Professional News

The Graduate School announces new leadership

Joseph Young and Kristen H. Perry
Joseph Young will assume the role of director for the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce. Kristen H. Perry will become The Graduate School’s new associate dean for administration and faculty affairs. Courtesy The Graduate School.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 8, 2024) — Dean Padraic Kenney, Ph.D., has announced the appointments of Kristen H. Perry, Ph.D., as the new associate dean for administration and faculty affairs at the University of Kentucky Graduate School, and of Joseph Young, Ph.D., as the new director for the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce.

In Perry’s new role as associate dean, she will oversee the streamlining of processes and procedures for The Graduate School to better serve graduate programs and students, support the work of faculty in the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce and the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration, and collaborate with all colleges and graduate programs to foster new transdisciplinary masters and doctoral programs and graduate certificates.

In Young’s new role as director, he will listen to the Patterson community and get to know the perspectives of current students, faculty and alumni to determine the best long-term strategic plan. Patterson’s dedicated alumni base was a factor that drew him to the school initially and is something he looks forward to working with in the future. To accomplish this goal, Young plans an advisory board consisting of alumni, students and prominent community members that will help inform him of existing strong points and identify areas for change. He also highlights his desire to get to know the Patterson students, affirming that promoting their career aspirations will always be the number one priority.

“I am so pleased to be welcoming two outstanding scholar-administrators to The Graduate School. Kristen Perry is a familiar face to many, thanks to her devoted service as an elected member of the Graduate Council and as a valuable participant in this year’s strategic plan. Joseph Young comes to Kentucky after a rigorous national search. I look forward to the new ideas and perspectives that both will bring to The Graduate School,” said Kenney.

Perry brings a wealth of experience to The Graduate School in her new role. Perry is a professor of literacy education in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction in the College of Education and has mentored many graduate students for the past 17 years. She served as department chair for the past three years; before that, she was the department’s director of graduate studies. She also serves as the director for the graduate certificate in Teaching in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Classrooms.

Perry earned a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in Medieval Studies from Carleton College and a doctoral degree in Educational Psychology with an emphasis on Literacy Education from Michigan State University. In between, she taught elementary school in Denver, Colorado, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the tiny mountain kingdom of Lesotho, where she provided teacher training and English as a second language (ESL) support to elementary school teachers and created an HIV/AIDS peer education program with local youth. Her research has focused on the development of literacy as a social practice, along with family and community literacy and adult literacy, particularly among immigrant and refugee communities in the U.S. Along with Susan Cantrell, Ph.D., Perry has co-directed two federal professional development grant programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition, in which they provide extensive professional development to central Kentucky K-8 teachers who have English learners in their classrooms.

Young also brings a wealth of experience to his new role. He comes to the Patterson School from American University where he has held a number of leadership positions over the past 14 years. After serving as a department chair for five years, he took on his most recent role as the associate dean for research in the School of Public Affairs.

Young received a bachelor’s degree in international relations and economics from Stetson University in Florida. After living abroad in Brazil for two years, Young returned to the United States to get his master’s degree from Ohio University in political science and a doctoral degree from Florida State University in political science with a focus on international relations. He is looking forward to being able to apply his knowledge in research methods and intelligence to the classes he will teach at Patterson.

The Graduate and Patterson Schools

The University of Kentucky Graduate School is a thriving community of scholars, researchers, and students, all dedicated to improving lives through excellence in education, research, leadership, creative work, service and healthcare. Offering advanced graduate degrees in 90 program areas, awarding doctoral degrees in 55 fields, master’s degrees in 85 fields and graduate certificates in 52 focus areas, The Graduate School provides training for teaching assistance, guidance for research and writing and essential resources for students’ career search. It also provides support to graduate students in admissions, funding, stipends, housing, academics and professional development. Thirty-four of UK’s graduate programs are ranked in the top 100 nationwide.

For more than 60 years, the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce has provided an exceptional 18-month professional master’s degree program that prepares future leaders for rewarding careers in international affairs. Patterson’s hallmarks have been its deliberate, intimate size, its selectivity and a focus on both diplomacy and international commerce. Patterson graduates pursue exciting careers with governments, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, think tanks and in the private sector. Patterson School faculty are a mix of exceptional scholars and practitioners with decades of experience in diplomacy, international commerce, business, defense, development and intelligence. The school’s professional master’s program offers concentrations in four areas: diplomacy; international commerce; international organizations and development; international security and intelligence.

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.