Recruitment and Retention Awards

In the spirit of openness and transparency, President Bendapudi and key university officials began a series of bi-weekly notes and/or video messages to update the campus community on key issues and initiatives. Dr. Bendapudi began the series with a welcome on Aug. 17. Beth Boehm, executive vice president and university provost, continues the series today.

Students, Faculty and Staff,

As you know, Dr. Bendapudi and the university’s leadership team are committed to our students’ success. We certainly want all our students to graduate, but we want them to do so having developed the understanding and skills necessary for success after graduation.  Despite having to raise tuition and cut our budget again this year, we are determined to maintain our commitment to our students.

With that in mind, Dr. Bendapudi set aside $5 million for the provost to use specifically for student success initiatives. We asked deans, department chairs, vice provosts, and faculty to submit proposals that, if funded, would have a substantial and demonstrable impact on student success.  I was delighted to receive almost 50 proposals in the middle of the summer when so many of our faculty and staff take vacation.  I am also thankful for the work of many faculty, staff, and students who took the time to read and review the proposals after they were submitted. This was the first big project to come out of my  office, and I am appreciative to all who helped make it run smoothly. 

While we have reserved some of the $5 million to fund initiatives that will be developed throughout the year, I am happy to report that we funded more than 20 proposals through this competitive process. They include:

  • $500,000 to renovate the third floor of Ekstrom Library, providing more high-quality space for our students to study. This proposal was strongly supported by the Student Government Association.
  • An investment in tutors for upper-level students
  • A new counselor certified in substance abuse issues
  • Additional academic advisors in units across campus
  • Legislative internships at the Kentucky State Capitol
  • An initiative to improve Bar passage rates for our law school students
  • And an emergency fund to help graduate students who have a significant, immediate financial need. A similar fund already exists for undergraduate students.

These are only a few of the projects that will receive funding. For the full list, see Recruitment and Retention Awards (PDF).

Finally, welcome back.  I have greatly enjoyed getting to meet new and returning students at the many orientation, Welcome Week, and social events that have taken place this summer and during the first week of the school year, and I look forward to working closely with our students and faculty to continue making this a great place for our students to learn and for our faculty and staff to work.  

Beth Boehm
Executive Vice President and University Provost