Campus News

UK Land-grant Engagement Academy application now open

Inaugural UK Land-grant Engagement Academy cohort
Land-Grant Engagement Academy cohort visiting the Boone County Extension Office
participants at Boyd Station Art Gallery in Cynthiana

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 24, 2024) — Ignite your passion for engagement work alongside University of Kentucky faculty and staff from every part of the university at the second annual Land-grant Engagement Academy Sept. 11 and 12.

The two-day symposium will include opportunities to engage in discussions with colleagues, learn about projects that could lead to campus-wide collaborations and tour models of campus-community engagement efforts within the state.

The UK Engagement Academy, developed under the leadership of Nancy Cox, vice president for land-grant engagement and Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment dean, brings together faculty and staff with a common interest in engagement work. Rooted in the ethos of land-grant engagement, the initiative fosters, facilitates and supports collaborative endeavors that address critical questions and pressing needs within Kentucky.

Through expansive partnerships spanning the university, extension system and communities, UK Land-Grant Engagement’s vision advances and serves Kentucky through collaboration. Last year the symposium hosted 39 UK faculty and staff. These participants learned about the applied scholarship of engagement and opportunities to work alongside communities in partnership with the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

“I felt so lucky to participate in the Land-grant Engagement Academy,” said Melody Flowers, assistant vice president for economic development and real estate. “I was able to explore multiple extension locations and meet amazing extension staff. The Academy introduced me to a wonderful network of community minded, engaged researchers and staff r here on campus who have become friends and collaborators.”

The Engagement Academy provides opportunities for participants to connect and brainstorm on future engagement projects. Several participants applied for the land-grant engagement awards disbursed at the beginning of 2024. These awards funded creative and collaborative opportunities to support community engagement by bringing Cooperative Extension and departments across the university together.

“It was such an honor to be a part of the inaugural Land-grant Engagement Academy and have the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals,” said Jenni Jinright, manager, Healthy Kentucky Initiative, Office of the Executive Vice President of Health Affairs, UK HealthCare. “The connections I made during the academy have already led to two new collaborative programs addressing critical health disparities in our community. I encourage everyone to apply!”

The 2024 Engagement Academy will:

  • Educate new and current campus-based UK personnel on the pivotal role Cooperative Extension plays in affecting change across the city of Lexington, the region and the state.
  • Spotlight and celebrate the impact of existing land-grant engagement programs that connect campus with communities across the Commonwealth.
  • Provide support to UK scholars dedicated to engagement, ensuring their invaluable contributions are recognized and valued.
  • Open opportunities to a second round of land-grant engagement awards, which are anticipated in 2025.

Space is limited. Interested individuals are invited to apply here. The application deadline is June 7. To learn more about the Engagement Academy and Land-grant Engagement, visit

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.