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Hebron’s Ben Brandstetter named chair of Council on Postsecondary Education; Kim Halbauer vice chair

Ben Brandstetter, of Hebron, is the new chair of the Council on Postsecondary Education, and Kimberley Halbauer, of Fort Thomas, is vice-chair.

The Council elected its leadership at its meeting earlier today at the University of Kentucky.

“It’s an honor to be chosen to lead the Council on Postsecondary Education,” said Brandstetter. “Outgoing Chair Zimmerman did an excellent job of guiding the Council through the selection of President Thompson and his first year, and I welcome the opportunity to build upon that momentum.

Ben Brandstetter

“This is an extremely important year for higher education as we work with the General Assembly to provide additional support for the state’s performance funding model and to secure $400 million in bond funds to support renovation and infrastructure needs of education facilities. By working together with all of our stakeholders, we will accelerate our goal to have 60 percent of Kentuckians with credentials by 2030,” he added.

Brandstetter, who replaces outgoing Chair Sherrill Zimmerman of Prospect, is president of Brandstetter Carroll Inc., a national architectural and engineering firm with locations in Lexington, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dallas. Brandstetter grew up in Lexington and attended the Georgia Institute of Technology where he received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He worked as a civil engineer in Raleigh, North Carolina, for a national engineering firm before becoming licensed as a professional engineer and returning to Kentucky to work at Brandstetter Carroll, Inc.

Halbauer is a senior vice president and investment advisors executive for Fifth Third Bank for Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky. She leads a team of 150 highly specialized investment professionals in the delivery of planning, investment management, banking and advisory services. Halbauer received her bachelor’s degree and graduated magna cum laude from Thomas More College. She replaces Brandstetter as vice chair.

Kim Halbauer

In other business, the Council extended President Aaron Thompson’s contract for an additional two and one-half years, or until June 30, 2023. The contract extension followed the Executive Committee’s thorough evaluation of his performance with input from state policy leaders, members of the Governor’s administration, key members of the legislature, university and KCTCS presidents, CPE board members and staff. Thompson’s contract was due to expire Dec. 31, 2020.

“The feedback we received was outstanding, and we’re extremely pleased to have President Thompson represent higher education in this state. Because of his proven strong leadership and performance, we are extending his contract two and a half years,” said Zimmerman.

Thompson added, “Serving as president of the CPE is truly a blessing, and I’m very appreciative to the board for this contract extension. I look forward to continuing the work with our campuses and partners to produce even better results for our students, workforce and economy in the years ahead.”

In other board actions, the Council:

• Approved six academic programs:
◦ Bachelor of Science in systems integration engineering at Morehead State University.
◦ Bachelor of Arts in business administration and a Bachelor of Science in urban studies at the University of Louisville.
◦ Doctorate of social work, a Master of Arts in applied environmental and sustainability studies and a Ph.D. in arts administration at the University of Kentucky.

• Accepted the Fiscal Year 2019 financial audit, which was conducted by Blue and Company of Lexington. The audit team reported no deficiencies.

• Approved the 2020-21 tuition-setting timeline and the tuition and mandatory fee policy. The timeline calls for proposed tuition and fee ceilings to come before the Council at its April 24 meeting, with action on each institution’s proposed rates to follow at the June 19 meeting. There were no changes to the tuition and mandatory fee policy.

• Authorized a memorandum of understanding between the Council and Morehead State University that provides nonresident students from specified states a tuition scholarship lowering their net cost below 1.3 times the in-state rate. Students must meet academic requirements, and no academically qualified Kentucky residents will be displaced as a result of the MOU.

The Council heard reports on Higher Education’s Return on Investment and from President Thompson and Interim Kentucky Education Commissioner Kevin Brown. Campus Good News reports were also available.

Resolutions were issued for former Eastern Kentucky University President Michael Benson, and outgoing Council members Donna Moore and O.J. Oleka.

The next meeting of the Council will be April 23-24 at Morehead State University. Meeting materials are available here.

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