Campus News

'Behind the Blue': John Thelin Looks Back On His Time at UK, and Ahead to the Future of Higher Ed

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 18, 2022) — Walking across campus is one of John Thelin’s favorite aspects of working at the University of Kentucky for one reason. He loves running into his colleagues and former students.

It’s that community that he says he will miss the most as his time at UK draws to a close.

Thelin, a University Research Professor in the UK College of Education's Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation, is set to retire after 43 years in higher education — 26 of those spent at UK.

A regarded authority on the history of higher education and public policy, Thelin’s recent book “Essential Documents in the History of Higher Education,” 2nd edition, made Forbes’ list of Best Higher Education Books of 2021.

In this episode of "Behind the Blue," Thelin sits down with two of his former students, Amy Jones-Timoney and Jay Blanton, to recount his time at UK and discuss the future of higher education — both on this campus and at colleges and universities across the country.

"Behind the Blue" is available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify. Become a subscriber to receive new episodes of “Behind the Blue” each week. UK’s latest medical breakthroughs, research, artists and writers will be featured, along with the most important news impacting the university.

For questions or comments about this or any other episode of "Behind the Blue," email or tweet your question with #BehindTheBlue. Transcripts for this or other episodes of Behind the Blue can be downloaded from the show’s blog page.

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The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.