Graduate Catalog 2021-2022

The University

Welcome to Western Kentucky University (WKU), home of the Hilltoppers!  Our hilltop campus is a place of beauty and friendliness. It embraces a proud heritage and a bold, ambitious future. WKU is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, a city with a population of more than 60,000 approximately 110 miles south of Louisville and 65 miles north of Nashville. As a distinctive landmark on a hill overlooking the city, the WKU campus commands an impressive view of the Barren River Valley and is acclaimed as one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation.  In addition to main campus, WKU has locations at South Campus, the Center for Research and Development, the Medical Center at Bowling Green, and the University Farm. Outside of Bowling Green, there are Regional Campuses in Glasgow, Owensboro, and Elizabethtown-Fort Knox.

The Graduate School at WKU offers graduate education in 89 degree and certificate programs. The University confers the Master of Accountancy, Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Education, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Business Administration, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Health Administration, Master of Music, Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Health, Master of Science, Master of Science in Nursing, Master of Social Work, Specialist in Education, Doctor of Education, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and Doctor of Psychology. WKU also offers non-degree Rank I and II and certification-only teacher education programs. The Undergraduate Catalog provides information regarding baccalaureate degrees, associates degrees, and undergraduate certificates, as well as undergraduate policies, procedures, and student services.

History of WKU

On March 21, 1906 the Kentucky General Assembly approved legislation to establish two teacher training institutions, or "normal schools," in the state. A locating commission chose Bowling Green to be the site of one, and the Western Kentucky State Normal School was created. The new state-supported school took over the building and student body of the privately owned Southern Normal School. The owner of the Southern Normal School, Henry Hardin Cherry, had been actively involved in the campaign to establish teacher training schools and became the institution's first president. Classes began on January 22, 1907.

On February 4, 1911 the school moved to its present site on "the Hill," approximately 125 feet above downtown Bowling Green and formerly the site of the Pleasant J. Potter College.  Over the next decade, the curriculum focused on teacher training and certification. In 1922, the state renamed the institution Western Kentucky State Normal School and Teachers College and authorized it to grant four-year degrees.  The first such degrees were awarded in 1924. The campus expanded in 1927, when it merged with Ogden College, a private young men's school located on the east side of the Hill. The name was shortened to Western Kentucky State Teachers College in 1930, and the following year the first graduate degree was offered.

In the 1950s and 1960s, both the curriculum and campus underwent major reorganization and expansion. In 1963 the institution merged with the Bowling Green College of Commerce. Along with the Graduate School, the Bowling Green College of Commerce became a separate college within the academic structure. In 1965, the Board of Regents approved the formation of three more colleges: the Potter College of Liberal Arts, the College of Education, and the Ogden College of Science and Technology. On June 16, 1966, Western Kentucky State College became Western Kentucky University.

More colleges and reorganization followed throughout the years as WKU continued to expand. The College of Health and Human Services was established in 2002, and the Division of Extended Learning and Outreach launched in 2003. In 2008, the WKU Board of Regents approved the creation and development of a fully-independent Honors College at WKU. In 2011 the first doctoral degrees were awarded through the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. In 2011 and 2013 two new professional practice doctoral degrees, the Doctor of Nursing Practice and the Doctor of Physical Therapy, were established, and in 2015 the Doctor of Psychology was added.

WKU’s academic colleges are:

  • College of Education and Behavioral Sciences
  • College of Health and Human Services
  • Gordon Ford College of Business
  • Ogden College of Science and Engineering
  • Potter College of Arts and Letters

In addition, The Dixie and Peter Mahurin Honors College offers high-achieving undergraduate students the environment of a small, highly selective college within the framework of the larger university.

Mission

Western Kentucky University (WKU) prepares students of all backgrounds to be productive, engaged, and socially responsible citizen-leaders of a global society. The University provides research, service, and lifelong learning opportunities for its students, faculty, and other constituents. WKU enriches the quality of life for those within its reach.

Statement of Purpose

As a leading American university with international reach, WKU is engaged in internationally acclaimed, student-and-learning-centered academic programs.  The WKU experience occurs on several unique campus environments and through an overarching spirit which attracts an intellectually exciting and diverse family of the nation’s best students. WKU provides students of all backgrounds with rigorous academic programs in education, the liberal arts and sciences, the health sciences, and business, with emphasis at the baccalaureate and masters levels, complemented by relevant associate and doctoral level programs. The University places a premium on student learning; WKU is committed to ensuring value in a holistic learning experience through high standards for student achievement and conduct, a strong faculty, technological innovation, personalized attention, broad access, and public accountability for actions and outcomes.  Out-of-the-classroom and study abroad experiences enhance learning, promote diversity, and contribute to the success of students.

The University encourages engaged research and public service in support of economic development, quality of life, and improvement of education at all levels.  WKU faculty contribute to the identification and solution of key social, economic, scientific, health, and environmental problems.  An inspiring and talented faculty promotes a high level of creative activity and diverse scholarship and an entrepreneurial attitude designed to expand knowledge, improve instruction, increase learning, and provide applied solutions toward high-quality service to the state and nation.  The University directly supports its constituents in its designated service areas of Kentucky with professional and technical expertise, cultural enrichment, and educational assistance.

Maintaining a campus of distinctive history and character, WKU sustains a student population of increasing quality.  WKU fulfills its responsibility for access through its main and regional campuses, and through extensive distance learning opportunities.  WKU recognizes that its mission continues to evolve in response to regional, national, and global changes, and the need for lifelong learning.

Core Values

Shared purposes and beliefs drive the decisions and actions of any organization or institution. The core values that undergird the foundations of WKU are reflected in the University's vision, mission, and purpose statements, and in the goals of the strategic plan.

The rich heritage that is WKU’s has been built upon a foundation of shared values that have withstood the test of time and the challenges of many changes. These values are deeply embedded in the words of WKU’s first President, Dr. Henry Hardin Cherry, as he set forth a vision for this University:

  • to be a live school and to impart to its students a burning zeal to do and be something;
  • to be progressive, to use modern methods and equipment, but reject all worthless educational fads;
  • to let the reputation of the school be sustained by real merit;
  • to "ring the rising bell in the human soul" by inspiring all students who come in touch with the work of the institution.

This vision is further reflected in Dr. Cherry's often-quoted reminder that "It's what's above the rim that counts" and in the two University ideals expressed in the University seal: "Life More Life" and the University motto:  "The Spirit Makes the Master."

Building upon these long lasting values, the following core values represent a reaffirmation of the shared purposes and beliefs upon which this strategic plan is built:

  • Emphasis on cooperation, teamwork, and mutual respect for individual differences in scholarship, diversity, and culture.
  • Expectation for all conduct to be characterized by integrity, honesty, and commitment to high moral and ethical values and principles.
  • Commitment to assuring quality of programs, competence of graduates, and opportunities for lifelong learning.
  • A view of scholarly endeavors that includes teaching, research, and creative activities as mutually supportive.
  • Encouragement of meaningful and active partnerships among students, faculty, staff, and constituents to strengthen the learning environment.
  • Nurturing of innovative and creative activities of faculty, staff, and students that advance University mission and goals.
  • Dedication to the importance of achieving excellence in all programs and for adding value to the degrees and credentials of our students.
  • Commitment to providing a collegiate experience that prepares students to be informed, engaged, and dedicated citizens.
  • Commitment to contributing to improved quality of life and economic well-being of Kentuckians, especially those in our primary service area, as well as other constituents and stakeholders.
  • Commitment to developing empowered, informed, and responsible learners who recognize both the personal and shared responsibility to actively participate in university life by upholding the principles of the University Creed.

WKU 2018-2028 Strategic Plan: Climbing to Greater Heights

Climbing to Greater Heights: The 2018-2028 Strategic Plan for Western Kentucky University is a carefully defined roadmap that will guide the University through the next decade. It focuses on student success and ensuring that our campus environment attracts the highest quality faculty and staff, and it renews our commitment to being fully engaged in our region and the commonwealth while providing a global context to the WKU Experience.

The landscape for public higher education is ever changing and may at times feel like an uphill climb. We will prepare ourselves to meet the challenges that lie ahead by pursuing innovation in teaching and delivery, connecting what we do to the region and the commonwealth, and ensuring that the WKU Experience transforms the lives of our students, employees, alumni, and friends and elevates the communities we serve - both in our region and beyond. These are the principles that will guide us in our climb to greater heights. We invite you to climb with us.

Leadership & Governance

President of the University

Dr. Timothy C. Caboni

Board of Regents

Dr. Phillip Bale, Chair
Ms. Linda G. Ball
Mr. David S. Brinkley, Secretary
Ms. Julie Harris Hinson
Mr. Jason L. McKinney, Vice Chair
Mr. W. Currie Milliken
Mr. George Nichols III
Dr. Shane Spiller
Ms. Doris Thomas
Ms. Jan M. West
Mr. Matthew Wininger

WKU President's Cabinet

Dr. Timothy C. Caboni, President
Ms. Andrea Anderson, General Counsel
Mr. Michael Crowe, Chief Diversity Officer, Director of Student Conduct
Dr. Robert U. Fischer, Jr., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Ms. Susan Howarth, Executive Vice President for Strategy, Operations, and Finance
Dr. Molly Kerby, Chief Diversity Officer, Assistant Provost for Institutional Effectiveness
Dr. Ranjit Koodali, Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Education
Dr. Ethan Logan, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Experience
Mr. Bryan B. Russell, Chief Facilities Officer
Dr. Bruce Schulte, Associate Vice President for Strategy, Performance, and Accountability
Mr. Todd Stewart, Director of Athletics
Ms. Amanda Trabue, Vice President for Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement

Academic Deans

Dr. David N. Brown, Ogden College of Science and Engineering
Dr. Tania Basta, College of Health and Human Services
Dr. Terrance D. Brown, Potter College of Arts & Letters
Ms. Susann deVries, University Libraries
Dr. Corinne Murphy, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences
Dr. Christopher Shook, Gordon Ford College of Business

College Heights Foundation Board of Directors

Dr. Timothy C. Caboni, President of WKU
Gen. E. Daniel Cherry
Dr. Melissa Dennison
Mr. Alex Downing
Dr. Jack G. Glasser
Mr. Clarence E. Glover
Mr. R. Harvey Johnston, III
Mr. Marc A. Lovell
Dr. Jerry W. Martin
Mr. Joe B. Natcher, Jr.
Ms. Wanda J. Scott
Mr. Michael L. Simpson, Chair
Dr. Donald Smith, President of the College Heights Foundation

Graduate Faculty

WKU Graduate Faculty engage in creative activity and diverse scholarship including basic and applied research that expands knowledge, improves instruction, increases learning, and provides service to the state and the nation. Academic Affairs maintains a comprehensive list of WKU faculty, including distinguished professors.  

All courses offered for graduate credit at WKU must be taught by graduate faculty. Membership in the graduate faculty may be acquired through two methods. First, membership may be granted through the hiring process. The department head or program director/ coordinator should recommend graduate faculty status at the time of hire. The College Dean will review the recommendation, approve, and forward the recommendation to the Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Education for approval. Second, membership may be granted to current faculty members via a recommendation by the faculty member’s department head or program director/coordinator. The College Dean must review the recommendation, (dis)approve, and forward to the Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Education for approval.

Nominations and recommendations are based upon the general criteria of evidence of scholarly attainment, active participation in research, scholarly activities and/or professional accomplishments which are recognized or commended by professional organizations in the candidate’s field and professional standing. Graduate faculty should also express a willingness to direct the study of graduate students. College deans, department heads, or program director/coordinator should evaluate faculty for graduate faculty status as part of the annual review procedure in accordance with the general criteria listed above.

(Approved by Graduate Council 12/10/15)

Accreditations

Western Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, specialist, and doctorate degrees.  Contact the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Western Kentucky University.

Accounting: The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) (BS and MAcc)

Architectural Science:  The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) (BS Program)

Art:  National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) Commission on Accreditation (AB in Art History, AB in Visual Studies (Art Ed and Studio concentrations); and BFA in Visual Arts (Graphic Design and Studio concentrations))

Business: The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) (BS and MBA)

Civil Engineering:  Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (BS Program)

Construction Management:  The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) (BS Program)

Counseling: Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) (MAE)

Dance:  National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD) Commission on Accreditation (AB Program)

Dental HygieneCommission on Dental Accreditation of American Dental Association (CODA-ADA) (AS and BS)

Dietetics: Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) (Dietetic Internship)

Early Childhood EducationNational Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) (AA Program)

Education: Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) (Initial and Advanced Educator Preparation, ADV), and Kentucky’s Educational Professional Standards Board (EPSB)

Electrical Engineering:  Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (BS Program)

Engineering Technology Management: The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) (MS)

Environmental and Occupational Health Science: The National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC) (MS)

Healthcare Administration:  Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) (BS Program)

Health Information Management:   Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) (BS Program)

Interior Design:  National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) Commission on Accreditation (BS Interior Design and Fashion Merchandising (Interior Design concertation))

JournalismAccrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) (Undergraduate Program)

Long Term Care Administration:  National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB) (BS in Healthcare Administration with a Long-term Administration Certificate)

Manufacturing Engineering Technology:  The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) (BS Program)

Mechanical EngineeringEngineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (BS Program)

Music: National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) Commission on Accreditation (AB, BM and MM)

Nursing: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) (BSN, MSN and DNP) and Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) (ASN Program)

Physical Therapy: Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) (DPT)

Public Administration: Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) (MPA)

Public Health: Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) (BS and MPH)

Recreation AdministrationCouncil on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT) (BS Program)

Social Work: Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) (BSW and MSW)

Speech-Language Pathology: Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) (MS)

Theatre: National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) Commission on Accreditation (AB in Theatre and BFA in Performing Arts) 

University Notices

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records, including:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the University receives a request for access.  Students should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The University official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the University official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the University to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the University official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. If the University decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the University will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for an amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent, including disclosure without the student's consent is permissible to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic, research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the University has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, or collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Regents; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U. S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Western Kentucky University to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
    Family Policy Compliance Office
    U.S. Department of Education
    600 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20202-4605

Release of student record information is generally not done at WKU without the expressed, written consent of the student; however, FERPA allows several exceptions described below:

  1. FERPA allows the institution to routinely release information defined as "directory information." The following student information is included in the definition: the student's name, address, e-mail address, telephone listing, date and place of birth,  major field of study,  participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, enrollment status  (including full-time, part-time, not enrolled, withdrawn and date of withdrawal), degree and awards received and the most recent previous education agency or institution attended by the student. When a student wants any part of the directory information to remain confidential, an official request form must be completed in the Office of the Registrar within the first five days of class of each school term.
  2. Upon request, WKU may disclose education records without the student's consent to officials of another school in which a student seeks to enroll, or where the student is already enrolled as long as the disclosure is for purposes related to the student's enrollment or transfer.
  3. Effective January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's FERPA regulations expanded the circumstances under which the student's education records and personally identifiable information (PII) contained in such records (including Social Security Number, grades, or other private information) may be accessed without the student's consent.
    1. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities ("Federal and State Authorities") may allow access to the student's records and PII without the student's consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is "principally engaged in the provision of education," such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution.
    2. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to the student's education records and PII without the student's consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when the university objects to or does not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive the student's PII, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities.
    3. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without the student's consent PII from the student's education records, and they may track the student's participation in education and other programs by linking such PII to other personal information about the student that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.

Questions pertaining to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act may be directed to:

Jennifer Hammonds, University Registrar
238 Potter Hall
(270) 745-5030

Statement of Compliance

Western Kentucky University (WKU) is committed to equal opportunity in its educational programs and employment. The University is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, marital status, age, uniform service, veteran status, pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions, or physical or mental disability. On request, WKU will provide reasonable accommodations, including auxiliary aids and services, necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in all services, programs, activities, and employment.

The University has published policies and procedures for investigating and/or addressing discrimination or harassment in its educational programs and/or employment. If you believe you have experienced discrimination or harassment in such programs, activities, or employment, policies and procedures are included on the following website: http://www.wku.edu/policies/ (WKU Policies), in addition to the WKU Student Handbook, and Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs. These publications, including information about University procedures, are available on the University’s website (www.wku.edu), at:

WKU Policies:  http://www.wku.edu/policies/
WKU Student Handbook: http://www.wku.edu/handbook/
WKU Undergraduate Catalog: https://catalog.wku.edu/undergraduate
WKU Graduate Catalog: http://catalog.wku.edu/graduate

The following person has been designated to serve as the University’s Title IX Coordinator:

Ms. Deborah Wilkins
Title IX Coordinator / Senior Advisor
Wetherby Administrative Center, Suite 101
1906 College Heights Blvd. #11001
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1001
(270) 745-5398

Information regarding WKU’s Title IX compliance, policies, and procedures may be found on the following website:  http://wku.edu/titleix/.

In addition, information or assistance may be requested from the following:

Office of Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action/University ADA Services
Wetherby Administration Building, Suite G33
1906 College Heights Blvd. #11009
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1009   
(270) 745-5121    

Department of Human Resources
Wetherby Administration Building, Suite G25
1906 College Heights Blvd. #11003
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1003
(270) 745-5360

Academic Affairs & Provost’s Office
Wetherby Administration Building, Suite 239
1906 College Heights Blvd. #11008
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1008
Phone: (270) 745-2297    

Inquiries about alleged discrimination may also be made directly to: 

The Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
The Wanamaker Building, Suite 515
100 Penn Square East
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 656-8541

The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights
332 W. Broadway, Suite 1400
Louisville, Kentucky 40202
(800) 292-5566 
(TDD) (502) 595-4084 

or

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
600 Martin Luther King, Jr. Place, Suite 268 
Louisville, Kentucky 40202 
(800) 669-4000 
TTY (800) 669-6820

Student Academic and Grade Change Procedure

The student complaint procedure for resolving an academic or grade complaint:

Step 1 (Faculty Member)

  • The student must attempt to discuss the academic issue with the faculty member involved within 15 workdays after the issue has occurred or the grade within the first 15 workdays of the first regular semester (fall; spring) following the assignment of the grade.
  • If the faculty member is no longer employed by the university, the student should go directly to that faculty member’s department head, who will attempt to contact the former faculty member concerning the academic issue or grade assigned. If the department head is unable to facilitate communication between the former faculty member and the student, the student may proceed to step 2.
  • If the faculty is employed by the university and declines to discuss the academic issue or grade with the student, the student may proceed to step 2.

Step 2 (Department Level)

  • If the student and the faculty member are unable to resolve the complaint, the student may take the complaint to the faculty member’s department head. Written notification of the complaint must be given to the department head within two weeks after the meeting with the faculty member. If the faculty member is also the department head, proceed to Step 3.
  • The written notification to the department head should clearly state what the student believes are the faculty member’s unreasonable and/or unfair practices or procedures, and include any available documentation.
  • The department head may attempt to resolve the complaint by meeting with the student and faculty member separately to mediate the issue.
  • If the department head is unable to resolve the complaint in this way, a meeting will be arranged where the student, faculty member, and the department head will be present for discussion.
    • Neither the faculty member nor the student will be allowed representation at the meeting.
    • The department head shall hear both sides of the complaint and attempt to resolve the matter.
    • If the department head is unable to bring about an agreed upon resolution between the student and the faculty member, the department head will issue a recommendation.
    • The department head shall create a written record of the meeting, including his/her recommendation. A copy of this record shall be provided to the student and the faculty member at the time the department head’s recommendation is issued to them.
    • If the faculty member is no longer with WKU or refuses to participate, the decision of the department head shall be followed.

Step 3 (College Level)

  • Should the student remain dissatisfied with the outcome of the academic issue or grade complaint at the departmental level, the student may continue the complaint to the college level.
  • The student should notify the Dean of the College, or the Dean’s designee, in writing, within two weeks following issuance of the department head’s recommendation, that the complaint remains unresolved.
  • The written notification to the Dean of the College should include a copy of the department head’s record and recommendation, and clearly state what the student believes are the faculty member’s unreasonable and/or unfair practices or procedures, and include any available documentation.
  • The dean or dean’s designee may attempt to resolve the complaint by meeting with the student, faculty member, and department head.
  •  If those meetings do not resolve the student’s concern(s), the Dean or Designee shall notify the College Complaint Committee:
    • It is expected that a meeting will be scheduled to take place within two weeks after the submission of a written notification to the Dean of the College.
    • The committee shall be composed of at least three faculty members and two student representatives and shall not include representation from the department of the faculty member mentioned in the complaint.
    • If the notification is submitted at the end of a semester and convening the committee is not feasible within the stipulated two weeks period, the committee must be convened within the first two weeks of the first regular semester (fall; spring) following the Dean’s receipt of the written complaint.
    • Neither the faculty member nor the student will be allowed representation at the conference.
    • All material presented at the meeting is considered subject to FERPA and confidential.
    • The College Complaint Committee shall hear both sides of the complaint and shall create a written record of the meeting. The student and faculty member may elect to remain in the meeting while the other presents his or her side of the complaint. The decision and its rationale shall be reduced to writing, with copies sent to the Dean of the College, the student, faculty member, and the faculty member's department head.

If neither party has appealed the Committee’s decision after two weeks, the decision will be final. The Dean’s office will be responsible for taking action required by the decision, if any.

Step 4 (University Level)

  • Should the student or the faculty member be dissatisfied with the decision of the College Complaint Committee, either may appeal the decision to the University level.
  • The appealing party should deliver a written appeal to the Office of the Provost within two weeks following issuance of the College Committee’s decision.
  • The written appeal should include a copy of the College Committee’s decision, and clearly state the basis for the appeal, including but not limited to, any unreasonable and/or unfair practices or procedures, and include any available documentation. Copies of the appeal should be delivered by the appellant to the party not appealing the College Committee decision.
  • The Office of the Provost will coordinate and convene the University Complaint Committee.
    • The student and faculty member will be provided with a copy of the University Complaint Committee's procedural guidelines.
    • The University Complaint Committee will secure copies of the recommendations rendered by the department head and the College Complaint Committee.
    • The University Complaint Committee will schedule a conference where the faculty member and the student are present and will discuss the issue.
    • Neither the faculty member nor the student will be allowed representation at the conference.
    • All material presented at the meeting is considered subject to FERPA and confidential, and no new materials may be presented at this meeting. If new material is presented, the appeal will be referred back to the College Complaint Committee.
    • The University Complaint Committee shall hear both sides of the complaint, and shall create a written record of the meeting. The decision and its rationale shall be reduced to writing, with copies sent to the Provost, the Dean of the College, the student, faculty member, and the faculty member's department head.

The Office of the Provost will see that decisions of the University Complaint Committee are carried out. The University Complaint Committee's decision is final.

Out of State Distance Learners

Students enrolled in distance learning courses at WKU will follow the university complaints procedure outlined in this policy and may access additional resources through WKU Online.  Students may also review information in the WKU Student Handbook. If the issue is not resolved at the institution level, distance students may file a complaint with the Kentucky Council for Postsecondary Education. For out-of- state distance learning students, the next level in the complaint process is with the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). Additionally, students may file a complaint with WKU's accrediting body, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) by downloading the SACS Complaint Procedures Form.  Student complaints related to grades or student conduct may not be appealed to Kentucky Council for Postsecondary Education.

Supplements

Supplements to this procedure may be issued during the school year to keep the University community advised of newly adopted programs and policies.

Important Complaint Exceptions: 

  • Student Disability regarding denial of accommodations, report to Student ADA Compliance Officer and follow WKU policy #6.1010
  • Discrimination and Harassment concerns, see below reporting process and follow WKU policy #0.2040 and #0.2070
    • Discrimination is always reported to the Office of Equal Opportunity Employment (EEO)
    • Student-to-student harassment is reported to Office of Student Conduct or the WKU Title IX Coordinator
    • Student-to-faculty/employee harassment is reported to the Office of Equal Opportunity Employment (EEO)

Student Right-to-Know Act Annual Disclosure Statement

In compliance with the federal Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act of 1990, the University’s graduation rate is to be made available, upon request, to potential and currently enrolled students. The Act requires public disclosure beginning July 1, 1993, of this information by institutions of higher education receiving federal financial assistance.

Western Kentucky University’s graduation rate was calculated using definitions established by the U. S. Department of Education. This rate is based upon the number of beginning freshmen who entered Western Kentucky University as full-time degree-seeking students during the 2013 fall semester and who completed an associate degree or a baccalaureate degree within six years (through August, 2019). For this cohort of beginning students, the graduation rate is 48.87%