Board of Regents approves CAPE recommendations

President Timothy Caboni listens during the Board of Regents meeting on April 12, 2019. The Board of Regents discussed future budget cuts during its meeting on Friday.

Emily DeLetter

In the final step of the Comprehensive Academic Program Evaluation process, the Board of Regents Academic Affairs committee approved recommendations for 380 programs during their meeting Friday.

Full approval by the Board of Regents will occur during their May meeting.

Through CAPE, the committee identified 209 programs to maintain as they currently are, 55 programs to transform, 15 programs to grow and 101 programs to suspend.

The suspended programs include 11 undergraduate degrees, four graduate degrees and 86 other credentials such as minors and certificates.

Of those 101 programs recommended for suspension, 42 have no enrollment, according to the Board of Regents agenda.

President Timothy Caboni called the meeting “an important day” for WKU.

“The instinct in these moments is to think about and focus on the things we might stop doing, and that would be a mistake,” he said.

Caboni identified the 55 programs across WKU recommended for transformation, saying that the university would think differently about and connect directly to what students would be interested in studying.

“This is a very good thing for Western Kentucky University,” Caboni said.

Merrall Price, special assistant to the provost, told the Board that the goal for programs recommended for transformation is to work with stakeholders, including department faculty, staff and students to find “creative and strategic ways to transform the programs.”

Price said the goal is to take curricular action with the transformed programs in Spring 2020 and be able to offer some newly transformed programs as early as Fall 2020.

Price said there are 615 students, or around 3% of the student body currently enrolled in programs recommended for suspension.

Any suspended programs will be taught out, giving students currently enrolled the opportunity to complete their degree, but will not accept any new students as of August 26, 2019, the first day of the Fall 2019 semester.

“We’re not just obliged to teach them out because of CPE [Council on Postsecondary Education], our local state body and our accrediting body, but we’re also ethically obliged to teach these programs out,” Price said.

In a press conference following the recommendations, Price and Acting Provost Cheryl Stevens sat down to answer questions about the CAPE recommendations. 

The largest program recommended for suspension was the nursing RN to BSN program, which Price said is primarily being suspended to make room for other programs within nursing, not because the program itself is not popular.

Stevens said she hopes the transformed programs will be in the best interest of WKU.

“We believe these will be very attractive programs to students,” she said. “We like to think this will increase our enrollment, because people will want to come here and be a part of that change and excitement and creativity.”

Assistant News Editor Emily DeLetter can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @emilydeletter.