Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Gov. Beshear Orders Thorough Review of Proposal to Add University of Pikeville to State University System

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, December 27, 2011  
Contact Information:  Kerri Richardson
Terry Sebastian

FRANKFORT, Ky.-- Governor Steve Beshear announced today that a study of the advisability and feasibility of adding the University of Pikeville to the state university system will begin immediately. 

“The University of Pikeville meets a regional need for quality education in Appalachia, and the school’s growth illustrates its potential as an economic driver in the area,” said Gov. Beshear.  “Universities are economic drivers in their regions, producing well-educated and trained students who are prepared to enter the workforce.”

Many students attend schools based on proximity to their homes, said Gov. Beshear, and many will remain in the region after graduation.  The schools tend to attract highly educated employees, while also developing new research and partnerships with government and private businesses.

“However, a thorough review of the advisability and feasibility of including this institution in the state university system is prudent and necessary as we consider this proposal,” added Gov. Beshear.

The Governor’s Office will issue a request for proposals this week to hire a consultant to conduct the study. The review will address a broad array of issues including:

• the educational need in the eastern Kentucky region;
• the capacity of existing institutions to meet that need;
• the economic impact to the region of making the University of Pikeville a state institution;
• a review the financial resources needed to assure success of the University of Pikeville as a state institution;
• the impact of the proposal on the existing system of state universities; 
• whether the proposal would advance the goals of the Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997;
• and identification of transitional issues that should be considered including changes in policy, financial administration, personnel issues,  ethics and open meetings and records compliance, procurement issues, academic standards, accreditation, facilities and other related issues.

The state conducted similar reviews before expanding the university system to include the University of Louisville in 1970.  The study is expected to take six to eight weeks.

Robert King, President of the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) submitted a letter to the Governor this week identifying issues that should be reviewed and offering assistance in the review process.  President King recommended that the review be conducted by an independent party because of a potential perception of a conflict of interest, as former Governor Paul Patton, the President of the University of Pikeville, serves on the CPE.  As a result, the Governor’s Office will select the consultant but will utilize the CPE in the review process. 

The University of Pikeville enrolls about 1,100 full time students from 80 Kentucky counties, 35 states and 16 foreign countries.  Founded in 1889 by Presbyterians, the University of Pikeville offers a broad liberal arts and sciences education. The University of Pikeville is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate, baccalaureate and doctoral degrees.