CPE President: Kentucky Must Retool its Approach Toward Higher Education

Apr 18, 2019

CPE President Dr. Aaron Thompson
Credit Lisa Autry

The new head of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education says he expects colleges and universities to re-evaluate their course offerings just as Western Kentucky University has recently done. 

WKU is preparing to eliminate 101 academic programs while transforming and expanding others. 

In an interview on Thursday with WKU Public Radio, CPE President Aaron Thompson said schools are eliminating both people and programs to contend with a decrease in state funding, declining enrollment, and increasing pension obligations.

“Bottom line, we’re down to the bone," Thompson told WKU Public Radio. "Most of our institutions are looking at all the items that cost and we’re having to be efficient more than we’ve ever been, and over the past few years, we’ve had to be really efficient.”

Dr. Thompson says schools must also re-engineer programs to help students succeed at today’s jobs, as well as jobs of the future.

The council has set a goal of raising the percentage of Kentuckians with a postsecondary degree or certificate from the current 50 percent rate to 60 percent by the year 2020.