Monday Memo, January 30, 2023

A newsletter for A&S Faculty and Staff

Dear A&S Faculty and Staff,

After three weeks of classes, the College’s calendar is filling up with that great variety of events that makes working and learning at a research university so stimulating. Next month is the 50th annual Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture since 1900, and to commemorate this milestone, it has a new website. For other upcoming conferences, lecture series, and the Theatre Department's next mainstage production, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, please scroll down for details. I especially want to draw your attention to two events that are occurring today: a Philosophy Department brown bag lunch and a Writing Center workshop. Enjoy!


Julie Wrinn, Chief of Staff


Recruitment & Telling Our Story


Recruiting students and telling our story is fundamental to our work, and everyone in A&S should ask themselves how they can contribute to these efforts. Here are some ways. The Office of Admissions is seeking ideas for incentives to offer to admitted students, such as:

  • Department of Theatre Arts tickets
  • Hite Institute Art Gallery passes
  • Speed Art Museum passes

If you have ideas for how to showcase your department or program to admitted students, please get in touch with in Admissions or in the A&S Dean's Office. Perks that are already offered to students who have paid their deposits include passes to the Student Rec Center and student-priced tickets to basketball and football games.


Anyone with an inspiring UofL story is invited to submit a testimonial request form. Testimonials will be used by the Office of Admissions for print, email, web, and social marketing.


Commencement will be here sooner than you think, and we’re always looking for graduating students to share their story, especially:

  • Students who have had great UofL experience.
  • Students who have had unique UofL experience.
  • Students who have exciting opportunities after graduation that may or may not relate directly to their chosen major.
  • Students who have overcome challenges on their way to graduation.

Individuals selected to be recognized will be contacted by the UofL Office of Communication and Marketing prior to commencement. If you know any students who fit this description, please pass along their names using this form, or encourage the students to complete the form themselves.


Undergraduate Research


A&S was well represented at this year's Posters-at-the-Capitol event in Frankfort. A total of seven A&S projects were chosen from the UofL-wide competition, including majors in biology (3 of them), Rural Health Policy (Liberal Studies), neurobiology, neuroscience, political science, and Psychology and Intersectional Health Studies (Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies).  Congrats to these students and their faculty mentors! Their projects are:


Undergraduate Spotlight


A junior political science major, Mery Muluberehan is determined to make the world a better place by fighting for environmental justice. As a recipient of the Voyager Scholarship from the Obama Foundation and Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, she will have several opportunities to do just that. Born in Columbus, Ohio, and raised in Louisville by her Ethiopian parents, her heritage served as a catalyst for Muluberehan’s passion. “My parents immigrated here from Ethiopia in search of a better life and encouraged me to earn an education to better myself,” Muluberehan said.

Though she’s always felt strongly about human rights and environmental issues, it wasn’t until Muluberehan took an environmental justice honors seminar class that she was able to bring her passion into focus. “That was just a fantastic class and it gave me a perfect way to sum up everything I was passionate about,” she said. “Lack of transportation, air and water pollution, environmental racism, human rights abuses, civil rights abuses … a lot of them fall under the umbrella of environmental justice because they’re products of the environment. That class helped me put the word to what I had always been passionate about.” Read more.


Opportunities for Undergrads


Please encourage your undergraduates to apply to these meaningful opportunities:

The Muhammad Ali Scholar Program (2023-2025 cohort) is now accepting applications through March 3 at this link. Students must be planning to be enrolled until spring 2025. See flyer above, and please send any questions to Sherry Durham

A&S Advising is now accepting applications for its next group of Peer Advisors through February 3 at this link. Peer Advisors are trained to help first-year students plan and schedule courses during orientation, serve as teaching assistants and mentors in the Gen 101 "A&S First-Year Experience" course, and assist with other advising initiatives throughout the academic year. See flyer below and contact with any questions. Faculty/staff recommendations (students applying to be Peer Mentors will need 2 recommendations) can be submitted through February 24 at this link.


Young Alumni


Elliott Grantz was excited to parlay her love of international relations and her newly earned 2020 sustainability degree into the Washington, D.C., job she holds now – a partnerships officer for the extensive United Nations World Food Programme.

The Louisville native was even more ecstatic six months later when the humanitarian organization won the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize for its work in combating hunger and creating better conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas around the globe. “The Nobel Peace Prize was definitely just phenomenal,” Grantz said.

Although the award was announced when people were working remotely because of COVID-19, one plus was that Grantz and her colleagues were able to “attend” the virtual ceremony in Oslo, Norway, and hear the acceptance speech of their World Food Programme executive director. “It makes you in your core want to work even harder and do more,” Grantz said. “It brought goose bumps to your skin…This is why I joined this organization.”

“I’m lucky that UofL was a part of my journey because without it I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Grantz said, also describing sustainability studies as “so versatile, you can go into so many different pathways from there.” Read more.


Alumni Awards


The UofL Alumni Association is currently accepting 2023 Alumni Awards nominations. If you know an outstanding graduate who deserves to be recognized for their career accomplishments, philanthropic endeavors, and contributions to their community, nominate them at Nomination categories include:

  • Alumni Fellow awards designated for each school/college
  • Emerging Leader
  • Diversity Leadership
  • Wilson Wyatt Alumnus(a) of the Year
  • Military Alumni Award: New this year, this award allows UofL to celebrate its military-connected alumni.

The nomination deadline is February 17. For more information, please contact or call 502-852-0750. To nominate, visit the webpage.


Hidden Talents


Above: Department of Communication staff Katie Cross Gibson visiting the Central Perk set from Friends, recreated as part of the Warner Bros. Studio tour in Los Angeles, October 2022.

Last month the Monday Memo highlighted Katie Cross Gibson’s work in producing a four-part podcast for Think Humanities on bell hooks, the author, activist, and native Kentuckian who died in December 2021. For more on how Katie came to work on this podcast, listen to her interview with Tom Martin on WEKU’s Eastern Standard (segment begins at 11:30 mark; listen to the Think Humanities podcast on SpotifyApple Podcasts, or SoundCloud).

This month we take a closer look at Katie and her not-so-hidden talents. A staff member in the Department of Communication and an M.A. student in Interdisciplinary Humanities, Katie enjoys graphic novels, podcasts, and video games: “I have been an avid Simmer since 2002, while my favorite current-gen console is the Nintendo Switch,” she said. Some of her recommendations in these endeavors are:

  • Book: Dancing at the Pity Party by Tyler Feder: A simultaneously humorous and poignant graphic memoir about grappling with grief and the loss of a parent.
  • Podcasts: Stuff Mom Never Told You, Pop Culture Happy Hour, and Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend (from a fellow redhead who has "always knelt at the altar of silly")
  • Video game: A Year of Springs: about a trio of friends navigating their feelings of love, connection, and wanting to belong that can be completed in a few hours during a cozy evening in.

Katie also writes poetry. Fun fact: She grew up in southcentral/southeastern Kentucky, where the notorious Kentucky author Walter Tevis (The Hustler, Queen's Gambit, The Man Who Fell to Earth) was once a teacher (though several decades before Katie’s high school years). An unabashed Beatles and Paul McCartney fan, her favorite piece of “Beatle advice” comes from the song “Hey, Jude”: "For well you know that it's a fool / who plays it cool / by making [their] world / a little colder."

Many thanks to Katie for sharing these facets of her life. If you would like to reveal some of your extracurricular side in this newsletter, please get in touch with




Dewey Clayton, Professor of Political Science, joined an all-star line-up of scholars for a panel discussion on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and his impact on Black activism today, on WKPFK radio in Los Angeles. Listen here.

In the most recent episode of the Faculty Feed podcast, Biology Chair Linda Fuselier discusses the importance of research experience for pre-medical students and how UofL’s Medical Education Research Award (MERA) program is engaging pre-medical students in clinical skills research with medical educators. They discuss how MERA benefits students while helping to create a pipeline for health professions education. Listen here.

This month Yuxin Ma, Associate Professor of History and Chair of the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, published a new monograph for the University of Wisconsin Press Film Series, entitled Colonial Tactics and Everyday Life: Workers of the Manchuria Film Association (see book cover below). The book has garnered impressive reviews, including from Daisy Yan Du, who said, “Lucidly written, it is theoretically sophisticated and entertaining: a must-read for film scholars and general readers”; and from Po-Shek Fu, who said, “This valuable book is a welcome addition to the expanding literature on the cultural history of Manchuria and Japanese-occupied cinema.”

Poetic forms offer a multitude of constraints that unlock creativity, and the lipogram is no exception—writing that avoids a particular letter or group of letters. Kristi Maxwell, Associate Professor of English and Director of Graduate Studies, has authored a collection of lipograms entitled Goners. The manuscript was just awarded the Wishing Jewel Prize from Green Linden Press, given to "an innovative, book-length manuscript that challenges expectations of what a book of poems can be." Goners will be published later this year. Read more.


From the Louisville Cardinal


The student perspective on online education is explored in this balanced appraisal of the pros and cons that appeared recently in UofL’s student newspaper, the Louisville Cardinal, by Anna Avetisian. Who is this thoughtful student reporter? Anna writes:

I am currently in my third year and pursuing a B.A. in Art and a minor in business. I am from Louisville and graduated from DuPont Manual high school in 2020. I just recently realized how much I enjoy writing. It is a great feeling to have something published!

The Louisville Cardinal was adopted by the A&S Dean’s Office in March 2022, after its sponsoring 501c3 was disbanded. The Cardinal’s longtime faculty advisor in the Communication Department, Ralph Merkel, is to be commended for his work in mentoring these students and navigating this transition. Dean David Owen made it a priority to strengthen support for this essential element of the student experience and campus community, so that UofL can continue to provide opportunities for students to discover, as Anna did, the satisfactions of writing and reporting and finding a readership.


Human Resources


Please join us in welcoming  Sandra Lerner to A&S! She is a new Academic Counselor in Honors who started on January 23. Sandra has a B.S. in Family Studies and an M.S. in Social Work. She brings a broad range of experience including as therapist, counselor, and social worker, most recently at Humana, where she performed clinical reviews.


Performance evaluations due by March 15 are an opportunity to set meaningful goals, discuss employee development, celebrate success, and provide constructive feedback for the year ahead. This year’s process will be the same as in 2022. For more information, visit the Performance Evaluation webpage for trainings, timelines, and other resources.


Upcoming Events


Philosophy brown bag lecture series: “Hegel on Possibility and Actuality.” You are invited to the Department of Philosophy's brown bag lecture series featuring Ryan Froese, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, who will discuss the work of German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Monday, Jan. 30, 12 p.m., Bingham Humanities Building, room 300. For more information, contact Lisa Schonburg, 852-6811, or visit the webpage.

Workshop: Designing writing assignments and rubrics. The University Writing Center will host a workshop on assignment and rubric design Monday, Jan. 30, 4-5 p.m. In this session, we will discuss how these genres can most successfully communicate the task at hand to a student audience and articulate a method of evaluation aligned with our course and disciplinary goals. Participants can join in-person in Ekstrom Library, room 132, or virtually via Teams. For more information, contact Annmarie Steffes, 852-2173.

Global Humanities LectureThe Global Humanities Lecture, a program of the Department of Comparative Humanities, will feature Canada's internationally acclaimed filmmaker Patricia Rozema, in partnership with the Speed Cinema. The lecture will offer free screenings of “I Heard the Mermaids Singing” (Wed., Feb. 1, 3 pm) and “Mansfield Park” (Thurs., Feb. 2, 1 pm), followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker and our faculty, students, and the Louisville community. Rozema’s films show how we come to terms with social expectations and barriers around gender and sexuality, but also how we overcome them to build meaningful relationships across cultural and generational differences.

Calvino Prize winner readingThe recipient of this year's Calvino Prize for Fabulist Fiction, Emily Temple, will read her winning story, "Out, Out," Thursday, Feb. 2, 7:30 p.m., Ekstrom Library, Bingham Poetry Room. The Calvino Prize is an international contest that receives hundreds of submissions each year. Emily Temple is the author of the celebrated 2020 novel The Lightness. This event is hosted by the Creative Writing Program. For more information, visit the webpage or email Ian Stansel, Director of Creative Writing.

UofL's annual teaching conference will have the theme CULtivate: Inclusion, Belongingness and Student Retention. Join your colleagues from across the university as we celebrate teaching, reconnect with and learn from one another, nurture our teaching selves, and gather new inspiration for enriching student success at all levels. Friday, Feb. 10, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., ShelbyHurst Campus. For more information and to register, visit here.

UofL Department of Theatre Arts Presents: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by Rachel Sheinkin and William Finn. Part of the 2022–23 mainstage season, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a musical comedy with music and lyrics by William Finn, book by Rachel Sheinkin, conceived by Rebecca Feldman, with additional material by Jay Reiss. Directed by Ari Calvano. At The Playhouse, 1911 S. 3rd Street, Louisville 40208. Performances on  Fri.-Sat., Feb. 10-11 at 7:30 pm; Sun., Feb. 12 at 3 pm; Fri-Sat., Feb. 16-18 at 7:30 pm; and Sun., Feb. 19 at 3 pm.

The 50th annual Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture Since 1900 (LCLC) takes place on February 20-25. LCLC has become an international event attracting more than three hundred participants annually, both scholars and creative writers. The conference’s new website launches today and provides details about dozens of sessions and four renowned keynote speakers: Pulitzer-Prize-winning novelist Jennifer Egan; Oxford University professor and “post-discipline” theoretician Merve Emre; Harvard professor, critic, and Guggenheim poetry fellow Stephanie Burt; and poet, critic, historian, and University of Virginia professor Fernando Operé Santillana. Notably, 11 presentations will be conducted primarily in Spanish, and several more Spanish-related presentations will be conducted in English on topics related to Spain or Latin American culture or identity. Dr. Opre Santillana’s keynote will be in Spanish, with Rhonda Buchanan, UofL Emerita Professor, translating. In addition, there is a panel devoted to French literature and another devoted to German literature. Free for UofL faculty, staff, and students: register here.

The Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies will host the 2023 Auerbach Lecture  featuring Treva Lindsey speaking on “Lindsey's America, Goddam, and the Importance of the Protection of Black Women and Girls: Reproductive Justice within Black Communities” on Feb. 23, at 5:30 pm, Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium. Treva Lindsey is Professor of the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the Ohio State University. She is the founder of the Transformative Black Feminism(s) Initiative in Columbus, Ohio. Her most recent book is America, Goddam: Violence, Black Women, and the Struggle for Justice (University of California Press, 2022).