In this issue:
• Additional Funding Announced for EKU’s Biofuels Initiative
• EKU Scores an “A” on Newly Designed Web Presence
• Library Reception, Webcast Highlight Anthropology Professor’s New Novel
• Fall Enrollment Up 2% to 16,515
• Initiatives Helping Students, Families Trim Costs of College Education
• Prichard Committee Recognizes Moberly for Service to Education
• Showcase to Spotlight Service Learning
• Center for the Performing Arts Names Director of Marketing and Donor Relations
• Biologist, NY Times Science Writer to Speak at Next Chautauqua
• Pre-Show, Master Class Added to Concert by Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars
• EKU Brass to Perform at the World Equestrian Games
• EKU to Present Film on “The Struggle for Racial Equality in America”
• "Derechos en Tierra Ajena" ("Rights in a Foreign Land") on Display at Giles Gallery
• Business Professor Has Busy Summer in Europe
• Faculty, Students Assist with Wetlands Cleanup in Jackson County
• Former Official Honored by Motorcycle Safety Foundation
• Power of Maroon: Leadership Spotlight
• Grants Awarded
James Street, associate VP for capital planning and facilities management, takes a spin on a General Atomics motorcycle that runs on 100% biodiesel, 10% of that coming from waste plastics such as styrofoam cups.
Eastern’s Center for Renewable and Alternative Fuel Technologies (CRAFT) received another boost on Sept. 8 when Sixth District Congressman Ben Chandler announced the award of a $2.4 million federal grant from the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).
Chandler delivered the good news at the 2010 Regional BioEnergy Field Day, held at EKU’s Meadowbrook Farm.
“We do have an opportunity here in this Commonwealth to have a vibrant coal industry and a vibrant biofuels industry,” Chandler said. “CRAFT is on the cutting edge of biofuels derived from cellulosic sources.”
CRAFT was established in December 2008 with an initial $3.6 million grant from the DLA. The additional funds will help the Center to build upon its research toward developing and demonstrating technologies to break down biomass materials such as switchgrass into sugars useable by microorganisms that produce oil for biodiesel and JP8 jet fuel.
“Eastern Kentucky University very much appreciates Congressman Chandler’s assistance in securing federal funds to support our important work in biomass/biofuels research,” EKU President Doug Whitlock said. “The potential benefits for all of Kentucky are enormous.”
During CRAFT’s initial phase, nearly 60 acres of switchgrass was planted for the development of establishment best practices and yield studies. Research has focused on saccharification, the process by which sugars are extracted from biomass materials and then fed to oil-producing algae; and the economics and utilization of co-products such as lignin and spent algae (algae after the oil is removed).
The latest round of funding will enable CRAFT to continue to fine-tune the biomass-to-biofuel production process. Targeted areas of research include: establishment of biomass storage and transportation logistics, continuation of the development of the saccharification process, economic and environmental impact analysis, design of a pilot plant for biofuel production, and the creation of a lab-scale integrated system for the biomass-to-algal oil process.
By utilizing cellulosic biomass materials available in Kentucky as building blocks to a renewable fuel industry, the technologies created by CRAFT may jumpstart a regional agricultural industry in search of a new cash crop and make the Commonwealth a leader in an emergent technology as the demand for clean and sustainable energy demands grow nationwide.
“EKU is, in my opinion, one of the best-kept secrets in the entire United States of America,” Chandler said. “But I’m afraid, with this project, it may not be such a secret in the future. This has the ability to move the University up another level.”
The EKU initiative includes numerous partnerships with private industries, government agencies, local governments and other universities “to try to develop a commercial biomass-to-biodiesel industry in central Kentucky,” noted Dr. Bruce Pratt, professor of agriculture at EKU and director of CRAFT. “We are going from field to fuel.”
Partners include General Atomics, City of Winchester, Clark County, Madison County, Governor’s Office of Ag Policy, Kentucky Cabinet for Energy and Environment, Appalachian Regional Commission, University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University and Green Earth Biofuels of Irvine. Additional discussions have been held with LexTran (as an end user of the biodiesel), East Kentucky Power and Purdue University.
“This is a great opportunity for Kentucky agriculture to contribute to the energy solutions in the U.S. through our ability and capacity to grow biomass,” Pratt said. “Whether it is using biomass to co-generate electricity or to produce transportation fuels like biodiesel, Kentucky farmers can use bio-energy crops as an alternative to tobacco.”
CRAFT now incorporates nine EKU faculty members and 10 undergraduate students from a wide range of academic fields, such as agriculture, biology, chemistry and economics, in ongoing cross-disciplinary studies. Additional students are engaged through the incorporation of bio-energy concepts in course content.
A new research building, located adjacent to the Carter Building on the south side of the Eastern By-Pass, will open later this fall.
Nick DeNardis, associate director of web communications at Wayne State University and a staff writer at .eduGuru, a higher education marketing and web development blog, critiques sites from the point of view as a first-time visitor, judging the design, information architecture and underlying code of the sites.
The review gives EKU’s new design an “A” with an overall score of 284 points out of a possible 300, rating the site highest on its visuals. His complete video review can be seen at his EDU Checkup blog, educheckup.com/2010/08/27/eastern-kentucky-university-episode-184.
“Eastern Kentucky University knocked it out of the park with its recent design,” DeNardis said. “The texture and colors used on the site make the page feel like a destination instead of just another web page. The images used were vibrant and their colors integrated well into the overall design. Not all of their departments have adopted the new template yet, but the ones that did are easy to navigate and have plenty of information about each program.”
Doug Cornett, manager of creative services in the Division of Information Technology, said considerable thought and effort preceded the re-design of the homepage and web presence.
“On a tight timeline, we have been working with a wide cross-section of campus since March to develop this iteration of the page,” he said. “It was a collaborative and coordinated effort to develop a web system for EKU that is user friendly and allows the end users to concentrate on their content.
“That is the heart of a content management system (CMS) for the web. It eliminates many of the technical roadblocks of web development. A CMS allows the people closest to, and most knowledgeable about, their discipline or area to contribute meaningful content.”
Nearly 74,000 unique visitors viewed the EKU home page in the first four days after its unveiling, and the response has been positive, Cornett noted.
“Our focus is student recruitment and retention,” he said, “and I think a summation of the responses that we have received is that the web page is visually attractive with a clean layout that facilitates that focus. We will continue to refine and develop our web presence as it is an important communication avenue for the recruitment and retention of students.”
EKU’s web team is developing a training schedule and plans, within the next 24 months, to “bring as much of the campus as we can into the new CMS system. By creating a unified look and voice on the web, we hopefully can contribute in a significant way to the overall strategic goals of the University.”
The setting is a central Kentucky pasture, many years ago the site of a creekside log cabin that housed three generations of pioneers.
Now, developers have brought in bulldozers to prepare the land for a modern subdivision.
In between stand an archaeologist and her students, racing against time to protect the past.
“Creekside: An Archaeological Novel,” a new historical fiction work by archaeology professor Dr. Kelli Carmean, connects two story lines that link artifact and place, ancestors and descendants, and the present and the past.
Carmean “skillfully and convincingly weaves together the two seemingly independent plots in her engaging portrayal of past and present in the Kentucky Bluegrass,” said Dr. Richard Jefferies, an archaeologist at the University of Kentucky.
A reception honoring Carmean will be held on Thursday, Sept. 23, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Grand Reading Room of the John Grant Crabbe Library. The author will read from her book, answer questions, and sign copies of “Creekside,” which will be available to buy at the event, sponsored by the College of Arts & Sciences and EKU Libraries.
Carmean is also featured in the EKU Libraries’ Focus on Scholarship video series at www.youtube.com/powerofmaroon#p/u/5/WITknpAeM3E.
“Creekside” connects the lives of a young 18th-century couple starting their life together on the land with a 21st-century couple starting their life together in the same locale, which Carmean envisions in Madison County.
“In many ways,” Jefferies said, “‘Creekside’ is as much about a sense of place as it is about people.”
Carmean, who earlier this year delivered the Roark Distinguished Lecture at EKU about an archaeological project at the Blue Grass Army Depot, said she has “always been interested in public service, sharing with the general public and interested laypeople the joys and challenges of archaeology.
“You can’t stop progress but you do have to take into consideration what gets destroyed in the process,” Carmean added. “I hope that anytime people see building on the land that they pause and think about … the cultural resources and human heritage of a place.”
“Creekside” readers will learn about excavation techniques, the typical daily experiences at a dig, construction deadlines, report writing, artifact analysis, damage from looters and collectors, and more.
The depiction of a frontier life includes early Euro-American settlement of the area, encounters with Shawnee defending their land, the rise of religious fundamentalism, and the persistent issue of class-based land ownership.”
“Creekside” is available at major bookstores, online, or directly from the publisher, University of Alabama Press. The Barnes & Noble at EKU Bookstore has signed copies of the book.
Eastern Kentucky University’s fall enrollment is at 16,515, up 2 percent from this date last year, one of the larger increases among Kentucky’s public universities.
The increase comes at a time when Kentucky’s public and independent colleges and universities reached an all-time high with more than 270,000 students enrolled this fall. Total college enrollment across the Commonwealth has increased 40 percent over the last decade, according to a preliminary fall enrollment report issued Sept. 12 at a meeting of the Council on Postsecondary Education.
“These students have chosen a college education because they see the value that it can bring to their lives, in terms of employability, higher personal wages and personal satisfaction,” said Bob King, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education. “A more educated Kentucky is a key to spurring the Commonwealth’s economic recovery.”
According to figures released by the University on Sept. 10, undergraduate enrollment at EKU is up 3 percent to 14,376. New freshman enrollment is up 1 percent to 2,697, and new transfer enrollment is up 4 percent to 1,295.
Online credit hours are up 8 percent.
The enrollment growth at Eastern is coming from in-state students, who number 14,251, up approximately 2 percent from a year ago.
Among EKU’s five academic colleges, the College of Justice & Safety showed the largest increase in enrollment, up about 11 percent from 2009.
Dr. Janna Vice, provost and vice president of academic affairs, was among the speakers at a proclamation ceremony on the Richmond campus Sept. 7. Jonathan Miller, secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet, and David Lawhorn, program coordinator for the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA), also addressed the audience.
“This fall, universities across the nation have enrolled an unprecedented number of students,” Vice said. “These students face unprecedented tuition costs. Yet, even with rising tuition costs, a college education is an investment of a lifetime.”
In addition to the many “intrinsic” values of higher education, Vice noted that:
- college graduates, on average, earn approximately 60 percent more than employees without a degree.
- college graduates are likely to earn $1 million more over their lifetime than those without a degree.
workers without a degree are more than twice as likely to be unemployed than college graduates.
“As institutions nationally face decreasing state funding, more of the costs of education are being passed to students,” Vice said, “so saving for college is very important.”
To cut costs for students and families, EKU is:
- helping students plan their curriculum so they can graduate in four years. The University also has reduced the number of credits required to 120 hours for programs where appropriate.
- working with schools throughout the region to offer transition courses to high school seniors to decrease the number of developmental math and reading courses students are required to take upon entering Eastern as freshmen. Results of the pilot program show that from a total of 253 participating students, 84 percent of the students demonstrated readiness for a college credit-bearing mathematics course, with 64 percent demonstrating readiness for college algebra. “This represents a savings of approximately $284,000 in tuition costs associated with the developmental math coursework that is no longer necessary for these students to achieve college readiness in math,” Vice noted.
- providing qualified high school juniors and seniors an early start to college through the EKU Now! dual credit program. During 2009-2010, Eastern enrolled more than 300 high school students in dual credit courses, and waived almost 2,000 credit hours, which resulted in a savings to these high school students of $518,241.50. In addition to the tuition savings, the EKU Now! students who entered Eastern this fall brought with them 9 to 29 credit hours.
“EKU is committed to continuing programs to make college accessible,” Vice said.
In proclaiming September as College Savings Month, Beshear said: “Saving for college is important for all Kentucky families. It’s never too early or too late to start. College Savings Month is a good way to remind Kentuckians of the importance of obtaining a college education.”
Miller, representing Beshear at the proclamation conference at EKU, added: “Never before has access to higher education been more important for the individual and for our state. Kentucky continues to make progress in providing tools and resources to help families plan for the costs associated with college enrollment.”
Harry Moberly, left, with Dr. Robert Sexton, executive director of the Prichard Committee. Dr. Sexton passed away on Aug. 26.
The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence has recognized State Rep. Harry Moberly for his commitment to Kentucky education.
Moberly, who also serves as Executive Vice President for Administration at EKU, recently received the Committee’s Award of Excellence.
The Committee said Moberly’s “insight, determination and intellect have steered the state on a course toward educational excellence. His life of public service has made a positive, lasting change for thousands of Kentuckians and has helped ensure a brighter future for individuals and the state as a whole.”
After serving 30 years in the General Assembly, Moberly chose not to seek re-election this year.
The Prichard Committee is an independent citizens' advocacy organization working to improve education for all Kentuckians.
A two-hour showcase on Wednesday, Sept. 15, will spotlight successful examples in the QEP Service-Learning Project, part of Eastern’s Quality Enhancement Plan.
Faculty and staff are invited to the Service-Learning Showcase, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Kennamer Room of the Powell Building, to celebrate the University’s work to date.
The event will include:
- academic posters that will “demonstrate how the campus community has been implementing service-learning components into classrooms and program,” according to Amy Martin, QEP Program Coordinator.
- a presentation on service learning at EKU by Gayle Hilleke from Kentucky Campus Compact
- information about the University’s Service-Learning Professional Learning Community
- light refreshments and door prizes
“In addition to the posters and the talk from Gayle Hilleke, we’ll also have faculty in attendance who participated in the Service-Learning Professional Learning Community last year and are currently teaching Service-Learning Courses,” Martin said. “Attendees will be able to speak with them about the PLC and about the experience of developing a Service-Learning course and having it approved through the curriculum change process. We encourage any faculty who are interested in participating in the PLC this year to attend and talk with these faculty members.”
The Quality Enhancement Plan was approved in February 2007 as part of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools reaccreditation process, calls for the University to develop “informed, critical and creative thinkers who communicate effectively."
Students who take courses developed through the QEP Service-Learning Project participate in organized service activities meeting community needs and reflect on the service activity in such a way as to develop critical thinking skills and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility.
The Center, scheduled to open in the fall of 2011, is located adjacent to the University’s new Business & Technology Center. The 93,000-square-foot facility will house a 2,000-seat theater with a fly system and a 60-foot by 24-foot stage proscenium, as well as a configurable black-box theater with seating up to 250.
Prior to joining the Center’s staff, Cornett used her extensive background in community relations, fundraising, marketing, and promotions to operate the marketing and promotional sales company, HYPE, which she founded in 2005.
HYPE grew and progressed to a company with more than $600,000 in sales by 2009, winning Richmond’s Rising Star award from the Richmond Chamber of Commerce. Cornett began the business after holding community relations positions with Kentucky Proud Market, Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital, Baptist Regional Medical Center, and Renfro Valley Entertainment Inc.
Cornett holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky and a master’s degree from EKU.
A very involved member of the Madison County community, Cornett spearheaded several successful fundraising events for the Madison County Breast Cancer Support Group and, in 2008, developed Madison Monday Morning, a local e-newsletter that promotes activities and events in the county.
Her presentation, at 7:30 p.m. in Ferrell Auditorium of the Combs Building, is free and open to the public.
Yoon is a biologist by training and a journalist by profession. As a New York Times science writer, she covers ecology, evolution, genetics, natural history, entomology and earthquakes.
Her most recent book, “Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science,” which looks at the scientific quest to name life, was a finalist for the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was named one of the best books of 2009 by New Scientist Magazine.
The book plays on the twin strengths of Yoon’s work – scientific reporting and everyday writing style – and received critical acclaim, including from Publishers Weekly (“revolutionary”), Time Out New York (“fearlessly iconoclastic”), and Oprah (“a sensuous delight”).
According to Yoon, deep inside every person there lies a powerful drive, one that has long shaped human behavior: the urge to order and name living things. In her talk, Yoon will tell the story of this human mandate which, for better and worse, has shaped both the progress of science and humanity’s deep disconnection from the natural world. She looks at science’s limitations and instills an urgency to stay connected to the natural world by using familiar, rather than scientific, names. Crossing the disciplines, Yoon will discuss just how deep-seated the innate vision of life really is in everyone and show how important it is to reclaim that vision.
Yoon earned a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell and received a bachelor’s degree from Yale, where she earned the Boell Prize in biology. While she assumed she would become a biology professor, a fellowship at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Mass Media changed her course. (The group puts scientists into media outlets to write about science.) Falling in love with writing for a mass audience, Yoon worked her way up to become a science reporter at the Times. Her honors include a Fuertes Memorial Science Writing Prize, and a National Science Foundation Fellowship.
For more information about EKU’s Chautauqua Series, visit chautauqua.eku.edu or e-mail coordinator Dr. Minh Nguyen at email@example.com.
The student ensemble, directed by Tripp Bratton, will perform at 6 p.m. Founded in 2001, the ensemble has been received enthusiastically by audiences in their numerous performances throughout the region at festivals and concerts. The group, which includes many international students, performs an array of traditional drumming styles with an emphasis on rhythms and songs from West Africa and the Caribbean.
The Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars Concert begins at 7 p.m. and will include a meet-and-greet in the lobby after the event.
Members of the Sierra Leone group will also participate in a master class question-and-answer session at 2 p.m. on Sept. 19 in Brock Auditorium.
The programs, free and open to the public, are sponsored by The Center for the Performing Arts at EKU, in partnership with the Madison County Public Library, the Richmond Area Arts Council, the Berea Arts Council, and the following EKU partners: Diversity Office; Continuing Education and Outreach; Department of Anthropology, Sociology & Social Work; Department of English & Theatre; African/African-American Studies; and Information and Technology.
EKU Brass is one of four Madison County groups selected to perform as part of the World Equestrian Games. The faculty group includes Mick Sehmann, James Willett, Ken Haddix, Richard Byrd and James Van Fleet.
The groups will perform at The Kentucky Experience Performance Stage, which runs Sept. 25 through Oct. 10 at the Kentucky Horse Park, the same dates as WEG.
“It is a classically-oriented group in a quintet,” Sehmann said about the EKU Brass. Unlike most five-instrument groups that play classical music, the brass quintet has only been around for a few hundred years, although classical music has been around far longer, he added.
Although the group’s repertoire is primarily classical, they also play contemporary music, such as jazz and Dixeland.
“We’re very honored to be selected,” he said of the group’s inclusion as part of The Kentucky Experience.
The group has performed internationally before, but Sehmann said EKU Brass is “excited” to be part of WEG.
Sehmann is a founding member of the group, created in 1990. The quintet’s performers play tuba, trumpet, French horn and trombone.
The groups were selected from among hundreds of applicants by a panel of artists after a month-long process by the Kentucky Arts Council.
The additional three local groups among the 64 chosen are Mitch Barrett, Madison County Dulcimers and Jennifer Rose.
For a full list of performance times and biographies on all performers, visit artscouncil.ky.gov.
The free event is the film version of the multi-media presentation produced by the Southeast/Southcentral Educational Cooperative Arts & Humanities Collaborative in EKU’s College of Education.
“A Man Stands” traces the struggle for racial equality in America from the Montgomery bus boycott to the inauguration of President Barack Obama. The 45-minute presentation features a single actor who remembers experiences in the struggle as he reflects following the news of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination. The images, along with audio excerpts from speeches by King, Robert Kennedy and President Lyndon Johnson, reflect the memories of the young man as he struggles with the decision to continue the fight or surrender.
The live presentation was originally designed to be presented as a live performance to high school students across the region but, in response to budget constraints faced by school districts, the SESC Educational Cooperative decided to film the presentation and make the DVD and the accompanying study available to high schools.
For more information, contact Sarah Evans, director of the Collaborative, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The collection of personal stories and accompanying paintings narrates the struggle and fear that these women faced as women, as wives, and as Mexican immigrants.
The show was coordinated by Araceli Calderón Gonzáles and produced by EKU Giles Gallery Director Esther Randall.
It is sponsored by the University’s College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Art & Design, the Office of International Education, the Office of the Provost, the Women and Gender Studies Program, and the Department of Foreign Languages & Humanities.
Gallery events are free and open to the public and group tours are welcome. For Gallery hours, call 859-622-8135 or contact Esther Randall at 622-1639 or email@example.com.
Allen D. Engle Sr., professor of management, spent the summer teaching, giving invited lectures and presenting papers at academic conferences in Germany, France, England and Canada.
Engle holds a three-year appointment as Visiting Professor at the ESCP-Europe Europäische Wirtschaftshochschule Berlin and taught a course in human resource management for approximately 40 students from eight countries in the Master in European Business (MEB) program at ESCP Europe in Berlin May 10-20.
The MEB program has official recognition as a Master degree ("Grade de Master") by the French Ministry of Education for students holding a four-year degree and spending one semester in Paris. The MEB has been ranked among the top international master’s programs in Europe by the Financial Times for several years.
While in Germany Engle gave an invited lecture on "Reconsidering Differentiation: Strategy, Integration and Human Resource Management Thinking" to some 40 undergraduate students and doctoral students under the supervision of Dr. Maike Andresen, chair of human resource management, Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg, in northern Bavaria.
The 11th Conference on International Personnel Management was held June 9-11 at Aston Business School in Birmingham, England. From a total of 210 paper submissions accepted to the conference, the jury presented the "CIPD Best Paper Award" to Marion Festing, Lena Knappert, Peter Dowling, and Engle for their paper “Country-Specific Profiles in Global Performance Management – A Contribution to Balancing Global Standardization and Local Adaptation.” Festing and Knappert presented the paper and collected the four authors’ awards, sponsored by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development, the largest professional human resource management association in Europe.
In July Engle returned to Europe to present two refereed papers at the International Federation of Scholarly Associations of Management’s 2010 World Congress, held in Paris, July 8-10. The first paper, written with his Australian, German and French co-authors, was entitled “Proposing Processes of Global Performance Management: An Analysis of the Literature.” The second paper, written with Florencia Tosiani, one of his Argentine graduate students, and Ron Yoder, technology resource administrator in EKU’s Division of Student Life, was entitled “Contextualism on a Small Canvas: Exploring the Formal and Informal Faces of HRM Processes and Practices of Small and Medium Size Businesses in Argentina.”
On July 12, Engle and Peter Dowling, professor of international management at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, travelled from Paris by channel tunnel train to present a paper at the Second Annual Conference of the Chinese Economic Association-Europe, at St. Catherine’s College, the University of Oxford in the Great Britain. Their refereed paper was entitled “‘Transnational Thermals’: A Discussion of the Interaction of the Combined Effects of Outward Foreign Direct Investment via Chinese State Owned Enterprises and the Chinese Diaspora to the United States and Other Advanced Economies.”
“In these times of restricted budgets it becomes important for the faculty to try to make the most of the resources provided for conference presentations,” Engle said. “By packaging the timing of the presentations and working with teams to make presentations in my absence – as was the case in the Aston conference – we can efficiently leverage the presence of EKUBusiness in the academic community and enhance our reputational currency within the Commonwealth and around the world.”
The summer ended with a presentation by Engle and Festing, chairholder in human resource management and intercultural leadership at the ESCP-Europe Berlin campus, on “Contextualism in Rewards: Constructs, Measures and the Discretion of Multinational Enterprises.”
“I very much appreciate President Whitlock’s leadership by example and active interest in all of the global aspects of our students’ education as well as the long term efforts of the EKU Foundation, Provost Vice and Dean Rogow to provide the critical resources for EKU faculty to disseminate their research findings,” Engle said. “It makes for a very busy summer, but it is worth it. Our students are graduating into a globally competitive world, and their preparation to be successful in that world remains one of Eastern’s priorities.”
Earlier this year, Engle received a “Golden Apple Award” sponsored by University Housing in recognition of “inspiration and commitment to students and willingness to go above and beyond to help students succeed.”
The University partnered with the United States Forest Service’s London District Office, Jackson County and Eastern Kentucky PRIDE to clean up an area near McKee. The wetland is a forested ephemeral pond, an important habitat for breeding amphibians such as four-toed salamanders, marbled salamanders and wood frogs.
“Most wetlands in Kentucky have been lost to development over the last century,” noted Dr. David Brown, assistant professor of biological sciences at EKU, “so the few remaining wetlands of this type are important for wildlife and the ecological services they provide, such as storing and filtering water. This particular wetland seems to be in outstanding biological condition, but it is degraded with lots of trash.”
Dale Lynch, a public lands biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, brought the pond to the attention of Dr. Stephen Richter, assistant professor of biological sciences at EKU, who conducts research on the conservation ecology of amphibians. Brown and Richter then worked with Jackson County government officials and Eastern Kentucky PRIDE to organize the cleanup.
Working alongside U.S. Forest Service employees, EKU volunteers included students from the student chapter of the Wildlife Society and the Phi Sigma honor society. Also, Barry Spivey, the solid waste director for Jackson County, arranged to bring a dumpster, funded by a PRIDE grant, to the site.
Dr. Ray Ochs, formerly director of EKU’s Traffic Safety Institute and now director of training systems for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), was honored recently at the annual National Association of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators conference.
Ochs received the SMSA Annual Chairperson’s Award for his “Outstanding Contributions to Motorcycle Safety” in national rider education and training.
Each year the SMSA recognizes an individual whose contributions to motorcyclist safety have advanced motorcycle rider education and training. The award is intended to recognize the individual’s commitment and contributions to motorcycle safety at local, state, and national levels. Nominations are voted upon by a committee composed of the current and former chairpersons of the SMSA.
“Without fail, Ray Ochs has served the needs of current and prospective motorcyclists across the country with great passion and expertise,” said MSF President Tim Buche. “His leadership and vision have been instrumental in bringing the MSF’s Rider Education and Training System to fruition, offering training and safety renewal opportunities for riders at all skill levels. He has also been responsible for ‘training the trainers’ and has logged hundreds of hours leading professional development workshops for MSF RiderCoaches and RiderCoach Trainers.”
Ochs, who has more than 40 years of experience in education, training and leadership functions, has been associated with MSF development programs since 1973. He joined the MSF in a leadership position in 2002 and develops and maintains national curriculum and training functions related to the MSF Rider Education and Training System. He has conducted motorcycle safety training programs and presented papers and presentations in 48 states and throughout the world supporting DOD safety programs and various International Safety Conferences.
While serving at EKU from 1976 to 2003, he was responsible for expanding the undergraduate curriculum in driver and traffic safety education, implementing several new courses, including a for-credit university course in motorcycle safety education, collaborating in the development of legislation for the state motorcycle safety program and serving as project director for several grant-funded state projects, including the motorcycle rider education program and other traffic safety projects.
Leanna Bowles, Healthy You! at EKU Wellness Analyst, Human Resources
Leanna Bowles, Healthy You! at EKU Wellness Analyst, Human Resources, is featured in this ongoing series designed to allow EKU leaders and others in prominent positions to discuss their roles as well as campus issues. Bowles, who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Kentucky and a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology from EKU, began working at the University in August 2006 as a graduate assistant for Healthy You! at EKU. After earning her master’s degree, she was an employment analyst in Human Resources for a year and a half before taking on her role with Healthy You! at EKU in January 2010.
How does the Healthy You! at EKU program work?
Employees earn credits for participating in activities throughout the program year (Oct. 1-Sept. 30). Once they meet the minimum requirements, they earn an incentive of up to $200. The program is open to all benefit-eligible employees.
How many EKU employees are participating in Healthy You! activities?
Since the current program year began Oct. 1, 2009:
- 1056 employees (44.9%) have participated in at least 1 Healthy You! at EKU activity;
- 954 employees (40.5%) have taken the online Wellness Assessment;
- 831 (35.3%) have completed a biometric screening or preventive exam (cholesterol, blood pressure, mammogram, etc.); and
- 614 (26.1%) participated in the EKU in Motion Challenge in March/April 2010.
How is the program benefiting employees and the University?
Of course, employees receive an annual monetary reward for participating in the program, which is a great benefit. In addition to the money, Healthy You! at EKU provides employees the opportunity to gain knowledge, skills and tools to help them address their own personal health. We provide a yearly cholesterol screening, weekly blood pressure screenings, flu shots, and PSA exams on campus and at no cost to employees. By actively participating in the program, employees have the potential to significantly improve their health, extend their life expectancy, improve their quality of life, gain more energy, feel better, and save money on decreased utilization of healthcare.
As far as a benefit to the University, there is a huge opportunity for cost savings. EKU has a fully self-insured health plan. That means that every healthcare dollar that is spent is paid for by either the employees, through healthcare premiums, deductibles, or co-pays, or by the University. By both improving our health as a campus community and by catching and treating conditions such as high blood pressure early, we can see a decrease in healthcare utilization. Healthcare costs are increasing at a rapid rate and, as a group, it is up to us to decide by how much.
The University can also see a cost savings by increased productivity, decreased absenteeism, and increased morale.
What are some the more popular Healthy You! activities?
In a survey conducted earlier this year, employees stated that their favorite activities to participate in were the quarterly challenges, biometric screenings, and the annual health fair.
What are some of the incentives for participating in the Healthy You! program? $150 cash
$150 credit toward healthcare premium
$150 FSA contribution
1 Personal Holiday
1 year EKU Fitness and Wellness Center Membership
There are additional rewards and incentives for participating in challenges, health fair, and taking the online Wellness Assessment.
By meeting the minimum requirements of the program, which change from year to year, employees can choose from one of the following incentives:
What plans do you have to draw more faculty and staff into the program?
There will be some new activities and incentives for the new program year that begins Oct. 1. Keep an eye out for that.
We are continually working on increasing our marketing and communication efforts to educate people about the program and activities. The new Healthy You! at EKU Weekly Update is our most recent attempt to spread the word about the program and ongoing activities.
What are the most common health risks among EKU employees?
The most common health risks at EKU are lack of physical activity, eating too few fruits and vegetables, obesity, and stress. Unfortunately, these risks are not unique to EKU; these are the top 4 risk factors across the state and across the country.
If there’s any health-related myth that you’d like to dispel, what would that be?
“It’s genetic.” I hear people say this all of the time. They say it about their weight, their blood pressure, their cholesterol. It is true, to some extent, but only small percentage. According to a study conducted by the CDC, our health is determined 10% by access to care, 20% by environment, 50% by personal behavior, and only 20% by genetics. The results of this study show that by changing our environment and our personal behavior, we can overcome some of the genetic component. Just because your mother has high blood pressure, doesn’t mean that you should just accept the fact that you will too. Take control of your health and you can change it.
Borowski, Walter (Geography and Geology); Jones, Alice(Environmental Research Institute); Richter, Stephen (Biological Sciences); and Wilder, Melinda (Natural Areas). Increasing the research and educational capabilities of EKU's Natural Areas: Crafting a Comprehensive Strategic Plan to Create, Equip, and Maintain a Biological Field Station. National Science Foundation. $24,976.
Nichols, Jami (Undergraduate Studies). Upward Bound. U.S. Department of Education. $482,653.
Pratt, Bruce (Center for Renewable and Alternative Fuel Technologies). Eastern Kentucky University-Madison County Extension Service BioEnergy Field Day. Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy. $5,000.
Rodriguez, Michael (Center for Economic Development, Entrepreneurship, and Technology). Small Business Development Center. Kentucky Small Business Development Center. $14,000.
Thames, Nancy (College of Education). AmeriCorps Program. Kentucky Commission on Community Volunteerism and Service. $221,000.
Thompson, Beth (University Programs). Educational Talent Search. U.S. Department of Education. $351,253.
Tinsley, Jane (Student Affairs). NOVA Student Support Services. U.S. Department of Education. $348,345.
Wachtel, Elizabeth (Training Resource Center). University Training Consortium-Child Support. Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. $54,000.
Wilder, Melinda (Natural Areas) and Althauser, Krista (Curriculum and Instruction). PRIDE Earth Force Training Workshop. Eastern Kentucky PRIDE, Inc. $2,741.59.