New position in UGE: Associate Dean for Career and Academic Exploration and Assistant Provost

This just in from Dr. Ben Withers, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education:

Dear colleagues,

Please find attached a position description (download .pdf here) for the newly created Associate Dean for Career and Academic Exploration and Assistant Provost in UGE. This position supports the reorganization of the Stuckert Career Center and Undergraduate Studies that was announced earlier this summer [see the Bluegrass Blade post].

This is an internal search.

Expected start date is January 7, 2015, though we understand that because ideal candidates are likely to currently have other administrative duties, there will some flexibility in timing and DOE percentages assigned.

Thank you,


Benjamin C. Withers, Ph.D.
Professor of Art History
Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education
University of Kentucky
(859) 257-3027

*** Some selected highlights from the position description ***

The successful candidate for this position will demonstrate knowledge and familiarity with both academic advising and career development. Excellent communication skills and ability to create strategic plans and mission for a large, complex unit are required. Candidates must show the ability to balance competing priorities and to integrate multiple perspectives in their planning process. While maintaining a focus on the needs of undergraduate students, the Associate Dean/Assistant Provost must also be able to mentor staff and encourage greater faculty involvement from all disciplines in the advising and career development process across campus. This position requires ability to formulate and communicate a particular  vision for UK’s approach to advising/career services and a willingness to listen to and learn from multiple perspectives.

Specific duties include:

  • Lead and direct integrated career and advising units, with responsibility for overall budget and strategic planning.
  • Develop initiatives, services, and programs within UGE to support  undecided/exploratory, readmitted and transfer students in determining career and life goals.
  • Collaborate with deans and associate deans in all undergraduate colleges to integrate career exploration opportunities into academic curricula; facilitate academic progress for all UK undergraduates, promoting student transition into majors and into successful careers and post-graduate study.
  • Work with Advising Network and Advising Leadership Team. Develop and lead campus advisory committee to evaluate and strengthen advising and career services on campus, assess student, staff, faculty, and technology needs.
  • Implement engagement practices to foster productive relationships among students, staff, and faculty that help students explore and make academic and career decisions.
  • Work with colleges and Enrollment Management in recruiting first year and transfer students.
  • Serve as a member of campus leadership team for Retention and Student Success, helping to design and implement strategies to improve student persistence and progression using data to develop holistic campus-wide academic and career exploration strategies to improve academic performance and retention.
  • Collaborate in campus undergraduate curriculum processes, providing leadership for Undergraduate Council and UK Core Education Committee (UKCEC).
  • Coordinate pre-major requirements with academic departments and manage appeals for exceptions to the University’s General Education Program.


Candidates must be tenured members of any of UK’s undergraduate colleges and hold the rank of associate professor or higher. At least five years of administrative experience (such as department chair, associate dean, or other positions that involve responsibility for planning, budgeting and supervision of staff in a professional context) is required. Experience with academic or career advising is required.

Posted in Retention, General Education, Exploratory Students, Orientation, Diversity, College/Career Readiness, UK Core, Transfer | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching – Open House, Sept 23, 2-4 pm

The Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) invites you to attend our annual open house to be held on Tuesday, September 23 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.  Their colleagues in the Office of eLearning are co-hosting the event.  CELT and eLearning are located in room 518 of the King Building (Science Library).  Directions are below.


Faculty Media Studio with green screen, big monitors and lights

Faculty Media Studio at CELT

Drop by to meet the staff and see the facilities to include CELT’s Faculty Media Studio and Fab Studio.

Pick up some CELT swag and enter a drawing for a book on teaching and learning.

Enjoy refreshments catered by Mark Jensen Catering.  Have some dessert thanks to our colleagues in the Office of eLearning and see their new Faculty Media Depot on the main floor of the King Science Library.


You can join the announcement list of the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT). Subscribe by going to and clicking on “Join Our Announcement List.”

If you know of an educational event that CELT might publicize or have an idea for an event that you would like to discuss, send a message to Bill Burke ( and the staff will contact you.

Posted in Educational Technology, Undergraduate Curriculum | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Foreign Language Proficiency Tests – More to Choose From

This just in from Dr. Ben Withers, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education:

Students who want to satisfy the language requirement in a language not taught at the University of Kentucky may take a proficiency test for this purpose.

There are proficiency tests available for several languages. A list of those languages can be found on the page “Testing for Languages not Taught at UK” on the UGE website ( Cost per test varies by provider; information about costs is on the website.

Tests are offered twice a year, on the second Friday in October and on the first Friday in March, between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Before arranging for a test, students must consult with their College or Departmental advisor about the policy for proficiency testing as a means to satisfy the language requirement in their majors. Students must register and pay all fees for the tests at least three weeks before the date they intend to take the test. The student is responsible for paying all costs associated with the test.

To arrange for a test, contact Liliana Drucker (, 257-5723), Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures, 1055 Patterson Office Tower. There is also an on-line form, available through links on the UGE page and also on the MCL site (

Modern & Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures


Posted in General Education, UK Core, Undergraduate Curriculum | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Predictive modeling and retention rates at the University of Kentucky

This just in from Dr. Ben Withers, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education:

Writing for Inside Higher Education, Charlie Tyson calls attention to the “Murky Middle,” students whose first year performance places them neither in the likely-to-be successful category (GPAs above 3.0) or in the immediate danger zone (GPAs below 2). Graduation Rates by First-Year GPATyson cites Ed Vinit, a researcher at the Education Advisory Board (EAB), who argues that academic interventions — “nudges” or “triage” — for students in the “murky middle” can lead to improved academic performance and retention gains.

Small academic improvements correlate with greatly heightened chances of graduation. Thus the ‘murky middle’ offers colleges a powerful “return on investment”…Just a small nudge–one-on-one tutoring, time management counseling–could keep a student on track to graduate.
Read more here.

Venit’s research suggests targeting sophomore students. Here at UK we have used a similar approach for freshmen following the first semester. Last February, Bethany Miller (Office of Retention and Student Success) and Craig Ruddick (UK Analytics) developed a predictive model-based intervention program targeting at-risk students. This program identified 300 UK students who were mid-range students and whose academic performance in the fall semester indicated that they were 50% likely to leave UK. That is, without any intervention, we expected 150 of those 300 not to return to UK for Fall 2014. The list of students identified were shared with advisors in each college where they were invited to come in for targeted conferences; this fall, over 200 of “The 300″ returned, for a retention rate of over 60%.

We are expanding this program to over 600 incoming freshmen in the Fall 2014 cohort.  Given the EAB research, we should look at tracking students through their sophomore and junior years in a similar fashion.

For more information about the Division of Undergraduate Education, read and share the Fall 2014 UGE Newsletter. It is available to read online here, or you may download the PDF version here.

Benjamin C. Withers, Ph.D.
Professor of Art History
Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education
University of Kentucky
(859) 257-3027

Posted in Retention | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Retention Dashboard Includes Preliminary Fall 2014 Cohort

Have you used the Institutional Retention Dashboard yet? It is now available on the Tableau Server created by the UK Analytics Team. If you would like access to UK Tableau Server, please view the information here:

Chart describing retention and graduation numbers and percentages, Fall 2003 through Fall 2014

These data are the “official” numbers as reported to the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE). Additionally, “preliminary” data based on enrollments in Fall 2014 are  included (these numbers are negotiated and finally made official with the CPE by November).  With this dashboard, instead of the .pdf files that used to be posted on the Institutional Research site, you can analyze the official data with many different filters and find interesting new data that is important to understanding the success rates for students in  your college, program or academic support initiative. Rates are calculated for both retention/graduation at UK and within the students’ initial primary college.

NOTE: All “Retained” columns also include students who have graduated.

For more detailed information about your college’s retention and graduation rates, contact your dean’s office to ask who is your Retention liaison to the UK Retention and Student Success initiative. For more information in general about retention at the University of Kentucky, contact Dr. Bethany Miller, Office for Retention and Student Success, Division of Undergraduate Education.

Posted in Retention, Student Success | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Kris Kimel on IdeaFestival, Sept 16 at 4 pm, lobby of Central Residence Hall II

Stay CuriousThis just in from Dr. Phil Kraemer, Chellgren Chair:

Colleagues. It is that time of year again when we anticipate one of the most intellectually engaging events available to active minds in Kentucky: the annual IdeaFestival, held in Louisiville, KY, October 1 – 3 (click here for this year’s agenda).

Kris Kimel

Kris Kimel, founder of Idea Festival

To get a better sense of the value of IdeaFestival for faculty, students, and staff here at UK, we have invited IdeaFestival founder Kris Kimel to brief us on this year’s agenda. Diane Snow, interim Director of the Honors Program and Director of Undergraduate Research, and I cordially invite all to attend this briefing to be held September 16 at 4:00 pm in the lobby of Central Residence Hall II, located on University Drive across from the W. T. Young Library.

All those interested are invited. This year we will be taking over 70 UK students to IdeaFestival.

UK Colleagues who have attended IdeaFestival in the past will attest that it affords a unique opportunity to engage creative ideas, innovation, and entrepreneurial thinking across all fields. We hope you are able to come to the briefing to hear about this year’s exciting slate of speakers.

Phil Kraemer
Chellgren Chair for Undergraduate Excellence &
Professor of Psychology
University of Kentucky


Posted in Student Success | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Retention and Student Success: An Update on 2011, 2012 and 2013 Cohorts

At this time of year, the concentration of outreach toward increasing the one-year retention rate of the Fall 2013 cohort transitions to proactive methods at engaging the Fall 2014 cohort.  However, before we move completely into Fall 2014 cohort initiatives, let’s applaud the many retention successes we have achieved (listed below).  These successes are a result of your continual dedication and support, both individually and collaboratively.  Thank you:  your efforts are truly appreciated.


First to Second Year Retention (Fall 2013 Cohort)

  • Second highest retention rate in UK history:  82.1%
  • Preliminary rate is 0.6% higher than the 81.5% predicted rate for the F13 class (based on academic preparation)
  • Largest number of students (3,793) retained in UK history
  • Second lowest Spring to Fall melt (10.8%)
  • Held August melt to 0.4% (compared to 0.9%)

First to Third Year Retention (Fall 2012 Cohort)

  • Highest retention rate in UK history:  74.9%

First to Fourth Year Retention (Fall 2011 Cohort)

  • Highest retention rate in UK history:  70.6%

The preliminary retention rate of the Fall 2013 cohort is 82.1%, which is 0.9% behind our goal of 83.0%.  There are 3,793 Fall 2013 cohort students enrolled for Fall 2014 (41 additional students were needed to reach 83.0%). The preliminary retention rate of 82.1% is 0.4% behind the Fall 2012 rate of 82.5%

On Monday, the Office of Student Success will distribute to each undergraduate college a list of its (preliminary) Fall 2014 cohort students.  Because we know the first few weeks of the fall semester are critical to student success, we ask that you proactively reach out to all your cohort students.  It is especially important to reach out to those students who have declared a major in your college, but have not yet enrolled in major courses.


Faculty and instructional staff will be receiving an email introducing/reminding them of The Student Alert System.  This system  is an early intervention tool that allows faculty and designated university personnel to submit information regarding academic and behavioral issues that usually present obstacles to student success.

  • The Academic Alert System (attendance, homework, poor grades on quizzes, etc.) is overseen by Undergraduate Education.  Once an academic alert is submitted, an email is instantaneously sent to the student and their academic advisor.  The student is instructed to contact their advisor and/or their instructor to resolve the academic issue in question.  The academic advisor contacts the student promptly to discuss the issue.  Last year, there were approximately 5,000 academic alerts submitted, with 2,900 in the fall semester alone.
  • The Behavioral Alert system focuses on safety, disruptive behaviors, personal/non-academic issues. Reports are handled via the Community of Concern group led by Student Affairs. Once a behavioral alert is submitted, an email is instantaneously sent to the Community of Concern team, which determines whether immediate action or continued monitoring of the situation is required.  Last year, there were approximately 550 behavioral alerts submitted, involving 350 unique individuals.

Alerts can be submitted at any point during a semester, although submissions are recommended as soon as an academic or behavioral issue arises, to allow ample time for outreach, intervention, and resolution.

You have been great partners in increasing student success.  Thanks again for your dedication and hard work:  we are looking forward to the upcoming year.


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

Posted in Academic Alerts, Retention, Student Success | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Reorganization in Undergraduate Education, Beatty and Herrick main contacts in Career Center and Undergraduate Studies

This just in from Dr. Ben Withers, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education:

UGE logoI would like to share with you information on a recent reorganization of the various units within the Division of Undergraduate Education. Based upon several unit reviews conducted within the last few years, we have decided to reorganize our student-directed, programmatic units into three primary areas: Academic Enhancement and Presentation U!; the Academy for Undergraduate Excellence, and Academic and Career Exploration.

A top priority in this reorganization is the need to redefine and strengthen the services we provide for career development and career services. Nationally—and here at UK—there is growing concern about how to better prepare undergraduates for personal and professional life after college. I organized and charged an ad hoc faculty/staff committee in the Spring of 2014 to explore the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of prominent national models. That committee’s report was in turn shared with staff of the Stuckert Career Center and Undergraduate Studies who discussed it intently at a half-day retreat.

As a result of these recommendations and deliberations, and in consultation with the Provost, Undergraduate Education is moving forward with the development of a new model that more closely aligns exploratory academic advising and career development. As part of this transition, the organizational structure of Undergraduate Studies and the Stuckert Career Center is undergoing change.

To support this organizational change a new leadership structure will be established for these units that will enable us to enhance teamwork, communication and collaboration among professional staff of both units to better meet student needs. In order to implement this model three leadership positions in Undergraduate Studies and the Stuckert Career Center have been eliminated. The future leadership structure will consist of two positions:  an Associate Dean and an Assistant Dean, who will jointly oversee the offices and initiatives of the Stuckert Career Center and Undergraduate Studies.

Susan Herrick

Susan Herrick, Undergraduate Studies

Azetta Beatty

Azetta Beatty, Stuckert Career Center

Until these new leadership positions are filled, Azetta Beatty (Senior Assistant Director, Stuckert Career Center) and Susan Herrick (Associate Director, Undergraduate Studies) will function as the main contact for their respective offices.  I will provide future updates as we continue with our re-organization.

Benjamin C. Withers, Ph.D.
Professor of Art History
Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education
University of Kentucky
(859) 257-3027

Posted in Exploratory Students | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

#LINKUP partnership to target support for students @universityofky


I am pleased to announce a new initiative created this summer to support the retention of students at the University of Kentucky. The Division of Undergraduate Education in partnership with the Office of Institutional Diversity is proud to announce #LINKUP.

CARES logoThe program is designed  to connect non-scholarship students who are first generation, a Pell grant recipient or student from an underrepresented ethnic group to our existing programs and resources. Student Support Services TRiO logoFor our 2014 first year cohort, 1,318 students fell in at least one of these three categories. See the message that was sent to these students by the Office of Student Success (below).

Robinson Scholars ProgramOur goal with this initiative is to connect these students with secondary advisors in CARES, First Generation Initiatives,  Robinson Scholars, or Student Support Services, and ensure these students have a successful freshmen year. First Generation logoWe hope this effort will attempt to reduce the alarming rate with which this group leaves at the end of the first year (25-28%) and connect them to resources in their college and UK student success initiatives.

If you have a student mention they received an email about this, please encourage them to get connected.

Matthew B. E. Deffendall, M.A.
Director of First Generation Initiatives
Academy for Undergraduate Excellence, Division of Undergraduate Education

Email invitation sent to selected first year students:

LINK UP invitation

Posted in College/Career Readiness, Diversity, First Generation, Orientation, Peer Mentoring, Retention | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Volunteers needed for Be Bold workshop, Nov 1

Be Bold logoThe 3rd Annual Be Bold Workshop will be held on Saturday November 1, 2014 at the University of Kentucky Student Center from 10AM to 4PM. They are expecting 300 girls between the ages of 9 and 18 to attend and they are seeking volunteers to help. You might also want to consider mentoring a UK student to volunteer for this community-based organization and earn EXP396 credit in a service learning project supporting the event.

The girls will be learning how to increase self-esteem and self worth, set small and achievable goals that will change our lives, non-violent conflict resolution skills, dating advice, and more. Some of the Youth Entrepreneurs will speak about how they started businesses; others will learn some Step moves and perform a Step Dance off; and, groups will take a tour of the campus to think about getting ready for college.

Volunteer Positions for You or Your Students to Consider:

  • Speakers: We are looking for youth to speak, but would also welcome some great motivation from adults.
  • Movement Specialists: Do you teach Yoga, Step, Hip Hop, or other movement oriented arts? We need you.
  • Break Out Group Leaders: Two group leaders per group
  • Security: help keep our girls safe
  • Street Team: Make sure all the girls hear about this event
  • Fundraising Team: Help us pay for those t-shirts
  • Follow-up Team: Make sure each and every girl has the resources she needs after the event is over

Questions about the Be Bold event? Call 859-684-8729 or email BeBoldLex at <>. Questions about EXP 396? Contact Cindy Edwards at the Stuckert Career Center at <>.

Posted in College/Career Readiness, Diversity | Tagged , , | Leave a comment