Education

Ramsey's Status with U of L Foundation Sparks More Debate

Aug 28, 2016
J. Tyler Franklin/WFPL News

Former University of Louisville President James Ramsey's status with the UofL Foundation is sparking more debate among top officials.

The Courier-Journal reports the UofL Foundation's chairman took issue Friday with a suggestion by the school's Board of Trustees chairman that Ramsey should resign as foundation president to clear the way for recruiting a new university president.

Dr. Bob Hughes, the foundation's chairman, said promoting "harmony" will give UofL the best chance at recruiting an excellent new president. Hughes says Board of Trustees Chairman Larry Benz should keep his comments "on the high road."

Benz said Thursday that UofL would not be "attractive" to potential recruits for the presidency if Ramsey was serving as foundation president.

The foundation is scheduled to meet on an unspecified date in September.

J. Tyler Franklin

The “old” University of Louisville Board of Trustees met Thursday for the first time since the governor disbanded it in June.

The agenda was limited and their actions modest, due to a pending lawsuit over whether Gov. Matt Bevin had the right to create a new board.

Even before Bevin’s attempted reorganization, the board was hamstrung by a different lawsuit taking aim at the racial imbalance of the group. And as the political maneuvering and legal fights played out in recent months, the board’s to-do list grew.

In past months, the trustees should have been approving decisions on tenure, promotions and new hires. A budget that should have gone into effect in July was temporarily replaced with a stopgap spending plan. The trustees took those delayed votes on Thursday.

Daviess County Public Schools

Some students in Daviess County Public Schools are taking part in a first-year program aimed at helping those who are new to the U.S.

The Newcomer Program is launching this year at Apollo High School and College View Middle School.

Students at other Daviess County schools who qualify for the program take a school bus to the Newcomer Program and spend the day there. 

Jana Beth Francis is assistant superintendent for teaching and learning for Daviess County Schools. She said the goal is a balance between basic English language skills and immersion.                                  

“They spend half the day in the Newcomer Program and then the other half of the day they are integrated into the regular school, where they get a chance to be with English-speaking students and start to get some of their core classes.”

Rogelio V. Solis/AP

As a new school year gets underway, the Common Core remains a partisan flashpoint, while Americans overall have serious concerns about the direction of our public education system. That's according to two new polls.

Education Next, a policy journal, released its 10th annual large national poll of public opinion on education today. And Gallup, the polling organization, has recently released new figures as well.

With results broken out along partisan lines, the polls also provide insight into trends that may affect the current presidential campaign.

Here's a roundup of key findings:

Glasgow Independent Schools

Glasgow High School principal Keith Hale has been named superintendent of Glasgow Independent Schools. The Glasgow board of education made the announcement during a special called meeting Monday night.

Hale was one of three finalists for the job.

Board chair Amelia Kiser told the Glasgow Daily Times that Hale's "strength in the field of instruction,  his commitment to the district, his commitment to the kids of the district were all very attractive to us."

Hale told the newspaper he was honored by the appointment and getting it "absolutely means the world to me."

Clinton Lewis/WKU

The president of Western Kentucky University is pledging to move full steam ahead for the remaining ten months of his tenure.  Gary Ransdell spoke of his upcoming retirement during his annual opening convocation to faculty and staff Friday.

"I have every intention of presenting my successor with an institution which has a stable enrollment, high academic quality, a rebuilt campus, and a campus ready to launch its next capital campaign."

Ransdell said much of his remaining time will be spent on helping shape a performance-based funding model for higher education in Kentucky. 

Ransdell will also continue his efforts to bring a University of Kentucky Medical School to Bowling Green as part of WKU’s partnership with UK and the Medical Center at Bowling Green. President Ransdell will also oversee an upgrade of residence halls and a new dining contract that would include renovation of the Garrett Conference Center. 

He retires June 30 of next year after two decades of leading WKU.  A national search is underway for the university's next president. 

U of L Board Case To Stretch Until At Least October

Aug 16, 2016
University of Louisville

The battle over the University of Louisville Board of Trustees won’t be resolved in court until October at the earliest.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd signed an order Friday that sets a timeline for the lawsuit filed by Attorney General Beshear against Gov. Matt Bevin. Shepherd will hear motions from both sides on Oct. 4, after allowing for several weeks of legal filings in which they can lay out their respective cases.

Beshear sued the governor in June after he dissolved the old 17-member U of L board and replaced it with a new 10-member panel. Beshear’s office has argued that Bevin had no authority to disband the school’s governing board, and that state law protects university trustees from termination without cause and due process.

The governor’s office has since argued that the overhaul was necessary to bring the board in alignment with a state law that requires the board to reflect the racial and political makeup in the state. The old board had too few minority members and too many Democrats.

John Russell/Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University will pay more than a million dollars, returning a donation made 83 years ago, so that it can remove an inscription with the word "Confederate" from a campus dorm.

The building in the heart of the freshman commons is officially called Confederate Memorial Hall, but since 2002 it's been referred to as simply Memorial Hall. It opened in 1935 thanks to a $50,000 gift from the United Daughters of the Confederacy two years earlier.

The announcement came today from Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos, who said the university is not trying to rewrite history:

"Many generations of students, faculty and staff have struggled with, argued about and debated with vigor this hall. ... Our debates and discussions have consistently returned over these many years to the same core question: can we continue to strive for that diverse and inclusive community where we educate the leaders that our communities, nation and world so desperately need, with this hall as so created? My view, like that of so many in the past, and so many in our present, is that we cannot."

J. Tyler Franklin

A state judge says he wants more information about University of Louisville's accreditation and the political and racial makeup of the school's board of trustees.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd issued an order last month at the request of Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear to temporarily block Bevin's decision to abolish and replace the University of Louisville board. On Monday, both sides were back in court to discuss scheduling for the case.

Shepherd said the university's accreditation is "an extremely important issue" and said he does not have enough information about it to make a permanent decision.

Shepherd also said he is concerned the old board of trustees may violate state law because it does not have proper political and minority representation.

Kevin Willis

Western Kentucky University’s latest fundraising totals are the highest in school history.

The school announced today that it raised $23.1 million in donations during the fiscal year that ended June 30.

That’s a 22 percent increase over the school’s previous record.

Marc Archambault, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations at WKU, says he was impressed by the number of donations made by people who aren’t WKU graduates.

“Forty-five percent of the dollars that were contributed in this last fiscal year came from ‘friends’—people unaffiliated with the university,” he said.

The contributions made to WKU last fiscal year include nearly $10 million for the school’s endowment, and nearly $8 million for student scholarships.

Kevin Willis

About forty refugee children living in Bowling Green are getting some help in preparing for the upcoming school year.

The Warren County-based International Center of Kentucky partnered with four community organizations to provide school supplies to the children.

One of those in line Thursday to get a backpack filled with supplies was 14-year-old Maya Nayab. She and her family arrived last week in Kentucky after fleeing religious persecution in Pakistan.

She says she’s looking forward to starting ninth grade classes next week.

“I think it’s going to be important for me and my life—the studies are most important. I love to study, so I’m going to complete my graduation as soon as possible,” said Nayab, who is one of ten family member who recently relocated in Bowling Green.

The other groups contributing to the school supply campaign are Starbucks, the WKU Store, Strawberry Fields Yoga, and Women’s Intercultural Café.

Kayla Luttrell, a case manager with the Bowling Green-based International Center of Bowling Green, says the children and their parents are grateful for the help.

Rick Howlett

A central Kentucky college officially closes on Monday, after 85 years of operation.

Officials at St. Catharine College near Springfield announced in June that the school would shut down, citing declining enrollment and a dispute with the U.S. Department of Education over a cut in financial aid.

The move left several hundred students scrambling to find a new school.  Many have transferred to similar-sized institutions such as Bellarmine, Midway and Kentucky State University.

More than 100 faculty and staff members were laid off.

St. Catharine President Cindy Gnadinger said it’s been a trying time for everyone.

Somerset Community College

Somerset Community College has received a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to expand the reach of its 3-D printing program.

The main focus of the grant is to advance biomedical applications for 3-D printing in the region.

Eric Wooldridge is associate professor of 3-D printing at Somerset Community College.  He says the technique is already playing a big role in biomedical field.

“We actually can take full body MRIs and select sections that we want to print off. It can be the actual organs. It can be the bone structure. Whatever a surgeon or physician may need to better prepare for surgery or plan diagnostically what they’re going to do.” 

He says the process uses different types of materials to create physical forms.

J. Tyler Franklin

A judge has temporarily blocked Gov. Matt Bevin’s overhaul of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees. 

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd issued the ruling Friday morning.

Bevin abolished the U of L board by executive order in June, sacking the 17-member governing body and replacing it with a 10-member board.

During a surprise press conference announcing the overhaul, Bevin also revealed that James Ramsey, the university’s president, would step down from his position once the new board was in place.

Ramsey officially resigned in an agreement with the newly constituted board late Wednesday evening.

WKU

As many as 200 Western Kentucky University employees will soon pay at least five times for health benefits.

Members of the building services, grounds, landscaping and recycling departments are being outsourced August 1 to Sodexo Management Services.

Those making minimum pay will get a dollar-an-hour raise, while a smaller group making more than that will get an hourly boost of between 54 and 95 cents.

WKU Human Resources director Tony Glisson said the move is in response to a $6 million budget cut from the state announced earlier this year.

“When that type of reduction occurs, the university has to look deep and wide for opportunities to reduce costs, become more efficient, to look for creative arrangements, new partnerships that may not have been in place previously,” he said.

Pages