Education

J. Tyler Franklin

Less than two weeks after he announced he would dissolve and reconstitute the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees, Gov. Matt Bevin on Tuesday received nominees for the positions. And on Wednesday, his announced his choices.

The governor’s Postsecondary Education Nominating Committee offered 30 candidates to fill 10 positions. The governor’s office did not release the names to the public, although WFPL has sought the list through an open records request.

On Wednesday, the governor’s office released the names of his 10 appointees to the board. They are characterized by people at the highest levels of business and entrepreneurship in and around Louisville.

Here they are:

Kentucky Office of the Courts

The Kentucky Supreme Court will decide whether Republican Gov. Matt Bevin can cut the budgets of state colleges and universities.

The court has agreed to hear the case, bypassing the state Court of Appeals, and set a hearing date for Aug. 18.

Bevin reduced allotments to state colleges and universities by nearly $18 million without the approval of the state legislature. Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear sued him, saying Bevin overstepped his authority. A state judge sided with Bevin last month.

Beshear appealed that decision. Normally the case would first go to the state Court of Appeals. But Beshear asked the Supreme Court to hear the case and skip the appeals court process. Bevin opposed Beshear's request, saying the case was not of "great and immediate public importance."

The court granted Beshear's request Monday.

Kevin Willis, WKU Public Radio

Members of the Western Kentucky University presidential search committee are laying out a timeline of next steps in the hiring process.

The executive search firm helping identify candidates will meet later this summer with WKU faculty, staff, and student groups.

Search committee members have been looking through the first draft of a profile containing input from those on and around the school’s campus.

Search committee chairman Dr. Phillip Bale says a big part of that draft is a list of the characteristics those groups want to see in the school’s next leader.

“I don’t there’s a person that exists in the world who has all them, so part of our charge, as it were, will be to figure out what is most important.”

WKU

The Western Kentucky University Board of Regents has approved a $402 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Fifty-one-percent of the budget is funded by student tuition and fees. The new spending plan includes a 4.5 percent tuition increase, and factors in a 4.5 percent reduction in state funding.

Student regent Jay Todd Richey cast the lone vote against the budget. In a prepared statement read before the vote, the Glasgow native said he couldn’t support certain parts of the plan, including a reduction in funding for the Track and Field program.

Speaking to reporters after the budget was passed 8-1, Rickey said many WKU students believe the burden of decreased state funding for higher education isn’t being shouldered evenly.

WKU

A legal scholar at Western Kentucky University says Thursday's Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action is good for the country’s college classrooms.  

The high court upheld the affirmative action program at the University of Texas.

WKU History Professor Patricia Minter says having a diverse student body creates a better learning environment for everyone.

“As much as we empathize with the struggles of others, we sometimes need to let groups and people speak for themselves about their own lived experience.”

Opponents of affirmative action programs have argued that factors like race, ethnicity, and gender shouldn’t factor into university admissions policies.

Minter says Thursday’s high court ruling isn’t necessarily the last Supreme Court decision regarding affirmative action. She says the country’s racial and ethnic makeup is rapidly changing, and those factors could lead to future court challenges.

You can hear Minter’s conversation with WKU Public Radio by clicking on the “Listen” button above.

Alix Mattingly

The Kentucky community college system reassigned its top attorney earlier this month to a newly created “special assistant” position soon after wrapping up a monthslong investigation of his office behavior.

J. Campbell Cantrill III will serve as “special assistant to the president for policy review and revision” until he retires next summer, according to a settlement reached with the Kentucky Community & Technical College System on June 1. He will continue to draw the $137,314 annual salary he received as general counsel.

Cantrill, who served as KCTCS’ legal chief since 2008, had been placed on administrative leave with pay and barred from the system’s headquarters in Versailles and its email system on Feb. 26. In a letter sent to him that day by KCTCS President Jay Box, Cantrill was told he was being investigated for possible violations of system policies, including those that cover harassment, ethical values and use of information technology.

The letter cited “multiple reports” of violations by Cantrill but did not provide any details. KCTCS hired an outside attorney, Keith Moorman of Frost Brown Todd in Lexington, to investigate the matter.

J. Tyler Franklin

Attorney General Andy Beshear is suing Gov. Matt Bevin for abolishing and then reinstating the boards of trustees of both the University of Louisville and Kentucky Retirement Systems, the state agency that manages the pensions of most state employees.

Bevin appointed new members and changed the number of seats on each panel. In both cases, Bevin said the moves were made to achieve a “fresh start.”

Bevin has reorganized several boards in recent months, including the Kentucky Horse Park Commission, Kentucky Racing Commission and the Workers’ Compensation Nominating Commission.

A group of labor unions and injured workers have sued Bevin for his overhaul of the workers’ compensation board, which nominates administrative law judges to oversee workers’ compensation cases.

Alix Mattingly

University of Louisville’s president and its entire governing board are out.

With scandals mounting and dissent growing, Gov. Matt Bevin announced the major shake-up at the University of Louisville Friday morning. U of L President James Ramsey agreed to resign, the governor said, and Bevin used an executive order to dissolve and reconstitute the state-appointed Board of Trustees that oversees the institution.

What is going on at U of L?

Ramsey and his governing board have been at odds for months.

The U of L board has been floating a no-confidence vote for Ramsey, but a legal battle over the racial composition of the board prevented them from taking any action.

J. Tyler Franklin

A major shakeup in leadership is taking place at the University of Louisville.

Governor Matt Bevin today announced that University of Louisville President James Ramsey is stepping down and the school’s Board of Trustees is being reorganized.

Bevin said the school needs a change in oversight and a “fresh start.”

Ramsey has led U of L since 2002.

He’s come under increasing criticism as the school has faced several high-profile scandals, including an FBI investigation into its top health care executive, and an NCAA investigation into allegations that men’s basketball players and recruits were provided with prostitutes.

The Council on Postsecondary Education will nominate new trustees for Bevin to consider for appointment.

Flickr/Creative Commons/llmicrofono Oggiono

The Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame is accepting nominations for the 2017 class. The recognition is for those who teach kindergarten through grade 12 who have  made a noteworthy contribution to the lives to children.

Deadline for nominations is July 15.

The hall of fame was established in 2000 through a gift from former Governor Louis B. Nunn. It is based at Western Kentucky University.

St. Catharine College

Several Kentucky colleges and universities are courting students from St. Catherine College in Springfield.

Citing debt and declining enrollment, the school announced this month that it will close at the end of July.

Among the schools reaching out to the students is Brescia University in Owensboro.  Vice President for Enrollment Management Chris Houk says Brescia and St. Catharine have many things in common.

"We compete in the same athletic conference within the NAIA," explained Houk.  "While Brescia University is more of an urban campus, our day program population is very similar in size and we offer very similar programs to those students."

Brescia and St. Catharine are also both Catholic universities. 

Brecia is offering its Catholic Connections Grant to all St. Catharine students, regardless of their religious affiliation.  The grant allows Catholic students, with the recommendation of their parish, to receive half-price tuition.  Brescia is also holding a reception for prospective students Wednesday evening in Frankfort.

WKU

A majority of students from India recently recruited by Western Kentucky University for its graduate program in computer science have not met their academic requirements.

WKU spokesman Bob Skipper says 59 students from India were recruited in a pilot project for the 2016 spring semester. At the end of the semester, 41 of those students did not meet the requirements of their admission. 

Eight of the students came close to meeting the requirements and are appealing. They are expected to be reinstated. The remainder have been dismissed from the university. Nineteen have transferred to other colleges.

James Gary, chairman of the computer science department at Western Kentucky University, says the first semester can be challenging for the graduate students from India.

“The most common difficulty is they do not seem to have the level of programming expertise that we would expect from a student with an undergraduate degree in computer science,” says Gary.

Daviess County Public Schools

Daviess County public schools are launching a ‘Newcomer’ program. 

“Newcomers are students who are brand new to an English-speaking school and often brand new to the United States. These students typically have had very interrupted or little or no formal schooling,” says Jana Beth Francis, who oversees the English language program for Daviess County schools.

She says the program is based on students who have arrived in the district in the past nine years.

In 2007, Daviess County Public Schools had 77 students who were English language learners. This year, that number stands at 461.

Teachers throughout the Daviess County school district will be trained this summer in strategies to help newcomer students succeed. The district is also instituting tuition reimbursement for high school teachers to get certification to teach English language learners.

Rhonda Miller

Gardening season at one Kentucky jail means more than the physical and mental refreshment that comes with digging, planting and enjoying fresh vegetables. 

A Western Kentucky University sociology course is bringing students from the Glasgow campus to dig side-by-side with students who are inmates at the detention center. More than asparagus and potatoes are taking root at the jail garden.

Some of the students are growing new lives.  

Two dozen college students recently shoveled a mountain of mulch into wheelbarrows at the Barren County Detention Center. They could be any group of college students enrolled in this hands-on course from Western Kentucky University called The Sociology of Agriculture and Food. But five of the young women are wearing bright orange T-shirts .

They’re the inmates.

Alix Mattingly

The president of Kentucky’s community college system makes $375,000 annually, a paycheck that’s right on the money when compared with similar institutions, at least according to a school-funded consultant’s report.

Consultant Lyle Hanna briefed a few members of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System board of regents last week on his comprehensive review of President Jay Box’s pay. Hanna’s review, funded by KCTCS, found Box’s compensation is very close to the average of his peers:

“Amazingly,” Hanna said, “right on the target.”

In hitting that target, though, Hanna relied on flawed information, including a cherry-picked group of peers and data that doesn’t exist yet.

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