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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. 

Abbey Oldham, WKU Public Radio

A set of chairs currently on display at The Kentucky Museum on WKU’s campus offers a glimpse at some of the finest pieces of Appalachian art ever created.

The exhibit, “Chester Cornett: Beyond the Narrow Sky” features over 20 chairs made by Cornett, a simple and quiet man from the Appalachian region of Kentucky who possessed an amazing talent. Cornett was born in 1913 in Letcher County, and learned chair-making from his grandfather and uncle. He served in WWII, and then returned to his mountain home in 1945.

Brent Bjorkman, director of the Kentucky Folklife Program at WKU, says Cornett seemed to be at peace when he was creating chairs—a peace that alluded him in other aspects of his life.

“He grew up as a loner,” Bjorkman told WKU Public Radio. “Chester was a mountain kid who had difficulty fitting in with the community. He was also married a couple of times, and I think dealing with people was pretty hard for him. So I think he back again and again to expressing himself through this creative form that he felt was something familiar to him.”

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WKU has announced the names of four individuals who will make up the 24th class of the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. The quartet will be inducted during WKU’s homecoming weekend, Nov 7-9.

The four are:

  • Dan King/ Men’s Basketball 1952-54; Baseball 1952-54

King helped the basketball team win 85 percent of its games during his time on the Hill, and a star on the school’s 1954 team that won 4th place in the NIT. Coach E.A. Diddle oncecalled King, a 6’5” power forward, the fastest player he ever coached.

King also once pitched both games of a doubleheader and won both contests. He helped lead the WKU baseball team to two Ohio Valley Conference championships, in 1952 and 1953.

  •  Darnell Mee/ Men’s Basketball 1991-93

Mee was named an All-America selection in 1993, the same year he helped lead the Hilltoppers to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Mee scored 1,253 points during his career, ranking him 18th all-time on that list. He was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 1993 and played in Denver from 1993 to 1995.

WKU Athletics

WKU basketball fans who watch Saturday’s U.S.A-Mexico FIBA World Cup game will recognize one of the Mexican players from his time on the Hill.

Guard Orlando Mendez-Valdez played at WKU from 2005 to 2009, and was a key member of the Hilltoppers’ 2008 team that reached the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16. Mendez-Valdez plays in a professional league in Mexico, and has been a key contributor to the country’s World Cup team.

The U.S. team went 5-0 in the tournament’s group stage, and is led by a group of NBA stars including James Harden, Derrick Rose, and former University of Kentucky standout Anthony Davis.

The U.S. takes on Mexico in the knockout stage of the FIBA World Cup Saturday at 9 a.m. central. The game is being televised on ESPN 2.

Flickr Creative Commons

WKU wants to convince more middle and high school girls to pursue classes in the STEM fields. More than 200 area girls in grades 5-12 will be on campus Saturday, Sept. 6, for the Girls in Science Day event.

The effort will focus on helping girls explore fields of study in science, technology, engineering, and math. Program coordinator Melissa Rudloff says many girls who initially excel in science-related classes take fewer of those courses as they get older.

“Research tells us that going back to elementary and middle school, many of those girls who may have entered those professions definitely had interest and ability in those fields. But somewhere along the way they become channeled in different directions. And many may do that themselves, or maybe it’s through the lack of experiences they have,” said Rudloff, who is the Professional-In-Residence at WKU’s SKyTeach program, which instructs future middle and high school math and science teachers.

One of the events at the Girls in Science Day gathering will be a talk led by Cheryl Stevens, Dean of the Ogden College of Science and Engineering. Rudloff believes it’s extremely important for girls to meet women who have succeeded in science-related fields.

Emil Moffatt

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.

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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. 

Clinton Lewis/WKU

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.

Clinton Lewis/WKU

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.

Clinton Lewis/WKU

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. 

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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.

You can see the entire 2014-15 schedule here.

WKU hosts Belmont Nov. 22, and the Louisville Cardinals Dec. 20.

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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.

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