LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 3, 2009) -- The University of Kentucky's new academic ombud for the 2009-2010 school year is Lee Edgerton, a professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences in the College of Agriculture. The academic ombud is the university officer charged with considering student grievances in connection with academic affairs.
Edgerton, who served as academic ombud from 1995 to 1998, says this is one of the more meaningful positions he has held at UK because it allows him to deal with members of the academic community on a more in-depth basis.
"It also presents a significant challenge to balance educational goals which at times appear to be in conflict," Edgerton said. "One wants to uphold high standards of academic integrity while recognizing that failures can be an effective part of the learning process. Thus one is challenged to determine whether an action to uphold standards reflects tough love which will produce a stronger community in the long run or simply a vindictive penalty which will not serve the interests of either the person penalized or the community."
Qualifications for the ombud include being a tenured or emeriti faculty member who is "well informed about academic policies and regulations, should have experience in dispute resolution, and should possess outstanding communication and interpersonal skills." Further qualifications, established under University Senate rules, also include being able to "perform with fairness, discretion and efficiency and who is regarded by students as one genuinely interested in their welfare."
"I believe Dr. Edgerton possesses all these qualities and is an outstanding choice for academic ombud," said UK Provost Kumble Subbaswamy. "Lee's passion for students, his high ethical standards, and his knowledge of academic policy will allow him to serve both students and faculty members well in this position."
Edgerton has served in various capacities in the College of Agriculture and received numerous honors. He is a 1991 recipient of the Gamma Sigma Delta Master Teacher Award and a 2003 winner of the UK Alumni Great Teacher Award. Also, his effectiveness as an advocate for students was acknowledged by being awarded the Robert G. Zumwinkle Student Rights Award in 1998.
Prior to joining the UK faculty in 1975, Edgerton earned his bachelor's degree in dairy science from the University of Idaho and his doctorate from Purdue University. He also worked for Smith-Kline Corporation.