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New WKU President Charts Course for Fresh Beginnings in Speech to Faculty, Staff

Clinton Lewis

The new president of Western Kentucky University believes the school needs to get back to the basics.

In his first convocation to faculty and staff Friday morning, Timothy Caboni outlined the process of developing a new strategic plan for the university. 

The process will be led by a ten to 14-member steering committee, which Caboni will co-chair.  A faculty member will be announced in a few weeks to serve as the other co-chair.  Working groups will also be formed to focus on areas such as student success, diversity, research, and scholarships.

To gain feedback and maintain transparency throughout the process, the school will launch a website where anyone can provide feedback. Open forums will be hosted by the end of this semester or early next session.  A draft plan will be submitted for feedback.  A final plan will go before the Board of Regents next July and the plan will be launched in August of 2018.

President Caboni said the new strategic plan must reflect the institution’s core mission.

"Our buildings, our facilities, the sheer beauty of this campus are the envy of our colleagues across the Commonwealth and beyond," Caboni stated.  "For us to continue in our success, however, we will turn our attention to how we best accomplish our mission through investment in people and in programs."

While strategic planning is underway, Dr. Caboni said the school must begin focusing now on areas like recruitment and retention. 

To help retain students after their first year and make sure they graduate in four years, WKU has hired five professional advisers.  They’ll work with students with un-declared majors and those who are first-generation, low-income, or members of minority groups. 

Dr. Caboni also used the speech to announce that he’s re-instating the tuition benefit for spouses of WKU employees. 

Also, the private company that oversees facilities and grounds services on campus will fund a new scholarship program that will allow employees and their dependents to take classes at WKU.  Sodexo has pledged $650,000 to fund scholarships over the next 13 years. The first awards will be offered this fall.

The fall semester at WKU begins on Monday.  However, the start of classes is being delayed until 4:00 p.m. that day because of the eclipse.

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