U of L comes away with twelve Fulbright Scholars in 2019 Tuesday, Feb 25 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

It was a big year for the University of Louisville alumni and students who applied for Fulbright Scholarships. Twelve U of L alumni and students received the prestigious award, with 30% of students who applied winning.

“We’re proud of the U of L scholars who represent our University abroad because they’re using their Fulbright awards to do exciting and worthwhile projects all over the globe–whether that means studying the modification of lipid groups in Belgium, researching interpretation methods in Spain, or teaching English in Taiwan,” said U of L fellowships coordinator Bethany Smith. “Their success is a testament to U of L’s mission of being a great place to learn.”

These 12 new scholars puts U of L’s total at 133 scholars over the last 17 years. Since 2003, U of L has been known as an outstanding producer of Fulbright Scholars.

U of L’s total number of Fulbright Scholars is more than all Kentucky public institutions combined. This is also the second most Fulbright’s for U of L in the last five years, with the highest being 14 in 2016.

“When I heard that we had so many winners of prominent awards—including a dozen Fulbrights—I marveled at how we are able to achieve such high honors year after year,” said U of L President Neeli Bendapudi. “We have an astounding track record as a producer of top scholars and I’m so proud of our incredible students, faculty and staff because they all work together to make this possible.”

Each of the 12 scholars graduated from U of L last May and are teaching or conducting research in: Europe, South America, Caribbean and Southeast, East, and South Asia.

Applicants for this scholarship are chosen based criteria of their training, background and experience. The career fields typically funded by this scholarship include artists, journalists, scientists and independent scholars.

Having this many winners, and consistently, is like winning in sports said Charles Leonard, executive director for the Grawmeyer Awards.

“We begin with great talent, and as coaches, we learn what it takes to win the fellowships,” he said. “The students who have succeeded in the Fulbright process inspire their friends and classmates, and in turn we get more successful applicants the next cycle.”

The Fulbright Scholars Ben Anderson, Noela Botaka, Seth Drake, Chelsea Flint, Eric Hahnert and Miranda Hale. Also receiving the Fulbright Scholarship  are Alexander Kaliannan, Samir Kušmić, Macey Mayes, Natasha Mundkur, Ethan Connor Libby Pelletier and Elizabeth Schaaf.

Students who are interested in the Fulbright Scholarship program can contact NISO@louisville.edu for more information.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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Student government hosts candidate forum ahead of ongoing election Monday, Feb 24 2020 

–By Madelin Shelton

The Student Government Association hosted a forum for the “Top 4” candidates Feb. 19 ahead of SGA elections.

Candidates introduced themselves, answered questions from current Top 4 officers and the audience, and gave closing statements.

The Top 4 positions are: Student Body President, Executive Vice President, Executive Services Vice President and Academic Vice President.

Student Body President

This office deals with university-wide issues and administration.

The first candidate, Brandon McClain, is the current director of outreach for SGA and founded the fourth branch of SGA, the Student Organization Advisory Board.

McClain advocated for altering the meal plan system at the university to better accommodate students at affiliated properties and to better serve students by creating a housing cheat sheet for affiliated and unaffiliated properties.

This cheat sheet would allow students to comparatively look at information about rent and amenities for the various properties on and close to campus.

McClain also would like to have recognized student organizations become official members of SGA, wherein they would be required to attend one senate meeting every year or two.

Academic Vice President Sabrina Collins is also running for president. Collins wants to create more transparency in SGA. She also wants to implement an SGA Cares hotline, where students could submit questions or request advice for navigating university life.

Collins said she would also allocate more funds to the PEACC Center due to increasing demand and advocate against hidden student fees.

Executive Vice President

The person elected to this office will be president of the student senate, promote diversity initiatives and work closely with the athletics department.

Candidate Joenima Wani said she was qualified for the position through her experience holding meetings for service committees and serving as Assistant Services Vice President.

Wani said she will make more funding available to the PEACC Center and the Counseling Center. She also wants to provide more support to The Ville’ns, a registered student organization on campus that seeks to create, reinforce and enhance the fan experience of Cardinal Athletics.

Lexi Raikes is the other executive vice president candidate. She said her work as appropriations committee chair for SGA Senate and her diversity initiatives qualify her for the job.

Raikes said she helped add a diversity committee to SGA  and is getting a more diverse group of people involved in SGA.

She said she would create more avenues of involvement in SGA, including creating a mentorship program for people from diverse backgrounds and elevating student voices that often get left out.

Service Vice President

This position focuses on working with student services, including housing, safety, dining and construction.

Candidate Henny Ransdell, executive director of the Engage Lead Serve Board, described herself in that role as working towards the principles of “sustainability, affordability and inclusivity.”

Ransdell said she would seek to accomplish these goals through elevating student voices. She has advocated designating the bathrooms in new residence halls safe for transgender students, encouraged university administration to not increase tuition as a first resort and prioritized student voices in the construction of the new Cultural Center.

Savannah Fairfield is on the ballot for services vice president but was not at the forum.

Academic Vice President

This officer works directly with deans and faculty.

Lone candidate Ben Barberie currently serves as the deputy chief of staff for the SGA Executive Cabinet. Barberie emphasized retention of students and proposed adding intervention points between students’ first and second years, as well as between their second and third years.

 He said the university could use this point to “provide resources to students who most need them.” He also highlighted the need for leveraging more community partnerships, like with the UPS. He also advocates for making college more affordable, specifically through lowering the cost of online classes for full-time students.

Ballots for the SGA candidates were sent to students through their UofL emails, and voting ends Feb. 26.

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Former U of L dance coach Todd Sharp banned from campus Saturday, Feb 15 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

Former University of Louisville Ladybird coach Todd Sharp was banned from campus and future events Feb. 3. This came after Sharp shot himself in the leg at the same hotel as the U of L baseball team’s lead-off dinner Jan. 24.

“We’ve made prudent decisions about the safety of our fans and employees as anyone would do when something of that nature occurs,” said Tyra.

Tyra sent out an email to U of L faculty and staff Feb. 3 to be on the lookout and alert authorities if they saw Sharp anywhere on campus.

“Earlier today, the university issued a persona-non-grata notice for former head dance coach Todd Sharp, prohibiting him from attending public and private university-related events, whether on or off campus, or from visiting our offices,” said Tyra. “Should you spot Mr. Sharp on or around campus, please immediately contact 9-1-1.”

Sharp’s attorney said that the shooting was an accident and didn’t take place anywhere near the U of L event. More information from Sharp’s side came to light Feb. 4 when he sat down for an interview with Wave 3.

“I don’t like Vince Tyra, but I wouldn’t hurt him or myself or anybody else,” Sharp told Wave 3. “I love U of L, and it’s been a heartbreak that everything I loved was taken away.”

Sharp said he had been carrying a gun on him recently after having his house broken into. He said he forgot the gun was in his pocket when he accidentally shot himself in the leg. He was taken to U of L Hospital and released the next day.

Sharp was one of the country’s most successful dance coaches during his 16 seasons with U of L. He led the Ladybirds to a combined 20 national championships.

Because of his great success, he starred in the reality show about the dance team “So Sharp,” on Lifetime. The show only lasted one season.

Sharp was fired by Tyra in 2018 because of fiscal misconduct. This was a result of approximately $40,000 found missing from the Ladybirds funding.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L begins search for new provost Friday, Feb 14 2020 

By Eli Hughes —

President Neeli Bendapudi announced in an email to U of L faculty that the university is beginning the search for a new provost.

Provost and Executive Vice President Beth Boehm’s two-year term will end on June 30 and the new provost will start on July 1. Bendapudi has called for a nationwide search for potential provost candidates and encourages U of L faculty to apply for the position, as well as nominate their colleagues from U of L or any other universities.

The provost serves as the second-highest authority of the university and reports directly to the president.

President Bendapudi said, “She or he will work closely with the vice presidents and deans and will manage both the day-to-day and long-term academic operation of the university.”

The candidate will be chosen by a committee appointed by the president and led by School of Dentistry Dean Gerry Bradley and Kent School of Social Work Dean David Jenkins. Applications will be accepted until the search for a provost has concluded. If a new provost is not selected by the June 30 deadline Dr. Boehm will stay on as provost until a candidate is selected.

Those interested in applying or nominating someone for the position can get more information from U of L’s website.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L community upset over anti-LGBTQ literature Sunday, Feb 9 2020 


By Maggie Vancampen and Eli Hughes — 

The tension between First Amendment rights and students’ right to feel safe on campus exploded into controversy Jan. 28 when a student passed out copies of Ray Comfort’s “God & Sexuality” to an Intro to LGBTQ Studies class. University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi emailed the U of L community Feb. 6 after meeting with the class and said the university must find a balance between upholding the First Amendment and fostering inclusivity.

She said resources and opportunities to educate the community will be made available with the help of Provost Beth Boehm and interim-dean David Owen. There will apparently be no formal action taken against the unnamed student who passed out the information.

After the class found the pamphlets on their desks, the student waited outside the classroom where the students and professor Kaila Story found him.

Story asked him to leave and he did.

Students from the class report he returned Jan. 30 and campus police escorted him from the classroom.

U of L spokesperson John Karman said administrators met with all faculty that raised the issue Feb. 3. Other administrators met with the student Feb. 4 and report he said he only wanted to raise awareness, not intimidate.

“The university values diversity in all its forms, including diversity of opinion. That said, student safety is our top priority. We will continue to monitor the situation and will take steps to ensure an environment that supports the highest level of learning,” Karman said.

Dean of Students Michael Mardis said that the office has had a Student Care Team for years that is made up of professionals in law enforcement, mental health, campus health and student health. He said team members assess students based on their previous and current behavior, facts and circumstance of the situation, in-person observation, in-class behaviors and on and off-campus behaviors. “Without the ability of its members to freely hear, express, and debate different ideas and points of view, the University would lack the culture of free inquiry that lies at the foundation of the academic enterprise,” Mardis said.

Story said she is disturbed by how the Dean of Students office originally treated the incident. “In these terrifying times of school shootings and public displays of violence, I would like to think that a university office would be just as alarmed as me and my students were regarding this issue,” she said.

Junior Alexander Vernon, who is in the class, said, “The last thing I would want is anyone else who holds hateful or harmful bigotry towards anyone on this campus targeting any other minority groups or the LGBTQ students again.”

Ricky Jones, chair of the Department of Pan-African Studies, said there is something wrong with both the law and university policy if this type of behavior is allowed. Jones said there was no reason for the student to return to the class because he already passed out the literature.

Dawn Heineken, head of the department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, said Mardis did not seem to understand why students, faculty and the chairs of two departments found this scary. “I think the university needs to look long and hard at its internal processes,” she said.

“It definitely needs to ensure that folks making decisions about questions related to student learning, safety and well-being need to be better educated on, and take more seriously, the concerns of all students – especially students from marginalized groups who already have to struggle every day to feel safe and respected in the wider world.”

The president of a a student organization for LGBTQ + students of color and their allies said the university did not address the issue properly. Shades President Luke Moore said that they were disappointed in the response from the university.

“They need to ask themselves whether or not free speech is more important than the lives and the safety of their LGBTQ+ students, who they love to use to promote our university and talk about how LGBT-friendly it is and how young LGBT students should be coming here,” Moore said.

Bendapudi wrote, “I learned today from my conversation how frightening and painful the experience was for the bright, passionate, and engaged students in Dr. Kaila Story’s Introduction to LGBTQ Studies class. I also learned we have much work to do to make sure that all students (and faculty and staff) feel welcome and supported on our campus. There are clearly areas where we need to improve in terms of caring for our campus community, communicating appropriately, and responding swiftly.”

Jones said the class has written letters of complaint to the administration, talked to reporters outside of the university and refused to hide their names. He said, “I’m very proud of them for doing that in an age where silence is rewarded more than being brave.”

“I think those students and the professor have every right to do everything under the sun to not only protect their lives and protect their right to learn, but also protect their dignity and their right to exist in this place and in this world,” Jones said.

Jones scheduled a forum at 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10 to discuss the issue publicly. See Louisvillecardinal.com for updated info, as this meeting is after our deadline for this issue.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy from Kaila Story

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Green energy researcher at U of L wins grant Sunday, Feb 2 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

Joshua Spurgeon, a University of Louisville renewable energy researcher, won the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award. Along with the award, he will receive a $500,000 grant from the NSF that will go towards research and education over the next five years.

Spurgeon is theme leader for solar fuels at the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research in the J.B. School of Engineering. “The basic concept is to find ways to direct the energy of sunlight to run electrochemical reactions such as water-splitting to make clean fuels like hydrogen,” he said.

His research is geared towards increasing energy independence and sustainability of society. “Specifically, making clean fuels like H2, which have no CO2 emissions when used, are a way to have energy-dense storage of solar energy,” said Spurgeon. “This H2 could be used in fuel cells for onsite electricity generation for utilities, or it could be used for transportation applications, or it can be a clean feedstock in the chemical industry. But it is a way to store intermittent solar energy so that it can be used at any time, like when the sun isn’t shining.”

Spurgeon said the grant will be used to research microparticles capable of spontaneously splitting water under illumination. “We will improve the design of these particles, verify their performance capabilities, and study their behavior under different conditions,” he said. “We will also study and try to improve a whole system, which would be a slurry of these solar water-splitting particles suspended in water.”

In addition to the research aspect of the grant, some of it will go towards education. “The educational part of the grant involves helping to develop a new master’s program in energy and materials science, bringing in underrepresented students for research internships, and getting more senior graduate students into entrepreneurial education to help them commercialize their successes,” said Spurgeon.

To be considered for this award, Spurgeon had to submit a proposal detailing the research he would conduct over the five years and education initiatives to tie students into the work. He is unique in winning this award because he is non-faculty, placing him among a small group of recipients like himself.

He has been researching the solar fuels field since earning his PhD from the California Institute of Technology in 2010. Before coming to U of L in 2014, he worked at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, researching solar fuels.

Photo Courtesy of The University of Louisville 

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Loan to help U of L with Jewish Hospital acquisition passes legislature Thursday, Jan 30 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

The University of Louisville’s $35 million loan request to help with the purchase of Jewish Hospital passed one barrier of legislature Jan. 21. The Kentucky House’s Appropriations and Revenue Committee approved the university’s request, and now it moves to the full House.

“We appreciate the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee’s vote in favor of the state loan supporting the acquisition and enhancement of the properties that now are part of U of L Health,” said U of L President Neeli Bendapudi.

The request for this loan came back in August 2019 when U of L decided they would purchase KentuckyOne Health’s Louisville assets. Originally, U of L asked for a $50 million loan, but they announced that they decreased the loan to $35 million Jan. 9. Bendapudi said this was due to U of L calculating procurement savings and reductions in operational expenses.

“Under the leadership of Chairman Rudy, the committee showed its commitment not only to the teaching, research and patient care missions of the University of Louisville and its medical system, but also to the economic success of the commonwealth and the health and well-being of its citizens,” she said. “I also want to personally thank Speaker Osborne and Minority Floor Leader Jenkins for their continued support of the legislation.”

While the bill was passed, some still had doubts about this being good for the state. Andrew McNeill, state director of Americans for Prosperity, was concerned about this loan leaving tax payers on the hook.

The original terms of the loan request are being upheld: Half of the loan will be forgiven if U of L meets certain criteria, including retaining jobs and providing their services to underserved communities in Louisville. These terms were set by former Gov. Matt Bevin when he committed this loan last August.

“We continue to work with our elected officials to emphasize the importance of this loan, which will help us stabilize these assets and ensure the long-term viability of U of L Health,” said Bendapudi.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Ekstrom Library gets new all-gender bathroom on second floor Wednesday, Jan 29 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

The University of Louisville Student Government Association (SGA) announced Jan. 15 a new all-gender bathroom on campus. The bathroom is located on the 24-hour side of the second floor of Ekstrom Library.

“The possibility of a gender neutral bathroom in the library first came to our attention in May of 2019,” said SGA president Jasper Noble. “We [Noble and Sabrina Collins] both met with the Dean of the Library to discuss the possible project, and emphasize our desire for it to be placed in the 24-hour wing.”

Ekstrom isn’t the only place on U of L’s campus to have a bathroom like this. Noble said that newer buildings on campus are being built with this need in mind.

With Ekstrom being a central hub on campus, and one that sees a lot of student traffic, this made it an ideal spot. “For a lot of folks, Ekstrom is the most visited place on campus besides housing,” said Noble. “This is a space where students spend hours at a time, and often end up staying there late. Ensuring that every student feels comfortable in the Library is critical to their success, and going to the bathroom shouldn’t stand in the way of that.”

This new bathroom came to fruition because SGA felt the library needed a more accessible space. Dean of the Libraries, Bob Fox, and Dean of Ekstrom Library, Bruce Keisling, also helped make this project a reality.

“Many groups were advocating on behalf of this renovation, but we worked primarily with Dean Fox, and Dean Keisling,” said Noble. “They both supported the project and were able to provide the funding to make it happen. We are thankful for their support on this important project.”

This bathroom won’t be the last one of its kind either. “If other spaces on campus demonstrate that same need, we would try to make the same progress there,” he said.

Noble also said that SGA is happy to use their position to advocate for a space like this on U of L’s campus.

Photo By Matthew Keck // The Louisville Cardinal

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Board of Trustees approves new certificates and bachelor degrees Monday, Jan 27 2020 

By Maggie Vancampen —

The University of Louisville Board of Trustees met Jan. 23 to approve new certificates and bachelor degrees that will be available come Fall 2020.

The new certificates are the LGBTQ Health Studies undergraduate certificate and the Post-Baccalaureate certificate in Organizational Change in Higher Education.

The LGBTQ Health Studies undergraduate certificate is designed to educate anyone in the medical field about the needs of the LGBTQ community. According to the certificate’s description, “About 4.5 percent of the city’s population is estimated to be LGBTQ, and need exists for more knowledge about LGBTQ health.”

The Post-Baccalaureate certificate in Organizational Change in Higher Education will meet graduates’ needs to better understand how to manage organizational change within their work environment, especially if they focus more on teaching instead of administrative work.

The new bachelor degrees the Board of Trustees approved were the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Management and the Bachelor of Science in Urban Studies.

The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Management is the revival of the College of Business’s former Management major. The college discontinued the major in 2008.

The revised major has more targeted course offerings and a required concentration in another discipline like finance or marketing.

The Bachelor of Science in Urban Studies is designed to help students understand urban economics and sociology and can concentrate in either urban planning or public administration theory.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L updating its digital presence to stay competitive Saturday, Jan 25 2020 

By Victoria Harris —

The University of Louisville announced Jan. 6 that it will be revamping its digital presence. They are doing so to attract the most talented and diverse students and employees. 

Two main committees helping make this transition are the Web Improvement Executive Committee and Steering Committee. 

Chief of Staff Michael Smith heads the Web Improvement Executive Committee. The committee also consists of leaders from Enrollment Management, Information Technology Service and the Office of Communications and Marketing. This committee is in charge of making sure the decisions and changes made are in accordance with the Strategic Plan’s vision.

“During the transition from Kansas to Louisville, it became obvious to both Dr. Bendapudi and I that U of L’s digitial presence was in need of attention,” said Smith. “Within the first few months, conversations began with other university leadership that led to initial work by the Office of Communications in Fall 2018.”

The Steering Committee will be in charge of making sure that concerns from all departments are heard. Amber Peter from the Office of Communications and Marketing will head this committee, with membership representing the College of Arts and Sciences, the Delphi Center, Undergraduate Affairs and the Alumni Association, among others.

Students will also influence the trajectory of this project. Smith said, “The Steering Committee has a student representative, and it is our hope that the committee will work with other student groups on campus—SGA and others—to bring their ideas and concerns to the table.”

Smith said that a big problem with U of L’s current web presence is the “all-in-one” approach which can make finding information confusing. Because of U of L’s current web situation, this process will be broken into multiple phases and is expected to be finished early 2022.

Smith said this will not take the normal three-to-five year time period that most colleges do. “We are in the discovery phase right now, so we don’t have a solid timeline, but our users will begin to see changes in 2020,” said Smith.

To stay informed and updated on how the process is going, those following can visit the Web Update Improvements website.

“As I’ve said, this is a long and messy process,” said Smith. “In the end, this will be worth it.”

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

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