Board of Regents approve all items during Friday meetings

Trey Crumbie

WKU administrators are keeping a close eye on the budget for next fiscal year.

The Board of Regents committee meetings convened Friday morning in the Cornelius A. Martin Regents Room located in Mass Media and Technology Hall.

The Finance and Budget Committee approved all items on its agenda, including acceptance for filing the 2013-2014 second quarter statement of revenues and expenditures and personnel actions. 

The personnel actions included changes of the base salaries for some faculty and staff due to rank changes and reappointments.  

The information items in the committee included a budget update and a quarterly internal audit report.

Ann Mead, vice president for Finance and Administration, said fall enrollment for last semester dropped, which resulted in a $1.6 million revenue shortfall. Mead said the shortfall continued into this semester. 

“At this point, we’re projecting that the shortfall for the spring will probably be an equal amount,” Mead said.

Mead said senior administrative officers are working on budget reduction plans in the range of $3 million. This is being factored into the next budget as a base budget reduction. 

Regents also discussed the privatization of WKU Health Services and how it related to the budget. Mead said there is the possibility that WKU Health Services could provide revenue for WKU once it’s privatized. 

“The successful bidder will be judged on what they bring to us,”President Gary Ransdell said.

A contract with the successful bidder will be established by next semester.

The Academic Affairs Committee approved all items, which included multiple degrees. Two of the degrees were a Master of Science in Psychology and an undergraduate minor in Classical Studies. The minor will draw from courses in philosophy, ancient languages, history, art and archaeology.

Faculty Regent Patricia Minter expressed her support for the minor.

“Curriculum in history have been incredibly popular for years,” Minter said.

Another item included reorganization of the University College involving the departments of Academic Support and Liberal Arts & Sciences, both at South Campus. 

The Department of Academic Support will be renamed the School of University Studies and will be considered part of the University College. The unit will focus on students with college readiness needs, according the committee meetings agenda.

Faculty from the Liberal Arts & Sciences department will join an academic department on the main campus based on their respective discipline, thus eliminating the department altogether.

The Academic Affairs Committee concluded with three information items, including an enrollment report by Brian Meredith, vice president for enrollment management. Meredith said the overall graduation rate for WKU is 50.3 percent.

“This sort of signals that more of our students are completing their degrees on time,” Meredith said.

The Executive Committee only had one item for vote, which was approved. The item will officially name a demonstration classroom in the Medical Center-WKU Health Sciences Complex. 

After the item was approved, a discussion regarding the naming of the Kentucky Museum occurred. Kathryn Costello, vice president for development and alumni relations, said an ad hoc committee is exploring that option.

“There are a couple of members [of the committee]…who think that the Kentucky Museum name by itself is limiting,” Costello said.

Costello said the decision to change the name will have to be voted on by the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Museum, but is “just a discussion at this point.”

Information items discussed in the committee included a legislative update by Ransdell. The president spoke of the budget purposed by Gov. Steve Beshear, which is currently being discussed by the state Senate and House, and said more information will come in the next couple of days.

A closed session regarding a discussion related to individual/specific personnel matters was also held, after which the meeting concluded. All items will go to the main Board of Regents meeting on April 18 for full approval.