UK Happenings

Register for Education and Civil Rights for the New Decade Virtual Conference

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 3, 2021) — The University of Kentucky College of Education is offering a community resource on the journey for racial equity through a new conference, Education and Civil Rights for the New Decade. The virtual conference features some of the nation’s most influential thought leaders during two days of sessions, Friday, May 7, and Saturday, May 8. Through the generous support of WesBanco, the conference is free and open to all.

With more than 20 sessions to choose from, Education and Civil Rights for the New Decade will cover topics related to law and justice, K-12 education, community organization, postsecondary education and financial literacy. Continuing education credit will be provided in the K-12 education track and is planned for the law and justice track, pending approval. Explore the conference agenda and register to attend at

“When we worked with the NAACP to establish an education and civil rights initiative at the University of Kentucky, our nation was on the cusp of a renewed awakening to issues surrounding racial equity. The murder of George Floyd was an inflection point, and now all eyes are on us as we take action to offer our education and research resources to those on the journey for racial equity,” said UK College of Education Dean Julian Vasquez Heilig, a professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation.

Hosted by the UK College of Education’s Education and Civil Rights Initiative in collaboration with the NAACP, conference sponsors include WesBanco, the NAACP, Kentucky Community and Technical College System and the UK J. David Rosenberg College of Law.

“Whether this is your life’s work or you are just starting the journey to understanding the variety of issues surrounding civil rights, race and equity, we designed this conference to offer something for everyone. The sessions will include opportunities for open conversations and brainstorming, offering the opportunity to interact with some of the most distinguished and influential leaders in civil rights and education in the nation. We are honored to host this event at the University of Kentucky,” said Gregory Vincent, executive director of the UK College of Education’s Education and Civil Rights Initiative in collaboration with the NAACP, and a professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation, where the initiative is housed.

Featured keynote speakers include:

  • Derrick Johnson, executive director of the NAACP;
  • Gloria Ladson-Billings, Kellner Family Distinguished Professor in Urban Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison;
  • Walter Bumphus, president of the American Association of Community Colleges;
  • Belle Wheelan, president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges;
  • Norma Cantú, commissioner of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and professor of law and education at the University of Texas at Austin;
  • Raymond Pierce, president and CEO of the Southern Education Foundation; and 
  • Antoine Garibaldi, president of University of Detroit Mercy.

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.