University Senate: Emslie says WKU’s budget cuts won’t result in firings

Mike Stunson

Gordon Emslie, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said at Thursday’s University Senate meeting that no WKU faculty or staff member would have “involuntary termination” as a result of proposed budget cuts.

Faculty Regent Patti Minter brought up proposed budget cuts in her report that were briefly touched upon by Ann Mead, vice president for Finance and Administration, at the last Regents meeting.

Emslie said the budget cuts are “simply a reduction in state appropriations from the legislature.” He said the cuts will go in to effect at the beginning of the new fiscal year on July 1.

WKU was unable to replace all of the federal stimulus money and various colleges will see a 1.1 to 1.6 percent cut in their budgets.

Minter said many at the Regents meeting were unaware of talks of a budget cut.

“We really do need to get everyone in the loop about it and we will continue to take steps toward that,” she said.

The last business item at Thursday’s University Senate meeting — a proposed textbook policy — was not voted on, as by the end, the senate fell short of quorum.

The policy would establish the procedures through which professors identify textbooks to be used in future course offerings and inform the WKU Store accordingly. The vote was tabled until next month’s meeting.

But the senate did go over many items before losing quorum, including passing a syllabus bill. The bill suggests — but not requires — that professors post their syllabi online before the first week of classes so students will be able to know about required materials, attendance policies and an overview of class assignments.

This item was brought to the University Senate by the Student Government Association last semester.

“I think the proposal drafted is very careful to be compliant to what is in the (faculty) handbook and comply with professional responsibility, but not in a way that violates academic freedom,” Minter said.

Psychology department head Steven Haggbloom and assistant art professor Kristina Arnold spoke to the senate about a report from the Research & Creative Activities Program.

RCAP funding is provided by the Office of Research to encourage faculty to develop individual research projects, according to its website.

The results showed there were 81 proposals for money throughout the university, asking for a total of $966,821. Only $327,065 was given out, with Ogden College receiving the most at $201,975.