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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 16, 2023) — Transdisciplinary Educational approaches to advance Kentucky (TEK) engages faculty and students with complex, multidimensional issues that impact the Commonwealth. A bedrock principle of the TEK initiative is that the best solutions emerge when people with different backgrounds and expertise come together to generate new ideas. Through transdisciplinary problem-solving, TEK also seeks to develop students’ essential employability skills, including the highly valued abilities to identify multiple points of view, communicate ideas effectively, collaborate in teams and reflect on growth.

A critical part of TEK is the development of new transdisciplinary courses as well as the revision of current courses to integrate transdisciplinary skills and learning outcomes. To accomplish this, TEK is engaging the expertise of faculty in the inaugural cohort of the TEK Faculty Fellows program.

This fall, the TEK Faculty Fellows are participating in faculty learning communities facilitated by the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT). Through regular small group meetings, faculty explore approaches to transdisciplinary curricular and instructional approaches, including community partnerships, team teaching, assignment design and inquiry-based learning. Over the course of the academic year, TEK Faculty Fellows will work on their courses collaboratively, share ideas and feedback and continue to support each other as they teach their new and revised courses in the spring. 

New TEK courses will be offered utilizing the UKC prefix during the Spring 2024 semester and will satisfy UK Core requirements. Courses focus on topics such as climate change, misinformation, creative spaces and well-being. All undergraduate students are encouraged to enroll in the new courses.

“I am very excited to be co-teaching about climate change impacts in Kentucky from a transdisciplinary perspective, as this is such a multifaceted, complex issue,” said Alice Turkington, associate professor of geography in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Climate change is not just a scientific issue, but also a social, economic, cultural and political issue. By understanding how these dimensions are related here in Kentucky, we can examine more effective strategies and policies that will help us address this critical issue.”

In addition to new TEK courses, faculty are redesigning existing courses to include explicit emphasis on one or more essential employability skills. Faculty across different disciplines are working together to create opportunities for students to see multiple viewpoints, reflect, communicate and work in teams. 

"The TEK Faculty Fellows program promotes an open and honest learning environment where faculty can come together and collaborate,” said Lou Hirsch, assistant professor of plant pathology in the Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “I am really excited about the fellowship because I am making connections with great teachers at UK and allowing myself the time I need to make my class better, all under the guidance of great pedagogical mentors."

Below is a list of the TEK course offerings for the Spring 2024 semester: 

New Transdisciplinary DISCOVER Courses include: 

  • UKC 180 (section 001): 10 Ways of Thinking about Climate Change in Kentucky ​
    • Lauren Cagle, Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies
    • Alice Turkington, Geography 
  • UKC 105 (section 001): Reimagining Creative Spaces Across the Commonwealth ​
    • Patrick Lee Lucas, Interiors 
    • Rose Winter Phong, Arts Administration
    • Rachel Shane, Arts Administration 
  • UKC 185 (section 001): Misinformation and Society ​
    • Troy Cooper, Communication and Information 
    • Chris Huggins, Sociology 
  • UKC 100 (section 001); Teamwork and Creativity for Impact on Wellbeing
    • Ryan Hargrove, Landscape Architecture 
    • John Nash, Educational Leadership Studies 

Redesigned Courses 

  • ABT 120 (section 001, 002): Genetics and Society ​
    • Lou Hirsch, Plant Pathology 
  • BIO 208 (section 001): Principles of Microbiology ​
    • Erin Richard, Biology 
  • CIS 111 (section 002, 005): Composition and Communication II ​
    • Lisa Enright, Information Science 
  • CIS 300 (section 201, 202, 203): Strategic Business and Professional Communication ​
    • Amanda Lawrence, Information Science 
  • CLM 323 (section 002, 003): Social Determinants of Health ​
    • Christy Brady, Health and Clinical Sciences 
  • DES 100 (all sections): Design in Your World ​
    • Liz Swanson, Architecture 
    • Jordan Hines, Architecture 
  • DHN 313 (section 001): Life Cycle and Community Nutrition II ​
    • Liz Combs, Dietetics and Human Nutrition 
  • FAM 253 (section 201): Human Sexuality 
    • Jason Hans, Family Sciences 
  • ICT 415 (section 201): Technology Training and Instructional Strategies ​
    • Kari Benguria, Information Science 
  • ID 359 (section 004) Special Topics in Interiors: Design Thinking for Global Health Challenges
    • Lindsey Fay, Interiors 
    • Joel Hamm, Emergency Medicine 
    • Melody Ryan, Pharmacy Practice and Science 
    • Jim Ballard, Center for Interprofessional and Community Health Education 
  • ID 559 (section 002) Special Topics in Interiors: Design Thinking for Global Health Challenges ​
    • Lindsey Fay, Interiors 
    • Joel Hamm, Emergency Medicine 
    • Melody Ryan, Pharmacy Practice and Science 
    • Jim Ballard, Center for Interprofessional and Community Health Education  
  • PPS 896 (section 002) Independent Problems in Pharmacy: Design Thinking for Global Health Challenges​
    • Lindsey Fay, Interiors 
    • Joel Hamm, Emergency Medicine 
    • Melody Ryan, Pharmacy Practice and Science 
    • Jim Ballard, Center for Interprofessional and Community Health Education  
  • MSE 403G (section 001): Ceramic Engineering Processing ​
    • Thomas Cochell, Chemical and Materials Engineering 
  • PHI 193 (section 001): Circus and Philosophy   
    • Meg Wallace, Philosophy 
  • RTM 345 (section 201): Service Management ​
    • Tracy Lu, Retailing and Tourism Management 

For more information about the TEK course offerings, the TEK Faculty Fellows program, and future opportunities to become a TEK Faculty Fellow, please visit A new cohort of TEK Faculty Fellows will be selected during the Spring 2024 semester.  

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