Initiatives Housed in Residence Life

Academic Initiatives for Students:


Academic Initiatives Directly Supported by the involvement of Staff/Faculty

The Office of Residence Life depends on the support and time from our faculty and staff. On this page, you’ll find more information and ways to get involved with our various initiatives, which support the residential curriculum. The residential curriculum is the framework upon which we base all of our work in the Office of Residence Life. The curriculum answers the question, "What do we want our students to learn as a result of living in our residence halls?"

The Office of Residence Life views all of our staff as educators who support student learning. Each of these initiatives is designed to offer you flexibility in terms of the level of involvement required, so that you can focus on developing relationships with our students and on creating meaningful programs and co-curricular experiences.

We hope that you’ll find a program that will suit your current time availabilities and commitments. Your time is rewarded with tickets to athletic events, complimentary dining on campus, entry to purchase a multi-pass parking permit, tickets to Singletary Center events, and your service could count toward service hours for volunteers on the tenure track. To learn about all of our Academic initiatives please scroll down and click on the name of the program. If you’re interested in suggesting additional initiatives for us to consider, please email the Assistant Director for Academic Initiatives.


Benefits for Faculty/Staff Involvement

Engage students outside the classroom
Pique the interest of first-year students in your discipline or field
Raise student awareness of your courses, as well as departmental and college minors and majors
Share your research and expertise with first-year students
Model exemplary teaching, discourse, and debate
Network with UK colleagues and foster interdisciplinary connections with faculty from sister institutions as well as community organizations
Participate in a dynamic learning community that supports creative education and co-curriculum
Ultimately, student-centered, residential living-learning communities complement the pedagogical models of the classroom, and enable faculty to reinforce the development of higher-order cognitive skills from the classroom, such as critical thinking, problem solving, source analysis, quantitative reasoning, inquiry-based research, and dialogic learning.
Benefits for Students
Out-of-class faculty interaction with students enhances students’ intellectual and personal development, as well as their overall evaluation of their undergraduate experience.
Improved academic achievement and quality of effort/persistence
Leadership, programming, research, and peer teaching experience
Knowledge of research and publications across the disciplines
Opportunities for informal faculty mentorship and advising
Faculty perspectives on current events and campus issues
Integration into broader intellectual community on campus


Academic Initiatives Directly Supported by the involvement of Staff/Faculty


Resident Connections

Resident Connections are conducted by our resident advisors in the residence halls. The goal of resident connections is to check-in with students during academically strenuous times, for example, mid-term and finals; however, these connections also serve as a mean of intervention. Should a resident advisor learn that a resident is experiencing trouble, either academically or interpersonally, they can activate an internal system that will connect with the student and attempt to remedy the situation. This intervention will alert the Hall/Resident Director of the residence hall, appropriate senior leadership in the Office of Residence Life, and if necessary, the Students of Concern committee. Resident Connections are conducted four times in both the fall and spring semesters. Resident advisors submit journal entries of their conversations with the residents to the Academic Coordinator for Academic Initiatives in the Office of Residence Life.


Academic Alliance

The Academic Alliance is a membership organization sponsored by the Office of Residence Life for participating UK staff and administrators, who would like to participate in any of our academic programs within the residence hall, or who would like to engage with students on this campus. Members of the Academic Alliance can choose to participate in one or more programs according to his/her availability. Our different participation options:


Living Learning Program

The Office of Residence Life oversees the living learning program at the University of Kentucky. For the 2015 – 2016 academic year we will be providing support to 19 communities, ranging in size from 25 students to over 350 students. The living learning program features assignment to rooms within the residence hall that hosts the particular community, concurrent registration to academic courses connected to the particular community, completion of service learning projects, and regular collaboration with faculty and instructors in and outside of the classroom. Students also have access to peer mentors within their community. Please visit our Living Learning Program website for information on each of our communities.

Students enrolled in this program benefit from the shaped environment and exposure to other peers who share their particular academic interests or desire to learn about new themes. Students become more motivated to learn more on their own, they obtain a general appreciation for education and scholarly work, they further develop their critical thinking abilities, and they make a smoother transition to the demands of university work. Please see "Resources and Publications" for additional statistics and research on the Living Learning Program.

Students must complete an application to be considered for acceptance by the program. The application opens on September 1st and is open until April 1st of each academic year. Each active living learning program has their own essay questions which the student must complete. Students selected by a community have the opportunity to move-in early in the fall semester and enjoy specialized programming during the academic year.

Campus departments can work with the Director for Residential Education if they are interested in developing a proposal for a new community. The time commitment for this program is year-round and sponsoring department/colleges must also consider the financial commitment to their prospective community. Please contact the Associate Director for Residential Education for further information.


After Office Hours

The Office of Residence Life sponsors the After Office Hours program which is a two-night fall semester campus wide program designed to connect students with UK faculty and administrators after traditional office hours. After Office Hours occurs in the month of October, specifically because the students are coming up on their first midterms and have had time experience college which can cause worries and anxieties to surface. We also choose to hold this program in the evening, since most students balance school, work and other activities, and may not have time to actually visit their professor/instructor/advisor during regular office hours.

Volunteer recruitment begins in early September. Typically, 3-4 volunteers are assigned to each residence hall and they, together with the Hall/Resident Director, facilitate a town-hall discussion with the students. Typical questions from the students include questions about advising, education abroad, health services, scholarships, housing, and parking. However, most of our volunteers use these conversations to speak broadly about the college experience and what it takes to succeed in college. Many also choose to share their own experiences, as ways of creating connections with the students.

Our volunteer pool tends to be representative of the various campus resources, faculty, staff and administrators; however, we do provide a frequently asked question document to all volunteers, to aid them in the discussion with the students. The time commitment for this program is about 1.5 – 2 hours and you may choose to only volunteer for only one evening. All volunteers are provided with a complimentary orientation dinner and if needed, transportation to the assigned residence hall.

If you would like to learn more about this program or participate in this program, please contact the Academic Coordinator for Academic Initiatives


Common Reading Experience

The University of Kentucky's Common Reading Experience is a collaborative effort between New Student and Parent Programs/Student Academic Life and other campus partners designed to introduce new students to academic life at the University. The goal is two-fold: first, to bring new students together for a common reading experience that introduces them to academic discourse prior to the start of classes; and second, to engage the entire UK community in a common intellectual experience through year-long programming.

All freshmen students will read a book selected for their cohort the summer before the fall. As a freshman you will then join a community of scholars during K Week, where you will participate in small group discussions about the book with other new and upper-class students. The entire UK community will engage in a common academic experience throughout the school year by attending and participating in events coordinated around the book's themes, topics, and issues. All students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to connect with one another through this common intellectual experience, which will allow for critical reflection on the book and the collegiate experience.

New students will obtain FREE copies of the book over the summer at their Summer Advising Conference. Other students, faculty, and staff may purchase the book through the UK Bookstore.


Student Academic Alert

A student alert can be issued for any student in the residence hall or even living off campus. However, the focus of the student alert is on poor or at risk academic performance. For example, missed classes, late arrival to class, homework quality is poor or is not submitted, and poor performance on quizzes/tests. An academic alert can be issued by the residence hall director, instructor/professor with privileges or by an academic advisor. A student alert is different from Community of Concern alert. Community of Concern alert can include poor academic behaviors, but a CoC alert primarily deals with mental health issues and other severe behaviors. Visit their website for more information:

Once an alert is issued, different residence hall interventions are initiated based on how many alerts have been already issued for the student or a number of students. If the student is the subject of one student alert, the resident advisors will be notified to keep an eye on the student and regularly check-up on the student. If the student has been the subject of multiple alerts, the Hall/Resident Director will personally meet with the student and provide appropriate support. The resident advisor will continue to monitor the student. If a student is the subject of continual student alerts, the Hall/Resident Director will personally meet with the student, but will at this point also consult outside resources, for example, Students of Concern committee, the academic advisor, and other campus resources to assist this student.


If you have any other questions as to any of our programs, please contact us directly.
Trisha Clement Montgomery, Assistant Director for Academic Initiatives / 859.257.6611


Mel Lesch, Academic Coordinator for Academic Initiatives / 859.323.0799