UK Social Work announces second cohort of BRIGHT Leadership Training Participants

The innovative training program is part of the College of Social Work’s Forward, Together Plan and aims to support and cultivate leadership development among faculty and staff.
BRIGHT Program

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Lexington, Ky. – The University of Kentucky College of Social Work (CoSW) is proud to welcome its second cohort of BRIGHT Administrative Training Supplement participants this spring. The program is a strategic administrative leadership initiative designed to cultivate leaders via a series of integrated, structured activities, including HR training, administrative shadowing, and external executive coaching, among others.

BRIGHT, which is part of CoSW’s Investment in Ingenuity and Initiative Program (I3), was launched by Dean Justin “Jay” Miller in spring 2023. Miller established the program after reviewing a number of faculty and staff professional development plans that included administrative aspirations. BRIGHT became Miller’s direct response to these aspirations.

“It was clear, based on reviewing professional development plans, that faculty and staff were interested in developing leadership skills,” explained Miller. “As such, we wanted to respond to that interest in a meaningful and impactful way.” 

In 2022, CoSW launched the Forward, Together Strategic Plan, which identifies a “People First, People Always” priority area.

BRIGHT is structured around five phases, all of which are designed to foster growth in a unique area of leadership and administration. As part of the program, participants enroll in several trainings offered by UK Human Resources, take part in unique professional shadowing and simulation exercises, and receive 1:1 executive coaching. Through these activities, BRIGHT aims to cultivate a sustained pipeline of future administrators who are prepared to lead in spaces of higher education.

Initial assessments of BRIGHT show it is meeting that expectation.

Diana Pérez La Rotta, CoSW HR Manager, was a participant in the first cohort of BRIGHT, which completed the program in October 2023. Pérez La Rotta found her participation in the program to be invaluable.

“Participating in BRIGHT was unlike any previous trainings or professional development initiatives I have been a part of,” said Pérez La Rotta. “The program has been extremely beneficial and has provided me a personalized experience that will positively impact my career. Creating and offering programs like BRIGHT shows and commitment and investment to developing people.”

And, that – according to Miller – is what it is all about.

“There is nothing more important than investing in people,” said Miller. “Of course, that investment will take many forms. For now, I hope that BRIGHT continues to afford faculty and staff the supports needed to excel in their professional endeavors.”   

BRIGHT Cohort 2 will complete the program in Summer 2024. Applications for Cohort 3 will be accepted starting Fall 2024.

Questions about the BRIGHT program can be directed to

For over 85 years, the College of Social Work (CoSW) at the University of Kentucky has been a leader in education. Our mission is clear: Through rigorous research, excellence in instruction, and steadfast service, the CoSW works to improve the human condition. Always, in all ways.

As the state’s flagship university, our mission is actualized through our deeds. Our faculty are renowned academicians dedicated to fostering the development of high-quality practitioners and researchers. As a college, we promote community and individual well-being through translational research and scholarship, exemplary teaching, and vital community engagement. We are committed to the people and social institutions throughout Kentucky, the nation, and the world.