WKU Board of Regents finalizes approval of Comprehensive Academic Program Evaluation

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. –  The Western Kentucky University Board of Regents on Friday approved the recommendations of a comprehensive academic program review committee.

The Comprehensive Academic Program Evaluation (CAPE) committee reviewed all of the University’s academic program offerings. In March, the committee recommended 55 programs be transformed, 15 programs be grown, 290 programs be maintained and 101 programs be suspended.

Regents voted to ask Provost Cheryl Stevens to review three programs slated for suspension: a master’s in education and behavioral science studies, a minor in religious studies and a minor in astronomy.

“Universities should assess their programs,” said Stevens. “We have a name for that. We call it continuous improvement. You should always be looking at your enrollments, the outcomes of the students, are the students getting what they need, the quality of the programs.”

Provost Stevens said the CAPE committee expected the provost to have the final review, and that these were three programs whose suspension had been appealed by the departments.

WKU President Timothy C. Caboni has been a big supporter of the CAPE process, going on to say during Friday’s meeting that he would like to see a similar review done on an annual basis to ensure continued growth for the university.

“One of the things we must do to be competitive is to innovate, and that’s what we’ve been working toward the past two years at WKU,” said Caboni. “To think differently about how we analyze so that we create programs that are interesting to our students and their families, to the marketplace, and keeps us at the bleeding edge of higher education.”

Members of the Board of Regents agreed with the President that these changes are necessary to keep pace with other uniersities.

“There’ll be a cliff that some universities fall of of if they’re not making these tough decisions and choices which Western Kentucky University is,” said Phillip Bale, chair on the Board of Regents.

The Board also heard an update on the budget development process. President Caboni said the budget would be $657,000 less than the 2018-19 budget, or one-half percent. To cover fixed cost increases and other obligations, about $10 million in spending will have to be reduced.

President Caboni said that under a new budgeting process, units will be given a budget figure to manage and they will decide how to meet their targets over the budget year.

“They will have 12 months to manage their reduction targets,” he said, adding there will be strategic opportunities to avoid and reduce costs and capture savings through attrition.

“What will happen is a dean or a budget head will have a number next year and month by month what you should see is a gentle decline as you move toward that reduction target—much more gradual and much better for the institution,” he said.

The Board also:

  • Approved renaming the Department of Sociology to the Department of Sociology and Criminology;
  • Approved consolidating the Department of Allied Health, the Institute for Rural Health and the School of Nursing into the School of Nursing and Allied Health;
  • Approved the 2019-20 faculty promotion and tenure recommendations;
  • Accepted the University’s 2020-26 six-year capital plan;
  • Authorized the transfer of 43.58 acres of land on Hadley-Cohron Road from WKU to the WKU Real Estate Corporation to sell the property and create a scholarship fund for Biology Department graduate students;
  • Authorized the transfer of .53 acres of land at 521 Emmett Ave. from the WKU Real Estate Corporation to WKU.