COLUMN: Much is left to be done before Ransdell’s retirement

Mollie Moore is the opinion editor for the College Heights Herald during the spring 2016 semester.

Mollie Moore

Many emotions arose when President Gary Ransdell announced his retirement on Friday, Jan. 29, but after the bittersweet feelings subsided, the realization came that there is much to be accomplished in the coming 17 months.

One of the first things that will need to be addressed is the 4.5 percent cut to the operating budget that needs to be done by June 30. This $ 3.4 million decrease in state funding was announced by Gov. Matt Bevin last Tuesday at his first state budget proposal in which Ransdell was in attendance.

“Certainly the measure of our challenge is substantial,” Ransdell stated in an email to faculty and staff last Wednesday. “I cannot at this time even begin to describe how we would address the proposed reductions.”

What will be cut in order to save that large sum of money hasn’t been decided yet, but the idea of it seems daunting.

“I call upon everyone’s support because in my mind there’s now a deadline to get some things done, and I look forward to work with all our faculty and staff and doing what’s in the university’s best interest for the next 17 months,” Ransdell said at the Board of Regents meeting on Friday.

When the operating budget was decreased by $2.1 million in 2013 many of important programs and necessities were lost, and the price of tuition was raised. The coming cuts will be even worse. Hopefully this won’t be the only thing Ransdell is remembered for after he leaves.

Along with the budget cuts, three major administrative positions will need to be filled.

Not only will the university be looking for a new president, but it will also need to find a new vice president of Academic Affairs, provost and dean of Potter College of Arts and Letters. Currently, the provost and dean of Potter College are filled by David Lee and Larry Snyder as interim place holders.

Finding a person who fits perfectly as president will be hard enough with the long process of narrowing down the options.

The next year will be a busy one for the administration and President Ransdell, and all of the changes that need to be made are integral to the WKU’s daily functions, but I have faith.

If Ransdell can jump out of a plane to deliver a game ball, he can do anything.