EKU Board of Regents announce new provost and employee bonus

The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents met virtually on Thursday, Dec. 10. 

Eastern Kentucky University President David McFaddin announced the retirement of Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Jerry Pogatshnik during the quarterly Board of Regents meeting on Dec. 10.

Pogatshnik’s retirement is effective June 30, 2021. McFaddin appointed Sara Zeigler, dean of the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences, as the next provost effective July 1, 2021.

“After serving nearly 33 years in higher education in various capacities, I’ve come to the point that I want to spend more time on family and other things,” Pogatshnik said. “I am so incredibly grateful to the many exceptional faculty and staff that I have had the privilege to work with during my time at EKU, and there will be other opportunities for me to express my appreciation to them. I owe so much to so many of you.”

Zeigler served as director of women’s studies, chair of the department of government, and dean of university programs before becoming the founding dean of the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences in 2016. She also served as the University’s Title IX coordinator from 2013 to 2015.

“While it is hard to leave CLASS, which houses programs and faculty that I admire and respect, I look forward to investing in and advocating for EKU’s dedicated and capable faculty in this new role. CLASS will always be my home, as a faculty member and as a political scientist,” Zeigler said in an email to faculty. 

Both Zeigler and Pogatshnik said they were eager to work together in the coming months to ensure a smooth transition.

McFaddin announced that all full-time employees, employed since Sept. 30, 2020, will each receive a $1,000 bonus. McFaddin said he and the president's council will be the only full-time employees to not receive the bonus.

“I think this is one of the most important investments we have made to this university in the last several years,” McFaddin said. 

McFaddin said that this bonus is a way to thank all university employees for their hard work and dedication during the Fall 2020 semester.

“From the dynamic and swift shift to a virtual instruction delivery model in the spring, to the incredible work that everyone has done in order for us to have a successful on-campus Fall 2020 semester, you’ve earned this recognition of a job well done. We not only have had a successful semester, but we have thoughtfully and diligently worked toward cost savings this year as a University that allows this payment to be possible,” McFaddin said.

McFaddin said that the university is working to make this investment possible every year.

According to Board of Regents documents, there are 1,613 full-time employees that will receive the $1,000 bonus, equalling a $1,613,000 investment. The employee appreciation bonus will be administered concurrent with employees’ next pay period on Dec. 15.

“I just want to say thank you Mr. President and to the finance team for finding a way to reward employees. It has been such a hard year, people have been through so much,” said EKU Board of Regents chair Lewis Diaz.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the EKU COVID-19 task force continues to work on a plan for the spring semester.

Bryan Makinen, executive director of Public Safety, said that Student Health Services administered 288 COVID-19 tests on campus. He also stated that the contact tracing team has processed 1,672 reports from Aug. 25 to Dec. 9.

Makinen said that 105,000 disposable face coverings and 15,582 cloth face coverings were distributed. There were more than 104 quarantine and isolation housing rooms, and about 9,000 meals were delivered to those students in quarantine and isolation.

Zeigler added that the Spring 2021 semester will go on as planned, with hopes for an in-person graduation in May and a return to normality by Fall 2021.

Vice president of student success Tanlee Wasson announced that freshman retention rates went up to 74.3 percent, an increase of 5 percent, and freshman cohort rates jumped 4 percentage points to 79.5 percent. Both were all-time highs for the university.

Overall enrollment for the Fall 2020 semester was down slightly at 13,696 students. E-Campus and the graduate school saw an increase of 6.7 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively, while there was a 1 percent decrease in new undergraduate students.

In an effort to reach more adult students, Wasson announced the addition of corporate partnerships as a way to attract more students. 

Wasson stated that the first corporate partnership has been formed with Radial Inc., which will provide educational opportunities to their 6,700 full-time employees.

Radial Inc. is a global, integrated e-commerce logistics and omnichannel technology firm with five locations in Kentucky.

Radial CEO Ilias Simpson joined the Board of Regents meeting to express his excitement about the upcoming partnership with EKU.

“We are very excited to partner with your great university,” Simpson said. “Education is a big deal for us at Radial. In terms of corporate social responsibility, it is our focus. We believe very much in developing talent from within our organization. We look forward to a long and thriving partnership.”

Wasson said the goal is to have 12 partnership agreements by the end of the year.  

The Board unanimously approved the following:

  • The Board approved a resolution to formally thank and recognize former SGA President and Student Regent Madison Lipscomb for her service and dedication to the Board of Regents. Lipscomb served on the Board of Regents from July 2019 to September 2020.

  • Model Laboratory School Superintendent John Williamson recommended to the board a 0 percent tuition increase for the 2021-22 school year.

  • The Regents also approved new academic programs. The new programs include a Bachelor of Science in Global Hospitality, a University Certificate in Gastronomic Tourism and a Certificate in Sustainable Hospitality.

    • The Global Hospitality and Tourism major provides an applied educational experience that will prepare the student for a career in the evolving field of hospitality and tourism. The Gastronomic Tourism Certificate includes specialized course content for learners to develop leaders that support local culinary exploration and sustainable development. The Sustainable Hospitality Certificate includes specialized course content in sustainable practices and inclusivity.

  • A master’s degree in Instructional Design and Learning Technology was also approved by the Board of Regents.

    • The master’s degree will prepare students to efficiently enter the profession as those who employ systematic, evidence-based approaches to designing and developing instructional products and experiences across multiple diverse environments.

  • The Board of Regents formally confirmed and conferred the degrees for the candidates who have completed degree requirements for Fall 2020.

  • President McFaddin received a new contract offer from the Board.

The board announced the 2021 meeting schedule. The board will meet on March 4, June 17, Sept. 23, and Dec. 9.

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