University Senate Minutes - April 7, 1997
The University Senate met in special session at 4:00 p.m., Monday, April 7, 1997 in Room 201 of the Nursing Health Sciences Building.
Professor Janice Schach, Chairperson of the Senate Council, presided.
Members absent were: David Adams, Allan, Aja, M. Muhktar, Gary Anglin, John Ballantine, Vasant Bhapkar, Patricia Birchfield, Darla Botkin, Douglas Boyd, Fitzgerald Bramwell, Sharon Brennan, Heather Burris, Berry Campbell, James Campbell, Edward Carter, Jordan Cohen, William Cohen, Frederick Danner, Frederick DeBeer, Philip DeSimone, Nimrat Dhooper, Lori Eaton, Richard Edwards, Robert Farquhar, Juanita Fleming, William Fortune, Donald Frazier, William Freehling, Beatrice Gaunder, Ottfried Hahn, Issam Harik, Christine Havice, Robert Houtz, Betty Huff*, Craig Infanger, Raleigh Jones, Jamshed Kanga, Jill Kelemen, Stuart Keller, James Knoblett*, Craig Koontz, Mandy Lewis, G.T. Lineberry*, Heath Lovell, Daniel Mason, Douglas Michael, Jennifer Miller, Jenny Miller, David Mohney, Santos Murty, David Nash, Wolfgang Natter, Anthony Newberry, Thomas Nieman, James Noll, Melanie Shay Onkst, Rhoda-Gale Pollack, Thomas Robinson, Michael Rohmiller, Edgar Sagan, Rosetta Sandidge, Avinash Sathaye*, Horst Schach, Janice Schach, Suzanne Schaller, David Shipley, Deborah Slaton*, Edward Soltis, Thomas Troland, George Wagner, Jane Wells, Adam Wilhelm, Carolyn Williams, Lionel Williamson, Emery Wilson, Stephan Wilson, William Witt, Craig Wood.
Chairperson Schach welcomed everyone to the special meeting. She recognized the special guests; President Charles Wethington, Governor Ned Breathitt, Chancellor Zinser, Chancellor Holsinger, Chancellor Carr, and Jimmy Jack Miller the Faculty Trustee for the Community Colleges.
The Chair stated the subject of the discussion for today was the Governor's plan for Post Secondary Education. She wanted to share some of the activities of the Senate Council regarding the Governor's plan over the past academic year. In November the Senate Council met with Merl Hackbart, Special Assistant to the Governor's Task Force on Post Secondary Education, to discuss the work of the Task Force and ideas concerning UK's mission. At the suggestion of Professor Hackbart the Senate Council developed a white paper on supporting the research and graduate education mission of higher education in Kentucky. That was submitted at the request of the Governor to the Governor's Task Force and there are copies of that available today. This was followed by a resolution; The Pursuit of Academic Excellence which calls for UK to undertake strategic planning and a capital campaign to elevate UK to national prominence in research and graduate education. This was also circulated and announced at the Senate meeting. During the same period Loys Mather, our faculty trustee and also chair of the Coalition of Senate Faculty Leaders, coordinated a series of COSFL white papers on higher education for presentation to the Governor. The group also met with the Governor in October to discuss their concerns and ideas for reform. In February, Loys and I attended a meeting of selected faculty, board members, and administrators at Maxwell Place with the Governor at which time UK's interest in becoming a stronger research institution was strongly expressed to the Governor. This next month, as part of an upcoming strategic planning process, UK will be sending a team including myself as Senate Council Chair to the Wharton Institute on Research on Higher Education Executive Education Program to gather information from other institutions that have undertaken similar efforts to accelerate research and graduate education and who will return and work with a Blue Ribbon Committee composed of faculty and others to prepare a coherent and affordable plan for enhancing graduate education and research on the Lexington Campus. President Wethington is supportive of our effort and is sponsoring our trip. Throughout this time the Senate Council has met with President Wethington on a regular basis to discuss issues proposed by the Governor and the Task Force. On March 24, 1997 the Senate Council met with Governor Breathitt to discuss the history of university governance and the relationship between UK and the community colleges. The Senate Council found this discussion very helpful in developing a bigger perspective on the relationship and the structure. This led to this invitation to President Wethington today to meet with the Senate to share his thoughts on the ideas presented in the Governor's plan. The Senate Council has also approved the idea of pursuing an invitation to Governor Patton to meet with the Senate in a format similar to this. The Senate Council has from the beginning been a force for reasoned discussion on the Governor's plan and is determined not to get caught up in the emotionalism of a political battle or into choosing sides. It is trying to do everything it can to promote and enrich Senate discussion by making available copies of the Governor's plan and holding sessions like today's. While there appears to be little time for the University Senate to respond to the plan prior to the special legislative session, let me remind you that there remains two additional opportunities for Senate discussion, debate, or action at our upcoming sessions on April 14, 1997 and April 28, 1997. It is in that constructive spirit that the Council enters discussion today. As the memo announced, the topic of today's discussion is the Governor's plan. Accordingly, the floor is not open to other agenda items or to motions. The discussion is to be limited to the Governor's plan only. President Wethington, the President of the University Senate, will open discussion with some remarks and then we will move into questions and comments. As Chair of this meeting, I will present the written questions that have been submitted in advance to the President or whichever Chancellor would like to respond. Additional questions and comments are certainly welcome from the floor. Since this is technically a Senate meeting, senators will be given the first opportunity to respond and guests are certainly welcome to pose questions or comments as well. In the interest of time please keep your comments brief and if someone has already stated what you want to say, please do not take everyone else's time and repeat that. Thank you.
Chairperson Schach welcomed President Wethington to the Senate.
President Wethington was given a round of applause.
Thank you Jan, members of the Senate, ladies and gentlemen. I like to have these sessions in a setting such as this, a tiered auditorium, lest I ever forget, it is always good to have me reminded that the President of the University is always looked down upon by the faculty. I want to say thanks to Jan Schach and the members of the Senate and Senate Council. Jan has described to you and for you some of the ways that the faculty through your elected leadership have been keeping up with the Governor's plan with what has been going on in higher education during this past year and bringing us up to date.
REFORM INITIATIVES IN KENTUCKY HIGHER EDUCATION -- THOUGHTS AND CONCERNS
Charles T. Wethington, Jr.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF THE SENATE. THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME TO ADDRESS YOU AT THIS SPECIAL MEETING AND FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO DISCUSS WITH YOU IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION IN KENTUCKY, THE MOST IMPORTANT OF WHICH HAVE BEEN HIGHLIGHTED IN THE MEDIA AND OF WHICH YOU ARE AWARE. AS YOU MIGHT GUESS, WHAT HAS JUST RECENTLY MADE HEADLINES HAS BEEN BREWING BEHIND THE SCENE FOR QUITE SOME TIME. CONSEQUENTLY, I HAVE BEEN WORKING DILIGENTLY BUT QUIETLY (WITH THE GOVERNOR AND OTHERS) IN AN EFFORT TO PROTECT THE INTERESTS OF OUR UNIVERSITY AND THE CITIZENS OF KENTUCKY. WHAT YOU HAVE SEEN IN THE PUBLIC VIEW IS BUT A SMALL PART OF MY OWN PERSONAL EFFORTS TO INFLUENCE THE DIRECTION OF EDUCATION IN THIS STATE. AS I BEGIN, I WANT YOU TO UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH I BELIEVE THAT WE FACE "A CRUCIAL MOMENT" FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY, ONE THAT HAS CERTAINLY NOT BEEN EQUALLED DURING MY CAREER IN THE INSTITUTION (WHICH NOW BRIDGES FOUR DECADES). I ALSO WANT YOU TO UNDERSTAND THAT MY BELIEF IN THIS REGARD IS SHARED BY OTHERS WHO HAVE TOILED ON BEHALF OF THIS INSTITUTION, INCLUDING FORMER PRESIDENT OTIS SINGLETARY AND FORMER GOVERNORS NED BREATHITT AND BRERETON JONES, ALL OF WHOM FULLY UNDERSTAND THE SERIOUS EDUCATIONAL AND POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS OF TAKING ACTION THAT WOULD DISMANTLE THIS UNIVERSITY WITHOUT ACCOMPLISHING MEANINGFUL REFORM OF HIGHER EDUCATION. THE MATTER UNDER DISCUSSION IS EXTREMELY SERIOUS.
2. OUTLINE OF THE PLAN.
YOU HAVE READ AND HEARD ABOUT SOME OF THE PROPOSALS THAT ARE UNDER CONSIDERATION--WHAT IS REFERRED TO AS GOVERNOR PATTON'S PLAN. I BELIEVE IT WOULD BE WORTHWHILE, AS I BEGIN, TO PROVIDE YOU WITH A BRIEF OUTLINE OF THE CONTENT OF THIS PLAN. THE FOLLOWING IS A DESCRIPTION OF ITS MOST IMPORTANT COMPONENTS:
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY WILL BE ASKED TO CREATE A NEW ENTITY TO SIT AT THE TOP OF THE STATE'S NEW SYSTEM OF POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION. IT WILL BE CALLED THE "STRATEGIC COMMITTEE ON POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION," WILL BE HEADED BY THE GOVERNOR, WILL HAVE LEGISLATIVE LEADERS AS MEMBERS, AND WILL DRAW SOME OF ITS MEMBERSHIP FROM A SECOND NEW ENTITY WHICH I WILL DESCRIBE MOMENTARILY. THIS HIGHEST LEVEL COMMITTEE IS TO HAVE WHAT IS DESCRIBED AS A KEY ROLE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A STRATEGIC AGENDA FOR POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION. IT IS DESCRIBED AS AN "ADVISORY GROUP."
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY WILL ALSO BE ASKED TO CREATE AN ENTITY CALLED THE "COUNCIL ON POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION." THIS ENTITY WILL REPLACE THE EXISTING COUNCIL ON HIGHER EDUCATION AND WILL CONSIST OF WHAT IS DESCRIBED AS A REPRESENTATIVE COLLECTION OF CITIZENS WHO WILL BE APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR AND CONFIRMED BY BOTH HOUSES OF THE LEGISLATURE. THE COUNCIL WILL BE HEADED BY A PRESIDENT WHO WILL SERVE AS THE PRIMARY SPOKESPERSON AND ADVOCATE FOR POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION IN KENTUCKY. THE COUNCIL WILL BE ASSIGNED THE BROAD TASK OF DIRECTING THE ENTIRE SYSTEM. WE ARE TOLD THAT IT WILL NOT MICRO-MANAGE THE INDIVIDUAL INSTITUTIONS.
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY WILL BE ASKED TO SEPARATE THE STATE'S COMMUNITY COLLEGES FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY AND MERGE THEM WITH MORE THAN TWENTY TECHNICAL SCHOOLS THAT ARE NOW RUN BY THE STATE'S CABINET FOR WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT.
TO GOVERN THESE MERGED INSTITUTIONS, THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY WILL ALSO BE ASKED TO CREATE A NEW ENTITY CALLED THE "KENTUCKY COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGE SYSTEM." THIS ENTITY WILL BE GOVERNED BY A BOARD COMPOSED OF ELEVEN MEMBERS, EIGHT OF WHOM WILL BE APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR. A MAJORITY OF ITS MEMBERSHIP MUST COME FROM BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY. THIS ENTITY WILL HAVE A PRESIDENT (WHO WILL BE APPOINTED AND SERVE AT THE PLEASURE OF THIS NEW BOARD) AND TWO CHANCELLORS (ONE FOR THE TECHNICAL SCHOOL BRANCH OF THE ENTITY AND ONE FOR THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE BRANCH).
THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY (WITHOUT THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES) WILL HAVE THE MISSION OF BECOMING A NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED COMPREHENSIVE RESEARCH INSTITUTION.
THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE'S MISSION WILL BE TO ACHIEVE NATIONAL PROMINENCE IN FIELDS APPROPRIATE FOR A METROPOLITAN RESEARCH UNIVERSITY.
THE STATE'S OTHER UNIVERSITIES WILL HAVE THE MISSION OF ACHIEVING A NATIONAL REPUTATION FOR EXCELLENCE IN AT LEAST ONE AREA OF SCHOLARLY PURSUIT. THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF THE PLAN THAT HAS BEEN PUT ON THE TABLE BY THE GOVERNOR. I HAVE NOT DESCRIBED ITS DETAILS, PARTLY BECAUSE DETAILS HAVE NOT YET BEEN PROVIDED. I BELIEVE THAT THE GOVERNOR WILL SUBMIT THE PLAN TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN MAY AND SEEK ITS ENACTMENT. IF ENACTED AS PROPOSED, IT WILL SIGNIFICANTLY HARM COMMUNITY COLLEGE EDUCATION IN KENTUCKY AND WILL AT THE SAME TIME SERIOUSLY IMPAIR THE ABILITY OF THIS UNIVERSITY TO CONTINUE THE PROGRESS TOWARD EXCELLENCE IT HAS MADE FOR TWO DECADES, ALMOST ALWAYS WITHOUT ADEQUATE STATE SUPPORT OF ITS EFFORTS. PERMIT ME TO TELL YOU WHY I SO FIRMLY BELIEVE THIS, AND WHY I AM SO SERIOUSLY CONCERNED ABOUT DEVELOPMENTS THAT LIE AHEAD. YOU WILL BETTER APPRECIATE, I HOPE, WHY I SPEAK PUBLICLY IN OPPOSITION TO PARTS OF THE GOVERNOR'S PLAN.
3. DISMANTLING THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM.
THE MOST SIGNIFICANT PART OF THE GOVERNOR'S PLAN, BY FAR, IS THE ONE THAT WOULD TAKE THE STATE'S COMMUNITY COLLEGES OUT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY SYSTEM. I HAVE SPOKEN IN OPPOSITION FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS. FIRST OF ALL, THERE IS NO INDICATION, NONE THAT IS CREDIBLE FOR SURE, THAT THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES ARE FAILING IN THEIR MISSIONS. IN FACT, ALL INDICATIONS ARE QUITE TO THE CONTRARY. IT IS NOT SURPRISING TO ME THAT IN HIS VISITS TO COMMUNITY COLLEGE CAMPUSES THE GOVERNOR ENCOUNTERS STRONG AND VOCAL STUDENT OPPOSITION TO HIS PLAN. IN THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE ALUMNI SURVEY RESULTS FOR 1995, OVER 95% OF THE ALUMNI WHO RESPONDED TO THAT SURVEY RATED THE OVERALL QUALITY OF THEIR EDUCATION AS EXCELLENT OR GOOD. AFTER THE GOVERNOR SPOKE AT THE LEXINGTON COMMUNITY COLLEGE, STUDENTS FLOODED HIS OFFICE WITH CALLS IN OPPOSITION TO THE PLAN. I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT THIS OPPOSITION IS SPONTANEOUS, IS REAL, AND IS NOT LIKELY TO DISAPPEAR. IT IS NOT SURPRISING TO ME THAT NONE OF THE COMMUNITIES WHERE THESE COLLEGES ARE LOCATED (OR THEIR LEADERS) HAVE COME TO THE SUPPORT OF THE PLAN TO SEPARATE THESE COLLEGES FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY. THAT KIND OF SUPPORT DOES NOT EXIST AND WILL NOT DEVELOP. WHAT HAS AND WILL CONTINUE TO COME FROM THESE SOURCES IS ANGRY OPPOSITION TO THIS PART OF THE PLAN, AS THE GOVERNOR HAS LEARNED IN HIS VISITS TO THESE COMMUNITIES. WHY IS THAT? THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION IS VERY SIMPLE. FOR MORE THAN 30 YEARS, THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES HAVE BEEN SERVING THESE COMMUNITIES, RESPONDING TO THEIR IMPORTANT SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL NEEDS, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY THEY HAVE BEEN DOING SO EXCEEDINGLY WELL. PERMIT ME TO GIVE YOU SOME VERY REVEALING FACTS. WE RECENTLY CONDUCTED A FUND-RAISING EFFORT FOR THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES CALLED THE "PARTNERS IN PROGRESS CAMPAIGN." 5500 DONORS CAME FORWARD TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE FUTURE OF THESE COLLEGES; THEY CONTRIBUTED $36 MILLION TO THIS CAMPAIGN. DO YOU THINK THIS WOULD HAPPEN IF THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES WERE POORLY SERVING THEIR CONSTITUENCIES? THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION IS OBVIOUSLY A RESOUNDING "NO." WE ARE TOLD THAT THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES ARE NOT DOING AS WELL AS THEY COULD. BUT LET ME TELL YOU PART OF WHY THEY ARE NOT DOING AS WELL AS THEY COULD. IN OUR DEBATE OVER HOW TO GET BETTER, KENTUCKY'S SYSTEM IS OFTEN COMPARED WITH THAT OF NORTH CAROLINA'S. BUT IN THE DEBATE, PERTINENT FACTS QUITE OFTEN GET LOST. FOR EXAMPLE, STATE/LOCAL EXPENDITURES FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGE EDUCATION IN NORTH CAROLINA IS $4,652 PER FULL-TIME-EQUIVALENT STUDENT. THE COMPARABLE KENTUCKY FIGURE IS $2,319 PER FULL-TIME EQUIVALENT STUDENT. HOW MUCH MONEY WOULD IT TAKE TO BRING KENTUCKY EXPENDITURES IN OUR COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM TO THIS LEVEL-ONLY $58.7 MILLION. WE MAY NOT BE DOING AS WELL AS NORTH CAROLINA. BUT IT'S NOT HARD TO FIND AN EXPLANATION THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE GOVERNANCE OF THE INSTITUTIONS. AS I WORRY ABOUT PRESENT DEVELOPMENTS, I CAN'T HELP BUT RECALL SOMETHING THE LATE BERT COMBS SAID ABOUT THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE NOT BEEN AROUND AS LONG AS I HAVE, I SHOULD TELL YOU THAT BERT COMBS WAS ONE OF THIS CENTURY'S GREAT KENTUCKIANS-TWICE GOVERNOR, STATE AND FEDERAL JUDGE, A GREAT POLITICAL LEADER. BEFORE HIS UNTIMELY DEATH, GOVERNOR COMBS SAID THAT "THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM IS AN EXTRAORDINARY SUCCESS STORY IN EDUCATION FOR THE COMMONWEALTH. THE STATE SHOULD CAPITALIZE ON IT." I CAN TELL YOU LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IF HE WERE ALIVE TODAY, HE WOULD BE STANDING HERE WITH ME WARNING AGAINST AND RESISTING THE PLAN TO REMOVE THESE COLLEGES FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY. GOVERNOR COMBS HAD AN ENDURING APPRECIATION OF EDUCATION AND AN UNMATCHED UNDERSTANDING OF KENTUCKY POLITICS. WE SHOULD NOT FORGET THAT IT WAS THIS WISE MAN'S APPRECIATION OF EDUCATION AND UNDERSTANDING OF POLITICS THAT LED HIM AS GOVERNOR TO PUT THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM IN THE HANDS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY. HE MADE THE RIGHT DECISION IN 1962. IF HE WERE HERE TODAY HE WOULD TELL YOU THAT IT IS STILL THE RIGHT DECISION.
LET ME TELL YOU WHY I KNOW HE WOULD SAY THAT AND WHY I HAVE SPOKEN AGAINST THIS PART OF THE GOVERNOR'S PLAN. THERE ARE AT LEAST TWO VERY COMPELLING REASONS FOR TAKING A STAND AGAINST SEPARATION OF THESE COLLEGES FROM THE UNIVERSITY.
4. DIMINISHING COMMUNITY COLLEGE EDUCATION.
THE FIRST INVOLVES THE FATE OF THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES UNDER A SYSTEM THAT MERGES THEM WITH STATE VOCATIONAL TRAINING PROGRAMS AND PUTS GOVERNANCE IN THE HANDS OF A BOARD THAT IS APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR AND THAT MUST HAVE A MAJORITY OF ITS MEMBERSHIP FROM BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY. LET ME TELL YOU, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, COMMUNITY COLLEGE EDUCATION IS NOT GOING TO THRIVE AND GET BETTER UNDER THIS SYSTEM. TO PUT IT BLUNTLY, THESE COLLEGES ARE HEADED DOWNWARD TO A LOWER LEVEL, WITH VIRTUALLY NO HOPE OF EVER ACHIEVING A HIGHER LEVEL OF ACADEMIC QUALITY THAN THEY NOW HAVE. IF YOU LISTEN CAREFULLY TO THE DEBATE, WHAT YOU HEAR AS THE DRUMBEAT IS THE NEED FOR A "SKILLED WORKFORCE" AND FOR "STATE-OF-THE-ART JOB TRAINING PROGRAMS." AND, NEEDLESS TO SAY, NEITHER YOU NOR I WOULD DARE TO DISAGREE WITH THAT DRUMBEAT, FOR CLEARLY WE DO NEED A STRONG WORKFORCE AND WE NEED GOOD JOB TRAINING. BUT I MUST HASTEN TO SAY, AND I KNOW YOU AGREE WITH ME, THAT THERE IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "JOB TRAINING" AND "EDUCATION." IT IS TRUE THAT IN RESPONDING TO THE NEEDS OF THEIR COMMUNITIES, COMMUNITY COLLEGES HAVE ENGAGED IN SUBSTANTIAL WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT. HOWEVER, THEY HAVE NOT SO DONE SO AT THE EXPENSE OF YOUNG KENTUCKIANS WHO HAVE NO HOPE FOR A COLLEGE EDUCATION EXCEPT THROUGH DOORS THAT ARE OPENED FOR THEM BY QUALITY ACADEMIC PROGRAMS IN OUR COMMUNITY COLLEGES. AND, IN THIS REGARD WE NEED TO REMIND OURSELVES THAT WE ARE NOT HERE TALKING ABOUT AN OCCASIONAL LOST OPPORTUNITY FOR THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF OUR STATE. IN 1995, FOR EXAMPLE, THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS WHO ENTERED FOUR YEAR PUBLIC COLLEGES (JUST IN KENTUCKY) FROM THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM WAS 2,585, A NUMBER THAT IS EASIER TO APPRECIATE IF YOU CONSIDER THAT IT SUBSTANTIALLY EXCEEDS THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS WHO GRADUATE IN ANY SINGLE YEAR FROM BEREA COLLEGE, TRANSYLVANIA, GEORGETOWN, CENTRE, BELLARMINE, UNION, AND CUMBERLAND COLLEGE, ALL ADDED TOGETHER. THIS IS THE GROUP OF STUDENTS THAT WILL BE MOST HURT IF THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES ARE TAKEN AWAY FROM THIS UNIVERSITY AND MERGED WITH THE JOB TRAINING PROGRAMS OF THE STATE. AND THERE'S NO DOUBT THAT THE STUDENTS KNOW THIS BETTER THAN I, FOR THEY SPEAK IN ANGER AGAINST THE SEPARATION PROPOSAL.
GOVERNOR PATTON HEARS VOICES OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY CALLING FOR BETTER TRAINING OF WORKERS. HE RECENTLY MENTIONED THE VOICE OF UNITED PARCEL SERVICE AS AN EXAMPLE. I HEAR THESE VOICES AS WELL, AND I JOIN THE GOVERNOR IN KNOWING THAT WE NEED TO RESPOND. BUT TO DO THAT -- TO PROVIDE IMPROVED JOB TRAINING-WE NEED NOT DIMINISH THE QUALITY OF COMMUNITY COLLEGE EDUCATION IN THE PROCESS. WE NEED NOT LET OUR COMMUNITY COLLEGES BECOME PRIMARILY JOB TRAINING PROGRAMS. AND I BELIEVE WITH GREAT CONVICTION THAT THAT IS THEIR DESTINY IF THE PROPOSED MERGER IS PERMITTED TO OCCUR. THIS, AS MUCH AS ANYTHING, DRIVES ME TO JOIN THE STUDENTS AND RESIST REFORM THAT IS A HUGE RETREAT FROM ESSENTIAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY FOR THE PEOPLE OF KENTUCKY.
5. A NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED RESEARCH UNIVERSITY.
GOVERNOR PATTON WANTS THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY TO ACHIEVE STATURE AS A NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED RESEARCH UNIVERSITY. AND ON NO POINT COULD I AGREE WITH HIM MORE COMPLETELY AND MORE PASSIONATELY. IT'S WELL PAST TIME FOR THIS TO BE FIXED AS A SERIOUS OBJECTIVE FOR HIGHER EDUCATION IN KENTUCKY. IN THIS INSTITUTION, WE HAVE BEEN WORKING TIRELESSLY TOWARD THIS GOAL FOR A LONG TIME. AND I CAN ADD THAT WE HAVE HAD CONSIDERABLE SUCCESS. IN 1994 WE OPENED A NEW RESEARCH BUILDING ON THE LEXINGTON CAMPUS--OUR ASTEC FACILITY--AND IN 1996 WE OPENED A NEW HEALTH SCIENCE RESEARCH BUILDING IN THE MEDICAL CENTER. WE ARE IN THE PLANNING STAGES FOR A NEW STATE-OF-THE-ART RESEARCH BUILDING FOR AGRICULTURE. LAST YEAR WE ATTRACTED TO THE UNIVERSITY $114 MILLION IN RESEARCH GRANTS AND CONTRACTS. WE ARE A RESEARCH ONE UNIVERSITY, THE ONLY ONE IN THE STATE. AND, ONLY THIS PAST WEEK, OUR BOARD OF TRUSTEES AUTHORIZED THE CREATION OF A FUND FOR ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE FROM PRIVATE SUPPORT, ONE THAT WILL ENABLE THE INSTITUTION TO MATCH ANY AMOUNTS OF MONEY THE STATE MAY ALLOCATE FOR A MATCHING GRANTS PROGRAM FOR ENDOWED CHAIRS, ENDOWED PROFESSORSHIPS, MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS, OR ANY OTHER INITIATIVE FOR EXCELLENCE THAT MIGHT BE ADOPTED. I BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE DEMONSTRATED OUR COMMITMENT TOWARD ACHIEVING STATURE AS A NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED RESEARCH INSTITUTION THROUGH OUR DEEDS. AND I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE WITH THE GOVERNOR THAT THIS SHOULD BE A PRIORITY FOR THIS STATE AND I HAVE, AND DO, EXPRESS MY DEEPEST APPRECIATION FOR HIS COMMITMENT TO THIS GOAL. AT THE SAME TIME, JUST AS WHOLEHEARTEDLY, I DISAGREE WITH HIS ASSUMPTION THAT A SEPARATION OF THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES FROM THE UNIVERSITY IS NECESSARY TO ACHIEVE THIS OBJECTIVE. I WAIT FOR SOMEONE TO TELL ME WHY THIS IS SO. AS I STAND BEFORE YOU, I SEE TEACHERS AND SCHOLARS FROM ACROSS THE LEXINGTON CAMPUS AND FROM THE MEDICAL CENTER. IS THERE ANY ONE OF YOU WHO CAN STAND AND SAY THAT YOU HAVE BEEN ADVERSELY AFFECTED IN YOUR CLASSROOM AND LABORATORY EFFORTS BECAUSE OF THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES OF THIS UNIVERSITY. CAN ANY SCHOLAR IN THIS INSTITUTION SAY THAT SHE OR HE IS A LESS PRODUCTIVE SCHOLAR BECAUSE OF COMMUNITY COLLEGE EDUCATION IN THIS STATE? TO BORROW A PHRASE FROM MY LAWYER FRIENDS, THERE IS A "NON SEQUITUR" HERE. THE ASSUMPTION THAT COMMUNITY COLLEGE EDUCATION HURTS THE RESEARCH EFFORTS OF THIS INSTITUTION DO NOT AND WILL NOT STAND UP TO THOUGHTFUL SCRUTINY. WHAT ABOUT RESOURCES FOR RESEARCH? HAVE I OR MY PREDECESSORS TAKEN STATE FUNDS ALLOCATED FOR RESEARCH AND DIVERTED THEM TO THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM. IF THAT EVEN REMOTELY RESEMBLED THE TRUTH, THEN PERHAPS SOMEONE COULD TELL ME WHY THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM HAS RESTED FARTHER BELOW ITS BENCHMARKS THAN ANY OTHER PART OF THE STATE'S HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM. IF THIS HAD OCCURRED AT ANY POINT IN THE PAST, THEN PERHAPS SOMEONE COULD TELL ME WHY THE GOVERNOR HAS FOUND IT RECENTLY NECESSARY TO ADVISE THE PRESIDENTS OF COMMUNITY COLLEGES THAT $11 MILLION IN CATCH-UP FUNDS WILL BE PROVIDED TO THEM UPON THEIR MERGER WITH THE JOB TRAINING PROGRAMS OF THE STATE. IN EXPRESSING MYSELF ON THIS IMPORTANT SUBJECT, I DON'T WANT TO SOUND DISRESPECTFUL OF ANYONE. BUT THE NOTION THAT THIS UNIVERSITY CANNOT ACHIEVE GREATNESS IN RESEARCH WITHOUT ABANDONING ITS LONG-STANDING, DEEP COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY COLLEGE EDUCATION IS JUST PLAIN WRONG. AS A MATTER OF FACT, I AM CONVINCED BEYOND DOUBT THAT THE EXACT OPPOSITE IS THE TRUTH. LET ME TELL YOU WHY.
6. DIMINISHING THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY.
THE GOVERNOR AND I SHARE HIGH ASPIRATIONS FOR THIS UNIVERSITY. WE BOTH WANT IT TO BE TRULY GREAT, IN SCHOLARSHIP, IN TEACHING, IN ALL OTHER RESPECTS. AS HE IS FOND OF SAYING, WE WANT "GREAT BASKETBALL AND GREAT SCHOLARSHIP." UNFORTUNATELY, WE ARE AT THE MOMENT IN DISAGREEMENT OVER HOW TO PURSUE AND ACHIEVE THIS GREAT OBJECTIVE. HE BELIEVES THAT THIS CAN BE DONE BY TEARING AWAY A SIGNIFICANT PART OF ITS STRUCTURE--A SOURCE OF ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL SUPPORT FOR THE INSTITUTION IN TIMES PAST. I BELIEVE THAT HIS PLAN OFFERS US A VERY SMALL SHORT TERM GAIN IN RETURN FOR A LONG TERM AND POTENTIALLY CRIPPLING LOSS. OUR UNIVERSITY IS THE STATE'S FLAGSHIP UNIVERSITY, ITS HIGHEST HOPE IN HIGHER EDUCATION. UNLIKE INSTITUTIONS LIKE NORTH CAROLINA AND INDIANA, IT IS A LAND GRANT INSTITUTION WITH A CLEAR MANDATE TO SERVE ALL THE STATE'S PEOPLE-FROM THE BIG SANDY RIVER IN THE EAST TO THE MISSISSIPPI IN THE WEST--AND IT DOES. ITS STRENGTH DOES NOT REST WITH PARTICULAR POLITICAL LEADERS OR PERSONALITIES, WHO COME AND GO LIKE SEASONS OF THE YEAR. ITS STRENGTH, RESTS WITH THE PEOPLE IT HAS SERVED FOR A CENTURY AND MORE, STRENGTH FOUND IN THE MOUNTAINS OF THE EAST AND THE FARMLANDS OF THE WEST. THIS STRENGTH WAS HERE LONG BEFORE YOU AND I ARRIVED, FOR ITS GREATEST ATTRIBUTE IS THAT IT IS LASTING-NOT HERE TODAY AND GONE TOMORROW. INTEREST IN EDUCATION AT THE POLITICAL LEVEL IS EXTREMELY TRANSITORY. BUT THE STRENGTH OF WHICH I SPEAK IS ALWAYS PRESENT, ESPECIALLY AND MOST IMPORTANTLY WHEN THERE IS NO POLITICAL INTEREST IN EDUCATION, WHICH JUST HAPPENS TO BE MOST OF THE TIME. THIS IS WHAT WE STAND TO LOSE AT THIS CRUCIAL MOMENT. I FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT QUALITY HIGHER EDUCATION FOR THIS STATE DEPENDS UPON THE SUCCESS OF ITS FLAGSHIP UNIVERSITY. THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY IS THE TRUNK OF THE EDUCATION TREE. I KNOW THAT OVER THE LONG TERM THIS INSTITUTION CANNOT ACHIEVE THE GREATNESS EVERYONE WANTS FOR IT WITHOUT DEEP AND ENDURING SUPPORT AMONG THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THE CITIES, THE TOWNS, THE COALFIELDS, AND THE FARMLANDS OF THIS STATE. WE HAVE WORKED FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY TO BUILD AND NURTURE THIS SUPPORT. I HAVE USED THE WORDS "ILL-ADVISED" TO DESCRIBE THE DECISION TO UNDERMINE THIS SUPPORT. THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY IS THE STATE'S HOPE FOR QUALITY EDUCATION ACROSS THE SYSTEM. IF THE TRUNK OF THE TREE IS SERIOUSLY WEAKENED, THE SEPARATE BRANCHES WILL WITHER AWAY. THE PLAN ON THE TABLE WILL SERIOUSLY WEAKEN THE BEST THING ABOUT HIGHER EDUCATION IN KENTUCKY. IT WILL INFLICT IMMEASURABLE AND LASTING HARM ON THIS INSTITUTION AND ON HIGHER EDUCATION IN GENERAL. I AM ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED OF THIS AND SPEAK OUT AGAINST THE PROPOSAL.
7. EDUCATIONAL INDEPENDENCE.
AS I MOVE TOWARD A CONCLUSION OF MY REMARKS, I SHOULD EXPRESS MYSELF ON ONE OTHER THING THAT I FIND INCREASINGLY TROUBLESOME. THE STATE OF KENTUCKY, AND THIS UNIVERSITY, HAS BENEFITED IN RECENT DECADES FROM A SEPARATION OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND POLITICS THAT HAS NOT ALWAYS EXISTED IN OUR STATE. I HAVE ALWAYS BELIEVED, AND WILL CONTINUE TO BELIEVE, THAT SIGNIFICANT EDUCATIONAL DECISIONS NEED TO BE MADE BY EDUCATORS. LAST WEEK GOVERNOR PATTON APPEARED BEFORE THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY BOARD OF TRUSTEES. HIS PUBLIC PERSONAL ATTACK ON THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES AND THE PRESIDENT IS UNPRECEDENTED IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY. THIS EFFORT TO POLITICALLY INTERFERE IN THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY BY ATTEMPTING TO INTIMIDATE THE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES AND THE PRESIDENT CANNOT BE CONDONED. HIS ATTEMPT AT POLITICAL INTERFERENCE UNDERMINE OUR EFFORTS TO BUILD A GREAT UNIVERSITY. IN MY OPINION, HIS PERSONAL ATTACK, WHEN SEEN BY OTHERS, WILL MAKE IT EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO RECRUIT ANY SELF-RESPECTING ACADEMIC ADMINISTRATOR TO HEAD THE NEW COUNCIL ON HIGHER EDUCATION. WHY WOULD ANY ACADEMIC ADMINISTRATOR WORTH HIS OR HER SALT TAKE A POSITION IN KENTUCKY HEADING A UNIVERSITY OR THE COUNCIL ON HIGHER EDUCATION WHEN SHE/HE KNOWS THAT ANY DISAGREEMENT WITH THE GOVERNOR EDUCATION WHEN SHE/HE KNOWS THAT ANY DISAGREEMENT WITH THE GOVERNOR MAY LEAD TO PERSONAL ATTACK. KENTUCKIANS ARE A PROUD PEOPLE. WE DISAGREE WITH GOVERNORS AND PRESIDENTS OF UNIVERSITIES AND WE DON'T EXPECT TO BE PERSONALLY PUBLICLY ATTACKED WHEN WE DO. POLITICAL INTERFERENCE IN THE OPERATION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY CANNOT BE TOLERATED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. I KNOW YOU UNDERSTAND THE SERIOUSNESS OF THIS. THE PEOPLE OF KENTUCKY WILL HAVE TO DECIDE THE IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING A SAFE DISTANCE BETWEEN THEIR EDUCATIONAL AND POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS. IN FINAL ANALYSIS, THIS DECISION MAY BE THE MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL AS WE LOOK TO THE FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN OUR STATE.
AS I CONCLUDE, I SHOULD SAY THAT I DID NOT SEEK TO BE INVOLVED IN CONTROVERSY WITH GOVERNOR PATTON. I HAVE SPENT MY PROFESSIONAL LIFE WORKING WITH, NOT AGAINST, POLITICAL LEADERS AND CLEARLY KNOW OF THE VALUE OF THAT APPROACH. I ENGAGED IN DIALOGUE ON THIS ISSUE WITH THE GOVERNOR BEFORE IT ENTERED THE PUBLIC ARENA AND I STAND READY TO HAVE FURTHER DIALOGUE IN THE FUTURE. I CAN ONLY HOPE THAT GOVERNOR PATTON UNDERSTANDS THAT I AM DOING ONLY WHAT I SINCERELY BELIEVE TO BE BEST FOR THIS INSTITUTION AND FOR THE PEOPLE OF KENTUCKY. I AM SURE THAT HE BELIEVES HE IS DOING THE SAME FOR OUR STATE. BUT WE HAVE COME TO DIFFERENT CONCLUSIONS ON AN IMPORTANT PUBLIC POLICY ISSUE. I BELIEVE THAT IT IS CRUCIALLY IMPORTANT THAT THIS ISSUE BE RESOLVED ON ITS MERITS. I AM WORKING TOWARD THAT END AND I INVITE EACH OF YOU TO JOIN ME IN THIS MOMENTOUS EFFORT. THANK YOU AGAIN FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET WITH YOU ON THIS CRITICAL SUBJECT.
Thank you again for having me here, for giving me the opportunity to talk with you about the Governor's plan for higher education in Kentucky. Madam Chairman, I will pleased to address the questions which I believe you have prepared.
Chairperson Schach said she would read the questions and President Wethington would have the opportunity to respond or one of the Chancellors or Mr. Miller from the Community Colleges.
Chairperson Schach: President Wethington, leaving aside the community colleges for the moment what can you tell us is your plan for advancing the status of UK as a leading research university regardless of whether or not the community colleges remain under UK. What are the primary steps you propose to take?
President Wethington: First, let me say that any plan for advancing research or any other initiative at the University of Kentucky will be pursued as we have pursued such plans in the past. That is it will be a plan that involves faculty, staff, and students of this University. Second, let me state that this is a mature university; it has a good strategic plan. It has been pursuing that plan diligently. This is the fourth year of a five year plan. This is the year, 1997, when we have always intended to look at our plan for purposes of revision. If in fact there are significant reasons, if there are financial reasons, if there are incentives for us to make considerable change and we believe it is in our own best interest, that it is in the best interest of the people of this state, then I would propose we modify our plans and that we get about doing it. Meantime, we are doing what we have been doing all along. We have been doing all we can to bring in federal contracts and grants to this University. We have been providing funds that will help and assist faculty to develop their proposals to get prepared to achieve funding for this institution. We have been building facilities, as you well know as facilities have been necessary and needed in this Institution. We have been pursuing funding from the State, which we will continue to do. We are now at the point where we will be developing, whatever happens to the Governor's plan, our biennial budget request for 1998-2000. As a result of the graduate education study and efforts we have underway, we should get our graduate and research initiatives up on top of that agenda in our request for funds. This is a State, a public, university and my feeling all along has been that there must be some partnership. The State must join with us in helping this research enterprise along. Meantime we will do as I said we are going to do, since there has been some indication of some moneys being put up, we will establish a fund for excellence and start raising private moneys to match that and go on beyond, if in fact we believe that it can address the needs of the University. But let me say, in my opinion, that this is a comprehensive University, not one which is focusing on a certain few areas at present. That for us to focus on what our areas of emphasis ought to be for the next few years, if we are going to narrow that down to four or five areas which we think we can best pursue, that is not something I should send to the Governor in overnight mail. That is a serious matter ladies and gentlemen, and for the four or five of you who represent areas that might be chosen, would be deliriously happy with me and the other ninety-five would run me out of town. This is not something that needs to be done overnight. It needs to take considerable time and effort and have us all work together on it and possibly even bring in some expertise from outside the Institution to help us look at and determine where our real strengths are in this institution and how we can best move the institution forward. It is not an easy answer and it is not one that can come from one person. It is obviously one that should seriously be addressed by me along with faculty and staff of the University.
Dean Tom Lester (Engineering): During the Governor's statement in Louisville he said he was willing to put up at least $250 million dollars for the University of Louisville. Could you explain how that will work with his original statement about setting up six funds for excellence, including funds for professorships and merit scholarships? I was under the impression that most of the money he was talking about would be imbedded in these funds and not a special allocation.
President Wethington: Dean Lester, I do not know any more about the Governor's intentions in that regard that you do. It is my belief, as you have just expressed, that the intention is to establish certain funds for excellence like the fund which is being established for 1997-1998 that would have some $4 million dollars in it for the University of Kentucky; some $2 million for the University of Louisville. It was interesting to hear that comment after he had just indicated to the UK Board of Trustees and me that he thought a plan that would take some $700 plus million was totally one that was not reasonable or possible in a State like Kentucky. But I do not know more than what you have just said.
Chairperson Schach: This is a two part question. First of all, the Governor began reviewing the state of higher education many months ago. Many members of the faculty assumed that the Administration would use this review as an opportunity to articulate a coherent plan and vision of UK's future research and its educational goals. But we have heard nothing. In dramatic contrast to the way the University of Louisville has responded to this opportunity, why, why have we been silent? Secondly, ever since it became clear that Governor Patton would propose the separation of the Community College System, Dr. Wethington has fought the plan. But he has paid only the perfunctory lip service to Patton's proposal to elevate the research status of UK. I share with many members of the faculty an extreme frustration, even a sense of betrayal at this one sided response. Why so little attention to the needs and aspirations of the Lexington campus and the Medical Center in this debate?
President Wethington: I think that perhaps the shortest answer to that is that the focus on making this an even better research University is an issue on which Governor Patton and I agree. As a result of that there is not a great deal of controversy about it. I think you will find that when I have had conversations with anyone, any group, anywhere, anyhow, anytime, you will find that I have pushed the importance of a research university in every way that I can and have reminded the Governor that I have been pushing for a top research university perhaps longer that a lot of people have in this state. I would certainly quarrel with the approach that we as a University have not been making our views known in terms of the research interest. I would also indicate to you that both publicly and privately not only have I, but the Senate Council has. The Medical Center did. There have been written communications that have gone to the Governor over the last months that have expressed the wish, the desires of this Institution to move ahead in terms of research and, as Jan did indicate to you further, there have been private efforts as well, including the effort which we had here in Lexington at Maxwell Place when the Governor was invited and members of the faculty and administration had the opportunity to present our case to him. We have been regularly presenting our case for a research university, perhaps we have had some little success with that in that at least there is some minimal effort through the fund for excellence for endowed chairs and professorships to start with a bit of movement toward doing some of the kinds of things we would want to see done. That is to establish a fund which we would match and thereby double the rewards to this University for our fund raising efforts.
In terms of the Community Colleges, that is a proposal which would negatively impact this University in my opinion. As a result of that , I felt it needed to be addressed very quickly and very straight forwardly, because I knew a serious part, a major part of our university community was going to be very, very concerned when they heard this proposal. They expected me, they expected Governor Breathitt, and our Board of Trustees to defend them. To defend our students, our faculty, and our staff who did not want to hear the proposal that would remove them from the University of Kentucky. I think that you as faculty and student colleagues would have felt the same way had that proposal been directed toward some part of the University system. It happened in this case to be directed toward the Community College System and, as a result of that, we responded accordingly.
James Brennan (Mathematics): One of the things that seriously threaten our university are the recent budget cuts. Are there steps being taken to remedy this situation?
President Wethington: The recent cuts are something that none of us like to go through. I cannot stand here and assure that you will not have anything like this happen a year from now but I certainly hope not. At least two things happened to impact our budget during this year for the Lexington Campus. It was a bit of a problem for the Medical Center. In this case it was not a problem for the Community College System since they had received a larger appropriation. Going into this year, last summer actually, I reminded the University Community through the Communi-K that in the first year of Governor Patton's administration this University would receive 2.4% in state appropriation increase. We were not singled out; there were four other institutions in the same boat. I had been struggling all year with the other administrators and they with you to try achieve a 3%, what I termed inflationary salary increase, on the average, for University employees. That was the first thing that impacted our budget. Then the enrollment for the Lexington campus, the income from enrollment, from tuition during 1996-1997 actually went down. When income goes down from any source then we have no choice other than to cut our budget and bring it in line with income. Chancellor Zinser has been working most of this year with the Deans, and Chancellor Holsinger has too, to get their budgets in line with income. We did not have any budget cut imposed from outside; we had a lower appropriation than we needed to give a cost of living salary increase and we had a drop in income as a result of a tuition drop in the Lexington campus primarily. We are addressing the tuition situation. We cannot raise tuition, but we can look at our enrollment and try to ensure that the enrollment and the mix of that enrollment will be such that we will not have another drop in tuition revenue. We cannot guarantee that, but I think we should be able to bring that in line. Chancellor Zinser, along with some assistance from me, has tried to minimize the impact of this budget shortfall on your programs for the year 1997-1998 and give us time to correct the tuition issue to bring revenue in line with our estimates. Most of the time when these cuts occur they are imposed on us from outside. This time it was our doing with the exception that we did not have a state appropriation increase that would meet our needs to give a minimal salary increase for next year. Beyond 1997-1998 we are dependent upon the 1998 session of the General Assembly. As we go into January 1998 we will be then pushing for an appropriation that would allow us to not be in the situation that we were in this time and I think we can manage the tuition such that we do not have that problem again.
David Hamilton (History): I was very pleased to hear the announcement about the fund for excellence. We seem to be the only Institution of our stature that has yet to attempt a capital fund drive. It seems rather vague though. I noticed that Louisville is going for $500 million over ten years. Has a dollar figure been established; a target that you are shooting for?
President Wethington: No, we have not established an amount for that fund. As I read the University of Louisville's proposal it would be to bring the size of the endowment up to that level over 10-12 years. Which would mean roughly a doubling of it. If I were looking at the University of Kentucky's I could predict that in 10-12 years our endowment would double and we would not have to raise a dime. You need to get beyond the rhetoric here and look at what we have. It would be fairly easy for me to say we are going to set as a goal today that in ten years our endowment is going to be $340 million and everyone go out and say how wonderful that is. None of us would have to do anything. If we are fairly astute in our investments it would happen. I think that we have established the ground rules for taking on a campaign. Though what we see coming to us from the State is not large, it is something for us to start from. I would like to able to tell prospective donors that the state is willing and interested in helping us with that. That we want to raise money for chairs, professorships, and merit scholarships and that the State is willing to put up some money to help us with that. If it is $4 million and it remains in the budget, that is a start. There is some State participation in what we are trying to do, but if we are going to establish an amount which we plan to raise in the next ten years, I would really like to spend more time on it than to just give you a response today. I will be happy to set a goal that would double our endowment in the next ten years and make a good deal of political hay out of it if you would like for me to.
The question was asked: If there is indeed a controversy between the Governor and the University on research issues, why was the Governor surprised at the research position paper.
President Wethington: The question is about the $700 plus million price tag. Let me explain that to you because some of you may not be aware of how that was done. I did not do that in my office overnight. I asked Jerry Bramwell, Vice President for Research working with his staff and others. I said, we have been told we are going to be moved toward becoming a top twenty research university, now tell me what a top twenty research university looks like. So Jerry Bramwell and others then looked at the top research universities in this nation and they said a top twenty research university looks like this. They said that is x number of faculty, x number of graduate students, x amount of research space, x research equipment and put that together. We in turn sent that on to the Governor, purely as an indication of what a top twenty research university looks like. No request that this be done today, tomorrow, or immediately but a request that if in fact the Governor is serious about our becoming a top twenty research university than we should see a plan for getting us there. Obviously that is not a plan that will be achieved in one year, but let's see a plan not just for $4 million, but if in fact we are going to get the people of Kentucky and the people of the University all excited about becoming a top twenty research university, then let's have a plan that the Governor and General Assembly will buy into that will take us there. There will be questions about whether the amount which we put in our plan is exactly what it should be. It was an honest effort by our research community to determine for the Governor what a top twenty research university looks like and what resources are necessary to move this Institution from where we are to that level.
Chairperson Schach: If I could take this opportunity to ask Professor Miller and Chancellor Carr to reflect on the discussion going on amongst faculty and the Community Colleges. I know many faculty here are wondering what the discussion is.
President Wethington: Let's call on Professor Miller who is the Faculty Trustee for the Community College System, one of the three faculty trustees.
Professor Jimmy Jack Miller: Let me thank you for the opportunity to be here this afternoon. Right now the Community College System is very carefully looking at what it takes to be the most serious statement that it has to deal with and that is its Mission Statement. We understand that there is a University Mission Statement that must be fulfilled. The Community College does understand the difference between your Mission Statement as a Research Institution particularly with the Land Grant function. Our Mission Statement, which is a three fold mission statement, allows us to work in one region of our State where our Community College is housed and work on a comprehensive two year package within the baccalaureate program with comprehensive AA degrees, AS degrees, and Associates in Applied Science. Our goal is to provide the best, most comprehensive education that we can do in the frame work of those three areas of the global mission statement so that we can provide the best without question to as many of our citizens in our service area as want that education. We are questioning as a faculty, as a Community College System whether or not it is in our students' best interest for us to stay with the University of Kentucky or look at the Governor's plan and move more toward a training arena as described by the Governor when he says that 70% of our work force needs a two year technical degree or less. We are very concerned about that and we will not let that issue go. We will question it constantly, because we feel the best mission is the current mission statement we have.
Chairperson Schach: Some of the newspapers predict that UK will loose the Community Colleges. Win or lose, what plans do you have to prevent the Governor from favoring the University of Louisville and the regional Universities in money distribution in the next few years?
President Wethington: First of all I want to express my difference of opinion with the newspaper pundits that have predicted that conclusion to this debate and say then that the University of Kentucky has been fortunate over the years and the Community College System as a part of it in having really strong support in the General Assembly in Kentucky. I will continue to believe that this Institution will be treated fairly by the people of Kentucky and its elected representatives. I do not fear the decisions that will be made in the future as a result of our debate at present, because I really do believe that the people of Kentucky through its elected representatives will ensure that this University, this comprehensive state-wide University, which is the only one in the State that serves the State from border to border, will continue to be treated fairly when higher education funds are distributed to all of the Institutions in the State. It is not unusual perhaps for there to be some disagreement among political circles and certain Institutions in the Commonwealth, but over the years I have seen these Institutions be treated fairly when it comes to an allocation of resources. I fully intend to put my trust and faith in the hands of the General Assembly; they have always treated us very very well. By the way, the General Assembly obviously is the group that will make the final decision about the Community College System. I am well aware, and Governor Breathitt is well aware, that our role is to be a purveyor of public information, to get out our side of the story, to represent the Community College students, faculty, and Community College communities. Then our General Assembly will make that decision as it properly should and this University will abide by the decisions, of course, that the General Assembly makes. There is not any question in my mind but that the people of Kentucky will treat this Institution fairly. Again I will come back to and refer one more time to the Bluegrass Poll and say that in my opinion, the people of Kentucky are on our side in this particular issue which reflects to me some of the support this University has through out the Commonwealth.
Professor Jim Albisetti (Honors Program): The question that was raised second regarding the level of faculty unhappiness with leadership or an ignorance of what you have been doing. What plans do you have for the future to address that concern for faculty here on the Lexington Campus and Medical Center who do feel that your attention has been focused on the controversial issues?
President Wethington: I hope through discussions such as this to try to allay some of those concerns. I have met with the Senate Council monthly during this year. I have met with three groups of faculty during this last week to have some discussion about issues and concerns and to hear from them. My approach, as you well know, has been to work behind the scenes in these matters; to try to influence the direction of the Governor's Reform of Higher Education rather than to be out publicly trying to influence it in ways that I thought would not be productive.
Certainly in the case of the Community Colleges you can made a strong argument that my behind the scenes efforts have not been successful because I have certainly not been advocating this one. I do believe that the result, that some of our efforts helped in getting attention focused on a research university, and getting some funding for chairs and professorships. I think our efforts; yours, mine, and all of our efforts, have helped bring us to that point.
As a result of that we are in some agreement about the need for a strong research university and that this Institution should be one. I will ask you to assist with that and to refer to me anyone who wishes to talk with me further about my feelings, my plans, my concerns, and my insistence that this University be the best that we can make it. I hear those concerns; I am here today to talk with you about any and all parts of your concerns. I will simply tell you that I will defend our need to have a top research university in this state and push as strongly for it as anyone of you. I will promise you that I will support your efforts in whatever ways I can, financially and otherwise to make this happen.
This State needs that kind of a University; there is no question but that it needs that. What we cannot allow, if I may give you my opinion, what we cannot have happen to us is to be a narrowly focused research university of the Bluegrass and not have a base of support out in the State that brings us through some of the troubled times that may lie ahead. To have the support in this State which we need, we need to be able to serve the entire State as a land grant university. We must reach out through the Community Colleges; we must reach out through the College of Agriculture; we must reach out through the College of Engineering, and we must reach out through the Medical Center because Kentuckians want us to deliver services out across the State. That service that we deliver, that instruction that we deliver, and that research which we deliver then helps us build the kind of support that carries us through the time when we might have a Governor who did not believe in the need for a strong research university in this State. All of you have been around long enough to know that there have been times when we did not have that kind of person sitting in the Governor's chair.
Professor Joan Callahan (Arts and Sciences): You said several times that we have not received the sort of support that we should have received from the legislature and yet for all these years we have had the community colleges associated with UK. Given that why would you think that letting the community colleges go would increase our support from the legislature? I need you to explain to me the link that you see between our retaining the community colleges and increasing our support as a research institution.
President Wethington: Let me say that I am not going to stand here and tell you there cannot be a great research university without having a community college system attached to it. On the other hand, I am not going to tell you there cannot be a great research university with a community college system attached to it. I am simply telling you that happens to be the way that Kentucky has structured its higher education system and that there are in my opinion many advantages in that for this Commonwealth and for this University and that the splitting of them away would not help our efforts to become an even better research university. Let's use some other states as an example which often get used as examples of the fact that we are not the same. Often the Governor or others will state that there are not other community college systems in the nation attached to a research university. But think about some of the other universities that the Governor talks about; how about Indiana University, how about North Carolina, how about Penn State. In each of these instances they have out in the state arms that are not called community colleges, in fact they may be four year baccalaureate degree granting entities or maybe graduate entities. But virtually all of these institutions have some method for delivering instruction out in the commonwealth and for taking research out in the commonwealth. They just do not call them community colleges. It is not at all a given that a great research university cannot have arms out in the state serving the people, whether you call them community colleges or not I really think is incidental. But there is a need or reason in my opinion for particularly a public land grant university to take its programs out in the state. In Kentucky we chose in the 1960s to do that through a community college system. Before that time, before 1962 there were five extension centers being operated by the University of Kentucky out in the state. The people of the state were already demanding that webe out there serving them and they would be again in my opinion if the the community college system was stripped away. The people of the state want the University of Kentucky to be out delivering instruction through the Commonwealth and the General Assembly has decided that may be a good idea.
Professor Jesse Weil (Arts and Sciences): I am concerned about another thing that we are not hearing about. The second question had to do with why we were not hearing more about what we were doing about research. In your presentation about what the Governor's plan is you pointed out that there are three new boards that are going to be appointed and made some allusions to what the membership of those boards are going to be. There was a Courier Journal column today by Garrett who was concerned about the consequences of the nature of the proposed board. I am not hearing anybody debating this at all or pointing out what the possible consequences of that are. I myself am concerned with a different angle about what the possible consequences of those boards are and I am wondering if we should be publicizing that and bringing it to the attention of the people of the Commonwealth that what the Governor is proposing may make much worse the situation we have had to deal with in the last thirty years. Can you please address to us what your concerns are and say what we could do to bring this to the attention of the people in the Commonwealth.
President Wethington: I think that you made some excellent points and I think in just the last few days we have begun to see some attention focused on other parts of this plan. Rightly or wrongly my feeling was that for me to appear to be critical of several different parts of this plan then might give the impression that I am trying to do the whole thing in which I am absolutely not. Without saying more about the issues you have raised than you have said, I think that you have clearly identified an issue which I have loosely described as the moving of educational entities or decision making from educational institutions to a political bureaucracy in Frankfort. The setting up of these various boards and groups and entities is a part of what I have been trying to allude to without getting particularly critical of certain other aspects of the plan. I would welcome any concerns that you might have as you read and study the Governor's proposal.
Phil McKnight (German): It seems to me like you have been given a unique and unprecedented opportunity here for which probably no president of any university has ever seen before. If the issue is quality you could be assured, the community colleges could be assured, and the people in the state could be assured separation of the community colleges would not diminish the quality and perhaps even increase the quality. If this could somehow be done by the Governor or all the people working on this issue and if in exchange you could say from your position of leverage that position being fulfilled then we give you the community colleges, you respond in kind. Perhaps a starting point could be; you respond by bringing us up to the level of the University of North Carolina and your support which according to the figures you have earlier would basically double the state's support to the University of Kentucky.
President Wethington: I guess the question that I might turn back to you is where do I stop? If the Governor had proposed to take away the Medical Center would you support my doing that? If he proposed taking away the College of Agriculture and Agriculture Extension Service should I take that offer, too? Where do I stop? That is the issue. This Governor is focusing on the Community College System. What is the next Governor going to focus on? If it becomes relatively easy for a Governor to come in and say that he does not feel a certain part of the University is needed to be a part of the University anymore, that we are just going to pull it awayand give you some money in return, then what is the next Governor going to do? It gets easier and easier for parts of the University to be stripped away and the fact that we have a comprehensive state-wide university gets lost over time and thereby the base of support gets lost over time. To answer your question about quality, I do not think that anyone can assure you are going to have quality or not assure you are going to have quality. The one thing I keep coming back to and I say if I were going to ask you a question; forget about community colleges, and I ask can you or would you say that the removing of an educational institution, in this case the community colleges from a university like the University of Kentucky and putting that educational institution in a state bureaucracy likely lead to any increase in quality? I surely would not.
Professor Henry Hirsch (Physiology): I agree with you completely about the community colleges and I also agree with Jesse Weil about the politicization of higher education. The thought has just crossed by mind that perhaps the Governor even brought up the community college issue to divert attention from the fact that what he really wants is complete political control through this strategic committee and if that is true, should you perhaps take up the other issue and as well as the community colleges.
President Wethington: That is an excellent comment and I can assure you I have thought a lot about it.
Bob Carter: Is the Governor going to submit one bill for the legislature to vote the entire plan up or down or will he submit a series of bills where he could vote up a research university and down separating the community colleges.
President Wethington: I do not think anyone can answer that. My guess is he will handle things as he did with workers compensation and there will be one bill. His comments have led me to believe that his plan is going to be a plan that is kept intact. None of use have seen anything that is a bill yet and I do not expect that we will for sometime.
Chairperson Schach: It appears that the Governor's community college position is primarily based on economic development and the desire of employers to have employees well trained on using industrial equipment as well as an academic background. Rather than simply state the importance of the community colleges from UK's perspective, would it not be more productive to identify joint associate degree programs that could be worked out with the Kentucky Tech Schools?
President Wethington: I would like to ask Ben Carr if he would comment on that, because I know there are things going on in terms of joint programming with Kentucky Tech and the Community Colleges.
Ben Carr (Chancellor Community Colleges): This is not a new topic for community colleges and Kentucky Tech. For the last ten years or so we have been working on articulation agreements and joint programs. We have joint buildings that we share in Paducah and a joint campus in Bell County. We have programs that we have developed together in Madisonville as far back as the late 1970s. We have just sent through the Board of Trustees at the last meeting a technical studies degree which will be a one plus one; that is they will get one year of credit for Kentucky Tech programs on the technical portion on which we will build a one year program of general education and they will get an associate degree in technical studies. That will be in program areas where we do not even have programs at this point but which community colleges in other states do. We will use expertise from other states, from community college faculty to evaluate what Kentucky Tech does in these areas. We have already done three program areas. We are involved in doing some joint programs and have a lot of ideas for others as soon as we get through this controversy and can get back to work.
President Wethington: I think that is the answer for everyone to know and to understand, that there are constant ongoing efforts and have been for years to do joint programming with vocational schools and like everything else the successful efforts get no attention and where there is not a successful effort we hear about it.
Professor Gretchen LaGodna (Nursing): Has the Board of Trustees engaged in a full and open discussion about the Governor's plan and if they have what advice did they give you?
President Wethington: I should let Governor Breathitt make a comment, certainly I do not pretend to speak for the Board, though the Board did pass a resolution at the last meeting that certainly expressed their understanding of the community college issue and did express support and applaud Governor Patton's efforts in principle.
Governor Ned Breathitt: I have had Board experience and have served as Chairman of the Board of the University of Kentucky on two occasions. Once when I was Governor when the Governor was a one time chairman. I have served on the Board during the Brown Administration. I have served on the Morehead Board, I have served on the Kentucky State University Board, and I have served on the Council on Higher Education twice. I think that we should all give our deep sense of gratitude to Governor Jones because he did something fundamental. When he proposed legislation which was passed, no longer let it be possible in the heat of a campaign for somebody to put down $20,000 and get a Board seat. That has happened in Kentucky. Now the Board seats must go through a Blue Ribbon Commission with people like Barry Bigham, Jr., Louis Prichard the son of the founder of the Prichard Committee, an outstanding group of our best citizens, pick three people to submit to the Governor for appointment. Let me just tell you the quality of our Board now. We have as chairman of our finance committee, Jim Hardymon from Maysville, Kentucky. When he graduated from the University of Kentucky Engineering School he went with Browning in Maysville and served on the Maysville Community College Board. He lives here and commutes to Providence, Rhode Island where he is the CEO of Textron Corporation, one of the largest international major corporations in this country. He has never missed a meeting. I have opened up the Finance Committee Meetings to anyone who wants to attend and I have urged every member of the Board to attend those Finance Committee Meetings. He has never missed a meeting and has never missed thoroughly briefing himself on what happens at this University. The Vice-Chairman is Paul Chellgren who is the CEO of Ashland Oil. Ashland Oil has been the one corporation in this state, that gave the money for really getting KET started; that is constantly given very broad support to education at every level. Then we have, thanks to you, some very fine faculty representatives, that the Governor has nothing to do with. That is healthy, because they are not subject to political pressures. In addition we have three outstanding representatives from the alumni. They are elected from the alumni, or have to run, and then the Governor picks from one of the top three finishers in each vacancy that occurs. Those people are not subject to the whims of pressures from any political source. Then in addition we have some other very distinguished fine representatives on that Board. One is Elisa Plattner who has an earned doctorate in one of the humanities fields and teaches in the community college. Governor Combs daughter, who is head of the Pritchard committee, is the secretary of our Board, a very independent thinker and a wonderful person. We have Billy Joe Miles who is one of the top agri-business people in the world. When you take this calibre of a board, they do not have to serve; they are not serving because it will look good in their obituaries that they were on the Board of the University. They are not on the Board because they want those tickets. They are on that Board because they love this University and are committed to this University. Let me tell you this, we recognize if we are going to have this calibre person on the board, and it has not always been that calibre at the University of Kentucky or the other Boards I have served on in the past. They know that to have a great university we must defend the essentials: academic freedom, the right to dissent, the right to speak, the right to voice your opinions and be a part of a process. This Board also knows that it recognizes that we must resist political interference with the operation of this University or this Board, from any source. None of you on admissions committees have ever received a letter from me on admissions or trying to help somebody in your University. I will not do it. This is the kind of Board that we have. I did not know President Wethington when I got appointed to the Board; I had been working for the railroad. I knew David Roselle because he came to Washington and spoke to our alumni chapter there. I was very fond of David Roselle and very fond of Jack Oswald. He was besieged on the Council on Higher Education because the presidents had a vote. He came to the Governor's mansion and said that he did not have a chance; there are four fellows with regional universities. One that had been state superintendent of public instruction, one who had been speaker of the house, one who had been the vice-president of alumni affairs. They voted four to one against the University of Kentucky, taking money away every time and divided it among themselves. As Governor we changed that law and took the vote away from everyone from any institution and put it in the hands of a lay board. This is the best Board I have ever served with, with the highest calibre citizens, in my line of serving higher education at every level. This Board has come to the conclusion that I have. That this University has outstanding leadership and when it was attacked we were shocked, but we stood and gave this President a standing ovation. We were unanimous in our support. They did not worry about what would happen to them, they have other things they can do, but they love this University. They love this State and they feel that it is vital that we maintain academic freedom and freedom from interference. We also in our society strongly support freedom of the press. Without those institutions we can never be a University, we are not a university if we do not have those freedoms. I want to assure you that as Chairman and I speak for every member of that Board, because we are unanimous, we will defend those freedoms always and if Charles does not do a good job we will run him off and get someone else. But right now we think he is doing an outstanding job and we defend him unanimously.
Governor Breathitt was given a round of applause.
Chairperson Schach thanked President Wethington and Governor Breathitt.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:12 p.m.