Monday Memo, June 6, 2023

A Newsletter for Faculty and Staff of the College of Arts & Sciences

Dear A&S Faculty and Staff,

As the fiscal year draws to a close, it's our last opportunity to bid farewell to retiring faculty and staff, acknowledge their many contributions, and wish them well in their new endeavors:

  • Beth Bradley, Mathematics
  • Nefertiti Burton, Theatre Arts
  • Sue Ann Compton, English
  • Cate Fosl, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Alan Golding, English
  • Dale Hachten, English
  • Lee Larson, Mathematics
  • Richard Lewine, Psychological and Brain Sciences
  • Mary Makris, Classical and Modern Languages/Spanish
  • Suzanne Meeks, Psychological and Brain Sciences
  • David Owen, Philosophy
  • Steve Skaggs, Art and Design
  • Nancy Theriot, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Russ Vandenbroucke, Theatre Arts

Each of you has had an indelible impact on your students and colleagues and enriched the College's teaching, research, and service.

Also, a huge thank you for your leadership and service to three department chairs who are stepping down to rejoin the faculty in their departments:

  • Al Futrell, Communication
  • Ricky Jones, Pan-African Studies
  • Glynis Ridley, English

Finally, I hope you will join us in honoring David Owen on his retirement from UofL at a come-and-go reception on Wednesday, June 21, 3:00-4:30 p.m., in the lobby of the Shumaker Research Building, Belknap Campus. Dean Owen celebrates 20 years of service to the university as a Professor of Philosophy, former Department Chair, and Interim Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.  You can RSVP here.


Julie Wrinn, Chief of Staff


Research Agenda


Biology Professors Mark Running and David Schultz (below) are featured in an article and video by Kentucky NSF EPSCoR, ”Carrot, Tobacco, Moss & Marigold: Unlocking Plant Genetics with UofL’s Biology Team.” In the video, Profs. Running and Schultz explain their research on plant-based conducting and insulating materials that are more environmentally sustainable than conventional materials. Doctoral candidate Jesse Rozsa of the Running lab also appears.

Since 1986, the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) has partnered with Kentucky’s state government, academic institutions, and industries to build a strong science and technology research infrastructure within the state. The program has directly supported 1,900 Commonwealth researchers in the last ten years and creates about 50 new science and technology jobs each year.


Research by Political Science faculty David Buckley and Adam Enders was cited in a recent New York Times op-ed by Thomas Edsell. Buckley’s and Ender’s work shows that political violence correlates with a combination of white identity, belief in extreme religions, and conspiracy thinking. The paper is entitled, “Christian Nationalism and Political Violence: Victimhood, Racial Identity, Conspiracy, and Support for the Capitol Attacks,” and was published in the peer-reviewed journal Political Behavior.


The work of chemistry doctoral students Sashil Chapagain and Peter Armstrong, along with Professor Craig Grapperhaus, was recently highlighted in PV Magazine’s article, “US startup develops flexible inverted perovskite solar cell with 16.1% efficiency.” This research was originally published by the American Chemical Society, with Chapagain as first author.


Alumni News


Congratulations to Steven Kniffley, Ph.D. (B.S. Psychology 2008) on being named Senior Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Dr. Kniffley is also a member of the UofL College of Arts & Sciences Dean's Council.

Kniffley says he sees three areas of growth in DEI in the medical field and, specifically, at the UC College of Medicine. These are representation, training and policy development. While gains have been made for the representation of women in the medical field, it continues to be dominated by older white men, he notes. Meanwhile, the number of ethnic and racial minorities has generally been stagnant at most medical schools, but he feels the college can create a diverse workforce pipeline by recruiting and retaining more diverse students and faculty who can be more representative of the individuals the college serves.

In addition to his role as senior associate dean, Kniffley will serve as an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience. He will continue his clinical work as a child, adolescent and family psychologist specializing in working with Black male youth by providing spaces of evidence-informed and culturally humble healing for racial trauma, anger and aggression, and racialized masculinity exploration and development. Read more.



A&S Awards


A final shout-out to those recognized on April 25 at the A&S Celebration of Excellence:

Recognized for outstanding program administration or mentorship were (above, left to right): Gamini Sumanasekera, Physics and Astronomy, Outstanding Graduate Mentor, Natural Sciences; Sara Bufferd, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Outstanding Graduate Mentor, Social Sciences; Simona Bertacco, Comparative Humanities, Outstanding Director of Graduate Studies; and Karen Chandler, Department of English, Outstanding Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Lastly, and most central to our mission, are the teaching awards, which went to (below, left to right) Kaila Story, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Distinguished Faculty Award in Teaching; and Carrie Mott, Geographic and Environmental Sciences, Innovative Teaching Award. Other teaching award winners not pictured are Lauren Fusilier, Department of English, Excellence in Teaching Award for Graduate Teaching Assistant; and T Cantrell, who won the university-wide Distinguished Faculty in Teaching award designated for part-time faculty.

UofL staff photographer Ron Harrison's photos can be viewed and downloaded here:


Class of '23 Spotlight


As a first-generation student from Ukraine, Sasha Gorchanyuk (B.A. Communication '23, above) is determined to tackle any obstacles to set herself up for a successful future. A member of UofL’s tennis team, she discovered early on that the fire and determination she had while playing would exceed the scope of the court. A tennis prodigy, she and her family moved from her native Ukraine to Canada when she was eight years old primarily for the pursuit of tennis. She followed a home school education to fully focus on her talent and started to travel overseas and play professionally.

As it tends to do to best-laid plans, life intervened. Gorchanyuk quit tennis for a year to take care of some personal issues her family faced. “After it, tennis was never the same” she said. Her talent for the sport helped her persevere through the challenges. Her dedication and hard work opened the door to D1 tennis programs in the U.S. Coming to study at UofL was not only a chance to continue playing, but an eye-opening opportunity to develop her career aspirations beyond tennis, she said.

“I want to find my identity outside of being a student athlete and seek out every opportunity possible,” she said. Pursuing communication studies, Gorchanyuk found out quickly that she was able to align her background in athletics with her broader interests to work for the sport industry. She takes advantage of all the resources the university and city of Louisville has to offer, attending career fairs, mock interviews, resume building workshops. Read more.


Alumni Support


Congratulations to German minors Isaac Grimm and Clara Sickmeier, who were awarded study abroad scholarships by the German American Club of Louisville (GAC) in memory of late club president Jim Boeckmann. Isaac and Clara appeared at the GAC Maifest on May 13 to accept their awards along with brand new club t-shirts and student memberships to the club for the year following their study abroad programs. Below, left to right: Alex Muckler, GAC Chair; Isaac Grimm, UofL German minor; Clara Sickmeier, UofL German minor; Jordan Gabbard, UofL German Instructor; Vicky Ullrich, former GAC Board Member, former German Heritage Auxiliary President; Cathy Reynolds, GAC President.


Launch of New Homepage


John Drees, VP of Communications and Marketing at UofL, recently shared that OCM will launch a new, interim homepage this Thursday, June 8. The interim site will have a fresh look and a more strategic focus, primarily targeting prospective and current students, their parents, and community partners while continuing to provide access to the university’s key functions and services.

Among other features, the new homepage will include:

  • Simplified navigation and better overall experience to help our future students explore and take their next steps and our current students more easily find the resources available to them throughout their academic journey
  • A modern visual design to help us remain competitive with our peers and build deeper trust with our users
  • A vastly improved mobile experience to meet the changing needs of our audiences.

The project team created FAQs that will grow as feedback is received.


Staff Heritage Luncheon


Above: painting by M.F.A. student Suyun Son, who spoke at the Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) and Jewish American Heritage Luncheon Celebration on May 23. This work is entitled "Han" (Hunminjeongeum 1/ 훈민정음), mixed media on canvas 43” x 91” (2021) and is currently on display at the Hite Institute's student exhibit, Belonging: Community Work Spring 2023 (see Upcoming Events, below).

By Sherri Wallace

Our AAPI celebration was an intricate glimpse into the Pacific Island region. We began with the state of Hawaii with Dr. Laurie “Lali” McCubbin, a native Hawaiian of Japanese and European American ancestry, who is also Associate Professor, Assistant Chair in Counseling Psychology at the UofL. She was accompanied by LaMargaret Johnson, a Samoan, who is an undergraduate bioengineering major. We learned that these centuries-old islands (and nation) are diverse, history-proud cultures united in faith, family, love, and respect.

Suyun Son is an artist working on her Master of Fine Arts at UofL. She shared how she embodies and celebrates culture on canvas. In viewing pieces from her exhibit entitled, “Blending Boundaries,” we saw the beautiful landscapes influenced by the vast mountain forests in America and lush mountains in Seoul, Korea. In her piece, “Han,” one could see upon closer inspection how language is infused beneath the layers. As a Korean American, Suyun investigates the nuances of identity within culture to reveal that we are the sum of multiple, inclusive identities.

Our own 2023 A&S Diversity Champion—Staff award winner, Joshua Boydstun, was our featured speaker for Jewish American heritage. Joshua hails from what he described as the Jewish American “holy land”—New York City. He graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in Religion, and Chicago Divinity School with a M.A., before attending two years of study at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. His presentation clarified the distinct yet shared characteristics within Jewish religion, ethnicities, and culture. Joshua literally floored me with the variations of Jewish American ethnicities and cultures that emanate from all over the world. We learn that the increasingly diverse Jewish American culture is steeped in an ancient, abundant, yet harrowing history, filled with humor—an expected and essential element.

Once again, we thank all of our guest speakers who shared with us! We also thank our heritage luncheon committee for your dedication, time and consideration: Joshua Boydstun, Ramonia Brents, Mary Pat Chiavaroli, Yolanda Demaree, Clest Lanier, Lisa Schonburg, and Jason Sievers, and to Rae Stillwell for capturing the beauty in American culture(s) in the promotional flyers. WE ALL APPRECIATE YOU!


Upcoming Events



Juneteenth Events

Join the Black Faculty and Staff Association and the Juneteenth Planning Committee at events focused on the education and celebration commemorating the delayed emancipation of enslaved people in the U.S. on June 19, 1865. Juneteenth will be celebrated and observed on Monday, June 19. 

A Conversation with Joy Reid, author and host of the MSNBC show “The ReidOut." Facilitated by Dr. Brandon McCormack. The Ali Center, University of Louisville Office of the President, Office of Institutional Equity, and College of Business invite you to hear from MSNBC’s Joy Reid about her connection to Muhammad Ali, and her life spent speaking truth to power. The conversation will be facilitated by Dr. Brandon McCormack, Director of the University of Louisville Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research, and incoming Chair of the Pan African Studies Department. Sunday, June 11, 3:00 pm, Horn Auditorium, College of Business, Belknap Campus. See flyer below.

Red & Black on the Green: enjoy a celebratory luncheon and learn about the many outstanding services offered by our community’s Black business owners. Thursday, June 15, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Juneteenth keynote with Dr Terrell Lamont Strayhorn, named a “Top Diversity Scholar” by Diverse Issues in Higher Education. On Tuesday, June 20, there will be two opportunities to attend this event, one on the HSC campus from noon to 1 p.m. with a lunch provided, and on the Belknap campus from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.


30th Anniversary of the UofL African American Theatre Program: Black Light Awards Gala, “Changing the World One Performance at a Time." We will produce a dynamic large-scale event to highlight the African American Theatre Program alumni who have built lifelong careers in the theatre and film industry and have made a significant impact both locally, nationally, and internationally. The gala is a black-tie affair and will feature a keynote speaker anticipated to be a celebrity and/or nationally recognized theatre artist. Our vision is to host an evening full of powerful celebration and honor for the three decades of groundbreaking accomplishments which have led to this special 30th anniversary. In so doing, this gala presents an invaluable opportunity to serve as a fundraiser to continue fortifying this legacy and ensuring the expansive growth of the program. Saturday, September 30, 2023, 6:0010:00pm, Louisville Central Community Center, 1300 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd, Louisville, KY 40203. For more information contact LaShondra Hood at RSVP by August 31. Tickets