TheJuly 10, 2003 meeting of the Program Review and Investigations Committee was held at 10:00 AM, in Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Charlie Hoffman, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Representative Charlie Hoffman, Co-Chair; Senators Charlie Borders, Brett Guthrie, Ernie Harris, Paul Herron Jr., Vernie McGaha, and Dan Seum; Representatives Adrian Arnold, Sheldon Baugh, Dwight Butler, Jack Coleman, Tanya Pullin, and Dottie Sims.
Guests: Dr. Thomas Layzell, President, Council on Postsecondary Education and Dr. William H. Turner, Interim President, Kentucky State University.
LRC Staff: Greg Hager, Committee Staff Administrator, Lowell Atchley, Lynn Aubrey, Kara Daniel, Tom Hewlett, Joseph Hood, Margaret Hurst, Erin McNees, Cindy Upton, Rebecca Brickey, Intern, and Susan Spoonamore, Committee Assistant.
Minutes of the June 12, 2003 meeting was approved without objection by voice vote upon motion made by Rep. Baugh and seconded by Rep. Arnold.
Tom Hewlett and Cindy Upton, Program Review staff, presented the staff report entitled Postsecondary Education in Kentucky: Systemwide Improvement but Accountability Is Insufficient. Mr. Hewlett and Ms. Upton stated that the Committee had requested an examination of the governance of Kentucky’s system of postsecondary education, with particular attention to Kentucky State University. They explained that in 1997, legislation enacted to reform the state’s system of postsecondary education created the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE). CPE’s responsibilities include acting as an advocate for education, and providing accountability for performance of each institution and the system as a whole. They stated that CPE had not fulfilled its responsibility to provide essential accountability information to the legislature and to the citizens of Kentucky.
Mr. Hewlett stated that Kentucky State University and CPE should work together to resolve funding issues. He said that CPE should provide accountability and performance information so that the legislators and the KSU Board of Regents could continue to meet their responsibility of improving the operations and performance of Kentucky State University (a copy of the report and recommendations can be found in its entirety in the LRC Library).
Rep. Sims asked how Kentucky’s universities compared to other universities in other states. Ms. Upton stated that most national research studies did not compare individual universities. She also stated that since CPE did not use that type of information, the study did not include that information either.
Rep. Sims asked how the public universities in Kentucky compared with the private universities in Kentucky. She also asked if graduates of private universities did better after graduation. Mr. Hewlett stated that it was difficult to compare the private universities to the public universities because of their different missions. He also stated that private colleges, on average, attracted better students than the public institutions, which have more of an open-door policy for admission of students.
Rep. Sims asked who would be responsible for verifying the information collected from the institutions if CPE was not doing it. Ms. Upton stated that it was the sole responsibility of CPE to verify the information.
Rep. Butler asked if the problems that were identified in 1997 had been addressed by CPE or the universities. Mr. Hewlett stated that in 1997 the institutions were in competition with each other in trying to get as many dollars as they could. He said that the institutions were doing a better job at developing cooperative programs and working together.
Sen. Seum asked if the universities considered CPE as a paper tiger only. Mr. Hewlett stated that the governing boards of each institution were autonomous in setting the directions for the institutions. He said that CPE had limited statutory authority to intervene in the day-to-day operation of a campus, but CPE had a lot of power by providing information to the legislature.
Sen. Seum asked if the universities were at the mercy of CPE, or if the institutions told CPE what they wanted to hear. He also asked if CPE knew what was happening within the institutions. Mr. Hewlett stated that CPE received a lot of information from the institutions, but that CPE also tried to look at other information that was provided. He said that staff was concerned about the validity of information received because CPE did not send independent review teams or auditors to the institutions to see if the information was accurate.
Sen. Seum asked if there had been any improvements in the system since the implementation of House Bill 1 in 1997, and if the six goals specified by House Bill 1 could be achieved by 2020. Mr. Hewlett stated that the system had seen improvements in enrollment growth, cooperation between the institutions, increased graduation rates, and in adult education. He stated that it would be hard to predict if the goals could be achieved by 2020. He said that Program Review staff was concerned about whether the rate of growth would continue because of affordability issues.
Rep. Baugh asked if it was alarming that only 27,000 students graduated out of 193,000 students enrolled. He asked why the number of graduates was not the same as the number of students enrolled over the course of 6 years. Mr. Hewlett stated that it could take a student 5 or 6 years to get through the whole system and several of those students were part-time. He said it would be hard to look at total enrollment and then look at the degrees or awards conferred. He also stated that the graduation rates had been improving, but there were many other factors that would have to be taken into consideration.
Rep. Baugh asked if the number of research institutions and comprehensive universities were sufficient for the population of Kentucky, or were there too many institutions for the population of the state. Mr. Hewlett stated that some institutions were feeling the effects of enrollment growth, and some had been discussing the implementation of enrollment caps for the near future.
Sen. McGaha asked if Kentucky was ranked 19th nationally for postsecondary education. Mr. Hewlett stated that according to one measure, yes.
Sen. McGaha stated that the increase in degrees and awards appeared to be a direct result of Kentucky’s Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) efforts in recruiting and addressing the needs of the labor force. He said that the lack of growth for baccalaureate and advanced degrees was disappointing, especially in light of the fact that the General Assembly had invested a lot of money in the system. He also expressed concern about the accuracy of the information being submitted to CPE by the institutions, but he was even more concerned about trust funds being transferred to base funding. Sen. McGaha asked if the private institutions had made any headway in offering courses for students in other areas of the region. Mr. Hewlett stated that statewide there still was not the collaboration hoped for between private institutions and public institutions, one exception being Northern Kentucky University and Thomas More College.
Rep. Sims asked if guidance counselors provided students with accurate course information so they could continue their course of education. Mr. Hewlett stated that the report contained a recommendation asking that CPE look into transferability issues so counselors would be better able to advise students.
Sen. Harris asked if the number of universities granting specialty degrees could be condensed into two or three universities instead of all seven universities offering the same degree. He also asked if any universities were offering any questionable degrees. Mr. Hewlett stated that the statewide engineering program was an excellent example of the universities working together. He stated that CPE did look at non-productive programs and non-productive courses and had been working with the institutions to minimize the non-productive courses.
Sen. Harris asked if the universities had eliminated any programs. Mr. Hewlett stated that a number of programs have been eliminated all across the state.
Sen. Borders asked if staff was able to determine why the legislation of 1997 gave the president for Council on Postsecondary Education a higher salary than the university presidents. Mr. Hewlett stated that it appeared that the intent was to give the president of CPE equal or greater status than the institutional presidents.
Sen. Borders agreed and encouraged the president of CPE to use his status and influence to continue to push the objectives of postsecondary education reform.
Chairman Hoffman introduced Dr. Thomas Layzell, President, Council on Postsecondary Education.
Dr. Layzell stated that the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) agreed with staff’s recommendations, and CPE had already begun preparing outlines in order to implement the recommendations. He stated that CPE would provide additional institutional information to legislators in a format that would be more easily understood and accessible. In response to transferability, he said that CPE was initiating a complete review of transferability, and at the September meeting of SCOPE, CPE would make a presentation on transferability. He also stated that as a direct result of CPE’s productivity reviews, approximately 160 programs had been eliminated and significant revisions had been made to approximately 250 more programs. He said that in order to meet the goals of House Bill 1 by 2020, CPE would need to review the goals periodically and remain focused on the systemwide goals for increasing education levels and improving the quality of life for Kentuckians (a copy of CPE’s response can be found in its entirety in the LRC library file).
Rep. Hoffman asked CPE to work on having more communication with legislators. Dr. Layzell stated that he agreed.
Chairman Hoffman asked how CPE would tighten the requirements for endowment match requests. Dr. Layzell stated that CPE was in the process of reviewing the guidelines for the endowment match requests, and would make adjustments if necessary.
Chairman Hoffman asked if the contract between Kentucky State University and Aramark was within the guidelines. Dr. Layzell stated that since he was not a part of CPE at the time of that contract, he did not have any personal knowledge of the contract.
Sen. Seum asked if House Bill 1 had given the Council all the tools it needed to reach the goals by the year 2020. Dr. Layzell stated that as long as CPE had the continued support and cooperation from all the presidents of the institutions, then the goals could be met.
Sen. McGaha asked if Dr. Layzell had been with CPE long enough to participate in negotiating goals, and had he ever negotiated a graduation goal of 43% downward. Dr. Layzell said that he had not been with CPE long enough to negotiate goals, and no, he would not negotiate a graduation goal downward.
Sen. McGaha asked if CPE had any data suggesting that goals had been negotiated downward. Dr. Layzell stated that he no data to that effect.
Chairman Hoffman introduced Dr. William H. Turner, Interim President of Kentucky State University.
Dr. Turner, a former dean at Kentucky State University told the Committee that he accepted the one-year position as Interim President to help get KSU back on track. He said it was his desire to rebuild trust, re-establish accountability, be responsible with the state’s resources and to have plainspoken integrity. He stated that it was his hope as Interim President that Kentucky State University could go back to being a university of excellence (a copy of Dr. Turner’s presentation can be found in the LRC Library).
Chairman Hoffman commended Dr. Layzell and Dr. Turner for bringing vision and insight to their respective positions.
Sen. Borders stated that the legislators were willing to work with CPE and Kentucky State University, and looked forward to seeing good things happen.
Dr. Turner stated that he realized that the legislators were concerned about graduation rates, retention rates, and the scores on the nursing and teaching tests. He said that the faculty was working very hard to improve the rates and the scores.
Sen. Seum asked when Kentucky State University would hire a full-time president. Dr. Turner stated that the process was underway and that a president would be appointed around December. He said that he had applied for the position.
Sen. Seum stated that he wanted to see the students at KSU receive the very best education that they could. Dr. Turner said he was confident in the people he was working with, and he felt a renewed sense of faith in Kentucky State University.
Rep. Coleman asked how Dr. Turner felt about the increased accountability and reporting to CPE. Dr. Turner stated that accountability and reporting to CPE would not be a problem. He said that KSU and CPE had a good working relationship.
Dr. Layzell stated that the efforts underway at KSU under the leadership of Dr. Turner and the board members made it easier to address the issues and recommendations. He said that CPE wants every institution to be the best that it can be.
Rep. Coleman stated that it was good to see Dr. Turner and Dr Layzell at the meeting together.
The Postsecondary Education in Kentucky: Systemwide Improvement but Accountability Is Insufficient report and recommendations were adopted by roll call vote, upon motion made by Sen. Herron and seconded by Sen. McGaha.
Chairman Hoffman moved the discussion of the study topics to the August meeting.
Chairman Hoffman announced that the August meeting date had been moved to Friday, August 22, 2003 at 10:00 a.m. so members could attend the Southern Legislative Conference.
Meeting was adjourned at 12:40 p.m.