“Salutations!” said the voice.
Wilbur jumped to his feet. “Salu-what?” he cried.
“Salutations!” repeated the voice.
“What are they, and where are you?” screamed Wilbur. “Please, please, tell me where you are. And what are salutations?”
“Salutations are greetings,” said the voice. “When I say ‘salutations,’ it’s just my fancy way of saying hello or good morning.”
—E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web
Living Learning Communities
At a recent meeting of the UK Living Learning Program (LLP) directors, Heather Carpenter reminded me of the timeless life lessons contained in E. B. White’s classic children’s book, Charlotte’s Web, and it also brought back fond memories of reading this book to my own children.
Our LLP places students with similar interests or a common major together as “themed communities” within our residence halls. These students receive special programming adapted to each community. Studies have shown the efficacy of these residential communities in building belonging and fostering academic success. At UK, students participating in an LLP community are 8% and 15% more likely to be retained after their first years, as compared to students living in the residence halls or off campus, respectively.
Given this success, Nick Kehrwald, our Dean of Students, is working with Trisha Clement-Montgomery, Assistant Director for Academic Initiatives to investigate the possibility of extending LLP experiences beyond the first year. We will keep you updated as this work progresses.
It is with a mix of sadness and well wishes that we bid farewell to Provost Tim Tracy. I’m thankful for the brief opportunity I had to work with him, and for the groundwork he laid around the four pillars of academic excellence and student success. I’ve been impressed with the manner in which this framing of the student success imperative has been adopted across campus. The student success vision that Provost Tracy articulated was a compelling factor in my decision to come to UK, and I look forward to furthering his work in this area. In short, Provost Tracy leaves his office, and the institution, in a far better place as a result of having been here. As President Capiluto put it, the impact of Provost Tracy’s work is “deep and lasting.” The president is consulting with various constituents on campus, and will be announcing his plans for the Provost position shortly.
Events and Opportunities
Phil Harling, Director of the Gaines Center for the Humanities, is recruiting next year’s class of Gaines Fellows (the application can be found here). If you know of any 2nd-year students who might benefit from this opportunity, please encourage them to attend the information session from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, November 30 at Commonwealth House (226 East Maxwell Street).
Call for Proposals
A call for proposals for the development of innovative student center programming went out this week. In efforts to foster empathetic student-centered designs, we also hosted a design thinking workshop that we hope will guide your efforts. Please view the highlight video to learn more. You can learn more about submitting a proposal here.
Continuing Conversations on Immigration
The Office of Institutional Diversity and the Provost Office are hosting a Continuing Conversations on Immigration, open to all, that will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 14 in the Woodward Hall (Rm. 307) at Gatton College. The event will consist of a series of concurrent sessions dealing with topics such as debunking stereotypes, DACA, immigrants as citizens, and compassionate cities. The event will conclude with a student panel moderated by Associate Provost Kathi Kern.
As we all know, the end of the semester can be a mentally and physically taxing time for both undergraduate and graduate students. It’s a good time, then, for us to reach out to them. Many students, when stressed, revert to ineffective coping mechanisms, such as defensive avoidance of studying or substance abuse, while others may operate at a significantly reduced capacity due to anxiety or negative emotions. Akgun and Ciarrochi demonstrated that students with high capabilities in “learned resourcefulness” are more effectively inoculated against academic stress, allowing them to earn higher grades.
Faculty, too, can foster stress inoculation by managing their courses so that students have a clear idea of course expectations, by giving feedback on progress, and by providing students a degree of control over course activities. You may also wish to refer students to the broad range of services provided by the UK Counseling Center, if you feel it might benefit them.
Finally, keep in mind that even a small act of kindness can make a big difference in a student’s life, not to mention your own. Indeed, a timeless lesson found in many religions is that compassion itself is a source for your own happiness, or as Charlotte put it …
“… By lifting you, perhaps I was trying to lift my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.” – E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web
Feel free to send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate Provost for Student & Academic Life
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