Skip to main
Skip to main
University-wide Navigation

The UK Libraries National Advisory Board serves as an external advisory body to the Dean of Libraries. Members of the Board have attained prominence in their respective careers and are chosen for their value in providing sound counsel to the Dean. Members include both alumni and friends of the University of Kentucky with an active interest in UK Libraries.

National Advisory Board members also select recipients of the UK Libraries Medallion for Intellectual Achievement and the Paul A. Willis Outstanding Faculty Award.

Board Members

Jonathan Allison

Jonathan Allison (PhD, University of Michigan) is Associate Professor of English at the University of Kentucky and chair of the Editorial Board of the University Press of Kentucky. He teaches courses in Modern British and Irish Literature and has worked closely with UK Special Collections on book and manuscript exhibitions. He has been a Visiting Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and was formerly Director of the W. B.Yeats International Summer School, Sligo, Ireland. His edited books include Yeats’s Political Identities (1996); Patrick Kavanagh (1996); Contemporary Poetry and Culture (with Andrew Roberts, 2002); and Bound for the 1890s: Essays on Writing and Publishing in Honor of James G. Nelson (2006). His annotated edition of Letters of Louis MacNeice (Faber and Faber) was published in 2010.

Paul Bachner

Paul Bachner, MD, FCAP is Professor and immediate past-chairman of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Kentucky where he has served as Director of Laboratories since 1993. He is also the past Medical Director of the Division of Laboratory Services, Department for Public Health, of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. 

Dr. Bachner was born in New York City where he attended the High School of Music and Art and the College of the City of New York before receiving his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. After completing residency training in anatomic and clinical pathology at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City, he practiced pathology in Connecticut and New York from 1966 to 1993, and was a faculty member at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and the New York Medical College. He was appointed director of Clinical Laboratories at the University of Kentucky in 1993 and served as Chairman of Pathology from 1997 to 2012.

Dr. Bachner served as a member of the Board of Governors and is a Past President of the College of American Pathologists (CAP), the national professional society of pathologists. He has been an inspector in the federally-deemed CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program since 1968 and is the current chair of the Accreditation Committee which is responsible for the final accreditation status of over 7,000 clinical laboratories in the US and internationally. He also served as president of the New York State Society of Pathologists from 1987 to 1991, and was appointed by Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis Sullivan as a member of the CDC Clinical Laboratory Improvement Advisory Committee (CLIAC) from 1992 to 1995.

Dr. Bachner lives in Lexington with his wife Susan and four adopted cats. He is a serious classical pianist and gives occasional concerts.

Janice Birdwhistell

Janice Birdwhistell served as the director of development for the University of Kentucky’s College of Communication and Information for 13 years and chief of staff for the college for two years before retiring in 2014. While at UK, she was part of the team that founded UK’s Staff Senate and the college’s Staff Council.

Birdwhistell has an extensive career in marketing and public relations. She has served as deputy commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Travel Development, marketing director for the Kentucky Horse Park, director of tourism for the Greater Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau and director of constituent services for Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District.

Birdwhistell currently serves as the co-chair for UK Women & Philanthropy. She serves on the UK Fayette County Alumni Club Board and the UK Osher Living and Learning Institute (OLLI) Board and is also chair of their development committee.

She graduated from Georgetown College in 1973.

LuAnnette Butler

LuAnnette Butler is semi-retired and is doing private counseling pro bono work. Born in Fayette County, Lexington, Kentucky, she graduated from Great Crossing High School and received her BA in Business Education in 1959 at the University of Kentucky, MA from Georgetown College, 1968 in Elementary Education, Counseling, and EdD from Tennessee State University, Counseling Psychology. She previously taught 12 years at Georgetown College, two and a half years at Lexington Technical Institute and 15 years at Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tennessee, as Professor of Psychology and Coordinator of School Counselor Education. From 2009 to 2010 she served as President, Tennessee Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. LuAnnette is a member of the Faculty Senate, Austin Peay State University.

Steve Collins

Steve Collins of Shelbyville is the president of Hall-Taylor Funeral Home and a practicing attorney. He is a graduate of Woodford County High School, Georgetown College, and the University of Kentucky Rosenberg College of Law. He currently serves as chairman of the Kentucky Historic Properties Advisory Commission, chairman of the Kentucky Heritage Council, president of the Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation, a director on the board of the Shelby County Industrial and Development Foundation, and is a founding member and the president-general of The Shelby Society, Incorporated. A member of the First Baptist Church of Shelbyville, he is very active in many civic organizations. He is the past president of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, the Shelbyville Kiwanis Club, and the past secretary of the Commerce Enhancement Corporation. His memberships also include the Kentucky Bar Association, the Louisville Bar Association, the Fayette County Bar Association, the Funeral Directors Association of Kentucky, the University of Kentucky Alumni Association, Sons of the American Revolution, and First Families of Kentucky. He was a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky in 1991, served on the Kentucky Bicentennial Commission from 1987 to 1992, and was the chairman of the Kentucky delegation to the Democratic National Convention in 1984.

He is married to Diane Spalding Collins, a graduate of UK, and they are the parents of Dr. Taylor Collins, a 2014 graduate of UK Medical School, and Catherine Collins, currently a student at Cumberland College of Law in Birmingham, Alabama. His support of UK Libraries is based upon his beliefs that libraries are essential to the educational experience and to the success of educational institutions. An excellent library, like no other singular place, provides access to knowledge, and is essential to research and the development of ideas and the formulation of answers to the complex questions and issues in all areas of study, and those presented in a constantly and rapidly changing world.

Robbie Dyche

R. W. Dyche, III (Robbie) was born in London, Kentucky, where he lives today. He received an AB in Government from Centre College, Danville, Kentucky in 1972, and then enrolled at the University of Kentucky Rosenberg College of Law. Following graduation from law school in 1975, Robbie returned to London and the private practice of law. He became the first district judge from Laurel County in 1978, and served in that capacity until 1986, when he was appointed by Governor Collins as a Judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals. He remained on that court until 2006. He authored over 2000 opinions deciding cases statewide, and participated as an associate judge in the decision in over 3500 more.

His professional activities include service on the Continuing Judicial Education Commission from 1992-2006; the Ethics Committee of the Kentucky Judiciary 1997-2002; the Judicial Conduct Commission 2002-2006, and service as a member of the Kentucky Board of Bar Examiners (the group that administers and grades bar examinations) since 2008. He has served on the Board of Trustees for the Laurel County Public Library from 1994-2003 and 2005-present, and has been President of the trustees 1998-2003, and 2005-present. During his terms, the trustees built the new 25,000 square foot library (2003), and have just (March 2016) dedicated a 16,000 square foot addition. Judge Dyche was awarded the 2011 “James Gugler Outstanding Trustee Award” from the Kentucky Public Library Association and the Kentucky Library Association. Robbie has also served several terms on the governing board of Marymount (now St. Joseph-London) Hospital, including a term of Chair of the Directors, as well as serving on the Citizen Council. He currently serves on the St. Joseph-London Foundation Board.

Judith Jennings

Born and raised in Lexington, Judith Jennings enters UK in 1965, the first in her family to gain access to Higher Education. Following her BA, in 1969 the University awards her four years of fellowship support, enabling her to do research in London on the British slave trade. Earning her PhD in 1975, her dissertation becomes The Business of Abolishing the British Slave Trade, 1983-1807 (Frank Cass, 1997). Dr. Jennings happily teaches at Union Commonwealth University (then Union College) in Barbourville from 1975 through 1981, receiving tenure. Following a major family loss, she resigns and returns to London to research what becomes Gender, Religion, and Radicalism in the Long Eighteenth-Century: An 'Ingenious Quaker' and Her Connections (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006).

 Since 1983, Dr Jennings proudly works as a free-lance 18th century British Historian. She writes a major National Endowment for Humanities grant for the Kentucky Department of Libraries & Archives and joins the staff of the Kentucky Humanities Council. In 1987, the scrappy folks at Appalshop in Whitesburg call her to co-direct their four-year $1.2 million endowment campaign. With maximum collective effort, the endowment campaign succeeds. Dr. Jennings and Appalshop filmmaker Elizabeth Barret go on to co-produce the film Stranger With A Camera, selected for the Sundance Film Festival in 2000.

In 1991, activist academics at the University of Louisville call her to be the Founding Director of their Women’s Center. Throughout the 1990s, the Women’s Center is on the local front lines of national issues surrounding sexual harassment in the workplace and Title IX compliance. From her work at Appalshop and the Women’s Center, Jennings realizes the power of art to advance social justice.

From 1998 through 2014, she directs the Kentucky Foundation For Women, founded by Sallie Bingham, to support positive social change through feminist art. She serves six years on the national Board of Grantmakers in the Arts and co-edits, with Dr. Patricia Beaver, the papers of a regional feminist activist, Helen Matthews Lewis: Living Social Justice in Appalachia (University Press of Kentucky, 2014).

Since her retirement in 2014, Dr, Jennings volunteers for a nonprofit supporting families with incarcerated loved ones in Louisville. She is also returning to local and British historical research and so is very pleased to join the UK Libraries National Advisory Board.

David Copeland Johnson

David Copeland Johnson is professor emeritus of mathematics at the University of Kentucky. Raised on a Manassas, Virginia farm, David was an undergraduate at Sewanee (where a library job furnished beer and book money). He was then an Air Force communications officer (Oklahoma and England). After graduate school at the University of Virginia, David joined the UK mathematics faculty in 1970 where he remained until retirement, with sabbatical semesters at Oxford and Manchester. His mathematical research was in algebraic topology (e.g., Johnson-Wilson theory). He has served terms on the College Visiting Committee of the University of the South, on the Board of the Lexington Philharmonic, and on the Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington. David enjoyed a post-retirement job teaching Calculus 3 at the Sayre School for four years. He and Kathy (a longtime member of the National Advisory Board) have two adult children: Jacob of Franklin, Tennessee and Mary of Strasbourg, France.

Kathi Kern

​​Kathi Kern earned a PhD at the University of Pennsylvania where she was a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities and a winner of the Dean's Award for distinguished teaching. At Kentucky, she won the Chancellor/Provost’s Award for Outstanding Teaching, the Alumni Great Teacher Award, and the College of Education’s “Teachers Who Make a Difference” Award. In 2009-2010, she served as the Stanley Kelley Jr., Visiting Associate Professor for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton University. Professor Kern is the author of Mrs. Stanton's Bible, named a Choice Outstanding Academic Book of 2001. In 2016 she was named a Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians and has presented her research to academic audiences in Japan, China, India, and France. Her scholarly work on teaching has led to a career of public service to teachers around the world. With federal grant awards totaling nearly $6 million dollars, Professor Kern has trained teachers in the Mississippi Delta, Alaska, Eastern Kentucky, Afghanistan, China, Iraq, Japan, and Pakistan. An innovator in higher education, Professor Kern served as Associate Provost and Professor of History at the University of Kentucky until 2022. As the Director of the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching, Kern led the expansion of UK’s online initiative.

Jasmyne Lewis

Eastern Kentucky native, Jasmyne Lewis, Ed.D., is the Executive Director at Rowan County Public Library in Morehead, Kentucky. Prior to joining the staff at RCPL, Dr. Lewis was employed with the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., where she was head of the Science, Medicine, and Agriculture Section. She has over 10 years of experience leading academic, government, prison, and public libraries.

Dr. Lewis received her Doctor of Education in Leadership Studies from Marshall University (Huntington, WV) and her Master of Science in Library and Information Science from the University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY). Dr. Lewis also holds a Master of Arts in Education, Learning and Behavior Disorders from Georgetown College (Georgetown, KY) and a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Sociology from Morehead State University (Morehead, KY). She is a graduate of Elliott County High School (Sandy Hook, KY).

When she's not in the library, Dr. Lewis is working as the Director of the Cave Run Storytelling Festival and as a member of the Carter County Public Library Board of Trustees. Dr. Lewis is also the author of Place Matters: The Role of Public Libraries as Change Agents in Central Appalachia. She currently resides in Grayson, Kentucky with her two children, Aliya and Colin.

Jan Miles

Janice Markert Miles is currently retired and doing private tutoring for high school and college students. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Jan graduated from Caldwell County High School in Princeton, Kentucky and received a BA in elementary education with an endorsement in kindergarten in 1976 and an MA in elementary education in 1981 from the University of Kentucky. She began her career in education in Shelbyville, Kentucky in 1976 where she educated children for 34 years. During the last few years of her career, Jan became very interested in the technological facet of education and assumed the role of Technology Coordinator. It was during this time that she was instrumental in developing a technology school-to-work program, which included a TV production department, as well as a computer diagnostic and repair team, all with elementary school children. She has served on numerous educational, community, and church committees and boards.

While at the University of Kentucky she met and married her husband Bill. They have one daughter, Holly, a son-in-law, Brandon, and two grandsons, Brandt and Judson. A lifetime member of the University of Kentucky Alumni Association, Jan now resides in Union, Kentucky.

Bill Miles

William (Bill) Miles was born and raised on a dairy and tobacco farm in Shelby County, Kentucky. He was active in 4H, FFA and sports at Shelby County High School prior to attending and graduating from the University of Kentucky with a BS in Animal Science in 1975. While at UK he represented the College of Agriculture on the UK Student Senate. He is a lifetime member of the UK Alumni Association and the College of Agriculture Alumni Association. After a short time on the family farm, Bill joined Farm Credit Services for 8 years before joining PNC Bank where he has worked in the credit and corporate banking groups for the last 28 years. During this time he has been a very active part of the community by serving on community boards, civic clubs, and church related boards and activities.

He is currently located in the Southern Ohio/Northern Kentucky Market where he serves as a Senior Vice President. Bill and his wife and fellow board member, Jan, live in Union, Kentucky. They are the proud parents of a daughter, Holly, son-in-law, Brandon, and are the grandparents of two boys, Brandt and Judson.

John Edward Niles

John Edward Niles  – Additional content coming soon.

Jennie Lou Nunn Penn

Jennie Lou Nunn Penn, daughter of Gov. and Mrs. Louie B. Nunn and a native of Glasgow, Kentucky, spent two years as a Staff Assistant to the President of the United States after attending the University of Kentucky. She later worked for the Council of State Governments staffing the Conference of Chief Justices and the National Association of Attorneys General. After marrying John Scott Penn of Frankfort and having three daughters, she began a career in real estate where she became active in the Lexington Board of Realtors, serving on the Board of Directors in several offices before retiring in 2000.  Jennie has been active in several community and statewide organizations over the years, including eleven years as Chairman of the Kentucky Mansions Preservation Foundation, Inc., which restored and maintains the Mary Todd Lincoln House in Lexington, as well as Chairman of the Lexington Housing Authority, the Board of Directors of the Albert B. Chandler Scholarship Foundation, the Kentucky Heritage Council, the Kentucky Executive Mansion Foundation, Inc., co-Chair of the Gov Louie B. Nunn Foundation which was instrumental in endowing the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries, and The Shelby Society, a non-profit service foundation where memberships are based entirely on direct descent of the governors of Kentucky. Jennie and her husband are avid gardeners and split their time between Lexington and Naples, Florida.

Gregory Pettit

Gregory Pettit was born in Louisville and raised in Lexington. He had a 30-year career as a senior communications executive in New York City and continues a communications consultancy in Lexington, advising corporate, non-profit, and NGO organizations. He has served as a board member for various non-profit organizations, including the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship, the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation, the Living Arts and Science Center, and the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington. He has a BA in history from Princeton University and an MBA from Columbia University in the City of New York.

Marby Schlegel

Marby Schlegel – Additional content coming soon.

Dave Schroeder

Dave Schroeder is a native of Kenton County, KY. He was named Executive Director of the nationally ranked Kenton County Public Library (KCPL) in April 2007. Dave began his career at KCPL in 1986 as a shelver. In 1987 he began working in the Local History Department indexing historic newspapers. He held the position of Archivist for Thomas More University and the Diocese of Covington from 1996 to 2000. Schroeder returned to KCPL in 2000 as the Kentucky History Librarian.

During his term as director of KCPL, Schroeder has completely renovated and expanded the Covington Branch Library, expanded the Erlanger Branch Library, overseen the construction of a new Administration Center, promoted a nationally-recognized workforce development program at the library, and is currently establishing a new branch in the Latonia Neighborhood of Covington.   

He serves as President of the Board of the Friends of the Kentucky Public Archives, treasurer of the Northern Kentucky Workforce Investment Board, board member of the Covington Partners, the Executive Committee of Kids Voting Northern Kentucky, and a member of the Leadership Northern Kentucky Alumni Association Board.

Previously, Schroeder served on the Kentucky Archives and Records Commission (2007-2018). He is the past Chair of the Kentucky Public Library Association, past President of the Kentucky Library Association, and Chair of the Kentucky Public Library Association Advocacy Committee.

Schroeder earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Thomas More University in Crestview Hills, Kentucky. He also holds a Master of Arts degree in History from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Science degree in Library Science from the University of Kentucky. He is a graduate of Leadership Northern Kentucky Class of 2008.

He has won numerous awards, including: Public Relations Society of America, Cincinnati Chapter, CEO Communicator of the Year, 2023; The 2023 Kenton County Pioneer Award; Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Community Award 2022; Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Leader of Distinction Award 2019; Thomas More University Alumni Association, Outstanding Professional Achievement Award 2017; Northern Kentucky Education Council 2015 Champion for Education Award; Outstanding Library Service Award from the Kentucky Public Library Association 2014; and the James A. Nelson Advocacy Award for outstanding actions on behalf of Kentucky libraries presented by the Kentucky Library Association, 2012.

He is the author of Life Along the Ohio : A Sesquicentennial History of Ludlow, Kentucky (Little Miami Press 2014), co-editor of Gateway City: Covington, Kentucky, 1815-2015 (Clerisy Press 2015), and co-author of Lost Northern Kentucky (History Press 2018).

Frank X Walker

A native of Danville, Kentucky, Frank X Walker is the first African American writer to be named Kentucky Poet Laureate. Walker has published eleven collections of poetry, including Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers, which was awarded the 2014 NAACP Image Award for Poetry and the Black Caucus American Library Association Honor Award for Poetry. He is also the author of Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York, winner of the 2004 Lillian Smith Book Award, and Isaac Murphy: I Dedicate This Ride, which he adapted for stage, earning him the Paul Green Foundation Playwrights Fellowship Award. His poetry was also dramatized for the 2016 Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, WV and staged by Message Theater for the 2015 Breeders Cup Festival. A lover of comics, Walker curated “We Wear the Mask: Black Superheroes through the Ages,” an exhibit of his personal collection of action figures, comics, and related memorabilia at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center in 2015. He reprised the exhibit in 2018 at Purdue University and Western Carolina University. Walker recently returned to the world of visual art with a collection of new and early multimedia works, “Black Star Seed: When Mi Cyaan Find Di Words,” which was on exhibit at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington.

Voted one of the most creative professors in the South, Walker coined the term “Affrilachia” and co- founded the Affrilachian Poets, subsequently publishing the much-celebrated eponymous collection. His honors also include a 2004 Lannan Literary Fellowship for Poetry, the 2008 and 2009 Denny C. Plattner Award for Outstanding Poetry in Appalachian Heritage, the 2013 West Virginia Humanities Council’s Appalachian Heritage Award, as well as fellowships and residences with Cave Canem, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Kentucky Arts Council. In 2020 Walker received the Donald Justice Award for Poetry from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. The recipient of honorary doctorates from University of Kentucky, Transylvania University, Spalding University, and Centre College, Walker is the founding editor of pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture and serves as Professor of English and African American and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. His most recent collection is Masked Man, Black: Pandemic & Protest Poems.

Charles T. Wethington, Jr.

Charles T. Wethington, Jr. served as President of the University of Kentucky from 1990 to 2001. His eleven-year tenure witnessed marked physical growth and an impressive enhancement in academic stature on the part of the institution he served nearly his entire career, including the $58-million William T. Young Library.

Dr. Wethington attended Brescia College from 1952 to1954, received his Bachelor of Arts degree, with a double major in English and History, from Eastern Kentucky University in 1956.  In 1958-59 he studied Russian at Syracuse University. His Master of Arts (1962) and PhD degree (1966) in Education were received from the University of Kentucky. 

From 1957 to 1961 he served in the United States Air Force Security Service as a crypto-linguist, and from 1959 to the latter year he taught Air Force evening classes at Misawa Air Base in Japan. Before coming to the University of Kentucky he taught English from 1962-1964 in the San Juan, California school system.

In 1965-1966 Wethington taught Human Growth and Development at UK as an Instructor, and in 1966 and 1967 he served as Acting Director of the Lexington Technical Institute. A four-year appointment as the first Director of Maysville Community College, in the University's Community College System, followed in 1967. In 1971 he was appointed Assistant Vice President for the Community College System, a position he held until 1981, when he was named to head the System, with the title of Vice President. Following the 1982 administrative reorganization of the University he was appointed Chancellor for the Community College System. In 1988 he was given additional administrative responsibilities and his title was changed to Chancellor for the Community College System and University Relations.