2015 Summer Academy

GEAR UP KY Summer Academy @ UK logo

The University of Kentucky offered the second of four residence-based, three-week summer enrichment academies in July 2015 for GEAR UP KY (GUK) students. In partnership with the Kentucky Council for Postsecondary Education (CPE) and their GUK staff, the UK Division of Undergraduate Education (UGE) works with many different colleges, academic support units and student services to provide a safe and educational college/career readiness program for selected Kentucky high school students in the CPE’s GUK schools.

You can download here the Summer Academy @ UK Handbook (.pdf file) sent to families and shared with students, staff and faculty. For some great photos and videos of past activities related to GUK at the University of Kentucky in 2013 and 2014, see the UGE Flickr albums.

The academic and student life programming are directly linked to and should show evidence of students’ successful transition over the three years’ time to the University’s general education UK Core Program student learning outcomes. Each of the contributions from the many different parts of the UK community directly benefit this college-readiness program for selected high school students in Kentucky. For more information on the specific relationship of the overall learning outcomes for Summer Academy @ UK to the statewide Kentucky College/Career Readiness goals outlined in Senate Bill 1 (2009), and for the relationship for each of the academic offerings and the co-curricular events to transition from high school to the University of Kentucky, see the Summer Academy @ UK section of the website.

All of this work is to support the long-term goals and objectives of the Summer Academy @ UK wherein Kentucky high school students during the summers of 2014 through 2017 return to the UK campus to complete the agreed-upon academic trajectories toward their entry in to the University of Kentucky as first-year, first-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students matriculating in the fall of 2018.

Personnel for the Summer Academy @ UK 2015

If it is possible to top last year’s terrific successful collaboration across colleges and support units at UK, the generosity of the UK community has grown even more this year. Personnel for Summer Academy @ UK 2015 consist of a mix of staff, students and faculty at UK who will work together with CPE GUK staff before and during the three weeks here on campus.

Academic Support and Leadership

While Dr. Randolph Hollingsworth serves as the Campus Liaison to CPE and the UK Colleges, the primary running of the Summer Academy @ UK 2015 falls on the shoulders of Matthew Deffendall, Director of First Gen Initiatives in UGE. As the UK Site Director, he will work in partnership with the GEAR UP KY Site Director assigned by the CPE (Omari Gletten) to develop and implement evening and weekend activities that blend the curricular and residential experiences in ways that create opportunities for deeper understanding and integration of the academic goals and student learning outcomes for the Academy students. He coordinates communication meetings as needed with the onsite staff to intervene with students’ issues associated with the Academy. He is to provide guidance and support for all academic related matters, including the development and implementation of Café College, a college readiness co-curricular program that supports the overall Academy goals. The wonderful administrative support of Terri Runyon, Gloria Robinson, Evie Russell and Lynn Hiler who are taking on the extra tasks associated with the Summer Academy @ UK budget and grant processing — together with the budget officers in the partnering colleges and units — cannot be underestimated.

The Summer Academy @ UK Living Learning Community Director is a new position this year as an improvement strategy for supporting high quality co-curricular activities that relate closely to the academic programming. Kelsey Carew, who reports regularly to Matthew Deffendall in the UGE Office of First Gen Initiatives, offers her expertise in maintaining on a day-to-day basis the direct relation of the co-curricular activities in the Academy@UK to the University’s expectations for a quality Living Learning Program for first-year UK students.

Dr. Laurie Henry, Associate Dean in the College of Education, together with Dr. Sarah Kercsmer in the College of Communications & Information, provide oversight of the instruction and student completion of the General Core Studies digital badge requirements (which is required for all 80 students).  They are also providing the academic faculty oversight of the instructional assistants (IAs), online and in face-to-face settings, to ensure the quality of the work of the IAs with the students in relation to the performance requirements for all the digital badges.


Instructors for Summer Academy @ UK consist of a mix of staff, students and faculty at UK, and their work is to design the curriculum that will be used to determine the performance of student learning outcomes identified in the appropriate digital badges as well as the co-curricular programming in college readiness (“Café College”) for the Summer Academy @ UK. The instructors will be working with the students directly in the classroom (face-to-face) as well as online in the Summer Academy @ UK courses where the digital badges are tied to assessment rubrics the instructors will use to determine student success. See the digital badges awarded in 2015 here.

  • College of Agriculture: Molly Davis (Director of the Arboretum); Jason Headrick (Director of Student Relations); Associate Dean, Dr. Larry Grabau; Dr. Stacy Vincent and Aly Sowder (Ag Education) for “Walk Across Kentucky” and “Following Our Food, Learning to Lead” in Ag Sciences
  • College of Arts & Sciences: Maher Alkateeb (Arabic Studies) for Global Studies
  • College of Communication & Information: Dr. Allyson DeVito and Dr. Sarah Kercsmer (Instructional Communication & Research) for General Studies Core – Communications
  • College of Design: Patrick Lee Lucas, Director of School of Interiors, for “Design in Your World”
  • College of Education: Fatih Destebasi for Global Studies (Turkish as a Second Language); Associate Dean, Dr. Laurie Henry, Sara Flanagan and Erin Sienicki for General Studies Core – Education
  • College of Engineering: Dr. Bruce Walcott for “Engineering and Autonomous Systems”
  • College of Fine Arts: Robert Dickes (School of Visual Arts); Justin Cornelison (Music); Dana Clark (School of Visual Arts); Michael Lewis Johnson (Theatre); Erin Walker (Music); Nicole White (School of Visual Arts) for the Arts & Creativity Core
  • Campus Recreation in the Division of Student Affairs: Ron Lee, Executive Director for College Café session on a tour of the University’s campus recreational facilities
  • Center for Enhancement of Learning and Teaching: Cara Worick for General Studies Core (video production and blogging)
  • International Center: Karen Slaymaker for Global Studies
  • Science Outreach Center (in the College of Medicine): Margaret McConnell and Dr. Don Frazier for “Using Problem-Solving Tools in Science”
  • Office of Sustainability: Shane Tedder and Victor Smith for College Café sessions on sustainability on campus and bicycle safety
  • Undergraduate Education: Matthew Deffendall (First Gen Initiatives) for "Global Workplace Communications"; Christine Kindler for "History Comes Alive: Heritage, Heists, and Human Rights"; and, Rachael Deel (Transformative Learning) for "Marketing Me"
  • UKHC IT: Seth Anderson "Scratch Programming"
  • UK Libraries: Jaime Burton (Special Collections) for General Studies Core – research

Instructional Assistants

In addition to the instructors, the colleges and UGE are offering 6 instructional assistants (IAs) and 5 residential instructional assistants (RIAs) to work in the Summer Academy @ UK. The IAs assume responsibility for the safety of the students to and from class as well as ensure participation of all students by identifying to the Site Directors those who show symptoms of homesickness or other behaviors that may affect their overall success in the program. They are assigned to the instructors by academic discipline according to their own educational experience and credentials. They will contribute also to the online “Student Homeroom” course in Canvas where the co-curricular programming/events are listed in the calendar, and their small group sessions for college readiness activities are managed. They will also participate in the Instructor Lounge in Canvas where student alerts (“How Did It Go Today?” discussion threads) and policies/procedures for all instructional staff are located. The RIAs will work more hours since they will be housed in the residence hall with the students and assume more responsibility for student behaviors.

  • College of Agriculture, Food & Environment: Allisa Sowder
  • College of Communication & Information: Amanda Slone, Anna de Le Serna
  • College of Education: Cody Blair, Thomas Clouse, Lyuda Ivanyuk, Bharath Kumar
  • Undergraduate Education: Jessica Espinoza; and,
    in partnership with CPE GEAR UP KY: Mark Sherfey (a WKU graduate student in Rhetoric); Alicia Riley (a secondary school teacher from Morehead); Jordan Smith (a teacher’s aide and substitute teacher in Ashland)

Resident Advisors

The two resident advisors (RAs) come from a pool of experienced RAs at UK: Hajong (Jason) Yoo  and Karaline Wood. They live and work in the residence halls during the Summer Academy @ UK and will supervise all program participants between the hours of bedtime and breakfast each day from July 5 through July 25, 2015. They are to rely on their UK training and professional development in educational policy and evaluation to enforce rules and regulations that support both the Academy and University policies to ensure student safety and overall success in the program. They participate in meetings set by the Site Directors (both Matthew Deffendall and the CPE GUK Site Director, Omari Gletten) and will participate in a 24-hour on-call rotation for emergencies.

Final Showcase and Dinner for the Summer Academy @ UK 2015

Don Witt and Enrollment Management staff are supporting the Summer Academy @ UK again this year with a big event at the end of classes – the Final Showcase and Dinner. Last year over 300 people attended: family members of the students came as well as faculty, staff and students from UK together with the GUK CPE staff came to hear the GUK students present their capstone projects. Associate Provost Ben Withers presided over the event – President Capilouto kicked off the event, Provost Riordan and CPE Vice President Aaron Thompson also spoke. We anticipate a similar celebration on Friday evening, July 24th, this year.

Related pages:

Summer Academy @ UK 2016
Summer Academy @ UK 2014
General Information about GEAR UP KY and UK partnership