Four candidates vying for faculty Regent position

Katherine Wade

Four candidates are hoping to be the “voice” of WKU faculty as they vie for the position of faculty Regent in the election this Thursday.

Current faculty Regent Patti Minter, associate professor of history, will be running for reelection against Scott Lasley, associate professor of political science, Pam Petty, associate professor in the school of teacher education and Saundra Starks, associate professor of social work.

The faculty Regent serves a three-year term and may be reelected after completing that term.

According to WKU Senate website, to be eligible to run for faculty Regent, one must be a teaching or research member of the faculty at the rank of assistant professor or above and may not have a relative employed by WKU.

A forum was held yesterday where each of the candidates presented a brief statement and then answered questions from the audience.

The election will take place online this Thursday, from 8 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Pam Petty:  Petty, who is in her 12th year at WKU, said she believes there are critical issues and times ahead at WKU.

“This is a time of change in higher education, not just for WKU, but all over the country,” she said.

Petty said she has attributes and skills that will be helpful in getting through those times, especially as they impact faculty.

In her written statement posted on the WKU Senate website, Petty said some of her unique strengths include strong listening and decision-making skills, a clear understanding of higher education and passion for everything she does.

Petty said she hopes that all faculty will participate in this important election process.

“We need a renewed culture of faculty activism,” she said.

Petty said she would be honored to serve the faculty and make sure their voices are heard.

Patti Minter:  Minter has been at WKU for 18 years and the faculty Regent for four years. She said the faculty have been very supportive and many have encouraged her to run again.

Minter said the next three years are crucial in the life of WKU.

“The decisions made in the next three years will impact the university for years to come,” she said.

Minter said she has established strong relationships with other members of the Board, especially the staff and student Regents.

Minter said it has been an honor to serve her colleagues and is eager to continue with another term.

“Faculty advocacy, whether on behalf of individuals who you’ve listened to or the faculty as a whole, is one of the most important things you do as faculty Regent and one of the things I’ve enjoyed the most,” she said.

Saundra Starks:  Starks has been employed at WKU for 28 years and said she has served on numerous committees and boards during that time.

Starks said she thinks WKU is in the midst of an exciting transformation and it is time for a new perspective.

“I think my communication style, my work ethic and my experience lend me to be a strong advocate for the faculty and liaison for the Board,” she said.

Starks said sometimes faculty feel like they don’t have a voice, and she would like to strengthen their connection to governance. She also said diversity, in all its aspects, is a big concern of hers.

“I’d like to see the university become that ‘leading university with international reach,’” she said. “I think all the elements are in place now to move that way, but a critical piece is a collaborative process with the faculty.

“And I’d like to be a part of moving the agenda forward.”

Scott Lasley:  Lasley is in his 10th year at WKU. He said he chose to run for faculty Regent because he feels it is important for the Board of Regents to hear from a different voice every now and then.

He said it’s a time of change for higher education.

“I think my background in terms of what I teach, political science, will apply fairly directly,” he said.

He also said communication would be a big role of the job.

“You have the opportunity to be the voice of faculty on the board, so it’s important to make sure you do an effective job communicating,” he said.

“Everybody has the same goal — the goal is for WKU to be successful. The faculty Regent gets to help provide that perspective.”