ALL WKU campuses will be closed Monday, March 3. Essential dining and facilities personnel should report to work, but all other operations will be closed. If you must travel, please use caution. Follow the latest updates on www.wku.edu and on official social media platforms.
The WKU men’s basketball team heads into the weekend on the verge of another 20-win season.
The Hilltoppers are traveling to the Lone Star State in search of another Sun Belt conference victory. WKU will enter Saturday night’s game against UT-Arlington with a 19-9 record, with 11 wins and four losses in the Sun Belt Conference.
You can read more about the UT-Arlington game at WKU Sports.
The Hilltoppers are in second place in the Sun Belt, behind only Georgia State.
WKU hopes to continue the momentum from Thursday's win over Texas State, which saw the Tops rally from a 12 point deficit and win by one. The team's final home game is next Thursday against Sun Belt foe Louisiana-Lafayette.
Trency Jackson scored 25 points and Chris Harrison-Docks added 15 as Western Kentucky got off to a fast start and beat Louisiana-Monroe 72-63 on Saturday night.
Western Kentucky (18-9, 10-4 Sun Belt Conference) raced to an 18-1 lead to start the game as Louisiana-Monroe (8-14, 5-9) struggled to score. It took the Warhawks more than 8½ minutes to make their first field goal.
The Hilltoppers held a 43-28 advantage in rebounding, which helped them overcome their own offensive struggles. Western Kentucky won their eighth game out of their last 10 despite shooting just 39.7 percent from the field and hitting only 17 of 32 field goals. The Hilltoppers also committed only six turnovers.
Tylor Ongwae scored 19 points and Jayon James had 13 for Louisiana-Monroe, which has now lost seven of its last nine.
The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah is known not only for showcasing independent films, and bringing together movie-types like actors, directors and filmmakers – but also for its generous amounts of snowfall and chilly temperatures.
For 23 WKU students including Jayme Powell, the Sundance experience was one that can’t be replicated in south-central Kentucky.
That is, with the possible exception of the weather.
“When we got back last night, it was colder in Kentucky,” said Powell on Saturday afternoon. “But it was cold in Park City. We were bundled up a lot.”
Powell , an aspiring film producer says she saw 22 films at Sundance. Many of her days started as early as 8:30 or 9 o’clock in the morning and often ended hours later with a midnight showing. She also spent much of her time attending panel discussions with filmmakers and producers.
A program being used at WKU is providing a better idea of what can be done to prevent students from leaving school before completing their degree.
The MAP-Works system helps identify at-risk students who take a voluntary survey. Students who appear to be struggling receive direct intervention by WKU faculty and staff who direct the student to programs that can help with academic, financial, or health issues.
Lindsey Gilmore, with the WKU enrollment management office, says she assumed money problems would be the top reason why students drop out. But she says MAP-Works shows that’s not the case.
"Generally, what MAP-Works does is let us see about five top issues our students are facing per classification, and lack of financial confidence is always in the top five, but it’s never number one."
Gilmore says MAP-Works shows the biggest stressors for WKU students include homesickness, test anxiety, study habits, and low peer connections.
More than 5,400 WKU students have been contacted or met with in person this academic year about their survey results. Gilmore says the school is working to get more students to take the MAP-Works survey. A little over 27 percent of WKU students completed the survey last fall.
The President of WKU says he’s not counting on a big tuition increase to help offset a proposed cut in state funding for universities.
Dr. Gary Ransdell says he believes the Council on Postsecondary Education will cap the next round of potential tuition increases at about three percent.
That’s the increase the CPE set last April for in-state undergraduate students beginning this fall. President Ransdell told WKU Public Radio that it’s probably not realistic to expect anything more than that.
“Even if the CPE would allow a higher number, we’re not likely to go there,” Dr. Ransdell said during a break in Friday’s Board of Regents meeting. “So we’re going to have a modest tuition increase. Every year there’s going to be a tuition increase. It will simply cover our fixed-cost increases. These other items are going to have to be funded in some other way—probably through redirection of funds within our budget.”
The proposed budget announced by Governor Beshear this week includes a 2.5 percent spending reduction for state universities, which amounts to a loss of $1.8 million for WKU in fiscal year 2015.
Kentucky minimum wage increase?
A proposed increase in Kentucky’s minimum wage would add an estimated $419,000 to WKU's current payroll obligations. Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo is sponsoring legislation that would boost the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, up from the current $7.25 an hour.
WKU has a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Head coach Jeff Brohm has selected Cincinnati’s Tyson Helton to fill the role that Brohm himself held last season. Helton spent one year as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Cincinnati. The Bearcats had a 9-4 season and appeared in the Belk Bowl against North Carolina.
Helton has 13 years of coaching experience, including six at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Brohm and Helton were on the same staff at UAB in 2012.
Helton, 36, played football and earned his bachelor’s degree from Houston. He and his wife April have two daughters, ages 10 and 8 and twin 5-year-old boys.