Regents Notes: Contracts, programs approved

Tessa Duvall

At the Board of Regents third quarterly meeting on Friday, a variety of subjects were presented to the board, including updates from administrative council members, employee contracts and new degree programs.

Year-end athletic report

Athletics Director Ross Bjork was on hand at Friday’s meeting to give an update on the previous year’s athletic progress.

Bjork said while athletics is not the most important department on campus, it’s certainly the one of the most visible. The athletic program at WKU is a model program for the Sun Belt Conference and the NCAA, he said. In the last four years, WKU’s 19 athletic teams have won a total of 31 conference championships.

Bjork emphasized not only the success of athletes on the field and courts, but in the classroom as well. Last school year, all student athletes had a combined grade point average of just higher than a 3.0.

“It doesn’t happen very often in college athletics,” he said.

There are plans to expand WKU’s athletic facilities in the future, Bjork said, adding that tennis, baseball and track and field are high on that list. As the master facility plan evolves and grows, it will be privately funded, he said.

Coach contracts approved

During the executive committee portion of the board meeting, the full board approved two modified head coach contracts and approved a contract to employ Matt Myers as head baseball coach.

A one-year extension was approved for women’s basketball coach Mary Taylor Cowles. Her contract is extended to June 30, 2015. This was done in order to provide Cowles a four-year window to operate the program.

Amendments to the contract with men’s basketball coach Ken McDonald were also approved. McDonald’s base salary was reduced by $100,000 to $250,000 annually, his incentives were reduced and his $300,000 buyout plan was reformulated to allow for monthly payouts over a four-year time span in the event that his contract is terminated.

Myers’ contract would employ him as head coach until June 30, 2015. The contract could then be extended for one additional year at a time until 2018.

Myers’ annual salary is $125,000 and incentives for accomplishments such as NCAA tournament bids, advancing to the College World Series and NCAA Coach of the Year will be one month’s salary.

New faculty introduced

Several new faculty members have began their roles at WKU this summer, and five of them were introduced to the Board.

Jeffrey Katz, the Dean of the Gordon Ford College of Business, left his role as associate dean of graduate programs and professor of management at Kansas State University to begin his role at WKU on June 27.

Gordon Emslie, Provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said Katz has more than 50 published works and is off to a fast start at WKU.

Emslie also introduced Brian Meredith, the new associate vice president for Enrollment Management. Meredith left his job at director of admissions at the University of Memphis to begin at WKU on July 18. Meredith later gave the annual enrollment report at the meeting.

Also beginning at WKU on July 18 is new executive director of Health Services, Vicky Rosa. Rosa joins WKU after 13 years at Butler University.

Bjork introduced new head baseball coach, Myers, saying Myers has a “great baseball background.”

“Our baseball program has really grown into a point of pride for the community and for the university,” Bjork said.

The new Director of Doctorate in Physical Therapy, Harvey Wallmann, was also at the meeting and said he hopes to have the program running by the fall of 2012.

“I’m ready to put this on the map,” he said.

Wallmannn started the physical therapy program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Academic Affairs approves new programs, awards

After being approved by the Academic Affairs Committee of the Regents at last month’s special meeting, the full board unanimously approved the following items:

• Master of Music degree

• Program name change from Women’s Studies to Gender and Women’s Studies

• Undergraduate minor in Nutritional and Food Chemistry

• Undergraduate minor in Teaching English as a Second Language

• Undergraduate certificate in Drinking Water Operations

• Undergraduate certificate in Data Analysis using SAS

• Undergraduate certificate in Long-term Care Administration

• Appointment of J. Farley Norman, a psychology professor, and Robyn K. Swanson, a music professor, as University Distinguished Professors

• Appointment of Linda Pulsinelli, assistant professor of mathematics, and James Barksdale, Jr., mathematics professor, as Faculty Emeritus status