Education

Sometime after Nov. 1, the Kentucky Community & Technical College System will name a new president to succeed the retiring Michael McCall. But only a group of insiders knows who’s in the running.

The application deadline passed nearly two months ago, on July 25. With the help of an outside search agency, the Association of Community College Trustees, a 16-person search committee expects to narrow the field of applicants to just a few finalists next month. KCTCS Chairman P.G. Peeples, co-chairman of the search committee, said he is pleased with the progress being made.

PBS

An upcoming presentation at WKU by a popular former PBS host known as “The Science Guy” is proving such a hot ticket that the event is being moved.

Bill Nye is speaking October 15 as part of the WKU Cultural Enhancement Series. He was originally slated to talk at Van Meter Hall, but to accommodate the high demand for tickets, the school is moving the event to Diddle Arena.

Nye is a scientist, author, and advocate who travels the country to talk about the importance of science education. He recently debated the issue of evolution versus creationism at the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky.

All tickets given out for Nye’s talk at Van Meter will be honored at Diddle Arena. Updated information about tickets and parking for Nye's event at WKU is available here.

WKU

WKU History Professor Patti Minter, in an email to WKU faculty Thursday evening, says she will not stand for re-election for another term as faculty regent.

Minter's last day as regent will be Oct. 31, the same day as the fourth quarterly meeting of the Board of Regents.

"My seven years on the Board of Regents have been interesting, challenging, and often lively," Minter said in her email. "As the faculty’s voice and advocate on the Board, I have always done my best to strengthen WKU’s educational mission and to advocate for the interests not only of my faculty constituents but also for all employees and students of Western Kentucky University."

"I have also worked hard to abide by my oath of office and fiduciary responsibility to act in the University’s best interests, even when this meant voicing dissent. In closing, I want to offer my heartfelt thanks for your past support, without which any forward progress would not have been possible."

Daymar Colleges Group

A for-profit college targeted by Kentucky’s Attorney General says it will close its Louisville operations, and is seeking to transfer its students.

The announcement is the latest bad news for Owensboro-based Daymar Colleges Group.

The Courier-Journal reports Daymar has submitted a closure plan to its accrediting body that would lead to the shuttering of its classrooms, and transfer most of its 89 Louisville-area students to other schools, or Daymar’s online program.

Daymar runs more than a dozen campuses in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio, with around 2,000 students. Daymar has recently closed operations in Scottsville and the western Kentucky town of Clinton, and has sold--or is trying to sell--buildings in Owensboro and Louisville.

WKU

Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education and university presidents are working to craft proposed changes to the state’s higher education funding formula.

The CPE and school leaders can’t change the funding formula on their own. Such a move would have to be approved by state lawmakers. But university and CPE leaders meet on a monthly basis, and a major topic of discussion recently has been a proposal to include “performance funding.”

Such a plan could potentially reward schools based on factors such as enrollment levels, graduation rates, or efforts in closing achievement gaps. Any effort at instituting performance funding, however, is likely contingent on lawmakers increasing the overall amount of higher education funding.

The Courier-Journal reports University of Louisville President James Ramsey sent a letter to the CPE last month saying he would only support performance-based funding if it came with new money.

Centre College

Centre College in Danville is unveiling a new scholarship program endowed by the largest single gift ever given to the school.

J. David and Marlene Grissom of Louisville have agreed to fund a four-year, full tuition scholarship that will go to ten first-generation college students each year beginning in the fall of 2015. J. David Grissom is a Centre graduate who served as chairman of the school’s board of trustees for two decades.

The total amount of the gift isn’t being made public, but Centre officials say it’s the largest ever received in the Danville school’s 195 year history.

Centre’s Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Bob Nesmith, says the school is already recruiting the first class of Grissom Scholars.

Gov. Steve Beshear has announced the creation of a new task force to combat bullying in Kentucky’s schools.

Beshear named the 22-member Kentucky Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force Thursday in Frankfort. He cited statistics from the Kentucky Department of Education that found over 15,000 reported incidents of bullying in the 2012-2013 school year, as well as research that links bullying with dropout rates and teen suicides.

“When you have these incidents of bullying contributing to teen suicides and attempted suicides, that’s a huge problem," Beshear said. "So we’re going to take a comprehensive look at this, and hopefully come up with some other avenues and some other tools that will give us a comprehensive set of solutions.”

The task force will examine legislative approaches and school practices, and  the link between  cyber-bullying and teen suicide.

The group will provide a written report of its findings to the governor’s office in November 2015.

Over the last six years, a new type of online learning has developed across the country. They are classes called MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses.  WKU is offering its second such course this fall, called Origins and Progressions of Sports in America. It’s taught by retired kinesiology professor Randy Deere.

“It’s a free course and it’s not like a typical online course that you might sign up for through the university,” said Deere.  “All the material has to have…you have to have open access, open domain material.”

Deere says an unlimited number of people can sign up for the class. He says 70 people took the course this summer.

“Sport is a big domestic product and a huge domestic product financially for our country. It’s who we are it’s what we do and the information we’re trying to disseminate gives people a nice background of the country and how sport fits into it,” said Deere.

Deere says the course promotes lots of discussion among those who participate.  The MOOC begins September 21st. 

Madisonville Community College has reached a fifth of its goal towards a Murray State University Postsecondary Education building on campus. 

Facebook

The president of Kentucky’s flagship university is being rewarded with a salary increase and performance bonus. 

Citing an outstanding job evaluation, the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees voted Friday to give President Eli Capilouto a two percent salary increase and a $150,000 bonus. 

He was praised by trustees for privatizing U-K’s dining services and overseeing a $1 billion construction initiative across campus.  

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the salary hike of about $10,000 brings Capilouto’s total salary to $535,500.   The vote allowing the pay raise was upstaged by Capilouto’s announcement that he’s donating $250,000 to the university to develop a health research center.

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