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Helping Our Students Succeed

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Wow! Where has the summer gone? I've been inspired and amazed by what we have been able to accomplish together over the past year. I am equally excited to be starting a new academic year. 


Over the past couple of weeks, I have had the chance to meet many students who are on campus to complete the orientation process. These bright students have inspired me to reflect on the impressive strides that we have made in the arena of student success. Below are just a few highlights of a few of our activities focused on student success over the past year:


Retention Efforts. We know that, as part of our commitment to student success, we must always think about how we can better our efforts in retention. This past year we implemented, for the first time ever, the use of predictive analytics to identify at-risk students and provide individual interventions and help. In addition, we created a new campus-wide retention advisory committee responsible for sharing data, establishing best-practices, and planning initiatives for student success. We also revised outreach processes to allow for better collection of meaningful data and identified specific retention practices to implement each year.

Visit the Campus Retention Advisory Committee’s website here.


Education Abroad. We have made great progress in promoting international education on our campus. Nearly 1,100 students participated in education abroad opportunities for academic credit during the 2013-2014 academic year, representing a 43.5 percent increase of the number of students choosing non-traditional study destinations outside Western Europe, and a 53.7 percent increase of student participation in programs directed by UK faculty members. Efforts to increase minority student participation and other underrepresented populations are also succeeding, as 17.1 percent of education abroad participants self-reported as being first generation students.

Visit the Education Abroad website here.


Living Learning Program Expansion. We know that our Living Learning Programs provide a deep sense of meaning and purpose for our students' educational experience. That's why we are rapidly expanding these programs. In a single year, we will increase of number of students living in LLPs by more than 60%. In the fall of 2013, 960 students participated in 13 LLPs; this coming fall we are planning for more than 1600 students in 19 LLP’s. Additionally, we are focusing on quality. The Living Learning Program Task Force, co-chaired by two of our deans, Ike Adams and Dan O’Hair, began in the fall 2013 and worked diligently throughout the spring to examine the Living Learning Program landscape on our campus, and investigate best practices from well-established and highly regarded LLPs at other campuses. These recommendations can be found in the here in the Task Force's final report.


The Honors Program. The progress taking place within our UK Honors Program is very exciting. With over 3,200 applications and an average ACT of 32 among admitted students, the Honors Program enjoyed a third year of record-breaking numbers. This Fall we expect 480 students in the entering Honors cohort, a figure that more than double the size of the incoming class from just three years ago. Learn more here.


MOOCs. This year further expanded opportunities for current and incoming students to prepare for university-level classes. Through a partnership with Coursera, a leading educational technology company, we offered a free online Advanced Chemistry course, taught by UK chemistry professors Alison Soult and Kim Woodrum. We were very pleased to see that 13,603 students enrolled, and we look forward to continuing to offer opportunities for current and incoming students through this partnership. This summer we are offering a course in "Preparing for College," taught by Phil Kraemer and Jonathan Golding. More information can be found here.


This is just a sampling of the numerous accomplishments and activities that are occurring on our campus. I'm reminded daily of how wonderful it is to work at a place so full of talented people; at UK, we are deeply committed to having a positive impact on our student’s lives - making our campus and our Commonwealth even better.


All the best,


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