The Louisville Cardinal launches new interview series with campus leaders Thursday, Jan 14 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

The University of Louisville’s student newspaper, The Louisville Cardinal, kicked off its “Louisville Cardinal Conversations” series Wednesday with U of L President Neeli Bendapudi and Cardinal Editor-in-Chief Joseph Garcia. The series will consist of live interviews by the Cardinal’s student editors with high profile individuals on the university’s campus.

Garcia and Bendapudi talked about a range of university issues over Facebook Live including the university’s anti-racist agenda, the NCAA allegations, the A&S Dean Search, COVID-19 and tuition.

When discussing the university’s anti-racism initiative, Bendapudi detailed what anti-racism is and what it looked like in practice.

“Anti-racism is the premise that nobody is superior or inferior to another person just because of the color of their skin,” she said, “One way for us to think about being anti-racist is doing everything we can to allow each person to succeed.” Bendapudi went on to convey the importance of investing in and fostering equity to ensure the success of everyone.

In relation to COVID-19, Bendapudi expressed her praise of the tenacity of U of L students during the pandemic. “All of you as students, I am so appreciative of all of you and I am so grateful for the resiliency you’re showing,” she said.

Bendapudi then relayed that by the end of next week every healthcare worker in the U of L system will have been given the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. She also said that, with authorization, the university hopes to give every faculty member, staff member and student the opportunity to receive the vaccine by the end of the semester. However, U of L is not legally allowed to require the vaccine since it was given provisional emergency use.

Garcia also asked Bendapudi whether students should expect another tuition hike in the upcoming academic year. She was not able to give a definitive answer but pointed to the competitiveness of U of L as compared to other state institutions in terms of student debt. According to her, U of L students have the lowest college debt as compared to students from every other public university in the state of Kentucky. She mentioned that any rise in tuition would be offset by trying to develop more need-based aid.

The recording of the full interview can be found here. Be sure to follow The Louisville Cardinal on social media @TheCardinalNews to be informed of the next “Louisville Cardinal Conversations” interview.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L selects next Provost Friday, Dec 4 2020 

By Madelin Shelton — 

The University of Louisville has selected Lori Stewart Gonzalez to serve as the new executive vice president and university provost (EVPUP).

Pending approval by the U of L Board of Trustees, Gonzalez will begin working on April 1, 2021, following current Provost and Executive Vice President Beth Boehm, who has served the role since 2018. Boehm will return to her position as Dean of the Graduate school.

Gonzalez currently serves as the vice chancellor for academic, faculty and student affairs at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. U of L President Bendapudi cited her administrative experience in an email sent to the community on Gonzalez’s selection.

“As vice chancellor at the UT Health Science Center since 2015, she oversees the offices of academic, faculty, student and international affairs, education services, equity and diversity, community engagement and others,” Bendapudi said.  “As interim dean of the UT College of Health Professions, in 2016-17, she oversaw the departments of Audiology and Speech Pathology, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Health Informatics and Information Management, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy.”

Gonzalez’s other experience includes provost and executive chancellor at Appalachian State University, senior advisor to the senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina General Administration, and associate dean and then dean of the College of Health Sciences at the University of Kentucky.

EVPUP Search Committee chairs Gerry Bradley, dean of the School of Dentistry, and David Jenkings, dean of the Kent School of Social Work, conveyed that Gonzalez clearly stood out to the search committee and was a fantastic fit for U of L.

“She brings a breadth of leadership experience in academia and was the consensus choice across all campus constituencies. Dr. Gonzalez showed a clear and decisive commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion that fits perfectly with President Bendapudi’s strategic work in this area. And she was truly impressive in her interactions with students, faculty and staff. We look forward to welcoming her to the University of Louisville family,” both Bradley and Jenkings said.

Gonzalez is originally from Rockcastle County, Ky. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University, respectively. She earned her doctorate from the University of Florida Department of Speech.

Photo Courtesy of the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center

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University releases Strategic Plan progress report Wednesday, Nov 25 2020 

By Madelin Shelton — 

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi recently announced U of L’s progress on their Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan, released in fall 2019, was launched to make U of L a great place to learn, to work and in which to invest. According to the progress report, “the three-year plan focuses on key initiatives, gauges the effectiveness of specific actions and measures the university’s progress toward achieving its overarching goal.”

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the death of Breonna Taylor at the hands of LMPD, which both required significant attention from the university, U of L was able to make necessary changes and make great strides on the goals it originally set in 2019.

“These challenges meant some of our strategic plan goals had to be paused or reworked, but our determination to overcome never wavered,” U of L said in the progress report.

Most notably, the university’s total enrollment reached above 23,000, a milestone it has not reached in over 20 years.

Graduation rates also peaked during this time and research funding hit a record-breaking $152 million. The university doubled the percentage of need-based aid for first-time freshman and increased the number of patents awarded to U of L for its innovation.

The report also highlighted the university’s response to COVID-19, pointing to U of L’s swift move to online instruction, addressing the significant financial ramifications and providing U of L health care workers and researchers with necessary resources.

It also mentioned the potential of the Co-Immunity Project, funded in part by U of L as an effort to learn how COVID-19 moves through populations.

“Results from the study will help Kentucky restart its economy and create safe plans to return to work and school,” the report said.

In addition, the report detailed the university’s Cardinal Anti-Racism Agenda, which serves to advance U of L’s goal to become the nation’s premier anti-racist metropolitan research university.

The university included initiatives to further this effort, including, but not limited to, developing an educational series for faculty and staff focusing on diversity and inclusion, providing a list of resources to help the campus community learn more about the legacy of slavery and racism and having the U of L police department host open forums discussing racial issues that impact U of L and the broader Louisville community.

Finally, the report incorporated information on its three Grand Challenges of empowering communities, advancing health and engineering the future economy.

These challenges are being used by the university as priorities to dedicate its research and scholarship towards. Progress has been made by U of L on these challenges through the convening of the Grand Challenges subcommittee and recruiting researchers and scholars to join the challenge.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L becomes first Kentucky university named Adobe Creative Campus Thursday, Sep 24 2020 

By Madelin Shelton —

The University of Louisville has partnered with Adobe to become the first Adobe Creative Campus in Kentucky, offering all students, faculty and staff complete access to Adobe’s Creative Cloud applications.

The partnership, which will last for at least three years, provides those with a U of L email address free access to Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Adobe XD and other Adobe products.

Karen Freberg, an associate professor in strategic communication at U of L, was one of the driving forces behind the partnership.

Freberg brought the program to the attention of U of L President Neeli Bendapudi last year who, along with the rest of university administration, gave support and encouragement to make the goal of Adobe Creative Campus status a reality.

“Both U of L and Adobe are extremely excited about this partnership since this will not only benefit our campus, but the community and industry as well,” Freberg said. “Our students will have the knowledge and skills in Adobe products that will make them very marketable as they apply for jobs and internships.”

In addition to full access to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, Freberg said that the partnership with U of L will include fellowships, grants, communication with Adobe contacts, trainings and additional campus-wide events.

“Students will be able to get free access to Adobe products, allowing them to use industry level tools that will help them gain creativity and digital literacy skills, making them marketable for future positions,” Freberg said.

Graphic by Shayla Kerr // The Louisville Cardinal

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Facebook partners with U of L to launch new campus platform Friday, Sep 18 2020 


By Madelin Shelton — 

The University of Louisville has become one of 30 universities in the country to pilot the new Facebook platform, Facebook Campus.

This platform is a college-only space to help university students connect with their fellow classmates through features like a Campus-only News Feed, events, groups and group rooms.

Students will be able to access the Campus channel through their personal Facebook accounts and find other participating U of L students in a directory.

To participate in Facebook Campus, students will have to provide their graduation year and louisville.edu email address. They will then be required to design a new profile specifically for the Campus platform, where they can add information including their classes, dorm and major.

The U of L specific Facebook Campus page will include groups and events students can join to find fellow students with similar interests.

“In the early days, Facebook was a college-only network, and now we’re returning to our roots with Facebook Campus to help students make and maintain these relationships, even if they’re away from their college,” Facebook said in a story on  their Facebook Newsroom.

In a U of L news release, President Bendapudi said, “The University of Louisville is so honored that Facebook has given our students the opportunity to be among the first in the nation to use this incredible product. We know they can’t wait to explore and discover all of the ways this tool can help them communicate with their peers. Facebook Campus is the latest innovation that makes our community unique. It is a tremendous asset to Card Nation.”

U of L will be joined by the likes of universities including Duke, the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins in the pilot program.

“U of L became one of these 30 universities because Facebook saw U of L as a great potential university partner in this initiative and has been impressed with the work we have done as a university,” Karen Freberg, an associate professor in strategic communication at U of L, said.

When asked how she thought this new feature would help U of L students struggling to make meaningful connections due to COVID-19 restrictions, Freberg said, “This new feature is exactly designed to create a sense of community during this time with COVID, but also allow students to network, connect and bring the U of L culture to the online space.”

“There will also be some potential professional opportunities for students as part of this partnership as well,” she said.

The Facebook Campus platform is available now for students to use.

Graphic by Shayla Kerr // The Louisville Cardinal

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Louisville-area university presidents pledge to do better for their African-American students Friday, Jun 5 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

Louisville-area university presidents co-signed a letter to their students and community members on June 3, addressing the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

“We, as leaders of higher education institutions in greater Louisville and Kentuckiana, are aware both of the promise of higher education as a transformative force in society, and of the problematic history of these very institutions in perpetuating racial inequity,” the presidents said in the letter.

They went on to pledge to five actions that they could take as leaders of their institutions:

  1. “We pledge to educate ourselves and our own college and university communities to recognize and work against structural racism.
  2. We pledge to work together to improve access to higher education for our African-American and other students of color.
  3. We pledge to create pathways for African-American and other students of color to meaningful and high-demand jobs and careers and acknowledge the need for more Black professionals in healthcare and education and engineering and law as in many other spheres.
  4. We pledge to engage fully and meaningfully in the life of West Louisville.
  5. With our institutional privileges of knowledge, reach, resources, legacy, and more, we pledge to consistently demonstrate our commitment to the objective fact that Black Lives Matter.”

The eight university presidents that signed the letter were University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi, Bellarmine University President Susan Donovan, Ivy Tech President Travis Haire, Jefferson Community and Technical College President Ty Handy, Sullivan University President Jay Marr,  Spalding University President Tori McClure, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary President Alton Pollard III, and Indiana University President Ray Wallace.

The same day the letter was sent out, Bendapudi joined some of the other university leaders at a protest in downtown Louisville to stand in solidarity with the protesters.

Photo by Joseph Garcia // The Louisville Cardinal

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