Blue Ribbon Panel on Graduate Education

The Blue Ribbon Panel on Graduate Education, jointly charged by the Office of the Provost and the University Senate, is tasked with envisioning the graduate student experience and developing a rigorous intellectual vision for the University of Kentucky’s graduate education mission for the next 10-15 years.  

The Committee's Charge

The 2015-2020 University of Kentucky Strategic Plan calls us to- “strengthen the quality and distinctiveness of our graduate programs to transform our students into accomplished scholars and professionals who contribute to the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world through their research and discovery, creative endeavors, teaching, and service.” Our ability to rethink graduate education and provide an innovative and multi-faceted teaching and research community will elevate our intellectual aspirations as a leading university.

The first part of this task, envisioning the graduate student experience, will call the committee to develop a philosophical framework for graduate education that reflects the demands and realities of the 21st century. The panel will determine how UK can best prepare its graduate students for a diverse range of career opportunities in an ever-changing and often unpredictable global economy. Part of fostering the graduate student experience will require the panel to contemplate the proper balance and intersection between graduate students, their work in the classroom, their professional development, and their interaction with faculty and their research. It will also require a set of recommendations on the concrete initiatives, support systems, and culture shifts necessary – both centrally and in the colleges – to support graduate student success.

As the panel addresses and envisions the student experience for graduate education, it must also contemplate and develop a rigorous intellectual vision for graduate education. Doing so will require the panel to recommend criteria for assessing the effectiveness, impact, and viability of graduate programs, as well as rigorous, holistic, and faculty-led processes for establishing new programs and sun-setting existing programs, if warranted.

Finally, questions about the structure of the Graduate School, specifically, and graduate education, generally, will be driven by strategies and recommendations developed by the Blue Ribbon Panel’s work. By identifying our strategy for success, we can build the most effective structure for carrying out the agenda. The strategy, too, will help address many of the issues identified in the past: administrative structure, stipends, student support services, and infrastructure.


Campus Forums

The panel's recommendations are now available to the campus community for input and comment. The forums allowed the Blue Ribbon Panel on Graduate Education to provide information about the draft report and gather feedback from the UK community. They took place on the following dates. Recordings of the forums are available at the links below. 

View the PowerPoint presentation given at the forums here.

Wednesday, February 28: Watch the forum here. 

Thursday, March 1: Watch the forum here.


Campus forums took place on the following dates throughout the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 academic years. 

  • April 25, 2017 
  • May 4, 2017 
  • October 24, 2017 

Graduate Education Survey

A Graduate Education survey was sent to all graduate faculty and graduate students.  The survey was an initial effort to obtain faculty input regarding graduate education. Some of the questions pertained to specific departments/programs whereas other questions focused on the Graduate School and/or entire university. The survey closed on May 1, 2017 and was sent to 4,414 students and 1,729 graduate faculty. Responses from 649 students (14%) and 549 faculty (31%) were collected and collated by StaMats.

View the results of the survey. 

View the full report from Stamats, "Report of Innovative Approaches to Graduate Education and Marketplace Characteristics." 


The Process

The assembled panel of faculty, staff, and students worked throughout the spring 2017 semester, with the support of the Office of the Provost and the University Senate, to deliver initial considerations/recommendations. As part of this process, the panel was provided with the requisite campus and industry-level data, as well as feedback gathered from the University Senate, deans, and academic leadership of UK’s colleges. The report will be subject to input and comment from the campus community and presented to the Board of Trustees once the process is complete. The final report and recommendations will be adopted, and the colleges, necessary campus entities, and deliberative bodies will begin implementation in 2018.

The panel has identified several themes to further define and focus.  The themes will provide a framework for the sections of the report. The themes include Growth and Innovation, the Graduate Student Experience, Infrastructure, and Evaluation/Assessment/Quality.  The members of each sub-committee are below.

Growth and Innovation

  • Donna Arnett
  • Kip Guy
  • Terry Lennie Co-Chair
  • Gregory Luhan Co-Chair
  • Sarah Lyon
  • Kai Zhang

Graduate Student Experience

  • Kaylynne Glover Co-Chair
  • Mark Kornbluh
  • Donna Kwon
  • Dave Puleo Co-Chair
  • Beth Rous


  • Mark Coyne Co-Chair
  • Zach Hilt
  • Mark Lauersdorf Co-Chair
  • Rachel Shane
  • Ann Vail


  • Beth Barnes
  • David Brennan
  • Katie Cardarelli Co-Chair
  • Gabriela K. Jiskrova
  • Jenny Minier Co-Chair


Additional forums for continued input will be held during the fall 2017 semester, dates and locations to be determined.  If you have any comments about or questions regarding the work of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Graduate Education, please provide that important feedback here.

The panel has launched an interactive blog to facilitate further communication and feedback. Please join the conversation here. 

Committee Members

Members of the Provost’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Graduate Education:
Carl Mattacola (Committee Chair), Professor, Associate Dean of Academic and Faculty Affairs, College of Health Sciences
Brett Spear (Committee Co-chair), Professor, College of Medicine
Mark Coyne, Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, College of Agriculture, Food & Environment
Mark Lauersdorf, Associate Professor, College of Arts & Sciences
Sarah Lyon, Associate Professor, College of Arts & Sciences
Jenny Minier, Professor, Gatton College of Business & Economics
Terry Lennie, Professor, Associate Dean of Graduate Faculty Affairs, College of Nursing
Beth Barnes, Professor, College of Communication and Information
Greg Luhan, Professor, Associate Dean for Administration, College of Design
Beth Rous, Professor, Department Chair of Educational Leadership Studies, College of Education
David Puleo, Professor, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, College of Engineering
Zach Hilt, William Bryan Professor, College of Engineering
Rachel Shane, Associate Professor, Department Chair of Arts Administration, College of Fine Arts
Donna Kwon, Associate Professor, College of Fine Arts
Katie Cardarelli, Associate Professor, Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs, College of Public Health
Gabriela Jiskrova, Doctoral Student, College of Agriculture, Food & Environment
Kaylynne Glover, Doctoral Student, College of Arts & Sciences
Donna Arnett, Dean, College of Public Health
Kip Guy, Dean, College of Pharmacy
Mark Kornbluh, Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
Ann Vail, Interim Dean, College of Social Work
David Brennen (Ex-Officio), Dean, College of Law