Regents approve program changes, Provost Emeritus status, evaluate president’s job performance
- WKU News
- Thursday, December 7th, 2023
The Western Kentucky University Board of Regents held its final quarterly meeting of the calendar year on Thursday (December 7). Among the agenda items, the Regents approved Provost Emeritus status for Dr. David D. Lee, two emeritus faculty appointments as well as the suspension of two academic programs. The Regents also discussed WKU President Timothy C. Caboni’s job performance during the 2023 calendar year.
The Regents approved President Caboni’s recommendation to grant Provost Emeritus status to Dr. David D. Lee. Dr. Lee began his 48-year WKU career in August 1975 as a Visiting Assistant Professor teaching History. From 1986 to 1992, he served as the Associate Dean of Potter College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (later, Potter College of Arts and Letters). He became Dean of Potter College in 1994, a position he held until 2015, when he began his tenure as WKU’s Provost. He transitioned to optional retirement in 2018 and served as University Historian for five years before fully retiring from WKU in June of this year.
President Caboni thanked Dr. Lee for his many contributions to the university. “David was wise counsel to me, an ear that supported me when we went through some really wrenching decisions that I had to make,” said President Caboni. “What is remarkable about David is his ability to navigate the position in such a way that he is still respected and adored on this campus.”
The Regents approved faculty emeritus status for Dr. Fred DeGraves and Dr. Darwin Dahl. Faculty members who receive emeritus status must have served the university for at least 10 years and have compiled a distinguished record of achievement and service. DeGraves recently retired from the university after serving as an Associate Professor of Agriculture and Food Science since 2011. During his time at WKU, he also served as Chair of the Department of Agriculture and Food Science. Dahl began his 36-year career at WKU in 1987 and served as a Professor in the Department of Chemistry.
The Regents also voted to suspend the minor in Floristry in order to focus university resources on an undergraduate Floristry certificate, first offered in 2021. Current students working toward the Floristry minor will be allowed to complete the degree, but the program will close to new admissions.
Similarly, the Regents approved the suspension of the Master of Science in Child and Family Studies. Enrollment in that program has steadily decreased during the last four years, with the decline largely attributed to a decrease in the number of students pursuing graduate degrees in child and family studies nationwide, as well as an increase in institutions offering online graduate degrees in the field. The graduate program’s closure will allow faculty to focus on enhancing the university’s undergraduate program. Students currently enrolled in the graduate program will be able to complete their degree, but new admissions will not be accepted.
The Board also approved the philanthropic naming of the Alex and Kelly Downing Softball Equipment Room, located in WKU’s new indoor Softball-Soccer Facility. The naming recognizes a generous gift from Alex and Kelly Downing. Alex served as President of the College Heights Foundation for 13 years and has served on a number of WKU boards and committees, including the College Heights Foundation Board, Hilltopper Athletic Foundation and the Gordon Ford College of Business Executive Advisory Council. He and his wife, Kelly, have a lengthy history of supporting WKU that spans more than 30 years.
Board Chair W. Currie Milliken shared a summary of the Regents’ annual evaluation of President Caboni’s job performance. “President Caboni’s stewardship has helped WKU to make significant and rapid progress toward achieving the ambitious goals outlined in the university’s 10-year Strategic Plan,” Milliken said. He pointed to recent university accomplishments under President Caboni’s leadership including the first increase in overall degree-seeking enrollment in 13 years, the highest first-to-second year student retention in WKU’s history, the commencement of construction of a new home for the Gordon Ford College of Business and recent achievements in fundraising. “Throughout his tenure as President and accelerating during the past year, President Caboni has proven to be an effective leader with a remarkable ability to advance our university, create stability and promote an overall culture of excellence and innovation,” Milliken said.
In other business, the Board of Regents:
- Accepted the Auditor’s Report and Financial Statements for the 2023 fiscal year performed by FORVIS, LLP
- Approved the 2023-2024 statement of revenues and expenditures
- Approved revisions to the university’s 2023-2024 operating budget
- Approved a number of routine personnel actions
- Approved revisions to the internal audit charter
The Regents will next meet on January 19, 2024, to conduct committee meetings.
Contact: Jace Lux, (270) 745-4295
- WKU -
Western Kentucky University prides itself on positioning its students, faculty and staff for long term success. As a student-centered, applied research university, WKU helps students expand on classroom learning by integrating education with real-world applications in the communities we serve. Our hilltop campus is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, which was recently named by Reader’s Digest as one of the nicest towns in America, just an hour’s drive from Nashville, Tennessee.