Monday Memo, January 22, 2024

Dear A&S Colleagues,

The semester has reached cruising altitude as we enter a peak period of important events, from a film screening of The Cure for Hate; to a rare book exhibit on political philosopher Thomas Paine; a lecture by Watson Scholar Dr. Kimberly Wieser-Weryackwe on Cherokee rhetorics; a workshop guiding early-career researchers to submit successful NSF CAREER proposals; a publishing workshop by university press editor Dan Waterman; two illustrious A&S conferences, the 51st Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture, and the Watson Conference on Rhetoric and Composition; and the Theatre Department's next mainstage production, August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean. It's truly a dazzling display of all the great work being done in the College. Many thanks to every faculty and staff member who has worked so hard to plan and produce these happenings that enliven the College's teaching, research, and community engagement. 

On a logistical note, please spread the word about the Cardinal Campus Connector, a transportation pilot project that provides express shuttle service between the Belknap and Health Sciences Center campuses. See below for the schedule or call the Parking Office at 502-852-PARK (7275).


Julie Wrinn, Chief of Staff


Research Agenda


Mary P. Sheridan, Director of the Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society (CCHS), Pamela Beattie, Professor and Chair of Comparative Humanities, and Simona Bertacco, Professor of Comparative Humanities, have been awarded a Membership Activity Fund Grant by the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes in support of their proposal to establish a consortium of humanities centers and departments across Kentucky’s public universities.

The consortium, to be called The Humanities as the Common Wealth of Kentucky (HCWK), will coordinate efforts across Kentucky’s state universities. CCHS is one of six recipients around the world, who include Amherst College, the National University of Australia, and the University of Western Cape in South Africa, among others. HCWK represents a collaborative initiative to highlight at the national and global level the regional humanities culture of Kentucky, the value of the arts and humanities in public higher education, and how our public universities act as important liaisons between the humanities disciplines and the needs of our communities.

The grant will fund a two-day workshop on June 6 and 7, 2024, on the UofL campus, during which humanities educators from Kentucky’s state universities will meet to develop collaborative programming and effective communication about projects and initiatives for the public good, as well as a joint grant proposal to support the future initiatives.


Research by Benne Holwerda, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, was the topic of a front page article in the January 5, 2024, edition of the New York Times, “The Early Universe Was Bananas.” Dr. Holwerda is co-author of a Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science (CEERS) Survey publication on the shape of early galaxies. He explained, “We found that galaxies in earlier times (many billions of years ago) were often shaped more like a cigar or a cylinder. The bananas mention refers to how the plot looks of the axes on the sky. We think galaxies are mostly disks or footballs, and that’s true now. But it looks like in the past there was a third shape.” Read more.




Spencer Adkins, one of five students with recent Op-Eds published in the Courier-Journal

Dr. Megan Poole’s Students on a Fast Track to Publication

By Julie Wrinn

There are few greater satisfactions for both students and their professors than seeing students’ work published, particularly when it addresses serious and meaningful topics of the day. Often this takes years to come to fruition, but for students of English professor Megan Poole, that gratification has been more immediate. In the past two months, seven of Dr. Poole’s students have published opinion pieces, five in the Louisville Courier-Journal and two in the Louisville Cardinal, UofL’s independent student newspaper. One student, Ashley Rutland, had her Courier-Journal essay published nationally in USA Today on Christmas day, a poignant essay entitled, “Not everyone's holiday is about family. Christmas traditions remind me what I've been missing.”

Despite a precipitous decline in local journalism in recent decades, Louisville is fortunate to have a Pulitzer-prize-winning local newspaper, the Courier-Journal, with a monthly digital circulation of more than 1.4 million unique visitors. That’s a lot of readers for Dr. Poole’s student writers.

“ENG 310 Public and Professional Writing” is a course that Dr. Poole has been teaching since she arrived at UofL four years ago, but there was something special about this year’s class. “This particular group of students was unique in that they showed a level of vulnerability and bravery in sharing their stories that I’ve never before witnessed,” said Dr. Poole. In the course, students are encouraged to analyze public writing, understand Louisville readers, and be strategic about word choices that connect with city-wide sociocultural conversations. Former students of Poole’s also visited class to share their experiences in getting their work published.

Dr. Poole emphasizes that publishing their pieces is entirely optional for the students, but for those who do seek publication, their impact on local journalism is enormous. “I think the inclusion of young voices—diverse young voices—is essential to the future of local journalism in our city. Young voices challenge the status quo, have different ideas for social change, and remind us of how big dreams can be,” said Dr. Poole.

Published students from Dr. Poole’s class include a daughter of a Black police officer who feels divided in her loyalties regarding police violence against communities of color; a Louisville native who advocates for Louisville’s best and brightest high school students to attend college at home; a student who experienced a high school shooting and explores the lifelong emotional scars this creates; a premed student advocating for remedies that reduce maternal mortality rates; and a student’s plea for urban renewal in West Louisville.

One student, Spencer Adkins (above), a senior earning a B.S. in Marketing (College of Business) and a minor in Professional and Public Writing (A&S), shared his thoughts on the experience of writing and publishing his Opinion piece in the Courier-Journal, “U of L was right to protect hateful anti-queer demonstration; free speech is everyone's right.”  Read more. 


Commencement Profiles, 12/23


Masters Grad Seized Opportunities

By Janet Cappiello

When Maymie Owens (above) was a University of Louisville undergraduate, she blazed a new path as a first-generation student. Seizing opportunities has since become her hallmark. In December 2023 she graduated from UofL with dual Master of Public Administration/Master of Urban Planning (MPA/MUP) degrees from the College of Arts & Sciences. It is a program she had not planned to pursue after she earned her bachelor’s degree in 2020 in public health just as the pandemic set in. But there she was, and, given a chance to put her classroom learning to work through contact tracing, she jumped into the unknown. Soon, she was supervising UofL’s pandemic contact tracing team.

Owens, who had paid her own way through her undergraduate years, dreamed of getting a master’s degree. She was attracted to the dual degree master’s program because it offered a graduate assistantship that would pay for her tuition. She jumped again into the unknown. “If I’m being completely honest,” she said, “I didn’t know anything about urban planning before I went into the degree. Then I fell in love with urban planning!”

Owens, a graduate of Louisville’s Butler Traditional High School, said she has always been inspired by her mother, a server who works multiple jobs as a single parent of three. She hopes earning her master’s degree will help set her on a career path that leads to financial longevity for generations to come. She even earned her state license to sell life insurance to help others plan for the future.

For now, she plans to pursue a career in philanthropy. Owens is a coordinator of corporate and foundation relations in UofL’s Office of Advancement. She thinks often about the generous donors whose gifts made her graduate assistantship possible. “I don’t know who to thank, but someone out there made that possible,” she said. “I want to learn all that I can learn to better help other students and our university be successful.” Read more.


Three years ago, Carmen Ellison (above) was one of the youngest students ever to graduate from Jefferson County Public Schools when she earned her diploma from Seneca High School at age 15. At the time, she said she wanted to do something "big." Not satisfied with being one of the youngest JCPS graduates ever, Ellison is now one of the youngest UofL alumni, graduating with a bachelor’s in political science in just two-and-a-half years, at age 18. 

"Mainly, it was me taking a larger course load because I had a goal, and I was really determined to reach that goal," Ellison said. A first-generation college student, Ellison said she hopes to attend law school in the fall, but finding a job has been tough. “I believe because I am so young, people aren’t really open to put trust in me because of my age," she said. "You have to know me. I am a very determined person." Read more and view a video on Spectrum News. 


Call for Applications


ACC Meeting of the Minds Conference applications are invited for undergraduate students to participate in the ACC Meeting of the Minds Conference at the University of Notre Dame, April 5-7. Each ACC school will send five students to give presentations on original research in either a poster or oral format. Selected participants will have all travel expenses paid. Abstract submissions are due Jan. 29 through UofL’s ACC Meeting of the Minds application link. For more information and questions, email Paul DeMarco, director, Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity.


UofL’s Office of Research and Innovation is accepting applications for 2024-2025 Ascending Star fellows. This year-long program is for tenured associate professors who show excellence in research and/or creative activity and who are beginning to build a national presence in their fields. Fellows will receive a course release, extensive mentoring and coaching, and research funding up to $4,500.

Nominations, including self-nominations, should be sent to Susan Ryan ( by Jan. 31, 2024. Please include a CV and a statement (up to one page) outlining the nominee’s current research project(s). An email of support from the department chair should be sent separately (to Susan, by the same deadline)—chairs should articulate the significance and promise of the individual’s research and/or creative work.


Faculty, staff, trainees, and students are encouraged to apply for KYNETIC Product Development Grants (Kentucky Network for Innovation and Commercialization). Cycle 9 pre-application submissions are now open. Pre-applications will be due February 13th, 2024, by 5:00pm ET. Submission portal. If you have questions or need assistance with your pre-application, please contact us to share your product idea at

Funded by the NIH, KYNETIC offers entrepreneurial education and product development grants to accelerate the translation of academic innovations into biomedical products by investigators throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky. KYNETIC is led by the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, and Kentucky Commercialization Ventures (KCV).




Congratulations to this year’s two winners of the Cardinal Award (above, left to right): Brianna Williams, majoring in psychology, and Katie Hayden, majoring in neuroscience, who is also SGA president. The Cardinal Award is given to the top two seniors for scholarship and service to UofL and the Louisville community, based on interviews by a staff panel from the Dean of Students. It is the highest award given to a UofL student for co-curricular and service involvement. Learn more about these students here. Among past winners of this award, formerly known as "Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal," are some familiar names: A&S Dean’s Advancement Council member Jason Wade and Lucy Helm, the 2022 UofL Alumna of the Year.


A new book by Professor of English and Department Chair Karen Chandler has just been published: Tending to the Past: Selfhood and Culture in Children's Narratives about Slavery and Freedom (University Press of Mississippi, January 2024). It examines Black-authored historical novels and films for children that depict creative means by which ordinary African Americans survived slavery and racism in early America. In many popular depictions of Black resistance to slavery, stereotypes abound concerning victimization and the heroic efforts of a small number of individuals. These ideas ignore the powers of ordinary families and obscure the systematic working of racism. Narratives by children’s book authors, such as Joyce Hansen, Julius Lester, Marilyn Nelson, and Patricia McKissack, and the filmmakers Charles Burnett and Zeinabu irene Davis, were influenced by Black cultural imperatives, such as the Black Arts Movement, to foster an engaged, culturally aware public. “Tending to the Past is a groundbreaking study of the construction of history in texts by Black authors for young people. The quality and depth of analysis offered by Karen Michele Chandler is unparalleled.” -- Katharine Capshaw, coeditor of Who Writes for Black Children? African American Children's Literature before 1900. (See book cover below.)


University Honors Scholar and Neuroscience major Nim Singh participated in the Justice Challenge’s Food Insecurity Hackathon on January 19-20.  Hosted by the Student Engagement Committee of the Council on Honors Education, the hackathon challenged students from across the U.S. to collaborate using a systems approach to solving one of the grand challenges facing our world.  This intense 31-hour initiative involved multidisciplinary teams comprised of students from different universities. Congratulations to Nim and her team, “Got Food?”, for winning the Availability Pillar Award as well as tying for third place in the competition overall. 


English Professor and Director of Creative Writing Ian Stansel had his short story, "O Holy Night," published in Ploughshares's Winter 2023-24 issue, one of the most respected creative writing journals. Stansel is the author of the novel The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017) and two short story collections, Glossary for the End of Days (Acre Books, 2020) and Everybody’s Irish (Five Chapters, 2013), a finalist for the prestigious PEN/Bingham Prize. 


Kudos to Gerard Williger, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, who is serving as a second thesis advisor for Alexia Lopez, a Ph.D. student at the University of Central Lancashire. Ms. Lopez recently discovered a gargantuan ring-shaped structure – about 1.3 billion light-years in diameter – that challenges our understanding of the universe. Dubbed the Big Ring, this ultra-large structure – with a circumference of about four billion light-years – was observed in the remote universe, around 9.2 billion light-years away. Lopez also discovered the Giant Arc – spanning 3.3 billion light-years of space – around three years ago.

Ms Lopez’s findings – presented at the 243rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) – appear to challenge the cosmological principle, which states that on a large scale, the universe should look roughly the same everywhere. Read more.


Call for Nominations


Deadline extended! Nominations are invited for the 22nd annual Mary K. Bonsteel Tachau Gender Equity Award, which honors the memory of Dr. Mary K. Tachau, a women’s rights activist and nationally recognized constitutional historian who became the first female chair of the History Department. The award will be presented to a member of the UofL community whose work has directly furthered gender equity. The prestigious award will be announced by the UofL Women’s Center and the UofL Commission on the Status of Women at the Women’s Center virtual Empowerment Program on March 21, 2024. Please submit by February 2 at 5:00 p.m. using this nomination form and contact Tami Harbolt at for further details.


The Employee Success Center is now accepting nominations for the university-wide "presidential" awards through February 15, 2024. For more information and to submit nominations, visit their awards website. 


Human Resources


Reminder: 2023 performance evaluations will follow the same process as last year due to the performance evaluation configuration of Workday still undergoing testing to ensure that system quality and standards are met. Resources, including training, will be available on the Performance Evaluations webpage. The deadline for uploading performance evaluations to OnBase is March 15. For questions, email Employee Relations.

AnthemEAP, the university’s new Employee Assistance Program provider, offers many great benefits including eight counseling sessions per topic, in-person or online counseling sessions, online appointment scheduling, dependent care, childcare, elder care, assisted living, legal and financial resources and access to a new cognitive and behavioral resource program called “Learn to Live.” For more information, log into AnthemEAP by visiting, select “EAP Member Login” and type “University of Louisville.”  


A&S Events & Exhibits


To mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the film, “The Cure for Hate” with Q&A by producer/directer Tony McAleer, will be featured. McAleer, former leader of the Neo-Nazi Aryan Nation, will share the journey and transformation of a former Neo-Nazi from hatred to acceptance of the racial/religious “Other.” Join us Jan. 25, Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library, 4 p.m. For more information, contact, 852-3406.


The Kain Rare Books Gallery, Eckstrom Library lower level, has a new temporary exhibit celebrating political philosopher and revolutionary Thomas Paine's upcoming birthday. A rare books collector and true polymath, Professor of Biology Lee Dugatkinhas generously loaned his extensive collection of Thomas Paine's writing to Archives & Special Collections for display. Dr. Dugatkin said:

I’ve been a collector of antiquarian books for thirty years. While my collections spans many centuries, I have a particular interest in the 1790s, a decade that bridged the Enlightenment and the Romantic Era. I also am naturally drawn to political, philosophical and scientific gadflies, so it should come as no surprise that my library has many an early volume of Thomas Paine’s works (including a number of first editions). Many associate Paine with his classic pamphlet, Common Sense, which helped spark the American Revolution. Personally, I am more drawn to two of his other works: The Age of Reason and The Rights of Man, the latter of which has one of my all-time favorite passages: 'My country is the world and my religion is to do good.'

Twelve titles ranging from a 1791 edition of The Rights of Man to The American Crisis(1817) are on display. Ongoing through Paine’s birthday on January 29 and closing on January 31. Rare Books Gallery, Lower Level of Ekstrom Library, Monday - Friday, 10am to 5pm. 


NSF CAREER Lunch and Learn: A workshop on applying to the NSF CAREER program. Are you an early-career researcher looking to develop your potential? In this workshop, you will learn the ins and outs of submitting a successful proposal to the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program, a prestigious award that could help you build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research. The CAREER Program offers the NSF’s most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Activities pursued by early-career faculty should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.

This workshop is sponsored by the Office of Research and Innovation and J.B. Speed School of Engineering and features consultant Lucy Deckard. Virtual event: Tuesday, Jan. 30, 12 noon to 1 pm. More information and registration. 


The next Sustainability Roundtable will take place on Tuesday, January 30, 4:00pm to 4:50pm, and continue at the same time on alternate Tuesdays (2/13, 2/27, 3/19, 4/2, 4/16). The format is a 30-40 minute presentation from a variety of speakers throughout the year, followed by 15-20 minutes of open discussion.

Anyone with an interest in sustainability can give talks at the speaker series and participate in the audience, including faculty, staff, students, practitioners, teachers, government officials, and members of the public. If you would like to give a presentation, or would like to hear a particular speaker, please contact Tamara SlussJoin Microsoft Teams Meeting or dial-in at 502-792-9582 (Conference ID: 266 387 272 198# Passcode: kxhTvM)


Please join us Friday, Feb. 2, 4:00-5:15 pm in Bingham Humanities Building Room 101 or on MS Teams (link below) for a hybrid lecture by Watson Distinguished Visiting Scholar Dr. Kimberly Wieser-Weryackwe. A reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres, dessert, and nonalcoholic drinks will follow from 6:30-8:30, hosted by Joan D’Antoni (1404 South Third Street; see parking instructions in the attached flier). If possible, RSVP here to the reception by Jan. 26 so we can update the caterer on how much food to order. See flyer below.


Dan Waterman, editor-in-chief at the University of Alabama Press, will be on campus to give a presentation, “Navigating the University Press Ecosystem,” and to meet one-on-one with full-time faculty members (tenured, tenure-track, and term) at any stage of developing or pitching a book project. This includes scholarly monographs, scholarly editions, and edited collections. You need not be looking at Alabama specifically as a potential press—Dan will be here to offer general advice and feedback on project proposals, project ideas, etc, from his perspective as a long-time academic editor. February 15-16 in Humanities 300, no registration required.

If you’re interested in a 1:1 consultation, email Susan Ryan ( Dan can be most helpful if you submit a CV and a summary of your project in advance (or a full-scale proposal if you have a draft already). Only ten meeting slots are available—and the opportunity will be available to faculty in other UofL units as well, because the provost’s office has provided funding—so respond quickly if you want to secure a meeting. Friday, February 16, noon-1:30 pm, HUM 300


The College will soon be hosting the 51st annual Louisville conference on Literature and Culture with a full slate of activities both virtual and in person. Virtual sessions will be held on Monday and Tuesday, February 19-20, and the in-person events will take place later that week on the Belknap Campus on Thursday through Saturday, February 22-24. The conference is free to UofL students, staff, and faculty. Register here.

Once registered you can view the program. Highlights include a keynote featuring UofL Professor of Jazz Studies Jerry Tolson in a conversation on jazz and poetry with A. B. Spellman, a leading poet of the Black Arts Movement and a pioneering critic of Bebop-era jazz. This event marks the first collaboration between the LCLC and the School of Music.  Other keynotes include the multi-talented writer Maxine Chernoff and the cultural critic Anna Kornbluh. With over 80 events in both English and Spanish as well as sessions on various aspects of world literature and culture, LCLC51 promises to be another milestone for a unique conference that happens only here at the University of Louisville.


The Department of Theatre Arts presents Gem of the Ocean by August Wilson, February 23 - March 3. Opening night is Friday, February 23, curtain at 7:30 pm, preceded by a Director's Circle reception at 6:30 pm with director and Department Chair Shona Tucker sharing conversation and insights about the production. Wine and snacks provided. Belknap Playhouse, 1911 South 3rd Street, Louisville. See flyer below.


The 2024 Watson Conference in Rhetoric and Composition will be on the theme of "CREATE, CONNECT, REFLECT: Launching Collaborations and (Re)building Community in Our Fields." The fourteenth biennial Thomas R. Watson Conference in Rhetoric and Composition will offer a space for launching collaborative projects and increasing access to participation. Attendees will spend three days working together on a project, either over Zoom or on-site at UofL. The conference will also feature a keynote, showcase, reflection on the collaborative process, and social activities (including virtually). By the end of the conference, each group will have presented a project deliverable at the showcase and will be free to continue their collaboration thereafter. February 28 – March 1 (virtual) and March 7-9 (in person).

The Watson Conference in Rhetoric and Composition is a biennial event hosted by the English Department and funded by the Thomas R. Watson Endowment. In 1995 Dr. Thomas R. Watson, a Louisville physician, banker, and entrepreneur, donated $1.2 million to endow a biennial International Conference in Rhetoric and Composition and a Visiting Distinguished Professorship. The gift is a mark not only of Dr. Watson's extraordinary generosity but also of his imaginative and far-sighted vision. He believed in the fundamental importance of a literate citizenry, and of the vital task faced by the liberal arts in educating students to become critical, active, and engaged readers and writers. More information.


UofL Events


Upcoming Delphi Center Sessions

  • Digital Storytelling with Data. Explore the uses of narration and storytelling as a tool for communicating data and research in academic environments. This webinar will include discussions of the use of storytelling as a pedagogical tool to engage learners and foster a deeper understanding of complex technical processes and concepts. Attendees will leave with a variety of additional resources to support the implementation of digital storytelling and narration for teaching and research. Learn more and sign up at Tuesday, January 23 from 2-3 p.m. via MS Teams
  • Online Teaching Practices Swap Shop. Come together to share your best practices while collectively crowd-sourcing innovative solutions to challenges in your online courses. Moderated by Vice Provost Kelvin Thompson, this informal, virtual session will give instructors a platform to showcase some of their teaching triumphs and innovations, as well as collect advice from the group about ways to approach trials or issues that have been encountered in the online classroom. All online educators, experts or beginners are welcome to attend. Register to attend at Monday, February 5 from 2-3 p.m. via MS Teams

LGBTQ+ Affirming Healthcare Series, Session Four: Queer Eye: A Trans Provider’s Perspective. Facilitated by Jyme Rae Charette, DMD, MSD, Board Certified Prosthodontist (he/him). Presented by the UofL LGBT Center, UofL School of Dentistry, and HSC Office of Diversity & Inclusion. January 25, 12 Noon – 1:00 PM, Hybrid – Zoom link and in-person location emailed after online registration closes. Registration (required):


You are cordially invited to participate in the 2024 Celebration of Teaching and Learning Conference, scheduled for Friday, February 2, at the Student Activity Center (SAC). This year marks a significant change as we bring the conference to the Belknap Campus for the first time. 

This annual event serves as a platform to acknowledge educators at all levels, celebrate teaching excellence, and foster community engagement in the exchange of ideas related to evidence-based teaching practices. This year’s theme, Elevate Equity-Minded Teaching: Design with Intention, Teach with Care, focuses on the meaningful role instructors play in student success and supports efforts to increase equity across all teaching modalities.

Join us as we reflect on these efforts throughout the day during peer-reviewed concurrent sessions and the keynote presentation. This year’s keynote speaker, Flower Darby, associate director of the Teaching for Learning Center at the University of Missouri and contributing author to The Norton Guide to Equity-Minded Teaching, will highlight core concepts supporting equitable teaching practices as well as strategies that you can use to ensure that every student, particularly those who have been historically underserved, is provided an equitable opportunity to succeed. Regardless of your teaching context, be it in-person or online, you can expect to gain practical and impactful strategies for implementation in your class. For more information and to register, visit the Delphi Center's conference website.  We look forward to seeing you there. 


Grant writing workshops: Register now for any of the three remaining grant writing workshops taking place on February 2, March 1, and May 14, 2024, 12 noon - 1:30 pm, from the Office of Community Engagement, Office of the Provost, and Office of Institutional Equity for faculty, staff, and graduate students. Workshops will introduce the basics of grant writing from the lenses of community engagement, present the foundation for developing a letter of inquiry and a full proposal, provide approaches to engage funders, and provide insights into the review process. Register at this link.