Final candidate for Commonwealth School director speaks at WKU

Tessa Duvall

The last of three candidates for the director of the Commonwealth School and associate dean of the University College met with faculty and staff at WKU’s South Campus this afternoon.

Martha Sales, the current director of Educational Talent Search at WKU, outlined four main points in her presentation about her vision for the next three years.

First, Sales wants to increase enrollment by 7 percent and the number of credentials awarded by 15 percent.

Sales also wants to add two new certificate programs and two new associate’s degree programs.

In order to meet the extra demand, Sales said she would like to see full-time faculty expand to 80 members and full-time staff increase to six.

Lastly, Sales outlined goals for improved student success in the Commonwealth School.

The school’s retention rate is currently 51 percent, and the graduation rate is 4.1 percent.

Sales said she wants these numbers to increase to a retention rate of 53 percent and a graduation rate of 6 percent by the end of her three-year plan.

Sales also wants to see the current average grade point average increase from 2.33 to 2.5.

During the question and answer session, Julie Shadoan, associate professor of business in the Commonwealth School, asked Sales what constituted the need to create a new program.

Sales said students equate success with their ability to find a job and earn a living. Therefore, need should be measured by how marketable a student will be.

Lee Emanuel, an associate professor in the school, asked about Sales’ experience with community colleges and how she saw the Commonwealth School in comparison to KCTCS.

Sales said she began her education at a community college, and has also taught at South Campus.

The Commonwealth School and KCTCS are separate entities, but both still bridge access to education for students, she said.

Ellen Bonaguro, associate dean of the Academic Advising and Retention Center, asked Sales about her view of developmental education.

Sales said it is something that the school should be willing to pursue and offer as a a bridge to students.

Beth Laves, chair of the search committee for the director’s position, said she could not say for sure when the final decision would be made, but the committee will meet on Dec. 8.