Change starts with us

June 29, 2020

Dear College of Health Sciences community,

On June 15, I shared with you the beginning of our plan to create a safe, just, and equitable campus. We took immediate action and last week I participated in an open and honest discussion with a group of our students about diversity, inclusivity, and equity in our college. I will be engaging with additional members of our community in the coming weeks.
We still have much to learn, and many more changes to enact, before we can truthfully say CHS is a place of belonging for all. I left the conversation with intense pride for our students' courage to share their experiences and a renewed commitment to build an inclusive community.
This conversation is the first of many steps we are taking, and, I hope, the start of healing and advancement for our college. Thank you to the following students who participated in the discussion:

  •  Jacob Zimmerman
  • Kyoko Hamagata
  • Savannah Jones
  • Latoya Walker
  • Gloria Maldonado
  • Maria Rodriguez
  • Amina Nouri

 Furthermore, the university released a comprehensive plan last week to accelerate progress for diversity. Highlights of the first phase include: 

  • Requiring cultural proficiency training for all faculty and teaching assistants; training on handling race discussions in the classroom; diversity and inclusion training for students prior to the start of the fall semester; and strengthening the diversity curriculum for UK 101.
  • Earmarking funds for greater diversity faculty and staff recruitment.
  • Creating a mini-internship program and developing a student advisory group to increase the pipeline toward careers in higher education.
  • Expanding the university’s supplier diversity purchasing program.
  • Empaneling a principles of community committee (evaluate Creed and Code).
  • Conducting a facilities audit as part of the development of a diversity/inclusivity master plan for the campus and creating a “percent for art fund” in which dollars for large capital construction projects would be earmarked to purchase diverse and inclusive art.
  • Building out the development of — and consistency in policies around — diversity and inclusion officers within each UK college.
  • Creating a research alliance — as UK did in response to the coronavirus — to study and develop strategies around the reduction of social and racial injustice and health disparities.

Serious and sustainable actions are required to ensure we do not repeat past mistakes, and I will closely align with university efforts as we work toward a better future for our college. We are committed to become a new College of Health Sciences—a community rooted in understanding and with a fierce desire to stand against injustice and inequity inside and outside our walls. Thank you for joining me on this journey toward transformation.


Scott Lephart,
Dean of the UK College of Health Sciences