WKU

WKU

WKU President Gary Ransdell, in an email to faculty and staff Thursday morning, announced that Barbara Burch has been elected as the school's new Faculty Regent.

The former WKU Provost will be sworn in as a regent at the board's Oct. 31 meeting. The Faculty Regent position was previously held by History Professor Patti Minter, who chose not to seek another term.

Dr. Burch is currently a professor with WKU's Educational Leadership doctoral program.

In his email, Dr. Ransdell also said "that the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) has requested a formal all-encompassing ruling with regard to faculty, staff, and student regent elections at all public institutions as those elections relate to employee relationships of immediate family members.  This is not our request, but CPE has made the request with our encouragement.  We want to be sure that clarity in these elections is the norm in the future.  I would expect this ruling to be rendered in a few weeks."

Photo courtesy of Philip Scott Andrews

When NASA called an end to the space shuttle in 2011 after 30 years, it really was "The End of an Era." That's the title of a photo and video display in the Mass Media & Technology building on WKU's campus through November 8th.

It tells the story of the shuttle through dozens of photos taken from the collection of Scott Andrews, who shot all but three of the missions, and his son Philip who worked with his father for the program's last five years.

Joe Corcoran spoke with Philip about the display and about his dad's career shooting history.

PBS

The man known as “The Science Guy” is coming to WKU Wednesday evening. Scientist, author, and former PBS show host Bill Nye will speak at E.A. Diddle Arena as part of the WKU Cultural Enhancement Series.

Nye is a passionate spokesman for science education in the U.S., and he often warns his audiences that the country faces the threat of losing its reputation as the leading global innovator unless it starts putting greater emphasis on teaching young people science and math.

In February, Nye made headlines when he came to northern Kentucky to debate Ken Ham, the president of the group “Answers in Genesis” that operates the Creation Museum in Petersburg.

See the entire debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham here.

Ahead of his appearance in Bowling Green, Nye spoke to WKU Public Radio about science and religion, and what he thinks is the biggest long-term impact of the U.S. underperforming in science and math education.

WKU Public Radio: What do you think will happen to the U.S. if we don’t put greater emphasis on science education?

Nye: The U.S. economy will flag. It will fail. What keeps the United States in the game economically is not our manufacturing, as such—it’s our innovation. It’s our new ideas. This is the reason the U.S. is still doing very well economically around the world, even though all the stuff we wear is made somewhere else, and the cars we drive are largely made elsewhere.

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."

WKU Army ROTC

The WKU ROTC program is remembering a fallen comrade during a memorial event in Warren County.

First Lieutenant Eric Yates was a Hardin County native and WKU graduate who was killed in action four years ago today in Afghanistan.

Wednesday evening marks the fifth annual Eric Yates Memorial 5K Run and Walk, with all proceeds going to a scholarship fund for WKU ROTC cadets.

“This particular run, last year, supplied two different scholarships. But our goal this year is at least five scholarships for our ROTC cadets,” said Andrea Greenwood, with the WKU Department of Military Science.

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.

WKU Athletics

WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty is being honored for his record-breaking performance in Saturday’s loss to Middle Tennessee.

The Blue Raiders beat the Hilltoppers 50-47 in double overtime, dropping WKU to 1-2 on the season.

The loss came despite Doughty’s 593 yards in passing and four touchdowns. The passing yards set WKU and Conference USA records, and earned the senior quarterback the league’s Offensive Player of the Week  award for the second time this season.

Doughty was previously recognized after he threw for 569 yards against Bowling Green State in WKU’s season-opening win.

WKU Student Develops App Used to Track Ebola Outbreak

Sep 12, 2014
Bryan Lemon, WKU

A WKU student has come up with a way to track the Ebola virus outbreak.

Armin Smailhodzic developed a smartphone app that uses Twitter data to track the virus. Western says the app could predict the spread of the virus.

Smailhodzic began working on the app as part of his Master's thesis in the Homeland Security program at WKU. Initially, he wanted to track Twitter data to gather information about political unrest in the Middle East. Then, WKU chemistry professor Cathleen Webb suggested using the idea to track Ebola.

Smailhodzic, a Bosnian native, says they were surprised to find so much information being shared on Twitter.

The Ebola Project app is available in the app store for Ios and the Google store for android devices.

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. 

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