UK Happenings

Great Teachers, UK Athletics Officials Discuss Challenges in the Time of COVD-19

Graphic that says Great Teachers on Great Challenges

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 19, 2020) It's hard to imagine a college without college sports. But that is exactly what we all faced unexpectedly in early March. On short notice athletic directors, conference commissioners and the NCAA all announced that games were canceled, championship tournaments abandoned and seasons were suspended. Who could have predicted life without March Madness?

Beyond that immediate shock and emergency response, now we face a more sobering challenge: the uncertain outlook for all college sports in the future. The foremost problem of protecting public health now expands and extends to other areas ranging from student life and alumni fan involvement to the logistics and economics of college sports as part of a truly nationwide and institutional fabric and annual way of life. 

The UK Alumni Association and the Provost’s Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) have partnered to host a series of conversations involving University of Kentucky faculty who have won the UK Alumni Association Great Teacher Award. With the goal of demystifying the pandemic and its effects locally and globally, these sessions will unpack the insights and expertise of UK’s teacher-scholars for all audiences.  

This session, College Sports and Campus Crises: A Legacy of Service and Adaptation, is 4 p.m. Thursday, June 25, via a Zoom link. It will be moderated by Carl Nathe, the longtime voice of UK sports, and brings together an exciting mix of experience and expertise within the UK family.

  • Leah Edmond, UK volleyball player; 2018 and 2019 SEC Player of the Year; 2017 and 2019 AVCA First Team All-American; 2019 AVCA Region Player of the Year; 2017 and 2019 First-Team All-SEC;
  • Joseph Fink, 1984 and 2001 Great Teacher Award recipient; UK faculty athletic representative to the SEC and NCAA; professor of pharmacy law and policy, College of Pharmacy; professor of public health, College of Public Health; professor, Martin School of Public Policy and Administration; professor of clinical leadership and management, College of Health Sciences;
  • John Thelin, 2004 Great Teacher Award recipient; University Research Professor, College of Education; charter member of the NCAA Research Advisory Board;
  • Jim Host, 1959 College of Communication and Information graduate; former UK baseball player; 2000 UK Alumni Association Hall of Distinguished Alumni recipient; founder of Host Communications; and
  • Mitch Barnhart, director of UK Athletics; 2019 SportsBusiness Journal Athletics Director of the Year; 2015 NCAA Division I Athletics Director of the Year.

To register for this session, click here

These sessions are free and available to the public. Additional sessions will continue to be added.

To learn more about the virtual series and to register for upcoming sessions, visit

The UK Alumni Association is committed to fostering lifelong engagement among alumni, friends, the association and the university. For more information about the UK Alumni Association, visit or call 800-269-2586.

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.