Monday Memo April 9, 2018
We received wonderful news last week when the Board of Trustees announced Dr. Neeli Bendapudi as our new President. As the elected representative of the Belknap deans, I had the opportunity to interview her for several hours. She’s an enthusiastic builder of academic programs who has risen through the ranks at very strong public research universities. She puts students first, and is committed to building opportunities for them to be successful. She values tenure. She is a champion of the liberal arts, and her undergraduate degree in English gave her a strong foundation for her successful career. She’s got a tremendous track-record in fundraising. She wants a strong athletic program, but knows it comes secondary to the educational mission. She’s energetic, confident yet humble, and very much a people-person. She wasn’t afraid to push back in conversations with BOT members, even before she had the job. Dr. Bendapudi is known as an up-and-coming academic leader on the national scene, and other universities have also sought her for top leadership roles. In as much as we chose her, she also chose us. She’s done her homework too. Her description of UofL as a beautiful diamond with mud splattered on it resonates. I know many of you join me in believing our best is yet to come, and Dr. Bendapudi appears to be a great pick to chart our path.
Of course, President Bendapudi understands she has some big challenges ahead, and it is probably a fair bet that there are others she has yet to discover. She will need the help of all of us to be successful. Although I was openly critical of the closed search, I believe the outcome is extremely positive despite the flawed process. I truly do believe Dr. Bendapudi is the perfect fit for us and especially right now. I hope you will keep an open mind and give her your trust and strong support. She arrives on campus May 15, and I’m sure she’ll want to meet her new A&S colleagues ASAP.
Also last week, Acting Provost Billingsley announced that he is stepping down from the position June 1. After a fall sabbatical, he will return to the English faculty. Professor Beth Boehm will serve as Interim Provost until a permanent provost is chosen. Interim assignments for SIGS and undergraduate academic affairs have not yet been announced. I also do not know yet which position at HSC Dr. Postel will return to. Both Drs. Postel and Billingsley are truly to be admired and appreciated for their leadership during the past two years. They’ve had to make very hard decisions, but never wavered from doing what they viewed as best for UofL. They have my extreme gratitude, and I hope yours as well.
Kimberly Kempf-Leonard, Ph.D.
A&S Celebration of Excellence this Friday
The A&S Celebration of Excellence is Friday, 4/13 from 2-4 p.m. in Bigelow Hall, MITC. We will recognize many of our faculty and staff who have made particularly noteworthy contributions to our mission in the past year. Some of are honorees are identified below, but others won’t be announced until our party. Please take the time to preregister as it makes the check-in process much faster and smoother.
Public Art & Monument Advisory Committee seeks campus input
The Louisville Metro Public Art and Monuments Advisory Committee, of which two A&S faculty are members (Prof. Dewey Clayton (Political Science) and Prof. Chris Reitz (Fine Arts), will be meeting on UofL’s campus this Thursday, April 12 in Davidson Hall, Room 111, from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. This meeting is an opportunity for the UofL campus, particularly the students, to let the committee know their thoughts and concerns about the public art and monuments around the city.
A&S Award Winners
We are happy to announce this year's A&S award winners who will be recognized at the A&S Celebration of Excellence on 4/13 from 2-4 p.m. The Celebration of Excellence is the College's opportunity to recognize the expertise, talent, and commitment of some of our most outstanding individuals in the College.
Please note that the winners of A&S Distinguished Faculty Awards, the Outstanding Performance Awards for Staff, and the Outstanding Supervisor Awards for both 2016-17 and 2017-18 will be forwarded to the President's Office as our unit's nominations for the corresponding University-wide awards.
A&S Distinguished Faculty Awards
For Full-Time Teaching Stephen Hanson (Philosophy)
For Service to the Community Chris Reitz (Fine Arts)
For Service to the University John Gibson (Philosophy)
Additional Faculty Awards
Innovative Teaching Award - Linda Fuselier (Biology)
Outstanding Director of Graduate Studies - Perri Eason (Biology)
Outstanding Graduate Mentor - Sandra Sephton (Psychological & Brain Sciences)
Olorunsola Endowed Research Award for Young Scholars (Steven Brooke, Political Science)
Outstanding Performance Awards for Staff
Lyshanna Cunningham (International, Diversity & Engagement Programs)
Rea Diehlman (Physics & Astronomy)
Anthony Hundley (Sociology/Anthropology/Geography & Geosciences/Political Science)
Amanda LeDuke (Political Science)
Additional Staff Awards
Enhanced Efficiencies Award - Holly Hogue (A&S Dean's Office)
Staff Supervisor Award - Rebecca Ledford (A&S Advising)
Teamwork Award - Katherine Taylor (Communication)
Diversity & Engagement Awards
Community Engagement Award (faculty) - Bronwyn Williams (English) and the University Writing Center staff
Community Engagement Award (staff) - Yolanda Demaree (A&S Dean's Office)
Diversity Champion Award (faculty) - Aaron Rollins (Urban & Public Affairs)
Diversity Champion Award (staff) - Lory King (A&S Advising)
Research & Creative Activity
University-wide Undergraduate Research & Creative Activity Symposium
Please plan to attend the annual Symposium on Tuesday, April 10 in the Shumaker Research Bldg., Room 139, between 12:30 – 4:00 pm. This will provide a forum where students can showcase research projects that build on and enrich faculty work across the disciplines. This year, 29 student posters - many of them from A&S - will be presented. For more information, visit the web page or email Charlie Leonard.
A&S Research & Creative Activity Grants awarded
Prof. Greene receives grant from French government
Prof. John Greene (CML) has been awarded a grant from the French Government to participate in a second language acquisition program at the University of Nantes in Summer 2018. This is one of only two such grants awarded in the United States.
Prof. McDonald will attend Digital Humanities Research Institute in NYC
Commonwealth Center for Humanities & Society Fellow Prof. Fran McDonald (English) just received a letter offering her a place in the Digital Humanities Research Institute, to be held in NYC this summer. The competition was stiff and we are very proud of her. Upon her return, Prof. McDonald will be able to share her expertise and new contacts with the Digital Humanities collective here at UofL.
A&S Advisors excel
A&S had five advisors nominated for the 2018 Provost Award for Exemplary Advising. The nominees included Eddie Bobbitt (previous winner), Danielle Dolan, Kourtney Hall, Bret Hirsch, and Rebecca Ledford. Additionally, Kirsten Armstrong (previous winner) from Honors Advising was also nominated.
Special Kudos to A&S Graduate Students
Humanities grad student Bamba Ndiaye gets award for dissertation
Bamba Ndiaye, a doctoral candidate in the Humanities Ph.D. Program, won the 2018 Barbara Harlow Prize for Excellence in Graduate Research at the University of Texas at Austin's 18th Annual Africa Conferencewith a paper entitled "African American Evangelic Missions and Social Reforms in The Congo: The Activism of Reverend William Henry Sheppard." Bamba’s dissertation is directed by Prof. Dismas Masolo (Philosophy), and Prof. Tyler Fleming (History/Pan-African Studies) and Prof. Mawuena Logan (Pan-African Studies) serve on his dissertation committee. Mr. Ndiaye's success speaks not only to Bamba’s own individual capabilities as a scholar, but is also demonstrative of the excellent and dynamic work being produced within the field of Pan-African Studies at UofL.
Biology grad student Rachel Wells awarded NSF Research Fellowship
Biology graduate student Rachel Wells was awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. This makes the third NSF Fellowship given to a biology graduate student in the past couple of years.
Theatre Arts grad student LaShondra Hood named Hershberg Scholar
Each year the World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana (WAC) administers the David Hershberg Scholarship for Summer Study Abroad. This year, one of the three recipients is LaShondra Hood (Theatre Arts MFA program). This scholarship awards funds of at least $1,500 to be used to help defray the costs of international travel, lodging, and maintenance for a period of at least 21 days of study or research outside the United States. An award ceremony will be April 17 at the Moonshine University and will feature presentations by last year's winners. This summer, Ms. Hood will travel to Brazil to study the dissemination of African dance forms through the African diaspora, focusing particularly on how dance has served as a vehicle for storytelling and communication.
Items of Note
University-wide Celebration of Student Writing this Wednesday
The Celebration of Student Writing will be held Wed. April 11 from 10 am - 2 pm in Ekstrom Library. The Celebration is a collaboration of several campus departments, including the Composition Department, Writing Center, and Digital Media Suite, that puts undergraduate writing on display through poster sessions, creative writing readings, digital projects, and paper presentations. This year, participants can also get involved in several "maker" activities in the Digital Media Suite, including creating collaborative videos and recording digital literacy narratives. Every activity students participate in earns a chance to win prizes and gift cards! Please encourage your students to attend!
AAUP Spring chapter meeting & round-table discussion
AAUP@UofL will hold its spring chapter meeting at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, April 13 in the Chao Auditorium in Ekstrom Library. At 12 pm, three local journalists will participate in a round-table discussion: Kate Howard (Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting); Chris Otts (WDRB); and Andy Wolfson (Courier Journal). Kate, Chris, and Andy have published, and continue to publish, important stories on UofL. They will discuss the significant events they've covered, the information they’ve uncovered, and give us their perspective on the challenges facing UofL in the near future. The meeting and round-table are both free and open to the public.
In the News
Google staff sign letter against drone project (BBC World Business Matters, 4/6/18) - Prof. Andrea Elpidorou (Philosophy) interviewed as part of episode about why boredom arises.
UofL faculty senate prepares for tenure legislation impact (Insider Louisville, 4/5/18) - Two faculty senators, Prof. David Owen (Philosophy) and Prof. Jasmine Farrier (Political Science) are responding to concerns over a new bill that would allow the Board of Trustees to close programs and fire tenured faculty by drafting revisions to current UofL guidelines for program closure. The revisions could be voted on during the senate’s next meeting in May.
Marchers at Kentucky Capitol urge people to fight pension reform 50 years after MLK died (Courier-Journal, 4/4/18) - Prof. Ricky Jones (Pan-African Studies) weighs in on need for "fighters."
New University of Louisville president says firing tenured faculty would be 'very last resort' (Courier-Journal, 4/4/18) - Prof. Susan Jarosi (Women's & Gender Studies), Prof. Tomarra Adams (Pan-African Studies), and Prof. David Owen (Philosophy) weigh in on the current bill that would permit UofL's Board of Trustees to eliminate programs and fire tenured professors.
Why MLK's sermon 'Why America might go to hell,' applies to Kentucky's teacher pension crisis (Courier-Journal, 4/4/18) - Regular opinion column of Prof. Ricky Jones (Pan-African Studies)
Emerging ways to illuminate plays, digital media technology and projections light up Louisville stages (Insider Louisville, 4/3/18) - Features Prof. Kevin Gawley (Theatre Arts) and his role as one of two artists here locally who are using a diverse range of new media tools to tell stories on stage.
If King were alive, he'd be outraged over west Louisville but uplifted by young activists (Courier-Journal, 4/3/18) - Prof. Cate Fosl (Women's & Gender Studies) and Louisville Metro Council member Cheri Bryant Hamilton opine about what Martin Luther King would think about the state of the fight for racial justice in Louisville today.
In Bendapudi, a female pick with academic past, U of L faculty see progress and stability (Courier-Journal, 4/3/18)
Prof. Ricky Jones (Pan-African Studies) and Prof. Diane Pecknold voice their optimism over recent hire of Dr. Neeli Bendapudi as UofL's next president.