Undergraduate Instructional Assistants? A great idea!

Undergraduate Instructional Assistants (or UIAs, also known as peer instructors) play an important and integral role in the success of UK’s undergraduate students. UIAs can function similar to UK’s graduate student teaching assistants in that they are mentored by their faculty or teaching staff instructor and they can spend some of the class instructional contact hours in leading activities or discussions.

Faculty or teaching staff who teach undergraduate courses are encouraged to include peer instructors as part of their course design strategies. This is an important way for our undergraduate students to gain leadership experience and to enrich their own academic careers. Peer instruction is a valuable enhancement of leadership, communication, and presentation skills for students from any academic major.

Those who choose to use peer instructors in their classes should consult first with Dr. Ben Withers, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, to assure that they are following UK policies for UIAs. (You can download a .pdf of the policy here Undergraduate Instructional Assistants – Provost Policy 2010.) This discussion could include a review of stated expectations, hiring procedures — will they be paid by wages or in-kind compensation such as faculty mentoring for earned academic credit through EXP 396 — as well as the types of training workshop(s) and evaluations. Here is a summary of the UK Policy for using peer instructors in undergraduate classes:

  1. Expectations for peer instructors should be clearly defined by the teaching faculty or unit and tied directly to peer instructor evaluations.
  2. Regular orientation/training on good practices must be held for all peer instructors before entering the classroom.
  3. Considerations for awarding college credit (e.g., EXP) or compensation through Student Employment should be discussed in advance with the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education.
  4. Peer instructors may be included in the course syllabus as important contacts for students, but their names will not be entered in the official UK Course Schedule nor should they be allowed to enter final grades.
  5. Peer instruction must be evaluated in a regular and systematic manner and results analyzed to ensure quality. Evaluation results must be maintained by the hiring department and available to the Provost (or designee) in the case of a review deemed necessary to ensure instructional quality.

Notice that the Provost’s Policy classifies three different types of UIAs and there are certain obligations by the hiring department based on the type of functions allowed:

  1. UIA-I: assisting instruction in laboratory and discussion sections
  2. UIA-II: supporting class instruction (e.g., UK101 peer instructors)
  3. UIA-III: providing academic support and enhancement (e.g., peer mentors in The Study)

There are lots of resources for those who are training their UIAs. Becky Jordan and Lauren Goodpaster in the Dean of Students Office have offered example documents from the work they do in training UK101 peer instructors (Type 2 UIAs). Download the UK101 training workshop outline and handouts (.pdf file) here.

Morris Grubbs in the Graduate School’s Office of Graduate Student Development has plenty of extra handbooks from the New TA Orientation, if you would like to use them. For those who are training the Type 1 UIAs (assisting instruction in laboratory and discussion sections) this training is mandatory. Included in them are printouts of slides used by the Ombud and information on discrimination and harassment from Terry Allen’s Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity and on institutional policies about FERPA from Sean Cooper in the Registrar’s office. You can download the handbook as a .pdf here.

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Call for organizers: Academic Majors Fair, October 24

The Office for Retention and Student Success is asking for your help. During focus groups with undergraduates last year, students recommended we create a centralized Academic Majors Fair — one location where they can explore and research all UK majors. Director of Academic Retention, Dr. Bethany Miller, writes: “Choosing a major is often a difficult decision for students. Helping our students find their ‘fit’ sooner rather than later can positively influence persistence and completion.”

The Grand Ballroom in the Student Center, October 24th from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., has been reserved for the UK Academic Majors Fair. Each college will be represented there.

Bethany Miller

Dr. Bethany Miller, Director of Academic Retention

If you are interested in participating in the Academic Majors Fair, please contact:

Bethany L. Miller, Ph.D.
Director, Office for Retention and Student Success
Division of Undergraduate Education
(859) 257-9025

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Big Blue Pantry: New Resource for Students

Big Blue PantryThis just in from UK Student Affairs:

The Center for Community Outreach is excited to announce the formation of a new service for students, the Big Blue Pantry. The Big Blue Pantry is a food pantry that will offer an accessible, compassionate and dignified environment for University of Kentucky students to supplement their nutritional and basic needs.

Serving the Nation's Students: College and University Food Bank Alliance

UK is now a member of the College and University Food Bank Alliance (CUFBA).

One of the main goals of the Big Blue Pantry is to raise awareness about food insecurity among college students and to address the issue among members of the UK community. This is in line with campus trends and food pantries formation at other colleges and universities across the United States.

The CCO is asking for your help to refer students in need to the Big Blue Pantry. Located on the second floor of Alumni Gym (Room 103), the pantry is completely confidential and easily accessible for students in need.

To refer students, encourage them to find the Big Blue Pantry on social media: @BigBluePantry (on Twitter) or facebook.com/BigBluePantry for our current operating hours. Email questions to BigbluePantry@gmail.com or come to 103 Alumni Gym where volunteers will assist them.

To access the food pantry, students need to present their Wildcard Student ID. While students will need to fill out an intake form, there are no additional criteria they must meet to access food.

For more information go to www.ukcco.org or facebook.com/BigBluePantry.

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Information on Ebola and UK resources for questions or concerns

A message to the UK Campus Community from University Health Services and Division of Student Affairs:

ebola virus (magnified)As we welcome students back to Lexington and to the University of Kentucky campus, we know there has been increasing attention and public concern over the Ebola crisis in West Africa.  Although the likelihood of an outbreak in the U.S. is extremely low, we have been working with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, University Health Service and UK HealthCare’s Department of Infection Prevention and Control to monitor updates from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) as well as reviewing our practices to ensure safety.

The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff are always of utmost importance at the University of Kentucky. Although there is no significant risk at this time, we are providing the following links to the CDC’s Ebola information page and University Health Service for those who have questions or concerns.

Robert Mock                                                  Ann Hays
Vice President, Student Affairs                     Medical Director, University Health Service

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Black Latino Male Initiative at University of Kentucky

As part of the Kentucky Public Postsecondary Education Diversity Policy and Framework for Institution Diversity Plan Development, the University of Kentucky is required to address four strategic areas in student success: Student Body Diversity; Closing the Achievement Gap; Workforce Diversity, and; Campus Climate. The University of Kentucky 2011-2015 Diversity Plan established Black or African American and Hispanic or Latino student enrollment, retention and graduation goals.

In 2012-2013, undergraduate enrollment records were set across all areas of underrepresented student enrollment. The University of Kentucky set records in the number of African-American and Hispanic/Latino undergraduate student enrollment. Black or African American accounts for 7.7 percent of the state population. Hispanic or Latino, the most rapidly growing segment of the state, accounts for 2.7 percent of the Kentucky population.  At the undergraduate level, the number of Black or African American and Hispanic or Latino students increased. Likewise, the gap between the state demographic population and enrollment for Black or African American reduced from 0.3 percent to 0.2 percent. The gap between Hispanic or Latino also declined from 0.5 percent to 0.0 percent or equivalent to the Kentucky demographic population. There were more American Indian/Alaskan Native undergraduates in 2012 than 2011. The undergraduate international student population also increased. By expanding recruitment efforts towards underrepresented students, the University continues to make progress in all areas of undergraduate enrollment.

For the 2011-2015 Diversity Plan, the University’s objective is to reduce and eventually eliminate differences in achievement for Black or African American and Hispanic or Latino students in comparison to White students’ retention. The first year to second year retention gap between Black or African American and White students increased from 0.9 percent in cohort 2010 to 8.4 percent in cohort 2011. For Hispanic or Latino students, the gap decreased from 4.5 percent in 2010 to 0.9 percent in 2011. Black or African American student retention declined, Hispanic or Latino student retention increased, and the overall UK First- to Second-Year Retention Rate slightly declined.The total non-White population has grown to 23.8 percent (excluding Unknown or Missing) from 17.2 percent in 2003-04, and 21.9 percent in 2011-12. (Source: 2011-2012 to 2012-2013 Annual Diversity Plan Assessment for Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education Committee on Equal Opportunities, November 2013)

Chart of Retention of Black Males at UKSource: “Black and Latino Male Initiative, University of Kentucky” slides for presentation by Dr. Steve Alvarez, Dr. Quentin Tyler and Mr. Kahlil Baker, presented at OSU’s National Conference on Diversity, Race And Learning (NCDRL) and at Kentucky Association for Blacks in Higher Education (KABHE) statewide conference 2014.

Several student support units on campus have taken the lead on addressing the issues of race and ethnic disparity in student success University-wide on a regular basis here at the University of Kentucky:  in particular, the Center for Academic Resources and Enrichment Services (CARES), Student Support Services (SSS) and the Office of First Generation Initiatives. While there have been overall increases in degree production, there has only been marginal progress in graduating undergraduate students of color. The low number of undergraduate males of color that are retained after the first year is complicated by many factors and requires additional attention by the University as we seek to address issues surrounding UK’s continued low graduation rate compared to benchmark institutions. So, in addition to the work already undertaken by many across campus, Mr. Kahlil Baker of the Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Center has partnered with Dr. Steve Alvarez (College of Arts and Sciences) and Dr. Quentin Tyler (College of Agriculture) to lead the UK Black Latino Male Initiative (BLMI).

The BLMI provides an opportunity for participating young men at the University of Kentucky to connect with other students, faculty and staff. They engage with leaders from the greater community of Lexington. Ultimately the goal is to collectively devise strategies that support their persisting and pursuing excellence at the University of Kentucky and beyond. Dialogues are offered in the Martin Luther King Center to allow participants to discuss news topics of the day, social and economic issues, leadership, academic excellence, social responsibility, and to provide a forum for these students to express themselves and their concerns in relation to the world around them. The overarching focus of the BLMI is to promote academic success and leadership among these student populations.

The BLMI Dialogues Model

The dialogues model enacted by BLMI is guided by three related objectives. The first objective is to identify the meanings Black and Latino males articulate through dialogue as the value of a college education. The focus is to identify the educational outcomes and dialogues that engage Black and Latino men attending the university, and to build community. This is important because although graduation rates appear to be on the rise, completion of high school in some rural states such as Kentucky may still be regarded as a challenge and some students give little thought to college enrollment. Parents and educators in many rural areas still argue about the value of physical, laboring work versus technical and professional careers. In states such as Kentucky, vocational involvement increases the likelihood of dropping out of high school, thus significantly decreasing college attendance. The dialogues also question and critique what the BLMI participants view as to what it means to be a Black or Latino man and if this outlook affects their educational perceptions. Dialogues around masculinity and education are important because many Black and Latino males have  pressures from peers who believe that being a high achiever and being intelligent are not masculine and may conflict with cultural requirements of Black and Latino communities.

Activities and Events

The BLMI offers many different activities and events, including speakers, film series, joint events with Majestic Unity, community service projects as well as monthly meetings (Thursday evenings at 6 p.m.).

Why Participating in BLMI is Important and Meaningful

BLMI is both important and meaningful for young men of color to come together to establish and connect with community and learning about being university students. As a safe space, it offers students open access to speak freely with mentors, and to dialogue about issues affecting university life and larger social issues. Intergenerational dialogues bring awareness of and attention to strengths, values, and practices that contribute to understanding Black and Latino males’ perceptions of education.

Here are some students’ comments about BLMI at UK:

  • “It was meaningful to me to see other Black males in the same room, dealing with the same insecurities as I am. Also seeing other Black males who succeed and overcame the same problems I faced.”
  • “Having the opportunity to be with and learn from such a diverse group of Black men. I hope that I have been able to contribute as much as what I have taken away from this experience.”
  • “It is meaningful because it offers an atmosphere for us to talk about the struggles, problems and situations that wouldn’t get talked about in normal conversation.”
  • “Personally, it is fuel for me to get my degree and to quit worrying about loans.”

Ways the UK Community Can Help to Make BLMI Stronger

The UK community can offer BLMI support by becoming involved and attending our meetings. Dedicated faculty male mentors are vital role models BLMI participants can develop connections to. BLMI would also be interested in partnering or collaborating with campus or community groups promoting diversity, particularly connecting BLMI students with younger men of color in Lexington.

For more information, please contact:

  • Dr. Steven Alvarez, Assistant Professor, Writing Rhetoric and Digital Media; and,
    Latin America Studies, College of Arts & Sciences, 218-0958
  • Mr. Kahlil G. Baker, Director, Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Center, 257-4130
  • Dr. Quentin Tyler, Assistant Dean and Director for Diversity, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, 257-3482
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New Ombud, Michael P. Healy of the College of Law

Professor Michael P. Healy

Professor Michael P. Healy

Michael P. Healy, Wendell H. Ford Professor of Law, is our new Academic Ombud. Professor Healy came to UK in 1990 and is an attorney interested in the areas of administrative law, environmental law, international environmental law, and statutory interpretation. He has servied on the University Appeals Board, lectured for undergraduates interested in environmental or mineral law, and served on the Internationalization Task Force in 2007-09.

The Ombud handles issues related to student academic rights — see the Dean of Students’ site on Student Rights and Responsibilities. You should encourage your students to contact the Office of the Academic Ombud Services for counsel and support when faced with issues such as these found on the Ombud’s website (NOTE: this list of issues they handle is for suggestion and is not complete):

  • Grade disputes
  • Admission/registration problems
  • Disciplinary matters
  • Perceived favoritism
  • Fear of retaliation
  • Charges of and sanctions resulting from plagiarism or other academic offenses
  • Disability accommodation issues
  • Cross-cultural misunderstandings & personality conflicts

There are many other ways that the Ombud works for our students as “an advocate for fairness and equity.” Be sure and become familiar with all the Ombud can do for your students’ success here at the University of Kentucky.

We in the Division of Undergraduate Education welcome Professor Healy to his new role, and we look forward to working with him on our Academic Integrity initiative this coming year!

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Sign up to be a FUSION site advisor – participate in KY’s largest single-day community service event

Help make this year’s UK FUSION (For Unity and Service In Our Neighborhoods) a success! Help serve as a site advisor for students doing their volunteer project for the Lexington community on Monday, August 25, 2014. Led by the Center for Community Outreach, the FUSION team is asking for UK faculty and staff to volunteer to help organize the 1,000+ UK students serving at nearly 100 community and neighborhood organizations.

Each small group of student volunteers is led by one or two student site leaders and a site advisor. Site advisors are faculty or staff who help provide risk management, assist with group dynamics and serve as positive role models for the student volunteers.

Site advisors will work from 8:45 a.m. to around 3 p.m. on August 25th, although times may vary depending on specific sites. To sign up to volunteer as a site advisor follow these steps:

  1. Visit http://uky.volunteermatch.org/.
  2. In the top right corner select “Register / Sign in.”
  3. Select “Create an account now!” in the light blue box in the middle of the page.
  4. Enter and confirm your email.
  5. Complete the personal information form and create an account.
  6. In the “Search For” box, type “FUSION.”
  7. In the “Opportunities Near” box, type “Lexington, KY.”
  8. Click the “Faculty/Staff Advisor FUSION 2014″ event.
  9. Click sign-up.

After completing these steps, a screen saying “you have successfully signed up for the project” will appear.  You should receive a confirmation email. If you do not, please email fusion.uky@gmail.com.

UK FUSION swagFor more information about FUSION or the site advisor opportunity, contact fusion.uky@gmail.com or jillian.pyatte@uky.edu.

Connect with FUSION on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Living Learning Program Task Force Report offers 20 recommendations

Living Learning Program Task Force ReportThe Office of the Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs are collaborating with the colleges to expand the Living Learning Program (LLP) as the University builds new residential space for students. In 2013, the Provost charged the undergraduate community to increase the number of students living in Living Learning Communities to 60% and appointed a task force to lay out the standards for quality for the Living Learning Communities (LLC). This task force comprised primarily of deans and academic associate deans was led by Ike Adams, Dean of the College of Social Work and Dan O’Hair, Dean of the College of Communication and Information. The LLP Task Force is to be reconstituted into the UK LLP Steering Committee with representation from the colleges and from Student Affairs as well as administration.

The LLP Task Force Report was submitted to the Provost earlier this spring and the full report is available for download from the Provost’s website. Twenty recommendations for addressing UK’s LLP quality were organized into four key areas: academic standards, assessment and measurement, staffing and structure, and financial issues.

Academic Standards

  • each LLC should require courses embedded within formal academic settings with standards linked to UK’s strategic plan and competencies established for UK Core
  • LLC academic outcomes should, when feasible, be linked to those of the college or department for which the LLP is designed
  • pursue and promote active learning as well as account for a variety of UK’s student needs
  • recognize the diversity of the student population and address those needs through a mix of residential environments
  • collaborate across multiple units, especially academic units, Student Affairs and Admissions

Assessment and Measurement

  • each LLC should have a comprehensive assessment strategy that includes measures of student success (demographics, environmental and engagement measures) as well as student-oriented data to rank perceived learning experiences and development
  • LLCs should be assessed both at the macro (program) and micro (individual) levels
  • collaboration between partner units should be assessed with help from the Assessment Office
  • LLCs need strong partnerships with campus experts to plan assessment
  • each LLC should develop a “report card” that assesses outcomes frequently and to measure progress toward expected outcomes

Staffing and Structure

  • create a University-wide LLP Steering Committee
  • create a LLP External Advisory Board to review the LLCs annually
  • assessment is the responsibility of the colleges and the Assessment Office
  • UK should host a periodic, regional LLP conference
  • colleges need to develop external relations/development campaigns and win sponsorships for their LLCs
  • new positions in the colleges should be created to accommodate LLC growth, e.g., LLP director, academic director, recruiter, academic advisors and graduate assistants

Financial Issues

  • clarity is needed about financial support for the Living Learning Program at UK
  • a mixed-model funding approach that benefits both the University’s goals and the college’s/unit’s capacity for funding expansion of LLCs
  • requests for new LLCs or continuance/growth of existing ones should be based on income projections calculated on expected revenue from the LLC
  • baseline costs, services and amenities need to be established since these vary widely among current LLCs

You can see the list of UK Living Learning Communities on the UK Campus Housing website: http://www.uky.edu/Housing/undergraduate/llp/communities.html.

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Get Your Student Leaders Involved in K Week

K week - see you in August!Faculty and staff who work with student groups on campus can help build up their students’ leadership roles by encouraging them to get involved in K Week. Some events are already filled and ready to go. However, there are plenty of other opportunities during K Week where your students can join in and take a leadership role:

  • Campus Ruckus
    SAB Under The Sea, Campus Ruckus 2014! Join the Student Activities Board for a night of t-shirts, food, fun, & featuring YOUR student organization. Campus Ruckus will be on August 23, 2014, following Big Blue U.  To sign up for a table, click the link for a webform. Email campuslife@uksab.org for questions. Deadline to sign up: August 8.
  • RSA Block Party
    Resident Student Association is hosting our annual Move-In Block Party. This will take place on Friday, August 29th from 9pm until midnight. We would like to offer other student organizations the opportunity to have a table and speak to students. Student Organizations should sign up to participate at this webform. Tables and chairs will be provided for all student orgs who register by the deadline. More details can be found at the above link or by contacting Tiera Mason at president@ukrsa.org. Deadline to sign up: August 15.
  • Student Involvement Fair
    Student Government Association would like to invite all registered student organizations to participate in the 2014 Student Involvement Fair. The Fair will be held on August 27th August 28 from 11am-2pm on the walkway in front of Whitehall Classroom Building. To sign up, please use this webform.

Space is limited and spots will be given on a first come first serve basis. If you have any questions, please feel free to place them into the designated slot on the form or contact events@uksga.org. Deadline to sign up: first come first serve basis.

For questions, please contact the respective organizations as overviewed above, email KWeek@lsv.uky.edu, or contact:

Annie Kelly
Assistant Director of New Student & Parent Programs
Division of Student Affairs
University of Kentucky
518 Patterson Office Tower
Lexington, KY 40506-0027
Phone: (859) 257-6597
Email: annie.kelly@uky.edu
Web: www.uky.edu/NSPP

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