Board of Regents approves new majors, emeritus status, raises


The Board of Regents recognized new emeritus faculty, approved new majors and gave out new money in their second annual quarterly meeting.

During the meeting, university officials also spoke of preparations to welcome new students to WKU. 

The sudden closure of Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, Ky. on Wednesday could bring several hundred students to the Hill, provost Gordon Emslie told the Board. 

“Given our exceptional online and distance learning courses, we anticipate being there for those students,” Emslie said. 

Brian Meredith, associate vice president for Enrollment Management, presented favorable reports to the Board, especially regarding summer enrollment.

Summer enrollment is up a total of 37 undergraduate students, and a significant number of those enrollees are freshmen. Meredith said those numbers are good indicators for fall enrollment. 

“We’re in the in-between time when we’re trying to close the deal,” he said.

International student enrollment is up 43 percent in the last two years, according to Meredith.

“We’re rolling aggressively forward in enrolling our international students,” he said. 

Robbin Taylor gave a brief summary report of the lengthy struggle university officials faced this semester with the State legislature. 

“I commend the Board members who worked very hard with state legislators,” she said. 

Since late January, Taylor and various university officials traveled to Frankfort to combat Gov. Steve Beshear’s proposed 2.5 percent cut to public universities. The final budget passed by the legislature was reduced to 1.5 percent, saving WKU $750,000. 

The Board also doled out a number of emeritus statuses to academics and administrators. Psychology professor Retta Poe, political science professor John Petersen, university registrar Freida Eggleton and vice president of Campus Services and Facilities John Osborne were all unanimously given emeritus statuses with the university. 

Osborne also presented construction updates, giving particular emphasis on Downing Student Union’s process. 

“This is the most complex, difficult project we’ve ever undertaken,” Osborne said. 

Audra Jennings, director of the Office of Scholar Development, updated the Board on national awards by WKU students. 

The Board opened the meeting with approvals of various new degrees, including a Master of Science in Psychology, Bachelor of Arts in Diversity & Community Studies and Undergraduate Minor in Classical Studies, among others.

Various departmental raises were quickly approved for newly-tenure professors in the finance committee’s portion of the meeting.