The Eastern Kentucky Board of Regents today approved several components of an enrollment plan titled “The EKU Advantage,” including freezing tuition, dining and housing rates at the same rates that students paid in Fall 2019, increasing available scholarship monies for need-based students, waiving application fees and several other requirements to ensure the university is keeping higher education student-focused and within the reach of prospective and returning students. The virtual meeting, held via Zoom and YouTube, was a first for the University.
“As the school of opportunity, the EKU Advantage is in direct alignment with our mission as an institution. We are here to power Kentucky communities with our graduates, and we must do everything possible to ensure an education from EKU is attainable, affordable and available, even during a global pandemic,” said EKU Interim President Dr. David McFaddin.
More than $1 million in additional scholarship dollars have been added to the pool, which for the first time includes e-campus learners.
Information on the EKU Advantage can be found athttps://advantage.eku.edu/.
McFaddin, hired on an interim basis by the board of regents in Dec. 2019 to replace outgoing president Dr. Michael T. Benson, received a contract that runs to June 30, 2021 to remain as interim president.
“Dr. McFaddin has worked incredibly hard in his first six months on the job ensuring the future of EKU during one of the most difficult periods in the institution’s history,” said Board of Regents Chairman Lewis Diaz. “The board and I recognize that strong leadership and stability are vital as we adjust to a new way of life and Dr. McFaddin provides both. As we make plans for an uncertain future, we want a strong leader in the president’s office that will be able to see those plans through.”
A search firm was hired in February to perform the search for the 13thpresident of EKU, but search activities were suspended by Diaz in March due to the pandemic.
McFaddin introduced Eastern’s newest vice president, Dr. Dannie Moore, who will become the University’s first Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer.
Moore, who previously worked at Northern Kentucky University, will begin his job on July 15. “Dr. Moore brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as both an established diversity and inclusion practitioner and student affairs administrator,” McFaddin said. “His leadership and vision for EKU will challenge us to approach inclusive excellence as a strategic and collaborative goal for every area of our University.”
“Dr. Moore will lead our work to immediately implement a variety of educational, training and programmatic initiatives to increase cultural competencies and raise awareness of implicit bias,” McFaddin said. “As we create the changes needed on our campus, in our communities and throughout the world, we will see clearly, think broadly, and feel deeply about this critical work. I am excited about this appointment, and Dr. Moore has my complete support.”
“What attracted me to EKU was the team that was in place and the work that they were already doing, and knowing that the University is focused on diversity so much that it created this role,” Moore said. “I think it’s important that we look for new ways to attract minority faculty to the university. I said in my interview that the president is really the chief diversity officer. My job is to help the president understand where we have opportunities to make tweaks in areas of equity, diversity and inclusion to make a meaningful impact.”
The University unveiled a plan for students to return to campus in August. The “Colonels Comeback Plan” covers public health, campus preparation, housing and residence life, academics, dining, athletics and a revised academic calendar.
Like many universities across the country, EKU closed the campus in March, extended spring break for an additional week, and delivered instruction in a remote format to conclude the Spring 2020 semester. The comeback plan relies heavily on guidelines from federal and state authorities and has an altered academic calendar to reduce large gatherings of students, faculty and staff.
The first day of classes for Fall 2020 will be Aug. 17 and classes will end Nov. 25. Exams will be taken remotely the week of Nov. 30 to Dec. 3. The winter term will run from Dec. 7 to Jan. 15. Fall break will be canceled. Move-in will be extended by several days, running from August 8-16, and will be staggered by appointment, to follow social distancing protocols.
· The board approved a $340.5 million budget for the 2021 fiscal year
· Athletics Director Matt Roan updated the board on the athletics budget, NCAA cancellation of postseason championships and athletics plans for Fall 2020 sports seasons
· The board heard an audit report from the Crowe accounting firm
· Dr. Tanlee Wasson, Vice President of Student Success, gave an update on enrollment
The board is next scheduled to meet in September.