Regional campuses see changes after budget recommendations

Emily DeLetter

Following recommendations from the Budget Council, WKU’s regional campuses will change to a shared service central model under the Division of Extended Learning and Outreach (DELO).

According to their website, DELO is the “outreach arm of WKU, offering credit and non-credit programs to students of all ages and interests.” They were formed in 2003 with approval from the Board of Regents.

“The goal is to hone our efforts down to the five to seven degree programs connected directly to the local economy and produce the workforce those communities need to build hand and glove local leadership,” Caboni said during the Board of Regents meeting in March.


Caboni also said that there was no intention to move away from in-person classes to online for the regional campuses.

According to the Fall 2017 Regional Campus Enrollment Report, 51 percent of students took online classes, with 38 percent taking classes in-person.

An estimated 2,400 students attend the three regional campuses, located in Owensboro, Elizabethtown-Ft. Knox and Glasgow.

Beth Laves, associate vice president of DELO, said she believes the transition to DELO seems to be a “natural fit” with the regional campuses. They had previously worked with DELO eight years prior before returning to handing their own operations. The shared service central model will be a new addition.

“The focus is on adult learners, workforce development, teaching and learning” Laves said. “Through this change, the staff continues to be committed to making sure they can still serve students in those areas.”

Laves said the change to DELO will centralize some of the administrative functions, business and marketing operations and course scheduling. She said that some areas will centralize to Elizabethtown, some to Glasgow and others to the main campus in Bowling Green.

Laves did not comment on current staff layoffs at the regional campuses.

Patty Bertke has been an instructor at the Owensboro campus for the last 13 years. She said faculty, staff and students on her campus have a lot of questions concerning their future.

“We haven’t hit faculty cuts yet,” Bertke said. “We’ve already had some classes cancelled, and students are wondering if certain programs are going to continue. A lot of the things we know are by word of mouth.”

Bertke said several staff members at the Owensboro campus have been laid off due to budget cuts, including an advisor and workforce development coordinator

Due to the new shared service central model under DELO, the Owensboro campus has seen changes in day-to-day operations.

Bertke said they recently had a technology issue that the main Bowling Green campus could not handle and had to call someone at the Glasgow campus to come and fix the problem.

The Glasgow and Owensboro campuses are nearly two hours away from each other.

“I understand eliminating redundancies, it makes sense, but the extended campuses were placed so that WKU was 100 percent available to serve the needs in distant communities,” Bertke said. “We wonder if the shared model can accomplish this effectively and timely for students.”

With uncertainty about WKU Owensboro’s future, Bertke also said she hopes it does not detract potential students.

Both Laves and Bertke said they felt unsure about what would happen next for the regional campuses with the next round of budget recommendations from the Budget Council happening later in April.

News reporter Emily DeLetter can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @EmilyDeLetter.