Dr. Ann VailDr. Ann Vail joined the faculty at the University of Kentucky in 2005 with administrative appointments as Director of the School of Human Environmental Sciences (HES) and Assistant Director for Family and Consumer Sciences Extension. During her twelve year tenure in these administrative roles, Dr. Vail has provided visionary leadership to enhance the research, teaching and outreach work through the units included in the School.

With a dedication to reaching underserved audiences and addressing critical issues in the state, Dr. Vail has provided leadership for grants and funded projects totaling more than $53 million. Her vision fueled the expansion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education grant from $1.2 million in 2006 to more than $11 million in 2017. In addition, she has provided leadership and coordination for the Rural Child Poverty Nutrition Center at UK, a $2.5 million grant-funded center focused on reducing child food insecurity in persistently poor rural counties. Dr. Vail also led the proposal team that secured more than $3 million from the Centers for Disease Control to implement outreach programs to combat obesity in the six Kentucky counties with the highest obesity rates.

International work has also been a focus area for Dr. Vail. She has empowered faculty to provide international experiences for students, led efforts to provide international professional development experiences for faculty and staff, and has coordinated international engagement and learning opportunities for alumni. Since 2006, faculty members in the School of HES have led more than twenty-five international education abroad programs. Dr. Vail has led six international study tours for alumni and friends of the School, implementing a professional development aspect in each of these experiences. In addition, Dr. Vail has championed and encouraged international service work. The Kentucky Academy kindergarten in the village of Adjeikrom in the West African nation of Ghana is a remarkable example of her vision. Partnering with faculty in the School of HES, Dr. Vail has been instrumental in addressing needs in this small village with the outreach efforts of the School and the Kentucky Extension Homemakers Association. Children attending the kindergarten now have electricity, fans to circulate air to help combat heat, classroom furniture, school supplies, kitchen and dining facilities, daily hot lunches and enhanced curriculum.

In July 2015, Dr. Vail was appointed to serve as the Interim Dean for the UK College of Social Work. For the past two years, she has fulfilled this role while continuing her administrative posts in the School of Human Environmental Sciences and her leadership as principal investigator for multiple grants. On September 30, she will step-down from her roles as Director of the School and Assistant Director of Family and Consumer Sciences Extension. She will continue in her interim role with the College of Social Work and her faculty role in HES. 

Author: Kim Henken
Terms: HES