NCUR @UniversityofKentucky – It Takes All of Us to Make It Great!

NCUR at UK logoThe Tanzanians have a saying, “Omwana ni wa bahone” which translates to mean the responsibility for the upbringing of youth belongs not just to the biological parents but also to the community. A current rendition is: “It takes a village.” Indeed it does!

The University of Kentucky, the state’s flagship public research institution, has rallied together to accept this challenge for undergraduate students across the nation who seek and deserve recognition for their research.

CUR logoThe Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) has chosen Kentucky for the 28th National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), April 3-5, 2014 (http://www.cur.org/ncur_2014). The Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research is Dr. Diane M. Snow, Professor of Neuroscience and Endowed Chair of the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center at UK.  Dr. Snow and her Associate Director at the Office of Undergraduate Research, Bessie Guerrant, are the Co-Chairs for NCUR. Dr. Snow is featured in the video below created by UKPR, and you can see the exciting news about the upcoming National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Kentucky. In her interview, Dr. Snow stresses how important it is for undergraduates to see good research practices and be mentored during their own independent research projects.

With the display of the young scholars’ work during the national conference and the accompanying events, the University’s faculty and staff experienced in good research practices will have an opportunity to further this mentoring process. UK’s popular Biology professor, Dr. Robin Cooper, is taking the lead in gathering faculty to review the conference attendees’ abstracts and poster presentations. The planning committee is predicting as many as 4,000 students will visit the University for NCUR 2014.

In an unprecedented move, the UK Faculty Senate has also agreed to the steering committee’s proposal that UK students be given excused absences from class for the two days, April 3 and 4, and be given an assignment from their professors, so they may join in the activities planned for NCUR 2014. Commonly, NCUR conferences have been held during Spring Break, or other gaps in academic programming to free the campus. Instead, the NCUR 2014 planning committee decided to hold the conference when campus is bursting with activity, to “show off UK’s colors”! Not only students will be involved, but faculty and staff as well. Faculty will be holding Open Houses to provide information to attendees about what goes on in their units, e.g. Physics lab demonstrations, KY Space initiatives, and primate anatomy-based activities will be conducted.  Staff members have already been greatly involved in the planning process and will be very active in great numbers during the event. As we began this post, “Omwana ni wa bahone!

In preparation for this national event, the NCUR Co-Chairs appointed NCUR Team Leaders who should be acknowledged here.  “We have so many people involved, and I’ve been really, really impressed by all of the people across our campus who have been willing to drop some of the things they’re working on that I know are so important to them and participate in this event. It really speaks to how important it is to the spirit and the culture of the University of Kentucky,” Dr. Snow said in an earlier article on NCUR 2014. Many here at UK are leading efforts to plan conference activities and events, and some are listed below. Others have also participated in some form, and ALL are valued for their time and effort!

Besides Dr. Cooper’s work in leading the abstract reviews and poster presentations, other faculty leaders for events to take place during the conference are:

Ruth Adams UK School of Art and Visual Studies Fine Arts/Art Gallery
Andrew Deane and Magda Muchlinski UK Dept. of Anatomy and Neurobiology Open Houses on Campus
Kazi Javed KY State University Chemistry Kentucky Schools Liaison
Nancy Jones UK Theatre Theatre Presentations
Skip Gray UK School of Music Music/Fine Arts events

Leadership undertaken by key administrators, professional staff and graduate students is also crucial to the success of NCUR 2014:

Jay Blanton, Kathy Johnson, Jenny Wells UK Public Relations Marketing and PR
Chelsea Brislin, Lynn Hiler, Danica Kubly, Jennifer Strange, Hannah Trusty UK Division of Undergraduate Education Conference registration, signage, communications, website and program
Kairise Conwell and JJ Jackson UK CARES and Institutional Diversity Diversity and Representation
Paula Cox and Lisa Wilson UK Provost’s Budget Office NCUR Budget
Matthew Deffendall UK 1st Gen Initiatives General Operations
Lou Drapeau UK Risk Management Risk Management
Joe Fields-Elswick UK C&I, Dept. of Communications Oral Presentations
Francene Gilmer and Lenroy Jones UK Stuckert Career Center Career Gallery
Chris Greene, Rex Stidham Kathryn Wong UK IT Materials and Project Management and Technology Support
Morris Grubbs
and Pat Whitlow, Sue Scheff
UK Graduate School
and Division of Undergraduate Education
Graduate School Fair
Bessie Guerrant, Diane Snow, and Evie Russell UK Undergraduate Research Plenary Sessions, High School Involvement, Friday Night Shindig
John Herbst UK Division of Student Affairs Student Center Activities, Thursday night “Big Event”
David Hibbard UK Environmental Health and Safety Safety Management
Lisa Higgins-Hord UK University Relations Community Engagement
Tish Hollingsworth and Ron Lee UK Campus Recreation Excursions
Jake Karnes UK Disabilities Resource Center ADA compliance
Stuart Kearns UK Parking and Transportation Services Transportation Management
Tom Mattlock and Bill Webb UK Police Emergency Management and Law Enforcement
Gus Miller and Wayne Ritchie UK Office of Resource Management Space Management
Jillian Pyatte and Rhonda Strouse UK Office of Student Involvement Volunteers Coordination and Campus Involvement
Melinda Plymale and Jim Wims UK Dining Services Food Service
Sarah W. Smith UK Visitor Center Campus Tours
Shane Tedder UK Office of Sustainability Sustainability
David Timoney UK Registrar Academic Registration
T. Lynn Williamson UK Legal Counsel Legal Counsel

Students’ Abstract Submission opens on Sept. 30, 2013, and the deadline for submission is Dec. 6, 2013.

There is still room for more participation. If you’re interested in contributing to NCUR 2014, please contact Diane Snow at dsnow@uky.edu. For more information, please go to: http://www.cur.org/ncur_2014.

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