Professional News

2024-25 TEK Faculty Fellows cohort announced

Pete Comparoni | UK Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 8, 2024) — After soliciting applications during the spring semester, the University of Kentucky Office of Transdisciplinary Educational approaches to advance Kentucky (TEK) is pleased to announce the TEK Faculty Fellows for the 2024-25 academic year.

A critical part of TEK is developing new courses and teaching existing courses that emphasize one or more essential employability skills. To accomplish this, TEK will continue to leverage the expertise of faculty in the second cohort of the TEK Faculty Fellows program.

Solving society’s most complex problems requires collaboration among disciplines, or a transdisciplinary approach. This approach to education transforms student learning by engaging students in real-world, solution-focused work with the support of academic and workforce experts. By engaging in transdisciplinary problem solving, students gain skills necessary for any career, including the ability to consider multiple points of view, reflect on growth, communicate effectively and collaborate in teams.

“TEK Faculty Fellows have engaged as transdisciplinary collaborators in the project of designing and implementing innovative curricula and learning experiences that lead students to practice skills that are critical for the workforce and the future of Kentucky,” said Trey Conatser, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT).

New courses created as part of the TEK Faculty Fellows program involve faculty in team development and team teaching across disciplines, focusing on a critical issue or problem alongside workforce experts and community partners.

“My TEK cohort and teaching partners have provided me with a valuable learning community and developed my capacity for how I can continue to develop my teaching practice,” said Winter Phong, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Arts Administration. “As we took this partnership into the classroom, it became evident that we were deepening the meaning of transdisciplinary perspectives in reimagining how faculty, staff and students at UK can have a lasting impact on the Commonwealth.”

Existing courses clearly emphasize employability skills that the modern workforce requires, including collaboration and communication among stakeholders with different perspectives and lived experiences. Workforce experts and community partners will further support students’ understanding of how multiple disciplines and approaches can solve local and global problems.

“The TEK program gave me space to improve my course by incorporating opportunities for students to practice reflection and engineering communication. Learning from and with instructors from across campus helped me to generate new activities and assignments, which has led to my students being more engaged than ever," said Thomas Cochell, Ph.D., a senior lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering. 

The 2024-25 TEK Faculty Fellows cohort is as follows:

  • Michael Baker, School of Music, College of Fine Arts;
  • Emily Bergeron, Historic Preservation, College of Design;
  • Renee Bonzani, Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences;
  • Christy Brady, Health and Clinical Sciences, College of Health Sciences; 
  • Julia Bursten, Philosophy, College of Arts and Sciences;
  • Lauren Cagle, Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies; College of Arts and Sciences;
  • Liz Combs, Dietetics and Human Nutrition; Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment;
  • Fabiola Fernandez-Doig, Hispanic Studies; College of Arts and Sciences;
  • Ryan Hargrove, Landscape Architecture, Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment; 
  • Sarah Hawkins-Lear, Early Childhood, Special Education, and Counselor Education; College of Education;
  • Lou Hirsch, Plant Pathology, Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment;
  • Peter Hislop, Mathematics, College of Arts and Sciences;
  • Hayley Hoffman, Instructional Communication and Research, School of Information Science; College of Communication and Information;
  • John Nash, Educational Leadership Studies; College of Education;
  • Kimberly Parker, Integrated Strategic Communication; College of Communication and Information; 
  • Savannah Robin, Agricultural Economics, Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment;
  • Nazmus Sakib, Lewis Honors College;
  • Bob Sandmeyer, Philosophy, College of Arts and Sciences; 
  • Jennifer Scarduzio, Communication; College of Communication and Information;
  • Randall Siever, Gatton College of Business and Economics;
  • Haris Symeonidis, Hispanic Studies, College of Arts and Sciences; 
  • Alice Turkington, Geography, College of Arts and Sciences; 
  • Sarah Vos, Health Management and Policy, College of Public Health;
  • Jackie Wahrmund, Animal and Food Sciences, Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment; 
  • Matt Wilson, Geography, College of Arts and Sciences; and
  • Ozge Yalciner, Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education. 

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.