Board approves new degrees, budget, building updates


The final set of committee meetings with the Board of Regents concluded with a budget approval, creating several new degrees and update of the university reaccreditation process.

The meeting began in the President’s Conference Room on the third floor of Downing Student Union at 1:30 p.m.

Two important action items included approvals of the operating budget and new degree programs. 

President Gary Ransdell said increases in the state general funding bode well for the university, giving the university budget room to breathe.

“[The 12-percent increase] paints a better picture of new forecasts for the year,” he said.

The Academic Affairs docket was filled with potential new majors, minors and appointments.

A MFA for Creative Writing, MA in Gifted Education and Talent Development, a BS in Special Education Learning and Behavior Disorders and Elementary Education and a minor in Psychological Science were all approved.                                                                                      

Rob Hale, English Department head, said the MFA would become one of two residential MFA programs in Kentucky, and said the program is talking with the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom for an international partnership.

All 14 sabbatical leaves were approved, as were four new additions to faculty emeriti status.

Provost Gordon Emslie presented an update on WKU’s reaccreditation status. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges finished its first round of evaluation.

Emslie praised the “herculean writing efforts” of various faculty and staff who put together a 400-page document to present to SACS officials.

University officials will prepare for the SACS on-site visit April 2015.

Chief Facilities Officer Bryan Russell said a demolition bid for Thompson Complex North Wing was approved.

“The good news is we are under budget and on time,” he said.

The Executive Committee renamed the Child Care Center to the Colleen B. Mendel Child Care Center, in honor of the Head Start and Early Head Start organizations leader who died in January.

Other business mentioned in the meeting included a presentation by the WKU Farm regarding wine and cheese production and updates on the internal audit report.