Campus News

See tomorrow: The University of Kentucky Strategic Plan Speaker Series

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 9, 2014) — A panel of experts with broad ranging views on politics and economics in Kentucky leads a panel discussion today as part of the University of Kentucky Strategic Plan’s "see tomorrow Speaker Series.”

The speaker forum on state legislative issues and their impact on the University of Kentucky takes place today from 9:30-10:30 a.m in the Athletics Association Auditorium of the William T. Young Library on the UK campus. UK each year receives about $280 million in state appropriations for its work in education, research, service and health care. Like most public institutions across the country, in the wake of the 2008 recession, UK has sustained several years of budget cuts at the state level. Since 2008, UK’s state appropriations have been reduced on a recurring basis by $55 million.

The expert speaker panel to discuss current prospects and the future of UK-state relations includes:

  • Stephen Byars, assistant vice president for government relations at the University of Kentucky, Byars directs all of UK’s government relations efforts at the local state levels. He has held similar positions with ALLTELL and Columbia Gas.
  • Merl Hackbart is interim director of the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration and Provost’s Distinguished Service Professor of Finance and Public Administration. Among many leadership positions at UK and in state government, Hackbart has served twice as Budget Director for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and as a Senior Policy Advisor to the Governor of Kentucky. 
  • William Hoyt, chair, Department of Economics and Gatton Endowed Professor of Economics, specializes in public economics and microeconomics theory. He has been widely published and funded for his work in public tax policy.
  • Stephen Voss, associate professor of political science, An expert on voting behavior, political methodology and racial/ethnic politics, Voss is routinely quoted in newspapers and on television for his perspectives on state and national elections.

The speaker series started last year as a way to engage the campus community in a dialogue about the importance of various issues surrounding the Strategic Plan. Past speakers have included John Thelin, a UK educational policy studies professor; David Attis, a practice manager with the Education Advisory Board; Kathi Kern, director of the UK Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching; Robert Mock, UK’s vice president for Student Affairs; and Lisa Higgins Hord, UK’s assistant vice president for community engagement.

To learn more about the UK strategic plan and its development, go to: