Last week, the Out of the Box Tour continued in the western part of the state with visits to three colleges – Madisonville, Hopkinsville and West Kentucky.
At Madisonville’s Muhlenberg campus, I heard how important private investment has been to this campus. A common theme throughout all our sessions at Madisonville was the importance of fostering entrepreneurship and building on the success of the Business Synergy Lab. Looking toward the future, nearly every group talked about the growing need for online education and balancing online and on-campus offerings.
My first stop on the Hopkinsville visit was Fort Campbell, and it was great to hear from some of our military men and women as well as the faculty and staff. By 2022, they want us to enhance the services we offer our veteran and active military students to help prepare them quickly for jobs when their military careers are complete. There also was discussion during this visit about the need for more allied health career programs.
The last leg of the tour was Paducah. West Kentucky’s Paducah school of Art and Design plays a significant role in the community and is aligned with its vision to create a strong arts community or “artforce.” The college also plays a large role in the local economy and is a central component of the area’s strategic and economic plan.
While at West Kentucky I also enjoyed hearing from students who told me they’d like to see more help with interview skills and job placement. It’s easy to see why West Kentucky has been a finalist for the Aspen Award three consecutive times. The dedication and pride the faculty, staff and students have for this college is beyond compare.
Thanks so much to everyone at these three colleges who planned or participated in my visit. I had a wonderful time and appreciate your hard work and hospitality. This week, I’ll be visiting Jefferson, Gateway and Elizabethtown. I look forward to hearing more great ideas and talking with folks in each community.