Administrators discuss University issues over coffee

Samantha Villanueva
Staff writer

Waterfield Library was host to two meetings this past Tuesday and Friday, led by Provost Bonnie Higginson, and Bob Jackson, head of the office of development, which helped bridged communication between faculty and various members of the school’s administration.

Higginson’s meeting dealt with the educational factors students face on a daily basis while Jackson’s discussed the scholarships and the various contributions Murray State alumni made to the University.

In Higginson’s meeting, she addressed various members of the faculty by asking what topics they felt needed to be discussed.

“What we are here to do is talk and hopefully solve the issues that students come across on a daily basis,” she said. “ So whatever topic you all feel is right, say it now.”

The list of topics discussed varied from transcripts changes and self-paced classes to the President’s State of the University speech. Many of the staff present offered an opposing view on all topics, providing for a very in-depth discussion.

“New students are saying that they need to stay and feel free to stay for an entire 90-minute class period whereas a higher level student may only need to stay for half of that,” she said. “There are still many flaws with this, though. If this plan were to go through, summer courses would have to be given a large amount more of attention”

She also said the connection Murray State has to the community is expected to increase over time.

“The University is participating in a wide range of programs to assist the surrounding schools in improving their education,” she said. “We have a new math initiative that is about to launch and of course, we have programs like the Murray Reads program in place. Many of the public schools also have a music initiative.”

Another topic discussed at these meetings was whether or not to change the first day of classes. The current policy holds that all classes shall start on a Tuesday but some faculty members argued starting classes on Monday is better.

“The first day of classes really depends on how our calendar will look for that year, and for many years past, starting on a Tuesday has made the most efficient,” Higginson said in response to this. “Of course when the Tuesday we chose to begin on is a holiday, we might have to re-think our option, but as for now, the easiest choice is to keep the first day back as it currently is.”

The importance of these meetings is to certainly bridge the gap between faculty and some members of the administration, but Laura Dzienkonski, the administrative assistant for the University’s libraries, said these meetings also offered answers to many questions that faculty and staff may have.

“It is a nice way for faculty to meet with the provost and the head of the development office to have a nice conversation about issues Murray State,” she said. “The information they received those two sessions can certainly be expected to assist the University in the long run for it is from the right source. More meeting such as these can be expected to happen in the future.”

Jackson, who looks over a number of Murray State’s building additions, discussed both the future additions to the University’s buildings and the scholarships offered.

“I know I speak for quite a number of people in my department when I say we are glad to have the tremendous support of our great alumni,” he said. “So far, we have raised 50 million or so in donations and contributions from past alumni and private donors.”

Half of the donations went to creating new scholarship opportunities for Murray State students. Next year, it is predicted the amount of financial help students will have available will range from 1.5 million to 1.7 million. The best way Jackson advises to get a hold of this assistance is apply online at

“We understand many of our families and students would be grateful for the assistance and because of that, we want to make sure we do everything in our power to help them have a great experience while at the University,” he said.

Many of the donors who have given back to Murray State have given to the University numerous times. Jesse D. Jones, the main donator for the Racer Oral Communication Center and the Jesse L. Jones Family Clock tower, was the first to give a large contribution and set the tone for the rest. Jones continues to give a half million donation to the college of science and technology.

The other half of the donations went to contributing to Murray State’s plans for new buildings, such as the anticipated science complex and the new library.

Said Jackson :“The science complex was proposed in 1988 and so far we have about 4.5 million raise to assist with that. We still have about 3.5 million to go but with new campaigns that should not interfere. As for the new library, which like the science complex, has been in talk to be built for a number of years now.”

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