From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice
A week for leaders to address higher ed issues
This has been a busy year for accreditation reviews and visits. This week, we had an external team on campus reviewing our School for Human Ecology. This school has a long and rich history at the university, and at one time was designated as a College. It has had some outstanding deans and leaders over the years, and many of our graduates have gone on to highly successful careers. Included in the School are programs in Family & Child Studies, Fashion Merchandising & Retail Studies, and Nutrition & Dietetics. Our Early Childhood Education Center is also a shining star within the School. I am grateful to all of our faculty and staff who work so hard in preparing for these accreditation visits. I enjoyed visits from several outstanding prospective students this week and was so pleased that all of them have committed to come to Louisiana Tech. I had students from Houston, the Louisiana School of Math, Science & the Arts, Cedar Creek and Benton. It looks like next year’s class is shaping up to be another outstanding one! Late Monday afternoon, I drove down to Baton Rouge to attend a Gubernatorial Forum the following day, hosted by the Committee of 100 for Economic Development of Louisiana. It was good to hear all four of the major candidates speak and answer questions. There was also a session hosted by ExxonMobil focused on K-12 education and common core. Louisiana’s Superintendent of Schools John White and BESE President Chas Roemer each spoke about the compelling need for maintaining high academic standards for Louisiana schools so our students can compete globally. Finally, Jim Richardson of LSU and Scott Drenkard of The Tax Foundation gave an update on Louisiana’s tax structure and tax policies in other states.On Wednesday, VP Stan Napper and I went out to Lomax Hall to the Geographic Information Science Laboratory to visit with GIS professor Wes Palmer and Electrical Engineering faculty member Rastko Selmic. They have joined with professors in professional aviation to teach an interdisciplinary course on unmanned aerial vehicles. The team has created an outstanding laboratory full of different UAVs, kits, and accessories to support student education and research. It is exciting to see students from professional aviation, GIS/forestry and EE/CS working together as teams in building, testing and competing with UAVs. We have two advanced laboratories to support UAV education and research, including projects with the private sector and the US Air Force. I look forward to exciting future developments with this program and continued interdisciplinary collaborations amongst our faculty and departments. On Thursday, I attended a forum hosted by the Shreveport Bossier Business Alliance for Higher Education at the Shreveport Chamber. Senators and Representatives from Northwest Louisiana were there to address questions about support for higher education in the next legislative session beginning on April 13. Higher Ed Commissioner Joseph Rallo was a featured speaker as were ULS President Sandra Woodley and LCTCS President Monty Sullivan. They talked about challenges in Louisiana’s higher education institutions and what we are doing to ensure high academic performance continues during challenging economic times. Dr. Rallo was also the featured luncheon speaker at the Shreveport Committee of 100 luncheon at the Shreveport Club. After that luncheon, I went to a meeting in Bossier City with our Cyber Innovation Center colleagues. We are continuing to develop exciting plans for expanding of our partnerships in education, research and economic development. I flew out of the Shreveport airport late Thursday headed to Jacksonville, Florida to spend Easter weekend with Kathy, my son Bret, daughter-in-law Christy, and grandson Christopher. Bret & Christy are expecting twin daughters to be born at almost any time now, and we are looking forward to the newest members of the Guice family!