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Campus Community,

I hope you will take time early this week to provide feedback on ideas to strengthen shared governance at our university as part of our efforts to accelerate our progress in advancing Kentucky.

We need more voices and more people from our community at the table. We need more people involved in helping shape the decisions that will fuel our progress as Kentucky’s university. We need more local control, with those closest to the issues and those impacted making more decisions. 

And we need your thoughts and feedback about the best way to move forward as a community. 

With the feedback you provide, we will revise the Governing Regulations (GRs) that shape how we manage our work together.

I’m excited about what we have done over the last decade together. I’m excited about what our future holds when more people and more voices are engaged in shaping our campus and our progress.

Thank you for taking the time to participate in this important process as we seek to accelerate what we do to advance this state.

Legislative session

Last week, the Kentucky Legislature ended the regular business of its annual session. Legislators will return April 12 and 15 to finalize their work and consider potential overrides of any legislation vetoed by Gov. Beshear.

In all, it was a strong session for our university and for higher education in Kentucky thanks to the continued support of the governor and legislators, who understand all we do to advance this state through education, service, research and care. 

We deeply appreciate what they do to support our work and our mission to advance Kentucky.

Some highlights of the budget adopted by both the Senate and House include:

  • Increases for both our base funding from the state and the performance funding pool, which measures the performance of all public universities in several key areas, such as enrollment and numbers of graduates.
  • Authorization for the university to use its resources to construct a new bed tower next to Pavilion A of UK HealthCare’s Chandler Hospital to increase access to care for more Kentuckians.
  • Funding for critical new infrastructure for our Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
  • Resources for continued renovations to facilities in the core of our campus, which the university would, in part, match.

The state has also prioritized several other initiatives that will impact our university, including:

  • Resources for the creation of a Commonwealth Center for Biomedical Excellence in Covington. Lawmakers are interested in moving Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law and the UK College of Medicine (currently located on the NKU campus) to a new facility in downtown Covington.
  • The creation of an endowment to support a new Kentucky Nuclear Energy Development Authority and Energy Planning and Inventory Commission. Our Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) would help support this initiative.

Other proposed legislation that would impact all higher education in Kentucky — related to diversity, equity and inclusion, faculty employment and performance and the regulation of guns on campus — did not garner support in both the House and the Senate. We continue to monitor these and other proposals as the legislature prepares to conclude the session later this month.

There is continued strong support for what we do to advance this state. There is a desire for us to do even more because of our strong track record of seeking solutions for the state’s biggest challenges.

Of course, there also remain questions about, and scrutiny of, how we do our work. That’s true not only of UK and other state universities, but all higher education in the United States.

The best way to respond is to continue to show the value of what we do — for students we teach, for communities we work with to prosper through discovery and service and for those we heal through the care that only we provide.

That is what it means to advance Kentucky. And that continues to be the mission that will guide our efforts moving forward.

Thank you for all you do to make that mission for Kentucky possible.

Eli Capilouto