Call to Order and Roll Call
Thefifth meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on Monday, October 8, 2012, at 1:00 PM, in the CFSB Center, Murray, Kentucky. Senator Ken Winters, Co- Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Ken Winters, Co-Chair; Representative Carl Rollins II, Co-Chair; Senators David Givens, Denise Harper Angel, Jimmy Higdon, and Mike Wilson; Representatives John "Bam" Carney, Leslie Combs, Jim DeCesare, Ted Edmonds, C.B. Embry Jr., Kelly Flood, Derrick Graham, Reginald Meeks, Ryan Quarles, Tom Riner, Bart Rowland, Wilson Stone, Ben Waide, and Jill York.
Kentucky Youth Advocates
Loretta Maldaner, Director, Purchase Area Health Center Program, presented an award for Chairman Winters for his work with children in the 2012 Regular Session. She stated Chairman Winters was chosen to receive the award because of his efforts to overcome political differences and to make children’s lives better in Kentucky.
Chairman Winters thanked Ms. Maldaner for the recognition and stated that a group of foster children and a youth advocacy group who visited him in his office and shared their concerns inspired him to sponsor Senate Bill 213.
Murray State University
Robert Jackson, Associate Vice President, Murray State University, said in the fall of 2011 Murray State University had an enrollment of 10,623 students of which 1,520 were first time freshman. Murray State University has five regional campuses located in Henderson, Madisonville, Hopkinsville, Fort Campbell, and Paducah, Kentucky. Murray State has made the list of Forbes magazine’s 100 best college buys in the United States for the last three years. For 22 consecutive years, U.S. News and World Report has ranked Murray State University as a top tier institution in the United States. Murray State is the highest ranked public comprehensive institution in the Commonwealth.
Mr. Jackson stated that Murray State University has had a 40 percent increase in degrees awarded since 1998 and the graduation rate is the second highest in the Commonwealth behind the University of Kentucky at 53.7 percent. The Residential College System at Murray State has made a difference in how students are recruited and retained. Murray State has a very high retention rate for first-time freshman. Mr. Jackson noted how important affordability and accessibility are today and that Murray State ranks well compared to the other institutions in the state regarding tuition and fees. Murray State University has the second lowest tuition rates behind Kentucky State University.
Mr. Jackson said the science campus project started in 1998 and was a multi-year and multi-phased capitol construction project. The final phase will be the Engineering and Physics building, a $33 million facility that is Murray State’s first construction priority. Murray State University needs approval for $9.9 million renovation for Hester College and $5.53 million for Capital Renewal Pool Projects. The last several years Murray State University has had a very active fundraising campaign. Murray State passed an original $60 million goal last year and is near $70 million now. Half of the money that comes from fundraising goes to supporting scholarship endowments.
In response to Representative DeCesare’s question regarding bonding, Mr. Jackson said Murray State University is similar to Western Kentucky University in regard to bonding without authority from the General Assembly.
Representative Carney applauded Murray State University for everything that has been done and commented on the worldwide attention the fishing program gets.
Responding to a question from Senator Givens, Dr. Steve Cobb, Dean of Science, Engineering, and Technology, said there are 1,400 students who major in the Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. These students are also well represented at the regional campuses.
Representative Waide commented on his experience as a Murray State University student and the access that the school gives to people through its regional campuses.
In response to Representative Stone’s question regarding projection of enrollment over the next five or ten years, Mr. Jackson said he projects only a small moderate growth. Mr. Jackson said if 12,000 students enrolled, the school’s facilities would be at capacity.
In response to a question from Representative Rollins, Tim Todd, Dean, College of Business and Public Affairs, said many of the students take one or more online classes. There are students from across the world who take online classes at Murray State University.
Chairman Winters’ commented on the uniqueness of the Murray State University campus and said the university’s priority is its students.
Representative Carney said that Chairman Winters also did a wonderful job as President of Campbellsville University, and the community will never be the same because of his work there.
Murray State University College of Education
Dave Whaley, Dean, College of Education, said he has only been at Murray State University for 90 days. He spent his previous 35 years before coming to Murray State University in education. There are over 1,700 undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Education. The graduates teach in 48 of the 50 states, and some teach internationally. During the last academic year, the College of Education students clocked more than 53,000 hours in 28 school districts. Mr. Whaley said 62 percent of the 2010 graduating class from the College of Education have found positions in teaching or school administration. The graduate program has enrolled an increased number of students. In the masters’ degree program for Human Development and Leadership, there has been a 66 percent increase in enrollment in the past five years. The College of Education offers dual credit enrollment courses for high school students. That means students who are juniors or seniors in high school receive both high school and university credit concurrently. In the last year, there were 111 students who participated in this Dual Enrollment Program.
Program of Distinction
Dr. James Gantt, Director, Center for Telecommunications System Management (TSM), said through the Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997, legislators created a nationally recognized Program of Distinction providing statewide access to students. The students who are in the Program of Distinction will blend business classes with engineering classes. There is not a department for TSM, but there is a program. In over 13 years, TSM has had over 300 under graduates and over 200 students that received master’s degrees. Dr. Gantt said 40 percent of TSM students take the courses online and those students are from around the Commonwealth and the nation. At the graduate level, all TSM courses are online.
Dr. Gantt stated that a lot of TSM graduates will work in the information technology field and in higher education. There are a lot of graduates that are working at the University of Kentucky, Western Kentucky, and the community college system. TSM is very proud of its faculty, who are a diverse group of people. The faculty at TSM has one thing in common, having worked many years in industry before entering teaching. TSM reaches out to high schools in many different ways because TSM believes STEM is important. TSM tries to interest students by giving them real work to do. TSM has a Cyber Academy where high school students can attend a free one week academy to acquaint them in TSM. TSM is also a program that partners with telecommunication associations. The Information & Telecommunications and Education & Research Association (ITERA) is a group of 20 universities that Murray State University is a part of. TSM is also involved with the Kentucky Telephone Association (KTA) and Tennessee Telecommunications Association (TTA).
In response to Representative Waide’s question regarding what TSM is doing for the Marines, Dr. Gantt said TSM is developing applications to be used on smart phones for the military.
In response to a question from Representative Riner, Dr. Gantt said TSM provides computer information technology for the military and applied most of that technology to homeland security.
Computer Services, Inc. (CSI), Paducah, Kentucky
Stan Eckenberg, C.E.O. and President, Computer Services, Inc. (CSI), Paducah, Kentucky, said CSI is a software company located in Paducah, Kentucky. CSI is heavily focused on the financial services industry. CSI started in 1965 and today has annual revenues exceeding $180 million with annual income about $25 million and 1,000 employees working in the 29 offices across the United States. Mr. Eckenberg explained what CSI does and stated that when a person uses a debit card, writes a check, or withdraws money from an ATM machine, CSI runs the computers that make those things happen. When a person gets a statement from a bank, signs on to internet banking, or checks balances on an IPhone, CSI wrote the software that makes those things happen. CSI is essentially the computer department for a bank. Half of the banks in the United States keep facilities, computers, and staff to do all of the accounting themselves. The other half of banks in the United States hire a company like CSI to do that for them.
Mr. Eckenberg said CSI helps customers comply with government regulations, secure customers’ data from hackers, and help the F.B.I. track the financial matters and activities of terrorists and drug lords around the country. CSI supplies products and services to over 5,000 financial institutions in the United States. CSI also supplies services to companies in other industries such as insurance, the manufacturing industry, and online services.
Mr. Eckenberg said a company like CSI has a critical need for talented personnel who can build and run CSI’s massive telecommunication systems. With a private network of over 35,000 online devices and internet access from all over the world, CSI is required to have the network running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Murray State and the TSM program has been a tremendous asset to help provide the telecommunications personnel CSI needs. As of today CSI has hired 22 employees straight out of the TSM program.
In response to Representative Stones’ question regarding the total growth in the telecommunications industry, Mr. Eckenberg said cloud computing is very important. TSM provides what is required to enter the business of cloud computing and CSI is fifth in the United States as far as number of dollars generated from cloud computing. This is projected to grow at 30 percent a year over the next five years.
In response to Chairman Winters’ question regarding CSI and TSM’s internship program, Mr. Eckenberg said TSM and CSI runs an internship program every summer with usually about 15 to 20 summer interns in each one. Dr. Gantt said TSM requires every student to do an internship for three hours credit.
In response to Representative Meeks’ question regarding security with online banking, Mr. Eckenberg said security is a daily concern of CSI. CSI has never been hacked and he doesn’t know many banks that have been hacked. CSI is regulated by the government and have annual checks on everything being done along with measures to go by to keep things secure. Dr. Gantt said TSM realizes how important security is now and TSM has provided some programs to families and high school students on security.
In response to Representative Riner’s question regarding a Chinese threat of hacking into our infrastructures, Dr. Gantt said the National Security Agency has a program to certify security training programs. TSM and CSI are very much aware of Chinese security hacking issues.
In response to Representative York’s question regarding cloud computing, actual roles, and job descriptions involved with CSI and TSM, Mr. Eckenberg said the important part about the cloud is the management of resources. If a business lacks storage resources it can use the cloud, which means there are a lot of people employed to keep the cloud secure. Dr. Gantt said search capability is another advantage of the cloud.
In response to Representative Carney’s question regarding recommendations for protecting schools using technology, Dr. Gantt said security is a big issue particularly with people writing passwords on paper and using simple passwords. It makes it easy for people to hack into computers when one uses simple passwords.
With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 3:04 p.m.