Regents approve Master Plan, presidential oversight, philanthropy and more

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WKU’s Board of Regents met for their first quarterly meeting of the year Friday to discuss new and old business.

The board first addressed academic affairs matters, during which they unanimously approved a Master of Arts in Education, Instructional Leadership, School Principal program as well as emeritus status for Terry Wilson, Thomas Nicholson, and Linda Brown.

The board then addressed matters relating to finances, during which they unanimously approved financial statements for WKYU-TV and WKYU-FM Radio, NCAA Compliance Report and revenues and expenditures for last semester.

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The board also unanimously approved revisions to the 2020-2021 Operating Budget, which included reallocation of Carry Forward funds to various departments. This resulted in $8,015,300 being split between various colleges, Strategy, Operations & Finance and Communications & Marketing.

The board then unanimously voted to finalize the executive committee’s updated Campus Master Plan 2021-2031, which consist of major changes to campus layout and the removal of Tate Page Hall to make space for a new building to house the Gordon Ford College of Business.

“There have been no substantial changes to the Master Plan document, only minor corrective things within the appendix were done,” Chief Facilities Officer Brian Russel said.

The plan calls for the removal of South Lawn’s parking lot to open up more green space, as well as rerouting traffic around a section of State Street in order to develop a plaza area, as well as designating several buildings around campus as possible new building options in the future.

The board then approved a measure to rename the Kentucky Building to Charles Hardcastle Kentucky Building in honor of Charles and Carolyn Hardcastle. Charles Hardcastle is a member of the Henry Hardin Cherry Society, President’s Circle and the Cupola Society and has been donating to WKU for the past 48 years.

The board then engaged in lengthy discussion regarding the long-proposed Delegation of Authority Policy, which clarified aspects of the Board of Regents’ oversight over presidential decisions.

“I hope what we don’t do is attempt to use the Board of Regents as a way to micromanage the leadership of the university,” Regent George Nichols said. “When you start seeping into having him to make day to day operational decisions with us, we assume greater responsibilities and we [take from Caboni] his responsibilities.”

A motion to table this decision was defeated with a narrow 5-6 vote, afterwhich the board unanimously voted to approve.

The executive proposals ended with unanimous approval of an extension to President Caboni’s contract, promising a salary of $450,000 with an opportunity for a 10% bonus pending the completion of performance and retention goals. The measure also approved a 10% bonus due to these goals being met between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.

The meeting closed with an update from Vice President for Philanthropy & Alumni Engagement Amanda L. Trabue which outlines the major ways the office has worked to increase alumni donations, such as the Donor Experience Officers (DXO) program.

“Overall, this program has directly influenced over 1,078 gifts, just over $1.5 million in cash revenue,” Trabue said.

Trabue said when all revenue is factored in, WKU’s cash receipts from alumni have increased from the previous year by roughly $1 million. WKU has done exceptionally well given the current financial climate where 1 in 4 advancement teams across the nation saw a 30% decrease in fundraising spending.

The next quarterly meeting is scheduled for May 7.

Digital News Editor Michael J. Collins can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @mjcollinsnews.