FRANKFORT – Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson joined state energy and education leaders this week to recognize 12 Kentucky schools for their efforts to lower energy costs by improving efficiencies in their buildings. Each school earned an “ENERGY STAR” designation, part of a federal program that identifies education institutions that are among the top 5 percent in the nation for energy efficiency.
The nation's top public high school is in Kentucky, according to rankings released Sunday by Newsweek magazine. The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science, a residential high school on the campus of Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, topped Newsweek's list of America's Best High Schools. The school, which opened in 2007 and is funded by the state, ranked fifth in Newsweek's 2011 list.
Kentucky’s public and independent colleges and universities conferred a record 63,000 degrees and credentials during the 2011‐12 academic year, representing an overall increase of 4 percent over last year. The report shows the largest one‐year increase was at the associate level with substantial increases in all sectors. The Kentucky Community and Technical College System led with an estimated 9,503 associate degrees, an increase of 20 percent or 1,600 degree earners from just one year ago.
UK Music Students and their instructors have been ushered into the digital age with some new equipment introduced this week. The University of Kentucky School of Music is the proud owner of some 18 new, state of the art Yamaha Disklavier pianos. The instruments contain on-board computers that record, playback, and store musical arrangements. They were dedicated and demonstrated at the Schmidt Vocal Arts Center on Monday. Vocal Major Rebecca Farley sang a selection from Phantom of the Opera accompanied by, in essence, a phantom piano player.
The Kentucky Board of Education is resubmitting changes to the way students with learning disabilities take reading comprehension tests. Last year, the board approved a regulatory change that would prevent certain students from having teachers read them portions of reading comprehension tests. Now, the state is allowing some students in special circumstances to bypass that regulation.
The University of Louisville Board of Trustees approved the 2012-2013 budget Thursday, including a 6 percent tuition increase for students. The state cut higher education by 6.4 percent in its final budget, which is about $9.7 million for U of L. The $482.6 million general fund budget approved by the board covers the university’s primary operations, including salaries and it includes tuition increases for students and funding cuts to departments totaling $6 million.
Kentucky’s 8th grade science scores in the latest national assessment exceed that of the nation’s average, but the state made less progress overall. “The average scale score for our 8th graders in science is six points above the national average,” said Lisa Gross, spokeswomen for the Kentucky Department of Education.
The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees approved a 6 percent tuition increase for the upcoming academic year on Tuesday, bringing the total cost of tuition, fees and housing for in-state undergraduates to $16,518 a year. The increase got push-back from some trustees, who said they worry about the long-term escalation of tuition costs and its effects on Kentucky families. In the past 10 years, UK tuition has increased 147 percent.
As the University of Kentucky deals with a 6.4 % budget cut for the upcoming fiscal year, a steering committee is looking at different models for developing a spending plan. Like many colleges and universities, UK has an incremental budgeting model. The current fiscal plan is used as a base, with the budget adjusted up or down from year to year. That model depends on stable funding, which hasn’t been the case for Kentucky.
Georgetown College will formally apply to become a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II member following unanimous approval by the Board of Trustees Saturday. The decision is another step in an 18-month process and includes a 100-page report compiled by Collegiate Consulting that explored Georgetown College’s options of staying in the National Athletic Intercollegiate Association (NAIA), moving to NCAA Division 3 or NCAA Division 2.
The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents has approved a five percent tuition increase for undergraduate Kentucky residents. The board, meeting Thursday, also gave its approval to a merger of the non resident and so called targeted tuition into one rate for out of state students. Students living just outside Kentucky had previously paid less that other out of state students. Resident and non resident grad students will also face about a five percent tuition hike.
High school anatomy class has nearly always meant dissecting frogs, pigs and cats. But times are changing. More students in Lexington want an alternative that doesn’t involve the use of once-living animals.
The Council on Postsecondary Education has approved a six percent tuition increase for the universities of Louisville and Kentucky. The council also capped tuition at four percent for community colleges system and five percent for the state’s comprehensive universities. It’s expected these rate increases will result in over $40 million for the institutions but schools are still expected to accrue deficits due to cuts to the state budget and rising maintenance costs.
University of Kentucky officials want to raise tuition by 6 percent for students and rule out raises for faculty and staff next year as they deal with a $43 million hole in the school's budget. For in-state freshmen and sophomores, that means tuition would jump from $9,128 this year to $9,676 in the 2012-13 academic year. For out-of-state students, tuition would increase from $18,740 a year to $19,864. UK's tuition will have grown 147 percent since 2002 if the UK Board of Trustees approves the tuition increase, as expected.
University of Louisville President Dr. James Ramsey says he expects the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education to approve U of L’s request for a six percent tuition hike that would take effect next academic year. Ramsey says for more than a decade now, his and other public institutions have had to find ways to offset annual cuts in state funding, and for the third straight year, U of L is seeking a six-percent tuition increase, the maximum allowed by the council.
Geoffrey Mearns says there are several things he won’t do as Northern Kentucky University president. He’ll balk at sitting in a dunk tank during student celebrations, as some colleagues at Cleveland State University have done. And he wouldn’t be too excited about taking a quiz, as NKU President Jim Votruba did this year when he was replaced by a student as “president for a day.” Mearns, 52, will have his chance, starting Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. when NKU’s governing regents are expected to elect him as NKU’s fifth president.
Prospective Eastern Kentucky University students who live just outside the Commonwealth could pay significantly higher tuition rates. E-K-U administrators want to increase tuition by five percent for students who come from Kentucky. But the increase could be bigger for new students who come from just beyond the border. Many pay less than the standard out of state students. E-K-U staff resource analyst Starr says Smith that could end. They want all out-of-state students to pay the same rate.
In 2010, the University of Kentucky tried an experiment: professors in the College of Arts and Sciences took 20 summer school classes out of the lecture hall and into cyberspace, trying out the school's first large-scale attempt at online education. This summer, there will be 70 classes with more than 3,000 students already signed up. For Arts and Sciences Dean Mark Kornbluh, online summer school classes are less about entering some brave new world of online education and more about getting more students to graduate in four years.
When the current Kentucky legislative session ends this week, many issues will be left on the table for future years. One of those issues is charter schools. Kentucky is among nine states without charters, and the push to change that has been polarizing in Frankfort. A compromise to create a pilot charter project was close to passage last month, but it fell apart.
Two fraternities at Murray State University will face hearings within the next few weeks before the university’s Interfraternal Council Judicial Board to determine what sanctions the organizations might face for incidents that occurred at parties earlier this month. The MSU chapters of both Alpha Tau Omega and Alpha Gamma Rho remain on suspension from hosting social activities, said Mike Young, assistant vice president of student affairs.
Some one thousand Eastern Kentucky University employees and another four thousand students are being asked this week about their views on a possible ban on tobacco use. A draft plan would prohibit the use of tobacco products on all E-K-U campuses. Then, next fall, Wellness Analyst Leanna Bowles says there’ll be a 30 day comment period.
A spokesman for University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto says the school is disappointed with some aspects of the final budget compromise worked out by the legislative conference committee. Jay Blanton says the administration was already bracing for a significant cut in state support, but conferees delivered a double whammy when they refused to allow the state’s flagship university to increase its debt capacity an additional $200 million dollars for campus construction.
A scholarship program intended to serve college students in far eastern Kentucky has been expanded. What was originally called the Appalachian Scholarship Fund has been expanded to all coal-producing counties in Kentucky, including those in the western portion of the state. The program applies to students in the last two years of their education who attend a university, public or private, in a coal-producing county.
Kumble Subbaswamy, who has served as the provost of the University of Kentucky since 2006 is leaving to accept the Chancellorship at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; the school announced Monday. Subbaswamy was one of four finalists for the position. In a release the Amherst Board of Trustees, describes Dr. Subbaswamy as "a proven academic leader who will guide the Amherst campus to new heights...he has the experience, vision, intellect and drive to move the flagship campus forward."
University of Kentucky Provost Kumble Subbaswamy is heading to New England. He has accepted a job as Chancellor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Subbaswamy has served as provost at UK since 2006.
A proposal to create a scholarship fund for far eastern Kentucky college students could be in jeopardy. The Appalachian scholarship fund was intended as a compromise, after a measure to move the University of Pikeville into the state system couldn’t garner enough support. In the House’s version of the budget, lawmakers funded the scholarships with coal severance tax money.
Schools across the Commonwealth found out Friday whether they were selected for Gear Up grants. Gear Up is an acronym for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. Jennifer Kendall, principal of Leestown Middle, the only school in Fayette County to receive a Gear Up grant, says the money enable schools to get a quick handle on how students might perform in a college setting.
On Bill’s Eye, I haven’t written about the KET program Education Matters. We’ve been taping the monthly educational series since 2010, and it has covered a variety of subjects facing Kentucky schools, parents, educators, and children. Some of those subjects have been serving the state’s adult learners, technology for next generation learning, and arts in Kentucky education.
Midway College will soon be looking for another president. After 10 years at the helm, Dr. William B. Drake has submitted his resignation to the Board of Trustees. “I feel very much that my work is completed here at Midway College. Our enrollment is up nearly 20% this year; we were up 14% last year. We’ve hit all of our targets. So I feel really a sense of completion at this point", said Drake.
Two important education and workforce-credential tests will be free to eligible Kentuckians on a first-come, first-served basis through June 30 or until funds are expended. The GED tests and assessments to earn a National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) are sponsored by Kentucky Adult Education, a unit of the Council on Postsecondary Education, and the Department of Workforce Investment, an agency of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.