From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice
2017: A look at Tech's year ahead
Happy New Year! In celebration of the new year, I thought that I would share with you some of my perspectives for what is in store for Louisiana Tech in 2017. Perhaps these are just predictions, goals, hopes and dreams, but they are definitely the things that we will be striving to achieve throughout this coming year. Above all, we are guided by our desire for Tech to have an impact – a national-scale impact – on those we serve across the region, state and nation. We are focused on creating impacts that bring education and economic opportunities that are as good as anywhere in the country, and enabling our people and our region to compete for even greater opportunities in the future. So, here goes: Growth… We will sustain growth of our student body, surpassing 13,000 students, while producing 2,000 graduates this year for the first time in Louisiana Tech’s history, and topping 100,000 total graduates over the history of our university. We know that growth of our student body is essential for Tech to be consistently competitive as a top national public research university and to be a magnet for talent and economic opportunity. And we will grow with increased quality and diversity.Value… Our faculty will continue to increase the value of a Louisiana Tech degree by providing unparalleled educational experiences both inside and outside the classroom. We will see more exciting interdisciplinary learning opportunities created by our faculty like the School of Design’s Design-Build Studio that has impacted the development of MedCamps, the Cyber Storm competition that has attracted great students and cyber companies to the region, the entrepreneurship program that has fostered innovation and numerous start-up businesses, and the College of Education’s collaborative efforts that have resulted in full-year clinical residencies and new approaches for developing STEM teachers. We will see other innovative opportunities such as those produced through the clinical experiences in psychology, speech and audiology, nursing, kinesiology, and other academic programs that provide real-life experience to our students; apprenticeships and internships with companies on our campus and in our community; research experiences for undergraduates; senior engineering design projects that have millions of dollars of economic impact for companies across our region; an aviation program that provides experienced pilots for the nation’s rapidly increasing aviation industry; and many more… We will continue to measure Tech’s success by the success of our students including increased graduation rates, retention rates, career placement, value, ROI, national recognitions, etc. O’ Tech, thy Halls so beautiful… We will complete construction of the addition to the College of Business building and start construction of the Engineering and Science Education building to support the growth of our student body and expansion of experiential learning impacts. Graduates from both colleges are in high demand and are essential for supporting economic growth of the State. Thy pleasant walks, thy noble trees… We will build new walkways with special attention to human-scale lighting to enhance accessibility, visibility, beauty, and safety as students travel from our residential and parking facilities to academic buildings or other core facilities. And we will continue to plant trees and enhance landscaping throughout our campus. That charmed me in my college days… Are ever dear to me…. Ten new residential facilities nestled in the vicinity of Adams, Aswell and Graham Halls will be completed creating new commons areas to support living, learning, and social spaces for student development. Further enhancements will be made to Tolliver and the Tonk to provide more dining options for our students. And, of course, new parking facilities will be expanded around the campus to support the demands of a growing student body. Education Impacts… We will begin expanding A.E. Phillips Laboratory School to support two classes per grade while creating new learning spaces for enhancing the educational experiences for AEP students while also supporting innovative clinical residency research and learning opportunities for our education majors and faculty. This should include some renovations to Woodard Hall and AEP. We will also expand our partnership with Lincoln Parish Schools and other school districts to create greater impacts on education throughout the region. Partnerships…. We will expand our partnerships with companies in our Enterprise Campus and along the I-20 corridor. We hope to attract a couple more companies to the Enterprise Campus, possibly requiring the addition of new tenant facilities since Tech Pointe is near capacity. We will also continue to grow our partnerships with companies like CenturyLink, IBM, CSRA and others who have made the decision to grow their companies along the I-20 corridor. Grand Challenges… We will increase the impacts of our research program by focusing some of our research and innovation efforts across campus on some of our nation’s grand challenges. This would include areas like health and wellness or “Improving Health Outcomes” where there are great national needs and where we have multiple academic programs across campus that can contribute to both academic and research needs in that domain. Another grand challenge is “Securing America’s Future in Cyberspace” which includes our academic programs in cyber engineering, information assurance, etc. Because of our proximity to and association with Barksdale Air Force Base, we are confident that we will expand research related to cyber and defense in support of national needs, and have formed the Louisiana Tech Research Institute (LTRI) as a 501c3 corporation in collaboration with the Bossier community to support that effort. Athletics Impacts… We will complete construction of the new Pressbox and Suites at Joe Aillet Stadium, and will host the most home football games ever in one season at The Joe (8 including a conference championship game!) We will have the largest ever total attendance at our football games for the season and are expecting to attract new corporate partners to our campus as a result of the suites. Our Lady Techster and Bulldog basketball teams will make some noise at tournament time, softball and baseball teams will make regionals, and other spring sports teams will be winners, bringing even greater national visibility to our institution. Community Impacts… Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker and local community leaders will take major strides in making Ruston an even greater college community. We will continue to work with the Mayor to bring more companies and more infrastructure funding to our community. I will ever loyal be… We will have more alumni and friends contribute to the University than ever before while achieving the largest ever annual funds raised to support Tech’s academic, scholarship, research and athletics programs. We will receive the first 8-figure gift in Louisiana Tech’s history. …To thee, my Alma Mater. I hope that all of my predictions come true, and we will not lose sight of our goals. We have a lot of challenges facing us, particularly with state funding, but I have never been more confident in our administration, faculty and staff and their ability to make things happen. There is a tremendous spirit of collaboration and a common sense of purpose, a purpose that focuses on the success of our students and the future of our State. And our student body is superb, contributing in their own ways to make this a better institution. On behalf of my team, I thank you all for your support and wish you a Happy 2017!