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University of Kentucky faculty trustee to step down from board, plus other higher ed news

Pedestrians walk along Rose Street on the University of Kentucky campus in Lexington, Ky., on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023.

One of the University of Kentucky’s faculty trustees will step down from the board at the end of this year to serve as his department’s chair.

Aaron Cramer, who has been a member of the UK Board of Trustees since 2022, has accepted the position of chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Because chairs are an administrative appointment, department chairs are not permitted to hold trustee positions at the same time.

Cramer said it had been an honor to serve as a trustee. As a graduate of the electrical and computer engineering department, he felt that serving as chair was the best move, and “it means a lot to me to be able to try to help that department move forward.”

“Your home unit, that’s your closest family at the university: the students, and the faculty and the staff in that department,” Cramer said in an interview with the Herald-Leader. “It seemed that they needed me at this time, that need was greater, and I could serve the university better by addressing that.”

Cramer, along with the other faculty trustee Hollie Swanson, has advocated for faculty members during his time on the board. He frequently raised questions to the board about the impact of decisions on faculty and the university. Last year, he and Swanson were the only trustees who voted against a resolution commending President Eli Capilouto, saying it did not offer enough feedback for improvement for Capilouto and the administration.

“Faculty trustees must bring the perspective of the faculty to the Board,” Cramer said in an email to faculty earlier this week. “By sharing this full perspective with the other board members, the faculty trustees help them see the university more clearly, as it really is. Without this perspective, the Board would have to operate with a very narrow view of the university, without the light needed for the University of Kentucky to flourish.”

He will resign from the board effective Dec. 31. The university senate will hold a special election to fill the faculty trustee position through the end of Cramer’s original term, which expires in June 2025, he said.

The board of trustees is the governing board of the university, making decisions and approvals that impact how UK operates. It has 16 members, including two faculty trustees, one student trustee, one staff trustee, as well as community members and alumni.

Have something that should be considered for the next round-up? Contact higher education reporter Monica Kast at mkast@herald-leader.com.

Events, dates to know

For those of you who are on college campuses, December means the end of the semester is quickly approaching. Between finals, graduation and holiday fun, it will be a busy few weeks.

Final exams at UK are December 11-14, and graduation ceremonies are on December 15. If you’re looking for a way to unwind between now and then, here are some events happening on campus:

  • Dec. 9: Big Blue Santa. The UK Alumni Association will hold an event for members with holiday crafts, games and treats, along with Big Blue Santa. Families attending are asked to bring a toy or gift to donate to the Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Registration is $10 for children, and limited to members of the Alumni Association.

  • Through Dec. 15: The UK Police Department is hosting its seventh annual “Cram the Cruiser” toy drive. Donations will be given to patients of Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Unwrapped, new toys can be dropped off at UKPD’s headquarters at the corner of Rose Street and Euclid Avenue.