“Even the most mundane things seemed to be amazing…” UK 1st Gen College Students Explore the U.K.

Did you see the recent UKnow article and video of the students talking about how the 1st Gen Initiatives partners got them ready to go to London for a Summer I term Communications course and what they learned from their study abroad?  The course was COM 390: “First Adventures in a Global Marketplace.” N’Deyah Belle (a junior and Communications major), Brandon King (a senior and Chemistry major) and Abel Rodriguez (a junior and Political Science major) are featured in the video, and their reflections on their experiences are very powerful:

  • “It allows you to branch out … to want more in life… there’s so much more in the world out there and I’m not afraid of it…”
  • “It really widened my view of how big the world is and there’s so much more that I haven’t seen…”
  • “I was part of this huge network of people in the world – I wasn’t just an American and I wasn’t just a student at UK, I was a citizen of the world…”

I think the part that makes this program unique is that we conducted four pre-departure orientations and one that included the parents. Our partnership with the International Studies Abroad (ISA) was crucial because they provided $5,000 in scholarships funds. The Office of First Gen Initiatives then matches above and beyond the ISA scholarship dollars for first gen students. Plus, ISA’s onsite logistics team ensures the program runs smoothly and students have an easy transition.

Traci Letcher is teaching the 2015 version of the program in Dublin, Ireland. Here’s the part of the Education Abroad website that describes the upcoming course. I hope everyone will encourage their first-gen students to enroll!

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Update: Academic Majors Fair was a success!

This just in from Dr. Bethany Miller, Director of the Office of Retention and Student Success:

Last Friday, the Academic Majors Fair was held in the Student Center Grand Ballroom from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  Thank you for making this event a great success.

More than 300 students attended, visiting 60 tables represented by numerous colleges, departments, programs, and areas.  It was exciting to see Deans, Associate and Assistant Deans, faculty, advisors, and staff working at the tables and interacting with students.

Majors Fair posterImmediate feedback from the Majors Fair has been extremely positive:  faculty, staff, and students have indicated the event was valuable and a meaningful use of time, providing an opportunity for students to learn more about their current major/minor or inquire about new majors/minors.

Thanks again for your participation and support of the Academic Majors Fair, and for the many ways you positively influence the success of our students.


Bethany L. Miller, Ph.D.

Office of Retention & Student Success
(859) 257-9025

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2 great opportunities for learning how to incorporate diversity into group-work and classroom inclusivity efforts

As the University continues its efforts for intentionality in valuing diversity as a community and to address the new Strategic Plan’s Goal#6 (Enhance our Role as an Inclusive Place of Collaboration for People of All Identities), we encourage you to consider these two opportunities coming up.

For student leaders and advisors of student organizations:

CATalyst Diversity Peer Educators are offering a session on “Leading Diverse Groups and Social Justice” at the upcoming Lead UK Conference organized by Leadership Exchange.

Saturday, November 1st,  2014; 1:00 p.m.
Student Center Room 357

Leaders must often make decisions on behalf of the students they lead.  Students in this session are walked through a model for incorporating diversity into their decision-making process.  This activity is good for student leaders who are interested in meeting the needs of their constituents from all backgrounds

For faculty and teaching staff:

CELT and the International Student and Scholar Services staff are offing a session on “Global Learning” for designing learning experiences that are inclusive.

Wednesday, October 29; 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Study Room 1, Lucille Little Fine Arts Library

The university has witnessed significant growth in undergraduate enrollment.  This record enrollment includes international undergraduate students from 107 different countries who are enriching UK’s campus with diversity, culture and innovation.  Currently, 807 international undergraduate students are on campus, which is a record-breaking 32 percent increase over last year.  In 2007 there were only 185 international undergraduate students on UK’s campus, which means enrollment has grown 336 percent since then.  Global learning is critical to the success of all students and we have a wealth of resources at our fingertips.

Come join the staff of International Student and Scholar Services as we learn about the challenges and opportunities in developing a globally inclusive classroom.  Come prepared to share your own tips for creating an inclusive global learning environment.

Refreshments will be served.

Go to the following URL to register:  https://uky.az1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_01V1UPFS7DlamFv

Contact Kathi Kern (kern@uky.edu) if you have questions.


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LINK UP Task Force to support First Year Experience and Retention efforts

The Campus Retention Advisory Committee is focusing this year on First-Year Experience (as well as Gatekeeper/Bottleneck Courses) in a collaborative effort across all the colleges and support units to improve undergraduate student success rates at UK. As part of that effort, a new subcommittee for the First-Year Experience (FYE) has been created to focus on addressing achievement gaps between different demographic groups in the UK undergraduate student population.

The Division of Undergraduate Education, Student Affairs, Enrollment Management and the Office of Institutional Diversity partnered to create an intentional outreach effort for freshmen students who are first generation, an underrepresented minority, or a recipient of a federal Pell grant.  Called LINK UP, the initiative leverages existing campus resources to reach out to targeted students.

“Our goal is to help non-scholarship students establish a connection to campus,” Matthew Deffendall, Director of First Generation Initiatives and a member of the LINK UP Task Force, told us.  In addition to Matthew, the task force consists of Toni Thomas (CARES), Jeff Spradling (Robinson Scholars), Lydia Wims (Student Support Services), Lauren Goodpaster (New Student and Parent Programs), Grace Hahn (Director of Student Engagement in Student Involvement), JoLynn Noe (Planning and Financial Operations Director in Enrollment Management), Dr. Bethany Miller (Director, Retention and Student Success in UGE) and Dr. Ben Withers (Associate Provost, UGE).

According to Dr. Miller, this fall more than 1,750 Fall 2014 cohort students are members of one of the three targeted subgroups: first-generation college-going (1G), under-represented minority (URM), or Pell grant recipient. The list of 1,750 students was compared against the high school readiness index and college targeted sub-cohorts (the 700);  as a result, a distinct group of 384 students were identified for additional outreach via phone calls and intrusive secondary advising through one-on-one appointments, midterm grade checks, and inclusion in programs and workshops previously provided to a limited number of scholarship recipients through the aforementioned programs. Incentives for participation include a book scholarship at the end of the term.

Matthew Deffendall told Dr. Miller about the work of the task force: “If we can help at least one student then our effort was worthwhile because retention is not any one person’s job, it is team effort essential to the culture and climate we create on campus.”


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Free Screening of “The Ivory Tower” documentary and panel discussion, Oct 27

I bring to your attention an event pertinent to the status and future of higher education. It is a documentary film screening that has captured considerable interest in the educational community. All members of the Academy are encouraged to attend.

Free Screening of The Ivory Tower – Monday, October 27

Ivory TowerThe Graduate School, The Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) Program, and the department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation (EPE) are hosting a free screening of the documentary The Ivory Tower.  A discussion will follow.

Monday, October 27th
6:30 p.m.

Taylor Education Building Auditorium, Room 158

Panelists include Dr. Jeffery Bieber (moderator, EPE), Dr. John R. Thelin (EPE), Dr. Eugenia F. Toma (Martin School of Public Policy and Administration), and Heather Yonutas (doctoral student in Anatomy and Neurobiology and President of the Graduate Student Congress).

clip from film trailer - graduates throwing mortarboards in the air

Click on the image above to see the trailer

“As tuition rates spiral beyond reach and student loan debt passes $1 trillion (more than credit card debt), this documentary asks: Is college worth the cost? From the halls of Harvard, to public colleges in financial crisis, to Silicon Valley, filmmaker Andrew Rossi assembles an urgent portrait of a great American institution at the breaking point.”— from the DVD jacket

Official Selection 2014 Sundance Film Festival

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UGE Reading for the Week – Jobs for Graduates in Humanities and Arts

Reading for the Week from UGE Weekly Update by Dr. Withers:

Inside Higher Ed published an article late last week “Jobs for Humanities, Arts Grads” which summarizes two recent reports. One study, by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, found that “the annual median salary for humanities bachelor’s degree holders was $51,000, below the median$56,000for all workers whose highest level of education was a bachelor’s degree, but well above that of workers who had less than a bachelor’s degree$35,000.” (See the chart below showing media annual earnings for full-time workers with baccalaureate degrees in selected academic fields – exposing also the different salaries negotiated for men and women in the workplace.)

Chart showing undergraduate degrees and salaries

2012 Median annual earnings of full-time workers with bachelor’s degrees for selected fields, American Academy of Arts and Sciences

SNAAP logoThe second study was prepared by Indiana University’s Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP). This report “also showed generally positive signs for recent graduates of arts departments, who largely reported feeling prepared to continue in advanced degree programs, able to find work related to their field of study, and satisfied with their jobs.” SNAAP results indicated that older alumni do not feel as strongly as more recent grads that college taught career-related skill in networking and financial management. “Sixty-four percent of recent grads were in jobs they described as either ‘very relevant’ or ‘relevant’ to their educational training, which is similar to or better than the rates for their peers in other fields…”


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Doug Boyd on Using Oral History to Preserve Stories of War, 3:30 pm Oct 14

This just in from Annie Kelly, Assistant Director of New Student and Parent Programs:

The Common Reading Experience Program invites the University of Kentucky students, faculty and staff to participate in the second of three Common Reading Experience Faculty Lectures held this semester:

From Combat to Kentucky:
Using Oral History to Preserve Stories of War

Tuesday, October 14, 2014
3:30-4:30 p.m., Student Center 359

Doug Boyd

Doug Boyd, Ph.D.

Presented by Dr. Doug Boyd

Director of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History,
University of Kentucky Libraries

From Combat to Kentucky VideoSee the C2KY website for individual interviews and more information about the oral history project with University of Kentucky veterans and other college students from Kentucky who served.

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We’re Making Progress! Thanks to All of YOU Working on Student Success at UK

This just in from Dr. Bethany Miller, Director of Retention and Student Success:

The weeks prior to mid-term are critical to student success, and the immediate actions taken during this time will set a strong foundation for the entire year.  Concentrating our efforts toward increasing the fall to spring retention rate will afford us a larger pool of students to retain between the first spring and second fall, positioning us well for potentially reaching our highest one-year retention rate.  We are five weeks into the semester, and there is much activity occurring related to student success, including:

  • regular meetings of the Campus Retention Advisory Committee; Student Success Leadership Team; Retention Leadership Team; College Retention Committees; and Tableau Super-Users
  • distribution by college of Fall 2014 preliminary GRS (official graduating class) cohorts
  • distribution by college of Fall 2014 targeted sub-cohorts (The 700)
  • distribution to students of monthly Financial Newsletters
  • creation of Retention & Graduation dashboards in HANA Tableau
  • faculty participation in the Academic Alert System (and advisor and financial counselor outreach as part of the process)

The collaborations with our campus partners and critical friends are proving to be productive and effective.  We appreciate the campus-wide dedication and immediate response to our newest fall cohort.


Download flyer – click on image for .pdf file

Academic Majors Fair

Planning for the Academic Majors Fair is well underway:  a communication/ promotion plan has been established, and we are currently gathering college table needs.  Download the .pdf of the poster/flyer/image being used to promote this event.  Feel free to use it in any of your promotions – for updated information, watch the Student Success website at www.uky.edu/studentsuccess/majors-fair .  Thanks to Vaughan Fielder, UGE Web Architect,  for creating this design.

Bethany L. Miller, Ph.D.
Director, Office for Student Success
(859) 257-9025

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