Kentucky: Council on Postsecondary Education


Goal: Kentucky will be stronger by creating new ways of serving more postsecondary students at a high quality in a challenging resource environment.

Policy Objective 8: Increase academic productivity through program innovations.

Strategy 8.1. Increase productivity and maximize success for both traditional and nontraditional students through course redesign and alternative methods of program delivery.

  • The Kentucky Virtual Campus (KYVC) has reallocated and targeted funding for faculty and staff professional development to support course redesign and other program innovations of the National Center for Academic Transformation.

  • The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), with initial funding from the Kentucky Virtual Campus, has implemented Learn on Demand, an alternative teaching and learning model designed for working adults. The Learn on Demand model includes competency-based modules delivered totally online. Students can enroll at any time, earn credit for prior knowledge, learn at their own pace, access online student services at any time, and pay tuition only for those learning modules needed, rather than for full courses. Instructors are paid by the number of students taught and how those students perform and revenues are shared among all participating institutions. Four degree programs and developmental education courses currently are offered.

  • The Council, in partnership with KCTCS and supported by other educational organizations, has been awarded $1 million in funding as a part of Complete College America's Innovation Challenge. Funds will be used to support virtual advising services for students enrolled in KCTCS's Learn on Demand programs.


Strategy 8.2. Build upon the success of Kentucky’s Virtual Campus and Virtual Library to maximize the use of technology in implementing academic innovations.

  • The Council's state‐level capital request includes funding to revitalize and enhance the state's virtual library, which serves all public and private colleges and universities in the Commonwealth and many school districts and public libraries. The Kentucky Virtual Library (KYVL) saves millions of dollars each year by leveraging the purchasing power of multiple providers. Additional funds also are being requested to upgrade and expand the Kentucky Postsecondary Education Network (KPEN).

  • The Kentucky Virtual Campus manages a statewide contract for the software used by all institutions for online courses. This provides a high quality, consistent virtual classroom experience for students and instructors while saving over $5 million annually for Kentucky campuses.

  • Kentucky Virtual Library provides electronic materials to 400 member libraries at one tenth the cost of individual purchases. KYVL manages the contracts for software and hosting used by libraries for their local operations. KYVL manages the delivery service for statewide interlibrary loan items.

  • The Council staff has facilitated several state‐level discussions regarding college textbooks to determine strategies to lower costs for students. Representatives from public universities and KCTCS, textbook publishers, and others have participated in these conversations. The Learning Depot and nine publishers presented at a November 4, 2011, KCTCS hosted program “Today Textbook - Tomorrow's Digital Future Quality & Costs: An Aim toward Affordable Education.” The focus was on strategies to lower the costs of content for students while raising the quality and ease of use for content selected by faculty.

  • The Learning Depot, managed by the Council, provides a forum and digital repository for the contribution and reuse of high quality electronic class materials.

  • KYVC4K12 provides online courses for middle and high school students for extended and supplemental use.

  • The Kentucky Regional Optical Network (KyRON), a consortial operation of the Council, UK, and UofL, connects the P-20 education community to the national and international research and education community through Internet2. KyRON enables UK and UofL to qualify for major federal research grants and help them reach HB 1 goals to become nationally recognized research institutions. KyRON has issued a Request for Proposals to acquire fiber optic connections to the public four year institutions. A successful award will provide the increased bandwidth to stay ahead of the continuing growth in demand and enable cost savings applications like Cloud Computing. KyRON plans to extend its offerings beyond postsecondary education to other community anchor institutions like schools, libraries, museums, healthcare, public safety, and local governments.


Strategy 8.3. Redesign approval and review processes for new and existing academic programs to ensure alignment with state needs.

  • The Council has developed a new Academic Program Review and Approval Process and is developing a computer system to automate its operation. The Kentucky Postsecondary Program Proposal System (KPPPS) allows Kentucky public postsecondary institutions to communicate and solicit review of new proposed academic programs with other Kentucky public postsecondary institutions. The system provides ease of use through an automated notification and workflow process which is managed by Council administrators. It offers transparency of the process to all public postsecondary institutions.


Additional Examples of Efficiencies and Innovations from Previous Reports

The Council’s focus on Efficiency and Innovation is designed to encourage new approaches and the intelligent application of technology in all the Strategic Agenda focus areas (College Readiness; Student Success; and Research, Economic, and Community Development).

  • In recognition of the current economy and high unemployment rates, Kentucky Adult Education (KYAE) offered free GED testing through June 30, 2011, and waived the usual $55 test fee.

  • In the 2010-11 Program Director Institutes, KYAE has promoted innovative uses of technology and its ongoing partnership with KET in an effort to appeal to younger, more tech-savvy students as well as those who have different learning styles.

  • The implementation of KYAE Common Core Standards and the alignment of curricula to the standards will lead to higher GED scores and the potential that GED graduates will transition into credit-bearing college coursework.

  • The Council has developed several online professional development modules for faculty. Introduction to Senate Bill 1 (2009) and the Kentucky Core Academic Standards describes the main components of Senate Bill 1 (2009) and explains the impact of the bill on postsecondary institutions. The Impact of Senate Bill 1 (2009) on assessment and accountability provides an introduction to assessment and accountability and includes examples of P-12 and postsecondary assessment being used in the classroom. Other online modules are in development for Mathematics, English/Language Arts, and Literacy.

  • All KCTCS colleges and the public universities have implemented a web‐based system for faculty to determine course equivalencies for transfer. Development of “KnowHow2Transfer,” a student‐centered website, also is underway. This e-portal will provide students with a unified source for information about general education and transfer equivalencies for courses at Kentucky public institutions.

  • The Council is developing a comprehensive performance monitoring system and web‐based dashboard as part of the accountability structure of the new Strategic Agenda.

  • Adults interested in returning to college to complete a bachelor's degree are getting an extra boost through Project Graduate, a statewide, campus‐based program designed to recruit and graduate former students with 90 or more credit hours. Through fall 2010, a total of 447 former students had completed a degree with the help of high‐touch services and incentives offered through the program.

  • The Commonwealth, through KHEAA, developed a program several years ago to assist working adults attending college. The Go Higher Grant program provides some assistance to adults who attend college less than half‐time. Nontraditional adult students also have access to other state and federal programs, but because many require more than part‐time enrollment, qualifying for adequate aid to meet financial need is often a barrier to college completion.

  • Following the recommendations of the Governor's Higher Education Workgroup, the Council hosted the first statewide Higher Education Cost Containment Summit in the fall of 2010. This statewide event brought together education and other professionals to discuss cost containment strategies and efforts to reduce pressure on tuition through efficiencies in both business and academic functions.

Date of update: November 10, 2011


Last Updated 11/9/2011