Ransdell joins board of trustees for Institute for Shipboard Education

Elliott Pratt

WKU President Gary Ransdell has joined three other new members of the Institute for Shipboard Education (ISE) on the board of trustees.

ISE is an educational non-profit organization that operates Semester at Sea (SAS), a study abroad program at sea sponsored by the University of Virginia.

According to SAS’s website, “the mission of ISE is to educate individuals with the global understanding necessary to address the challenges of our interdependent world.”

Ransdell will serve a four-year term that began in May on the Academic Affairs and Advancement committees.

“I’m going to learn a lot, and it’ll be fun,” Ransdell said. “My main goal is to bring value to what we’re about at WKU. I think this will be a way in which we can do that.”

ISE president Les McCabe said WKU’s mission statement of being a school with international reach stands true to the ideas and contributions Ransdell brings to the board of trustees.

“One thing that stands out to me is his true commitment to international education,” McCabe said. “It’s not just a statement for him, it’s backed by actions and decisions that are impressive for a university like Western Kentucky. He’s really taking a lead in making sure (WKU) is doing that.”

As new members of the board, Ransdell joins SAS alumnus Stuart Saunders, managing partner of Mission-Heights Enterprises Ltd. and chairman of the board at the First National Bank of George West, Texas; and Maurie McInnis, professor of art history and vice provost at the University of Virginia; and Larry Silver, professor of art history at the University of Pennsylvania who has sailed the world twice with SAS.

McCabe said that Ransdell’s push for more study abroad opportunities and understanding will serve well for ISE.

“University presidents often talk about the need for international education. It’s one thing to talk about it, but (Ransdell) has done something about it,” McCabe said. “I think the other side is his experience at Western Kentucky in terms of managing a large institution and in looking at our smaller non-profit organization by comparison is his historic experience in tuition increases, financial aid, discounting and fundraising- all of those things apply to us as well.

“He certainly is well versed and experienced in all of the above. That knowledge and information is really useful to us in where we are in this stage.”

Ransdell makes it a point to travel with various faculty led Study Abroad groups at WKU. He says it is important for him to be actively involved in traveling internationally with faculty and students.

“For quite sometime, internationalizing the WKU experience has been a very high priority in our strategic planning for the institution,” Ransdell said. “I feel like it’s necessary and important for me to lead by example in that regard.”