From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice
A week capped off by a cyber storm
After several meetings with members of my administrative team, I was pleased to kick this week off with my annual presentation to the Faculty and Staff Club in the Tonk. The club is run by our faculty and staff who meet monthly throughout the academic year, having a variety of speakers and entertainment. I was pleased with the large turnout for my remarks which focused on budget updates, achievements of our faculty, staff and students, and near-term campus improvements. After lunch, I enjoyed meeting with Jim Robken, Director of Bands, to talk about the increasing interests of students in the Band. I also met with Dean Pamela Ford to talk about our scholarship program. Tuesday morning, I hosted a breakfast in the Ropp Center for several of our faculty and staff who have provided leadership in the fight against domestic violence. Later, I met with AD Tommy McClelland to review activities, plans and budgets for our athletics department. Late morning, I enjoyed a meeting with Lincoln Parish Schools Superintendent Mike Milstead and Dean Don Schillinger to discuss future collaborations between our organizations. We have had many successful collaborations in the past, but see even greater opportunities for the future. Finally, I welcomed a pop-in visit by one of our freshmen chemical engineering students. After an afternoon of budget reviews, Kathy and I attended the 2nd Annual Techspys in Howard Auditorium on Tuesday evening. This was a fantastic event celebrating and recognizing student athletes. I appreciate the efforts of our athletics staff in organizing this event, and it was fun to see all who dressed up for the big event. I was honored to present the Presidential Award to two outstanding student athletes, Katie Sloan (soccer) and Jeff Driskel (football). I was also pleased to have a surprise visit by Vernon Butler and Kenneth Dixon who were just recently selected in the top rounds of the NFL draft. Early Wednesday morning, I headed down to Baton Rouge to the State Capitol to attend a meeting of the House Education Committee. I was there to provide testimony for Rep. Rob Shadoin’s HB 989 which would provide autonomy to our system to establish non-resident fees. Currently, we are constrained to the SREB average for these fees, and they have increased so dramatically (250%) over the past several years, which it is significantly impacting our out-of-state and international student enrollments. I was pleased that the bill passed out of the committee without objection. We are confident that this will actually increase our revenues through increased enrollments. Special thanks to Rep. Shadoin for authoring the bill and advancing it through the legislature. We hope it gets full House and Senate approval. I headed back to Ruston right after the committee meetings so that Kathy and I could see the final home game for the Lady Techsters softball team. We enjoyed watching them wage a tough battle against Ole Miss, after which we headed over to Love Field to watch the baseball Bulldogs handily defeat ULM and sweep the season series. Thanks to all of the fans who have supported the Lady Techsters and Bulldogs all year. I believe that we have had a larger attendance at this year’s games than we have had in many years. On Thursday, I welcomed some cyber industry professionals to campus to explore partnership opportunities and to observe the 2016 Cyber Storm event in the Tonk. Cyber Storm brings together students in Cyber Engineering and Computer Science (and sometimes other disciplines) in a competition of cyber attacks and cyber challenges. These students work hard throughout the quarter to get ready for this event, and many of them stay up most of the night before pulling together the final pieces. The Cyber Storm event lasts eight hours and the student teams remain intensely focused on the competition throughout that time, only taking breaks to grab a handful of candy or a slice of pizza. Some of our industry partners sponsor the event and many of them participate as observers, advisors and even secret obfuscators who intentionally create code that is difficult to understand. This year, there were over 60 students competing and they all watched intensely during the final few minutes to see the scores tallied. Thanks to all of our corporate sponsors for your support and a particular thanks to our faculty who devote an incredible amount of time and demonstrate tremendous passion for serving our students. Here are some of my other favorite images from the week.