Regent Committees send items for Board approval

Kaely Holloway

The Academic Affairs, Executive and Finance and Budget Committees met this afternoon to approve and discuss new information to go before the Board next month.

President Gary Ransdell announced in his brief report that WKU had been selected as one of the Confucius Institutes of the Year.

“We’re very pleased about that,” he said. “This is only our fourth year.”

The award is only given to ten Institutes worldwide.

The Academic Committee had several items to present for approval. Provost Gordon Emslie presented information to seek approval for new major and minor programs. A Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and minors in Family Home Visiting and System Engineering were all on the table for approval.

Sabbaticals and Emeritus appointments were also up for approval.

All items passed, with journalism and broadcasting professors Cory Lash and Harry Allen receiving Emeritus appointments.

Beth Laves, associate vice president of Division of Extended Learning and Outreach, presented information regarding the costs of online learning to the committees.

“Quality online education takes money, it takes time,” she said.

Currently, WKU has students enrolled in online courses in almost every state across the country, and in several countries across the world. Laves argued in her presentation that, despite higher costs of online learning, the program was innovative technologically and overcame learning curves between students and professors.

“It’s not about the technology, it’s really about the interaction and the guiding of the learning experience,” she said.

Stacey Biggs, Chief Marketing Officer, and Sharon Hunter, Coordinator of College Readiness, were also present to show the Committees new marketing campaigns for enrollment. The campaigns are focused on new methods to recruit students, through various ad campaigns and new mailing tactics.

New recruitment booklets will be mailed out to students country wide with the new slogan, “WKU is where you belong,” and the name of the mail recipient emblazoned on the top.

“The one thing we loved in admissions about this particular marketing campaign is the fact that it leans forwards,” Hunter said.

Enrollment numbers dropped this semester by 3.2%. Biggs and Hunter hope the new campaigns will increase enrollment for coming semesters.

In his facilities update, John Osborne presented the Executive Committee with updated information on Ogden College buildings.

Classes, offices and labs in Thompson Complex North Wing are being moved to the Center Wing, as TCNW will be closed permanently. The building’s 53-year-old air and heating system can no longer heat the building during winter months.

Osborne said closing the building and moving the classrooms has been completed with much difficulty thus far.

“You don’t choose to do something like this at this time of year,” he said.

Funding for demolishing TCNW and renovating other Ogden College buildings is the highest priority on the capital funding budget model presented to the state.

The Finance and Budget Committee was the last to present their reports for approval. The Committee approved several items, including audit reports, budget adjustments and various personnel actions.

The Board will meet as a whole on Jan. 24.