Board of Regents committees to address Taggart’s contract, academic programs on Friday

Tessa Duvall

The Board of Regents will vote on the new contract for Head Football Coach Willie Taggart at committee meetings at 1 p.m. Friday in Mass Media and Technology Hall.

After leading WKU to a 7-5 season, Taggart received a new contract that, if approved by the Regents, will pay an annual base salary of $475,000 through 2019, making him the highest-paid employee at the school.

The contract is filled with perfromance-based incentives, including a 15 percent base salary increase should Taggart lead the Toppers to eight wins in a year.

If the Executive Committee approves the new contract, it will then go before the full board on Jan. 20 for final approval.

Faculty Regent Patti Minter has spoken out against the new contract, which would be a 111 percent base salary increase for Taggart.

“The university has sent a message that it values entertainment over education,” she told the Herald last week.

Shortly after Taggart’s proposed contract was announced on Dec. 7, Minter said she had received emails from at least 50 faculty members who felt Taggart’s raise was too much.

Meanwhile Staff Regent James Kennedy told the Herald he doesn’t see any reason why Taggart’s deal wouldn’t be passed by the Regents.

“At the end of the day, I see this as WKU investing in its future, protecting an asset and keeping the ball rolling with a positive football program,” Kennedy said.

On the agenda for the Academic Committee are votes on the following programs and certificates:

•    Doctor of physical therapy degree

•    Graduate certificate in dietetic practice

•    Graduate certificate in lean sigma

•    Undergraduate certificate in food processing and technology

•    Undergraduate minor in global health service

•    Undergraduate minor in news/editorial journalism

A bill previously passed by the Kentucky legislature which allowed Kentucky schools, with the exception of the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville, to offer up to three advanced practice doctorate degree programs, allowed for the creation of WKU’s physical therapy program.

The program is currently accepting applications for the fall of 2012, with a deadline of Jan. 15. It will feature a 118-credit-hour curriculum over three years, with each semester of classes already planned for students.

If approved, these items will go before the full board in January.