Speaker Series

A series of expert speakers in the field of higher education presented on topics pertaining to the strategic planning process. The series was co-sponsored by the University Senate and the Office of the Provost.



Mary Sue Coleman led the University of Michigan as its 13th president from August 2002 until she retired in June 2014. 

As president, she unveiled several major initiatives that will have an impact on future generations of students, the intellectual life of the campus, and society at large.  These initiatives include the interdisciplinary richness of the U-M, student residential life, the economic vitality of the state and nation, global engagement, and the value of innovation and creativity. 

TIME magazine has named her one of the nation’s “10 best college presidents,” and the American Council on Education has honored her with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

President Coleman is a recognized higher education leader at the national level.  President Obama selected her as one of six university presidents to help launch the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, a national effort bringing together industry, universities and the federal government.  And in 2010, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke named her co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship

For 19 years she was a member of the biochemistry faculty at the University of Kentucky.  Her work in the sciences led to administrative appointments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of New Mexico, where she served as provost and vice president for academic affairs.  From 1995-2002, Dr. Coleman was president of the University of Iowa.

Coleman spoke to the university community on Thursday, November 6, 2014.

Click here to view President Coleman's presentation.

Click here to listen to a podcast of President Coleman's presentation. 

Leonard Sandridge is the former Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the University of Virginia, responsible for overseeing operations of all non-academic support areas at the University, including the architect for the university, athletics, student affairs, information technology and communication, management and budget, finance, police, and compliance, as well as the financial and managerial oversight of the Health System. Sandridge spoke to the UK community on Monday, October 20, 2014. 

He has been active in community affairs, having served on the boards of the Chamber of Commerce, the Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development, the Charlottesville-Albemarle County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the UVa Foundation and the University of Virginia Investment Management Company. He currently serves on the boards of the University of Richmond, the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation and the Charlottesville Free Clinic.  Earlier this year, Virginia’s Governor McAuliffe appointed him to serve as a senior advisor to the UVa Board of Visitors and a member of the Virginia Commission on Higher Education Board Appointments.  Sandridge won the 1987 Ern Award for service to the Student Council and in 1993 was presented the Thomas Jefferson Award, the University of Virginia's highest honor for a faculty member, given to recognize one who exemplifies Jefferson's principles and ideals in character, work, and influence. In 2003, he received the Paul Goodloe McIntire Citizenship Award, presented by the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce to recognize outstanding citizen contributions.

Click here to listen to a podcast of Sandridge's presentation. 

Andrew Furco is an associate professor and associate vice president for public engagement in the University of Minnesota Office for Public Engagement. Furco addressed the UK community on Thursday, September 9, 2014. 

As Associate Vice President for Public Engagement, Furco works with units across the University of Minnesota to advance the institutionalization of various forms of public and community engagement into the University’s research, teaching, and outreach activities.

Furco's current work includes co-chairing the UNESCO International Values Education Research Consortium, a research collaborative composed of researchers from eight nations who are working to deepen understanding of universal values through a series of nationally-based and transnational research studies. He also serves on the Council of Engagement and Outreach for the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), which focuses on advancing the role of community engagement at public institutions of higher education.

 Click here to listen to a podcast of Furco's presentation. 

Click here to view Furco's PowerPoint presentation. 

"UK's Partnership with the Commonwealth"

A panel dedicated to addressing key issues related to the Kentucky legislative environment led a discussion on September 9, 2014Respondents on the panel included:

Steve Byars, UK Assistant Vice President for Government Relations: Prior to joining the University Byars was the Vice-President of External Affairs for ALLTEL Corporation, the second largest telephone company in Kentucky. He has experience in government relations, regulatory affairs, media relations, public relations and economic development. Byars was also employed by Columbia Gas of Kentucky as the Director of External Affairs where he oversaw regulatory and government affairs as well as internal and external communications.  Prior to joining Columbia Gas he was the president of Lexington United, the economic development organization for the greater Lexington area. Byars has a degree in economics from The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio with a minor in urban studies.  He serves on the board of directors of the Urban League of Lexington/Fayette County and is the chair of the Fayette Education Foundation.  He is a past president of the Kentucky Industrial Development Council.

Merl Hackbart, Associate Dean, Gatton College of Business and Economics and Professor of Finance and Public Administration: Hackbart has previously served as State Budget Director for Kentucky, as a Senior Policy Advisor to the Governor of Kentucky and on the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. He currently serves on the Kentucky Consensus Revenue Forecasting Group, is a member of a GAO Intergovernmental Issues Panel and is a Senior Fellow at the Council of State Governments. He has held various administrative positions at the University of Kentucky including Special Assistant to the Chancellor and Director of the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration. His research has focused on state financial management issues including state budgeting, debt management, transportation finance and state investment policies. 

William Hoyt, Chair of the Department of Economics, Professor of Economics: Hoyt’s research focuses on issues in public economics, with particular emphasis on state and local public finance and cost-benefit analysis of public programs. Dr. Hoyt’s current research includes work on fiscal competition, the impacts of state and local tax policies on employment, the impacts of tax policies on housing markets, educational choice plans and crossover in the use of poverty programs. He has published The American Economic Review, The Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Public Economics, and the Journal of Urban Economics among others. Dr. Hoyt has served as Principal Investigator on projects funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the United States Department of Agriculture (Economic Research Service). He has served on numerous advisory boards for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Urban Economics and a research fellow for Center for Economic Studies (Munich, Germany).

Stephen Voss, Associate Professor of Political Science, UK College of Arts and Sciences: Voss joined the University of Kentucky in 1998, and spent his first two years in Lexington teaching at UK while he completed and published from his doctoral dissertation. He became an Assistant Professor in 2000, received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 2004, and began acting in the capacity of Associate Chair a year afterward.  Originally hired as a political methodologist to teach quantitative analysis to UK graduate students, Voss quickly saw his responsibilities in the undergraduate program grow, and for five of the last seven years he has served as the department's Director of Undergraduate Studies.  His other educational-policy roles include two terms on the A&S Educational Policy Committee (having chaired that body for a year), a term as chair of one of the UK Core general education committees and as member of one of the UK Core template committees, a year as acting director of UK's American Studies program, a term on UK's Faculty Senate.

Click here to listen to a podcast of the panel. 

Buck Goldstein is the University Entrepreneur in Residence and a Professor of the Practice in the Department of Economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Prior to returning to the University, Goldstein co-founded Information America, an online information company which was publicly traded and subsequently acquired by the Thomson Corporation. Subsequently, he was a partner in Mellon Ventures, the venture capital arm of Mellon Bank.  He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UNC and an honors graduate of the UNC Law School. He spoke on Thursday, May 8, 2014. 

Buck Goldstein has been involved in entrepreneurship most of his professional life. After six years as a practicing attorney, in 1982 he co-founded Information America, an online information company that developed hundreds of products from databases of public records collected and compiled from courthouses throughout the United States. Over the next sixteen years he led the company from start-up through several stages of venture capital financing to an initial public offering. In 1994, West Publishing, the largest legal publisher in the United States, acquired Information America. Goldstein served on the Executive Committee of West before and after its subsequent acquisition by Thomson, a multinational information and publishing company. Goldstein has been recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year by the Information Industry Association and Information America appeared numerous times in the Inc 500 list of rapidly growing businesses. In 1998, Goldstein founded NetWorth Partners, a venture capital fund focusing on information based enterprises with Mellon Ventures as its largest investor. NetWorth combined with Mellon Ventures in 2000 and Goldstein became a Mellon Ventures Partner. He served on the Board of Directors of both private and public companies during his tenure at Mellon Ventures.

Click here to listen to a podcast of Goldstein's presentation.

"Putting Students First"

A panel dedicated to addressing key issues related to the student population at UK led a discussion on Thursday, April 17, 2014 in the UK Athletics Auditorium in the William T. Young Library. Respondents on the panel included:

Robert MockVice President for Student Affairs: The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs seeks to facilitate the integration of the academic experience of students with all aspects of university and student life. The offices and programs facilitate interactions among students, faculty and staff to promote a campus climate that supports students' academic success and their personal and professional development.

Jake KarnesDirector, Disability Resource Center: The goal of the Disability Resource Center is to provide equal access to students who are eligible. The center advocates for reasonable accommodations‚ removal of barriers and acceptance of different learning methods. In partnership with students‚ faculty‚ and staff‚ the center's purpose is to achieve an accessible educational environment where students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to fully participate in all aspects of the university community.

Dana Walton-MacaulayDirector, Student Responsibility and Community Advocacy: Conduct by students at the University of Kentucky is governed generally by a document titled Student Rights and Responsibilities. Student Rights and Responsibilities consists of five parts: the code of student conduct; selected rules of the University Senate governing academic relationships; regulations governing time‚ place‚ and manner of meetings‚ demonstrations and other assemblies; the University of Kentucky alcohol policy; and student records.

Melanie MatsonDirector, Violence Intervention and Prevention Center: The Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) Center works with students, staff, faculty and community partners toward the mission of eliminating the perpetration of power-based personal violence including sexual assault, partner violence and stalking. While the heart of it mission is to ensure that victims of violence are met with the very best support, compassion and services that is humanly possible - its passion is reducing the number of individuals who ever become victims of violence to begin with.

Click here to listen to a podcast from the panel.

Click here to view the presentation.


Janet A. Weiss is Vice Provost for Academic Affairs–Graduate Studies and Dean of the Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan. As Vice Provost and Dean, she is responsible for the oversight and support of all of the University’s doctoral programs and many of the master’s programs. She is the Provost Office’s advocate for policies and practices that benefit all graduate and professional students at the University.

Before assuming her current role in the summer of 2005, she served as Associate Provost for Academic Affairs from 2002-2005. In that capacity she was responsible for a broad range of faculty and academic issues, including faculty promotion and tenure, family-friendly policies, facilities and space planning, and support for museums and libraries.Weiss has been on the faculty of the University of Michigan since 1983, with a joint appointment between the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. She founded and directed the Nonprofit and Public Management Center to bring together a rich set of opportunities for research and community engagement for graduate students and faculty at Michigan. Professor Weiss’ research is focused on public management and public policy with a special interest in the roles of information and ideas in the policy process. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute for Mental Health, and the Department of Education.

She received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in Psychology and Social Relations and a B.A. from Yale University, where she was in the first class of women at Yale. She has been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

Weiss spoke Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Click here to listen to Dean Weiss' presentation

Click here to view Dean Weiss' presentation. 

Kathi Kern, an Associate Professor in the Department of History in the College of Arts and Sciences, is the Director of the UK Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT). Dr. Kern is an innovator in her own classrooms and brings energy and enthusiasm to the teaching enterprise at UK. She spoke about pedagogy and use of technology in the classroom. Her speech is titled“From the Ground Up: Faculty Innovation and the Future of Teaching and Learning at the University of Kentucky.”

Kern has won UK's Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Teaching (1995), the Alumni Great Teacher Award (2003) and the College of Education's "Teachers Who Make a Difference" Award (2001, 2004). She has authored several successful grants funded through the Teaching American History Grant program of the US Department of Education with awards totaling nearly four million dollars. Kern also served as the Stanley Kelley Jr., Visiting Associate Professor for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton University, 2009-2010.

Click here to listen to Professor Kern's speech. 

Click here to view Professor Kern's presentation.


John Thelin, professor of educational policy studies at UK, kicked off the speaker series on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. Thelin, whose speech is titled "Higher Education’s New Deal in the 21st Century," is considered one of the country's pre-eminent historians of higher education.

The author of several books and a frequent contributor to publications such as The New York Times, Thelin's "A History of Higher Education in America" is considered a seminal work in examining the development of American higher education. His most recent book, published last year, is "The Rising Costs of Higher Education."


Click here to listen to Professor Thelin's speech.


David Attis, a practice manager with the Education Advisory Board, spoke to the UK community twice on Tuesday, Jan. 28. He discussed research in American higher education in the morning and spoke on major trends in education in the afternoon.

Attis, who received his PhD from Princeton and his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago, has conducted studies on managing large-scale multidisciplinary research, internationalization strategies in higher education, maximizing space utilization on campus, and the future of doctoral education.

The Education Advisory Board provides best practice research and practical advice to leaders of academic affairs, business affairs, student affairs, continuing, online, and professional education, and community colleges across North America.

Click here to listen to Dr. Attis' speech on research in higher education.

Click here to listen to Dr. Attis' speech on major trends in education. 


Lexington Mayor Jim Gray  is the former CEO of Gray Construction, an international construction firm. Gray brought his executive's approach to the Mayor’s Office in 2011. He came into office with three priorities: Create Jobs, Run Government Efficiently and Build a Great American City. In 2½ years, he has ended structural deficits, reduced multi-million-dollar subsidies in employee insurance, and put the city’s pension on a sustainable path, a reform that has become a national model.

Currently, Gray is working to reactivate Lexington’s urban core. Internationally recognized designers are building an arts and entertainment district around legendary Rupp Arena and resurrecting the Town Branch, the buried water source around which Lexington was founded in 1775. Together, the projects create a fabric of parks and public space through the heart of Lexington's downtown.

Gray is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and in 1996 was appointed a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University.

This event has been cancelled due to a last-minute scheduling conflict.  Mayor Gray was scheduled to speak to the university community at 4 p.m. on Monday, March 24 in the UK Athletics Association Auditorium in the William T. Young Library Auditorium.  The event will be rescheduled.



Check back here often for upcoming speakers.