Board of Regents to discuss bylaws, president

Monica Kast, Jacob Dick

The WKU Board of Regents will discuss bylaw changes including language making the chair the sole voice of the board at its first quarterly meeting on Friday.

The proposed bylaw would declare the Board Chairperson speaks for the board and no individual board member other than the chair would be allowed to take actions or make commitments, according to the quarterly meeting agenda released earlier this week.

Chairperson Freddie Higdon would be considered the only voice for the Board of Regents if the bylaws are amended but said university stakeholders shouldn’t expect major changes in communication from the board.

“The Chair has always been the official spokesperson for the Board of Regents action, which is consistent with best practices for college governing boards,” Higdon said in an email.

 Higdon Bale also said having a clear structure in place for official updates from the board should improve relationships with the public.

Regent Phillip Bale commented on the practicality of a governing body having a lone voice. Bale was chair of the committee to select WKU’s next president and is currently chair of the Academic Affairs Committee. Bale said being the sole contact for the Presidential Search Committee was helpful for the process.

“It did make sense in the case of the search for the chair to be the sole voice to avoid confusion or someone going off in their own direction during the process,” Bale said.

He also added he felt Higdon should be the voice of the board, and the bylaw change planned for its first reading on Friday was more of a “clarification” of  our existing precedent.

According to the Board of Regents January agenda, Bale will also present the preferred candidate to the board for consideration of appointment. Additionally, the contract for the candidate will also be discussed.

In an email sent to students on Jan. 19, Higdon said the “Board will consider extending a formal offer to Dr. Caboni at its meeting” on Friday.

Caboni, who was announced as the preferred presidential candidate last week, will be at WKU meeting with students, faculty and staff.

Additionally, there will be a public announcement and media session with Caboni on Friday at 2:30 pm. The formal announcement of Caboni’s selection is expected to be announced then.

Additionally, there will be first readings of proposed amendments to the board bylaws,  allowing it to make rules and regulations concerning the university president. According to the agenda, the Board received a recommendation from Carol Cartwright, a senior consultant from the Association of Governing Boards, last year to consider revisions to the bylaws.

In December, the Board voted to take Cartwright’s recommendation, and regent David Porter was appointed to review the bylaws.

Some of the amendments include new language requiring new regents to attend orientation or training programs and revisions to Board of Regents positions and committees.

Additionally, the Board will discuss new degrees and certificates, according to the agenda.

The new degree is an education specialist degree, for gifted education and talent development. The new certificates for the graduate program are an advanced behavioral management graduate certificate and a college and career readiness graduate certificate.

President Gary Ransdell recommended approval of all the above degrees and certificates, according to the Board of Regents agenda and packet.

Athletic Director Todd Stewart will also address the Board regarding football coach Mike Sanford’s athletic employment contract.

The contracts  were signed by Stewart and Sanford on Dec. 13, and the Board will vote to approve the contract on Friday. 

Reporter Monica Kast can be reached at (270)745-0655 and [email protected]