Lindsey Wilson grad returns to alma mater as biology professor

Lindsey Wilson Asst. Professor of Biology Laura Wheat Nissley (LWC '06) and lab assistant, Skinny (wearing her lab coat from the University of Louisville). While she's not the first alum to teach at Lindsey Wilson, Nissley is the first Lindsey Wilson graduate to earn a doctorate in science and join the faculty full-time.

When classes opened last week at Lindsey Wilson College last week, Laura Wheat Nissley finally got a chance to experience LWC’s Jim and Helen Fugitte Science Center. The Fugitte Center opened just months three months after she graduated in May of 2006. After earning her doctorate studying physiology and biophysics at the University of Louisville, Nissley started this fall semester as one of 18 new faculty at Lindsey Wilson.

Nissley describes coming back to Lindsey Wilson as “meant to be:”

During her five years as a UofL graduate student, Nissley realized that she wanted to become a college professor. So she began to “stalk the Lindsey Wilson website” for job openings. Shortly after finishing her doctoral work, she was hired by LWC in early summer.

“It was just like a miracle,” Nissley said. “I had been stalking the Lindsey Wilson website. When the job was posted, I was all over it. I said, This is a miracle, it’s meant to be.”

Read the full story about Professor Laura Nissley and her first days back on campus on the Lindsey Wilson College website.

St. Catharine partners with local school district, community college to create early college

Springfield, Ky. — St. Catharine College is excited to partner with the Washington County School System in the creation of an Early College Program that will assist high school students in becoming college and career ready. SCC believes that part of the intent of Kentucky’s Senate Bill 1 (2009) is to increase collaborative efforts to introduce high school students to post-secondary experiences and to offer wrap-around services to help assure their success.

Strategic partnerships with St. Catharine College, Elizabethtown Community & Technical College – Springfield Campus, Marion County Area Technology Center, Advance Kentucky, and the Kentucky Department of Education have enabled the Washington County School system to implement one of the most innovative high school college and career readiness systems in the state.

“Students who complete the Early College Program will be able to graduate from St. Catharine College with either an Associate of Arts (AA) degree in Liberal Arts or an Associate in Applied Science degree (AAS) in Early Childhood Education at the same time they earn their high school diploma,” said Dr. Don Giles, SCC’s Vice President for Academic Affairs. “The AA/AAS degree will allow them to either continue at a four-year higher education institution with their first two years completed or enter into the job market with stronger credentials than their fellow high school graduates. This competitive edge is critical in today’s challenging economy.”

St. Catharine College welcomes this opportunity to partner with the Washington County Schools and recognizes the potential for both institutions to grow in their understanding and appreciation of the skills required for student success in the 21st century global economy.

In order to prepare for this innovation, Washington County teachers have worked throughout the spring and summer to develop and implement a new curriculum aligned to Kentucky’s new Core Academic Standards as well as to the College Board’s Advanced Placement standards, the ACT’s Quality Core standards, and the course syllabi and expectations of ECTC and St. Catharine. Students in their junior or senior year of high school will have the opportunity to participate in classes led by adjunct college faculty as well as by college professors while the students work to achieve college credits that will place them semesters as well as dollars ahead of their teenaged peers.

With the goal that every graduate from WCHS will earn credits toward a postsecondary degree or industry certification, Washington County has taken on a rigorous and demanding goal. With the support of educators throughout the district on all four campuses, high school students will reap the benefits.

 Article courtesy of St. Catharine College. Learn more at

University of Pikeville opens with record enrollment

University of Pikeville President Paul Patton helps students move in to the dorms.

Photo and article courtesy of the University of Pikeville. Learn more at

Pikeville, Ky. — When University of Pikeville President Paul Patton says there has never been a better time to be a UPIKE bear, he may be referring to a second straight year of record enrollment. It could be the institution’s move to university status, the addition of an MBA program and an RN-BSN, or new projects geared toward enhancing campus life.

As classes began on Aug. 22, the University of Pikeville welcomed more than 1,860 students, including 311 in the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“These numbers are a significant achievement and have exceeded our expectations,” said Patton. “All across campus, we have worked very hard to encourage prospective students to take a look at the quality of our programs, which we believe provide as good a liberal arts education as you can get at any similar institution.”

To accommodate the increase in enrollment new instructors and classes have been added and residence halls have been renovated and expanded. Earlier this year the University partnered with Barnes & Noble College Booksellers to operate the campus bookstore, providing access to cost-saving benefits such as rental textbooks and e-books. An in-depth freshman studies curriculum and volunteer mentoring program are also geared toward student success and a positive first-year experience.

“The heart and soul of this University is the classroom,” said Patton. “We also provide a comprehensive experience that will prepare our students for a promising but competitive world. More importantly, we are doing it in a small and personal atmosphere. That is what makes us special.”

Jake Cyrus, a junior communication major at the University of Pikeville, says he is “super pumped” about the fall semester. Cyrus, who plays baseball for the Bears, recently moved into Spilman Hall, one of two buildings renovated this year to accommodate the anticipated increase in students. Cyrus shares a suite with five other members of the baseball team and is excited to be among the 70 students who are the first to live in the new dormitory.

“It is really cool,” he said. “It’s like living in an apartment.”

A summer internship at PikeTV, the new government television channel, kept Cyrus close to campus this summer. It also gave him an opportunity to document the historic change to university status through the camera lens.

“I feel great that I actually experienced Pikeville College, but I am excited about the transition to the University of Pikeville. I think other schools are going to take us more seriously. We’re getting more students and more students mean more friends and more of that university atmosphere,” he said. “With all the progress we’ve made we’re rising exponentially. It seems like nothing is holding us back.”


Kentucky Wesleyan receives $600K National Science Foundation award for underserved STEM students

The National Science Foundation has awarded $600,000 to Kentucky Wesleyan College to increase the number of academically talented and financially needy first-generation college students, women and racial/ethnic minorities to achieve success in STEM (sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers.

The award will support 39 students with scholarships of $6000 per year, 21 transfer students and 18 incoming freshmen. Kentucky Wesleyan will fully fund the remaining cost of tuition and fees of all participants through the use of federal, state and institutional sources.

KWC will focus on eliminating the issues that cause retention problems for STEM students by:

  • Providing individualized professional development plans that target a student’s academic and professional needs.
  • Linking students to peers, mentors, faculty and professionals.
  • Expanding experiential learning opportunities for research, internships, practical and relevant work-study through degree completion.
  • Facilitating student career placement by partnering with local and regional employers.
  • Facilitating matriculation into graduate and professional programs.

In addition, KWC will encourage community building among STEM students to increase retention and will provide a supportive environment through developing living-learning communities for academic and social support. The college will recommend that STEM students live in a STEM residential community during their first academic year.

The first 13 students will enter the program in Fall 2012.


Kentucky Christian nursing graduates achieve 100% licensure rate

Congratulations to Kentucky Christian University and the faculty and students of KCU’s Yancey School of Nursing. Their recent graduates achieved a 100% first-time pass rate on the rigorous NCLEX-RN national licensure exam.

From the KCU release:

Entering Kentucky Christian University’s Yancey School of Nursing (YSN) facility, located on the second floor of a building shared with King’s Daughters Medical Center on the KCU campus, visitors immediately notice that this is not a typical university classroom building. Emblazoned on the door to the beautiful and spacious facility is the motto of the Yancey School of Nursing: Our Ministry is Nursing.

Abby Beck, Dean of the YSN, states, “We take very seriously the charge to educate students to exemplify the caring, compassionate ministry of Jesus Christ. There are many fine schools of nursing in our region, but a KCU nurse is decidedly different in terms of the integration of faith, learning, professional practice, and the all-important aspect of servant leadership.”

While KCU is a small university, it is producing unparalleled results. YSN’s 2011 graduates have achieved something very few schools of nursing across the country have achieved: a 100% first-time pass rate on the rigorous licensure examination, the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

When asked how a small school like KCU is able to consistently produce such remarkable results KCU’s President, Dr. Jeff Metcalf, says, “KCU is wonderfully blessed with amazing faculty members who pour heart and soul into teaching and mentoring students. Dean Abby Beck and her outstanding colleagues are committed to excellence and students are challenged to be consistently excellent from the moment they begin their studies at KCU.”

The nursing program at KCU is notoriously rigorous, even being described by many as the most challenging program on the campus of KCU. “I am often asked,” states Dr. Metcalf, “why the nursing program at KCU is so rigorous. My response is always the same. It is rigorous because KCU is committed to nursing excellence!”

Yancey School of Nursing students enjoy tremendous employment opportunities, even in an employment climate that is generally bleak. KCU’s students, who complete a bachelor’s degree as opposed to the more common two-year associate’s degree, also attain advanced leadership positions at an impressive pace.

Learn more about Kentucky Christian University and the Yancey School of Nursing at


Asbury University expands online degree offerings

Beginning this fall, Asbury University is offering new online degrees to expand its services beyond its Wilmore, Ky., and Orlando, Fla., campuses.

Two of the programs, Criminal Justice and Elementary Education, are degree-completion programs in which students may combine Asbury’s courses with core education classes from other institutions to receive a bachelor of science degree. The other two programs, Principal Licensure and “Teacher as Leader” endorsement, offer graduate-level courses for educators that can lead to licensure, master’s degree or Rank I in Education.

Learn more on

Kentucky has record number of college grads in 2010-11; AIKCU degrees up 9%

Kentucky’s statewide focus on increasing the number of college degree holders continues to yield positive results.

An all-time high of 62,700 degrees and credentials were awarded during 2010-11, according to a preliminary report issued this week by the Council on Postsecondary Education.

The report shows total degrees and credentials awarded in Kentucky increased 11 percent over the previous year. Growth was strong across all postsecondary sectors at all levels.

AIKCU institutions led the state in bachelor’s degree growth. The independent colleges and universities saw a 9.6 percent growth over 2009-10 in the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded. Statewide, bachelor’s degrees increased by 6 percent.

Graduate education grew 9.5 percent across the state, with AIKCU graduate degrees increasing by 8.3 percent. While growth was seen at all graduate degree levels, new and expanded professional-practice doctoral programs at Kentucky’s public comprehensive and independent universities led to an 18 percent increase in the number of these advanced practice degrees in just one year.

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System’s associate degrees increased by 13 percent and workforce-oriented diplomas grew by 32 percent.

CPE President Bob King applauded the growth across all sectors. “These graduates will not only enjoy numerous individual benefits including the potential for higher lifetime earnings, but they will help meet Kentucky’s need to grow a more highly skilled workforce and robust economy,” said King.

King said he expects the growth in degrees will accelerate as Kentucky fully implements its new strategic agenda for postsecondary and adult education, Stronger by Degrees.

Over the last 10 years, AIKCU institutions have increased degree production by 66 percent, including 39 percent growth at the bachelor’s degree level. During that same period, Kentucky’s overall degree output has increased by 109 percent (led by extraordinary growth at KCTCS), with 40 percent growth in bachelor’s degrees.

AIKCU President Gary S. Cox said that the continued growth in degrees at independent colleges and universities despite the recent economic downturn is a testament to the institutions’ commitment to student success and to a stronger Kentucky.

“These degree numbers are indicative of our members’ continued commitment to providing high quality, affordable educations to students and to helping Kentucky reach our common goal of an educated workforce,” said Cox.

CPE will release its official 2010-11 degrees report in the fall of 2011.


Official CPE news release

CPE 2010-11 Preliminary Degrees Report

Spreadsheet: Total Degrees by Level

Chart: One and 10-Year Increases in Statewide Degrees


St. Catharine, Campbellsville and Lindsey Wilson collaborate on SB 1 Symposium

More than 70 faculty members and administrators from Campbellsville University, Lindsey Wilson College, and St. Catharine College assembled at St. Catharine on May 17 for a symposium focused on Senate Bill 1 and its implications for higher education.

The bipartisan Senate Bill 1 of 2009 is the most sweeping reform of education in Kentucky since the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) of 1990. Senate Bill 1 calls for higher and more rigorous learning standards to ensure more Kentuckians graduate from high school ready for college or career. SB 1 requires collaboration among postsecondary institutions, with an emphasis on teacher preparation programs but also involving arts and sciences faculty, to accomplish this goal.

Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday provided the keynote for the symposium. Holliday reviewed the steps that the Kentucky Department of Education, the Council on Postsecondary Education, and the Educational Standards Board have taken to implement Senate Bill 1 and discussed the critical role teacher preparation programs play in ensuring classroom teachers are able to implement Kentucky’s new standards.

Commissioner Holliday said that despite the complexity of Senate Bill 1 and the collaboration required to accomplish its goals, “Our vision is simple: every child must be proficient and prepared for success. And prepared for success translates to college and career ready.”

AIKCU President Gary S. Cox stressed to attendees from the three institutions that it is crucial for the independent college sector to be involved early in the implementation of Senate Bill 1, because the future of their programs and the success of their future students depends upon its success.

Other presenters during the morning session included Dr. Pam Rogers, AIKCU’s Senate Bill 1 Initiative coordinator, and Charles McGrew, Director of the Kentucky P-20 Data Collaborative. Rogers talked about the implications of Senate Bill 1 for the higher education classroom. McGrew discussed the development of Kentucky’s P-20 Data Collaborative, which when complete will link the P-12, postsecondary, teacher preparation/certification (EPSB), and workforce data systems to help policymakers and others assess the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs, among other things.

The afternoon was divided into four breakout sessions for faculty subgroups of teacher preparation, English, math, and other faculty to allow attendees to dive deeper into the particular implications of Senate Bill 1 for their disciplines.

The collaborative symposium involving CU, LWC, and SCC – a first of its kind professional development collaboration between multiple AIKCU members – was made possible by AIKCU’s Senate Bill 1 Initiative, which is in turn funded by a grant from the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. Under the grant AIKCU is charged with helping its members facilitate professional development activities that fulfill the requirements of Senate Bill 1. A portion of grant funds were allocated to support faculty development at individual campuses, while some funds were held in reserve for collaborative projects like this symposium. AIKCU will also facilitate additional collaborative opportunities.

To learn more about AIKCU’s grant-funded Senate Bill 1 Initiative, check out the project blog or contact Dr. Pam Rogers.

For more on the broad Kentucky postsecondary community’s Senate Bill 1 efforts, visit