Board of Trustees Approves FY 2023 Operating Budget Saturday, Jun 25 2022 

By Joe Wilson —

The U of L Board of Trustees approved the operating budget for the Fiscal Year 2023 on June 23.

On July 1, the operating budget will be $1,521,853,578, the largest budget in the university’s history. The latest budget is $186 million larger than last year’s. In addition, the university expects revenues for the Fiscal Year 2023 to total $1,490,267,918. The university has presented a balanced budget along with $31,585,660 of unused funds from the prior year.

The budget outlines three main priorities for the upcoming fiscal year: investing in students, employees, and the university’s infrastructure.

For students, the university plans to create the Cardinal Commitment program to pay full tuition for many Pell-eligible students. In addition, the budget includes an increase in graduate student stipends totaling $600,000.

For university employees, the budget includes a cost-of-living salary increase of 2.5 percent for faculty and staff and a starting minimum wage of $14.75 for full-and part-time staff. The budget also notes the university hopes to increase the minimum wage further to $15 per hour by early 2023.

The budget also allocates funds to improve the university’s physical infrastructure, website, and brand marketing campaign.

Writing to the Board of Trustees, U of L Interim President Lori Gonzalez says: “Our proposed budget is mathematically balanced. It ensures that our efforts over the past few years to develop a solid and predictable financial base continue, even in the face of the many challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic brought us. This budget also underscores the commitment to be responsible stewards of our funds.”

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal //

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U of L, Humana and The Humana Foundation invest $25 million in Health Equity Innovation Hub Thursday, Feb 17 2022 

By Joe Wilson — 

On Feb. 16, U of L announced that it is collaborating with Humana Inc. and The Humana Foundation to invest $25 million in the university’s Health Equity Innovation Hub.

The objective of the Health Equity Innovation Hub is to focus on research that enhances health outcomes for marginalized communities in Louisville and beyond. The Hub also strives to find solutions to Louisville’s health inequities.

The investment marks one of the largest single donations in U of L history. $10 million will come from U of L, while $1.5 million and $13.5 million will be donated from Humana and The Humana Foundation, respectively.

Dr. Nwando Olayiwola is chief health equity officer and senior vice president at Humana. In response to the announcement, she said, “Humana is committed to improving health equity and we will be intentional about addressing the underlying societal and structural factors that impede good and fair health, especially for people in communities that have been historically marginalized and made vulnerable.”

In addition to its research, the Hub is committed to supporting diverse creators, innovators and entrepreneurs. The Hub intends to work with community organizations and local businesses who share their goal of ameliorating health inequities.

Interim President Lori Gonzalez responded to the announcement. “U of L is a research powerhouse dedicated to making a positive impact on our world and addressing the challenges affecting the human condition. We are proud to the work with Humana and The Humana Foundation to further health equity for all through this new Hub. Together, we can have a tangible impact that benefits our shared community and far, far beyond.”

Founded in 1981, The Humana Foundation is the philanthropic branch of the Kentucky-based Humana, a for-profit health insurance company. According to its website, “By focusing on social determinants of health, The Humana Foundation aims to promote more healthy days and encourage greater health equity.” 

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L Health to offer free tuition to employees and dependents Wednesday, Feb 16 2022 

By Joe Wilson — 

It’s doctor’s orders! U of L Health announced Feb. 14 that it will now offer its employees free tuition to U of L.

Effective Fall 2022, U of L Health will pay the tuition and student activity fees at the rate of an in-state resident student for full and part-time employees. Approximately 8,500 U of L Health employees, in addition to their entire immediate families, will be eligible for free tuition. The benefit will apply to all undergraduate programs at U of L.

The free tuition benefit is just one addition to the several incentives U of L Health offers to its employees, including low-cost health insurance plans and sign-on bonuses for some positions. According to U of L Health’s website, “As an academic health system, U of L Health believes in strengthening the careers of our employees. The nature of our organization allows for opportunity and personal development.”

According to U of L Health CEO Tom Miller , “U of L Health is funding free tuition as a commitment to our team, their families and the entire community. Funding higher education can be stressful on a family, but U of L Health’s full-tuition benefit creates an equal educational opportunity for each one of our employees and their dependents. Imagine what’s possible with your college degree, and U of L Health will help you make it a reality.”

U of L Interim President Lori Gonzalez also responded to the announcement. “I applaud U of L Health for recognizing the importance of investing in education. With a diploma from U of L, the learning and earning potential increases for all U of L Health employees. And by including their dependents, this tuition benefit strengthens our workforce and economy for the whole community and the Commonwealth.”

U of L Health is an academic health system that consists of five hospitals, four medical centers and over 12,000 team members.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal 

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U of L receives $6.7 million grant to advance lung cancer research Thursday, Jan 27 2022 

By Joe Wilson — 

On Jan. 26, U of L announced that the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences will sponsor a $6.7 million grant to research the link between metals and lung cancer.

Dr. John Pierce Wise Sr., professor in the department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, will lead the eight-year research project. Wise will partner with experts from across the U.S., Germany, China and Japan to examine the relationship between metals and lung cancer. The grant will be funded by the Revolutionizing Innovative Visionary Environmental Health Research program.

Although lung cancer is commonly attributed to smoking, other environmental conditions contribute to its development. 1 in 5 women and 1 in 12 men who develop lung cancer have never smoked. Exposure to metals has been established as a cause of cancer, but scientists do not have an extensive understanding of the link between metal and lung cancer specifically.

Wise has dedicated three decades of his career toward research of metals and cancer. In his previous work, Wise studied metal exposure in whale blubber and concluded that while animals are exposed to metals in the ocean, they are less likely to develop cancer as compared to humans. The grant will allow Wise and his team of researchers to understand the discrepancy in rates of cancer between animals and humans.

“U of L is one of the top institutions in the country in research and discovery for how human health is influenced by our environment, and preeminent researchers like Dr. Wise are the reason. This grant is recognition of the incredible contributions Dr. Wise has made to the field and provides ongoing support for continued discovery for years to come,” said Kevin Gardner, U of L executive vice president of research and innovation.

In response to the announcement, U of L Interim President Lori Stewart Gonzalez said, “We are grateful for the institute’s confidence in Dr. Wise and our university to lead this work in addressing such a significant health concern. I am excited to see this amazing research continue and expand at U of L thanks to this grant.”

According to the American Lung Association, Kentucky has the highest rates of lung cancer in the country. Lung cancer in the state is known to be particularly deadly, with only 19 percent of patients alive after five years of diagnosis. This is lower than the national average of 24 percent.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Interim President Lori Gonzalez appoints new vice provost for faculty affairs Thursday, Jan 27 2022 

By Anna Williams —

Interim President Lori Gonzalez continues to exercise her powers as president with the appointment of Dr. Cherie Dawson-Edwards as vice president for faculty affairs.

Dawson-Edwards currently serves as the U of L associate dean for diversity, engagement, culture and climate. She is also an associate professor in the Criminal Justice department in the College of Arts & Sciences. For her experience and contributions to the university, she received the 2016 University of Louisville College of Arts & Sciences Community Service Award.

“We are confident that her work will touch every part of our university to ensure our faculty known that they are supported,” Gonzalez said of Dawson-Edwards in a statement to the U of L community. “Throughout her career, she has worked tirelessly for institutional and community change, always striving to bring greater equity and inclusion to the policies and practices of organizations.”

Additionally, Dawson-Edwards has served as the department chair for the Arts & Sciences Criminal Justice department, director of the Arts & Sciences Social Change Program and acting director of the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research.

Dawson-Edwards is engaged outside of the university as well, serving as the Kentucky affiliate representative on the national board of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). She was also recently appointed as the nationwide ACLU deputy affiliate equity office. Part of her duties in these positions include ensuring equity and inclusion are constantly pursued in the search and placement of organizational leaders.

Dawson-Edwards’ service in the provost office will begin Feb. 1, 2022.

Photo Courtesy // University of Louisville

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U of L launches new ‘Here and Beyond’ campaign Thursday, Jan 20 2022 

By Mallory Slucher —

The University of Louisville is ringing in the New Year with a new look. On Jan. 17, U of L debuted ‘Here and Beyond,’ a comprehensive rebranding campaign focused on the university’s strength and resilience in the face of adversity.

U of L has spent four years researching a new marketing plan with feedback from thousands of students, alumni, faculty and staff. It also sought input from Kentuckians and other higher education institutions.

The result is a campaign that highlights the university’s research, connection with local and global communities and contributions to student success.

“The ‘Here & Beyond’ campaign is the culmination of a multi-year effort to evolve the university’s brand, getting to the core of who Cardinals are, what we do and why it matters,” Interim President Lori Stewart Gonzalez said in a statement to the U of L community. “The campaign is especially critical in challenging times like these to celebrate the university’s progress and distinctiveness, and to highlight the brand attributes – including resilience, passion and innovation – that help us create thriving futures for our students, our community and our society.”

The creation of the campaign included photo shoots and a brand video featuring students, faculty, staff and alumni.

The stories in ‘Here and Beyond’ present the accomplishments of individuals like Lexie Raikes, a senior triple-major at U of L who is the only 2021 Truman Scholar from Kentucky, and Andrea Behrman, a professor of neurological surgery and a leader in pediatric spinal cord research.

The campaign comes at a pivotal moment of change for the university with the recent departure of former U of L President Neeli Bendapudi. The ‘Here and Beyond’ campaign is the university’s first comprehensive brand campaign since 2008.

U of L encourages the community to share their Cardinal pride by sharing some of the campaign’s mobile and desktop wallpapers and graphics on social media.

Photo Courtesy // University of Louisville

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Interim President Gonzalez appoints new provost Saturday, Jan 15 2022 

By Madelin Shelton — 

Interim President Lori Gonzalez has recently used her powers as president to make several university appointments.

School of Dentistry Gerry Bradley will serve as interim provost. Bradley has served as the dean of the U of L School of Dentistry since August 2016.

“Dr. Bradley has extensive academic and administrative experience and has played a key role in many important initiatives at the university, including serving as chair of several dean searches and co-chairing the Executive Budget Steering Committee,” Gonzalez said of the appointment.

Bradley’s previous positions at Marquette University School of Dentistry include chair and professor of Developmental Sciences and associate dean for Research and Graduate Studies.

Margaret Hill, the current U of L associate dean for academic affairs, will take over his role as the interim dean at the School of Dentistry.

For the role of interim vice provost, Gonzalez appointed Gail DePuy, a professor of industrial engineering and interim vice provost in the Center for Engaged Learning. DePuy is said by Gonzalez to have been “instrumental in developing and shepherding our strategic planning effort since 2019.” Taking over DePuy’s place as interim vice provost for the Center for Engaged Learning is Paul DeMarco, professor of psychological and brain sciences and interim director of undergraduate research and creative activity.

Gonzalez relayed to the U of L community that she is close to selecting the next vice provost for faculty affairs and the vice president for diversity and equity. She expects to make announcements about these appointments in the coming weeks.

Photo Courtesy // University of Louisville

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Faculty bristle at mandated in-person instruction during COVID-19 pandemic Tuesday, Jan 11 2022 

By Madelin Shelton — 

U of L started the Spring semester in controversy this week, as the administration has received pushback for requiring faculty to teach in-person.

College of Arts & Sciences Dean David Owen sent a reminder to faculty Jan. 4 of the university’s COVID-19 policy. Included in the policy was a refusal to allow faculty to change the modality of the courses. That’s the way courses are delivered as set out in the Schedule of Courses, such as face-to-face or virtually.

Dozens of faculty expressed outrage at the perceived lack of flexibility in the policy, as it doesn’t appear to allow professors to switch from teaching face-to-face to online —even temporarily—unless they must isolate due to COVID exposure or illness.

Faculty members expressed concern for colleagues with children who are not old enough to receive the vaccine, and who see switching to online instruction as the best way to protect their families.

Dr. Tracy K’Meyer, a Professor of History at U of L, described her initial response to the policy. “This idea that we would, across the board, have no flexibility sparked a gut reaction in me that said that’s not fair, that’s not right.”

K’Meyer also said that as far as she knew, there was no appeal or exemption process for faculty to follow. One of her colleagues requested to conduct the first two weeks of classes online because she had a baby too young to be vaccinated, but her request was allegedly denied by university administration.

Owen is reported to have contacted the department chairs in the College of A&S Sunday to tell them that in-person classes were not to be moved to an online format and violating that policy could result in disciplinary action.

At a regularly scheduled College of A&S meeting on Monday that included Owen and A&S faculty, Owen reiterated that he was taking the stance on the policy that Interim President Lori Gonzalez had taken and that there was “no wiggle room.”

There is a petition signed by more than 500 professors, staff, students and other U of L community members opposing the policy.

“The University of Louisville Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) fully supports the autonomy of University of Louisville Faculty and their right to make flexible choices concerning course delivery modality for the Spring 2022 semester,” the U of L AAUP chapter said in a statement. “Foregrounded in academic professionalism, the desire for flexibility is intended to promote student learning and success in these times of anxiety and uncertainty.”

The College of A&S Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee also came out in opposition to the policy. “The College of Arts and Sciences’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee stands in support and solidarity with A&S faculty, staff, and students’ right to teach, work, and learn in any modality that supports their health and safety. In conjunction with A&S leadership, any change to course, work, or learning modalities will uphold ‘our mission of providing an excellent education for our students while also ensuring the health and safety of everyone in the process.’”

The Louisville Cardinal reached out to Owen for an interview that was scheduled for this past Saturday concerning this issue, but it was canceled by his office. Further reporting on this issue will take place after a rescheduled interview.

Photo Courtesy // The Courier-Journal

 

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