Kathi Kern, CELT Featured on "UK at the Half"

One of the best things about being a member of the UK family is the opportunity to engage with gifted, dedicated people, who are tirelessly committed to moving our institution forward. One of those individuals was recently highlighted on the "UK at the Half" radio broadcast. 

Dr. Kathi Kern, an associate professor in the Department of History, is the Director of Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT).

She is an innovator in her own classrooms and brings energy and enthusiasm to the teaching enterprise at UK. Recently, she was featured on "UK at the Half” for her exceptional work as a professor and CELT director. In the broadcast, she talked about her passion for teaching and developing students. 

“I have always been interested in teaching, particularly because when students approach a history class they often think it’s going to be boring, it’s going to be memorization, it’s going to be random facts that aren’t important to me,” she said. "So I have always, as a historian, been interested in how I can engage students in teaching history, and I often used unconventional methods to do that. I started working on teaching as sort of part of my identity as a historian. I wanted to be an innovative teacher."

Though Dr. Kern has won many awards for her innovative and passionate teaching, including but not limited to, UK’s Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Teaching, the alumni Great Teacher Award, and the College of Education’s “Teachers Who Make a Difference” Award, the implications of her work are greater than her personal accolades.

As the director of CELT, Dr. Kern and her staff encourage the use of instructional technology to engage students and increase classroom interaction. Additionally, they offer support and guidance to faculty on how to improve instruction throughout the many facets of higher education. 

“Everyone in CELT teaches because that gives us credibility with the faculty,” she said. “We’re not just going to pontificate about what people should be doing and not try things out ourselves.” 

CELT not only serves the UK community, but also foreign countries. For example, Pakistan and Iraq send faculty to the University of Kentucky CELT to learn and train to be better educators. In addition, CELT is currently forging partnerships with Chinese universities and hopes to welcome the first cohort from China this summer. CELT has also been invited to go to China to offer teaching workshops at universities there.

Dr. Kern also does research and outreach to public school teachers in Kentucky and other states to support and develop educators at all levels. 

Dr. Kathi Kern’s work speaks to the fundamental purpose of the University of Kentucky: to serve students and help them pursue and maintain academic excellence. Her story is an example among many of why we are here-- to serve those that we touch and teach, as the University for Kentucky. 

You can listen to the UK at the Half broadcast here. 

Timothy S. Tracy 

@UKYProvost

#Academic Excellence

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