Archive for Friday, July 8, 2011

Brownback announces appointments to Kansas Board of Regents

July 8, 2011, 10:49 a.m. Updated July 8, 2011, 3:37 p.m.


Fred Logan Jr.

Fred Logan Jr.

Robba Addison Moran

Robba Addison Moran

Kenny Wilk

Kenny Wilk

Do regents members receive pay?

Board members acting in an official and authorized capacity as a Board of Regents member may claim compensation ($88.66 per day), subsistence ($123 per day) and mileage reimbursement (51 cents per mile). This will include board meetings, official campus visits scheduled for the board, board chair assigned university commencements, and other meetings and events where the Board attends as a group, or where a specific member has been designated by the board or board chair to represent the Board.

Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday made three appointments to the Kansas Board of Regents and said he wants to see improvements in the higher education system.

“I think in the United States, if you’re going to walk out on the field, you better aspire to be the top at it, or it’s questionable whether you ought to walk out on that field,” Brownback said.

He said that means higher education institutions in Kansas will need to jettison programs that aren’t attracting students so that the schools can concentrate their resources in priority areas.

“We’ve got to make the best use of resources,” Brownback said, adding that he knows schools are continually analyzing programs.

In his first appointments to the regents, Brownback picked Fred Logan Jr., an attorney from Leawood and former Kansas Republican Party chairman; Robba Addison Moran, who has worked as a law associate and is the wife of U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan.; and Kenny Wilk, a former high-ranking House member from Lansing who was chairman of Brownback’s transition team.

Brownback said his choices for the board are among the most important he will make because the regents will play a key role in helping improve the Kansas economy.

The appointments are subject to Senate confirmation when the Legislature returns in January, but in the meantime they will be able to serve.

Brownback also dismissed a pending proposal before the Legislature to amend the Kansas Constitution to do away with the regents and State Board of Education and replace them with a Cabinet secretary position.

“We’re proceeding with what we have here. I think we can work well with the regents system, and my focus is going to be at getting excellence at our education and our regents systems,” he said.

The nine-member board is the governing board of the state’s six public universities, including Kansas University, and the coordinating board for the state’s 32 public higher education institutions.

This includes seven public universities, 19 community colleges and six technical colleges.

Terms have ended for Jarold “Jerry” Boettcher of Manhattan; Richard Hedges of Fort Scott and Gary Sherrer of Overland Park. Sherrer had resigned in May. Each was appointed by former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat.

The three appointees praised the state’s higher education institutions but also vowed to work to make them better.

“We need to get from good to excellent,” said Moran. She also said the state needs to focus more on technical colleges. “We need to be sure we have a workforce that is capable of using their hands as well as they minds.”

Because of dwindling tax funds, state funding to higher education was cut the previous two fiscal years by $100 million, or 12 percent. Recently, tuition overtook general funding as the major source of funding at universities for the first time in state history.

Brownback’s budget proposal kept higher education funding level for the current fiscal year. In addition, he signed into law initiatives to increase engineering graduates at Kansas University, Kansas State and Wichita State.

Wilk, who chaired both the House tax and appropriations committees during his 16 years in the Legislature, said he saw more potential for schools to raise money from private sources if they show improvement.

“Something that Kansas is blessed with — tremendously blessed with — is philanthropic money. When we get things right, I think you’ll see that philanthropic money continue to increase,” he said.

Logan, who has served on the Johnson County Community College board of trustees, said Brownback was calling for excellence and not down-playing liberal arts.

“There will even be room for poets,” Logan said. “Excellence is not a narrow thing.”


Jeff Plinsky 6 years, 10 months ago

Pay close attention folks. The scuttlebutt I hear from the Washburn University administration is that Brownback's office believes there are too many state funded institutions of higher learning in Kansas. LJW should really look into the fiscal and educational agendas of the newly named board members.

guesswho 6 years, 10 months ago

I guess they could close KU since there are other institutions near a four lane highway - Ottawa, Washburn, Johnson County, KCCC. Students and faculty/staff could be reassigned.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 10 months ago

Ottawa is a private school and not under the Board of Regents. They won't close KU. Basketball will save it. Washburn's law school has a higher rating in some areas than KU's. I don't see closure there happening despite the fact that it's one of the smallest schools in the state. See my comments below.

guesswho 6 years, 10 months ago

I didn't realize Ottawa is private - OK, Emporia then is close enough!!!

TNPlates 6 years, 10 months ago

If Brownback were serious about closing schools, don't you think he would have appointed Scott Morgan to the Board of Regents?

beerbaron03 6 years, 10 months ago

so a crony, the wife of another crony, and a lawyer. great...

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 10 months ago

There are indeed too many universities supported by the state, plus a huge technical/community college infrastructure.

KU should become private.

K State would be the land grant state flagship institution.

Two from the list of Fort Hays State, Emporia State, Pitt State, and Washburn should be closed.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 10 months ago

Pittsburgh is by far the smallest and, indeed, should be closed. JCCC has over four times the students of PSU and it's 40 million dollar endowment can be moved elsewhere. PSU has been dying a slow death for a long time. FHSU is the largest distance learning provider in the state. (See my comment below about that.) If the BoR cuts distance learning, to be honest there is no more reason to keep FHSU on the payroll than there is PSU. FHSU developed it's distance learning program to reinvent and save itself. It could be privatized and become a competitor to Phoenix U. (With a lot higher standard of education, I might add. Although if they did that they could lower that standard to become competitive.) I doubt they will get rid of KU, even by privatizing. Ironically, I think basketball will save it.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 10 months ago

Just did some research and I need to make some corrections. FHSU enrollment is comprised of over half distance learning students now; 6,000 to be exact. Only 4,000 undergraduates are on campus. Washburn is actually smaller than PSU (by about a 1000 students) but it's law school program is higher rated than KU's. Lots to consider here.

Ray_Finkle 6 years, 10 months ago

Washburn Law is not, and has never been, rated higher than KU Law.

Jonathan Fox 6 years, 10 months ago

Pittsburg is by far one of the best schools we have in Kansas. It's basically an expanded technical school. If anything I would simply shrink it to a technical college status. FHSU is a distance learning school because of it's location in western kansas, and because it's the cheapest college in Kansas.

sourpuss 6 years, 10 months ago

Also, Kansas is 50th in the US for tourism (51st if you throw in Puerto Rico). KU's sports do bring people in, few though they are. They also bring in a lot of TV revenue and are one of the bits of positive press the state gets. They have no reason to get rid of KU, although if KU were to become private, they would probably be better off, to be honest. KU's biggest problem is that it's in Kansas.

MyName 6 years, 10 months ago

I love how just the rumor of closure pops up and people start making lists. And a list that reduces the number of actual universities this state supports from 6 to 3 without any justification is not even worth considering. Heck, up until a few years ago, Washburn was a Federal college and not even part of the Regents system.

But to humor you, I would say that KU could do well as a private University, but I think it would be bad for the state. And while none of the last schools you listed are top tier universities, but they all have a niche and they use it well. Kansas' schools are one of the few reasons people have for coming into this state if they don't already live here and they're obviously an under-appreciated asset considering how much money they bring in from outside the state.

Hudson Luce 6 years, 10 months ago

Just close KU and leave the sports programs (KU Athletics) and no one would notice the difference...

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 10 months ago

Could have been worse. At least Mary Kay Culp and the TABOR guy were not appointed.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 10 months ago

My husband is currently a distance learner through Fort Hays. He is also attending JCCC on the side in a certification program. He made the comment this morning, when he saw the announcement that there were going to be appointments to the BoR , that there was nothing they could do about JCCC as this coming semester (which he has already pre-enrolled) is his last one there for the certificate. However, he mentioned that it was very possible he would no longer matriculate through Fort Hays but would end up transferring and enrolling in UT-C when we got to TN. A lot is going to depend on tuition hikes and what this new BoR does with things like the distance learning program. If they do away with it they will probably close FHSU as a good third of their enrollment now comes from distance learners.

Jan Rolls 6 years, 10 months ago

Way to go sam more jobs for your buddies. Sam you should be ashamed of yourself.

beatrice 6 years, 10 months ago

“I think in the United States, if you’re going to walk out on the field, you better aspire to be the top at it, or it’s questionable whether you ought to walk out on that field,” Brownback said.

I'm sorry, but shouldn't a governor of Kansas of all places know the difference between a hill and a field? Fields are level. If your field has a "top," then you have irrigation difficulties.

xclusive85 6 years, 10 months ago

Beatrice, many fields (most actually) are not flat. They may seem that way to you, but they do have crowns. If you do not have a crown, but rather a flat field, you are more likely to have irrigation (drainage) difficulties.

question4u 6 years, 10 months ago

Well, is privatizing KU logical? US News and World Report ranks KU at #104 among national universities. The private university with the closest ranking is the University of Dayton, which is ranked #99. Tuition at Dayton is $29,930. So let's assume that KU could keep it's ranking or even move up the charts a bit without charging more than $29,930.

Among the Big 12 (or former Big 12) universities that are currently ranked higher than KU, out-of-state tuition is lower than $29,930 at five (Texas A&M #63, $22,817; Baylor #79, $29,754; Colorado #86, $28,193; Iowa State #94; $18,563; Missouri #94 $19,592). Out-of-state tuition is only slightly higher than $29,930 at Texas #45, $31,218.

If KU went private and charged tuition comparable to the University if Dayton or any other private university with a comparable or higher ranking, is it reasonable to think that students would choose KU #104 over higher-ranked Missouri #94, when out-of-state tuition at Missouri would be more than $10,000 a year less? Would good students stay in Kansas and pay $29,930 at KU instead of going to Texas, a university 59 rungs higher in the national rankings where out-of-state tuition would be only about $188 more?

Much as Kansans might like KU, thinking that it could survive as a private institution without dropping in the national rankings and shrinking in size is like thinking that tourism in the Flint Hills is about to take off.

davidsmom 6 years, 10 months ago

Some of you people remind me of Oscar the Grouch: No matter what Brownback does, you are not happy unless you are complaining. Barbara Shelly of the Kansas City Star - certainly no conservative - praised these appointments and her viewpoint was very well reasoned.

Jimo 6 years, 10 months ago

Not at all.

Brownback could have appointed someone with real experience with higher education, someone with achievement in higher education, and yet another person with experience with higher education, and that would have been an improvement.

Beth Bird 6 years, 10 months ago

AGREED!! These people have no experience in education....Why were they chosen? Because they are Sam's buddies....

Jimo 6 years, 10 months ago

A true faith-based approach is to hand authority over to someone with no experience and have faith they won't burn the building down before the taxpayers can buy them out after their incompetence becomes too obvious to ignore.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 10 months ago

"No matter what Brownback does, "

To the contrary-- It matters a great deal what BB does. And so far, his track record is that of class warrior, fighting on behalf of the Koch brothers, et al.

notanota 6 years, 10 months ago

Why don't we test this theory. Let's have Brownback create some real jobs, not cut programs that generate matching revenue, support social services and education, and appoint people who are qualified from their positions instead of obvious political cronies. After he does just a few of those things, you can ask us again how we feel about his actions.

ndmoderate 6 years, 10 months ago

“We need to get from good to excellent,” said Moran. She also said the state needs to focus more on technical colleges. “We need to be sure we have a workforce that is capable of using their hands as well as they minds.”

"they minds."

/facepalm /irony

webmocker 6 years, 10 months ago

A good one, but given the JW track record, this may or not be an accurate quote.

trinity 6 years, 10 months ago

“We need to be sure we have a workforce that is capable of using their hands as well as they minds.” I sure hope that this is a typo&not how Moran actually speaks. Good lordie be, help us all. cronyism, alive&well...ugh.

Sparko 6 years, 10 months ago

The GOP and nepotism. Brownback is a disaster.

Jimo 6 years, 10 months ago

Moran's wife? The Koch Bros. don't have a granddaughter or something? David Vitter has a few prostitute acquaintances he could steer Sam to that have proved to be beyond GOP reproach.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 10 months ago

Good points, question4u.

The only assumption in your argument that is incorrect is that KU would need to charge $30,000 a year in tuition.

As it is now, 25% of KU expenditures come from tuition, and 25% from state funding. If KU simply doubled tuition, the state funding could be replaced.

What is KU's tuition now? About $9000/year in state and $20,000/year out of state? KU could raise all tuition levels to $20,000/year and be competitive with neighboring states, whose tuition will also certainly rise in the near future.

It would be critical to keep out of state tuition low or equal to in state, to attract students from neighboring states with high in state tuition.

If KU went private, in the short term, KU would need to rely on its endowment and on aggressive pursuit of grants and donations to bridge the inevitable gap in funding while it gets back on its feet.

KU becoming private is very doable. Almost frighteningly so.

notanota 6 years, 10 months ago

It would be to KU's advantage. They'd be able to remain a quality institution while getting out from under Brownback's thumb when it comes to developing their curriculum. Heck, they could stop publishing the salary of every single employee. The only people that would really lose would be the middle and working class Kansans that would otherwise have been able to afford an education there.

I don't think Brownie will push for privatization. He'd rather be able to dictate what they can teach and try to influence the political leanings of the professors they hire. He can best do that by threatening to starve the institution and giving them carrots in exchange for appointments. Influencing students is about the only way they'll win new conservative voters once the current batch dies of old age. Higher ed has become the new anti-evolution/prayers in schools front.

Charles McPheeters 6 years, 10 months ago

The spoils system is still alive and well. Unforunate for government by the people and for the people. Qualifications for an appointment is important, but, not as important as relationships.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 10 months ago

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

KU is slipping further and further into mediocrity as the state cuts funding, and KU administrators quake in their boots every time the state mentions funding.

The status quo is killing the University of Kansas. It is time to take bold action. Privatization might not work, but it has much potential to resuscitate an anemic and sputtering institution that is the University of Kansas.

Jock Navels 6 years, 10 months ago

pre-diabetic, entitled, and soft pudgy fingers as well. You think they know what work is?

Beth Bird 6 years, 10 months ago

These appointments make no sense from an educational standpoint...They have no experience in higher education......There only claim to fame is being Sam's friends.....

HermanBubbert 6 years, 10 months ago

Circling motions around the drain of Brownbackistan.

Jock Navels 6 years, 10 months ago

How many universities does Oklahoma have? Three division ones, eight smaller ones. How many does Nebraska have? One big, One medium, four smaller ones Missouri? One big, two mediums, i think 8 smaller ones and Colorado? 2 bigs, a medium, i think 6 smaller ones. If Kansas continues to short state-funded education, it's going to end up the Mississippi of the mid west. The Kochs, a few lackeys, and a couple million people living in broken-window double wides. What do these appointees know about education, progress and well-being. Pretty much nothing. Higher education is not only about vocational preparation, it is also about becoming a critical thinker with knowledge of the social sciences. There aren't many Republican evangelicals who want educated people in the voting population.

nativeson 6 years, 10 months ago

I am sure a more comprehensive review of locations will occur. It will likely be with community colleges (22). KU will struggle to compete as a private institution unless it scales back dramatically which is not good for Lawrence. They would need to become much more selective for enrollment and eliminate a number of programs.

redfred 6 years, 10 months ago

If KU went private whre would the funds come from to purchase the buildings and land from the state? Or, are we just expecting the state to give all of that away. Private is mot realistic.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 10 months ago

Anyone know what relation Fred Logan Jr. is to disbarred Lawrence attorney Sam Logan? I imagine there is one.

tomatogrower 6 years, 10 months ago

“I think in the United States, if you’re going to walk out on the field, you better aspire to be the top at it, or it’s questionable whether you ought to walk out on that field,”

So if you can't be the best, don't try at all? Real inspirational.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 10 months ago

Is Brownback the best governor in the country?

Just saying.

Maybe he ought to think about taking his own advise.

Or at least think when being quoted by the media.

pace 6 years, 10 months ago

I Have nothing against technical and trade courses. There is need for quality training. I hope that high quality technical and trade training is made available through the Kansas education system. I know the republicans associate trained craftpersons with unions, so they look at such skills with suspicion. Is there anything in the education and training system they respect. I don't think so. An educated people, trained workers, they wouldn't vote for these guys.

The remark "There will even be room for poets" horrifies me. the "even" for an educated man to be so cavalier about poets shows an barren and wasted mind. Poetry, art, music, science, all are denigrated by this body, they sound like little boys that don't want to do their home work.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 10 months ago

Why, I wonder, do the right wingers hate poets, artists and educated people so?

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