Kentucky: Council on Postsecondary Education

Council on Postsecondary Education
Council sets sights on accelerating educational improvements with aggressive 2015 state performance targets

Press Release Date:  Thursday, September 22, 2011  
Contact Information:  Sue Patrick
Cell: 502-330-6596

The Council on Postsecondary Education took another major step toward increased educational improvement and greater accountability in postsecondary education by approving state-level performance targets at its meeting held earlier today in Lexington.

“There’s no doubt that we can move further faster to get more Kentuckians more highly educated,” said Council President Bob King. “Few states have developed the level of statewide accountability that we have in Kentucky. Ours is a systematic approach, with targets aligned to performance metrics, which will accelerate progress toward state goals.”

In February, the Council approved a new strategic agenda for postsecondary and adult education with performance metrics that focus on four areas vital to moving the Commonwealth forward--college readiness, student success, research, economic and community development, and efficiency and innovation. Examples of the metrics include the readiness of high school graduates, degrees and credentials conferred, educational attainment, online learning, and others.

The 13 state targets approved today represent the levels of improvement that the state needs to make on the performance metrics by 2015 to stay on track with legislated mandates called for in the Kentucky Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997 and other reform legislation such as Senate Bill 1 (2009) and House Bill 160 (2010).

Additionally, Council and campus staff met over the summer and negotiated individual campus performance targets for all public institutions. The four targets include degrees and credentials conferred, graduation rates, closing achievement gaps, and transfers from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System to four-year colleges and institutions. Regional-level targets, which measure improvement in each university’s service region, will be finalized in the near future.

Targets will also be used to inform the development of a performance funding proposal for the 2012-2014 biennial budget for postsecondary education. The Council will consider the budget recommendation at its Nov. 9-10 meeting.

A new online dashboard to present and examine the performance of Kentucky’s colleges, universities, and adult basic education system was shown to Council members. The dashboard, which provides historical and comparative information on the metrics, is publically accessible through the Council’s website. Development of the dashboard will continue over the next few months.

In other action, the Council approved a revised policy for the approval of new academic programs and a new approach for the review of existing academic programs. The policies tie the two processes together with a focus on student learning outcomes, student and employer demand, academic needs, centrality to the institution’s mission, consistency with the state’s strategic agenda, and prevention of unnecessary duplication of programs at other state institutions.

The Council, in a related action, accepted a report on advanced practice doctorates that will be submitted to the Interim Joint Committee on Education before Oct. 15. The new academic program approval policy incorporates the review process for advanced practice doctorates.

In other business, the Council:

  • Welcomed Kirby O'Donoghue as the Council’s student representative. O’Donoghue is a Murray State University graduate student and is teaching agriculture at the Lone Oak High School in Paducah. She was administered the oath of office by Judge Phillip Shepherd, the chief judge of the Franklin County Circuit Court.
  • Heard an overview of a report prepared by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems that found that Kentucky has improved faster than any state in the nation on key higher education performance metrics over the past decade. The report was released publically on Sept. 7.
  • Heard an update on research, economic and community development objectives and strategies. CPE staff presented baseline information, discussed with Council the various state initiatives, and presented opportunities and challenges.
  • Heard campus presentations from Eastern Kentucky University and Kentucky State University. The presentations included baseline data on institutional performance metrics for the new strategic plan.
  • Heard that more than 277,000 students are studying in the Commonwealth’s public and non-public colleges and universities this fall, based on a preliminary report. Total estimated headcount enrollment increased 2 percent over last year and 32 percent over the last 10 years. Final numbers for fall 2011 enrollment will be available in the spring of 2012.
  • Heard a report on 2011 AdvanceKentucky results from Joanne Lang, executive vice president, Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation. AdvanceKY is designed to expand access to, participation in, and student success in Kentucky high schools as measured by results on national Advanced Placement mathematics, science and English exams.
  • Approved 2011-15 institutional diversity plans that were developed in response to Kentucky’s new public postsecondary education diversity policy and framework, which was adopted by the Council in September 2010.
  • Approved the process for aligning the membership and focus of the Committee on Equal Opportunities with the new statewide diversity policy.
  • Approved a bachelor of arts degree in traditional music at Morehead State University and a Ph.D. in justice administration at the University of Louisville.
  • Approved the Council staff’s annual work plan, which provides a clear set of policy priorities and tasks.
  • Approved the 2012 meeting schedule as follows: Feb. 9-10, April 19-20, June 20-21, Sept. 13-14 and Nov. 15-16.
  • Approved resolutions for former Council members Ellen Call, who resigned, and student Aaron Price whose term expired.

The Council also heard reports on the 2012 budget recommendation, the Council’s agency operating budget, Committee on Equal Opportunities, and received a report from the Commissioner of Education.

The Council’s next meeting will be held Nov. 9-10 at Morehead State University.


The dashboard can be accessed at

The state targets can be accessed at

The estimated fall 2011 enrollment report can be accessed at

Meeting materials are available on the Council’s website at

We believe in the transformative power of postsecondary education. Stronger by Degrees, the new strategic agenda for Kentucky’s colleges and universities and adult basic education, is powering a stronger Kentucky economy and improving the lives of Kentuckians. To learn more about Stronger by Degrees, visit


      Last Updated 9/22/2011