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.

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.