Campus News

Collaborating For the Commonwealth

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 22, 2010)University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr. unveils 11 new projects today designed for directly impacting the quality of life in Kentucky.

The projects, designated as new Commonwealth Collaboratives by Todd, aim at improving health, education, economic development, the environment and quality of life. The Commonwealth Collaborative designation means the projects will receive $10,000 from the president and provost’s discretionary funds in addition to other funding they already may have from other sources.

“The Commonwealth Collaboratives program is a feather in this university’s cap for all the right reasons,” says Todd. “It defines everything that a Top 20 public research university must be about. The Commonwealth Collaboratives utilize the university’s most innovative and creative thinkers to tackle the state’s toughest problems. I applaud this year’s recipients for stepping up and accepting the challenge to impact conditions in the state. I look forward to hearing good things about these 11 projects.” 

The 11 projects join 36 others that Todd designated as Commonwealth Collaboratives in 2006 and 2008. The projects are subject to annual review to determine their progress and effectiveness.

The new projects include:


* Community-Based Education Model for Cardiovascular Risk Reduction in Rural Appalachian Kentucky

   - Principal investigators (PIs) Debra K. Moser, Nursing; M. John Novak, Dentistry; Baretta Casey, Medicine; Alison Bailey, Medicine; Terry Lennie, Nursing; Gia Mudd, Nursing

   - This project aims to reduce the high rate of cardiovascular disease and risk factors in rural Appalachian Kentucky through one-on-one risk factor management education and support.

* Immune-Chemotherapy in Lung Cancer

   - PIs John Yannelli, Research; Edward Hirschowitz, Medicine

   - Yannelli, Hirschowitz and their colleagues will perform an advanced phase investigation of a therapy using 2nd-generation UK-produced lung cancer vaccine for this project.

*Combating Elder Abuse in KY

   - PI Pamela Teaster, Public Health

   - This project will develop and strengthen the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Elder Abuse Committee and the state's 32 Local Coordinating Councils on Elder Abuse in their efforts while also creating uniform and consistent outcome measures for intervention and prevention.



* College Readiness and the Kyote (Kentucky Online Testing Program) System

   - PIs Paul Eakin and Ken Kubota, Arts & Sciences

   - This project will assist in the development and operation of the technology for statewide testing; support the incoming reading and writing exams as well as the current math exam; transfer a large percentage of Kentucky college placement exams to secondary schools; and immediately share results with schools for use in curriculum development.

* Early Childhood Language and Literacy Programs

   - PI Donna Morris, Health Sciences

   - This project will positively impact the education and quality of life of preschool children with language and literacy problems, improving their chances for future academic success; increase parental knowledge and skills in working with their children's language and literacy needs; and increase the number of speech-language pathologists prepared to work with preschool children with those problems.

* Teaching of Age Appropriate Learning Via Communication

   - PIs Jacqui Kearns, Human Development Institute; Jane Kleinert, College of Health Sciences

   - This project will assist children and youth with significant cognitive disabilities in developing the ability to communicate via augmentative communication systems and help teachers learn to identify and facilitate the development of communicative competence in these children.

Economic Development:

* Houseboat to Energy Efficient Housing

   - PIs Michael Speaks and David Biagi, Design; Rodney Andrews, Center for Applied Energy Research

   - This project will design and develop concepts and prototypes and build low-cost and energy-efficient manufactured housing units, assisting in job creation by retooling and redirecting the houseboat manufacturing industry around Somerset, Ky.

Environment/Natural Resources:

* Cane Run Watershed: Assessment and Restoration

   - PIs Stephen L. Higgins, Agriculture; Carmen Agouridis, Agriculture; Amanda Gumbert, Cooperative Extension; Steven R. Workman, Agriculture; Lindell E. Ormsbee, Engineering; Alex. W. Fogle, Kentucky Geological Survey; Jim Dinger, KGS; James Currens, KGS; James C. Cobb, KGS, Jeffrey W. Stringer, Cooperative Extension

   - This project helps in addressing "urban stream syndrome" in the Cane Run Watershed. The team will assess pathogen and sediment pollution by developing a total max daily load for pathogens and a watershed-based management plan to address non-point source pollution.

Culture/Quality of Life:

* Second Sunday

   - PIs Dianna Doggett, Deborah Murray, Janet Kurzynske, Ann Vail, Cooperative Extension

   - This project addresses physical inactivity in Kentucky with a Second Sunday physical activity plan and campaign. 

* Museum without Walls along the Legacy Trail

   - PI Christine Huskisson, Fine Arts

   - This project will secure a master plan for public art along the legacy trail, a 9-mile path between downtown Lexington and the Horse Park, ensuring that works of art act as vehicles to address issues of significance for Kentucky, particularly health and environment.

* Young Equestrian Scholars Initiative

   - PIs Mark Coyne, Agriculture; Allan Hetzel, Computing Services

   - This project will involve UK students and the community in raising awareness of African Americans and their impact on the equine industry; illustrate the relationship of African Cemetery No. 2 to the surrounding community; develop student skills for oral and photographic histories, conducting archival research; and install historical markers in the cemetery and surrounding community.


Todd's belief that, "the campus of the University of Kentucky is the Commonwealth of Kentucky" has inspired him to make community outreach and engagement a university priority. In May 2005, UK unveiled Commonwealth Collaboratives, an initiative that combines the university's research, outreach and engagement missions.

Now featuring 47 research projects led by some of the university's world-class researchers, the Commonwealth Collaboratives are aimed at solving the "Kentucky Uglies," a term Todd uses to describe conditions that have held Kentucky back for generations.

President and Mrs. Todd, as well as Provost Kumble Subbaswamy will recognize the new Commonwealth Collaborative researchers at a reception today in the Lexmark Public Room in the Main Building.