WKU Board of Regents to discuss salary increases, campus renovations


Tucker Covey

WKU President Timothy C. Caboni sits at the Board of Regents meeting in the Regents Room inside Jody Richards Hall on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022.

Michael Crimmins, Administration reporter

The Western Kentucky University Board of Regents will discuss numerous academic programs, salary increases, numerous campus renovations and projects and show renderings of the new business college in their April 14 committee meeting

Under the Academic Affairs committee, chaired by Regent W. Currie Milliken, are numerous action items that concern the creation and suspension of academic certificates, both in undergraduate and graduate levels, including approving the “undergraduate certificate in Managing Inclusive Organizations.”

There are two graduate certificate programs in Enterprise Management and Executive Decision Making both “through GFCB Interdisciplinary Programs within Gordon Ford College of Business.”

Each action item lays out the 12 total hours, or five courses, required to earn the respective certificate. 

Also included in the report are four undergraduate certificate programs. A certificate in sales, executive influence in organizations, managing inclusive organizations and in creativity and innovation management.

Similarly to the graduate certificates, three of the four require 12 hours, the fourth requiring 15 hours, in related courses.

According to the report, each new certificate program will have little budgetary implications as all “will utilize existing faculty and some part-time faculty.”

All certificate programs, if approved, will go into effect in fall 2023.

In addition to the certificate approvals there are two program suspensions on the agenda.

The first requests “approval for academic program suspension for…Folk Studies, Master of Arts.”

“The Faculty have made the decision to close The Master of Arts in Folk Studies to new admissions due to low enrollment,” the report states. “The Chair, Dean, and Provost support the faculty’s decision.” 

Students currently enrolled in the program will be allowed to complete the program, the report states.

The decision to suspend the program was communicated via email by Terrance Brown, dean of Potter College of Arts & Letters, on Oct. 24 and sparked outrage among alumni saying it was “so sad to hear this news from The Hill” equating it to “a death in the family.”

The second program suspension pertained to the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. 

According to the facts included in the action item, WKU has two Bachelor of Sciences offered in agriculture, one requiring a second major or a minor. They are suspending that one and incorporating it into the “stand-alone Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree.”

“The courses related to the closing Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (second major or minor required) will be incorporated into the primary bachelor degree program new concentration in General Agriculture,” the report states. “Because the courses in the program to be closed will continue to be offered as part of the primary bachelor degree program, current students will have access to all courses required to complete their degrees with no additional fees or impact on students, faculty or staff.”

In the Finance and Budget Committee’s report approval of raises for faculty and staff. Of the 161 faculty and staff with proposed raises 34 are receiving raises above 10%.

The reason for the raises include such things as “added duties, market equality and departmental reorganization.”

In the same report is approval for “the initiation of various capital projects to preserve, renovate, modernize, and maintain” various buildings, facilities, and campus systems. In total, the six projects will cost roughly $16 million.

The renovation of Gordon Wilson Hall, the Kentucky Museum, the Center for Research and Development, and Jody Richards Hall total $7 million. The modernization of campus access control totals roughly $2 million and the E. A. Diddle Arena roof project will cost up to $7 million.

“In the 2022-2024 Budget of the Commonwealth (22 RS, HB 1), the Kentucky General Assembly authorized $683.5 million in General Fund supported bond funds for a Postsecondary Education Asset Preservation Pool to provide funding for individual asset preservation, renovation, and maintenance projects at Kentucky public postsecondary institutions,” the report states. “Allocated pool funds were appropriated to institutions in both years of the biennium, with each institution receiving an appropriation for half of its allocation in 2022-23 and receiving an appropriation for the other half of its allocation in 2023-24. Western Kentucky University asset preservation pool allocation each year is $34,040,000 for a total of $68,080,000.”

The next paragraph of the action item states “each project for comprehensive institutions shall be matched at 15 percent from funds provided by each comprehensive institution.”

During the Executive Committee information items will be renderings for the new Gordon Ford College of Business.

The meeting will be held in the Regents Room in Jody Richards Hall at 9 a.m. and streamed on the WKU news YouTube channel.

Administration reporter Michael Crimmins can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @michael_crimm