Regents discuss performance based funding, enrollment

Staff Report

The Board of Regents held its quarterly meeting Friday to address topics such as strategic planning, performance based  funding, major projects, enrollment and retention and audit reports.

Jacklyn Dudley, vice president, said the fall semester was budgeted at $56 million, but the university only generated $52.6 million because of the lack of projected enrollment increase.

President Bob Davies said for fiscal year 2018, House Bill 303 requires 5 percent of state appropriation to be determined through a performance-based approach.

Performance-based funding considers several factors relative to other universities, including student success (outcomes, number of bachelor’s degree, student progression), credit hour production and campus operational funding for teaching facilities, all of which are on a three-year rolling average.

“When we think about performance funding, it comes down to recruiting good students who are highly ready and highly capable to take on the academic rigors of Murray State University… and the ability to retain those students and have them move towards their degree,” Davies said. “If we do those basic functions as well as we can, we will find under this model, we are able to compete as we move forward.”

Based on where the university is now, Davies said he sees strengths in degree production, the STEM-H (science, technology, engineering, math and health) field, student progression through their programs, retention rates, graduation rates and admission standards.

He said challenges exist in the areas of recruiting underrepresented student populations and low-income students and lessening the discrepancy between the number of students in each class standing.

“It’s about recruiting, retaining and graduating,” Davies said.

Renee Fister, senior presidential adviser for Strategic Initiatives, said the initiatives in the strategic plan for the university are meant to coincide with the performance-based funding considerations.

Fister discussed the importance of recruiting, retaining and graduating goals along with service learning opportunities to enrich students’ experience through Murray State.

She said sixty-three strategic plan initiatives are in the works, which all stress the importance of the goals above.

The university will likely be at a 4.5 percent decrease in overall enrollment for Fall 2016 once the final numbers come in. New admission requirements have contributed to lower admission rates. Last year, 89 students were denied admission compared to about 500 denied this year.

Additionally, tuition prices have levelled across Kentucky universities, making Murray State less attractive in terms of low cost for attendance.

Peak enrollment for the university was in Fall 2014 at about 11,400 students. Davies charged the recruitment team with “aggressive” recruiting for Fall 2017.

The Compass test for non-traditional students will be replaced, likely in April, with a new AccuPlacer test that has been adopted by other universities across the state. This test provides both placement and diagnostic tools for students.

Other points included:

  • Public Safety and Emergency Management will be changing its name to Murray State Police Department per request of students’ parents and by a recommendation from the dean of Emergency Management.
  • The search for a new dean for the College of Humanities and Fine Arts is still ongoing. There are three candidates remaining.
  • Evan Ditty resigned as he took a position at Penn State.  Brooke Hubbard, graduate assistant, is temporarily filling the position until a new Greek life coordinator is named.
  • The Honorary Doctorate Committee recommended John Williams from Paducah, Kentucky, and he will be receiving an honorary doctorate degree for his commitment to education and for his effort to solidify Murray State’s presence in Paducah.