Governor Steve Beshear selected Kirby O’Donoghue, graduate student from Westview, Ky., in late June to serve on the Council on Postsecondary Education.
O’Donoghue, who served as the SGA president last year as a senior, said she was grateful for the opportunity and hoped to serve Kentucky on the council to the best of her abilities.
The selection process began in early May with all Kentucky state universities nominating a single student.
Those students, according to the CPE’s website, are then brought before the Kentucky Board of Student Body Presidents, which narrows the selection down to the top three.
The governor then selects a student to serve from those three choices as the student representative on the CPE.
“I’m really grateful and honored to be that student,” O’Donoghue said.
O’Donoghue served as the chair of the Kentucky Board of Student Body Presidents during the 2010-11 school year. She said it was her experience on that Board that helped her develop the relationships necessary to achieve the Board’s nomination.
According to the Council’s website, the 15-member Council was founded in 1977 to carry out the Kentucky Postsecondary Education Reform Act.
Since, acting as a liaison between the General Assembly and all state institutions, the Council members develop four-year strategic agenda plans, request state funding for universities, manage and approve tuition rates and approve all comprehensive academic programs, the website stated.
O’Donoghue said there are several issues to which she thinks she can speak directly, being the student representative.
She said she looks forward to discussing core-content education workshops called up in light of the Senate Bill 1 measures, deliberated in the state senate.
“I think it’s important for all levels of education to have those experiences,” she said. “I look forward to being updated on those.”
Along with her graduate classes, O’Donoghue is working for Lone Oak High School in Paducah, Ky.
She said her experience with students in the high school setting will be equally helpful in making decisions at the CPE level, because of the council’s involvement in all educational levels.
“The CPE may be identified as only working with postsecondary education, when much of our work is connected with K-12,” she said. “We recognize transitions between all grades.”
O’Donoghue also said she looks forward to working with other council members in fabricating school tuition rates based on different tier levels for the research and regional universities in the state.
Murray State’s tuition went up by 5 percent last year, the highest percentage rate by which the CPE authorized regional universities in its tier to increase.
University President Randy Dunn said he was pleased to hear the news of O’Donoghue’s selection because he thinks it may help increase the University’s positive representation in the more decision-making regions of the state like Frankfort, Lexington, or Louisville.
“I was especially pleased to see (O’Donoghue) named because one of the challenges we have as an institution being away from the geographic and political mainstream of the state of Kentucky is keeping our interests and needs highlighted with the CPE,” Dunn said.
O’Donoghue has been appointed to the CPE’s Committee on Equal Opportunities, and has met committee members and CPE staff with whom she will be working over the next year, she said.
The first CPE meeting is on Sept. 22 at the University of Kentucky.