Keeping, Graduating Students at Core of WKU's New Strategic Plan

Aug 3, 2018

Board of Regents Chairman Phillip Bale (center) swore in new Regents Linda Ball and David Brinkley.
Credit Bryan Lemon/WKU

Western Kentucky University has new roadmap that will guide the school for the next decade. 

The Board of Regents met on Friday and approved a new strategic plan.  Developing it was a nearly year-long process, which WKU President Timothy Caboni described as a semi-herculean task. 

The plan is centered around retaining and graduating students.  The university will transform advising to give special attention to first and second-year students.

Dr. Caboni said students will now get mentored in a centralized location that will focus not just on academics, but their physical, mental, financial, and social well-being.

"This is not just course-taking advice," explained Caboni. "This is about helping make sure our students, in a single location, have access to all the services that first and second-year students need to be successful at WKU."

Some faculty members have expressed concern about their role being diminished in the advising process, but Dr. Caboni said the model has proven successful at other universities.

"If what we had been doing was working, our persistence and retention rate would not be where it is today," Caboni stated.

The effort to keep students enrolled will also include the creation of a first-year village where Bemis Lawrence Hall and Barnes Campbell Hall are currently located.  Those aging dormitories are slated for demolition starting next year.  The goal of the village is to help connect students with similar interests. 

In other business, Board Chairman Phillip Bale swore in two new members.  Linda Ball, a realtor from Lexington, was appointed to the governing body by Governor Matt Bevin.  Staff Regent David Brinkley, director of WKU Public Broadcasting, was elected to the Board by campus staff.