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UK Nears Decision On Next Provost


The two finalists vying to become the University of Kentucky’s next provost will soon be awaiting a decision by the school’s president.

The contenders took questions from faculty and staff at forums last week – each laying out their view of the state of higher education and how UK can handle anticipated hurdles, including declining state and federal funding and a shrinking pool of traditional applicants.

Donna Arnett, dean of the College of Public Health, highlighted her experience working with both the medical and non-medical sides of campus. The Kentucky native said UK needs to go after more non-traditional students.

"We have flat, declining enrollments because of fewer high school graduates and we have all of this opportunity around student transfers, so if one in three students is changing colleges, well let's get those students to UK," Arnett said.

Gatton College of Economics Dean David Blackwell echoed some of the same themes in his presentation, saying higher ed needs to evolve along with its students.

"In other words, we can't just keep delivering our product the same way. We can't rest on our laurels and even think that our existing product is attractive. We need to really test our ideas in the marketplace," Blackwell said.

The Kentucky Kernel reports about 10 students showed up to Blackwell’s afternoon forum to protest his college’s acceptance of a $4 million dollar donation from the Charles Koch Foundation – which helped fund the John H. Schnatter Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise.

Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Eric Monday says faculty and staff have one more day to weigh in on the candidates.

"The president still is seeking feedback from the campus all the way until Tuesday. Please look at the provost search website and the president will take that under advisement and make a decision in short order," he says.

See the provost search site here.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.