Welcome back to WKU: Here are 4 important things you missed this summer.

Construction equipment at by FAC for work on renovations to Helm Library on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019.

Lily Burris

Looking for IMRec Sports? Don’t know who the associate athletic director is anymore? Confused as to why Helm Library is off limits? Fear not, the Herald is here to help.

Here are some things students might have missed this summer.

New names across campus


The Department of Sociology is now the Department of Sociology and Criminology after deciding to change its name to better reflect the presence of criminology within the department.

The criminology program has grown over time to meet the student demand.

The Board of Regents approved the name change at its May 10 meeting at the end of last school year.

Another name has changed on campus as Intramural Recreation and Sports became Campus Recreation and Wellness over the summer. The change occurred as part of a decision to better reflect the value of student wellness within the program.

One name change sparked a reaction among alumni as the School of Journalism and Broadcasting became the School of Media this summer. Concerns were centered on the lack of emphasis on journalism that the name change could create.

The faculty of the School of Media said that the name change is not meant to deemphasize journalism but to better reflect where students from within the school go after graduation and what goes on within the four programs in the school.

The decision to have the full Board of Regents vote on the name change was made at the June 21 meeting which mostly focused on the budget. The regents approved the name change at the quarterly meeting on Aug. 2.

Changes in what you see

Bemis Lawrence Hall no longer has residents as construction began on the building this summer as a part of the First Year Village project.

The First Year Village is a project by the Student Life Foundation that creates pod-style living for groups of students with common interests. The project is expected to cost $48 million to create two buildings that house about 635 students. The Bowling Green City Commission passed an ordinance to give the Student Life Foundation industrial revenue building bonds on Aug. 20.

The intersection of Normal Street and Regents Avenue is under evaluation to see if it would work better as a four-way stop instead of a light. The city began this 90-day traffic study on July 29.

Another building under construction is Margie Helm Library, which is going to become the WKU Commons. Helm Library is not currently home to Java City, nor is it filled with stacks of books — it has been gutted as the early stages of the WKU Commons project which is funded by WKU’s contract with Aramark. The library closed at the end of the spring 2019 semester and is expected to reopen for the spring 2021 semester.

WKU’s new leaders

Positions across campus changed this summer, with one of the biggest being Ann Mead’s retirement. Mead, former senior vice president for finance and administration, retired from a 44-year career in higher education at the end of June. Now in the position is Susan Howarth as the executive vice president for strategy, finance and operations.

In the Provost’s office, a new position was named. Michelle Trawick was announced as the associate provost for faculty and academic excellence. She began the position on July 1.

The athletic department also faced administrative changes. Former Associate Athletic Director for Communications and Media Relations Kyle Neaves left the position to work for Colorado State University on July 22. The position is now filled by Zach Greenwell who has worked in WKU media relations since 2016.

“Target reductions” to help with retirement system

The Regents annual budget meeting this summer approved $8.6 million
in “target reductions” for the upcoming school year. Large portions of the budget depend on money coming in from students.

The meeting also approved an increase in tuition from $5,301 to $5,401 for this school year, but it is not expected to completely offset the predicted enrollment decrease of 690 students.

Although the overall cuts to the budget are $675,000, the budget is impacted greatly by the increase in pension payments for the Kentucky Employees Retirement System.

News reporter Lily Burris can be reached at 270-745-6011 and lily.bur- [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @lily_burris.