Ph.D., Pennsylvania, 1989
Professor Kern earned a Ph.D. in American history at the University of Pennsylvania where she was a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities and a winner of the Dean's Award for distinguished teaching. Since 1989 she has been a member of the History Department at the University of Kentucky as well as an affiliated member of the Gender and Women's Studies Program. At UK, she has won the Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Teaching (1995) and the Alumni Great Teacher Award (2003), and the College of Education’s “Teachers Who Make a Difference” Award (2001, 2004). Professor Kern's research concerns gender, religion and the women's rights movement in nineteenth-century America.
Professor Kern's research centers on the women's rights movement in nineteenth-century America and focuses particularly on the ways in which politics, gender, and religion have mixed to create new ideological positions and social change in the United States.
Professor Kern is also actively engaged in research and service outreach to public school teachers. Through the auspices of the National Faculty, she taught summer institutes for teachers in the Mississippi Delta, Alaska, and at the Smithsonian Institute from 1993-1999. Since 2003, Dr. Kern has authored several successful grants funded through the Teaching American History Grant program of the US Department of Education with awards totaling nearly four million dollars. In these projects she has worked collaboratively with colleagues in the College of Education and the Kentucky Historical Society to create professional development programs for American history teachers in Eastern Kentucky. In 2008, Kern was the co-winner (with Linda Levstik and Kathy Swan) of the National Technology Leadership Initiative Award in Social Studies for their research project on digital storytelling and history instruction. In 2009-2010, Dr. Kern will serve as the Stanley Kelley, Jr., Visiting Distinguished Professor of Teaching at Princeton University.