Call to Order and Roll Call
Thethird meeting of the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on Monday, September 10, 2012, at 10:00 a.m., in Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Alice Forgy Kerr, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Alice Forgy Kerr, Co-Chair; Representative Reginald Meeks, Co-Chair; Senator Ken Winters; Representatives Leslie Combs, C.B. Embry Jr., Donna Mayfield, Ryan Quarles, Jody Richards, Tom Riner, and Rita Smart.
Legislative Guest:††† Representative Derrick Graham.
Guests: Gloria McCall, Kentucky Community and Technical College System and Sean M. Cutter, McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie and Kirkland, PLLC.
Minutes from June 11, 2012, and August 13, 2012
Minutes were not approved due to lack of a quorum.
Students Affairs Administrators: Their Role In Integrating Student Life and Learning On Kentuckyís Campuses
Dr. Helen Grace Ryan, Dean of Students, Bellarmine University, said the mission of the Division of Academic and Student Life is to support and enhance the mission and vision of the university. The division works in partnership with the Division of Academic Affairs to foster opportunities for student learning and success. Student Life will facilitate studentsí academic and personal development through co-curricular experiences, services, programs, and activities. Opportunities are intentionally designed to promote the balanced development of the whole person Ė intellectually, spiritually, vocationally, socially, culturally, and emotionally to create active learners and responsible citizens for a global community.
Dr. Ryan said Bellarmine is a small, private university with 3,200 students, 40 percent being first-generation students. There is a 12:1 teacher to student ratio, and she knows all students by their name. She transports the students on tours of popular places in Louisville in an effort to integrate and familiarize students with the community.
Dr. Ryan said the Office of Multicultural Affairs supports students by offering co-curricular programs that acknowledge and reflect the experiences of underrepresented populations, while also providing educational opportunities for all members of the campus community to examine their individual and group experiences within a culturally diverse society. The purpose is to construct a community that acknowledges the multiple perspectives and backgrounds that are present on campus, thereby creating an inclusive and celebratory campus environment where all students, staff, and faculty are valued and affirmed.
Dr. Ryan said alcohol and drug use is on the rise with Bellarmineís students. The American College Health survey reported 15 percent of students do not drink alcohol, 15 percent binge drink, and the others fall somewhere in between. The same 15 percent rule is applied to marijuana usage on campus. Students are entering college more medicated and show signs of mental health issues. Bellarmine is committed to help students with coping skills to deal with depression and substance abuse issues. There are three full-time psychologists, five doctoral or post doctoral students, and one psychiatrist on retainer to staff the on-site counseling center.
Dr. Ryan said that Bellarmine recognizes the importance of technology. Faculty utilizes text messaging to communicate, and the university has a twitter account. Students reported appreciation that Bellarmine communicates with students on the social networking sites.
Dr. Ryan concluded that retention of students is important to the student affairs office. All faculty have a masterís degree or higher in counseling or higher education. Faculty is trained to watch student assessment scores closely. The university incorporates qualitative work and utilizes small groups of students.
Kentucky State University
††††††††††† Ms. Vernell Bennett, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, Kentucky State University, (KSU) said the mission of the KSU Student Affairs office is to develop, organize, administer, monitor, and coordinate a variety of experiences, services, programs, and activities in such a manner that they will have the greatest impact on the growth and development of a diverse student body. These experiences, services, programs and activities are administered through the following areas: Counseling and Career Placement, Health Services, Student Life, and the Office of Student Affairs.
Ms. Bennett said the student affairs office is the central administrative office for student non-academic activities. Its staff is responsible for student conduct and discipline; meal exemptions; for offering health insurance and excuses for class absences, processing emergency student loans, counseling, and coordinating all areas in the unit.
Ms. Bennett discussed challenges serving the 21st century student. Student safety has become a national concern due to increased incidents of terroristic threat situations, particularly on college campuses. KSU has a Behavioral Threat Analysis Team (BTAT) of administrators, faculty, and staff. The BTAT is responsible for assessing possible threat situations and addressing them accordingly. She noted individuals may make reports anonymously via a hotline if they so choose.
Ms. Bennett said the Betty White Center on campus is the counseling center to support the mental and emotional needs of students. Students are arriving on campus more medicated and in need of counseling in the areas of time management, building relationships, mental health issues, and substance abuse.
Ms. Bennett said student healthcare insurance is another challenge. An average of 950 students utilized the KSU healthcare option in the last academic year. She said increasing costs of insurance leaves some students without coverage and creates problems managing health issues for uninsured students.
Ms. Bennett said funding continues to be an issue for students. Higher education costs are increasing and Pell grant awards are decreasing. She noted students have multiple jobs and full-time course loads. There are new financial aid policies that reduce the maximum amount of aid students can receive.
Responding to questions from Representative Smart, Dr. Rubye Jones, Vice President of Student Affairs, said 2,800 students had registered for the 2012 fall semester. She said an average of 3,200 to 3,400 students matriculate on campus annually.
Dr. Jones said the Division of Students Affairs includes the police department and the staff in the health center. She said there are four staff in the administrative office of Student Affairs and five full-time staff in the counseling center. She believes the Office of Student Affairs touches 80 to 90 percent of all students on campus in some manner. The health center receives about 1,000 visits per quarter.
Responding to Representative Meeks question on the percentage of students on campus who do not have health insurance, Dr. Jones replied that 900 students do not have health insurance due to rising costs. KSU is not requiring students this academic year to opt into its insurance plan but did have private health vendors available on campus during fall registration.
Representative Meeks said the legislative body is concerned about Kentucky universities being able to provide its students health insurance. Regarding his question about changes in the financial aid regulations, Dr. Jones said some students are losing their eligibility to receive aid prior to completing their degrees. At this point, the student has to pay out of pocket, or the university has to locate other resources to assist the student to graduation. She said the changes are based on family income thresholds and the new requirements have eliminated some families from being eligible.
Representative Quarles said there is more student loan debt than credit card debt. Responding to his question about strategies for providing student loan information, Dr. Jones said students do receive information on the issues of financing a college education through financial aid programs. KSU hosts town hall meetings to explain to students the implications of student loans and how to be good stewards of funds provided to them.
Responding to Senator Winters, Ms. Bennett said KSU is a unique institution. It is a regional, comprehensive, liberal arts, and land grant university. Senator Winters offered that KSU should market itself as a comprehensive university instead of a liberal arts school. Representative Graham said KSU is a historically black university and is unique in that it provides liberal arts. He also noted the aquaculture program is helping Kentucky farmers, especially in western Kentucky.
University of Kentucky
Dr. Robert Mock, Vice President of Students Affairs, University of Kentucky (UK), said the Office of Student Affairs is an integral part of university life. The office and programs facilitate interactions among students, faculty, and staff to promote a campus climate that supports studentsí academic success and their personal and professional development. Student Affairs promotes student development and lifelong discovery, celebrates differences, and promotes global citizenship.
Dr. Mock said one of the most important keys to a studentís success is building meaningful relationships and developing strong connections to the university through members of the UK community. The UK Student Affairs office provides many opportunities to facilitate these connections through internships, intramural athletics, volunteer work, student clubs, registered student organizations, and community service.
Dr. Mock said an engaged student is a retained student. There are over 466 registered student organizations. He noted 2,254 students were enrolled in UK 101 and UK 201 in the fall of 2012. These are academic orientation courses and 33 percent of instructors for the courses were student affairs staff.
Dr. Mock said there are approximately 350 events designed to help new students successfully transition to UK. The UK for Unity and Service In Our Neighborhood, known as UK FUSION, is a one-day service event held each August. FUSION has included over 8,000 volunteers in its eight-year existence, reaching out to over 159 agencies and local neighborhoods. He said Dance Blue, a 24-hour dance marathon, had more than 3,000 students participate since its inception in 2006, raising over $3.3 million for UK Pediatric Oncology patients and families.
Dr. Mock said students may obtain leadership positions within the student affairs office. Student Affairs offers programs and trainings, like the Leadership Summit and the Emerging Leader Institute, which can aid in developing and refining skills. He noted the UK Office of Student Affairs employs over 1,000 students, and this can help reduce student loan debt.
Dr. Mock said 1,488,776 students and others visited the student center in 2010-2011, which is an increase from 1,191,651 in 2006-2007. He noted a short dip of traffic in the spring of 2009, when the campus experienced very severe winter weather which impacted the number of people able to physically come to the facility.
Dr. Mock said there are 43 Greek-letter organizations with 3,667 student members that are advised by fraternity and sorority affairs. He said 65 percent of all registered student organizations are led by Greeks. Greeks are the largest donor base at UK.
Dr. Mock said students who live on campus are more academically successful, earn better grades, and graduate 20 percent sooner than students who do not live on campus. He noted only about 25 percent of students live on campus due to obsolete housing and lack of rooms.
Dr. Mock said one challenge is funding all the services that students need. He said more students are arriving on campus with psychological issues and are prescription medicated. He said 1,360 total clients in the 2011-2012 academic year visited the counseling center. There were 6,730 total student appointments, as some students had multiple visits, and 718 of those were crisis and emergency consultations. There were 206 outreach presentations that reached 13,550 students, staff, faculty, and family members. Faculty and staff are also treated in the counseling center.
Dr. Mock said the student affairs office maintains student wellness in a variety of ways. The UK Campus Recreation Office provides recreation for every season, as well as club sports, intramurals, and a variety of fitness facilities and programs at numerous campus locations. In addition, Dining Services offers many healthy options designed to fit a variety of dietary needs and special requests. Much of the food on the menu is locally grown, creating a sustainable connection with the local agriculture community. He said mental health is vital to a positive campus experience for students. The UK Counseling Center provides support for academic success, career decision-making, and personal growth.
Dr. Mock said that, in a coordinated effort with colleagues across campus, UK strives to maintain a safe environment for living and learning. Many of the staff members in the Division of Student Affairs serve in important roles to ensure campus safety and keep security measures a top priority. He said 2,800 students receive substance abuse education and responsibility courses through trainings, events, and workshops. They are supported by student wellness ambassadors who are dedicated to empowering their peers to live safe and balanced lifestyles, focus on mental wellness, and avoid drugs and alcohol abuse.
Kentucky Community and Technical College System
Dr. Gloria McCall, Vice Chancellor, Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), said 55 percent of students enrolled in KCTCS are traditional students in the 18 to 24 age group. She said the adult non-traditional learners comprise the other 45 percent. All KCTCS campuses are non-residential.
Dr. McCall said KCTCS students are different from traditional campus students in that they all commute on a daily basis. One reason students attend a community college is to earn a credential and a sustainable living wage. They may be interested in increasing their knowledge and skills for new job opportunities or to upgrade their job training skills. Students also may want to transfer to a four-year institution to obtain a baccalaureate degree.
Dr. McCall said KCTCS offers associate degrees, certificates, diplomas, and workforce education training. KCTCS is the largest provider of workforce training in the Commonwealth.
Dr. McCall said the KCTCS Student Life programs and services foster student learning and development, prepare students for their chosen professions, and help students become contributing members of a diverse and global society. She noted the student life services compliment the collegesí academic programs and enhance the educational experiences of students through curricula and co-curricula initiatives that are both purposeful and holistic in nature.
Dr. McCall said KCTCS offers students membership in various clubs and organizations. KCTCS offers students new student orientation; tutorial services; supplemental instruction to help them be effective and remain in college; and seminars, events, and volunteer opportunities for community and civic activities. She noted KCTCS has strong partnerships with the four-year institutions in Kentucky for students who wish to transfer and earn a four-year degree.
Dr. McCall said a new and comprehensive Student Services Center was opened in July 2012 to provide a seamless, integrated 24 hour a day, 365 days a year, student call center for all KCTCS students. She said this new delivery system provides up-to-date financial aid information with a self-help portal and gives students knowledge on how to matriculate successfully in college. The system provides outbound servicing of communicating with students including email, text, chat rooms, phone calls, and social media outlets to keep students informed. Over 23,000 calls have been made by students inquiring about registration and other student issues.
Dr. McCall said many challenges face adult learners. Employment schedule issues, lack of employment, financial issues, family demands, and personal issues impact the adult learnerís ability to advance their education and obtain a degree. Time management and balancing work, family, and school is difficult. These issues are compounded when students have to take remedial courses because they are underprepared for college courses.
Dr. McCall said a challenge facing KCTCS students is limited engagement as students commute and do not live on campus. Many students are employed or seeking employment, have limited resources, and can be underprepared for college.
KCTCS Student Life staff members are well-trained individuals that help students transition into colleges across the Commonwealth. Students are assisted in preparing for lifelong learning and becoming contributing members of society. The National College Survey of Student Engagement showed KCTCS exceeded the national average in many categories, but student and faculty interaction was the highest grade given by students. She said students form long lasting relationships with faculty that last long after they leave the classroom.
With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 11:35 a.m.