Trans* Week of Awareness 2017

The Trans* Week of Awareness is a week-long series of events sponsored by the UK Counseling Center, Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) Center, the Office of LGBTQ* Resources, and PFLAG Central Kentucky.

All events are free and open to the public. Donations for the Big Blue Pantry will be accepted at all events – more information on their website.

Monday, Nov 13
7 pm
Trans* 101: An introduction to language and identities, 214 White Hall Classroom Bldg:
Partake in a workshop on language and identity and develop a better vocabulary to talk about trans* issues. Topics to be covered: names, pronoun usage, productive dialogues, and how to make UK more trans* inclusive.
Tuesday, Nov 14
Rainbow Conversation, 313 Blazer Dining Hall:
Ph.D. candidate Holly Brown will be discuss her graduate research “Gatekeeping Systems for Transgender Health Care”. Lunch provided.
Tuesday, Nov 14
6:30 pm
Wellness and Beyond! with PFLAG, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 2025 Bellefonte in Lexington:
Our panel will cover a lively variety of topics: Trans and Queer Health services and research; HIV prevention and management; Breast/Chest Feeding Without Birthing; Mental Health resources for LGBTQ+ folks. Presentation and Q & A takes place the first hour, followed by a confidential support group meeting. There is no charge. More information at or call 859.338.4393.
Wednesday, Nov 15
Green Dot Overview, VIP Center, Frazee Hall:
Participate in a Green Dot Overview at the VIP Center to learn about how you can actively contribute to ending violence within our campus community. Lunch will be provided by the Office of LGBTQ* Resources and the event will be hosted in the VIP Center. Attendees will also receive information about VIP Center Services as well as complementary Network Resource Cards. Lunch provided.
Thursday, Nov 16
7:00 pm
Trans* Identities and Experiences Panel, UKAA Auditorium, W. T. Young Library:
Join us to hear individuals speak on their identities and experiences.
Friday, Nov 17
11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Affirmation Friday, Jacobs Science Building Atrium:
Join LGBTQ* Resources and UK Counseling Center. Come decorate your own rock with words of affirmation, wisdom or encouragement to keep or pass along.
Monday, Nov 20
7 pm
Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil, Main Building steps:
Join LGBTQ* Resources in reflection honoring the trans* individuals whose lives were lost in 2017. Rain location, 6pm Holmes Hall, 111 Avenue of Champions.


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SALutations! Transitions & Call for Proposals

“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.

Reaching Out

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

Greg Heileman
Associate Provost for Student & Academic Life

View SALutations! Archived Newsletters.

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Congratulations to Mary Bolin!

Mary Bolin

Dr. Mary Bolin

We read today in UKnow that our own Dr. Mary Chandler Bolin, director of the UK Counseling Center (UKCC), has been re-elected to the Board of Directors for the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors. This international association of her peers addresses campus mental health policy and offers good practices for initiatives in the field — and this election acknowledges her great work at UK, the community and beyond.

Dr. Bolin is a licensed psychologist; she graduated with her doctorate in Counseling Psychology at the University of Kentucky in 1994 and was appointed as director of the UKCC in 1998. Much of her clinical work and public outreach efforts have focused on LBGTQ* issues as well as eating disorders, body image, learning disabilities and ADHD. She also launched the QPR (Question. Persuade. Refer.) suicide prevention training here at UK – see more on the UKCC website.

Lexington FairnessAs the faculty advisor to the UK Gay-Straight Alliance from its earliest days fifteen years ago, Dr. Bolin was celebrated last summer when she received the 2017 Ally for Fairness Award from Lexington Fairness.

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Hands-On Cooking Class with The Food Connection, Nov 14

This just in from Tanya Whitehouse at The Food Connection @ UK:

GatheringAtTheTable-Nov2017Gathering at the Table

Join us at The 90 (440 Hilltop Avenue) on Tuesday, November 14th, at 5:30 PM for the November Gathering at the Table hands-on cooking class.

Get your hands dirty in the kitchen, and eat together. Learn skills for preparing healthy meals on a budget.

Register online and pay what you can >>

Suggested donation of $5 to attend.

This event is co-hosted by The Food Connection, Campus Kitchen, and the Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition in CAFE.


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Chellgren Initiative Launched

UK Chellgren CenterDue to a gift of $12 million from Paul and Deborah Cole Chellgren, the University of Kentucky and the Division of Student and Academic Life have launched the Chellgren Initiative. The gift has been used to create an endowment that will support ongoing programmatic needs of the Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence under the leadership of Dr. Philipp Kraemer, Chellgren Endowed Chair for Undergraduate Excellence.

In addition to the work undertaken by Dr. Pat Whitlow in the Nationally Competitive Awards unit, the Student Fellows Program is a major component of the programming for the Center. Students pursue individual scholarly projects under the supervision of a UK faculty member and in collaboration with the UK Undergraduate Research Center. During the sophomore year, each Fellow completes a 1-credit hour course of academic enrichment and a 3-credit hour course linked to a faculty mentored project. Fellows also participate in a number of extracurricular events together – see more on this on their Facebook page. There are 50 Chellgren Fellows for 2017-18.

The Chellgren Professors for 2015-18 are:

The Chellgren Fund for Student Excellence began in 2005 which provided resources for research in the physical sciences, life sciences, social sciences and the humanities. Mr. Chellgren, a UK Honors Program alumnus and former member of the UK Board of Trustees, has given more than $18 million to UK over the years. In honor of the Chellgren’s continued support for the University of Kentucky, the Provost and President announced that Woodland Glen I residence hall will be renamed Chellgren Hall.

Watch the video from last year’s 10th anniversary of the founding of the UK Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence.

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Sign up for the “Welcome Home UK” Program for the Holiday Breaks

Welcome Home UK iconHave you wondered about the options that UK students have for housing and community support during our holiday breaks? What happens when most on-campus facilities are closed and the student can’t get back home for the Thanksgiving or Winter Break? Here’s an opportunity for you to volunteer to do something valuable that demonstrates your own — and UK’s — values of inclusion.

With the Welcome Home UK Program, managed by the UK Office of Diversity’s LGBTQ* Resources staff, University employees can sign up to offer a private bedroom in their homes for UK students who can’t go home for the holidays. We aim to offer a positive, safe, and respectful option for students who are looking for a host family to support them during those bleak winter days. Placements can be arranged for one or more nights depending on student need and host availability. UK employees can sign up here: Webform for Host Family Volunteers – to gather information regarding UK employee household and availability.

Any currently enrolled full-time student who is looking for a place to stay or to celebrate a holiday this Thanksgiving or Winter Break can apply online here: Webform for UK Student Seeking Host Family.

Any questions? Please contact Rayne Parker ( in the LGBTQ* Resources office.

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DACA – How Does it Affect Our Community?

Join the College of Arts & Sciences International Studies Program at their event featuring several community members and student representatives:

What is DACA
(Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals)?
How does it affect our community?

Tuesday, October 24th
3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
White Hall Classroom Building, Room 334

Speakers will include:

U.S. Department of Homeland SecuritySee Acting Secretary Elaine Duke’s 2017 Rescission Memo on the U.S. Homeland Security website.

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Free College Tuition

Legislators across the nation are working on how to build scholarship programs that offer accredited college courses and programs for free.  In Kentucky we have seen two state government-led initiatives:

  • Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship: for Kentuckians who have not yet earned an associate’s degree to afford an industry-recognized certificate or diploma in a high-demand workforce sector. Applicants must be accepted or enrolled in a qualifying program in health care, advanced manufacturing, transportation/logistics, business services/IT, and construction.
  • Dual Credit Scholarship: for Kentucky resident high schoolers (including private schools and home schoolers) who are approved for enrollment in an approved dual credit class at a participating Kentucky college or university. This scholarship is limited to two dual credit classes per person and may not be used for developmental/remedial or repeated classes. The approved college course must be one that is a general education course that can transfer to any Kentucky college or university (as per the KY General Education Transfer Agreement) or part of a KY Career/Technical Education high school pathway.
    • NOTE: The University of Kentucky offers 3 courses for dual credit: WRD110, WRD111, and MA109. These courses must be taught at the high school by high school instructors who are approved by the department chairs here at UK to serve as volunteer UK faculty. See more information at our website:

In Tennessee, the first cohort of students who entered college in the fall of 2015  as part of the Tennessee Promise (up to five semesters of tuition-free courses at a community or applied technology college) has begun to graduate. The studies have shown that Tennessee is raising college and full-time enrollment – as well as speeding time to degree (see Dian Schaffhauser, “Free College Finds Success in Tennessee, Campus Technology 10/16/17). And, according to Campaign for Free College Tuition, Oregon has set up their own Promise program, and New York’s Excelsior Scholarship is supporting tuition-free college for families who earn less than $125,000. Arkansas is – like Kentucky – using state general funds for tuition with the ArFuture Grant in selected programs that support their states’ business and industry needs.

According to this CNBC article, by August of this year, more than 20 states have enacted some form of free college tuition. To find out more about public colleges and universities across the nation who are being drawn into the free tuition movement, see the website for Campaign for Free College Tuition.

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Crafting the “nudge” so it is most effective

Cass Sunstein, Harvard University, and the Nobel Prize in Economics winner Richard Thaler, University of Chicago, got advocates in higher education thinking about how best to “nudge” students to make smart choices in their academic careers. This proactive ideology is described in the book Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness (Yale U Press, 2008). And these two scholars continue to demonstrate how nudging works best – see The Conversation (11 October 2017).

The setting in which we all make decisions is crucial to the outcome – and the framing in which the options are presented is also important in affecting a decision. So, the operative question for us as educators is not whether or not to worry about inserting some kind of bias into people’s decision-making, but to think carefully about which direction we should take in persuading them to go. The goal, in part, is to nudge people toward healthier, safer, more prosperous lives while also addressing pressing issues like academic career trajectories, persisting in a college degree, and networking broadly enough to get a good-paying job after graduation. It takes into account not just logic or cognitive aspects of a student’s learning but also the emotional and social factors that combine to put up barriers to a student’s success. A nudge, then, would be an action that encourages – not mandates – a particular behavior that students demonstrate.

In higher education circles, we often get together to work on how best to “nudge” students to complete those tasks that might seem mundane to outsiders but are crucial for student success: completing an enrollment process, spending more time in communal spaces, establishing positive peer networks that help earn better grades or prevent them from stopping out. The problem is when we craft those strategies in ways that seem manipulative or simply as a series of byzantine requirements with an underlying tone of “…because I told you to.” If the messages are too intimidating, students are likely to veer away or procrastinate rather than become empowered and motivated to go in that direction. Students will also veer away if the strategies recommended might “compromise the interests or values of the people they affect (Sunstein, The Conversation).”

EAB Student Success researchers recommend we build a process map for the work we do and find where students experience “hidden pain points.” For so many of our students, higher education champions a “hidden curriculum” that can leave them feeling confused or just defeated. Student support staff will say they are accustomed to students ignoring their email notifications, and instructors will complain students don’t read the syllabus or follow directions. However, we might all want to think more like a digital marketing expert and find ways to design a good “nudge” that will improve student experiences in decision-making.

Take the diagnostic on the EAB website to find out how well you currently reach out and motivate students to take positive steps toward their own success. Plenty of research conducted in the last decade demonstrates that we don’t need to worry about students being frustrated with a good nudge – if they understand and agree with the underlying goal. Nudging can go wrong if people perceive the goal is illegitimate.

Are you part of a well-designed “nudge” to set up students to make the right choice? or are you contributing to the anxiety and frustrations that force students to withdraw, accept lower achievement rates, or even drop out?

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