

 

A class on race and ethnicity that is part of the core curriculum

 

The university is working with elected faculty representatives to examine whether a class that more holistically focuses on these diversity-related issues can become part of core curriculum. In the meantime, as this important process proceeds, programs that foster diversity and inclusion during K-Week have been enhanced. In addition, we have added a second diversity module in the UK 101/201 curriculum. This took effect this fall.

Again, I would like to thank those who are working with us, bringing these concerns to the forefront of the conversation.

 

After the tragic violence that took place across the nation this summer, Interim Vice President for Institutional Diversity Terry Allen wrote:

 

“As an institution of higher learning, that call for reflection, the thirst for understanding, the seeking of knowledge in the midst of the seemingly unknowable, is what makes us and our community special.

 

It is also the burden we must carry together. We have a distinct responsibility, in this place and at this time, to ask tough questions of ourselves, of society, and of those in power.

 

We have a right – and there is a responsibility we share too – to expect that all of us, regardless of our position or prominence, are held accountable for our actions, individually and collectively.”

 

As an institution, we know we must continue to nurture diversity, inclusion, safety and belonging on our campus. We share a responsibility to do so. 

 

At the same time, I’m proud of the steps we’ve begun to take—in partnership—to undertake this work. I look forward to continuing those efforts together.

 

Thank you for your role in our shared vision.

 

Tim Tracy

@UKYProvost

#seeblue

Academic Excellence and Student Success

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 12:49

Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016

 

 This morning, we will begin two days of meetings with our Board of Trustees in Bowling Green, KY. It will be an opportunity to showcase progress that we continue to make, under its leadership, toward our shared vision.

 

 We aim to be the University of choice for aspiring undergraduate students within the Commonwealth and beyond. One week ago, we took another important step in that journey. As we have announced previously, on Sept. 1 the newly formed unit, Student and Academic Life, began operating under the new organizational structure.

 

 This realignment supports our commitment to support student success in an integrated, collaborative way—one that blends the curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular. We are realigning our resources to create the best organization—structurally—to accomplish this important goal.

 

 A merging of the critical efforts within the Division of Student Affairs and Undergraduate Education to form the unit of Student and Academic Life will provide a more integrated support structure to guide students through their academic journeys at UK.  The new structure reallocates more resources from administration to front-line staff working with and directly supporting our students on a regular basis.

 

 We are investing more – and more strategically – in our students. They are, and they must be, at the center of everything that we do.

 

As part of this process, we are also committed to transparency and openness. We will continue to keep the campus updated as we work to realign the other units that comprise academic excellence. 

 

Below is an email that I sent to all Student and Academic Life employees last week:

 

 

(Sept. 2, 2016)

Dear Colleagues,

 

 I’d like to thank you for your efforts, good faith and patience as we’ve undergone the first step in our Academic Excellence transformation. As we have announced previously, yesterday —Sept. 1—Student and Academic Life will began operating under the new organizational structure.

 

For the past several weeks, unit leaders have been working collaboratively to hand off responsibilities and ensure business continuity. We want this process to be as seamless as possible, especially as it relates to our interactions with students, so we appreciate your efforts to help us be successful.

 

Transitions are not easy. We understand that some anxiety still exists, and that we must continue working together to nurture a divisional culture that reflects our shared vision. To that end, we will begin scheduling workshops, retreats and meetings to discuss what that will look like, and how it can best serve our students.

 

We will also continue to meet in a town hall setting, as we have since April, to provide updates, answer questions and discuss the progress we’ve made. In the last town hall, a participant suggested that staff members submit questions or topics for us to address ahead of time. If you have any input on what we should cover in the next town hall, in addition to the regular updates and progress, please contact us at AETransform@uky.edu.

 

Naturally, many questions have arisen as we’ve gotten closer to this stage of the realignment. I would like to address some recurring questions we’ve heard so far. Those are below. Of course, if you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to email us at the same address, AETransform@uky.edu

 

Thank you for everything you do.

 

Will I have a different assigned work space?

The timeline for physical relocations within all Academic Excellence units will vary by unit and subunit over the next year. Unit leaders and managers will have more information on these timelines in the coming weeks.

 

Where do I go for my IT/UKAT needs?

For all Information Technology needs (desktop support, server support, etc.) please contact Kellie Etheridge (kellie.etheridge@uky.edu) or 218-HELP.  For all analytics/data requests please contact Craig Rudick (Craig.Rudick@uky.edu).

 

Will I receive a merit raises on my September paycheck?

The 2 percent merit raise allocated for the 2016-2017 fiscal year is based upon merit related to previous responsibilities and efforts—just as the institution has done for the last four years. Therefore, all employees will receive a raise commensurate with their most recent performance evaluation. Merit raise letters for Student & Academic Life employees will be distributed this week.

 

When will I know the status of my operating budget?

Employees who perform budget-related duties have been meeting with the Provost Budget Office team over the past several weeks. Units should receive FY17 operating budgets in the coming days.

 

What changes will occur on my website, and who will oversee web maintenance?

The Student and Academic Life unit leaders have been working with staff in UKPR and UK University Relations on all websites that fall under Student and Academic Life. These staff are creating new websites that reflect the new organizational structure and moving existing content into the new websites. If you have any questions about this process or the status of a website you help maintain, please communicate with your unit leader.

 

My new supervisor’s position is still open. What do I do in the interim?

The interim assistant provosts have been communicating with people in their units about the changes going into effect.  If your supervisor’s position is currently vacant and you are unsure who to go to for questions, time approval, etc., contact the interim assistant provost for your areas. If you have any additional questions regarding the organizational structure, please contact AETransform@uky.edu

 

What should I tell students, if they have questions about the new structure?

Any member of the UK family is welcome to ask questions at AETransform@uky.edu. Again, our goal is to make the transition into the new structure particularly seamless for students, so please contact us if you foresee any recurring questions or need guidance on how to communicate these changes with students.

 

 

Tim Tracy

Provost

Our Progress: Transforming Academic Excellence

Tue, 08/16/2016 - 11:37

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

 

Yesterday morning, I had another thoughtful and engaging conversation with the staff in Academic Excellence—the support units that focus on our top priority, student success. It was another meeting in a series of town halls I’ve held with this group since the spring, when we began the Office of the Provost realignment in earnest.

 

You can view my presentation here.

 

We spent the majority of our time discussing the realignment of the new division, Student and Academic Life (SAL), as the first phase of the realignment focused on this area. And, while we have made progress in integrating the organizational structure of Student Affairs and Undergraduate Education into the new division, Student and Academic Life, we still have work to do.

 

We’re continuing to evaluate how we can best match money with mission and ensure that we’re creating the best organization—structurally—to support student success.

 

To that end, we have begun posting new positions within Student and Academic Life, and will continue to post more in the coming weeks. You can see the breakdown of these types of positions in the presentation linked above.

 

At the town hall in July, I announced the interim Student and Academic Life leaders who have already begun working to build the new organizational structure, while also maintaining business continuity as we welcome a new incoming class of students.

  • Victor Hazard will serve as the interim associate provost for student and academic life.
  • Nick Kehrwald will serve as the interim dean of students.
  • Phil Kraemer will serve as the interim assistant provost for academic enrichment.
  • Adrienne McMahan will serve as the interim assistant provost for student and academic services.
  • Drew Smith will serve as the interim assistant provost for health and wellness.

 

We are also forming a search committee for the permanent associate provost for Student and Academic Life. We will begin conducting stakeholder interviews, as a part of this proccess, later this month.

 

Next month, we will begin bringing the entire Student and Academic Life division together, through a series of retreats and workshops, to continue developing a divisional culture. We’ve begun this process already, through meetings with teams, leaders and individual colleagues.

 

And as we continue to move forward, it is important to remind ourselves of why we’re undergoing this realignment. It underscores our ultimate vision: creating the best possible environment to support student success. We are aligning our resources to accomplish this important goal.

 

We are investing more – and more strategically – in our students.

 

Furthermore, we aim to create a truly integrated, holistic model: one that aligns functionality of the Academic Excellence units with the efforts of the colleges. 

 

We believe that these changes are necessary to meet our ambitious objectives outlined in our Strategic Plan. The plan charts our course to become one of the country’s leading public, residential research universities, envisioning retention rates of 90 percent; graduation rates at 70 percent; and a significant closure of the gap in retention and graduation rates that exist for underrepresented student populations.

 

We know that making this kind of swift and dramatic progress will require a more seamless and integrated approach to our efforts. To reach these goals, we must think and act differently. And we must make dramatic change now.

 

Over the course of the fall, we will begin working with Enrollment Management, another crucial unit supporting student success. EM’s role is critical to the financial health, mission and vision of the institution. As with all areas, we want to maximize its strengths while looking for opportunities to improve.

 

We’ll also announce realignment efforts within the UK International Center and the UK Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching later this academic year. Sue Roberts recently assumed the role of associate provost for internationalization. She will be working with our team as a crucial partner. 

 

I would like to thank each and every employee in the Academic Excellence organization for your patience, counsel and good faith as we continue to move through this process together. While this process has involved very difficult decisions—which were certainly not taken lightly—I’ve seen touching demonstrations of your commitment to our students and their experiences.

 

I’ve heard you, throughout this process, express your deep convictions and desire for our shared vision. I’m grateful for everything you do.

 

Sincerely,

 

Tim Tracy

Provost

Student and Academic Life

Wed, 07/20/2016 - 16:15

Thursday, July 21, 2016

 

This week, we implemented steps in our efforts to realign resources in the newly formed unit reporting to the Office of the Provost, Student and Academic Life (SAL).

 

There’s no putting it lightly; this week was a difficult one for our university family.

 

As we have announced previously, the realignment includes position eliminations, as well as the reclassification of existing positions and creation of new ones.

 

Transitions like this one are not a numbers game to anyone involved in this process. Real people are involved—people who have made valued contributions to our campus community. Therefore, it was and is crucial that we approach any decision of this magnitude with consideration and compassion.

 

I would ask that we all work together, and with a sense of compassion and humanity, to work with those affected by these moves and to be mindful of the impact on everyone across these critical areas of student support.

 

At the same time, I believe it is important to remind ourselves, as a community, why we’ve chosen this path.

 

This realignment underscores our ultimate vision: creating the best possible environment to support student success. We are realigning our resources to create the best organization—structurally—to accomplish this important goal.

 

A merging of the critical efforts within the Division of Student Affairs and Undergraduate Education to form the unit of Student and Academic Life will provide a more integrated, collaborative support structure to guide students through their academic journey at UK.  The new structure reallocates more resources from administration to frontline staff working with and directly supporting our students on a regular basis.

 

We are investing more – and investing more strategically – in our students. They are, and they must be, at the center of everything that we do.

 

For example, over time we are creating eight additional counseling positions in the UK Counseling Center, significantly expanding the center’s capacity to support the health and well-being of our students. That is in addition to the more than $5 million spent in recent years on safety measures, including more police, counselors, and technology.

 

Our goal in creating this new structure—for Student and Academic Life as well as for other units reporting to the Office of the Provost—is to better function as a seamless team, rather than as islands of effort.  From the students’ perspective, their educational experiences should be integrated as one experiential process.  Yet, far too often despite the best efforts of so many of us, the educational services and support we provide our students can be segregated and fragmented at times, especially with respect to how central Provost Office units connect to, and work in support of, the colleges.

 

Against that backdrop, our goal is to create a truly integrated, holistic model: one that aligns functionality of the Provost Office units with the efforts of the colleges.  Our new approach will further expand our efforts to support students and underscore our commitment to put them first in everything we do.

 

Over the last several weeks we’ve had meaningful discussions with college leadership, including the deans and associate deans, as the new Student and Academic Life organizational structure has taken shape. We’re very grateful for this invaluable input.

 

As we head into the beginning of a new academic year, we are reminded of our ambitious objectives outlined in our Strategic Plan. The plan charts our course to become one of the country’s leading public, residential research universities, envisioning retention rates of 90 percent; graduation rates at 70 percent; and a significant closure of the gap in retention and graduation rates that exist for underrepresented student populations.

 

We know that making this kind of swift and dramatic progress will require a more seamless and integrated approach to our efforts. To reach these goals, we must think and act differently. And we must make dramatic change now.

 

The steps we are taking are focused entirely on aligning our resources to support those efforts and priorities—matching money to mission.

 

I know we can get there. I believe deeply in our shared vision and priorities.

 

And while this process involved very difficult decisions—that were not taken lightly—I’m hopeful that our UK family will work humanely and collaboratively with our ultimate goal in mind: our promise to the students we serve.

 

Thank you for everything you do.

 

Sincerely,

Tim Tracy

Provost

FAQs About Tuition, Record Investment in Student Financial Aid & Scholarships

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 09:37

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

 

Last Friday, under the leadership of our Board of Trustees, the University of Kentucky broke an important record. Increasing investments in student scholarships and financial aid by 12.5 percent in 2016-2017, our institution is now investing the greatest amount in our history—a record $117 million—to help ensure greater access and affordability.

 

That increased investment in scholarships and aid is part of a $3.5 billion budget that the Board approved. Their endorsement underscored our collective focus on our priorities: matching money to mission.

 

These funding priorities center on improving student success – with goals of 90 percent retention and 70 percent graduation rates by 2020 – and objectives included in our Strategic Plan.

 

As President Capilouto said at the meeting, the record investment represents an intentional and focused effort to place students at the center of everything that we do.

 

Throughout this budget process, we’ve maintained, as a priority, a commitment to informing and engaging the campus community about the budget development and how it strengthens our future as the University FOR Kentucky. We’ve posted a series of FAQs that we’ve received, along with answers on the UK4KY website.

 

Several of these questions are displayed below. You can find a full compilation of questions and answers here: http://www.uky.edu/see/UK4KY

 

Why can’t you find efficiencies that save money rather than raise tuition?

Since 2008, UK has responded to $67 million in recurring decreases in its state appropriations. This year alone, the University has more than $48 million in additional budget needs, a figure far greater than the state's reduction. These needs are driven by increasing fixed costs, utilities, building maintenance and operation, and increases in student financial aid, among others.

 

Finding efficiencies has been a part of our strategy for more than a decade. It's a process we undertake on an annual basis to meet our financial needs, but there aren't enough efficiency measures we can take without causing detrimental harm to our ability to serve students and the Commonwealth.

 

Tuition revenue is part of the equation, but we do not consider rate increases until all other alternatives to be more efficient or generate alternative revenue have been considered. The state dollar is the first dollar into our budget; tuition and fees are the last dollar.

 

How is UK trying to offset some of the cost of tuition?

We begin addressing our financial needs by improving efficiencies and considering new revenues. In the FY2016-17 proposed budget, we identified nearly $7 million in additional efficiencies through e-payables, energy conservation, campus sponsorships, and operating cash returns.

 

In addition, the realignment in the units reporting to the Office of the Provost is generating $6 million in savings and cost containment opportunities.

 

Additionally, $10.8 million in new tuition revenue is generated though increased retention, a change in the residency mix in our students, a larger first-year class size, and new Masters and targeted program growth. This additional revenue is not affected by any rate increase.

 

All of these factors impact the cost of tuition. At the same time, our budget maintains affordable access to a quality higher education. In compliance with parameters set by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, the budget proposes a five percent increase in tuition and fee rates for in-state or resident students, and 8.5 percent for non-resident or out-of-state students.

 

How does UK plan to help more students with financial need?

Our budget maintains affordable access to a quality higher education. In compliance with parameters set by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, the budget proposes a five percent increase in tuition and fee rates for in-state or resident students, and 8.5 percent for non-resident or out-of-state students.

 

The proposed rate for resident students results in a four-year average annual tuition and fee rate increase of four percent – the lowest four-year average percentage increase in more than 10 years. Since Fall 2007, the average out-of-pocket tuition and mandatory fee expense for resident students has increased by only $364 per semester because of UK’s additional investment in student financial aid and scholarships, now up to $117 million in the proposed budget – more than double the investment in the last decade.

 

What if we stopped all the building, we wouldn't have to raise tuition or make other cuts, right? 

The University’s investment in campus is primarily (91%) driven by support from sources other than the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The largest source of funds driving the campus transformation is money from our private partners, philanthropy, strategic uses of our campus resources, and support from UK Athletics.

 

Due to effective financial stewardship, the University has a strong credit rating, allowing us to secure low-interest bonds. Our housing partner, EdR, is funding the construction of new residence halls. Our dining partner, Aramark, is paying for the construction of new dining halls like The 90, and private donors funded the entire renovation cost of the Gatton College of Business and Economics. UK Athletics is generating its own resources for improvements in our Athletics infrastructure, and it is contributing $65 million to a new Academic Science Building.

 

UK was only cut 4.5 percent but you raised tuition 5 percent - why did you raise tuition more than you were cut?

A state dollar and tuition dollar are not created equal. Few students pay the full cost of attendance out of pocket; most receive some type of scholarship to offset the cost of a college education. This is true at all institutions.

 

Because of this - what we call the "discount rate" - we do not realize the full amount of a tuition dollar. Therefore, tuition rate increases do not equate to state appropriation decreases, another reason why state investment is so critical to holding down the cost of higher education.

 

Kentucky has reduced UK's recurring appropriation by more than $67 million since 2008 while tuition revenue has increased by $221 million, so why can't your absorb another reduction?

UK utilized the additional tuition and fee revenue to offset the $67 million in recurring decreases in its state appropriations. In addition, the University must manage fixed costs like utilities and building operations: costs that increase annually. UK also increased student financial aid and scholarships that do not have to be repaid by $56 million. As a result, nearly half of UK resident students graduate without debt.

 

At the same time, UK invested $110 million in the academic enterprise, campus safety, student support services, advising, and instruction.

 

This year alone, the University has more than $48 million in additional budget needs, a figure far greater than the state's reduction. We meet this need by examining areas where we can cut costs, improve efficiencies, and generate new revenue. Only then - the last step in the budget process - do we consider tuition and fee rates.

 

You can find a full compilation of questions and answers here: http://www.uky.edu/see/UK4KY

 

Regards, 

Timothy S. Tracy

@UKYProvost

#UK4KY

#seeblue

Updates on Our Progress: Transforming Academic Excellence

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 16:31

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

 

Last Thursday, I was pleased to engage in a thoughtful discussion with individuals in the areas that report to the Office of the Provost.  It was the first in a series of monthly meetings with the areas that directly support students and academic excellence at UK. I appreciated the willingness of nearly 300 people—to take the time out of already busy schedules to discuss our important work and how we can do even better for our students.

 

This series of meetings is just one component of our commitment to remain open and transparent throughout this realignment process. It also illustrates the way we must continue to view our work—as a team, united across the various units with a shared goal. Student success.

 

The work occurring in the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching, Enrollment Management, the International Center, and the newly formed unit, Student and Academic Life, is part of a realignment that must be understood as an integration of efforts rather than units that operate apart from, or independent from, one another. Moving forward, we must work collectively and even more collaboratively to determine how we can best serve our students and foster an environment of academic excellence.

 

On May 26, we announced publically our plans to realign parts of our campus to make greater progress on the goals outlined in the Strategic Plan. Our realignment – as part of the budget the Board will consider later this month – is designed to generate nearly $6 million in savings in the coming year.

 

As part of this process, work is currently underway to complete a review of positions across several departments, which are projected to include reductions in force of up to 75 positions. As I shared on Thursday, it is important to note that this is an estimate, based on several factors, and represents positions from across multiple units, not just Academic Excellence units. In addition, the estimate includes a number of positions that are already vacant.

 

I also presented a revised timeline for the work we will accomplish together. We will begin advertising the position for an Associate Provost for Student and Academic Life in July, while renewing Victor Hazard’s role as interim until the conclusion of our national search. Phil Kraemer will remain as the liaison for all issues that need a faculty leadership and guidance.

 

I’ve also asked Kim Anderson, associate dean in the College of Engineering, to serve as a liaison with the associate deans across campus throughout this process. Their input and expertise will be vital as we continue to develop our plans to enhance student success.

 

We hope to unveil our new organizational structure for the newly merged unit, Student and Academic Life, in early July. At this point, we will post, shift and eliminate positions in line with the new structure.

 

We have also initiated a deep examination of our Enrollment Management unit to determine how we can better support and organize these crucial efforts on behalf of our university.

 

EM’s role is critical to the financial health, mission and vision of the institution; as with all areas, we want to maximize its strengths while looking for opportunities to improve.

 

Finally, we will continue discussions about the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching as well as the UK International Center over the next 6-8 weeks as part of our analysis of the entire student and faculty support structure with the Provost’s Office.

 

I’m very pleased with the work we have achieved so far. Over the past month, we have developed plans to align current resources with the four pillars of student success—the reasons for which research suggests students struggle. Those are academic success; financial stability; engagement and belonging; and wellness. We’ve worked to link current distribution of resources with those goals.

 

We’ve also discussed at length topics surrounding business continuity. I’m thankful to Jennifer Edwards and her team, as they have met with a number of groups and unit leaders to determine how to continue delivering the highest level of support to both students and the larger UK community throughout this transition. They will continue to meet with various units over the coming weeks.

 

In addition, the various unit leads along with Dr.  Anderson and others have affirmed various proposed initiatives—under the four student success pillars—to be our main focus for the next 12-18 months:

 

Financial stability:

  • We’ve seen success with the Provost Persistence Grant program—grants given to students with financial holds due to small sums of money. Having analyzed the data from past efforts with this program, we want to continue and expand it. 

Wellness:

  • We’re significantly expanding the capacity of the Counseling Center to serve our students. We have already begun hiring several new counselors and plan to continue expanding those efforts in the future. 
  • We are also gathering a team to determine how we can better support and integrate our student alert systems. These alerts allow us to better identify students who may be struggling for various reasons, enhancing our ability to intervene.

Belonging and Engagement:

  • We have had several conversations with leaders across campus to discuss how we can better support first-year and summer transition programs.

Academic success:

  • We are working to determine the best approach to advising for the University of Kentucky. We aim to add additional resources and support to this critical component of student success. We have already begun to work with the advising leadership team and the associate deans, utilizing their experience and expertise.
  • We also aim to expand our on-campus tutoring services.

As you can see, we’ve accomplished a great deal thus far, though we still have much to accomplish together. I’m deeply grateful for efforts across these units to serve our students.

 

As we talk a great deal about becoming more student-centric, I want to emphasize that I don’t mean we are not already. Each of the individuals working in these areas cares deeply about students; they strive to help them in myriad ways and put them first in everything they do. 

 

What I mean is that, as an overall organization, we must be as student-centric as possible – structurally, organizationally and operationally.  We must have an organization that supports the work we do and a culture that fosters the collaboration needed to help every student thrive.

 

We aim to build an organizational structure and culture that reflects the student-centric work we do every day.

 

That’s what makes us the University for Kentucky. Thank you for your role in that promise.

 

Stay up to date on our progress here.

 

Timothy S. Tracy


Provost