WKU hopes to improve retention and graduation with new hires

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.- Western Kentucky University President Timothy Caboni has a vision for the future of the university, and now he plans to fill several new positions to help make that vision a reality.

Caboni announced the new executive roles at a meeting last week with the Board of Regents, who unanimously approved his strategic plan for 2018-2028.

“It’s a more student-centered university that is looking to prepare our students through research projects and hands-on learning, so that they can have a good life when they graduate from the university, and more importantly help elevate their communities,” said Bob Skipper, media relations director at Western Kentucky University.

Over the next six months, WKU will hire a new executive vice president for the Division of Strategy, Operations and Finance, a new vice president for the Division of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement, a new vice president for the Division of Strategic Communications and Marketing (formerly Public Affairs), a new dean for the Gordon Ford College of Business and a new dean for the College of Health and Human Services.

“We’ve had several who have retired, have left positions or are planning to retire. So, this gives the university a chance to kind of realign some of the executive leadership,” Skipper said.

The new hires will hopefully make things a little bit easier for students who are struggling financially and having trouble finding a job after college, he said.

“We are doing them a disservice by bringing in students who are not prepared for college life, and they’re leaving us with debt and nothing to really show for that,” Skipper said.

The new positions are meant to enhance efforts to improve student success recruitment, retention and graduation.

“We’re seeing higher persistent rates from first to second semester, better retention rates as students go from their first year to their second year and we’re at an all time high for our six-year graduation rate. So, it’s already paying dividends and those improvements are getting noticed as we start recruiting some of these executive level positions,” Skipper said.

The push for new executive hires comes on the heels of many staff lay-offs that took place at WKU last year. WKU plans to conduct a national search to fill these new position