The number of degrees and credentials conferred this year by public and private college and universities across Kentucky has gone up. The Herald-Leader reports the total of 63,148 represents a 1.2 percent increase over last year, according to statistics released Friday by the Council on Post-Secondary Education.
Private universities saw a nine percent growth in degrees handed out. The numbers are preliminary with a full report from the CPE later this year.
A lead administrator at Centre College is leaving the Danville school to become president of Monmouth College in Illinois.
Dr. Clarence Wyatt currently serves as a history professor, chief planning officer, and special assistant to the president at Centre, where he is an alumnus and has been part of the campus community for four decades.
“There really have not been many areas or people that Clarence hasn’t touched in a positive way at Centre,” Centre President John Roush said in a news release. “He has inspired a generation of students in a career filled with distinction and achievement. We will miss him, and we wish him the best in his new career as president of Monmouth College.”
Wyatt has also led the school’s two recent capital campaigns and served as co-chair of both the 2000 and 2012 vice-presidential debates.
At Monmouth, Wyatt will lead a school similar to Centre. It’s a liberal arts college with about 1,300 students.
Students at Kentucky's community and technical colleges are facing higher tuition costs the next two years. The Kentucky Community and Technical College System's Board of Regents approved a budget for the upcoming academic year that includes a nearly 2.1% tuition increase for in-state students.
The Board approved a $924.1 million budget for the state-wide system of 16 colleges and more than 70 campuses for the next year.
Board members approved higher in-state tuition rates for the next two academic years. For the next school year, tuition will go up from $144 per credit hour to $147. In-state tuition for the 2015-16 academic year will be $150 per credit hour.
The Presidents of Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education and Western Kentucky University are among those joining a nationwide coalition in support of the Common Core State Standards.
CPE President Bob King and WKU’s Gary Ransdell are pledging their support to the group Higher Ed for Higher Standards. Along with Dr. Ransdell, four other university presidents in Kentucky joined the group: Eli Capilouto of the University of Kentucky, Tim Miller of Murray State, Michael Benson of Eastern Kentucky, and Wayne Andrews of Morehead State.
Nine Kentucky Community and Technical College presidents are also members of the coalition.
The goal of the Common Core is to create consistent educational standards across states and to make sure those graduating high school are ready to enter either post-secondary education institutions or the workforce. Higher Ed for Higher Standards say it believes Common Core standards will help universities reduce the number of students who have to enroll in remedial classes once they’re on campus, as well as increase graduation rates.
“I agree with the Council on Postsecondary Education and with the Kentucky Department of Education, in that these standards set a level of expectation of our students, and of their teachers, and of their parents for support, that we need to keep our country up with world education standards," said Dr. Kris Williams, President of Henderson Community College and a member of the coalition.
Opponents of Common Core says the standards present a “one size fits all” approach to education. Last month, the Indiana Board of Education voted to scrap the state’s Common Core program and implement a new set of educational standards.
You can read NPR's FAQ page about the Common Core standards here.
Last month's ruling in the ongoing dispute between the county and Bowling Green city schools over non-resident students is now being challenged in court. County schools' attorney Jacinta Porter Monday filed an 80 page document of exceptions to hearing officer Mike Wilson's recommendation that up to 750 Warren County students be allowed to attend city schools in the coming school year.
Wilson's recommendation last month was the same one he made a year ago and that was approved by Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. It was seen as a win for the city school system. The county wanted the number of non-resident students limited to just siblings of current students.
In a prepared statement, Warren County Superintendent Rob Clayton said, "We remain confident that the Commissioner will appropriately modify Mr. Wilson's recommendation to ensure the process is transparent, fair and equitable. In addition, we anticipate that the Commissioner's ruling will minimize the negative financial impact of the recommendation."
School districts throughout Kentucky will spend the summer putting the finishing touches on new science curriculum. State Education Commissioner Terry Holliday announced this week that what’s known as the Next Generation Science Standards will be implemented this fall.
Kentucky is one of 26 states that recently worked to develop the new standards.
Next Generation puts greater emphasis on subjects such as physical science, life sciences, earth science, and engineering.
Some school districts across the state have gotten a head start in getting the new standards in place.
“In Barren County, we have already started the implementation, with about half of our grades having made the transition last year, and the other half to make the transition this year,” said Scott Harper, director of instruction and technology for Barren County Schools.
Jennifer Davis, director of elementary and secondary programs for Bowing Green Independent Schools, says the content that students will experience next school year goes beyond learning basic scientific concepts.
“With the new standards, it’s not just a focus on core ideas, but also engineering practices, concepts as to how science is applied in the real world,” Davis told WKU Public Radio. “It’s really about how to teach kids to think scientifically.”
A hearing officer in the non-resident student dispute between the two school districts recommended Tuesday that the city schools continue to be permitted to enroll 750 county students for the next school year. Those students have to apply to city schools to be accepted and pay a tuition.
“The WCPS Board is committed to doing what is fair and equitable for all kids and this belief remains steadfast," Warren County Superintendent Rob Clayton said in a news release. "Our Board is not in position to enter into a nonresident contract unless the agreement is transparent, fair and equitable for all students and the Hearing Officer’s recommendation is in stark contrast to this position."
Hearing officer Mike Wilson's recommendation now goes to Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday for his final ruling, which could still be appealed to the Kentucky State Board of Education.
Wilson's recommendation on the number of county students accepted was virtually identical to a decision he handed down last year. Among the findings in the 40 page report were the opinions that there's no evidence to suggest the non-resident process that Bowling Green uses is unfair. The recommendation did not suggest any guideline or deadlines for future negotiations.
The two school districts have been at odds for more than a year regarding the non-resident student cap.
The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science at WKU opened in 2007 and houses 120 talented Kentucky high school juniors and seniors who are furthering their education in science, technology, math, and engineering.
The director of the Center for Gifted Studies at WKU says Kentucky is entering uncharted territory by having two math and science academies.
State lawmakers approved funding this year to open the Craft Academy at Morehead State University.
The pr0gram, scheduled to start in 2015, will be modeled after WKU’s Gatton Academy that’s home to Kentucky’s brightest high school students who are pursuing careers in math, science, technology, and engineering.
"Residential schools like the Gatton Academy have been around since 1980. There are 15 states that have a state school, but no state has two," explains Dr. Julia Roberts, Director of the Center for Gifted Studies at WKU. "So we are moving into uncharted ground.
Dr. Roberts says she hopes the two schools can form partnerships.
“It will help more Kentucky students have the opportunity to learn at the very highest level. I think that’s how we must look at it," she states.
She adds that Gatton Academy students already come from most every part of the state. In the seven years since it opened, Gatton has attracted students from 113 of Kentucky’s 120 counties.
A gifted and talented educator from Texas will become the new director of the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science at WKU.
Dr. Lynette Breedlove comes from the Spring Branch Independent School District in Houston where she has been Director of Advanced Academic Studies since 2005.
“The Gatton Academy is a remarkable place for bright and gifted high school students to thrive and pursue their areas of passion,” Dr. Breedlove said in a news release. "I am honored to lead the Academy as it continues to develop and serve exceptional students of Kentucky.”
Breedlove holds a doctorate in educational psychology from Texas A & M University and is active in professional organizations, including the National Association for the Gifted.
"She is an outstanding educator with leadership experiences that make her a perfect fit for the Gatton Academy," said Dr. Julia Roberts, Director of the Center for Gifted Studies at WKU. "I am honored to welcome Dr. Breedlove as director of the Gatton Academy.”
Breedlove, who will start at the end of July, succeeds Dr. Tim Gott, who retired.
About 2,000 undergraduate, master's and doctoral students at WKU were honored at commencement ceremonies in front of a packed E.A. Diddle Arena this weekend. Graduate candidates donned lavishly decorated hats, listened to a speech by President Gary Ransdell, had their names read as they walked across the red carpet, and posed for photos in their caps and gowns.
This weekend marked WKU's 175th commencement ceremony. Photojournalist Abbey Oldham gathered these images of the weekend's events.