WKU

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.

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The rainfall that’s been pounding Kentucky this summer has broken records and impacted farmers.

Kentucky state climatologist and WKU Geography and Geology professor Stuart Foster is reporting that rainfall records in several counties were shattered in July. The climate observer station in Murray recorded more than 18 inches of rain.

That broke the previous record by more than 7 inches.

Mesonet sites with the most rainfall in July also included Christian County with more than 18 inches, and Logan County with nearly 17 inches. Butler, Hopkins, and Marshall counties all recorded 16 inches of rainfall last month.

The heavy rains washed out portions of tobacco in some fields.

But the above average rainfall was an advantage for some crops, including corn and soybeans.

Kentucky Mesonet has 66 weather stations collecting data in 65 counties.

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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.

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Western Kentucky University is dropping the cost of its dual credit courses.

The cost of a three-hour course will now be $156, down from the previous rate of $210.

The move follows the recent announcement of a new scholarship initiative launched by Governor Matt Bevin which will provide high school seniors with up to two free dual credit courses.

The executive order issued from Gov. Bevin’s office says the goal of the scholarship initiative is for high school students to graduate with at least nine hours of postsecondary credit and to “increase the education and skill level of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s workforce and its workforce and its workforce participation rate.”

Dewayne Neely, head of the WKU Dual Credit Program, says an increased focus on preparing students for college and work will likely increase the demand for dual credit programs.

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Western Kentucky University is looking for military veterans who want to earn a college degree.

The Veterans Upward Bound program helps former service members enroll into any university, community college, and technical school throughout the country. Veterans Upward Bound helps prospective students fill out admission applications, apply for federal financial aid, and receive G.I. Bill benefits.

WKU coordinator Rick Wright says the program has assisted both young and old veterans gain college admission—including a World War Two veteran studying at Southern Kentucky Community and Technical College.

“The age range of our students is pretty broad—it ranges from 18 to 88, believe it or not. We have one man, a World War II veteran, who is 88 years old, and we got him admitted to SKyCTC here in Bowling Green because he wanted to study computers.”

WKU Athletics Media Relations

Four former Western Kentucky University athletes are being inducted into the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame in Elizabethtown.

Dwight Smith, Jim Rose, Gene Rhodes, and Harry Todd are part of the Hall’s fifth class of inductees.

Smith and Rose are being honored posthumously.

Smith is a Princeton native who led Dotson High School to the state tournament in 1963. He went on to score 1,142 career points at WKU, while averaging 11 rebounds a game.

Rose led Hazard High School to three straight Sweet 16 appearances in from 1964-66, and was named all-state in his final three high school seasons. He finished 34th on the all-time WKU scoring list, and was a key member of the school's 1971 Final Four team.

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.”

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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.

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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.

Creative Commons

A Western Kentucky University researcher says hospitals now have more incentive than ever before to achieve patient satisfaction.

Neale Chumbler, Dean of the College of Health and Human Services at WKU, says a federal survey of hospital patients is creating a comparison of care providers across the country.

The survey’s official name is Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems. Its goal is to measure patients’ perspectives on the care they’ve received.

Chumbler says the results are also being scrutinized by insurance companies.

“As a hospital CEO, whether you get more or less reimbursements through insurance, these types of results will bear a lot of important findings.”

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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.

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.

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Students applying to Western Kentucky University will need a higher score on one of their entrance exams.  

The College Board, the group that administers the SAT, has redesigned the test.  Due to the changes, the new minimum score for acceptance at WKU is a 1020.  The accepted score on the old test was a 940. 

Jace Lux, director of admissions and recruitment at WKU, says the higher score doesn’t mean the test is harder to take.

"I think it's one of those cases where it's not necessarily harder, but just different.  I think it's a response to some of the different methods of teaching that students are experiencing in high schools now and some of the ways they're prepared for college."

The new required score will apply to students who took the SAT after March 1 of this year.  The old score will continue to be accepted if students took the SAT prior to March 1.

A passing SAT score is one of several ways students can be admitted to WKU.  The ACT is the entrance exam most widely used for college admission in Kentucky.

WKU Student Shot Near U of L After Party

May 31, 2016
University of Louisville

A Western Kentucky University student home for summer break has been struck at random by gunfire that broke out after a party near the University of Louisville campus.

News outlets report 19-year-old Eriaun Warrick was upgraded to serious condition from critical condition early Monday.

Warrick was shot in the mouth early Sunday, with the bullet becoming lodged in her upper back.

Warrick's friend Sasha Snardon tells the Courier-Journal that she was leaving the party with Warrick when they came across a large group of people outside, some of whom then began fighting.

Warrick's friends say they heard at least 20 to 30 shots fired.

Louisville police have not released any information about what may have prompted the shooting. As of Monday, no arrests had been made.

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When it comes to depth of curriculum, breadth of research and impact on the state economy, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville lead the way among public colleges in the Bluegrass State.

When it comes to investing donors’ dollars, though, leadership might be best found outside of the state’s money centers, in college towns like Bowling Green, Morehead and Murray.

The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting examined five years’ worth of investment returns of 11 collegiate endowments across the state. The chief takeaway? Bigger is definitely not better. The public colleges in Kentucky that have amassed the largest war chests of public donations are nowhere near the winner’s circle when it comes to making money.

UK — whose $1 billion endowment is the state’s largest — ranked a mediocre sixth in generating returns on donors’ money over five years. The U of L Foundation’s ranked ninth.

The endowment that generated the best three and five-year returns as of Dec. 31 was the College Heights Foundation at Western Kentucky University. The smaller of two endowments at Western, College Heights posted an average annual return of 7.4 percent on its investments from 2011 through 2015. It was also the second-best performer in 2015 alone, when a flat stock market, low bond yields and plunging commodity prices sent most endowment balances into reverse.

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