The Good Samaritan Foundation has once again awarded WKU’s Institute for Rural Health a $50,000 gift to purchase equipment, supplies and flu vaccines. It’s the second year in a row the IRH has received the money.
The Institute provides medical and dental services for low-income patients in rural areas of south-central Kentucky. It allows students to gain real-world experience working with patients.
Director Matt Hunt says the IRH was able to vaccinate 1,500 patients across the area last year.
The Good Samaritan Foundation Inc. is a ministry of the Kentucky Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
One game and WKU's quarterback is already in the Conference USA record books.
Brandon Doughty threw a school record six touchdown passes Friday night leading the Hilltoppers football team to a 59-31 win over Bowling Green State in the season opener. The six touchdowns tied a Conference USA record and his 569 total passing yards was 23 short of the conference record.
“I’ll be honest I didn’t really notice it until the fourth quarter," Doughty said of his performance. "They were trying to tell me and I just didn’t even want to know. I wanted to stay locked in and didn’t want to get too high on it. I just tried to play my game and was in a really good rhythm early."
The victory was the first for WKU's Jeff Brohm as a collegiate head coach. WKU has now won three straight home openers.
WKU is celebrating the grand opening of its newly renovated student center.
The Downing Student Union has undergone a $58 million facelift that includes new dining facilities, lighting, plumbing and HVAC systems. The building formerly known as the Downing University Center, or “DUC”, first opened in 1970.
Renovations began in 2012 after a group of WKU employees and students toured other university student centers to gather ideas about what they would like to see in DSU.
The center of the building is open from the first floor to the third floor, with solar tubes that allow natural light in. In addition, murals of campus scenes by artist David Jones are painted throughout the building.
A new partnership between WKU and the University of Pikeville will offer new opportunities for students in eastern Kentucky to earn three master’s degrees in health-related fields. The deal announced Thursday will also open up Pikeville’s College of Optometry to WKU students
WKU President Gary Ransdell and UPIKE President James Hurley announced what they’re calling the “East Meets West” partnership. Speaking at the Pikeville campus, Dr. Ransdell said he began conversations with his Pikeville counterpart about a year ago over how the two schools could work together.
WKU will begin offering to UPIKE students this fall an online Speech-Language Pathology pathway program that includes all of the pre-requisite courses students needed to qualify for a master’s in Communication Disorders.
Also available to UPIKE students will be the WKU Master of Healthcare Administration degree, starting in the fall of 2015. The online program will allow current UPIKE medical students and those completing their residency program to finish both a master’s degree and their medical degree at the same time.
WKU President Gary Ransdell says it’s every employee’s job to help the school retain as many students as possible.
Addressing faculty and staff at Friday morning’s convocation at Van Meter Hall, Dr.Ransdell cited examples of academic progress, including an increase in the average ACT score of first-time baccalaureate students.
But he added that the school is still allowing too many students to leave campus without finishing their degrees.
“We are graduating just over 50 percent of our students in six years and we are still losing 25 percent of each freshman class within one year of their initial enrollment. So, for our students’ sake—if not for our own financial stability—please become part of the solution to keeping our students at WKU until they graduate.”
The WKU President said he was concerned about the value of the school’s remedial courses that many freshmen take. Ransdell added he’s worried the school is losing students who return home after their first semester with only three to six credit hours.
Earlier this summer, Dave Tatman was named the first executive director of the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association. Now he’s joined WKU’s Center for Research and Development. The university says Tatman will act as an interface between the newly-formed association and WKU.
“Dave is a very talented leader and he wants to give back to education,” said Dr. Gordon Baylis, WKU’s Vice President of Research. “WKU has been interested in economic development and in providing technical assistance for industry. And that’s what we’re doing through the Center for Research and Development and our applied research programs. We need people with real manufacturing experience to help us help industry.”
Tatman spent 34 years with General Motors before retiring as plant manager of the Corvette Assembly Plant.
The WKU men’s basketball team will open its first season as a member of Conference USA with 18 league games, as well as home contests against Louisville and Belmont.
The Hilltoppers start the season at E.A. Diddle Arena Nov. 14 against Austin Peay, and will play home-and-home series against Conference USA opponents Marshall, Charlotte, Old Dominion, Florida Atlantic, and Florida International.
The rest of WKU’s first-ever Conference USA league schedule features home games against Texas-El Paso, Texas-San Antonio, North Texas, and Rice. The Hilltoppers will go on the road to take on Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss, Alabama-Birmingham, and Middle Tennessee.
The overwhelming majority of in-state students who get bachelor’s degrees from Kentucky’s public universities are remaining in the commonwealth.
A new report from the Center for Education and Workforce Statistics shows over 80 percent of Kentucky students who got a four-year degree from a state-funded school were working in the commonwealth a year later. On the other hand, only 30 percent of out-of-state students who graduate from Kentucky’s undergraduate programs stay in the commonwealth to work.
The report also gives a school-by-school breakdown of how many graduates stay in Kentucky versus those who leave the state, as well as a comparison of the average wages of each school’s degree holders.
You can see what the report had to say about the employment outcomes of WKU graduates here.
Charles McGrew, the executive director of the group behind the report, said schools can use the information to get a better idea of where their graduates are, and how they are doing.
“I think it’s difficult for faculty to know where all of their students go. Sometimes colleges do alumni surveys, but they may not be able to catch many of their alumni after the fact. So they don’t necessarily know how well they’re doing in the workforce, or possibly how long it takes to find a job, or whether they go on to graduate school,” McGrew told WKU Public Radio.
The new school year brings a new leader for one of Western Kentucky University’s most prestigious programs.
For 24 straight years, the program has won the Kentucky Forensic Association State championship. The speech and debate program has also won numerous national and international awards.
But the person who has overseen that program for the last four years, Jace Lux, was recently named the Director of Recruitment and Admissions at WKU That opened the door for Ganer Newman IV to return to the university as Director of Forensics.
He spent the last year at Illinois State University, but before that earned his degree from WKU and was an assistant coach for the forensics team. Newman starts Monday.
That's how first year head coach Jeff Brohm started off WKU football media day inside Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium Saturday morning, just hours before the first of the team's 23 scheduled practices that afternoon.
Besides a new head coach, the third in the past three years, the Tops begin the season in a new conference, moving to Conference USA this summer after decades in the Sun Belt Conference. They finished 8-4 last year, their eighth season in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
"We're excited about joining the new conference," Brohm said, "It'll be a challenge for us and we'll have to earn respect but that's what college football is all about if you want to become the best."
Brohm said the team had a good summer working on strength and conditioning to get in the best shape possible so a lot of players can see game action on both sides of the ball and they can stay fresh. But right now, all the team is thinking about and working towards is the first game of the regular season.