Psychology dept. split approved by Regents

Trey Crumbie

A new academic department could be created in the near future, after approval at the Board of Regents committee meeting Friday.

Pending Board of Regents approval in October, the Department of Psychology will be split into two separate departments with the creation of a Psychological Sciences Department.

The new department would be housed in the Ogden College of Science and Engineering, apart from the current Psychology department located in the College of Educational and Behavioral Sciences.

Part of the information pertaining to the department split presented at the Board of Regents meeting states that numerous faculty members in the Department of Psychology have special expertise in areas of psychology that are more aligned with the sciences of Ogden.

Gordon Emslie, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said the curriculum would change if the departments were to split.

“Right now the degree in psychology is a B.A., there is no B.S. degree,” Emslie said. “These will be things that basically the faculty will work out.”

If approved at the Oct. 25 Board of Regents meeting, the new department would be established Nov. 1 of this year. The total cost of the new department is estimated at around $50,000, to be used to help pay for a new department head and possibly an additional office associate.

The Board also approved a contract for softball coach Amy Tudor and a new employment agreement for Deborah Wilkins, general counsel and chief of staff.

Todd Stewart, athletic director, said the contract was mostly just a formality.

“The Amy Tudor contract really just formalizes what Tyra Perry’s compensation was,” Stewart said. “The only difference now is that Amy has some incentives in her contract, but there’s also buyout too.”

In the Wilkins employment agreement, Wilkins will continue to serve as general counsel until June 2017. However, as part of the agreement, WKU retains the right to reassign Wilkins to another position on main campus with the exact same pay of her current position, at $142,272. If Wilkins refuses the reassignment, she can be fired by the university.

The board also discussed and approved an Internal Audit Plan that would create a senior auditor position within the university.

Ann Mead, senior vice president for finance and administration, said the position would be responsible for reviewing finance related affairs for departments on campus, including athletics and campus services and facilities.

“We evaluated the need to know where we are going, but we really need someone in house,” Mead said.

The Student Affairs committee during the meeting did not vote on any items, but discussed information items.

Brian Kuster, executive director of housing and residence life, delivered a housing occupancy report and said his department is trying to have more juniors and seniors live on campus.

Kuster said private, individual rooms are more appealing to older students.

“If we build anything with double occupancy that’s not what our students want,” Kuster said.

Following the Student Affairs committee, the Academic Affairs committee passed several items including the creation of a new Chinese and Arabic major and minor.

Patricia Minter, faculty regent, said she supported the idea.

“I’m thrilled to see that you’re doing this because this says we’re quite serious, not only internationalization, but having the type of intellectual culture the university should have,” Minter said.

All items passed Friday will go on to the Board of Regents meeting on Oct. 25 for full approval.