Campus Walk with UK’s New College of Education Dean


[Music] AMY JONES-TIMONEY: Hi I’m Amy Jones-Timoney,
from the University of Kentucky. And today we are here with the new Dean of
the College of Education, Julian Vasquez Heilig. Thank you so much for joining us. JULIAN VASQUEZ HEILIG: So glad to join you. AMY JONES-TIMONEY: So, I guess first of all,
as we begin our walk over here by Dickey Hall and Taylor Education Building over there,
what attracted you to the UK College of Education? JULIAN VASQUEZ HEILIG: What I think is great
is the sort of innovative spirit and the community engagement of the college. The faculty, with not only internally, the
collaborations that happen between departments. But also, the important work that’s happening
with Fayette County schools, and other stakeholders. It’s just really, it’s exciting that this
is a community-engaged, community-relevant college. AMY JONES-TIMONEY: I know that, that issues
of equity in education are really important to you. JULIAN VASQUEZ HEILIG: Sure. AMY JONES-TIMONEY: Why are you so passionate
about those issues? JULIAN VASQUEZ HEILIG: That’s a great question. I think that historically and in certain communities,
that they’ve been underserved. They haven’t had the same educational opportunities. And I think that the fact that this university
is engaged in those important conversations and is a beacon of those conversations was
an incredibly attractive part of coming to this campus. AMY JONES-TIMONEY: I know that you have different,
programs, a variety of different programs, within the college. JULIAN VASQUEZ HEILIG: Sure. AMY JONES-TIMONEY: As far as over here, in
Taylor Ed and Dickey Hall, what kinds of research projects are your faculty working on, as we
head over into this area? JULIAN VASQUEZ HEILIG: Sure. So many different things to tell you about. Of course, we have folks engaged in training
educational leaders, principals, superintendents, teacher leaders, so many different aspects. Sometimes it’s online. Sometimes it’s in-person. Sometimes those courses are blended, online
and in-person. We also, of course, have an important role
in teacher education for this state. As we know, there’s a teacher shortage here
in Kentucky. There’s a teacher shortage in many locales
nationwide and we are really engaged here in the college, in thinking about creative
ways to ensure that every single community has highly qualified teachers, and so, we
have seven different departments. Those are just two. But there’s some really exciting things, and
what’s really great about this college, I think what sets us apart from some of these
fly-by-night online programs that you hear so much about these days, is that it’s our
faculty. It’s our students. It’s our alumni that makes UK great and everything
wildly possible. AMY JONES-TIMONEY: Well, tell me about your
students. I know that you’re in your first days here. But what are they like? And why are they picking the UK College of
Education? JULIAN VASQUEZ HEILIG: Yeah, so we have almost
2,500 students. We are one of the biggest colleges on campus. We’re also one of the most highly ranked colleges
that we have here on campus at UK. We have more than, about 100 tenure-track
faculty too. And those students are very diverse. They’re from counties, almost every single
county in the State of Kentucky is represented, almost every single state, I think maybe we
have 46 out of 50 states represented in our student body. AMY JONES-TIMONEY: Wow. JULIAN VASQUEZ HEILIG: They’re all ages, of
course. Our Educational Leadership students are typically
older. Our undergraduate students, who are training
to become teachers and psychologists and other things, are younger. We have a very diverse group. But we also care about diversity. We have needs and we have goals to have a
more diverse student body. So that’s something we’re tuned into, also. AMY JONES-TIMONEY: How are you making sure
that your students are getting just the best training that they can get before they go
out into the classrooms or into these careers for leadership? JULIAN VASQUEZ HEILIG: Sure. Well, absolutely. That’s grounded in our faculty. That’s grounded in our world-class faculty. That’s grounded in the fact that coming up,
we just had a symposium and we brought in some of the top faculty from across the United
States to talk about their research, and to really inform our faculty. Our faculty are engaged in the cutting-edge
work across the different departments and I think that’s what really attracts students
to our program. That’s what attracts faculty to our programs. So, I think that it’s that our faculty are
engaged in the salient issues of today. They’re relevant. AMY JONES-TIMONEY: I know that many of your
faculty aren’t just located in these two buildings. JULIAN VASQUEZ HEILIG: Sure. AMY JONES-TIMONEY: So, let’s head this way
and go across campus and check out the Seaton Center. JULIAN VASQUEZ HEILIG: Let’s go. [Music] INTERVIEWER: So we made our way over to the
Seton Center. Tell me about the types of programs that are
housed here. JULIAN VASQUEZ HEILIG: So, this is where the
kinesiology and health programs are. There’s a variety of different types of research
that they do here. Some of the more interesting ones, they’ve
been studying the endurance of firefighters. They’ve been studying, for example, when you
give students class breaks. They’ve been studying obesity and its effect
on children. So, there’s really quite a wide variety of
research that’s happening here. Our students do a variety of things when they
leave here. They become athletic directors, they work
as teachers, they go on to professional schools like PT programs, medical schools, et cetera. What’s really great is that there’s such a
wide variety of things that they do in this building and it allows to work with communities
and organizations that teach, research and promote healthier lifestyles, to prepare our
students for different roles in health fields. AMY JONES-TIMONEY: Well, what about also the
impact that your college as a whole is having in the community? I know that that’s important for a lot of
the people in your college. JULIAN VASQUEZ HEILIG: Absolutely. So, they impact in several ways. One, the types of research that they’re doing
and making that research relevant and available to the public. Our faculty want to be sure that their research
is not going to sit only in peer review journals, but that it’s relevant for today’s big issues
in the health sciences and in the health field. AMY JONES-TIMONEY: I know that you’re proud
of what the college has accomplished in the past, but you’re new here. You’re looking towards the future. When you think about your vision for the College
of Education here at UK, what are the goals that are really important for you that you
want to reach? JULIAN VASQUEZ HEILIG: Well, we want to–
you know, we wake up in the morning as educators. We want to impact the world, and specifically
we want to improve the lives of children around the state and around the nation, and ultimately,
around the world. I think that’s what makes a college of education
so unique and special on a campus, is that we’re laser focused on the lives of children
and on the lives of students, and ultimately, we want our work, our research, our service,
our teaching, so that we’re creating educators and that we’re creating champions of change
that are being impactful in the lives of children not only here but outside the boundaries of
our nation. AMY JONES-TIMONEY: Well, thank you so much
for showing us around today. Is there anything before we go that you just
really want the rest of campus to know about your college? JULIAN VASQUEZ HEILIG: Well, I’m excited to
be here. I really appreciate the innovative spirit
of our faculty. I appreciate that they’re community relevant
and that they’re community engaged and we look forward to working on behalf of the citizens
of this state as its land-grant, premiere land-grant and first land-grant institution
to change the lives of children and families. AMY JONES-TIMONEY: Thank you so much for taking
the time to show us around today. JULIAN VASQUEZ HEILIG: Thank you so much. AMY JONES-TIMONEY: If you would like more
information on the College of Education, just visit the website on your screen.

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