Model of Engineering and Science Building
VP Jim King and I kicked this week off with an early Monday meeting to discuss next steps in some of our campus master planning projects, particularly related to housing and parking. Jim is very creative and always presents well-reasoned options for me to consider. I also met with Communications Director Dave Guerin to review and plan some strategies for university promotion. Ben Bledsoe and Bryan Yeates, the lead architects for our new engineering and science building, stopped by my office later in the morning to present me with a model of the new building. Ben reminded me that the design team includes 21 graduates of Tech, and they really put their heart into this project. They also shared that the project is ahead of schedule and will soon be ready to bid. With our recent student growth and demand for space, this was most welcome news!
After lunch, I met with one of our transfer students to see how he was doing in the transition. These kinds of meetings really help me get a better sense of the issues that students may face, and I am also able to offer a little advice and perspective along the way. Later in the afternoon, I met with all of the VPs to review our budgets and plans for a visit by a special guest later in the week.
Lincoln Parish United
Monday evening, I was most pleased to join in on a Ruston/Lincoln Chamber of Commerce event at the Civic Center called “Lincoln Parish United” that included brief presentations by various education and government leaders from across the parish. Having this kind of unity of support for each other and for our community is a huge step forward and I commend all who organized and participated in the event.
Tuesday morning, I was pleased to have a freshman visit with me. I met this student last year as a prospect and was pleased to hear that he is loving his experience at Tech. Following that meeting, VP Terry McConathy and I began a series of meetings with the academic deans to discuss the status of their searches for faculty hiring. This is a crucial time of the year for making decisions about hiring for faculty who would join us next fall and we are particularly challenged to make those decisions at such times of major budget uncertainties. A lot is at stake right now and I really hope that our political leaders can be expedient about resolving the state budget issues.
Late Tuesday afternoon, I was pleased to have a meeting with Louisiana’s Secretary of Education John White who was in North Louisiana visiting several schools and related organizations. I was glad to get to know him better and also share more about some of the great efforts being made by our College of Education to advance teacher preparation, graduate programs and innovative initiatives like UTeachTech.
He was well aware of a lot of the things that Tech faculty are doing, and I committed to him that we are very interested in building even stronger connections in support of k-12 education across the region.
Speaking to SGA and student leaders
Early Tuesday evening, I was thrilled to join SGA and many other students in Wyly Tower Auditorium for an update on Tech 2020 as well as our campus master plan projects. The huge turnout and the enthusiastic participation made me even more proud of our student body. They asked me some very good and challenging questions about various issues of interest and concern. These students are a major reason why Tech has continued to receive national recognition and has become a great destination for other high-achieving students. They are active and engaged in all aspects of campus life. Quite a few of them are student recruiters and tell their “Tech Stories” to prospective students every day. I hope that my presentation gave them a little more perspective on some of our exciting projects that are just over the horizon.
Packed room at the DAC for signing day
I used Wednesday morning to catch up on a lot of paperwork. Late Wednesday afternoon, I joined Coach Skip Holtz and his staff as they introduced their 2016 football signing class. This was the first time that this event had been held in the new Davison Athletics Complex, and the room was packed with Bulldog fans and friends of the university. I was pleased to hear about the new student-athletes who will be joining Tech soon. It was particularly enjoyable to see all of the coaches and hear them share their recruiting experiences and observations about the strength of this recruiting class. Congratulations to Coach Holtz and his staff!
Governor Edwards visits with engineering prof Dr. Mary Moore & her students
The major event for Thursday was a visit by Governor John Bel Edwards who came by campus as part of a north Louisiana tour. We hosted the Governor and a few community leaders at the Ropp Center for lunch and then had him meet with our leadership team in my conference room. We gave him an overview of Tech and those things that are both distinct and important about our role as a national research university for the State of Louisiana. Following that meeting, we gave him a very brief tour of our campus focusing on Tech Pointe and some of the companies that are partnering with us in education, research and innovation. We also walked him through our innovative “Living With the Lab” classlabs where students were actively engaged in activities. The Governor fit right in with the students as he also took engineering when he was at West Point. The Governor reaffirmed his desire to support higher education while acknowledging the huge challenges that lie ahead for the budget. I was most impressed with his commitment to get out and see first-hand what is taking place in our university and would love to see more of our state’s decision makers stop by to better understand the important mission that our universities meet for the state. Governor Edwards was very personable and wanted to interact with everyone that he met. Thanks Governor!
Tyler Summitt and Lady Techsters
Interacting with students in LWTL