Monthly Archives: August 2011

Education, Serving the Young People of the Commonwealth

Today’s post is a guest post from William E. Ellis, Foundation Professor Emeritus at Eastern Kentucky University and author of the recently published, A History of Education in Kentucky.

On September 7 at 4:30 in the Grand Reading Room of the John Grant Crabbe Library I will have the opportunity of talking about my book, A History of Education in Kentucky.  Much of my talk will be about why and how I came about writing about such a daunting topic.  The is book is the result of six years of rather concentrated effort by someone who is supposed to be “retired.”

The Forum on the History of Education in Kentucky, to be held in the Perkins Building on the EKU campus on September 8, is not just a look backward to where we have been but a discussion of where we are today and where need to be in the future to better serve the young people of the Commonwealth.  A morning panel of elementary and secondary education and an afternoon panel on higher education will discuss and even debate what needs to be done to push education in Kentucky into a leadership role.  Governor Patton’s luncheon speech will be given by one the greatest education governors in the state’s history.

I urge everyone to attend.  “Education, Education, Education,” as Andrew Carnegie once famously said in the best legacy we can will to another generation.

–Bill Ellis

For more information on the Forum, please see our previous post: Registration Now OPEN for “A History of Education in Kentucky” Forum at EKU


Kentucky is nationally renowned for horses, bourbon, rich natural resources, and unfortunately, hindered by a deficient educational system. Though its reputation is not always justified, in national rankings for grades K-12 and higher education, Kentucky consistently ranks among the lowest states in education funding, literacy, and student achievement.

In A History of Education in Kentucky, William E. Ellis illuminates the successes and failures of public and private education in the commonwealth since its settlement. Ellis demonstrates how political leaders in the nineteenth century created a culture that devalued public education and refused to adequately fund it. He also analyzes efforts by teachers and policy makers to enact vital reforms and establish adequate, equal education, and discusses ongoing battles related to religious instruction, integration, and the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA).

A History of Education in Kentucky is the only up-to-date, single-volume history of education in the commonwealth. Offering more than mere policy analysis, this comprehensive work tells the story of passionate students, teachers, and leaders who have worked for progress from the 1770s to the present day. Despite the prevailing pessimism about education in Kentucky, Ellis acknowledges signs of a vibrant educational atmosphere in the state. By advocating a better understanding of the past, Ellis looks to the future and challenges Kentuckians to avoid historic failures and build on their successes.

“This book should be required reading for any public policy maker who wants to make a positive contribution to the continuing pursuit of educational excellence in the Commonwealth. I was entertained and enlightened”–Paul E. Patton, President of Pikeville College and former Governor of Kentucky

“Education is the key to Kentucky’s future. In this fine study, Ellis tells us what has been done. But he also tells us that much remains to be done. Are Kentuckians willing to make the sustained effort that is needed? That is the question that we need to answer.”–Lowell Harrison, coauthor of A New History of Kentucky


Dedicating the King Memorial and Honoring the Ideals of Brotherhood

The following editorial first appeared on The Huffington Post on August 25, 2011

Link Here

Gregory S. Parks

by Gregory S. Parks and Stefan M. Bradley, editors of the forthcoming Alpha Phi Alpha: A Legacy of Greatness, The Demands of Transcendence

In a few days, tens — if not hundreds — of thousands of people will converge upon this nation’s capital to witness the historic unveiling of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall. The idea for the memorial began with a handful of Alpha Phi AlphaFraternity members in 1983, the year President Ronald Reagan signed the King Holiday Bill into law. In 1985, Alpha’s general organization began the long process of securing congressional legislation, authorizing the fraternity to raise the $120 million needed to build the memorial, and dedicating land for its

Stefan M. Bradley


Undoubtedly, most American citizens have some idea of who Dr. King was — that he fought and laid down his life for racial and social justice, utilized the strategy of non-violent passive resistance toward this end, and gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Although many Americans are aware of Dr. King’s activism, fewer know as much about the fraternity into which he was initiated. In 1952, as a graduate student at Boston University, Dr. King joined the first continuous intercollegiate, African-American fraternity. Founded on Dec. 4, 1906, at Cornell University, Alpha Phi Alpha fit perfectly with his budding ideals of service.

Influenced by elements of the African-American church and secret societies, white collegiate fraternities and literary societies, as well as the racial climates at Cornell and the nation at the turn of the 20th century, seven young men founded this brotherhood. As one Alpha founder noted about the fraternity’s origins, “Society offered us narrowly circumscribed opportunity and no security. Out of our need, our fraternity brought social purpose and social action.”

While Alpha established a network of like-minded men who could enjoy each other’s company, the fraternity was fashioned to be much more than that. Cardinal features of Alpha’s identity include high academic achievement, gentlemanliness, deep and abiding brotherhood among members, as well as a commitment to uplifting the disadvantaged through civic action, policy, and service. It is no wonder that Alpha’s membership has been comprised of luminaries like W.E.B. Du Bois, the great scholar and social agitator; Charles Hamilton Houston, architect of the NAACP’s effort to dismantle public school segregation; Paul Robeson, an American Renaissance man who pushed the boundaries of black identity and political freedom; Thurgood Marshall, the litigator of the famous 1954 Brown v. Board case and the first African-American U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

While African-American men founded Alpha and the fraternity has remained largely African American, it evolved to come close to one of King’s ideals, the universality of brotherhood. Alpha initiated its first white member in 1946 — a dental student at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 1954, a white brother (Roger Youmans) addressed a national convention for the first time. Incidentally, upon deciding to pledge Alpha, Youmans found a cross burning on his lawn. Today, professor, poet, and former Rhodes Scholar Dr. Andrew Zawacki assists Alpha in moving ever-closer to King’s dream of universal brotherhood.

The King Memorial, and Alpha’s effort to edify the legacy of one of its own, cast a spotlight on the fraternity’s ideals and the manifestation of those ideals. This is especially so in an era when African-American fraternities and sororities are under increasing scrutiny and criticism and at a time when many wonder whether these organizations are still relevant.

In fact, research suggests that the very principles upon which Alpha and other black Greek-letter organizations (BGLOs) were founded no longer hold as much currency with members of these organizations. For instance, forthcoming research on BGLOs’ academic achievement reveals that their college chapter grade point averages have been unremarkable, if not poor. Then, while there is no empirical research on BGLOs’ uplift activities, notwithstanding some recent acts, their civic activism and efforts to shape public policy seemed to have waned. Without such activism, their often unrecorded acts of community service and philanthropy serve as their only uplift activities. Other research, some dated and some forthcoming, contends that homophobia is a significant issue within African-American fraternities. In fact, according to one study, young men in BGLOs seem persistent in their groping for the man’s man or ladies’ man identity, eschewing the gentleman scholar image — often associated with Alpha. In fact, one study’s participant indicated that young African-American men would much rather be identified with rapper 50 Cent than Dr. King.

The unveiling of the King memorial is great cause for celebration, but it is also a time for reflection — particularly for the organization that spearheaded its construction and shares intertwined ideals with one of its greatest members. After more than 100 years of existence, it is imperative for Alpha to ask to what extent its agenda in action reflects King’s dream and the legacy. Self-reflection, even for an organization, is a difficult task, but as the brothers of Alpha celebrate their crowning achievement this week, our hope is that they consider the greater monuments that they have left to build.

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C-SPAN to air special features from the KY Book Fair featuring UPK authors

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Five UPK authors will be featured this Saturday and Sunday as C-SPAN will air programs produced in partnership with the Frankfort Plant Board. C-SPAN producers traveled to Frankfort during the Kentucky Book Fair and visited literary and historic sites while interviewing local historians, authors, and civil leaders. Frankfort is part of a regional circuit called 2011 LCV Cities Tour, in which C-SPAN producers travel the country in Ford Transit Connect vehicles equipped with modern digital camera, editing, and other recording technologies so that they can record and distribute programs on location. Five of the seven BookTV programs on the LCV Cities Tour offered by C-SPAN will feature UPK authors.

All of these programs contribute to knowledge about Kentucky’s history and literary life. At times, the focus will be on personal narratives about specific times and places, yet other episodes will be broader stories about important historical events that shaped not only Kentucky, but the nation as a whole.

Times the programs air on CSPAN are as follows:

Lindsay Apple

Saturday, August 27 at 11:30 am ET
Sunday, August 28 at 12:00 am, 10:30 am, and 4:15 pm

Kent Masterson Brown

Saturday, August 27 at 9:00 am and 8:30 pm ET
Sunday, August 28 at 1:00 pm
Monday, August 29 at 4:00 am

Brad Asher

Saturday, August 27 at 1:00 pm ET
Sunday, August 28 at 9:00 am and 7:30 pm
Monday, August 29 at 2:30 am

Other air times can be found at

UPK author Kent Masterson Brown creates Documentary Film Enterprise

Kent Masterson Brown, author of the recently published One of Morgan’s Men: Memoirs of Lieutenant John M. Porter of the Ninth Kentucky Cavalry, is the subject of a recently published article in the Herald Leader. “Attorney turns passion for history into documentary film enterprise” by Tom Eblen describes Witnessing History LLC, the company Brown and his partner, Doug High, created to produce documentary films about historical subjects. Witnessing History has produced three films so far. Bourbon and Kentucky: A History Distilled, which has been shown on television in every state in the U.S. and in Canada, is a story about a pioneer in Kentucky and his intriguing discovery. Retreat from Gettysburg: Lee, Logistics, and the Pennsylvania Campaign is a film for more passionate history buffs about the retreat of General Robert E. Lee’s army in 1863. Most recently, Henry Clay and the Struggle for the Union, which has been showing on Kentucky Educational Television since June, differs from typical biographies of Clay in that it is framed in the context of Clay’s contributions to the Civil War. Brown is responsible for writing and narrating the films and for choosing the historic images they use. His impetus behind starting the company was to try and present history to the public in a more engaging manner that highlights the importance of specific events to the country’s growth. Kent Masterson Brown has also published Cushing of Gettysburg: The Story of a Union Artillery Commander about the career of Lt. Alonzo Hereford Cushing and the nature of the Civil War.

How do you like our look?

If you’ve browsed our many platforms over the years, you’ve probably noticed many different icons that represent our books. From our traditional logo on our website:

to our more recent design:

the University Press of Kentucky has been inconsistent with our image and has failed to successfully represent our brand in the world of ideas.

In addition to our different icons, we felt that our old logos didn’t speak to all of our customers and fans. We felt that our website logo didn’t represent the progress we’ve made as an electronic press, while our newer K logo didn’t illustrate our connection to our consortium members.

Today, we’re proud to announce our new brand:

We feel that this new look is fresh, but is an homage to everything that is great about our Press. We hope you like it and would love to hear what you think! Tell us your thoughts in the comments section!

UPK Author Frederick Kirschenmann wins inaugural James Beard Foundation Leadership Award

Recognizing visionaries in the business, government and education sectors responsible for creating a healthier, safer, and more sustainable food world, the James Beard Foundation has named the recipients of the inaugural James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards. UPK author Frederick Kirschenmann (Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays from a Farmer Philosopher) joins fellow recipients Will Allen, Fedele Bauccio, Debra Eschmeyer, Sheri Flies, Jan Kees Vis, First Lady Michelle Obama, Janet Poppendieck, Alice Waters, and Craig Watson as honorees.

Read more about the honorees & the James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards here.

Theologian, academic, and third-generation organic farmer Frederick L. Kirschenmann is a celebrated agricultural thinker. In the last thirty years he has tirelessly promoted the principles of sustainability and has become a legend in his own right.

Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays from a Farmer Philosopher documents Kirschenmann’s evolution and his lifelong contributions to the new agrarianism in a collection of his greatest writings on farming, philosophy, and sustainability. Working closely with agricultural economist and editor Constance L. Falk, Kirschenmann recounts his intellectual and spiritual journey. In a unique blend of personal history, philosophical discourse, spiritual ruminations, and practical advice, Kirschenmann interweaves his insights with discussion of contemporary agrarian topics. This collection serves as an invaluable resource to agrarian scholars and introduces readers to an agricultural pioneer whose work has profoundly influenced modern thinking about food.

“Fred Kirschenmann may not be as well known as Wendell Berry or Wes Jackson, America’s other indispensable farmer-philosophers, but the publication of this superb collection of essays should fix that. These essays make clear to all what some of us have long known: that Fred is one of the wisest, sanest, most practical, and most trusted voices in the movement to reform the American food system.”-Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

“More than a collection of writing that spans over three decades, this book is a treasure that should reside on a nerby shelf for ready reference for any person concerned about the future of food and the environment.”-Journal of Sustainable Agriculture

In the ‘Fields’ of Academics: Learning and Growing

The following post was taken from an article originally run by Inside Higher Ed and re-printed by USA Today.

[August 2, 2011]

Allie Grasgreen

David Schaad knows a lot about farming.

He knows it’s important to start work at 8 a.m., so he can harvest the leafy green vegetables like lettuce and kale before it gets too hot, and he knows to bring his harvesting knife for root vegetables like carrots, scallions and green onions.

Schaad knows that the tomatoes and peppers in the greenhouses and hoop houses (he knows the difference between the two: the latter’s temperature doesn’t have to be regulated) need a constant water supply, but he also knows it’s easy to over-water them because, with up to 100 cells of dirt in each of those honeycomb containers, some cells are drier than others. He knows that drip irrigation automatically waters the zucchini and pumpkins in the orchard, but he also knows someone needs to oversee that process and move the 30-foot irrigation lines (and soaker hoses, and aluminum pipes) from time to time.

David Schaad doesn’t know where he’ll go after graduating from the University of Montana. But he knows one thing: it will involve growing food — and not just because his food is delicious. He wants to support a growing alternative to the massive companies that — in his view, at the expense of the environment, the land and the small family farms that used to do this job — have taken over agriculture.

“I feel like, in a lot of ways, because there’s such an increase in demand among the public in general for organic food, and increasingly as well for local in-season produce, that the agribusiness model is not as powerful as it used to be,” Schaad says. “Maybe it’s just the optimist in me, but I see a lot of cause for hope.”

Schaad’s knowledge, passion and idealism are common among students in fields from agroecology to anthropology — a body of student farmers more academically diverse than ever before. The more than 80 student farms on or near campuses in the United States and Canada are similarly diverse, with different acreages, institutional settings and crop and livestock varieties tailored to meet the needs of the college. They were established as many as 140 years ago (Berea College in Kentucky, the first student farm) and as few as three years ago (the University of Nevada, Texas A&M University at Kingsville, and the University of Guelph, in Ontario). For a complete directory, click here. Notably, many of the farms and students interested in farming aren’t at land-grant institutions. For instance, while Schaad works at the University of Montana, it’s Montana State University that is home to the state’s agriculture college.

Over the course of more than a century, the quantity, philosophy and purpose of student farms have all changed dramatically. But one thing has stayed the same: they’re still changing students’ lives.

For their new book Fields of Learning: The Student Farm Movement in North America (University Press of Kentucky), Laura Sayre and Sean Clark compiled essays from staff on 15 farms to illustrate the trials, tribulations and sheer joys of establishing and maintaining such enterprises.

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