A glimpse of Tech through my eyes
I have been writing a weekly blog post for the past five years with the goal of keeping Tech’s stakeholders informed about campus activities and plans. My intent is to let you get a glimpse of Tech through my eyes and personal experiences. It is an amazing place with amazing people doing some amazing things for the right reasons, our students. This week’s activities offered me great exposure to a broad spectrum of campus activities.
The week began for me in Nick Bustamante’s digital painting art class, a class that he is co-teaching with biology faculty member Jamie Newman. This is one of a series of courses that they have developed for a minor to provide our students with exposure to the high-demand field of medical illustration. This is one of the interdisciplinary opportunities that truly distinguishes Louisiana Tech. I thank these faculty for their dedication and passion!
Later Monday, I had meetings with parents of a current student, a prospective student, and a couple of freshmen who are developing an entrepreneurial product for addressing on-campus parking needs. These engineering and science students are planning to enter their product idea into our IDEA Pitch competition offered by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology. I was so pleased to see that our freshmen are getting engaged in these special interdisciplinary academic offerings that stimulate learning and prepare them for success in their professional careers. These programs add to Tech’s unparalleled educational opportunities.
On Tuesday, I met with a recent graduate who came by to tell me about her exciting new job offer that is keeping her in North Louisiana doing what she loves doing, and another student who was talking to me about her leadership activities with one of our student organizations.
Later Tuesday, I met with our research and innovation leadership, Davy Norris, Sumeet Dua and Ramu Ramachandran, to discuss plans for growing our research enterprise and graduate programs. After an exit debriefing from an accreditation team that was on campus, I headed over to our Bossier Center for a meeting with NW LA legislators, community leaders and higher ed leaders. ULS President Jim Henderson was there to provide an overview of our ULS Strategic Framework and our plans for advancing higher educational opportunities, educational attainment and economic prosperity across Louisiana. My colleague, President Chris Maggio of NSU, joined me in making brief presentations on the impacts of our respective institutions. Kathy and I attended the North Louisiana Economic Partnership Annual Meeting in Shreveport that evening.
On Wednesday, I met with a graduate student who came to Tech from Nevada to take advantage of our Psychology Orientation and Mobility program that is under our Institute on Blindness led by Edward Bell. I also enjoyed a visit from our University Senate leadership, Ernie Rufleth and Jeremy Mhire. After a meeting with a couple of professionals who are looking to develop mixed-use properties in Ruston, I made my way over to the DAC to hear Coach Skip Holtz and his staff talk about their 2018 football signees. Skip is continuing to build our program with high quality student-athletes, and he does an excellent job of preparing them for success both on the field and in life.
The highlight of the week for me was a Wednesday afternoon SGA Q&A session. I gave the students a brief overview of future campus enhancements and then responded to questions for about an hour. Thanks to SGA Prez Ben Rice for giving me this opportunity to interact with our student body. Kathy and I then headed over to the TAC to watch our Lady Techsters beat the Rice Owls in perhaps their most complete game of the year.
On Thursday, I had meetings with my VPs to discuss our fund-raising initiatives and campus developments. I appreciate the leadership and diverse perspectives offered by Brooks Hull, Jim King, Davy Norris and Sam Wallace that enable Tech to make incredible progress in enhancing our campus.
Later Thursday, Kathy and I had a Lagniappe photo shoot. Then I had a meeting with my Communications Director, Tonya Oaks Smith, who is involved in a number of projects including a redesign of the Tech website. Kathy and I enjoyed watching the Tech Bulldog basketball team defeat UNC-Charlotte Thursday evening.
Friday, I headed back to Bossier to meet with Craig Spohn, Director of the Cyber Innovation Center, about a number of research and education projects we are pursuing. Craig and the CIC have been incredible partners with us for over a decade. I also stopped by our new Bossier Center to visit with Donna Johnson who is directing our activities there. I also got a glimpse of the construction build-out for the 4th floor of that building. We expect to move in there this summer. And I enjoyed meeting with BPCC Chancellor Rick Bateman to discuss our partnership activities.
Kathy and I finished the day joining fans for the Bulldog Baseball First Pitch program on Friday evening. It was enjoyable to meet all of the new student-athletes and staff and to thank those alumni who are so supportive of our athletics program.
Here are a few pics for the week: