March 2, 2023
Dr. Kenton Sena ’12 was one of six recipients of the annual Great Teacher Award from the University of Kentucky Alumni Association on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at the Central Bank Center in Lexington.
The Great Teacher Award, launched in 1961, is the longest-running UK award that recognizes teaching. Students prepare and submit nominations, and the UK Alumni Association Awards Committee, in cooperation with the student organization Omicron Delta Kappa, make the final selections.
This year’s recipients were notified of the award during surprise visits to their classrooms in December. They earned a $4,000 stipend, were recognized at a dinner and were cheered on the floor of Rupp Arena before the Kentucky men’s basketball game against Arkansas.
Sena serves as Lecturer in the Lewis Honors College at the University of Kentucky. As an Asbury alumnus majoring in biology and minoring in literature, he earned his M.S. in forestry and Ph.D. in integrated plant and social science from the University of Kentucky.
“I’m honored and humbled to receive this award,” Sena said. “I’m very thankful to Peyton Mills, my student who took the time to nominate me, and my colleagues and supervisors in the Lewis Honors College, who teach me daily.”
Sena has published papers in journals such as Forests, Ecological Restoration, Science of the Total Environment, and Forest Ecology and Management. His teaching and research interests include forest restoration ecology, environmental science, and literature of the environment.
Sena reflects on his formative years as an undergraduate student at Asbury.
“My time at Asbury was the perfect preparation for my current role as a member of the faculty of the Lewis Honors College—a distinctly interdisciplinary unit with a liberal arts feel embedded within a large university,” Sena said. “While at Asbury, I majored in biology and minored in literature—this wasn’t an intentional attempt to be interdisciplinary at the time. I just knew I wanted to be a scientist and knew that I enjoyed literature. But that interdisciplinary foundation planted seeds that found fertile soil when I started at Lewis—it was a space where I had the freedom, support, and encouragement to revisit my love of literature and work to bring that love together with my love of the natural world.”
Many Asbury professors impacted Sena in positive ways.
“At the risk of leaving someone out, a few professors whose teaching has inspired and instructed my own practice in the classroom include Dr. Daniel Strait, Dr. Paul Vincent (retired), Dr. Malinda Stull, Dr. Devin Brown, Dr. Bruce Branan, Prof. Ann Witherington (retired), and Dr. Ben Brammell.”