UK Happenings

Appalachian Center, Appalachian Studies to host Theresa Burriss for campus talk on Appalachia and Eastern Europe

iStock / Getty Images Plus.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 17, 2023) The University of Kentucky Appalachian Center and Appalachian Studies Program will welcome scholar Theresa L. Burriss to campus next week.

Burriss, who is the assistant vice president of community engagement and economic development at Emory & Henry College, will deliver a presentation titled “Appalachia and Eastern Europe: Cross-Cultural Collaborations” 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 20, in Taylor Education Building Room 158.

Burriss will discuss the some of the international collaborations in which she has been fortunate to be engaged since 2015. With a primary focus on Romania, Burriss will share her teaching and research experiences in this post-Communist country.

"The UK Appalachian Center and Appalachian Studies Program has long been a leader in cultivating transnational connections and collaborations,” said Kathryn Engle, director of the center and program. “Building on that history, we are so excited to welcome Dr. Theresa Burriss to campus. She has been doing exciting cross-cultural work between the Appalachians and the Carpathians. Her work highlights the global importance of Appalachian studies and the possibilities for global mountain region studies."

Prior to her role at Emory & Henry College, Burriss taught at Radford University for over 25 years, where she served as director of Appalachian Studies and the Appalachian Regional & Rural Studies Center, among many other roles. She has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Emory University in Atlanta, a master’s degree in English from Radford University and a doctorate in interdisciplinary studies from the Union Institute & University in Cincinnati.

In Fall 2021, Burriss was awarded a Fulbright Teaching and Research grant to Romania, where she taught Appalachian literature to third-year American studies students at Transilvania University in Brasov and conducted ethnographic research in the Jiu Valley, Romania’s coal mining region. She received a Fulbright extension for Fall 2022 to conduct additional research in the Jiu Valley, with the information leading to cross-cultural coal community research between Central Appalachia and the Jiu Valley. Related to this work, she published “Fortuitous Flashpoint: How an Appalachian-Carpathian Mountain Conference Transformed My Life” in the Bulletin of Transilvania University of Brasov’s special issue on the 2022 Appalachian-Carpathian Mountain Conference Proceedings.

The UK Appalachian Center contributes to the land-grant mission of the University of Kentucky by fostering community-university partnerships in research, learning and engagement in Appalachia, a region faced with unique opportunities and challenges toward sustainable development in a globalized context.

The Appalachian Studies Program, like the Appalachian Center, has an active 40-year history at the University of Kentucky. It is an interdisciplinary program based in the College of Arts and Sciences with participation by faculty and students from across the colleges at UK.

For more information about the UK Appalachian Center and the Appalachian Studies program, visit

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.