by Sarah Geegan

The University of Kentucky's degree offerings are getting a little greener next fall.

A new major, Environmental and Sustainability Studies offered by the College of Arts and Sciences, will provide a Bachelor of Arts option for students interested in pursuing a major in environmental studies. The curriculum will provide a deep understanding of the humanities and social science aspects of environmental and sustainability issues.

>>Visit the Environmental & Sustainability Studies website

The degree is designed to provide students with a foundation in the natural and physical sciences without the math and science courses typically required by environmental B.S. degrees; students


by Sarah Geegan

Eleven students from the arid Middle East and North Africa convened in drought-stricken San Angelo, Texas, over the summer — to learn about water.

Through a grant from the State Department's Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, UK Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Alan Fryar and colleagues focused on capacity building in the Middle East and North Africa, with a particular emphasis on hydrology. In collaboration with researchers from the University of Georgia and Western Michigan University, Fryar participated in a program called BOOST: Building Opportunity Out of Science and Technology.

"The State


By Guy Spriggs

After earning her bachelor’s degree from Washington & Lee University in 2000, UK sociology professor Shannon Bell took a job in public health and community organizing at a non-profit health center in Cabin Creek, West Virginia. Although Bell left moved west in 2005 to pursue her doctorate at the University of Oregon, her experiences in Cabin Creek stuck with her.

“While I was in Cabin Creek, I learned a great deal about the impact the coal industry was having on people’s lives,” she explained. “I decided to make those social problems the subject of my doctoral research.”

After her experiences, Bell knew she would have to devote a lot of energy to understanding the complex ways coal mining affects places like Cabin Creek. She


By Sarah Geegan

Biology professor James Krupa recently received his second major accolade from the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) in the past two years. After taking home the NABT University Teaching Award last year, Krupa received the Evolution Education Award for 2012 — crediting famous UK alumnus John T. Scopes for much of his inspiration.

The award recognizes innovative classroom teaching and community education efforts to promote the accurate understanding of biological evolution. Sponsored by the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) and National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), the honor will be officially presented to Krupa at the NABT annual


Below is a Chinese newspaper article on Department of Biology professor Carol Baskin that originally ran in the Morning News and was written by Yankuang Su. There is also a letter attachment from Xinjiang Agricultural University inviting Baskin to give several guest lectures and congratulating her on her “Tianshan Award.”

Wearing a simple patterned shirt, light-colored pants and a pair of golden-colored glasses, this tall and scientific-looking woman is American professor Carol Baskin.

Carol Baskin is a professor at the University of Kentucky. In 2006, she and her husband Professor Jerry Baskin made their first academic visit to Xinjiang when they started

President Clinton with Students


By Sarah Geegan   What began as a brainstorm for some kind of community service project became very real for seven University of Kentucky students and for the people of Owsley County, Ky. These seven students established a project redefining community service — empowering the entire county just 87 miles from Lexington to bolster itself against the debilitating factors affecting Eastern Kentucky.  

In November, the James W. Stuckert Career Center assembled a UK team to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative University, a program through which university students propose solutions to the world's humanitarian problems. While each of the students came from different backgrounds, from the College of Arts and Sciences to the 

ted schatzski

By Sarah Geegan

Ted Schatzki, senior associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of philosophy and geography, recently delivered the 2012 Distinguished Lecture at the Centre for Theoretical Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Essex in England.

Founded by the renowned theorist Ernesto Laclau, the centre has historically been home to a collection of thinkers known as the Essex School of Discourse Theory. Since its founding, the centre has sponsored a range of activities, including weekly seminars, mini-courses, graduate conferences, and an annual distinguished lecturer. 

Past distinguished lecturers have



by Robin Roenker
photos by Mark Cornelison

For associate professor Mark Watson, as exciting as creating new materials is, one end-product is even more fundamental.

“When you think about research and teaching, of all our products, the most important ones are our students,” he began.

“In the end, whether they go on to be chemists in any professional sector (private, public, government, or academic), or executives, patent agents, technical sales reps, or whatever their career, we’ve empowered them for that future by providing an environment for their continued growth as independent researchers and problem solvers,” said Watson, who was awarded this year’s Young Investigator Award by the Kentucky Academy of Science.



John Anthony has a list of projects that are all striving to improve the environment.

By Alicia P. Gregory
photo by Lee Thomas

You know the chorus from that old Irving Berlin song: “Anything you can do I can do better. I can do anything better than you.” It pretty much sums up UK chemist John Anthony’s challenge to silicon-based technology. His goal is to take anything you can make with silicon (think ceramics) and make it cheaper and greener with carbon (plastics).

Liquid-crystal displays (LCDs are the hot HDTV sets) and radio-frequency identification (RFIDs are tiny white tags that already appear on some products and will one day replace barcodes) are made from pricey and brittle silicon. But Anthony is tweaking carbon-based molecules to do these things and more. Anthony, an effusive teacher who says his goal is to get his students to



UK researcher is working to make the Earth’s water supply safer to drink.

By Jennifer T. Allen

Most people don’t worry about their drinking water causing cancer, brittle bones or neurological diseases. Not many suspect that it could contain arsenic, mercury or lead. Even fewer know that efforts are underway on the third floor of the Chemistry-Physics building to remove these and other contaminants from water.

Since 2000, chemistry professor David Atwood and his student researchers have been working to remove elemental contaminants from water — and they have been successful.  

“Most people don’t realize their direct effect on the quality of our water and our air,” said Lisa Blue, a chemistry graduate student working in Atwood’s lab. “We have certain things we can’t live without, such as water and air, and I want to be part of the solution in taking care


by Robin Roenker

What is the value of nature? Does it have intrinsic value of its own—or only as it relates to humans and our uses for it?

Does a conservationist perspective (which seeks to regulate human use) or a preservationist perspective (which aims to limit human use altogether) better foster an equitable stewardship of natural resources?

What isenvironmental sustainability—and how do we achieve it?

UK’s new philosophy class on Environmental Ethics, PHI 336, challenges students to consider complex questions like these—questions that, at their heart, delve into fundamental issues of mankind’s role as stewards of the environment, and the responsibilities that entails.

While efforts to launch an Environmental Ethics course within the Philosophy Department began years ago, the new course became reality in

biology logo

UK Biologist David Westneat has received a grant from the National Science Foundation entitled "Suburban Ecology and Invasive Species." The funding, which will be for the summers of 2012, 2013, and 2014 will allow 10 student research positions for 10 weeks. The program focuses on suburban ecology - the interactiosn between organisms and an environment that is heavily modfied by human activity, with special focus on invasive species. Eleven researchers acros five departments have designed a diverse array of projects for student participatns. The research projects will be conducted at Robinson Forest and Griffith Woods. Congratulations to Professor Westneat and the Biology Department!




A University of Kentucky biology professor known for his creativity in the classroom has recently been awarded for his storytelling.


UK biology professor 


story by Guy Spriggs

English professor and writer-in-residence Erik Reece has expressed his views on the coal industry and energy policy in Kentucky in such works as his 2006 book “Lost Mountain.” He also believes the University of Kentucky has an opportunity to effect positive change and become a more energy-responsible institution.

Reece understands the influence of coal in Kentucky, but feels that the effects coal has on Kentucky’s environment and local economies are largely overlooked.  “It’s a very cheap source of energy because there’s so much of it, but the problem is that people aren’t factoring in the true cost of coal,” Reece said.  “We’re not paying for the externalities in terms of all the dirty water, the

Shannon Elizabeth Bell

The Rural Sociological Society has recognized Shannon Bell and Richard York for Best Article. The article, “Community Economic Identity: The Coal Industry and Ideology Construction in West Virginia,” was published in March 2010 in Rural Sociology, the Society’s journal. Shannon Bell is an assistant professor of sociology at UK; Richard York, who co-authored the article, is a professor at the University of Oregon. 

In their article, Bell and York address the relationship between capitalist modes of production and ecological destruction. Using the Appalachian coal industry as a case study, they demonstrate the ways in which declines in coal industry jobs and the

When the University of Kentucky's Environmental Studies program director position opened up last summer, chemistry Professor David Atwood enthusiastically submitted his application.
But UK's resident expert on the removal of metal contaminants from water wanted to see something more.
"In working with others across campus, I was hearing more and more about the need for an interdisciplinary environmental studies major at UK," Atwood explained. "I thought that in order to really make the director position worth it, we should expand what we already had."
So, Atwood met with Dean Mark Kornbluh with argument in hand.
But to Atwood's surprise, Kornbluh
Lisa Blue

Ph.D. Student

By Brian Connors Manke

Don’t be fooled by her last name. The most important color to chemistry graduate student, Lisa Blue, is definitely green. 

When Blue was starting college at Missouri State as a pre-med student, she stayed for a summer session to get a chemistry course out of the way. Get it done and over with – like ripping off a Band-Aid. 

Simple enough – but then came the unexpected. For the first time in college she was thoroughly challenged. She had to truly work at chemistry, and for a student with the drive and inquisitiveness that Blue possesses that was enough to get her hooked. 

A master’s at Missouri State followed, as did a stint working at the Blackmon Water Treatment Plant in Springfield, Mo. – a job that impressed upon her the issue of clean water. “I was fascinated with this interaction between



by Rebekah Tilley
photos by Lee Thomas

With the election of President Barack Obama, who ran on a campaign platform promising to develop and deploy five coal-fired plants with clean carbon capture – clean coal technology has taken center stage. And in the Appalachian region, the “land where coal is king,” the potential impact goes well beyond the “simple” questions of a greener earth. 

“Central Appalachia is deeply invested in coal and it’s deeply polarized over questions of jobs versus environment. How to sort out those questions cause real problems, especially in those areas of Appalachia that will have to live with the consequences,” said Dwight Billings, UK Professor of Sociology. “Coal has figured so centrally in the life of this particular part of Kentucky and West Virginia – in terms of


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