As the fall semester begins at WKU, President Gary Ransdell encouraged faculty and staff members “to create a campus environment where students can develop their talents and achieve their full potential.”
“Working together, we can achieve our vision and strengthen the degrees that we award and that our students earn,” Dr. Ransdell said at the annual opening convocation Friday morning at Van Meter Hall. “You are the key. We are all in higher education because we value the opportunity to teach, to study, to mentor, to inspire and to enrich the lives of others.”
The incoming class includes “high-achieving students from across our Commonwealth, our nation and the globe,” Dr. Ransdell said. “They have the highest average ACT of any previous WKU class; they are culturally diverse; they are better prepared for college than students that preceded them; and they are receiving more scholarships than in past years – we are investing in them — including a record number of minority scholarships awarded.”
To help students reach their goals, WKU must nurture the job skills of education, culture, communication and leadership but also personal skills of confidence, drive, energy and self-esteem, Dr. Ransdell said.
“These personal traits in our graduates do not just happen by chance,” he said. “So let’s nurture those things that make WKU – and our students – distinctive in the marketplace. When combined with a strong grounding in one’s discipline, they are what can set our graduates apart in the workplace and, not only help make them employable, but successful once they have entered the workplace.”
Dr. Ransdell also discussed challenges in the upcoming year (including state budget/financial issues and enrollment/retention strategies) and highlights of the past year (construction projects at Augenstein Alumni Center, Dero Downing Student Union, The Medical Center/WKU Health Sciences Complex and residence hall/apartments on Kentucky Street; national recognition for faculty and staff and for students in the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky, the WKU Honors College and other WKU academic programs; growth in international enrollment and in students participating in study abroad activities; hiring of 45 new faculty members).
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