Campus News

UK International Center Announces Global Impact Award Winners

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 26, 2020)  The International Center at the University of Kentucky has announced its first cohort of UK Global Impact Award winners.

Recipients comprise faculty, staff and alumni who have significantly contributed to the university’s global engagement through education, research and service, as well as fostered a culturally diverse, welcoming environment that is conducive to comprehensive campus internationalization.

“Global engagement activities by faculty and staff are often seen as something extra,” Sue Roberts, associate provost for internationalization, said. “But they are really crucial in fostering a diverse, vibrant community of globally informed scholars and globally competent and globally competitive students.”

This year, five awardees are being recognized with Global Impact Awards in four categories:

UK Global Impact Award for Distinguished Faculty Achievement in International Research and Scholarship

Srimati Basu, professor, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, College of Arts and Sciences

This award recognizes Basu for her impactful research tracking the legacies of feminist reforms in India. Twenty-five years after the publication of her monograph, “She Comes to Take Her Rights: Indian Women, Property and Propriety” — a rare ethnography of discourses surrounding gendered inheritance practices — it continues to be a critical academic resource.

“Over the past two decades, Basu has conducted research in multiple sites in India, provided expert testimony to the UN and collaborated with several NGOs,” Ellen Riggle, chair of GWS, said. “Additionally, she has been successful in receiving grants from the American Institute for Indian Studies, Fulbright-Nehru and the Rockefeller Foundation.”

In addition, Basu’s research focuses on feminist jurisprudence, alternative dispute resolution, marriage, gender-based violence and the intersections of civil and criminal law. Her scholarly work, and its dissemination, helps advocate for law and policy transformations.

Jeffrey Seay, associate professor, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, College of Engineering

This award recognizes Seay for his applied research work around the deployment of various sustainable energy technologies to empower communities in developing economies, such as Cameroon, the Dominican Republic, India, Nepal and Uganda.

 As part of those efforts, Seay established the UK Appropriate Technology and Sustainability (UKATS) research group in 2012.

“Jeff brings scholarship to everything he does. He has studied how and why many technological solutions with potential to combat poverty never get into the hands of users that need them the most,” Noble Banadda, chair of the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Makerere University, said. “With my chemical engineering background, I was astonished by the great interest Jeff exhibited to do impactful research in places where even me as an African would never date to undertake.”

Additionally, Seay has produced 22 peer reviewed publications, 32 national and international technical publications and 28 national and international student research awards and fostered ongoing collaborations with colleagues at Makerere University, as well as at the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee.

UK Global Impact Award for Distinguished Faculty Achievement in Education Abroad

Patricia Hyjer Dyk, associate professor and director of graduate studies, Department of Community and Leadership Development, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment

This award recognizes Dyk for her dedication in leading UK students on transformative education abroad experiences in the Czech Republic. In addition to her distinctive pedagogical approaches in delivering the program, Dyk has shared her best practices in financial management of faculty-led education abroad with other faculty members through the UK International Center’s office of Education Abroad and Exchanges.

“Dyk has a unique way of teaching and uses culturally responsive teaching most effectively,” Christien Russell, a UK alumnus, said. “I can honestly say that she serves as a change agent for diversity, equity and inclusion for education.”

In 2013, Dyk was awarded the prestigious Fulbright-Masaryk University Distinguished Chair Award in Social Studies.

UK Global Impact Award for Distinguished Faculty Achievement in Internationalizing the Curriculum

Melody Ryan, professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, College of Pharmacy

This award recognizes Ryan for her innovative work and outstanding dedication to internationalizing education in UK’s College of Pharmacy, prior to her assuming her current role as assistant provost for Global Health Initiatives.

Since 2007, Ryan has directed International Professional Education in UK Pharmacy. Her leadership in these efforts has resulted in 1 out of every 4 students in the college participating in an international experience.

“Under her direction, perceptions about the life of Ecuadorian and U.S. students are shared, then demystified using a cross-cultural participatory perspective,” Tom Young and Craig Borie, said in their nomination letter. “Melody’s leadership and close collaboration with her local and international colleagues is paramount for the fun and success of this and the many diverse student perspective activities she administers.”

Additionally, Ryan has worked to internalize the interprofessional education experiences of undergraduates, graduate students and practicing professionals through her participation in and advocacy for Global Health Initiatives and interprofessional health brigades as part of the Shoulder-to-Shoulder Global program in Ecuador. Here on campus, Ryan coordinated an innovative collaborative online international learning course with colleagues at Fudan University in Shanghai, titled Pharmacy without Borders: A US-China Global Classroom.

UK Global Impact Award for Distinguished Staff Achievement in Campus Internationalization

Patricia Whitlow, director of Nationally Competitive Awards

This award recognizes Whitlow’s dedication to, and support of, UK students as they apply for highly competitive national and international scholarships. She is an especially enthusiastic supporter of the Fulbright student program and her efforts in this area have resulted in record numbers of submissions and successful applications over recent years.

“It is not just Pat’s success in helping UK students receive international awards and scholarships; it is more a matter of her imparting to our students, with great enthusiasm, the personal benefits of international education and the distinct advantage to students who think, learn, and live within a global perspective,” Phil Kraemer, Chellgren Endowed Chair in the Chellgren Center for Undergraduate Excellence and professor of psychology, said.

Whitlow has successfully guided exceptional students to obtaining a range of prestigious awards, including the first UK recipient of a Pickering Fellowship for International Affairs, the first UK Rhodes Scholar since the 1950s, Truman Fellowships, Gilman Scholarships, Critical Language Scholarships and Boren Scholarships.

Nominees for the various award categories are reviewed by the International Advisory Committee (IAC) and receive additional review from campus stakeholders, such as the Staff Senate.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.