Faculty Learning Communities on Student Success

Listening To Our Students: A Faculty Forum on Teaching First-Year Students was held on Friday, January 29, 2016. The gathering was co-sponsored by the UK’s Office of Academic Excellence, the Chellgren Center in UGE’s Academy for Undergraduate Excellence, the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT), and the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Charley Carlson, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Excellence, began the forum with words of encouragement and a call to action.  Speakers included professors and administrators:

  • Ben Braun explaining his new, proactive method to teaching large math courses;
  • Christia Brown on changing the approach to her Psychology course;
  • A&S Assistant Dean Kirsten Turner reporting on feedback from student focus groups; and,
  • Kathi Kern, Director of CELT, on decoding the disciplines.

Faculty also participated in guided table discussions on transitioning first-year students to college and fostering independent learning from first-year students to college graduates.

CELT’s Dr. Bill Burke together with Dr. Bethany Miller of UGE’s Office of Retention and Student Success introduced also the new faculty learning communities related to:

  1. self-regulated learning (strategies that encourage students to think about their own thinking and create more meaningful learning experiences),
  2. transitioning students to college; and
  3. teaching large classes creatively.

The Division of Undergraduate Education has allocated $30,000 to fund innovative ideas in these faculty learning communities, with work beginning Spring 2016 through Fall 2016.

Posted in College/Career Readiness, Diversity, First Generation, Retention, Student Success, UK Connect Students | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome Dr. Jane Jensen to UGE

Jane Jensen

Dr. Jane Jensen, Assistant Provost for Transformative Learning

Dr. Jane Jensen has recently accepted the position of Assistant Provost for Transformative Learning in Undergraduate Education. As Assistant Provost, she will work with the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education and senior campus leadership to set the strategic direction for Transformative Learning and to ensure its units meet their goals and metrics within the Strategic Plan for the Division of Undergraduate Education.

Jensen brings substantial experience in higher education policy and practice to her new role. A tenured member of the EPE faculty in the College of Education, her research interests include qualitative research methodology as applied to the studies of post-secondary education and development in rural North America. Her publications include a text for first-year college students, Piecing it Together: A Guide to Student Academic Success (Prentice Hall, 1998) and an ethnographic study, Post-Secondary Education on the Edge: Self-Improvement and Community Development in a Cape Breton Coal Town (Peter Lang, 2002).

She has considerable experience with undergraduate education at UK, having served on Student Intervention Committee (1999), chaired the Taskforce on the First Year Experience, Faculty Coordinator for First Year Experience , and most recently as Interim Assistant Provost for TL. She also has dedicated work in service to campus-wide general education, serving first on the General Education Reform and Assessment Committee (GERA) and on all subsequent faculty committees responsible (GEOC) for creating the new UK Core. She was also the co-chair the recent Strategic Planning Workgroup on undergraduate education and helped develop the undergraduate education vision for the 2015 Strategic Plan.

She writes:

“One of the greatest gifts of participating in these undertakings has been the development of relationships and friendships across campus with other faculty and staff committed to student success.”

UGE is grateful that she is willing to share her knowledge of higher education policy research as a faculty member in EPE and her twenty years of experience developing undergraduate support programming. She continues, “My expertise as a researcher and evaluator provides critical support to the development of appropriate assessment plans so that we can build our programming on evidence—’what works’ at UK—following empirical guidelines recognized by our accrediting organizations (and the Department of Education grant reviewers) as well as using implementation research that can help staff at all levels tell their story well.”

Please welcome Dr. Jensen to UGE!

Dr. Benjamin C. Withers, Ph.D.
Professor of Art History
Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of Undergraduate Studies
we’ve moved! 230 McVey Hall

Posted in About the Division of Undergraduate Education, College/Career Readiness, Peer Mentoring, Student Success, UK Core | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Thank you and farewell to Sue Scheff

Sue Scheff, Honors Program

Sue Scheff

Please join us in honoring Mrs. Sue Scheff, who is retiring today from the University of Kentucky after almost 30 years of dedicated service.  Sue has tirelessly worked to support our students and ensure their success.

While every student she has advised has been important, her efforts have particularly benefited women and girls in STEM through a variety of programs she has administered, as well as students from Appalachia, through the AMSTEMM (Appalachian & Minority Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics Majors) program. Her most recent efforts focused on Honors students and the Lewis Honors Scholars in particular.

In addition to her competence and devotion to students, Sue has enriched the lives of all those she’s worked with across campus as well, through her genuine care and concern for others. Sue will be greatly missed, but we all wish her well in her retirement, where she’ll be very busy helping with soon-to-arrive twin granddaughters!

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Ky3C Coalition launches secondary school student competition, targets paying for college

Ky3C logofrom a Press Release from the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

The Kentucky College & Career Connection (Ky3C) coalition invites middle and high school students to create 30-second Public Service Announcements promoting the idea that there’s more than one way to pay for college.

Challenge winners will have their work produced and broadcast on television and radio stations statewide. Entries must be received by February 1, 2016.

The competition is part of the Kentucky Department of Education’s Student Technology Leadership (STLP) Program and its Digital Products Online Judging competition. STLP is a statewide program that helps students use technology for their school and community.

For their projects, students will choose one of five strategies that lower the cost of college:

  1. find your career path;
  2. fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA);
  3. get good grades to earn scholarships;
  4. get a head start on college classes; and,
  5. start saving now.

There will be winners in each category. “This student-driven approach is designed to generate more authentic and relevant messages for the targeted student audience,” said Rachel Belin, senior director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence’s Student Voice Team. “The strategy is a natural outgrowth of our work to integrate Kentucky’s young people as full partners in education policy and advocacy work.”

Submissions will be evaluated by judges from across the state, many of whom will be students. Finalists will be announced in February and offered the opportunity to work with media professionals to further develop and finalize their product for broadcast. Winners in each category will be recognized in April at the statewide STLP awards ceremony at Rupp Arena in Lexington.

Any Kentucky school can participate in the STLP program and all students in a participating school are eligible to compete. Coordinators at participating schools are available to support and advise students as they create and submit their projects.

Ky3C coalition is a statewide network of more than 30 Kentucky programs and organizations and was launched last February as a joint initiative by the Council on Postsecondary Education, the Kentucky Department of Education, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority and Kentucky Adult Education. The mission of the coalition is to align, enhance and expand college and career outreach efforts statewide.

More information, including the challenge rules and requirements, is available at the STLP website (download .pdf file here). Entries must be uploaded by the deadline to be eligible.

For more information about the Ky3C Coalition, visit http://ky3Ccoalition.blogspot.com.

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2015 in review

WordPress.com stats helper prepared a 2015 annual report for UGE’s BluegrassBlade.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,500 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 58 trips to carry that many people…

Some of your most popular posts were written before 2015. Your writing has staying power!

In 2015, there were 99 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 285 posts.

The busiest day of the year was January 29th with 55 views. The most popular post that day was Black Latino Male Initiative at University of Kentucky.

Our visitors came from 50 countries in all – most came from the United States, but the United Kingdom & India were not far behind. The top referring sites in 2015 were:

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in About the Division of Undergraduate Education, Student Success | Tagged | Leave a comment

Partnering with AAUW, UGE launches #IAmAWomanInSTEM initiative for undergraduate women at UK in STEM+H majors and minors

IAmaWomanInSTEM logoIn partnership with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Kentucky Branch, a group of UK faculty, staff and students got together this fall to propose a new movement called #IAmAWomanInSTEM. This effort is in support of undergraduate women who have taken on the daunting task of persevering in majors (or minors) that rely primarily on the sciences, technologies and mathematics – including engineering and health care professions (aka STEM+H). Inspired by the #distractinglysexy social media campaign launched by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, the IAmAWomanInSTEM steering team has called for volunteers at UK (and beyond) to create a constructive and supportive space for women to showcase their important contributions to STEM+H related academic and professional work.

This initiative will focus on developing and implementing an awareness campaign for all UK undergraduates (via a shared hashtag for social media and a new website) and a mentoring program connecting volunteer UK undergraduate females who are in STEM+H majors and minors with UK female faculty members and women in business and industry with STEM backgrounds. The steering team will offer a monthly Meet-and-Greet for all the mentees and mentors this spring as part of an effort to raise awareness about gender issues in these fields, and to help empower UK women undergraduates to persist in their STEM+H field of studies. Dr. Mary Lynne Capilouto (D.M.D.) has generously offered to host the inaugural IAmAWomanInSTEM Meet-and-Greet in January.

The volunteer undergraduates are identified in the AAUW Campus Action Project as “student ambassadors” and their leadership in raising awareness about the key issues as well as retention and student success for their peers at UK is crucial.  The student ambassadors will be asked to post news, events, myths/facts about women in STEM, links to resources, project progress, blog contributions, and narratives using the #IamaWomaninSTEM hashtag as an organizing tool. Some of the IAmAWomanInSTEM student ambassadors will enroll in a service-learning course (UK300) led by members of the steering team and will have opportunities to engage with University and community members in solving authentic community-identified problems and successes associated with gender in STEM-related careers, and to reflect on these experiences with peers and the course co-facilitators.

The IAmAWomanInSTEM steering team of UK faculty, staff and students coordinate and monitor the project; and, the UK Division of Undergraduate Education will host the meetings and handle the administrative tasks associated with the project. AAUW-KY will support the project through communications with business/industry to recruit and retain mentors. The #IamaWomanInSTEM steering team includes:

  • Shelby Albers, Mathematics major
  • Kate Collins, Physics major
  • Mandy Cox, Computer Science major
  • Kate Eddens, Assistant Professor, Health Behavior, UK College of Public Health
  • Judy Goldsmith, Professor, Computer Science, UK College of Engineering
  • Randolph Hollingsworth, Assistant Provost, UK Undergraduate Education
  • Ellen Nolan, AAUW-KY chapter president
  • Margaret Mohr-Schroeder, Associate Professor, STEM Education, UK College of Education
  • Donna Peden, AAUW Bluegrass-Central(KY) branch president
  • Thushani Rodrigo-Peiris, Kentucky Bridge to a Biomedical Doctorate Program Administrator, UK College of Medicine
  • Sue Scheff, UK Honors Program Academic Advisor and Program Director, AMSTEMM (Appalachian & Minority Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics Majors) and liaison to Kentucky Girls STEM Collaborative

The #IAmAWomanInSTEM initiative will build on existing University of Kentucky student success and retention initiatives and directly address the University’s strategic plan components regarding diversity, high-impact practices for undergraduate education, and civic engagement. AAUW writes on their website about the urgency for supporting UK student leadership in this area:

There are more science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs than ever, but women remain severely underrepresented. Studies show that men are paid more and hired more often in engineering and computing careers than equally qualified women. That means the fields that are designing our future are missing the creativity, intellect, and drive of half the population. (AAUW Campus Action Projects)

We hope that with the launch of this initiative at UK, we can better understand how our women undergraduate students feel motivated to persist in their STEM+H-related majors/minors and know what it takes to be successful and graduate. (See past enrollment numbers of UK undergraduates in STEM-related fields by gender at the old Institutional Research website. A previous BluegrassBlade post on this topic of gender and STEM+H undergrads at UK was published in 2013 – we hope to get more up-to-date information as the initiative moves forward.)

Join in the conversation by using the #IAmAWomanInSTEM hashtag. Here are some key communication sites for you to follow/subscribe/bookmark:

If you have any questions or want to know how you might help with this initiative, please contact Dr. Randolph Hollingsworth (dolph@uky.edu) or write to the Steering Team at IAmAWomanInSTEM@gmail.com.

Posted in College/Career Readiness, Diversity, Retention, Undergraduate Curriculum | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Celebrate the 1966 Kentucky Civil Rights Act on January 27th with Symposium at UK Law School

On January 27, 2016, the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights (KCHR)and the University of Kentucky College of Law are hosting a law symposium in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Kentucky Civil Rights Act. Governor Edward T. Breathitt signed the Kentucky Civil Rights Act into law on January 27, 1966. The act was the first of its kind passed in a southern state. The Kentucky Civil Rights Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against people in the areas of employment, financial transactions, housing and public accommodations (see more on this at the KCHR website). Please download the flyer (a .pdf file) about the symposium and post in your area for all to see.

Patricia Timmons-GoodsonRegistration (free) will begin at 8 a.m. at the UK Law School, and the Symposium will start at 8:30 a.m. in the Law School Courtroom. The symposium will consist of a series of panels and speakers prominent in the civil rights arena, including legislators, judges, activists and attorneys. The keynote speaker will be Patricia Timmons-Goodson, Vice Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The day of events should end around 4:30 p.m.

RSVP to the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights
Attention: Mary Ann Taylor- call 502.566.9961 or pre-register on the UK Law School website at http://law.uky.edu/civilrightssymp.


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Professors’ Choices for Course Materials – Gender Matters

Are you working on your syllabus for the spring? Take a minute to listen to the Academic Minute session with Brown University’s Jeff Colgan, Political Science and International Studies. He talks about a study he did using syllabi from International Relations courses. He found that, overall, 75-80% of assigned readings were written by men. This is roughly consistent with the demographics of the professors in the field of international relations: about 75% male. He found from the syllabi though that female professors differ in two ways from male professors in how they assign their coursework.

“First, women assign more work written by female researchers than male instructors do, on average about 5 more articles or books per course than men. Second, female instructors are much more reluctant to assign research that they themselves have written, as compared to male instructors. On average, men assign a little over three readings per course that they wrote, about twice as much as female instructors.”

Colgan encourages instructors to think about putting more scholarship from women on their syllabus – it will help you think harder about what you really want to teach and that will make your course better overall.


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Celebrate Computer Science Education Week, December 7-13, with an #HourofCode

The Hour of Code initiative is in celebration of Computer Science Education Week, December 7-13 each year. 180+ countries are participating in The Hour of Code initiative this year. Anyone can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 40 languages. No experience is needed – and technical volunteers are wanted. Currently, the Hour of Code website has identified nearly 200,000 events located around the world that are taking place this week.

Many educators are focusing on creating an Hour of Code event with young girls since the gender disparity in the field of computing and IT has grown in the last few decades. (See more on this issue at SitWithMe.org and how this growing disproportionality is negatively impacting not only educational institutions but also the workplace.) Several of us here at the University of Kentucky are coming together to create an initiative called #IamaWomanInSTEM.  UGE will launch the initiative this spring with undergraduate women in STEM+H related majors and minors with their mentors (faculty and staff from UK as well as in business and industry who have STEM backgrounds).

The goal for the #HourOfCode movement is to find some time during this week to bring together tens of millions of people – to show that everyone should have the opportunity to learn computer science.

You can do the Hour of Code anytime during this week – so long as you (and/or your collaborators) finish the Hour of Code tutorial. Start your own Hour of Code at https://code.org/learn and try the tutorials there. Many of the tutorials focus on famous games or fictional characters such as Minecraft, Star Wars, and Angry Birds.

Another idea is to learn about computer science in a free and open (some of them self-paced) computer science course online. Here are a few for you to consider.

Code Studio offers online courses in computer science fundamentals for all ages (either one-hour courses or 20-hour courses) created by Code.org – engineers from Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter. See more at https://studio.code.org/.

The edX partners are publicizing many different intro courses in computer science in celebration of Computer Science Education Week, such as:

  • Harvey MuddX – Programming in Scratch
  • Harvard X – Introduction to Computer Science
  • AdelaideX – Think. Create. Code.
  • IITBombayX – Introduction to Computer Programming, Part I
  • HKUSTx – Introduction to Java Programming, Part I
  • UC3Mx – Intro to Programming with Java, Part I
  • UC BerkeleyX – The Beauty and Joy of Computing (CS Principles), Part I
  • UBCx – Systematic Program Design-Part 1: The Core Method
  • LinuxFoundationX – Introduction to Linux
  • UPValenciaX – CLEP Information Systems and Computer Applications, Part 1: IT

Coursera partners also offer many introductory CS courses for free, such as:

  • Univ of MI – Python for Everybody
  • UC, San Diego – Interaction Design
  • UC, San Diego – Java Programming: Object-Oriented Design of Data Structures
  • CA Institute of the Arts – Fundamentals of Graphic Design
  • Univ of MD, College Park – Programming Mobile Applications for Android Handheld Systems, Part 1
  • Duke U – Java Programming: An Introduction to Software
  • Hong Kong Univ of Sci & Tech – HTML, CSS and JavaScript
  • Univ of Toronto – iOS App Development with Swift
  • Mich State U – Game Design and Development

Probably the most famous – and most popular worldwide – introductory course in computer science is the one offered by Udacity. Check out the free and open components to Intro to Computer Science: Build a Search Engine and a Social Network.

Join in the movement – do an Hour of Code for yourself and for those around you in our fast and growing global world of technology.

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