Professional News

Alumni Association awards Sharon Walsh with UK Alumni Professorship

Sharon Walsh
Sharon Walsh, Ph.D., has been awarded the UK Alumni Professorship. Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 30, 2022) — The University of Kentucky Alumni Association, with a committee chaired by UK Associate Provost for Faculty Advancement G.T. Lineberry, honors a select group of outstanding UK faculty members with the UK Alumni Professorship Awards which have five-year terms. One professorship became vacant last year before the end of the official term, which necessitated an off-cycle selection process to fill the vacated professorship. 

The vacant UK Alumni Professorship has been awarded to Sharon Walsh, Ph.D. 

Walsh is a professor of behavioral science, pharmacology, pharmaceutical sciences and psychiatry in the UK Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy and director of the UK Center on Drug and Alcohol Research. She has been conducting clinical research on substance use disorder for nearly 30 years with a special emphasis on opioid use disorder and its treatment. Her research program has been continuously funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She has served as an advisor and reviewer for numerous agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Veteran’s Administration and the World Health Organization.

UK has five Alumni Professorships which are awarded to faculty members who have been recognized for their influential scholarly contributions, sustained excellence in teaching and outstanding career or public service. Three of the Alumni Professorship terms expire next year. This fall there will be a call for nominations for the next selection round of Alumni Professorships. Current holders of the professorships are eligible to be nominated again by their dean.

Academic deans are asked to make nominations based on the following criteria:

  • The individual should be a tenured faculty member (at the rank of associate professor or professor).
  • The individual should have made outstanding contributions in research and scholarship that are recognized nationally for their quality and influence.
  • The individual should have established a reputation for being an excellent teacher and mentor.
  • The individual should be recognized for outstanding contributions to professional and/or community service.

“The impact our faculty have on students lasts a lifetime. Our university’s success is built on a foundation of great teaching. The UK Alumni Association is pleased to support faculty who have been recognized for scholarly contributions, excellence in teaching and outstanding service, through Alumni Professorships,” said Associate Vice President for Alumni Engagement and Executive Director of the UK Alumni Association Jill Smith. “The Alumni Professorship program is one way for the UK Alumni Association to say thank you to the faculty members who have enriched the lives of our alumni.”

Walsh will receive a $15,000 stipend per year for five years, effective through June 30, 2027. The Alumni Professorships are funded through the UK Alumni Association, and the selection and/or renewal of this professorship is managed by the Office of Faculty Advancement.

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.