Faculty now have chance to collaborate among SEC

Bailey Vandiver

Students aren’t the only ones who can go away to study. 

For five years, the SEC Faculty Travel Program has allowed over 100 faculty members from SEC universities to travel among schools and collaborate with other professors. 

This year, nine of those 100 are UK faculty members:

•Sunday “Tayo” Adedokun, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment

•Melinda Ickes, College of Education

•Yang Jiang, College of Medicine

•Youngseek Kim, College of Communication and Information

•Yoko Kusunose, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment

•Rebekah Radtke, College of Design

•Monica Visona, College of Fine Arts

•Irina Voro, College of Fine Arts

•Jonathan Wenk, College of Engineering

Faculty members must apply and be chosen to participate in this program. 

“It was a great opportunity to get to work with scholars that exist within the SEC,” Radtke said. 

Many of the professors already knew who they wanted to work with if given this opportunity, based on similar research or interactions at conferences.  Wenk said he has repeatedly seen Morten Jensen of the University of Arkansas at a yearly research conference. 

“We always said we should start working on a project together,” Wenk said. The two will get to work “face to face” on a project exploring how the mitral valve of the heart responds to surgery. 

Some professors, like Ickes, will give lectures at the other universities, while others, like Adedokun, will be developing research proposals for future funding. 

As a piano professor, Voro does not typically have a large budget for research travel. “Imagine how grateful I am to the people running the SEC Travel program,” Voro said. Because SEC Travel recognizes the need for her applied research on creativity, she will present at the University of Florida and the University of Alabama. 

The benefits of this program spread to UK students. Any knowledge professors learn can be transferred to their students. 

Ickes said the program “helps establish collaborations across universities.”