Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Quick Launch

IAS > My Day
Randolph Hollingsworth's journey and thoughts about how student success in higher education works at the University of Kentucky and the role of the Division of Undergraduate Education in this work,  If you have a UK account, please sign in (see top right hand corner of the page) in order to add your comments.
August 22
My response to a reporter for KyForward about College Success

An intern for KyForward contacted me last week to ask me to contribute to her story focusing on "college success and what college experts think students should do/know to succeed." I referred her to other people who are certainly more expert on the subject, and then wrote my own responses to her questions posed:

(1) The most important factors for a high school student to

  • In Kentucky, your college readiness (e.g., whether you need to take remedial courses in college) as well as certain selective college programs (such as the College of Engineering) or certain gateway courses (such as Mathematics) are measured by sub-scores on your ACT tests.
  • Generally, we here at UK know that if a student is on an upward trajectory in student success (e.g., starting to improve a grade point average, taking more difficult courses just for the challenge, studying longer or producing more reports), then they will be more successful in their first year of college. Students who might even have a terrific GPA but slide by in their senior year tend to come to UK and get a big shock, and can drop out sooner than those with lower GPAs but have worked hard their senior year.
  • Standing tall for your beliefs and values is important as you learn how to become a scholar, but even more important is active listening and intentional observing. This is a skill that can be practiced and learned, but you need to find out how best you can do it. You want to be able to go into a listening session with a goal in mind. You need to know how to review what you already know and to ask good questions about what might be coming up on the horizon.
  • Higher education is about long-term thinking, so you will need to find as soon as possible your own "wayfinder" - that ancient wisdom matters and is best learned from those who have long existed in the world of higher education; it may be one or it may be many different people, but you need to know that you must seek out a wayfinder as soon as possible and regularly. Stay curious and be open about how and when you can find a mentor who will guide you to create new knowledge, find new ways of thinking, new perspectives by experimentation, and new cultures.

(2) The reason that some students do not succeed is because, as a high school student, they did not practice the skills needed in college to

  • Students might know in their heads that studying content is different from learning - and that sometimes "content" can be at odds with "learning" - in fact, for many of us in higher education learning is chaotic and often indeterminate. To be creative in our learning, we need to flex problem-solving skills: not just ask good questions but seek out diversity of thought and experiences. This takes time (good time management skills) and silent reflection (quiet, alone time in a safe and comfortable space).
  • If you find you are angry and frustrated with failure, don't avoid those places where you fail -- keep trying and learn from it. You will begin to understand your personal set of skills that lead to successful life-long learning. Becoming independent and ethical in the process of controling your own learning is crucial for a college ready student.
  • Be an engaged learner who can manage your time and information technology. You should be able, then, to find and review the content you need when you need it and can review it at your own optimal pace.

(3) If schools were changed, in my view it would not be about curriculum (content covered, skills tested) but be in how educators fear difference and avoid inquiry for fear of not knowing something or getting into difficult questions of multiculturalism/diversity. Any kind of cultural difference should be celebrated and explored as something wonderful. Students who are “college ready” today are those who are willing to learn to think as a global citizen.  This means we educators must empower students with their own ways of learning/discovering even if it is with resources far from the traditional textbooks - instead of insisting on obedience to traditional kinds of sign-posts set up by U.S. education theorists. China now has more university students than the U.S. with India's college-going population growing more rapidly than in any other country. Instead of seeking homogenous, compliant clusters of learners, educators must offer opportunities social sense-making in a world of strangers.

(4) Best piece of advice I would give to a college freshman? Stay curious. Reach out for support - even if you don't think you really need it right away - just to see what they offer in the long-run. Find someone outside your usual sphere of friends or someone not in your classes, and do something you've always wanted to try but never have (yet).

(5) I'm not sure about this question - it seems to me to emphasize the individual over the family or kin system. For many of us here in Kentucky who grew up surrounded by a strong kin network, leaving that sphere of influence is a dangerous step and can be a major culture shock. I think we educators need to learn much more about this aspect and not just keep repeating a mantra that works for some but not all.

(6) We know how college freshmen in Kentucky "stack up" compared to other students in colleges outside the state. This data has been collected by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education for many years ( UK is more successful than any other Kentucky public 4-year institution. Looking at all U.S. public 4-year institutions' retention rates, UK is not doing badly (see National Clearinghouse Educational Statistics data) but we are far behind our aspiration benchmark institutions in other states for our first-year college students' success.

(7) What would be the biggest "change" we should make to ensure a student is prepared for college? We would invest in a social infrastructure that encouraged everyone to see themselves as valuable members of our society - we would believe ourselves in the U.N.'s Declaration of Human Rights (first penned by a committee led by Eleanor Roosevelt) and join the rest of the industrial nations in advocating for these things we need to succeed. Some of those things seem to be very simple, for example, clean water, secure/safe shelter, support centers, healthcare and plenty of nutritious food for all our babies so they can grow up healthy and free to learn. But in Kentucky, this human right which is supported by so many social constructs in other countries, seems to be contentious and discarded.

January 12
Million Women Mentors steering committee, hosted by the KY Association of Manufacturing

As a representative of the #IAmAWomanInSTEM Steering Team, I attended a meeting in Frankfort at the Kentucky Association of Manufacturing to talk about building a Kentucky chapter of the Million Women Mentors network. The meeting was led by Kathy Plomin of the Kentucky Commission on Women and Sue Scheff (Kentucky Girls STEM Collaborative). 

We can easily add our 60+ #IAmAWomanInSTEM mentors to the Kentucky pledge!

January 05
Coffee Shop Talk about a series of Campus Forums on Public Art

This morning with Ben Withers (Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education), Andrew Hippisley (University Senate Chair) and Stuart Horodner (Director of the UK Art Museum) was the beginning of a series of conversations about designing a series of Campus Forums on Public Art at UK. We want to build on last fall's Town Forum for Constitution Day 2015 - we want to talk about what public art is on campus and how students, staff and faculty have a voice in what it is and why it is exhibited here.

January 04
Michael Breeding and a New Documentary on Kentucky Women's History

Met today with Michael Breeding to follow up on the ideas that the President's Office hopes we can do to keep going with the great work he did on Kentucky women's history in Dreamers and Doers: Voices of Kentucky Women last year.

We talked about the the larger project (see and click on "KY Woman Suffrage Project" in right nav) that includes the work in creating a Kentucky Woman Suffrage Trail, and how his documentary will be supporting this.

President Capilouto has already committed $5,000 (and his good will) for this additional work. Other resources that UK can bring to the documentary production while also collaborating with :

  • Kathi Kern - Work on including the History of Kentucky suffrage movement to be a part of an undergraduate course with Melanie as lead instructor (UKC prefix? see more at plus Special Collections support for the course and to include Michael Breeding as special guest lecturer to help the focus on filmmaking.
  • Melanie Goan - including students via internships (e.g., $1000 per student per term) for research gathering and to do interviewing in the field - and start working on a scholarly monograph focused on the history of Kentucky woman suffrage.
  • Deirdre Scaggs - could use funding for digitizing new materials that the interns and others find; and, she needs help with cataloging the UK Libraries collection of Laura Clay papers ($15-20/hour @ 20 hours/week for a grad student = $4000 per person per term).

We plan to get the larger group together to talk about developing a lexicon for the H-Kentucky's KY Woman Suffrage Project database that the H-Net staff will develop for us.

December 31
Presentation for The Bishop & Chase Foundation's New Year's Eve Fundraiser

Adrian Wallace, VP for the local NAACP branch and Executive Director for the Bishop and Chase Foundation, invited me to speak at their New Year's Eve "Resolution Reception." The Bishop and Chase Foundation works with the East End Partners, an initiative of Community Ventures. The East End (E2) Crib is one of their main initiatives in their Downtown Youth Development Initiative. They want to create an outreach center that will:

be open 365 days a year, meeting needs that can't be met through the LFUCG Parks & Recreation centers. Services will include, but will not be limited to: after-school tutoring, mentoring, multi-cultural education and activities, audio/visual arts, community service days, field trips, life skills, etc. These facilities will be operated for/open to the general public during normal hours of operation. Staff, volunteers and interns will work weekly to connect and build strong relationships with students, as well as their parents/caregivers. ... The facility is also to be utilized as an authorized alternative location for the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Lexington-Fayette Uran County Government to lower rates of youth in secure detention within Fayette County. 

I chose as my topic "History of Education as Anti-Racist Activism in Lexington and Fayette County, Kentucky." I hoped that it would serve as a story of empowerment - both individually and collectively.

HistoryRacismFayetteCounty-brief2015.docxHistory of Education as Anti-Racist Activism in FayetteCounty-2015.docx

HistoryAnti-RacistActivismFayetteCo-2015.pptxHistory of Education as Anti-Racist Activism in Fayette Co-2015.pptx

December 22
My Last Blog Post as H-Net President

Serving as the President of H-Net​ was a great honor and I was proud to have been elected to take that leadership role. I believe that my tenure led to some positive changes, and I hope that the future leaders will continue in the efforts to make the work of H-Net Council more open and accessible to its members.

Looking Back at the Year in H-Net

November 25
AAUW Campus Action Project Proposal Accepted - #IAmAWomanInSTEM

​We were successful in winning the $5,000 award from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) for our proposal #IAmAWomanInSTEM as a Campus Action Project in Spring 2016!

The new initiative #IAmAWomanInSTEM (STEM as in academic and career fields that are based in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)​ will begin in December with the creation of a digital presence as well as calls for two sets of volunteers:

  1. undergraduate women who have declared a major or a minor in a STEM+H (including health care) related field to serve as student ambassadors for raising awareness of issues of gender discrimination and attrition in the sciences, mathematics-based disciplines and technologies; and,
  2. women in STEM+H professions, UK faculty and professional staff as well as those in Kentucky business and industry. 

The #IamaWomanInSTEM steering team who oversees the project are:

  • Shelby Albers, Mathematics major (Computer Science minor)
  • Kate Collins, Physics major
  • Mandy Cox, Computer Science major
  • Dr. Kate Eddens, Assistant Professor, Health Behavior, UK College of Public Health
  • Dr. Judy Goldsmith, Professor, Computer Science, UK College of Engineering
  • Dr. Randolph Hollingsworth, Assistant Provost, UK Undergraduate Education
  • Ellen Nolan, AAUW-KY chapter president
  • Dr. Margaret Mohr-Schroeder, Associate Professor, STEM Education, UK College of Education
  • Donna Peden, AAUW Bluegrass-Central(KY) branch president
  • Dr. Thushani Rodrigo-Peiris, Kentucky Bridge to a Biomedical Doctorate Program Administrator, UK College of Arts & Sciences
  • Sue Scheff, UK Honors Program Academic Advisor and Program Director, AMSTEMM (Appalachian & Minority Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics Majors)

September 30
Feeling productive

​Turned in a proposal on time - using GoogleDocs for collaborative writing with several faculty and staff - for an AAUW Campus Action Project in support of undergraduate women who have declared a STEM+H related major or minor at UK. The steering team includes UK faculty, staff and students who are passionate about breaking down barriers for women who encounter them in UK classrooms as well as in the workplace.

Also worked on a manuscript review for the University Press of Kentucky - an exciting project involving bilingual research in family letters to/from Kentucky in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Hoping my comments are received in the spirit in which they were given. 

August 03
Project on Indexing Kentucky Black Women's Voices Completed

​Last year, with the generous support of the Kentucky Oral History Commission (KOHC), I hired the services of Ms. Danielle Gabbard to index the digitized versions of oral history interviews of black women in the central Kentucky area. The interviews were already catalogued by the University of Kentucky's Louie B. Nunn Oral History Department and the grant from the KOHC helped push the prioritization of getting the interviewed digitized and uploaded to the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS) system and viewable via the Kentuckiana Digital Library. 

We had anticipated 56 interviews to be digitized and indexed - we ended up with 66 completed overall. While she was working on her indexing, Danielle posted some reflections on what she was learning as she listened to the interviews:

In addition, I added a post that focused on a later batch of work and included some of the catalog descriptions of the interviews:

As we had originally hoped, the interviews are indeed highly diverse, well conducted by seasoned interviewers, and can provide a good micro-history of Kentucky in the twentieth century. It is my intention to craft a journal article dedicated to the findings associated not only with the excellent indexing but also the contribution these women’s voices make to our better understanding of Kentucky women’s roles in this important era within and surrounding the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.

Interviews Indexed and Interview Time (in minutes)
NOTE: Accession Numbers include Interview Date and Collection/Series Name, e.g., 1986OH239 KH 366 Grace Potter Carter = Interview Date 1986; Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project – see legend below for more abbreviations.

1986OH239 KH 366 Grace Potter Carter 118
1989OH256 KH 474 Mary Edna Berry 44
1988OH164 KH 457 Elizabeth P. Thomas 70
1990OH009 KH 477 Elenora L. Smith 30
1978OH107 KH 069 Harriet B. Haskins 20
1990OH019 KH 479 Annie B. Coleman 20
2009OH097 EEL 003 Anna Coons 11
1978OH094 KH 056 Virginia S. McDonald 13
1978OH097 KH 059 Alvinia Newell 10
1979OH064 KH 129 Ella Bosley 22
1979OH065 KH 130 Abby L. Marlatt 22
1979OH068 KH 133 Faustina Cruise 13
1979OH071 KH 136 Estelle S. Tatman 19
1979OH073 KH 138 Mary Muir 9
1983OH167 BK 003 Annette C. Brown 69
1984OH023 BK 004 Mary Brown Ashford 74
1985OH194 BK 007 Thelma B. Johnson 61
1990OH088 BK 022 Barbara Jackson Givens 45
2008OH149 AAW 001 Mary Levi Smith 49
1987OH011 BK 017 Lillian Butner 60
1990OH086 BK 020 Mary E. Rawlings 61
1990OH093 BK 027 Geneva Hunter Pope 64
1990OH094 BK 028 Bertie Nokomas Wilkerson 64
2011OH203 BK 032 Molly M. Bradley 78
1990OH090 BK 024 Corinne Jefferson 43
2009OH106 EEL 012 Helen Higgins 38
1993OH397 KH 559 Eula Tatman 44
1997OH030 KH 609 Sandra Richardson 39
1986OH202 KH 332 Lillie H. Yates 89
1986OH252 KH 379 Frances A. Smallwood 30
1986OH223 KH 351 Bettye Simpson 40
1986OH240 KH 367 Virginia Anderson 80
1986OH251 KH 378 Verna B. Clark 49
1987OH090 KH 421 Sophia D. Smith 71
1998OH037 KH 630 Mrs. Sidney Bell Johnson 79
1987OH096 KH 422 Susie E. White 75
1988OH163 KH 456 Helen Smith 83
1978OH078 KH 044 Evelyn Livisay 24
1978OH081 KH 047 Madeline C. Jones 24
1979OH074 KH 139 Mary Jones 120
1986OH218 KH 347 Dorothy P. Pumphrey 134
1986OH230 KH 358 Mattie Gray 109
1986OH243 KH 370 Jennie Didlick 106
1986OH248 KH 375 Florence A. Young 57
1987OH078 KH 409 Ann Hunter 66
1987OH079 KH 410 Ann B. Black 62
1987OH080 KH 411 Edythe J. Hayes 57
1998OH035 KH 628 Lilia Garrison 45
1989OH009 KH 468 Virginia Shelby 78
2009OH096 EEL 002 Dorothy Perkins 48
1979OH072 KH 137 Mattie Jackson 28
1986OH225 KH 353 Loretta Nickens 50
1978OH068 KH 034 Marilyn Gaye 47
1986OH236 KH 364 Mrs. Charles C. Jones 120
1987OH089 KH 420 Ruby Benberry 76
1987OH083 KH 414 Delores Vinegar-Oderinde 112
2009OH098 EEL 004 Valinda Livingston 85
1993OH388 KH 550 Lillian B. Gentry 70
1993OH389 KH 551 Alice J. Alexander 70
1986OH235 KH 363 Laura W. Moore 48
1986OH227 KH 355 Wilhelmina Hunter 75
1986OH231 KH 359 Elizabeth R. Harris 60
2009OH108 EEL 014 Lillian Buntin 56
2009OH100 EEL 006 Rosetta Beatty 97
1979OH070 KH 135 Roberta Laine 29
1986OH232 KH 360 Patricia R. Laine 71

June 01
Dreamers and Doers - a documentary about Kentucky women's history from the KY Commission on Women

"Dreamers and Doers: Voices of Kentucky Women" is an hour-long documentary, a production of Michael Breeding Media and the Kentucky Commission on Women (KCW). It premiered in Frankfort on March 10th where I was invited as a person who was included in the film. My spot is brief and is early in the film - my point is that the state constitutions crafted by the early 19th century had begun to write women out of the New Republic's definition of citizen. This point, I hope, anchors the film's focus on woman suffrage movement and why it was so important as a political movement in Kentucky as well as the U.S.

The film was also shown to audiences in Louisville, Springfield and Lexington. The documentary profiles more than forty Kentucky women and their achievements, and is based on the Kentucky Women Remembered (KWR) exhibit displayed in the state Capitol. Eleanor Jackson, the executive director of the KCW, described the project in an interview on KET - The KCW will distribute the film on DVD free to every public middle and high school in the state.

Here are 2 slightly different versions of the whole film freely available for you to see:​​

1 - 10Next