From the desk of President Leslie K. Guice

Balancing the Presidency

Oct 15, 2018 | Weekly Update

I had conversations with a couple of students this week who expressed an interest in having my job. It pleases me to know that there are those students who have aspirations to lead this institution in the future. Their dreams reflect positively on the leadership potential of our student body as well as their passion for this university. Being president certainly wasn’t something that I contemplated when I was an undergraduate here.

This week, I had a couple of personnel-related challenges show up on my desk that required much of my attention. Those are the types of things that make the presidency a difficult position, and as my mentor Dan Reneau often said in a tongue-in-cheek way, “provide me with growth opportunities….” Presidents have serious issues to address every day, and many decisions that I make can have a significant impact on our institution. So it is important that I remain thoughtful and deliberate about things that show up on my desk. Fortunately, my challenges this week were balanced by several great experiences in visiting with students, faculty, alumni, and friends, and working on some exciting special projects.

This is the time of the year when our freshmen are out about campus doing their First-Year-Experience communication projects, and several of them stopped by the President’s office to interview me this week. I also had several meetings with prospective students. These are some of those things that I like most about my job, and they recharge me when I get some of the other challenges that sap my energy. Fortunately, I have learned how to balance those things over the years and know that if I continue to focus on doing the right thing – if I treat people with dignity and respect and lean on my senior leadership team for advice – things will work out.

This week, I enjoyed participating in a ribbon-cutting for a new Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house just on the edge of our campus. Several of those fraternity members have also been strong leaders in other campus organizations. Also, Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker came by to speak with our faculty and staff and update them on all of the great developments happening in our community. We had a productive visit by an accreditation team that was reviewing one of our academic programs. And I also had a good visit with the leadership of the USAF Reserves at Barksdale to talk about their workforce training and education needs. 

Another energizing activity this week was meeting with the architects who are doing some preliminary master planning for the next round of student housing, parking, and campus core improvements. I am very pleased with their initial thoughts about next steps in our campus development – all focused on growth and student success.  

Kathy and I enjoyed closing the week out with some alumni and students as we traveled to San Antonio to watch the Bulldogs defeat the RoadRunners in a resounding way! I am now ready to tackle whatever challenges the coming week has in store!