2016 Summer Academy

The University of Kentucky offers the third residence-based, three-week summer enrichment academies from July 10-30, 2016, for those GEAR UP KY (GUK) students assigned to us by 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.

See the daily notes from Matthew Deffendall, the Site Director, here. You can also follow along on Twitter for the latest information: https://twitter.com/GEARUPatUK. For some great photos and videos of past activities related to GUK at the University of Kentucky in 2013 through 2015, 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 2016 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. Download the 2016 Program Handbook (.pdf file) here.

Personnel for the Summer Academy @ UK 2016

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 2016 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 2016 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 (Tony Bartley) 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 College Knowledge, a college readiness co-curricular program that supports the overall Academy goals. Martina Martin, who reports regularly to Matthew Deffendall in the UGE Office of First Gen Initiatives, serves as the Assistant Site Director and 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.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.

Dr. Laurie Henry, Associate Dean in the College of Education, serves as the Academic Program Director, working directly with Dr. Hollingsworth and the Summer Academy @ UK instructors to design and develop the new curriculum for all returning GUK students as well as for the new students. Successful completers of these introcutory level and upper-level learning outcomes will be awarded the new open digital badges for 2016. Dr. Henry, 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 100 students).  They are also providing the academic faculty oversight of the instructional assistants (IAs) and residential IAs (RIAs), 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.

Erin Sienicki, Assistant Academic Program Director, is a new position this year as an improvement strategy for enhanced support for instruction of all courses offered, including timely intervention to enhance and improve the work of the IAs and RIAs in relation to the students’ performance requirements for the Summer Academy @ UK digital badges as well as their overall acclimation to the University environmentsupporting high quality co-curricular activities that relate closely to the academic programming. Ms. Sienicki will also coordinate evening and weekend schedules with Martina Martin and Tony Bartley to assure successful completion of course assignments in a timely manner.

Another new partner this year is the Office of Undergraduate Research. Bessie Guerrant who runs the Kentucky Young Researchers Program will consult with Erin Sienicki and Dr. Henry on creating forums with Summer Academy @ UK instructors and instructional assistants on conducting research at UK – exploring barriers and opportunities for improvement. She will work with Dr. Hollingsworth to co-design a course for Summer Academy @ UK instructors and instructional assistants on how to prepare high schoolers for research projects at UK. This course will be reused later for local high school teachers who seek to send their students to UK for research shadowing or for independent projects.


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 (“College Knowledge”) 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.

College Knowledge Instructors

  • Summer Academy@UK Presentation U! and Transformative Learning Staff: The Presentation U! leadership – Dr. Molly Reynolds and Dr. Tourgee Simpson – will coordinate with Erin Sienicki to offer regular meetings for discussions on educational design and academic support strategies in the context of the statewide college readiness standards and student learning outcomes for literacy. An exciting improvement this year is including this more intentional connection between the University’s multimodal communications innovation lab, Presentation U! and the College of Education’s pre-service teacher training program. Presentation U! is the SACSCOC Quality Enhancement Plan as part of the current cycle for UK’s regional accreditation. The goal this year is to align the work of the College of Education’s instructors, IAs and RIAs with the strategies and academic expectations that Presentation U! staff have for UK first-year students. In collaboration with Dr. Laurie Henry, the Presentation U! leadership – Dr. Molly Reynolds and Dr. Tourgee Simpson in Transformative Learning – will offer regular meetings for discussions on educational design and academic support strategies in the context of the statewide college readiness standards and student learning outcomes for literacy. Regular one-on-one and small group peer mentoring sessions with UK undergraduate peer mentors and GUK students will also be held in Presentation U! areas on campus.
  • Stuckert Career Center Staff and Summer Academy@UK Assistant Program Director: Ray Clere (Assistant Dean for Career and Academic Exploration) will coordinate with Erin Sienicki and the GUK Site Director on how to connect UK’s See Blue programming for high schoolers with CPE GEAR UP KY College Knowledge programming. Clere and four career counselors (Azetta Beatty, Beth Hanneman, Reba Carroll, and Rachel Hoover) from the James W. Stuckert Career Center will contribute to the College Knowledge sessions with modules on career decision making, including individual consultations using interpretations of the students' results of selected assessments.

Instuctors for Academic Courses

  • College of Agriculture, Food and Environment:  Molly Davis, Director of the Arboretum; Wayne Centers; Associate Dean, Dr. Larry Grabau; Allisa Sowder and Dr. Stacy Vincent for “Walk Across Kentucky” and “Water, Wildlife, and Wilderness” in Ag Sciences; and, Dr. Ellen Crocker on Forestry Urban Tree Focused Citizen Science Project;
  • College of Communication & Information: Dr. Allyson DeVito, Chelsea Woods, and Dr. Sarah Kercsmar for General Studies Core – Communications.
  • College of Education: Associate Dean, Dr. Laurie Henry, Dr. Sarah Flanagan, and Lyudmyla Ivanyuk for General Studies Core – Education; and Dr. Gary Fisher to support instruction in General Studies Core – Arts & Creativity.
  • College of Health Sciences: Dr. Michelle Butina and Dr. Chad Guilliams for a health sciences elective, Intro to Medical Lab Sciences
  • College of Engineering: Dr. Bruce Walcott for an Electrical Engineering elective.
  • College of Fine Arts: Justin Cornelison; Dana Clark; Timothy Hull; and, Nicole White for the General Studies Core - Arts & Creativity
  • Undergraduate Education's Contributing Academic Instructors: John Bowes (historian from Eastern Kentucky University) for a history of Native Americans; Matthew Lewis Johnson (theatre professor from Eastern KY University) for a course on Story Telling; and, Kumar Bharath (UK College of Education) for Scratch Programming;
  • Campus Recreation in the Division of Student Affairs:  Ron Lee, Executive Director for session on KHP and Campus Rec along with Kathy Rose, Mark Lattin, Casey Gilvin, and Natosha Harris; Letitia Hollingsworth-Gray, Acquatics Director, will be contributing to the Campus Recreation Day as well as overseeing the use of the Lancaster Aquatic Center for all three weeks;
  • International Center and UK Confucius Institute: Karen Slaymaker for Global Studies; Dr. Huajing Maske and Ji "Grace" Dai of UK Confucius Institute;
  • Outreach Center for Science and Health Career Opportunities (in the College of Medicine): Margaret McConnell and Dr. Don Frazier for Problem-Solving Tools in Science elective;
  • UKAT Media Depot: Kirk Laird and Eric Saunders will support the instruction and support the students’ creation of their digital media projects.

Student Support Assistants

In addition to the instructors, the colleges and UGE are offering 10 instructional assistants (IAs) and 6 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.

Instructional Assistants

  • College of Communication & Information: Terrell Kody Frey, Nick Tatum, and Ana de la Serna
  • College of Education: Colby Blair, Nate Hibbitts, Lauren Hucaby, Rachel Immerman, Bharath Kumar, and Taylor Patrick
  • College of Health Sciences: Robyn Johnson

Residential Instructional Assistants

  • College of Education: McKenzie Blocker, Miranda Brian, Polly Brittingham, Sarah Carter, Katherine Hendrie, and Abbey Higgins

Resident Advisors

The four resident advisors (RAs) come from a pool of experienced RAs at UK: Jessica Espinoza, Anthony Gaither, Brittany Hurd, and Victoria Sewell. 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 10 through July 30, 2016. 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, Tony Bartley) and will participate in a 24-hour on-call rotation for emergencies.

Final Showcase and Dinner for the Summer Academy @ UK 2016

The Summer Academy @ UK will again this year offer a capstone with a big event at the end of classes – the Final Showcase and Dinner on Friday, July 29th. 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. UK President Eli Capilouto and CPE President Bob King will kick off the event at the Woodford Reserve Club in the Commonwealth Tower of Commonwealth Stadium.

Related pages:

Summer Academy @ UK 2015
Summer Academy @ UK 2014
General Information about GEAR UP KY and UK partnership