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Transdisciplinary Educational Approaches to Advance Kentucky Announces 2023-24 Faculty Fellows Cohort

By Susan CantrellCamille Harmon and Trey Conatser 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 30, 2023) — Transdisciplinary Educational approaches to advance Kentucky, or TEK, challenges faculty and students to engage with complex, multidimensional and context-specific issues. Some have described these issues as “wicked problems” that exceed the capacity of any one framework, approach or perspective to provide an adequate or lasting solution. Moreover, TEK leverages these issues for students to develop essential employability skills, including the highly valued abilities to engage multiple points of view, reflect on growth, communicate ideas effectively and collaborate in teams.

A critical part of TEK is the development of new transdisciplinary courses as well as the revision of current courses to integrate transdisciplinary skills and learning outcomes. To accomplish this objective, TEK is engaging the expertise of faculty in the inaugural cohort of the TEK Faculty Fellows program this fall semester.

“It’s important that the structure and spirit of the TEK Fellows program matches the nature of transdisciplinary work that TEK emphasizes,” said Trey Conatser, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT). “To that end, we’ll be facilitating robust faculty learning communities focused not only on the development and revision of these courses, but also on inquiry around how we can best prepare students to work on issues — from the current and known to the future and unknown — that are critical to the Commonwealth and beyond.”

Courses created as part of the TEK Faculty Fellows program will engage faculty in team teaching across disciplinary boundaries with a focus on a critical issue or problem alongside workforce experts and community partners. Revised courses will emphasize the skills that transdisciplinary work requires, including collaboration and communication among stakeholders with different perspectives and lived experiences. Workforce experts and community partners will further support students’ understanding of how multiple disciplines and approaches can solve both local and global problems. Students will use this knowledge while exploring career-oriented pathways.

After soliciting applications during the spring semester, TEK is pleased to announce the first cohort of TEK Faculty Fellows for the 2023-24 academic year:

  • Kari Benguria, Communication and Information.
  • Christy Brady, Health and Clinical Sciences.
  • Lauren Cagle, Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies.
  • Thomas Cochell, Chemical and Materials Engineering.
  • Liz Combs, Dietetics and Human Nutrition.
  • Troy Cooper, Communication and Information.
  • Lisa Enright, Communication and Information.
  • Lindsey Fay, Interiors.
  • Joel Hamm, Emergency Medicine.
  • Jason Hans, Family Sciences.
  • Ryan Hargrove, Landscape Architecture.
  • Jordan Hines, Architecture.
  • Lou Hirsch, Plant Pathology.
  • Chris Huggins, Sociology.
  • Amanda Lawrence, Communication and Information.
  • Tracy Lu, Retailing and Tourism Management.
  • Patrick Lee Lucas, Interiors.
  • John Nash, Educational Leadership Studies;          
  • Erin Richard, Biology.
  • Melody Ryan, Pharmacy;
  • Rachel Shane, Arts Administration.
  • Liz Swanson, Architecture.
  • Alice Turkington, Geography.
  • Meg Wallace, Philosophy.     
  • Rose Winter Phong, Arts Administration.

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 $501 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.