Mini Benny and the curious council

To meet the rest of the President's Council, check out this week's print issue of the Eastern Progress. 

The EKU administration was restructured on Feb. 6 in order to include athletics reporting to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Campus Life.

“This is an attempt to make our operation more streamlined and even more efficient and do more with fewer resources,” said President Michael Benson. The new structure is based on a similar system instituted at Vanderbilt University. That system allowed athletics to be integrated into the overall student experience, Benson said.

The new structure will not allocate any new funds to athletics, said Skip Daugherty, vice president of Student Affairs and Campus Life.

By placing athletics under student affairs, the university wants to “send a very clear signal to campus that academics is the number one priority of the university,” Benson said.

“It [the restructure] helps students in the following ways: 1. It reestablishes the preeminence of academics on our campus. We are first and foremost an academic institution, so Jerry and his role of provost and executive vice president it should be a very clear and glaring message that we take academics seriously and everything else is secondary to that. 2. The student life component, the student success component, is here to support academics. It really boils down to two areas: so the things that happen outside the classroom - student affairs and campus life. And all the things we do to get students here and be help them be successful,” said Benson.

The reorganization of the administration included the following changes:

  • The Senior Vice President for Academics and Provost is Jerry Pogatshnik. He will serve as the interim provost at the, ‘“president’s pleasure,”Pogatshnik said. He has served in this role since Jan. 1. Pogatshnik is the chief academic officer at the university and his mission is to, “Make sure academic affairs touches on all the parts of the university in a meaningful way,” he said. “All of us are committed to making sure that our students have the best learning experience here as possible.”

  • Barry Poynter will retain his role as vice president for Finance and Administration. The University Club at Arlington will report to Poynter. The Center for the Arts executive director, Skip Daugherty, will report to Poynter concerning the budget of the Center for the  Arts only. All other information concerning the operation of the Center for the Arts will be reported to Student Affairs.

  • The position for vice president for Development and Alumni Relations remains vacant, but will possibly be filled by May, Benson said.

  • Student Affairs and Campus Life is headed by vice president Skip Daugherty. The department will now include athletics. This is an attempt to integrate athletics into the overall student life, Benson said. Steven Lochmueller, the athletic director, will now report to Daugherty and will no longer serve on the President’s Council.  “He [Lochmueller] had a lot of other duties that were not germane to the conversations that we were having,”

  • said Benson concerning Lochmueller’s removal from the council. Lochmueller could better serve the students by focusing his attention to the areas that were more specific to him.

  • Eugene Palka will serve as the vice president for Student Success and Enrollment Management. This department is a derivative of the former student success department. Duties concerning the retention and enrollment were allocated to Palka. Former duties including student affairs were placed under Daugherty. The department was split in order to better support incoming and coming students.

  • Senior Vice President for University Operations and Strategic Initiatives David McFaddin will work to integrate athletics into the student life experience. “I think we are going to see more synergy, we are going to see more collaboration and greater efficiency in operating in this way,” McFaddin said.

  • University Counsel Dana Fohl will retain her position and was not allocated any new duties according to the organizational charts.

Pogatshnik, Poynter, McFaddin, Fohl, Daugherty, Palka and the incoming vice president for Development and Alumni Relations will all serve on the President’s Council.

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