WKU welcomes new faculty

Leah Brown

WKU welcomed 40 new faculty members to the Hill this semester.

Gordon Emslie, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said it is not unusual for the university to hire 40 to 50 faculty members every year. The highest number of hires for an academic year was 77, but 50 is the average.

WKU employs about 800 faculty currently, and experiences a .5 percent faculty turnover every year. Some left their jobs at the university due to retirement.

“We’ve done a very good job attracting high caliber faculty,” Emslie said.

The new employees have degrees from universities across the nation, including Stanford, Ohio State and UC Berkley, and some have degrees from WKU. The faculty teach a wide variety of subjects such as architecture, agriculture, mathematics, communications, theatre and dance.

“They are a great group,” Emslie said.

The College of Health and Human Services hired the most out of all the colleges.

The new faculty will assist with student retention. Five years ago, the student to faculty ratio was 19 to one. Emslie said now, it’s 17 to one.

He said smaller ratios between students and faculty lead to higher retention rates.

One of the new hires, Jeffrey Miner, is an assistant professor in the history department and specializes in late medieval Europe and Mediterranean.

Patricia Minter, also a professor in the history department, said, “We are absolutely delighted to have Dr. Miner join our faculty.” 

He taught at and obtained his Ph.D from Stanford. Miner said he has had wonderful interactions with people at WKU.

“I have found people in general, both other faculty and the students, to be very welcoming,” Miner said.

He is in the process of adjusting from teaching in Stanford’s quarter system to WKU’s two-semester system. 

Many people have asked Miner if he has experienced culture shock moving from California to Bowling Green.

“Culture differences, sure, but definitely not a shock,” Miner said.