UK EDC News | January 2024

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Talent Update

New bachelor’s degree in statistics and data science addresses growing

data-driven industries

The Dr. Bing Zhang Department of Statistics at the University of Kentucky is now offering, for the first time, an undergraduate major for students, addressing a growing demand for skilled professionals in data-driven industries.

The new Bachelor of Science in statistics and data science will equip students to execute all stages of data analysis.

As businesses and organizations increasingly rely on data to make informed decisions, there has been a surge in the demand for more people who are trained to make sense of data. UK is meeting this demand by launching the new undergraduate major

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Innovation Update

UK serves as regional host for DOE student business

plan competition

The University of Kentucky has been selected to serve as a regional convener for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) national EnergyTech University Prize competition,

Sponsored by DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions (OTT), the EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP) is a collegiate competition challenging multidisciplinary student teams to develop and present a business plan that leverages laboratory-developed and other high-potential energy technologies.

UK will be serving as a regional convener and will host its competition online on Wednesday, Feb. 28. 

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Equitable Economic Development Update

UK creates Economic Inclusion Marketplace to support diverse suppliers, local businesses

As part of the University of Kentucky’s strategic plan to advance the interests of the Commonwealth , UK formed an Economic Inclusion Program. Led by Barry Swanson, UK’s chief procurement officer, and Marilyn Clark, UK’s first economic inclusion manager and the EDC's equitable economic development subcommittee chair, the initiative strives to expand UK’s economic development efforts by providing support for diverse suppliers and Kentucky-located businesses.

To help these businesses more easily offer their goods and services to university departments, UK partnered with Lexington-located Equity Solutions Group (ESG) to develop an Economic Inclusion Marketplace. The businesses work with ESG to load the goods they want to offer to the university into an e-catalog that is available on the SRM Ariba Network platform.

The e-catalog will work by serving as an innovative, one-stop tool to connect diverse and Kentucky-located suppliers to the university.

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Place Update

Alumni Commons provides campus with new social center

Alumni Commons, a new social gathering space in the heart of campus, has opened on a portion of Rose Street after being closed for nearly 10 years because of construction projects.

What was once a two-way street has been repurposed for students, faculty, staff and alumni to gather, relax and enjoy. The area features terraced lawn seating, water features, patio and garden areas, swings, tables with umbrellas for shaded seating and spaces to accommodate large and small gatherings.

The UK Alumni Association pledged $3 million to the $9 million project.

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Partnership Update

UK launches OneUK, a holistic business engagement program for strategic partnerships

The University of Kentucky has launched OneUK, a holistic business engagement program aimed at deepening relationships with strategic industry partners. OneUK marks a significant milestone in the university's commitment to fostering long-term collaborations that drive mutual benefits and maximize impact.

The program is set to launch with an inaugural cohort committed to growing strategically with UK in the areas of talent, innovation and support. The cohort includes Appalachian Regional Health, Fischer Homes and Valvoline Global Operations.

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Meet the Team

Part of a monthly series to introduce the Economic Development Collaborative Leaders

Gina Dugas is a CPA with nearly 30 years of professional experience working in a variety of financial and operational leadership positions. These include her current role as Acting Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration at the University of Kentucky, as well as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance roles in higher education and healthcare environments for the better part of her career, both in non-profit and for-profit environments. 

Since joining the UK team in early 2021, Gina has served in a variety of roles within Finance and Administration, including serving in a dual role as Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration and Vice President for Human Resources, as well as Vice President for Finance and Administration.

In her current role, Gina’s responsibilities include oversight of several functional areas across the University including Partnerships, Transportation, Procurement, Risk Management, Environmental Health and Safety, Economic Development and Real Estate, Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity, UK Police Department, Facilities Management, Finance and Administration Specialty Training (FAST) program, and the Business Support Center. Additionally, Gina supports the office of the Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration (EVPFA) in providing leadership and support for strategic plans for business opportunities, including new healthcare business

expansion opportunities.

Central Kentucky Job Club:

10 Professional Development Books That Mean Business

February 13, 2023 - 9:00 AM

Presented by Ryan Farley, Extension Agent for 4-H Youth Development, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension

In this session discover 10 notable books, ranging in topics from habit-building to event planning, and how they can help you stretch yourself to better prepare for your ideal career!

Register Here
EDC Communication
The news featured here does not exclusively represent the work of the EDC, but rather highlights the contributions of various collaborators. We are honored to showcase the remarkable achievements taking place across the 
University of Kentucky.
The EDC Mission:

To proactively grow economic prosperity in the Commonwealth by focusing on the areas of Talent, Innovation, Place, Partnership, and Equitable Economic Development

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