Kentucky Senate supports call for study on universities’ postbaccalaureate offerings

Republished from WEKU.

State lawmakers have been discussing the role of Kentucky’s higher education governing body tied to proposed post-graduate programs. The debate centered on the timing of establishing these new offerings.

The joint resolution calls upon the Council on Postsecondary Education to do a feasibility study on expanding postbaccalaureate offerings at comprehensive universities.

There are also bills authorizing EKU, Murray State, and Western Kentucky to pursue programs in osteopathy, veterinary medicine, and expanded research, respectively. Resolution Sponsor, GOP Senator David Givens said any upfront funding will be a topic during budget negotiations.

“And I will certainly be advocating that if we have the funds available we park some funds and/or we designate some funds pending the results of this CPE study,” said Givens.

A number of Senators expressed frustration, asking “why wait another year before these schools could move further with their doctorate degree plans?”

Leitchfield GOP Senator Stephen Meredith voted “no,” saying, in his medical career, the approach was “see a problem, fix a problem.” He said in Frankfort it can be “study it, then kill it.”

“But there are needs in this state that we can’t continue to kick down the road year after year after year. And it starts with a vision and I commend these universities for having a vision. I commend them for doing their due diligence. I think these programs will be successful,” said Meredith.

Givens meanwhile, said the CPE study affects the pace of establishing new programs in a positive way. He noted it sends a message to universities, tax payer-funded institutions, to simply “measure twice before we cut.” Givens added it can strengthen the offerings.

During the floor debate, Benton GOP Senator Danny Carroll asked, quote, “Why are we putting a roadblock up, we know these are quality institutions, putting out quality students.”

Hazard GOP Senator Brandon Smith said Kentucky is known as the horse capital of the world. He went on to said, quote, “if you don’t think that it’s ludicrous that we don’t have a veterinarian school in this state and that anybody thinks that by casting this vote we need to have a study to tell us we need that.”

In casting aye votes, Berea GOP Senator Jared Carpenter said EKU knows its business plan has to change to thrive. Northern Kentucky GOP Senator Chris McDaniel argued that if lawmakers set the academic offerings of schools the state will become dis-coordinated.

He said he fears those academic programs would become bargaining chips in Frankfort. And Lexington Democratic Senator Reggie Thomas said the study goes hand in hand with Senate Bill one which seeks to study research expansion across the state. Thomas added this session will advance higher education to the next level.

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Originally published by WEKU.

Republished with permission.