1/20/2019
ULS NEWS ARTICLES

Today's News

University of Louisiana System

00 2019-01-18
Hammond

SLU Alumni Association seeks awards nominations


HAMMOND — The Southeastern Louisiana University Alumni Association is seeking nominees for Alumnus of the Year, Young Alumnus of the Year and Distinguished Alumni from each of the university’s five colleges.

Executive Director of Alumni Relations Michelle Biggs said the Alumni Association established its awards program in 1969 to honor outstanding graduates and to celebrate their achievements.

The Alumnus of the Year Award is given to someone who has utilized their degree to achieve outstanding accomplishments in their field on an international or national basis, Biggs said.

The Young Alumnus of the Year Award, Biggs added, was created in 2011 to recognize an individual age 40 or under who has already achieved outstanding success in his or her vocational field and has demonstrated a continued commitment to Southeastern and his or her community.

Distinguished Alumni awards from each college are presented to individuals who are notable among the best of Southeastern graduates and have used their degrees to become successful in their chosen fields on the local or state level, have demonstrated service to Southeastern, and contributed to their communities, Biggs said.

Criteria for each award, as well as nomination forms, are available online at southeastern.edu/alumniawards. Nomination packets are due to the Alumni Center by Feb. 1. Packets consist of a completed nomination form; a copy of the nominee’s resume, CV, LinkedIn Profile, or similar professional summary; optional letters of support from individuals other than the nominator, newspaper or magazine article featuring the nominee; or other items of interest.

Self-nominations are acceptable, Biggs said, and all nominees must be able to attend the Alumni Awards Dinner and Homecoming football game Oct. 11-12.

For information, contact the Alumni Association at (985) 549-2150.
00 2019-01-18
Houma/Thibodaux

Nicholls names head volleyball coach, adds beach volleyball for 2019


Kallie Noble has her work cut out for her.
Nicholls State University announced Thursday that Noble will not only take over as the school’s 11th head indoor volleyball coach, but that she would also lead the Colonels in the creation of a beach volleyball program, as well.
The official hiring of Noble is still pending approval from the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors, but expects to have everything settled in time for beach volleyball to compete as a varsity sport in the spring of 2019, according to a news release.
“We are fortunate and proud to be able to announce Kallie Noble as the newest member of the Colonel family and the head volleyball coach here at Nicholls,” Athletic Director Matt Roan said in the release. “We were intrigued with Kallie’s experience in the region and as a head coach, and we were impressed by her commitment to creating a ‘Championship Experience.’ At her core, Kallie is a teacher who will recruit, lead, and mentor the young women in our program to experience success on the court, in the classroom, and in their lives. I’m beyond excited to watch Kallie transform our program.”
Noble most recently acted as an assistant coach at Memphis from 2014 to 2017 and was the head coach at the University of St. Thomas before that from 2012 to 2014.
The Indiana native is also familiar with Louisiana after serving as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at New Orleans (2007-08) and Tulane (2009-12). Noble graduated from Western Michigan and earned a master’s degree from Lincoln Memorial University in 2008.
As the head coach at St. Thomas, Noble led the Celts to consecutive Red River Athletic Conference Tournaments, including an appearance in the 2012 NAIA National Championship Tournament.
With Memphis, Noble helped coach 17 American Athletic Conference honor roll players, three defensive players of the week and two all-conference players.
Noble was also on staff for Tulane’s run to the 2009 NCAA Tournament appearance.
“I am honored and humbled to be named the head volleyball coach at Nicholls State University,” Noble said. “I cannot thank Dr. Jay Clune, Matt Roan, Lindsey McKaskle and the entire search committee enough for this opportunity and for their commitment to building the Nicholls volleyball program. I am eager to get to know those in the Thibodaux community and share in the pride of their Colonels.”
Tied in with the announcement is that Nicholls joins Abilene Chrsitian, Central Arkansas, Houston Baptist, UNO, Southeastern Louisiana, Stephen F. Austin and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi as Southland Conference member schools with beach volleyball programs.
Southland previously announced it plans to host a beach volleyball championship event in 2020.
Currently there are four Louisiana schools with the sport, including LSU, UNO, Tulane and Louisiana-Monroe.
The beach volleyball squad will feature most of the indoor roster along with former indoor student-athlete Emily Weimer exhausting her final year of eligibility.
Roan previously said he was open to hiring someone without much head coaching experience in his fourth head coaching search in two years as athletic director in Thibodaux.
Noble inherits a program that lost its coach after one season when Jay Van Vark resigned on Nov. 12, two days from the conclusion of a 3-26 season.
Van Vark was placed on administrative leave on Oct. 23, according to the school’s athletic department, but the school didn’t give any reasons for the move and declined further comment at that time.
Nicholls assistant coach Chelsi Carter served as interim head coach while Van Vark was on leave.
00 2019-01-18
Houma/Thibodaux

Our opinion: State of the university is good and improving


Bigger and better.

That’s the outlook for Nicholls State University, President Jay Clune said earlier this week in his annual State of the University address to faculty members.

Clune pointed enthusiastically to the university’s current crop of freshmen – the largest class since 2005 – as evidence that the enrollment is going up. And he said the spring numbers should be larger still.

More importantly, though, he touted all the things Nicholls State is doing to improve the educational and social experience of all these students, many of them the first in their families to attend college.

“That’s a testament to the quality of work that you do after we admit students,” he said. “Everything our students need to meet life’s situations is not found on the computer or on the smartphone or even in the classroom, but on the sports field, in the locker room. They’re found in social clubs, in academic teams and in advocacy and service organizations.”

There are also physical upgrades to campus that will improve the college years of current and future students. These are primarily small, focused renovations to buildings that have long needed the work.

It is important to note that Clune and the rest of the university’s administration is trying to make Nicholls State better while fighting the continued financial constraints imposed by a short-sighted state budget that has forced round after round of cuts on higher education.

Clune has a difficult job to do, leading a university like Nicholls in such tough economic times. But his job is vital to the students, the faculty and staff members and to the larger community where Nicholls plays such an important role.

We in Houma-Thibodaux are incredibly fortunate to have in our midst such an impressive and important institution of higher learning. Our youngsters don’t have to wander far from home to pursue academic degrees. And they are still right here when they graduate, many of them ready to put their expertise to work in their hometowns.

Nicholls State occupies a vital place in our local economy and our local culture, turning out tomorrow’s leaders in everything from education to culinary arts. And the picture should be even brighter in the years ahead.

Congratulations to all the hard-working and dedicated education professionals who do so much with so little and leave such a huge mark on our region.

Let’s keep it up.

Editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper, not of any individual.
00 2019-01-18
Natchitoches

NSU to host Euphonium-Tuba Day Jan. 26


The Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts will host the NSU Euphonium-Tuba Day on Saturday, Jan. 26 in Magale Recital Hall.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. Events will be from 10 a.m. until noon and from 1:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. Euphonium-Tuba Day is free, and all events are open to the event which is being organized by Dr. Masahito Kuroda, associate professor of euphonium/tuba/sound tech at NSU,

“This will be a great learning and performing opportunity for euphonium/tuba students in every skill level from grade school students, to college students, as well as alumni and area musicians,” said Kuroda.

Activities will include masterclasses and performances by NSU faculty members including Kuroda, Professor of Low Brass Dr. Mark Thompson, Assistant Professor of Collaborative Piano Dr. Chialing Hsieh and guest artist John Caputo, an NSU Euphonium-Tuba Ensemble concert and the final mass ensemble with all the participants.

Caputo is a former euphonium soloist with USAF Reserve Band and USAF Band of the West. He is music director of Austin Brass Band. Caputo is a 16-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force Bands Program where he built an international reputation as a performer and educator. As a chamber musician and clinician for the Air Force, he travelled to top university programs throughout the U.S. with the U.S. Reserve Brass Quintet. The group is featured on Firepower, which has been featured on NPR’s “Performance Today” more than 40 times over the last 10 years.

Caputo was a critical member of the Georgia Brass Band where he performed as their solo euphoniumist from 2003-2010. He was featured as a soloist with that band many times, including a performance at the 2011 Southeast Regional Tuba Euphonium Conference. John has given additional solo performances at the Great American Brass Band Festival, the Mid West and Southwest Regional Tuba Euphonium Conferences and the Northwest Big Brass Bash.

Since retiring from active duty in 2015, John has become an active teacher and clinician throughout South Central Texas and Louisiana. He is currently the music director for the Austin Brass Band and the British Brass Band of Louisiana.

For the mass performance with all participants, Kuroda wrote a new arrangement of Wagner’s “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral from Lohengrin” for Euphonium-Tuba Ensemble with Bass Trumpets and Cimbasso, which will have its world premiere at the finale concert.

For more information on Euphonium-Tuba Day, contact Kuroda at kurodam@nsula.edu or at (318) 357-6305.
00 2019-01-18
Shreveport

Louisiana Tech earns two U.S News & World Report Best Online Program rankings


Louisiana Tech University’s online Professional Master of Business Administration (MBA) and online Master of Science in Engineering and Technology Management (MSEM) have been named to U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 list of Best Online Programs released today.

The online MBA was ranked No. 77, up more than 50 spots from last year’s rank of 131 in the nation. The online MSEM received a ranking within the top 100 of best online engineering programs.

“We’re proud that these programs have once again been recognized on a national level,” said Dr. Les Guice, Louisiana Tech president. “Recognition from U.S News and other publications validates to stakeholders the value of the educational experience we provide.”

U.S. News ranked programs using five categories: engagement, student excellence, expert opinion, faculty credential and training, and student services and technology. The 2019 rankings assessed 301 online MBA programs and 96 online engineering graduate programs.

“Our online MBA continues to be recognized for both value and quality,” said Dr. Chris Martin, dean of the College of Business. “Our graduate programs provide students with a relevant and innovative education from a nationally ranked research institution with a high return on investment.”

Louisiana Tech’s Professional MBA provides an interdisciplinary approach that prepares innovative and ethical leaders for success in today’s rapidly changing business environment. Accredited by AACSB International, the program is designed to provide a solid foundation in all business disciplines while integrating technology and innovation and exploring business issues in a global context. The online delivery method makes learning convenient for those who cannot attend a consistent class schedule and prefer to work at their own pace.

The MSEM program provides students with an understanding of mathematical, statistical, and risk modeling analysis. It includes systems design, engineering management, project management, and financial analysis to enable the graduate to be more effective in technical managerial and leadership roles in a business environment. The program consists of two concentrations: Engineering Management and Management of Technology.
00 2019-01-17
Hammond

SLU plans Martin Luther King Jr. remembrance march, program for Jan. 28


HAMMOND — Southeastern Louisiana University will close Monday in recognition of the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday but will celebrate the legacy of the late Civil Rights leader with a memorial march and remembrance program Jan. 28.

Open to the public and featuring remarks by outgoing Chairman of the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors Alejandro “Al” Perkins, the event is sponsored annually by the Kappa Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and the Office of Multicultural and International Student Affairs.

“As we live his dream daily, it is important that we never forget the sacrifice Dr. Martin Luther King gave so that we can all be afforded equal rights,” said Hendrick Foster, president of the Kappa Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha.

The event will begin with a candlelight processional, which will start outside of the Pennington Student Activity Center at the walkway underpass. The ceremony will conclude with a program in the Student Union Theatre that will include Perkins’ remarks and reflection on King’s life and impact.

“Mr. Perkins is a tireless advocate for students and his commitment to service is unwavering,” said Student Government Association President and Alpha Phi Alpha member Richard Davis Jr.

Perkins is partner at Hammonds Sills Adkins and Guice law firm. He is also an adjunct professor at Southern University Law Center. In addition to his leadership in the legal community, he is a Louisiana Arts and Science Museum board member, National Annual Fund chair for Xavier University, vice president of the Xavier University Alumni Association-Baton Rouge Chapter and a lifetime member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

For information, contact Southeastern’s Office of Multicultural and International Student Affairs at (985) 549-3850.
00 2019-01-17
Houma/Thibodaux

Nicholls president touts university’s achievements


Nicholls State University President Jay Clune today outlined progress the university has made and its future plans.

Beginning his second year as president, he welcomed back faculty and students during the Nicholls’ Convocation and State of the University address.

Nicholls had its largest freshman class since 2005 last fall with 1,301 first-time freshmen, Clune said, and the freshman retention rate reached a record high of 71.4 percent.

Clune said spring enrollment should increase as the university works toward its enrollment goal of 6,500 students by the fall of 2019.

“That’s a testament to the quality of work that you do after we admit students,” Clune told faculty members.

Student activity on campus is also increasing, he said. Participation in Greek life, student internships and campus activities — like family day and athletic events — are are at an all-time high, he said.

“Everything our students need to meet life’s situations is not found on the computer or on the smartphone or even in the classroom, but on the sports field, in the locker room. They’re found in social clubs, in academic teams and in advocacy and service organizations,” he said.

The list of projects on the agenda for 2019 all carry a central theme of promoting student collaboration, he said. The university recently finished “refreshing” the library lobby, creating a space for students to work together.

Clune said he plans to continue minor renovation projects throughout the campus this year, extending to areas in the student union, Babington Hall, Peltier Hall and athletic venues.

“We cannot renovate entire buildings. We must refresh the spaces and we must choose spaces strategically,” Clune said.

Some projects include:

⦁ Renovating the common area in the Bollinger Student Union food court.

⦁ Renovating the Plantation Suites and changing the name.

⦁ Peltier Hall bathrooms and lighting.

⦁ Converting the south side of Babington Hall into a business incubator and accelerator.

⦁ Opening a 3D MakerSpace.

⦁ Renovating Chabert Hall for athlete strength training.

⦁ Creating an academic center for student athletes in the library.

⦁ Expansion of Barker Hall.

The highly anticipated new Chick-fil-A on campus is also expected to open in a few weeks, Clune said, joking it was his highest accomplishment as president.

“Other presidents have the eternal flame, I’ll just have my name etched on the Chick-fil-A,” he said.

Many of the projects are being paid for through community donors.

“These projects combine university and community, with community supporting the majority of the cost,” Clune said.

The work done in the past year has “created an excitement within the community” that has led to more donors stepping forward, he said.

In the student union, one of the key goals is to create a hub of social interaction and collaboration where students want to be.

The 3D MakerSpace, equipped with 3D printers, laser cutters and other industrial equipment, is based on similar projects taking off in universities across the state, Clune said.

The idea is students interested in mechanics and engineering will have a place to gather and share ideas. This goes hand in hand with the university’s desire to add engineering degree programs, he said.

Babington Hall will be turned into a shared co-working space for as many as 50 to 60 people from the community, Nicholls Vice President for Finance and Administration Terry Braud Jr. said.

The almost 60-year old building will look completely new on the first floor, with movable glass walls that will encourage research and growth, Clune said.

Eventually, the second and third floors of the building could be used for private business development space, Braud said.

The university is also working on a 25-year master plan with Duplantis Design Group. It will allow for better planning of new buildings based on traffic flow, aesthetics and an overall vision.

As the campus continues to grow, both in size and numbers, the administration will use the plan to better map out any new projects, Braud said.

“We’ve become the first choice for a lot of students on campus,” Clune said, encouraging anyone who hasn’t seen the campus in a while to come visit.

Students will begin returning to campus this weekend. Spring semester classes begin Tuesday.

Staff Writer Julia Arenstam can be reached at 448-7636 or julia.arenstam@houmatoday.com. Follow her on Twitter at @JuliaArenstam.
00 2019-01-17
Lafayette

One-third of college students are from rural areas. They face specific challenges, and schools are recognizing that


How do I fill out the FAFSA? What is a Pell Grant? Do I have to get a meal plan? How do I pay for housing?

Students move in to residences at Louisiana State University on Aug. 12 for the fall 2018 semester.
Students move in to residences at Louisiana State University on Aug. 12 for the fall 2018 semester. (Photo: Eddy Perez/LSU Strategic Communications)

You might not know these answers if you haven't been in college in a while or if you're the first one in your family to consider it. Or you might go to a tiny school without a guidance counselor or someone to tell you higher education is a possibility.

About one-third of college students across the country are from rural areas, according to 2015 data from the National Center for Education Statistics, and many fall into these categories.

People like Becky Durocher are trying to aniticipate their questions and provide answers.

"For rural students, the challenges are real," said Durocher, director of admissions at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux.

She said they could be at a high school that isn't fully staffed, meaning fewer people wearing more hats and less likely to be able to advise every student on life after high school.

The students might not know anything about college choice, that college is an option for them or that financial aid can be for everyone, she said.

"Financial aid was the big thing we didn't understand," said Bienelyn Brown, who is from the West Bank of New Orleans.

This was unfamiliar territory for her family, "because my mom never had to do any of that stuff," Brown said.

She's the first in her family to go to college, often referred to as being a first-generation student or "first-gen."

Brown and her parents drove the hour and a half to Nicholls more than once to get help from staff on such things as filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or setting up housing.

"I was worried about housing," Brown said. "You don't want to take out a loan, but you know you might have to."

Who are they?
Although most schools don't have a specific data set on rural students, combining enrollment and population figures helps to paint a picture.

Thirty-five of Louisiana's 64 parishes are classified as rural, according to 2014 data from the Louisiana Department of Health.

And the UL System has students from all of them — more than 21,000 from rural parishes, according to 2017 enrollment figures. That's about 23 percent of the system's almost 92,000 students.

And many of them, like Brown, are the first in their families to pursue education after high school. Her freshman class at Nicholls in Thibodaux is 63 percent first-gen. That's more than 800 of its 1,301 full-time freshmen.

MORE:Business leaders make case for increasing educational attainment

In a less-populated but heavily industrial area of Louisiana, the school has seen similar percentages of first-gen students for years, said Jerad David, director of University Marketing and Communications at Nicholls.

"The number of first-generation students we have is astounding," David said.

That number has remained high because, for years, people could go straight from high school to a well-paying job in oil and gas, farming or another industry. That isn't always the case today. With changing markets and evolving technology, many of those jobs don't exist or require more training.

Navigating college can be hard, even if your parents went before you.

Stewart Lockett's parents went to college in Baton Rouge, where he would eventually move for higher education. They attended Southern University and experienced a smaller and different environment than he would encounter at the state's biggest university in 2015.

"There were tons of challenges I wasn't prepared for at LSU," said Lockett, now a senior and student body president of Louisiana State University.

The challenges are many.
Data show that rural high-schoolers are less likely than their urban and suburban counterparts to go straight to college, a factor that can impact completion.

Fifty-nine percent of rural high school graduates go straight to college, compared to 62 percent of urban and 67 percent of suburban high school graduates, according to 2015 data from the National Student Clearinghouse.

Stewart Lockett, 22, is a New Iberia native and student body president at Louisiana State University. He will graduate in May with a degree in biological engineering.
Stewart Lockett, 22, is a New Iberia native and student body president at Louisiana State University. He will graduate in May with a degree in biological engineering. (Photo: LSU Office of Academic Affairs)

Lockett experienced a bit of culture shock when he moved to the state capital, a challenge that that eventually helped him grow as a person.

Baton Rouge is about seven times bigger than his hometown of New Iberia, but it is also much more diverse, especially on campus.

He attended high school with about 1,500 students, who primarily were either black or white, he said.

"Some of the big ones were social differences," he said. "The climate and voice was different ... and there was the exposure to a lot of things not in high school, like nontraditional students. That includes transgender students, veterans, older students."

Charles McClintock III also moved to a bigger city than his hometown when he went away to college.

He graduated with 41 classmates at Logansport High School in 2015 and now is a senior at Northwestern State in Natchitoches. Its population is more than 18,000, compared to Logansport's 1,550.

MORE: 7 ways the UL System impacts Louisiana's economy | Woman in active labor crosses stage to graduate college

"We've drawn some good students out of really tiny schools," said Jana Lucky, director of enrollment management at Northwestern. "We get students from almost every parish in the state, and some parishes are really small."

That doesn't happen by accident. Lucky and her team of nine recruiters seek them out. Each recruiter has a "territory" and a mission to visit every school within it.

"We believe there is a diamond in every rough," Lucky said. "We don't just go to the big schools. ... We believe everyone should have access."

Northwestern also brings students to campus to see it for themselves.

The university had 50 students from rural Sabine and Red River parishes on campus in July.

Northwestern State University (NSU) and Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA), A program of the Board of Regents, partnered to host a Louisiana GEAR UP (LA GEAR UP) summer camp from Monday, July 23, 2018 through Friday, July 27, 2018.
Northwestern State University (NSU) and Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA), A program of the Board of Regents, partnered to host a Louisiana GEAR UP (LA GEAR UP) summer camp from Monday, July 23, 2018 through Friday, July 27, 2018. (Photo: Courtesy of LOSFA)

Louisiana GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) offers a summer camp that connects teenagers with university recruiting, financial aid, admissions, academic departments and student support staff.

"Many of the students from rural areas don't get the opportunity to see this," said Elizabeth Sanchez, regional coordinator for the Louisiana Office for Student Financial Assistance. LOSFA and NSU sponsored the camp.

Camp leaders are hoping to take some of the bad surprises out of going to college at 18, and being on your own for the first time. That can be a lot for any student to handle at one time.

"A lot of times, the challenge is they want to go to college and don't necessarily expect how big it is or how many people there are," Sanchez said. "They end up going and are in shock."

Steven Gruesbeck, director of the Office of Service-Learning at NSU, said the camp teaches students how to navigate processes like applications and financial aid while also showing prospective students "who we are and how we can help them achieve their academic and career goals."

"This information makes them stronger applicants," Gruesbeck said. "We hope that when it is time for our campers to apply for college, that NSU will be at the top of their list."

The efforts seem to pay off for the schools, too.

"We probably have more students at Northwestern from rural areas than from about anywhere else," said Frances Conine, interim vice president for the Student Experience and Dean of Students at Northwestern State.

MORE: Is adult education the best weapon against poverty?

Northwestern State University (NSU) and Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA), A program of the Board of Regents, partnered to host a Louisiana GEAR UP (LA GEAR UP) summer camp from Monday, July 23, 2018 through Friday, July 27, 2018.
Northwestern State University (NSU) and Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA), A program of the Board of Regents, partnered to host a Louisiana GEAR UP (LA GEAR UP) summer camp from Monday, July 23, 2018 through Friday, July 27, 2018. (Photo: Leigh Guidry/USA TODAY Network)

Nicholls does the same with Tour Tuesdays Powered by Entergy. The company partnered with the university two years ago to cover costs for a charter bus to shuttle high school students to campus from a nine-parish service area in southeastern Louisiana.

The university has been bringing students to campus for years, but the partnership allowed efforts to ramp up, Durocher said.

"Many of these students don't necessarily have a mom, dad, aunt, uncle ... nanny or parrain who can take off from work and bring them to campus," Durocher said. "For some, that means not being able to put food on the table. Some were not visiting because they had no means or no support or no reliable car."

Being there can be eye-opening for students.

"It's the difference between reading an essay about Paris or being in Paris," said Durocher, who has worked in admissions since 1991. "One is life-changing, and one you might fall asleep."

They tour campus, learn about financial aid and admissions and all the how-to's. They talk to faculty and current students and see dorms and the cafeteria.

"You never know what it's going to be that makes the difference for a student, what will motivate them," Durocher said.

She said the visits have been life-changing for some students and their families.

"For many we hear 'I didn't think college was possible,'" Durocher said.

There's still work to do.
In rural areas, fewer than one in five adults 25 and older have a bachelor's degree, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service.

"When you look at attainment gaps in Louisiana, the rural population definitely is one of those categories," said Jim Henderson, president and CEO of the University of Louisiana System. "As part of our plan to aggressively boost educational attainment in Louisiana, we have to find strategies to better serve rural students."

That's why colleges are finding programs like GEAR UP and Tour Tuesdays to reach into rural pockets of Louisiana and show students that some form of post-secondary education might be for them.

If transportation is the issue, perhaps the answer is online courses and distance learning, Henderson said. But that's not always possible in rural areas either, as bandwidth and internet access can be limited.

Other supports are more process-oriented, he said, like scheduling classes that work with rural commuters' lifestyles.

Louisiana's public universities are spread across the state, many of them in or near rural regions.

"The presence of our universities in the midst of rural areas makes them essential access points for rural populations," said Cami Geisman, vice president for Marketing and Communication for the UL System.

Then there's recruiting and the emphasis on face-to-face interaction.

"Much of the area that Southeastern (Louisiana University in Hammond) serves is classified as rural. As such, our recruiting practices are intentionally geared to serve students in rural areas," said Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management Kay Maurin.

"It has been our experience that personal visits to schools in rural areas to meet directly with high school students and their counselors is beneficial."
00 2019-01-17
Lafayette

UL Lafayette alumna stars in "Vice"


LAFAYETTE, La. (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) - “Vice” is a movie based off of former Vice President Dick Cheney's time in office.

The movie has a Louisiana connection as UL Lafayette alumna Camille Meaux Harman plays political consultant Mary Matalin.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette said, "Harman credits her work in theater programs at the University and in Lafayette with giving her the acting bug."

"Vice" is the first full-length film role for the 1988 graduate of UL Lafayette.

Harman has spent time in Shreveport, New Orleans and Lafayette over the years.

The actress attended the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau.

“Vice” received multiple Golden Globe nominations and Christian Bale won for his role as VP Dick Cheney.
00 2019-01-17
Lake Charles

Artist Rabea Ballin creates her own sense of ‘home’


An art exhibit by Rabea Ballin, “The Reclamation Project,” is continuing through Friday, Jan. 25, at the Black Heritage Gallery.

Free and open to the public, hours of viewing are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday at the gallery, which is located in historic Central School Arts and Humanities Center on Kirby Street.

Ballin was born in Germany and raised in southern Louisiana.

She earned her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts at McNeese State University and her Master’s of Fine Arts in drawing and painting at the University of Houston.

While at McNeese she studied art history in Rome and Florence, Italy.

In a description accompanying some of her art for “The Reclamation Project,” Ballin states: “My interest in personal narratives began as a result of constantly moving around. Never having a traditional place called home, I have created my own sense of it and always brought it along with me. These are significant records of my self-initiated salvage operations and close examinations of personal artifacts. Never seeing art and collecting as mutually exclusive activities, the products of both are being archived through nontraditional printmaking in hopes of enabling informed personal identifications.”

Currently a professor of fine art, Rabea is living and working in Houston’s historical Third Ward community and exhibits her works nationally.



For more information, visit the Black Heritage Gallery’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/HeritageGalleryLakeCharles/.
00 2019-01-17
Lake Charles

Give all students fair shake


LSU’s relaxed admission standards don’t look so good, according to a survey done by the state Board of Regents. Students enrolled at LSU as “exceptions” had lower grades, were more likely to leave early and didn’t graduate at the same rate as those who met the required standards.

Athletes who were admitted by exception did better academically, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. The universities routinely provided tutoring, study halls and other services to ensure the athletes remained academically eligible.

LSU last year no longer automatically rejected applicants who scored too low on the ACT. The flagship university is supposed to reject most students who don’t score 25 on the ACT and have a high school gradepoint average of at least 3.0. LSU officials said more emphasis would be placed on recommendation letters, personal essays and activities outside academia.

Jason Droddy, LSU vice chancellor, said the university wants to see what a student “did over four years rather than how he or she did over four hours” taking tests.

What LSU is doing is called “holistic admissions,” and it has been reported that more than 1,000 schools in the country have eliminated standardized testing as an admissions requirement.

LSU President F. King Alexander said the university brought in the largest, most diverse freshman class on record. He said the class had an average GPA of 3.5, an average ACT score of nearly 26 and 18 percent of the class scored 30 or more on the ACT.

Richard Lipsey, a longtime member of the Board of Regents, was an early outspoken critic of LSU’s new policy. He said before standards were raised high-performing students left for other state flagship universities and never returned.

The Advocate in an editorial said holistic admissions don’t rely on objective standards like test scores and grades and that “may be getting a thumbs-up in the Ivy League, but at LSU, the flagship of Louisiana’s public higher education system, it doesn’t seem like a wise call.”

The newspaper talked about a similar controversy in 1985 when then-LSU Chancellor Jim Wharton set rigid minimum requirements that selected only higher-performing students. Former Gov. John McKeithen, a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors at the time, said Wharton was violating LSU’s tradition as a poor man’s university, a place where any Louisiana youngster could get a college education.

A number of members of the current Board of Supervisors support Alexander’s admission policy. J. Stephen Perry, a former chairman of the board, said the new policy would ensure that the university has every tool with which to evaluate every student’s potential to excel.

The Advocate in its editorial asked, “Now, what is the board to say if other campuses decide they want to emulate LSU and drop objective standards for freshmen?”

Louisiana Tech, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of New Orleans are classified as statewide universities. Their students must have a grade-point average of 2.5 and score 23 on the ACT. The others are regional universities that require a grade-point average of 2.0 and 20 on the ACT. Two-year institutions have open admissions.

The regents in their latest survey looked at students who were admitted in the fall of 2016 and 2017. They found that 2,315 freshmen failed to meet one of the admissions criteria set by the regents. The grade-point averages for those students was 2.0, which lagged behind the 41,580 students who met the minimum standards and ended the first term with an average of 2.7 percent.

Marty Chabert, chairman of the Board of Regents, said the current study was the first step in an investigation to see if the state’s public universities are following the regents’ admission rules and whether changes to the standards need to be considered.

When admissions standards were set in 2001, the regents allowed universities some flexibility in admitting students who don’t meet the standards. It’s 4 percent for LSU, 6 percent for statewide universities and 8 percent for regional universities like McNeese State University.

The regents found that LSU admitted the most students on exception, with 577 in 2016 and 2017 — more than the 524 enrolled by the three statewide universities.

Chabert said, “It’s critical that we understand the characteristics of students admitted by exception, but more importantly, how they perform. We do a disservice to students if we do not place them in the best environment to succeed. However, sometimes events make it difficult for our incoming freshmen to meet all the requirements…”

Whether holistic admissions are a good idea for Louisiana remains to be seen. Only time and experience will determine whether it should be expanded or abandoned. Meanwhile, if there are going to be exceptions to the current standards shouldn’t all the exception students get the same tutoring and other help athletes are getting?


00 2019-01-17
Lake Charles

Making it official at McNeese complex


Local and state officials were on hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the McNeese Health and Human Performance Complex on Wednesday night during the Cowboys’ Southland Conference game against Nicholls State University.
00 2019-01-17
Monroe

Mixed response to ULM tax


Ouachita Parish Police Jury President Shane Smiley says a proposal to levy a 5-mill property tax for 30 years to benefit the University of Louisiana-Monroe has generated an “overwhelming amount of negative feedback.”

A university official described some of the response to ULM’s tax proposal as “mistaken.”

Questions about the tax proposal have lingered ahead of the Police Jury’s meeting next Tuesday night when the jury is expected to vote on whether to add the tax proposal to the ballot during a special election this spring.

“Speaking from my experience and conversations with other police jurors, we’ve had an overwhelming amount of negative feedback to this proposed millage,” Smiley said. “There’s been very little positive response given to the police jurors.”

“We continue to contemplate what is the best thing to do,” he added.

ULM officials provided The Ouachita Citizen with a copy of a plan called “Vision 2031” on Tuesday. The Vision 2031 memorandum established the purpose of the tax and outlined some aspects about how ULM might spend revenues generated by the tax.

As previously described by ULM President Nick Bruno, the proposed tax would be used to improve the university’s facilities and programs in conjunction with the imminent launch of the new Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine on campus.

Hope Young, public relations director at ULM, said the university believed the VCOM medical school would draw more students, though specific enrollment estimates would remain unknown until the medical school opened.

“With the medical school being here in northeast Louisiana, we would naturally expect more pre-med students coming to the university,” Young said.

“Until that happens, we do not know how many will come. We would certainly hope that our local and regional people interested in medical school would come here.”

ULM’s Vision 2031 plan listed some $55 million in new projects. The Vision 2031 plan marked the first time ULM officials have specified how the university would spend any revenues from the proposed tax.

ULM approached the Police Jury about the tax proposal in December 2018, but no details were released at that time.

When asked about the matter, Young said, “We did not foresee that these details would be demanded, before it was even put on the ballot by the Police Jury.”

Young said some of the public’s opposition to the proposed tax were mistaken. For example, no tax revenues would be used to fund ULM’s athletics program, Young said.

“Some of the opinions expressed have been mistaken, so we needed to release more details to educate people about the purpose of this tax,” Young said.

Young also pointed out that the tax was not a “Police Jury tax,” though the Police Jury would levy the tax on behalf of the university.

Some objections to the proposed tax centered on the length of the tax’s term as compared to other taxes levied by the Police Jury, according to Smiley.

“I’m always going to support the university and I want it to thrive,” Smiley said. “A lot of people have complained about the 30-year term. The Police Jury does not have any millage for such a long term. We only have four taxes above 5 mills, and the term for those four taxes is only 10 years.”

ULM’s Vision 2031 memorandum describes the goal of the proposed tax as to “add and improve programs, research, and facilities that will attract students and faculty, as well as business partnerships that will stimulate the economy of Ouachita Parish.”

Specifically, any tax revenues would be used to establish the parish as a “premier medical and research community,” with new lab spaces as well as renovations of Caldwell and Sugar Halls ($12.5 million); an expansion of the Fant-Ewing Coliseum to include spaces for ULM’s nine clinics ($32 million); a renovation of Brown Auditorium ($10 million); and the awarding of some $750,000 in student scholarships and faculty research grants each year, according to ULM’s Vision 2031 memorandum.

“The tax would be paid by Ouachita Parish citizens, so the scholarships would be given to taxpayers’ children,” Young said. “Our money goes to Baton Rouge and we never see it again, but with this tax, they will see the fruits of the tax in their community.”
00 2019-01-17
Monroe

Tickets available for VAPA's 'Phantom of the Opera' at ULM


Tickets are available for "Phantom of the Opera," performed by the School of Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Louisiana Monroe. The show will be performed in ULM's Brown Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. March 21-23. A matinee will be presented at 2 p.m. March 24.

"Phantom," in the past 30 years since its opening in London, has been seen in New York City by more than 6 million people, and on tour in many countries.

The musical takes place toward the end of the 19th century in the interior of the Paris Opera House, on the roof and the labyrinth below. Christine Daae, a young dancer, is tutored in singing by the mysterious Phantom of the Opera, his disfigured face hidden by a mask. Her childhood friend Raoul, count who is in love with Christine, re-enters her life just as she takes center stage.

University of Louisiana Monroe logo
University of Louisiana Monroe logo (Photo: Courtesy)

Among the cast of characters enriching the story is the opera diva Carlotta and her singing partner Piangi, the opera house owners and performers both behind the scenes and onstage.

The all-student cast will be headed by Blake Oden singing the Phantom, Leah Huber as Christine and Jace Cascio as Raoul. Double-casted divas are Morgan Meyer and Taylor Witherspoon as Carlotta. Piangi is performed by Peyton Churchwell. Principals also include Gray Hall, Emmanuel Capers, Rachal Bouriaque, Morgan Rowland, Hannah Parker, Allison Newton, Kylie Daigle, Ryan Kersh and Caleb Norman.

The cast also includes Irina Polunova, Ashtyn Henderson, Ethan Dennis, Nicole Bou, Dovie Milstead, Breanna Gottschalck, Latiyara Faris, John Radcliffe, Gabriel Wright, Sand Bhatta, Landry Allen, Timothy Butler, Morgan Crosser, Alicia Guerrero, Hannah Atsedewoin, Brandi Pippins, Kara Carter, Gabby Ballew, and Huntleigh Foster.

The production is directed by Mark Ross Clark, the conductor of the orchestra is Deborah Chandler, and the production team includes Derle Long, producer; Justin Havard heads music preparation, Margaret Hall is the costumer, and Steven Burnside is the technical director and head of set construction.

Tickets are $15 general admission and $5 students and are available online: https://www.ulm.edu/vapa/ and at in the VAPA Office, Biedenharn 105 on the ULM campus between the office hours of 7:30 a.m. and 5 pm.
00 2019-01-16
Lafayette

UL Lafayette online bachelor’s, grad degree programs ranked in U.S. News survey


The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s online bachelor’s degree programs are the state’s best for the third consecutive year.

According to U.S. News & World Report the publication released its annual rankings Tuesday. UL Lafayette was No. 114 nationally on the 2019 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs list, and led all Louisiana universities and colleges.

The University’s online graduate degree programs in nursing, education and business were also ranked.

U.S. News & World Report bases its survey on factors such as student engagement, faculty credentials and training, student services, and technology and peer reputation.

The publication listed bachelor’s degree programs offered online by other Louisiana universities and colleges as well: Loyola University, No. 159; the University of Louisiana at Monroe, No. 217; and Nicholls State University, No. 242. Among the 85 schools tied at No. 246 were Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, Northwestern State and Southeastern Louisiana universities, and Louisiana College.

Several of UL Lafayette’s online graduate programs also were cited. Its master of science in nursing and doctor of nursing practice programs placed 65th. That’s up from No. 84 in U.S. News’ 2018 survey.

By delivering the University’s “rigorous and high-quality programs of study” online, the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions is meeting the need for highly educated nursing professionals found throughout the health care industry, said Dr. Melinda G. Oberleitner, the college’s dean.

“As national shortages of registered nurses, nurse practitioners and health care professionals persist, we remain dedicated to expanding our array of online health care-related programs to increase student access to quality online educational programs in the health professions,” she said.

U.S. News placed the University’s online education master’s degree in curriculum and instruction at No. 166. It’s the highest rating of any online graduate degree program in education in Louisiana, noted Dr. Nathan Roberts, dean of the College of Education.

“The curriculum offers practicing teachers enrolled in our programs exposure to a range of skilled faculty. The U.S. News commendation reaffirms the college’s ability to prepare candidates for teaching and to improve the instructional practices of veteran teachers as well,” Roberts said.

The B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration launched its online MBA program in 2017. U.S. News ranked it No. 153 in 2019, the program’s first year of eligibility.

Students enrolled in the online MBA program earn the same degree as they would in a traditional, face-to-face classroom setting, said Dr. J. Bret Becton, the college’s dean.

“The faculty and staff of the Moody College of Business are elated that our high-quality, affordable online MBA program has been identified as among the nation’s best in its first year of existence.”

UL Lafayette offers 16 online undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, and the list will continue to grow, said Dr. Claire Arabie, interim director of the Office of Distance Learning.

Two graduate-level programs – a master of science in computer science and a graduate certificate in cardiovascular nursing – launched last year, Arabie noted. “Every semester, we’re working with faculty to explore how we can give students more options and opportunities through rigorous online courses and programs.

“Online learning opens doors for those who wouldn’t be able to earn a degree otherwise, and gives us the opportunity to meet both student and workforce needs in Louisiana and across the country,” she said.

Learn more about University online programs at online.louisiana.edu/programs.
00 2019-01-16
Lake Charles

MLK celebration: Rap used as tool to teach black history


McNeese State University’s Student Life Coalition hosted a Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration on Tuesday featuring Brandon Brown, president of School Yard Rap, who goes by the stage name Griot B.

Brown said his stage name comes from the West African tradition of a “griot” being a historian and storyteller. A former teacher and school administrator, Brown said School Yard Rap was built upon his experience with seemingly uninterested and disengaged students.

“Students were bored out of their mind studying people who didn’t look like them,” he said. “I had a hard time trying to figuring out how to engage them as much as possible with the content and standards that I had to teach.”

When Brown began to match his content with relevant rap music and lyrics, he said he began to see more success in the classroom. It ultimately led him to create a curriculum and the company. “As an artist, I don’t want to just move your body,” he said. “I want to actually make you think. As you listen, it should elevate your mind. That’s how rap music was even started.”

Brown eventually moved into an administrative role, where he quickly noticed a lack of effective, well-rounded black history curriculum.

“They’re only learning one thing — maybe Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King Jr.,” he said. “Those lessons are good, of course. But it doesn’t give the whole story of African Americans.”

Brown’s lyrics seek to open black history to include ancient African kings and queens; African contributions to art, science and math; and how Africans continued to contribute to American society even after their treacherous journey in the Middle Passage.

“(Tradition) History is very one-sided. We need to know more about history. African Americans have been in this country since the beginning of it, and we’ve helped in every single way for it to be as great as it is.”

Understanding black history is important for all members of society, Brown said.

“It’s crucial that everyone knows about this because it dilutes ignorance,” he said. “I think hatred and racism stems from ignorance a lot of times.”

Austin Pottorff, McNeese senior and president of the Student Life Coalition, said Brown’s song, “Black Made That,” helped him learn more about the inventions by African Americans.

“I think it’s pretty eye opening because there are some things I just really didn’t know,” he said. “That’s really inspiring and cool to see.”

School Yard Rap’s curriculum materials can be purchased at teacherspayteachers.com .
00 2019-01-16
Lake Charles

McNeese Student Life Coalition holds MLK celebration


LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - On what would have been his 90th birthday, the McNeese Student Life Coalition held a celebration in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

“If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be at this University, I wouldn’t have met the friends that I have made," said Chelcee Gilliams, president of the Student Life Coalition. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today because of all the things that he has done and revolutionized.”

They brought in Brandon Brown, known in the music world as “Griot B” to help educate students on minority culture.

“I go around to colleges, universities, high schools and elementary schools," Brown said. "I actually teach about history using the rap music. I think our country is the strongest when all people are uplifted and can perform to the highest possible aptitude. We have to actually change the narrative.”

Gilliams says he talks about black history in a way that students can better understand.

“For the people of color, it gives them a sense of pride," Brown said. "It gives them a different direction to go to. It gives them some uplift. Those who aren’t of color, it gives them a different perspective that maybe they’re not getting.”

Cole Pharris, a freshman at McNeese, says having celebrations like this raises awareness.

“Living in Southwest Louisiana is really, it’s really difficult to see the positive connotations," Pharris said. "Martin Luther King does a really good job of highlighting the positives.”

Brown says his main goal is to educate, especially about positive minority roles.

“I think that can eliminate some ignorance in this country," Brown said. "Ignorance really is how a lot of negative things happen.”

To learn more about “Griot B” click HERE.

Copyright 2019 KPLC. All rights reserved.
00 2019-01-16
Monroe

ULM unveils potential tax proposal to local media


MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The University of Louisiana at Monroe is expanding its vision.


Courtesy: KNOE 8 News
On Tuesday, University President Dr. Nick Bruno unveiled the "Vision 2031" - a plan to grow the university through a proposed millage tax plan.

Bruno says the proposed property tax is five mills for 30 years, meaning for an $85,000 home an extra $5 per year, and for a $200,000 home, an extra $66 per year.

He says the money would renovate Caldwell and Sugar Halls, two of the university's oldest buildings. Bruno says they would become state-of-the-art facilities for research and would be able to accommodate more students.

Bruno also says the money would go to expanding the doctoral of physical therapy and doctoral of occupational therapy programs and expand Fant Ewing Coliseum into a multi-purpose complex no longer just for athletics.

That said, Bruno says none of the money would go toward athletics, the university's day-to-day operations, or the new medical school. He says this is the university's idea to grow and transform into a health sciences hub.

"Certainly I don't have a crystal ball, and I can't guarantee what's going to happen in the future, but I do know this - if you don't plan for the future, it'll pass you," Bruno said. "And that's what this is about."

The Ouachita Parish Police Jury is expected to vote Tuesday, January 22nd, on whether or not to put this proposal on either the May or November ballot. If they do, it'll be up to the voters of Ouachita Parish to pass.

Between now and election day, Bruno says he would be open to a public forum to show people where exactly their money would go.
00 2019-01-16
Monroe

ULM asks Ouachita Parish Police Jury to put a property tax on the ballot


OUACHITA PARISH, La. - UPDATE: (1/15/19) - Jeff Landry owns the only vineyard in northeast Louisiana.
He's taking a stand against ULM's proposed property tax.

"Not today, not tomorrow, never do we want to use our property tax for non public services," said Landry.

He's been vocal on social along with others who formed a new Facebook group -- OPPJ Accountability Partners.

"The people want no new taxes. It's an improper use of our property taxes. So to me it's cut and dry our jurors should say ULM you need to look elsewhere," said Landry.

However, Dr. Nick Bruno, believes the time is now. On Tuesday, he held a round-table discussion to inform the media of the plan.

The proposed 5-mill property tax would span 30 years.
Turning the Fant-Ewing Coliseum into a multi-purpose complex, improving Caldwell and Sugar Hall and major renovations to Brown Theatre.

"It doesn't go to the medical school. It doesn't go to the university's operation, it does not go to athletics. It is purely an investment in facilities to expand the programs and number of students we can operate as well as scholarships," said Dr. Bruno.

Bruno is hoping police jurors will let voters decide on the matter. However, Landry says he has only one hope.
"Dr. Bruno and other guys and businessmen who have put this forth and have proposed this property tax that they will actually withdraw it themselves," said Landry.

As of now the police jury is scheduled to take a vote next Tuesday -- to decide whether to place the property tax on the ballot .

------

(1/15/2019) The University of Louisiana Monroe is asking the Ouachita Parish Police Jury to put a 5 mills property tax increase on the ballot. However, some are pushing back against the proposed tax, asking the OPPJ to not even allow voters to consider the tax.

The Facebook page title "OPPJ Accountability Partners" appears to have been created this week to stand against ULM's proposal.



NBC 10/FOX 14 attended a roundtable discussion on ULM Vision 2031 with ULM President Nick Bruno. Below is the presentation the university gave us.

Presentation ULM provided to NBC 10-FOX 14 concerning ULM Vision 2031
NBC 10/FOX 14's Bria Jones attened the presentation, and will have more from both sides tonight at 6 p.m. and online this evening.
00 2019-01-16
Monroe

Want to become a lawyer? New Grambling State partnership could help


While the number of lawyers in America continues to grow, according to the American Bar Association the share of African-American lawyers hasn’t changed in more than six years.

Now, Grambling State University is partnering with the University of Iowa College of Law prepare and grow the next generation of black lawyers.

“From Thurgood Marshall to Barak Obama, African-American lawyers have made some of the greatest contributions to American policy and progress,” said President Rick Gallot of Grambling State University.

“Whether through corporate practice or public service, our students have the power to change the world with the right support. We are excited to partner and expose students to how they can make a difference.”

edu-grad.jpg
(Photo: Courtesy photo)

A Jumpstart for Black Lawyers: Is Law School for Me?

This March, up to 25 Grambling State University students will have the opportunity to answer their questions about law school through a “law school boot-camp” better known as the University of Iowa College of Law Bridge Program (ILBP).

Accepted students will benefit from:

Weekend-long training and networking practicing attorneys and professors,
Application assistance for America’s top law school,
An all expense paid trip to attend class at the University of Iowa College of Law (includes travel, lodging, meals, and course materials)
“Both Grambling State and have a long legacy of producing high-achieving legal and criminal justice practitioners,” said Karletta White who spearheads GSU on- campus IBLP recruitment.

“This year our students will get to not only experience the Law Bridge Program, but also hear from one of Grambling’s own who has walked the path to become a top-ranked professional.”

Alexander Lodge, a 2006 alumnus of Grambling State University, will address the 2019 IBLP participants and share his experience as an associate with Foley & Lardner LLP, where he is a member of the firm’s Chemical, Biotechnology & Pharmaceutical Practice.

For Students: Qualifications and How to Apply\

Visit http://bit.ly/gsuilbp19 or contact White at whitekar@gram.edu or 318-274-2526.

Qualified students must have:

2.5 GPA (any major)
All majors accepted
No judicial record
Interest in attending law school
Availability to travel March 29-30
About IBLP

The Iowa Law Bridge Program supports diversity in legal education and the legal profession by providing prospective students from underrepresented communities with experiences to help them learn what lawyers do the skills lawyers use and what law school is like.

Ultimately, it offers students the tools to answer the question: “Is law the choice for me?”

Online

Learn more at https://law.uiowa.edu/admissions/admissions-events/bridge-program.
00 2019-01-16
Natchitoches

NSU to host Double Reed Day Sunday


NATCHITOCHES – The Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts at Northwestern State University will host Double Reed Day on Sunday, Jan. 20 from 12 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall.

The event is open to oboists and bassoonists of all ages and will include a recital by bassoonist David Wells at 4:30 p.m. He will be assisted on the recital by Douglas Bakenhus on bassoon, Leah Forsyth on oboe and Chialing Hsieh on piano. The recital is free and open to the public.

Wells is a multifaceted performer and scholar who teaches bassoon and music history at California State University, Sacramento. On modern bassoon, he freelances with orchestras throughout northern California, frequently collaborates with colleagues in chamber groups and plays with the swing quintet Hot Club Faux Gitane. On baroque bassoon, he performs with Sinfonia Spirituosa, the Sacramento Baroque Soloists, Capella Antiqua and the American Bach Soloists.

As a music scholar, Wells has presented papers at the conferences of the American Musicological Society, the Society for American Music, the Music Library Association and the International Double Reed Society. He also serves as co-executive director for the Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition and Bassoon Symposium, a biennial event focused on equity, diversity and inclusion within the profession.

Wells holds degrees in bassoon performance and musicology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and previously studied at Florida State University and Arizona State University. For more information on Wells, go to davidawells.com.
00 2019-01-16
Regional/National

Online Education Rules Under the Microscope


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As the Trump administration this week convenes a panel of experts to consider rewriting federal policies around digital learning and innovation, the eternal tension between fostering experimentation and protecting educational quality will be on prominent display.

The process, known as negotiated rule making -- or “neg reg,” for those in a rush -- began Tuesday with a wide-ranging session on the role of accreditors in policing innovation. This Thursday and Friday, three separate subcommittees will meet concurrently, including one on distance education whose meeting will be streamed online. Those groups will convene again for another two-day round in February, and once more in March.

More From Inside Higher Ed

How an overhaul of the “50 percent rule” for outsourcing academic programs could work.

Recap of Tuesday’s rule-making kickoff session.

An overview of the broader goals for this rule-making session.

In an unusual step, the Education Department last week released proposals for amending rules it has identified as in need of overhaul. These documents will serve as starting points for discussion and could lay the groundwork for sweeping rule changes that would go into effect within the next couple years -- though recent rule-making sessions on other issues have failed to reach consensus, prompting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to propose her own rules.

“Inside Digital Learning” will be watching closely as major players across the spectrum of higher ed institutions, associations and related companies dig deep into policy and debate priorities. Many observers of the sector agree that current federal rules are confusing and outdated, as evidenced by the department’s recent decision not to penalize Western Governors University for appearing to fall short of the parameters for “regular and substantive interaction” between students and faculty members.

Disagreements are likely to arise, however, on how much ambiguity is permissible and what role the government should play in facilitating innovation. Below, we’ve outlined some key issues to watch.

Supporting competency-based education. Many institutions have invested in this form of teaching, which prioritizes the demonstrated accumulation of small chunks of knowledge in a flexible time frame, customized for each student’s scheduling needs and learning preferences.

But last time the federal rules were rewritten, CBE didn’t even exist, leaving institutions to draw their own interpretations of existing language around correspondence courses and “regular and substantive interaction” between instructors and students.

Distance Learning Subcommittee Members

Mary C. Otto, Campbell University
Jessica Ranucci, New York Legal Assistance Group
Merodie Hancock, Thomas Edison University
Jody Feder, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
Sue Huppert, Des Moines University
Russ Poulin, WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies
Rob Anderson, State Higher Education Executive Officers
Jillian Klein, Strategic Education Inc.
Leah Matthews, Distance Education Accrediting Commission
David Schejbal, Marquette University
Amanda Martinez, American University
Violating these rules could jeopardize federal financial aid for the affected programs. The Education Department’s inspector general alleged last year that Western Governors University’s academic programs fell short of the “regular and substantive” requirement -- but that phrase isn’t defined anywhere in the regulations, and if it were, the definition might have been too narrow for what now appears mainstream in the sector. Last week, the department announced it won't act on the inspector general's recommendation.

Bob Collins, vice president of financial aid at Western Governors, said clearer definitions and guidance are needed for online education, particularly relating to regular and substantive interaction. “We hope the negotiated rule-making process will remove any ambiguity,” said Collins.

Russ Poulin, a distance ed subcommittee member who serves as senior director of policy, analysis and strategic initiatives for the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, wants to see the department replace “regular and substantive” with a new term that allows for a wider range of interactions between students and “teaching teams” comprised of multiple instructors who fill different classroom roles. But Poulin worries that the existing phrase, however vague, has been embraced by consumer advocates worried about maintaining quality standards for classroom instruction. Those groups oppose any appearance of abandoning the term, Poulin said.

“They’ve placed this one measure on a pedestal that is much higher than it should be,” Poulin said. “If it really was that great at preventing fraud, then why do we have all these programs that, using this definition, have still had lots of fraud? I think it’s been proven ineffective.”

On the other hand, permitting unchecked innovation or deferring decisions around innovation to regional accreditors could lead to other problems, according to Michael Horn, a senior partner at Entangled Solutions, a higher education consultancy.

“Accreditors can have different rules, play favorites with different institutions,” Horn said. “You can imagine a lot of unevenness and chaos playing out as well.”

Encouraging innovation without opening the door to bad actors. Both the Education Department and many members of the distance education committee want to give institutions more flexibility to experiment with new models of teaching and assessment, said David Schejbal, vice president and chief of digital learning at Marquette University and a distance education subcommittee member. But how to do that, without endangering students or taxpayer money, is an open question, he said.

Redefining “regular and substantive” interactions, the credit hour, gainful employment and even "distance education" itself provides an opportunity for positive change, said Schejbal. Competency-based education, for example, is focused on student outcomes, yet the regulation focuses largely on inputs such as the quantity of instruction provided to students, not its quality. “There’s a disconnect that makes it difficult to develop new programs,” he said.

Some institutions see the federal definition of a credit hour adopted by the Obama administration -- one hour of instruction plus two hours of additional student work each week for the duration of a semester -- as restrictive. “We have a long history of using 'time spent on a task' as the measure of learning and the criterion for financial aid,” Schejbal said. “We might not like the current structure, but there is no obvious better structure on hand. Finding a new currency would be very difficult.”

How to Follow Along

Subcommittees will meet from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 17 and 18, Feb. 12 and 13, and March 11 and 12. Meetings are closed to in-person guests but will be live-streamed.

New definitions of regular and substantive interaction, the credit hour and distance education, in combination with proposed changes to accreditation, are a concern for Deb Bushway, a competency-based education consultant. If the department encourages the creation of more nimble accreditation agencies, each with the power to create its own requirements for regular and substantive interactions, there is “a deep potential for a race to the bottom,” said Bushway.

“I am totally in support of innovation, I want things to move forward, but we have to do things in a responsible way so that we maintain quality,” said Bushway. “I am worried that the combination of these changes could throw the doors wide-open for bad players to enter -- harming students and damaging the reputation of distance education.”

Both Schejbal and Bushway said they want to see pilots conducted to test the impact of proposed changes on student outcomes. While the department can create experimental sites, these often don’t go far enough, said Bushway. Demonstration projects, which would need to be authorized by Congress, would be a good way of testing changes “without throwing the doors wide-open,” she said.

Clearing up confusion over state authorization. The DeVos Education Department has already delayed the implementation of Obama-era state-authorization rules that would require online education providers to disclose whether they are approved to operate in every state where they enroll students. But the department could go even further -- eliminating the need for online programs to be authorized by states at all.

Rob Anderson, a subcommittee member and president of the State Higher Education Executive Officers association, is prioritizing state authorization as an issue ripe for new ideas.

“I’ve worked in three different state systems, and it can be confusing at times, trying to discern what is allowable and what isn’t regarding rules pertaining to financial aid,” Anderson said. “Further clarity on that front would be greatly appreciated while at the same time protecting the quality of the degree.”

In addition to substance, expect some process concerns. Nothing’s more fun than arguing about how best to argue. But that’s exactly what could happen this week. Several distance ed subcommittee members told “Inside Digital Learning” they’re surprised to see relatively little overlap in membership between the subcommittees and the main committee to which they’ll report. A representative of SHEEO lobbied the department on Tuesday for inclusion on the main committee.

There’s little doubt upcoming debates will be feisty, but will they lead anywhere productive? The consensus seems mixed so far, as some observers think the department has put too many daunting tasks on the agenda. Others have argued that the department’s goals ought to be handled with legislation in Congress rather than rule making from the executive branch.

Spiros Protopsaltis, director of George Mason University’s Center for Education Policy and Evaluation and a former staffer at the Education Department and in Congress, sees the Trump administration's proposed rules as “another step in the deregulation agenda that uses innovation as an excuse for lowering the protections of students and taxpayers,” he said.

Distance ed subcommittee members said they’re hoping for more clarity on the department’s seemingly competing goals for accreditors -- giving them more control over innovation but in some cases limiting their scope.

Despite the uncertainty, key players in the field gathering in one room means more open discussion of the sector’s challenges, according to Poulin.

“Some of it is so important but so down in the weeds. It still affects faculty and students on an everyday basis,” Poulin said. “We may be able to make some progress on some of those issues.”
00 2019-01-15
Baton Rouge

Grades, grad rates lag for collegians who don't meet admission standards; athletes are exception


In a first look at college freshmen admitted without meeting minimum standards, the Board of Regents found Monday that students enrolled by “exception” had lower grades, were more likely to leave early and didn’t graduate at the same rate as those who met the criteria.

The survey also found that athletes admitted by exception did better academically.

Board of Regents Study on Admissions
Board of Regents Study on Admissions
Looking at students admitted in the Fall of 2016 and 2017, the Regents determined that 2,315 freshmen failed to meet one of the minimum admissions criteria set by the Regents. The grade point averages for those students, which averaged 2.0, lagged behind the 41,580 students who met the minimum standards and ended the first term with an average 2.7 percent.

About two-thirds of those admitted by exception in 2016 returned for classes in 2017, compared to 82 percent of the regular admitted students. And 32 percent of the exception students from 2010 and 2011 graduated in six years while half of the regular admitted students did, according to the report.

“It’s critical that we understand the characteristics of students admitted by exception, but more importantly, how they perform,” Regents Chairman Marty Chabert said. “We do a disservice to students if we do not place them in the best environment to succeed. However, sometimes life events make it difficult for our incoming freshman to meet all the requirements.”

Chabert said this study was the first step in an investigation to see if the state’s public universities are following the Regents admission rules and whether changes to the standards need to be considered. The 16-member board oversees policies for all 14 of the state’s public four-universities.

“We’re going to do whatever we do when we have the data in hand,” Chabert said in an interview after the Regents met Monday.

The report was requested by a state Senate resolution and was spurred by the revelation that LSU was no longer rejecting applications of students who failed to meet a minimum score on college board tests, such as the ACT.

In the controversy that ensued, LSU President F. King Alexander reported that the flagship campus in Baton Rouge had admitted almost twice as many exception students as allowed by the Regents. In setting the criteria in 2001, the Regents allowed universities some flexibility in admitting students who don’t meet the standards: 4 percent for LSU; 6 percent for state universities, like University of New Orleans and the University of Louisiana in Lafayette; and 8 percent for regional institutions like Southern University and Southeastern Louisiana University.

LSU President F. King Alexander disputes authority of state Board of Regents on ACT flap
LSU President F. King Alexander disputes authority of state Board of Regents on ACT flap
Critics claimed LSU is letting in unqualified students. Alexander countered that a more comprehensive look – called holistic admissions – that relies on essays and a look at the student’s life has been adopted by most of the major universities in the country.

LSU admitted the most students on exception, with 577 in 2016 and 2017 – more than the 524 enrolled by the three statewide universities, according to the Regents report.

About 75 percent of the students admitted by exception did not meet the minimum ACT composite score and 43 percent did not meet the minimum grade point average.

Each of level – flagship, statewide and regional universities – have their own admissions standards. LSU is supposed to admit only students who scored at least a 25 on the ACT, which has a top score of 36, or a grade point average above 3.0 on a scale of 4. Freshmen enrolled at the statewide universities need to score at least 23 on the ACT or have a 2.5 GPA in core courses. The Regents standards for regional universities is a 20 on the ACT and a 2.0 GPA.

The standards also require a minimum ACT score on the English and Math sections plus successful completion of 19 units from a core curriculum that includes English, math and science.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards wants higher ed officials to discuss college admissions
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards wants higher ed officials to discuss college admissions
While this first report looked only at students who were enrolled without meeting the minimum ACT or grade point averages, the only sure exceptions were the 770, or 33 percent, who didn’t complete the core curriculum in high school. Deputy Commissioner Larry Tremblay, whose department conducted the analysis, said the second stage will drill down further to determine what roles the ACT scores and GPAs played in admitting students on exception.

Tremblay’s personal observation was that report showed that high school preparation was the best predicter of performance on the college level. But one role of the state’s public universities is to provide education to populations that have historically had less access to higher education.

The findings for the athletes admitted with exceptions to the Regents minimum admission standards underscored the need for the university to support those students. The institutions routinely provide tutoring, study halls and other services to ensure the athletes remain academically eligible, said Regent Collis Temple III, who played basketball for LSU from 1999 to 2002.

Athletes who didn’t meet the admission standards finished their first term with 2.4 grade point averages and 81 percent returned the following year, according to the study.
00 2019-01-15
Houma/Thibodaux

Local officials begin service on higher-ed boards


Two local officials have begun their six-year terms on Louisiana higher-education boards.

Gov. John Bel Edwards appointed Lafourche Parish District Attorney Kristine Russell to the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors.

Edwards also appointed Terrebonne Parish Councilwoman Arlanda Williams to the Southern University Board of Supervisors.

Both were sworn into office Friday.

Russell and Williams are the only representatives from Lafourche and Terrebonne on their respective boards.

Russell, a Nicholls alumna, represents the state’s 6th Congressional District on the board. She is the first female district attorney elected in Lafourche and one of only a few in the state.

“I am both honored and humbled to have been appointed to the UL System Board of Supervisors. I have dedicated my life and career to the service of others, as a prosecutor and now as your District Attorney. This appointment is another opportunity to continue that service to our community,” Russell said in a statement today.

Russell graduated from Nicholls in 1993 with a degree in psychology and minor in government. She graduated from the LSU Law Center in 1996.

“The fundamental mission of the system is to emphasize teaching, research and community service in an effort to enhance the quality of life for those in our community and across the state. As a graduate of Nicholls State University and LSU Law School, I am acutely aware of the importance of Louisiana’s public university system to our communities and to our state. I look forward to working with my fellow board members to promote the system’s mission,” Russell said.

Russell returned to Nicholls from 2000 to 2008 as an adjunct professor of family law.

“I’m very excited that Kristine will be representing the Bayou Region and Nicholls State University on the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors,” Nicholls President Jay Clune said in a statement today. “She was a first-generation college student when she enrolled at Nicholls, and now she is the first female district attorney in Lafourche Parish. Who better to represent the value of higher education than her?”

The University of Louisiana System includes Grambling, Louisiana Tech, McNeese, Nicholls, Northwestern, Southeastern, University of Louisiana Lafayette, University of Louisiana Monroe and University of New Orleans.

The UL Board onsists of 16 representatives, 15 of which are appointed by the governor and one student member selected by the the UL System Student Government Association.

Williams, an alumna of Southern University New Orleans, was the first woman, and the first black woman, to be named Terrebonne Parish Council chair, a position she has held four times, including this year.

Williams is serving her third consecutive four-year term on the council. Term limits require her to leave the post after her latest term expires Dec. 31.

Williams graduated from Southern University in New Orleans with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s in criminal justice. She is a 2014 graduate of Southern University Baton Rouge with an executive master of public administration. She is a vice chancellor of Delgado Community College in New Orleans.

Williams represents the 1st Congressional District on the Southern board.

The Southern University System -- the only historically black university system in the country — oversees campuses in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Shreveport. The board consists of two members from each of the state’s congressional districts, three at-large members and one student representative.

Williams couldn’t be reached for comment today.
00 2019-01-15
Lafayette

New Iberia native named chair of UL System Board


A New Iberia native will be presiding over the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System after Mark Romero was sworn in as chairman recently.

Romero, born and raised in New Iberia, works full-time as an insurance agent for Brown and Brown of Louisiana, overseeing the company’s various operations in Louisiana and Mississippi. He is based in Lafayette but has an office in New Iberia as well.

Romero has served on the state board for six years, and has been vice-chairman for the past two. Although he couldn’t say he was surprised by the appointment, he definitely said it was an honor and looks forward to the goals and mission of the board in the years to come.

What’s your history with the UL System?

Obviously I was appointed to the board, I’m a product of the University of Louisiana System and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in particular. The UL System presides over nine colleges, from McNeese to UL Monroe and UL Lafayette.

My history with it started with an interest to serve and advance the mission of higher education in the state of Louisiana, and to develop a more educated population in the state. We need to help students who want to advance to a four-year degree post-technical and community college and optimize their capabilities particularly in the UL system.

Being a product of the campuses in the system, I was asked to serve six years ago and it’s been very fulfilling.

I’ve served in the past as vice-chair, and there is somewhat of a progression process. It was fulfilling to be elected as vice-chair and being elected chairman and having the confidence to serve in that capacity, it was certainly an honor.

What advancements with the UL System do you expect to see in the future?

I think it’s a competitive environment. We have realized funding stability from a state level. The state covers 27 percent of the tuition and the rest comes from TOPS. That’s become a growing obligation and I’m pleased that we’ve stabilized that.

I want to continue to advance our research and educational missions and allow for our students who are interested and qualified to pursue their studies to have better access and continue to graduation. We have a lot of strategic initiatives, we are pleased with the funding stability that has occurred over the past few years and feel we are in a better position to compete.

Our enrollment levels are varying by campus and it’s certainly strong, we’re at 92,000 strong but in some markets we’re not increasing others we are.
00 2019-01-15
Monroe

$300K grant to address nursing shortage in NELA


(Press Release) - (1/14/19) Earlier today, representatives from Workforce Development Board 83 joined local officials to announce a $300,000 grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation to address the nursing shortage in Northeast Louisiana.

Workforce Development Board 83, which has been serving northeast Louisiana’s regional workforce for the past thirty years, will use the funds to develop a collaborative pilot to train an additional 180 nursing students. Working together, local healthcare facilities and regional training providers will provide six clinical instructors to teach at nontraditional times such as evenings and weekends. The participating schools are Louisiana Delta Community College, Louisiana Tech University and University of Louisiana at Monroe.

“The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the nursing shortage will result in a shortfall of 1.2 million nurses by 2030,” said Terri Mitchell, executive director of the Workforce Development Board. “This program will allow our regional providers to accept and train more qualified applicants, enabling a greater quality of care in the region when these nurses graduate and join the workforce.”

In 2016 and 2017, the three nursing schools in the northeast Louisiana region rejected 332 applicants. Schools did not have enough teaching faulty to accept each qualified student who applied. Providing more adjunct faculty will open the pipeline for additional candidates to be trained.

Across Louisiana, patients already feel the effects of consistent vacancies in bedside nurses and specialty nurses. Healthcare facilities are seeing overcrowding in emergency departments. More nurses will yield a greater quality of care.

“This investment will support a community that has come together to make critical strides in improving quality of care,” said Michael Tipton, president of the Blue Cross Foundation. “The nurses who graduate from this program will provide an estimated additional 15,600 patient care services in the region.”

Partners in this grant project include: The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, Workforce Development Board 83, The Living Well Foundation, NELA Healthcare Alliance, Louisiana Delta Community College, Louisiana Tech University, University of Louisiana-Monroe and regional healthcare providers serving as clinical sites.
00 2019-01-15
Regional/National

To Add Black College Students, Recruit Black Schoolteachers


Many studies have found a positive impact on black students from having black teachers in elementary and secondary schools. A new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that the positive impact may extend far beyond school, to whether black students enroll in college.

The study was primarily based in Tennessee, taking advantage of an experiment in which cohorts of students were randomly placed in different types of classrooms with different student-teacher ratios. The experiment was not designed to focus on black student achievement but provided researchers with a rare sample of students randomly selected to different classes, allowing for comparisons based on a variety of factors. The researchers also replicated their findings in North Carolina, where the study found that having a single black teacher at a young age can decrease the black dropout rate by about one-third.

The key finding in the working paper: "black students randomly assigned to a black teacher in grades K-3 are 5 percentage points (7 percent) more likely to graduate from high school and 4 percentage points (13 percent) more likely to enroll in college than their peers in the same school who are not assigned a black teacher."

The researchers describe their findings as "arguably causal" and say that they are "robust" in a series of comparisons they made. (The Tennessee program has very few Latino participants, so the researchers were unable to measure whether the impact was the same there, although they write that this is an important research question to study.)

Given the way many colleges struggle to recruit black students, the findings could point to a different approach to, over the long term, increasing black college enrollment, by trying to educate more black students to be teachers. At the same time, the authors note that the challenge for American educators isn't just recruiting more black people into education, but thinking about all of the consequences of such a move.

"Findings from this research provide some reason to be optimistic as they provide a path to reducing stubbornly persistent racial attainment gaps," the authors write. "However, they also raise a number of questions, some of which could be addressed in future research, surrounding efforts to diversify the teaching work force. For example, while our study provides strong support for the idea that diversifying the teaching work force could ceteris paribus have a strong and positive effect on historically disadvantaged students, a pipeline that could achieve massive growth in the number of black teachers is nonexistent. Hiring practices that attempt to diversify while maintaining high teacher quality would thus necessitate, for example, re-allocating college educated blacks from other lucrative fields to teaching, a relatively low-paid occupation. Doing so might lead to unintended consequences, such as exacerbating existing racial wage gaps, at least in the short run. To put this issue into perspective, consider the following back-of-the-envelope calculation. Of the roughly 3.8 million K-12 teachers in the U.S., approximately 256,000, or 6.7 percent, are black. Comparing this fraction to the 15.4 percent of K-12 students who are black suggests that doubling the number of black teachers would begin to get us close to aligning the work force with the student body they are supposed to teach."

The researchers add, "Doing so would necessitate steering 256,000 additional black college graduates from other occupations into teaching. Using the 2018 March Current Population Survey (CPS), and focusing on females with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, the group that comprises most teachers, we find that median earnings for blacks who are not teachers is roughly $49,000 while median earnings for blacks who are teachers is $45,000. Supposing non-teachers who became teachers were previously earning the median non-teacher income and now earn the median teacher income, efforts to diversify the teaching work force imply a $4,000 pay cut for 256,000 black workers, thus reducing total income for blacks by more than one billion dollars."

The authors of the study are Seth Gershenson of American University; Cassandra M. D. Hart of the University of California, Davis; Joshua Hyman of the University of Connecticut; Constance Lindsay of the Urban Institute; and Nicholas W. Papageorge of Johns Hopkins University.
00 2019-01-14
Lafayette

Energy Entrepreneurship information session at UL Lafayette


A special information session regarding Shell Oil Company's GameChanger (energy entrepreneurship) program will be held Tuesday, January 15 at 10:15 a.m.

The event will take place inside Oliver Hall Auditorium, and Dr. Alicia Williams, from Sunset, La., will make the presentation.

All UL Lafayette students interested in learning more about energy entrepreneurship within Shell are invited to attend.

Seating opens at 10:00 a.m. and the presentation begins at 10:15 a.m.

RSVP is required via Handshake due to limited seating:

Shell Oil Company's GameChanger
00 2019-01-14
Lafayette

One Acadiana launches 55 by 25 effort -- 55 percent of adults in the region to have secondary education or certification by 2025


A high school degree is "no longer the ceiling, but the floor" for an education, a state official told a group of local and state business, education and charity leaders gathered Thursday at the University of Louisiana Lafayette to talk about the importance of secondary education for the future of Louisiana.

Presented by One Acadiana, the series of talks by business and education leaders stressed the need for more post-high school education and the importance of supporting an effort in Lafayette to blow past 40 percent of the population having some form of secondary education or certification by 2025 to 55 percent.

"There's nothing more important in economic development as a whole than education," said Troy Wayman, president and CEO of One Acadiana. "If we can't provide a workforce to companies that are looking to expand in our area or new companies looking to move in, then they're not going to be successful and they're not going to want to come here."

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The keynote speaker for the "55 by 25 event" was Kim Hunter Reed, commissioner of higher education for the state.

She applauded One Acadiana for getting local leaders together to pledge toward a goal to further education in Louisiana. The subject also was addressed by Natalie Harder, chancellor of South Louisiana Community College; Matt Stuller, founder and chairman of Stuller Inc.; David Callecod, president of Lafayette General Health, and others.

"Having a rate of 55 percent of people in the community having a work-related credential above high school level is very important. We're very focused on increasing educational attainment. We know educational attainment and workforce opportunity go hand-in-hand," Hunter Reed said.

A work-related credential can include a work certification, an industry-based certification, an associate's degree or a four-year degree. Hunter Reed said in today's economy a simple high school diploma or less just won't cut it in lifting up the working poor or those in poverty and that a high school degree is "no longer the ceiling, but the floor."

Hunter Reed added that support from local businesses, educational centers, faith groups and charities are needed to reach the 55 percent goal. Even if every student in higher education graduated, the goal would be out of reach. To accomplish the 55 or 60 percent mark would require advancing the education of those who have previously dropped out or older residents who need to go back to school to either further or change their career.

One of the major ideas Hunter Reed brought up included having K-12 education, secondary education and local business work together to support students in their studies with things like grants or scholarships, child care or workforce development. Another idea was that all paths toward prosperity need to be honored and not looked down upon, saying it's no longer "bachelor's or bust, but high school diploma and more."

"When we reach this educational goal, our community will be stronger, our citizens more educated, contributing more to your community and environment, healthier, taxpaying and working. Our communities will be much better," Hunter Reed said. It's about more than just a goal or a number, but a vision. That vision is for more people to move out of poverty into prosperity and recognizing that today in order to earn, you have to learn."
00 2019-01-14
Lafayette

STUDY: UL SYSTEM PRODUCES NEARLY AN 11-BILLION DOLLAR ECONOMIC IMPACT FOR THE STATE


A study shows the University of Louisiana System contributes 10.9 billion dollars to the state’s economy. The report shows that one out of 18 jobs in the state are supported by the universities of Louisiana. UL System President Jim Henderson says it’s evidence the system produces a large return on investment.
"The 12.9% annualized rate of return, so if you think about your savings account today, you might get 2%, a retirement fund you might get 8-10%, 12.9% rate of return for taxpayers is fantastic," said Henderson.
Economic Modeling Specialists International conducted the study. Henderson says EMSI knows what they are doing.
"An institution that 15-plus years working with higher education, they've done over 1,800 economic impact studies, a national leader in providing these studies," said Henderson.
Henderson says the study shows the UL system positively influences the state’s economy plus it gives students the tools they need to succeed in an ever-changing job market.
"I've heard numbers of much as 70% of the jobs we have in 2030, don't exist today," said Henderson. "We do know the best way to defend against that uncertainty is talent development that's what we do."
00 2019-01-14
Lake Charles

Sasol supports MSU scholarships


Sasol supports MSU scholarships: Sasol donates $50,000 through the McNeese State University Foundation for the Sasol Imperial Calcasieu Engineering Scholarship ($10,000) and the Sasol College of Engineering and Computer Science Scholarship ($10,000), Banners at McNeese ($5,000) sponsorship and the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at McNeese ($25,000) to assist with the Small Business Resource Guide Workshop. On hand for the presentation are, from left, Dr. Nikos Kiritsis, dean of the college, Paul Hippman, Sasol vice president of operations, East Plant, Brook Hanemann, Banners director, Donna Little, director of the LSBDC, and Marcus Boutte, Sasol senior manager of supply chain.
00 2019-01-14
Monroe

High school students studying STEM can get paid for this summer program


The Research & Engineering Apprenticeship Program (REAP) is a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) summer program that allows high school students to enjoy a research apprenticeship in a STEM field at area colleges and universities.

Louisiana Tech has been approved as the state’s only REAP site in 2019.

Offered through the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) — a program founded to develop and implement STEM experiences and programming — REAP targets groups historically under-served in STEM. This is why students must meet two of the following requirements to be eligible:

attend a rural, frontier, or other targeted outreach school;
be female with a study focus on certain STEM fields such as physical science, computer science, math, or engineering;
be a minority that is historically under-represented in STEM (Alaskan Native, Native American, African
American, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander);
qualify for free or reduced lunches, be an English as a Second Language student, or be a first-generation college student.
File photo
File photo (Photo: File photo)

Through the eight-week program, students will work with a scientist or engineer conducting research and receive a $1,500 stipend for their work. The goal is for the student apprentices to gain both confidence in their abilities as researchers and exposure to STEM career opportunities. At the end of the program, students will present their research to their peers.

Throughout his teaching career, Tech REAP Director and UTeachTech Master Teacher Chris Campbell has worked to find opportunities for students to do challenging hands-on activities and research, whether that was through the International Science and Engineering Fair, Science Olympiad, or educational field trips. Campbell hopes that this encouraging opportunity through REAP will inspire high school students to pursue studies in STEM disciplines in higher education and become leaders in the field as a result of this internship experience.

More: Morehouse schools open after reconfiguration

“It is a privilege and honor to host Louisiana’s only REAP summer STEM program here beginning in June,” Campbell said.

Tech will host the student researchers from June 10 to Aug. 9. The students will focus their studies in biomedical engineering and chemical engineering. College of Engineering and Science faculty Mark DeCoster, Bryant Hollins and Joan Lynam will guide the student work and mentor the REAP student researchers.

High school students have until Feb. 28 to submit an application, available at www.usaeop.com/program/reap/. In May, students, mentors, and lab coordinators will receive their welcome letters and placements for the apprenticeships.

To learn more about REAP, email Campbell at ctc@latech.edu. To learn more about engaging in STEM education activities at the University, email scitec@latech.edu.

State news: Advocacy groups says Louisiana schools are unsafe for LGBTQ students
00 2019-01-14
Monroe

ULM library director writes book on challenges of modern librarians


University of Louisiana Monroe Library Director and Associate Professor Megan Lowe, M.A.,M.L.S., B.A., has recently co-written a book published by IGI Global.

“Examining the Emotional Dimensions of Academic Librarianship: Emerging Research and Opportunities," studies the emotional experiences of academic librarians.

Libraries have made tremendous changes as demand and technology has dictated. At ULM, for example, what were the book “stacks” are now student study areas. Many of the hardback books have migrated to online materials.

“The book grew out of another publication my co-author and I worked on examining the emotional experiences of librarians. Librarianship is very people-oriented work, making librarians prone to burnout,” Lowe explained. “We wanted to get a better understanding of the emotional experiences of academic librarians as a means of identifying solutions and supporting those librarians in their careers.”

University of Louisiana Monroe Library Director and Associate Professor Megan Lowe, M.A.,M.L.S., B.A., has recently co-written a book published by IGI Global.
University of Louisiana Monroe Library Director and Associate Professor Megan Lowe, M.A.,M.L.S., B.A., has recently co-written a book published by IGI Global. (Photo: Courtesy)

“Examining the Emotional Dimensions of Academic Librarianship: Emerging Research and Opportunities” is an essential scholarly resource that offers detailed discussion on the latest crises and challenges for librarians and supplies innovative solutions to these issues. Highlighting relevant topics such as emotional exhaustion, research agendas, and deselection, this publication is an ideal resource for librarians, academicians, students, and researchers who have an interest in the mental and emotional landscape of modern library environments. It is co-authored by Lindsey M. Reno of the University of New Orleans.

This title is available to order on the IGI Global Bookstore as well as through the InfoSci® Databases, which offer full-text book chapters and journal articles from over 3,500 books and 170 scholarly journals. To adopt this book for use in courses, please submit an examination request form here : (https://bit.ly/2QDhgcy). To request a copy of this book for review, contact ccampbell@igi-global.com.

IGI Global, an international publishing company specializing in high-quality research publications focusing on the areas of education, social science, library science, healthcare, business, environmental science, public administration, computer science, and engineering.
00 2019-01-14
Regional/National

To Add Black College Students, Recruit Black Schoolteachers


Many studies have found a positive impact on black students from having black teachers in elementary and secondary schools. A new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that the positive impact may extend far beyond school, to whether black students enroll in college.

The study was primarily based in Tennessee, taking advantage of an experiment in which cohorts of students were randomly placed in different types of classrooms with different student-teacher ratios. The experiment was not designed to focus on black student achievement but provided researchers with a rare sample of students randomly selected to different classes, allowing for comparisons based on a variety of factors. The researchers also replicated their findings in North Carolina, where the study found that having a single black teacher at a young age can decrease the black dropout rate by about one-third.

The key finding in the working paper: "black students randomly assigned to a black teacher in grades K-3 are 5 percentage points (7 percent) more likely to graduate from high school and 4 percentage points (13 percent) more likely to enroll in college than their peers in the same school who are not assigned a black teacher."

The researchers describe their findings as "arguably causal" and say that they are "robust" in a series of comparisons they made. (The Tennessee program has very few Latino participants, so the researchers were unable to measure whether the impact was the same there, although they write that this is an important research question to study.)

Given the way many colleges struggle to recruit black students, the findings could point to a different approach to, over the long term, increasing black college enrollment, by trying to educate more black students to be teachers. At the same time, the authors note that the challenge for American educators isn't just recruiting more black people into education, but thinking about all of the consequences of such a move.

"Findings from this research provide some reason to be optimistic as they provide a path to reducing stubbornly persistent racial attainment gaps," the authors write. "However, they also raise a number of questions, some of which could be addressed in future research, surrounding efforts to diversify the teaching work force. For example, while our study provides strong support for the idea that diversifying the teaching work force could ceteris paribus have a strong and positive effect on historically disadvantaged students, a pipeline that could achieve massive growth in the number of black teachers is nonexistent. Hiring practices that attempt to diversify while maintaining high teacher quality would thus necessitate, for example, re-allocating college educated blacks from other lucrative fields to teaching, a relatively low-paid occupation. Doing so might lead to unintended consequences, such as exacerbating existing racial wage gaps, at least in the short run. To put this issue into perspective, consider the following back-of-the-envelope calculation. Of the roughly 3.8 million K-12 teachers in the U.S., approximately 256,000, or 6.7 percent, are black. Comparing this fraction to the 15.4 percent of K-12 students who are black suggests that doubling the number of black teachers would begin to get us close to aligning the work force with the student body they are supposed to teach."

The researchers add, "Doing so would necessitate steering 256,000 additional black college graduates from other occupations into teaching. Using the 2018 March Current Population Survey (CPS), and focusing on females with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, the group that comprises most teachers, we find that median earnings for blacks who are not teachers is roughly $49,000 while median earnings for blacks who are teachers is $45,000. Supposing non-teachers who became teachers were previously earning the median non-teacher income and now earn the median teacher income, efforts to diversify the teaching work force imply a $4,000 pay cut for 256,000 black workers, thus reducing total income for blacks by more than one billion dollars."

The authors of the study are Seth Gershenson of American University; Cassandra M. D. Hart of the University of California, Davis; Joshua Hyman of the University of Connecticut; Constance Lindsay of the Urban Institute; and Nicholas W. Papageorge of Johns Hopkins University.
00 2019-01-14
Shreveport

Louisiana Tech to serve as state’s only site for 2019 STEM apprenticeship program


The Research & Engineering Apprenticeship Program (REAP) is a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) summer program that allows high school students to enjoy a research apprenticeship in a STEM field at area colleges and universities.

Louisiana Tech has been approved as the state’s only REAP site in 2019.

Offered through the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) — a program founded to develop and implement STEM experiences and programming — REAP targets groups historically underserved in STEM. This is why students must meet two of the following requirements to be eligible:

attend a rural, frontier, or other targeted outreach school;
be female with a study focus on certain STEM fields such as physical science, computer science, math, or engineering;
be a minority that is historically under-represented in STEM (Alaskan Native, Native American, African American, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander);
qualify for free or reduced lunches, be an English as a Second Language student, or be a first-generation college student.
Through the eight-week program, students will work with a scientist or engineer conducting research and receive a $1,500 stipend for their work. The goal is for the student apprentices to gain both confidence in their abilities as researchers and exposure to STEM career opportunities. At the end of the program, students will present their research to their peers.

Throughout his teaching career, Tech REAP Director and UTeachTech Master Teacher Chris Campbell has worked to find opportunities for students to do challenging hands-on activities and research, whether that was through the International Science and Engineering Fair, Science Olympiad, or educational field trips. Campbell hopes that this encouraging opportunity through REAP will inspire high school students to pursue studies in STEM disciplines in higher education and become leaders in the field as a result of this internship experience.

“It is a privilege and honor to host Louisiana’s only REAP summer STEM program here beginning in June,” Campbell said.

Tech will host the student researchers from June 10 to Aug. 9. The students will focus their studies in biomedical engineering and chemical engineering. College of Engineering and Science faculty Dr. Mark DeCoster, Dr. Bryant Hollins, and Dr. Joan Lynam will guide the student work and mentor the REAP student researchers.

High school students have until Feb. 28 to submit an application, available at www.usaeop.com/program/reap/. In May, students, mentors, and lab coordinators will receive their welcome letters and placements for the apprenticeships
00 2019-01-11
Lafayette

7 ways the UL System impacts Louisiana's economy


A new study released Thursday shows the University of Louisiana System's economic impact to the state. Here's what you need to know.

Northwestern State University students prepare for
Northwestern State University students prepare for class. (Photo: Justin Burr/NSU)

1. The UL System contributed $10.9 billion to the state’s economy in 2017-18, according to Economic Modeling Specialists International.

That represents 4.5 percent of the gross state product.

2. That figure comes from things like payroll and spending by the universities and their faculty, staff and students in surrounding communities.

In 2017-18, these universities employed 9,036 full-time and part-time faculty and staff (not including research employees), 96 percent of whom lived in Louisiana.

3. There are more than 91,500 students enrolled across the nine member universities located across Louisiana. They are:

Grambling State
Louisiana Tech
McNeese State
Nicholls State
Northwestern State
Southeastern Louisiana
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
University of Louisiana at Monroe
University of New Orleans
UL System.jpg
The UL System logo, submitted photo.

Keep reading: Is adult education the best weapon against poverty?

4. The UL System’s day-to-day operations spending added $786.8 million in income to the state during the analysis year. This figure represents the universities’ payroll, the multiplier effects generated by the in-state spending of the universities and their employees, and a downward adjustment to account for funding that the universities received from state sources. The $786.8 million in added income is equivalent to supporting 11,581 jobs in the state.

5. One out of every 18 jobs in the state — 149,662 total — are supported by these universities.

Among non-education industry sectors, the UL System supported the most jobs in the "health care and social assistance industry" sector, supporting 25,719 jobs in 2017-18.

"These are impacts that would not have been generated without the universities’ presence in Louisiana," according to the study's executive summary.

6. Graduates can expect higher wages.

Those with bachelor’s degrees from UL System member institutions will see an average increase in earnings of $22,300 each year when compared to someone with only a high school diploma working in Louisiana, according to the report.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette won against University of Louisiana at Monroe 31-28 at Malone Stadium in Monroe, La. on Nov. 24.
University of Louisiana at Lafayette won against University of Louisiana at Monroe 31-28 at Malone Stadium in Monroe, La. on Nov. 24. (Photo: Michelle Tripp/The News-Star)

7. This was the UL System's economic impact study since 2008, which showed a $3.4 billion economic impact. That was prior to the University of New Orleans joining the system.

This 2017-18 study is based on fiscal year data provided by the system.

Read the study's executive summary here.
00 2019-01-11
Lafayette

UL Lafayette Veterans Upward Bound Program


Ul Lafayette Veterans Upward Bound Program will have a meeting January 12,2019 at 8:30 am . The event will be held at UL Lafayette’s Moody Hall.

https://studentsupport.louisiana.edu/services/veterans-upward-bound

https://www.facebook.com/ULLafayetteVeteransUpwardBound/
00 2019-01-11
Lake Charles

There’s still time to register for McNeese’s spring semester


Students can still register for the spring 2019 semester at McNeese State University online or with their faculty adviser during late registration Jan. 11-15.

Students must be admitted to the university and should see an adviser to get their alternate PIN, if required, prior to registration.

To register, students can go online to www.mcneese.edu and click on the “Student Central” icon and then click the Banner Self-Service button to begin the registration process.

Students who register late need to pay fees by 4:30 p.m. Jan 16.

They can go online at www.mcneese.edu/paymentto see the payment policy.

For more information on fee payment, contact the McNeese Accounting Office at 337- 475-5107.

For more information on late spring registration, contact McNeese Student Central at 337-475-5065.


00 2019-01-11
Monroe

Q&A: Ponton talks vision, plans as he takes over as Grambling's new AD



00 2019-01-11
Natchitoches

NSU Cont. Ed. Courses include painting, ceramics and cyber security boot camp


Northwestern State University’s Office of Electronic and Continuing Education will host the following non-credit courses in January:

Pick Up Your Brush painting classes will be Thursday, Jan. 17 (Winter Cardinal) and Saturday, Jan. 26 (Rustic Church) from 6-9 p.m. on the second floor of South Hall. It is $45 per session and the instructor is Shanna Dees Gaspard. In these classes, participants will learn the art of painting using step-by-step instructions to create a masterpiece of their own. No special or prior skill is required. Students will take home a completed painting at the end of every class. Children ages 7–12 may enroll, but a parent must accompany the child the entire class. Parent does not have to enroll unless they participate. Each date is a separate session and all supplies are included.


Playing in the Mud, a beginning ceramics course, will be Thursdays, Jan. 24-March 28 from 6-8 p.m. in room 113 of the Creative and Performing Arts Building. Fees are $150 plus $20 material fee (paid to instructor first night) and the instructor is Matt DeFord. This course is an introduction to working with clay. The student will learn hand-building and sculptural techniques, as well as work on the potter’s wheel. There will also be room for intermediate and advanced students to take the class who want to use the facilities during the class time.

A Security + Intensive Boot Camp will be offered online/open enrollment by instructor Eddie Horton. The fee is $1,899. This intensive boot camp is designed with one thing in mind: Certification. In this course you will study, at your own pace, for the CompTIA Security+ (SYO-501) exam. Students will be provided resources, lecture notes and access to a live professor that will prepare them to take the certification exam. This comprehensive package includes the software, recorded lectures, a test voucher (good for 1 year) and a free retake and a weekly live session should participants need it. These tools will help you succeed and become Security+ certified. This course is self-paced so that students may begin any time and will have nine months of live access.

For more information on non-credit programs, go to www.nsula.edu/ece/non-credit-programs/ or call (800) 376-2422 or (318) 357-6355. To register for classes, go to checkout.nsula.edu. To learn more about online non-credit courses visit http://www.gatlineducation.com/nsula and http://www.ed2go.com/nsu/
00 2019-01-11
New Orleans

University of Louisiana System generates $10.9 billion economic impact for state, study says


The University of Louisiana System contributed $10.9 billion to Louisiana’s economy in 2018 thanks to the earnings of its alumni and a range of other factors, according to a study released Thursday (Jan. 10). The last time the UL System conducted an economic impact study was in 2008.

The Idaho-based Economic Modeling Specialists International company conducted the study, according to a news release. The University of Louisiana System is the largest higher education system in Louisiana, with more than 91,500 students across nine universities including the University of New Orleans.

The research relies on multiple data points to illustrate the system’s economic footprint, including the existing jobs across its universities, jobs supported though construction contracts, the system’s role in the creation of start-up and spin-off companies, and the expenses from students attending its universities, according to the 108-page study. The impacts reported come in the form of added income rather than sales, the study added.

Added income was deemed a more meaningful measure of new economic activity because it’s a “net measure” synonymous with gross state product and value added, the report stated. Meanwhile, economic activity from sales includes all of the “intermediary costs” associated with producing goods and services, the report added.


“Through research and shared knowledge our universities foster innovation and entrepreneurship making them a worthy long-term investment for the people of Louisiana,” according to UL System President and CEO Jim Henderson in a released statement.

Some student fees going up at UNO, most UL campuses
Some student fees going up at UNO, most UL campuses

The money will pay for faculty pay raises, expanded student services, technology upgrades and increased course offerings.


The review of the UL System’s fiscal year 2017 - 2018 said the system’s universities facilitate new research and company development while also drawing visitors and students to the state, generating new dollars and opportunities for Louisiana. More than 149,000 jobs statewide are supported by the UL System, which is one out of every 18 jobs in the state, the study added.

The study also found those with bachelor’s degrees from UL System schools see an average increase in earnings of $22,300 each year compared to someone with only a high school diploma working in Louisiana. UL System students see a return of $3.80 for every dollar they put into their education, the study said.

“Beyond the quality of life benefits that come with a more-educated populous, for every dollar taxpayers invest in a UL System student $5.90 is returned to the state,” Henderson stated.

The UL System’s 2008 study showed a $3.4 billion economic impact statewide, which was prior to UNO joining the UL System in 2011. A nine-page executive summary for this year’s study is available at the UL System’s website. The table below provides an impacts breakdown from the various activities related to the UL System, according to the study.


Economic Impact of the University of Louisiana System
Impacts breakdown Dollar amount Jobs supported
Operations Spending Impact $786.8 million 11,581
Research Spending Impact $132.3 million 1,695
Construction Spending Impact $44.0 million 580
Start-up and Spin-off Company Impact $834.3 million 10,599
Visitor Spending Impact $30.7 million 833
Student Spending Impact $185.5 million 3,006
Alumni Impact $8.8 billion 121,367
Total Economic Impact $10.9 billion 149,661
Source: University of Louisiana System
00 2019-01-11
Shreveport

UL System cites $10.9 billion impact in Louisiana


A recent study concluded that the University of Louisiana System, comprising nine member institutions, contributed $10.9 billion to the state’s economy in FY 2017 – 2018, 4.5 percent of the gross state product.

Conducted for the UL System by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI), the study shows how the Universities of Louisiana positively influence the lives of students and the state’s economy. The System’s nine public universities support a variety of industries in Louisiana, serve Louisiana businesses and benefit society as a whole from an expanded economy to an improved quality of life.

“The Universities of Louisiana, with more than 91,500 students and hundreds of thousands of alumni, are not only ingrained in the fabric of the communities they call home, they are economic drivers for the state as a whole,” UL System President and CEO Jim Henderson said. “Through research and shared knowledge our universities foster innovation and entrepreneurship making them a worthy long-term investment for the people of Louisiana.”

One out of every 18 jobs in the state, 149,662 total, are supported by the Universities of Louisiana. Benefits created by the System extend to state government through increased tax revenues and public sector savings.

The study also included an investment analysis to evaluate benefits to students, taxpayers and Louisiana as a society. For every dollar students invest in a UL System education, they will see a return of $3.80. Those with bachelor’s degrees from UL System member institutions will see an average increase in earnings of $22,300 each year when compared to someone with only a high school diploma working in Louisiana.

“The System provides a significant return on investment for the state,” Henderson said. “Beyond the quality of life benefits that come with a more-educated populous, for every dollar taxpayers invest in a UL System student $5.90 is returned to the state.”

The System benefits society with increased economic prosperity and improved lifestyles including reduced dependence on government services, less crime, and improved health outcomes. The societal benefit is valued at $10 for every dollar invested.

Economic Modeling Specialists International, a company that has completed more than 1,800 economic impact studies for educational institutions, analyzed FY 2017 – 2018 data provided by the System. The University of Louisiana System has not conducted an economic impact study since 2008. That study showed a $3.4 billion economic impact but was prior to the University of New Orleans joining the System.

Click here to read the study’s executive summary. The full report is available upon request.
00 2019-01-10
Lafayette

7 ways the UL System impacts Louisiana's economy


A new study released Thursday shows the University of Louisiana System's economic impact to the state. Here's what you need to know.

Northwestern State University students prepare for
Northwestern State University students prepare for class. (Photo: Justin Burr/NSU)

1. The UL System contributed $10.9 billion to the state’s economy in 2017-18, according to Economic Modeling Specialists International.

That represents 4.5 percent of the gross state product.

2. That figure comes from things like payroll and spending by the universities and their faculty, staff and students in surrounding communities.

In 2017-18, these universities employed 9,036 full-time and part-time faculty and staff (not including research employees), 96 percent of whom lived in Louisiana.

3. There are more than 91,500 students enrolled across the nine member universities located across Louisiana. They are:

Grambling State
Louisiana Tech
McNeese State
Nicholls State
Northwestern State
Southeastern Louisiana
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
University of Louisiana at Monroe
University of New Orleans
UL System.jpg
The UL System logo, submitted photo.

Keep reading: Is adult education the best weapon against poverty?

4. The UL System’s day-to-day operations spending added $786.8 million in income to the state during the analysis year. This figure represents the universities’ payroll, the multiplier effects generated by the in-state spending of the universities and their employees, and a downward adjustment to account for funding that the universities received from state sources. The $786.8 million in added income is equivalent to supporting 11,581 jobs in the state.

5. One out of every 18 jobs in the state — 149,662 total — are supported by these universities.

Among non-education industry sectors, the UL System supported the most jobs in the "health care and social assistance industry" sector, supporting 25,719 jobs in 2017-18.

"These are impacts that would not have been generated without the universities’ presence in Louisiana," according to the study's executive summary.

6. Graduates can expect higher wages.

Those with bachelor’s degrees from UL System member institutions will see an average increase in earnings of $22,300 each year when compared to someone with only a high school diploma working in Louisiana, according to the report.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette won against University of Louisiana at Monroe 31-28 at Malone Stadium in Monroe, La. on Nov. 24.
University of Louisiana at Lafayette won against University of Louisiana at Monroe 31-28 at Malone Stadium in Monroe, La. on Nov. 24. (Photo: Michelle Tripp/The News-Star)

7. This was the UL System's economic impact study since 2008, which showed a $3.4 billion economic impact. That was prior to the University of New Orleans joining the system.

This 2017-18 study is based on fiscal year data provided by the system.

Read the study's executive summary here.
00 2019-01-10
Natchitoches

Historical instrument recital to be held at NSU Jan. 16


Guest artist Leighann Daihl Ragusa will perform with Northwestern State University faculty Dennette McDermott, Douglas Bakenhus and Francis Yang on Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Admission is free and open to the public.

Ragusa and McDermott will perform on baroque flutes, Bakenhus will play baroque bassoon and Yang will play harpsicord.

The program will be “Suite No. 1 in G Minor” by Pierre Danican Philidor, “Trio Sonata in D Major” by Johann Joachim Quantz, “Trio Sonata in D Major” by Georg Philipp Telemann and “Duetto a 2 Flauti in G Major” by Wilhelm Friedemann Bach.

Ragusa is a historical flutist who has performed throughout the United States and central Europe as a soloist and collaborator in chamber and orchestral music. Her playing has been described as “invigoratingly fresh and perky” by Bachtrack and “sprited, stylish, and nuanced” by the Chicago Classical Review.

Ragusa regularly plays with Chicago’s top period instrument ensembles including the Haymarket Opera Orchestra, Newberry Consort, Bach and Beethoven Experience, Bella Voce Sinfonia and New Comma Baroque.

She was the recipient of a Netherlands-American Fulbright Grant and spent 2009-10 studying at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague.

McDermott is professor of flute and coordinator of graduate studies in the School of Creative and Performing Arts at Northwestern State. She made her European debut in 1992 in the Czech Republic with the Czech premiere of Jindřich Feld’s “Introduzione, Toccata e Fuga.” McDermott has performed in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, England, Canada, Honduras, Russia, Spain and throughout the United States, including numerous performances at National Flute Association Conventions, and also featured as a winner of the Convention’s Performers Competition in 1994, 1996, and 1999.

In 2008, she travelled to Moscow and recorded a CD, “Trio for Flute, Bassoon and Piano” for classicalrecords.ru with Katerina Zaitseva and Bakenhus. Her interest in baroque flute led to the opportunity to participate in the Tafelmusik Baroque Institute, an intensive training program on historical instruments, in 2015 and 2017.

Bakenhus is the music director and conductor of the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony at Northwestern State. He teaches bassoon, aural skills, string methods, and conducting. His music degrees are from the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University-Commerce, and he has completed additional graduate courses in conducting and bassoon performance at the University of Michigan. Bakenhus has been the music director of the Northeast Texas Symphony since 2002, and he has held teaching positions at Texas Lutheran University and the University of Mississippi. He has made several recent guest conducting appearances throughout the region and abroad, including the Sinfonietta Bratislava in Slovakia and the San Pedro Sula City Chamber Orchestra in Honduras.

Yang, an associate professor of piano at NSU, has performed in London, Paris, Montreal, Vancouver, Buenos Aires, Quito, and Montevideo at events such as the 37th International Festival Encuentros in Buenos Aires, a lecture recital at London’s Royal Academy of Music, and the VIII Bienal of Contemporary Music in Cuenca, Ecuador. He has played with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Cuenca, and the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony. Yang has participated and played in numerous music festivals including the Mozarteum Sommerakademie,(Salzburg, Austria), the Orford Music Festival, (Magog, Quebec), the Gulbenkian International Music Festival, (Lisbon, Portugal) and the March International Music Days Festival, (Ruse, Bulgaria).


00 2019-01-10
Natchitoches

BOM Sponsors NSU TRiO



00 2019-01-10
New Orleans

NSU professor receives 2019 Lifetime Contribution to the Humanities Award


NEW ORLEANS, La. (NSU) - The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, in partnership with Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, has selected anthropologist, archaeologist, and Northwestern State University professor Dr. Hiram F. “Pete” Gregory as the winner of the 2019 Lifetime Contribution to the Humanities Award.

The award, which has been given annually since 1992, is part of the state humanities council’s effort to honor individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the study and understanding of the humanities. Gregory and the other award winners will be honored on April 4 at the 2019 LEH Bright Lights Awards Dinner in Lafayette.

“I was surprised to receive this honor and am very appreciative,” said Gregory. “I feel as if I am being honored for doing what I have always enjoyed.”

Gregory is an academic advisor of the Louisiana Creole Heritage Center and the curator for NSU’s Williamson Museum, which houses a collection of over 100,000 artifacts, including arts and crafts from 41 different tribes of the southeastern United States. In 2016, Nungesser and the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development recognized him as Louisiana’s Archaeologist of the Year.

Gregory is in his 58th year as a member of Northwestern State’s faculty. He is believed to be the longest-serving employee in Northwestern’s 134-year history, working at the institution for more than 40 percent of its tenure. Gregory has taught thousands of Northwestern students who have gone on to be anthropologists, archeologists, nurses, teachers, businesspeople, and professionals.

Among the many groups and projects he has worked with for many years are the Jena Band of Choctaws on a language project, a group in the Breda Town section of Natchitoches to preserve the Breda Town cemetery and the Tunica-Biloxi as they became the first tribe to gain federal recognition under rewritten federal regulations. Gregory also helped people in the Robeline area who were interested in preserving Los Adaes, the first colonial capital of Texas. He has also worked extensively with the Caddo Nation in Oklahoma to preserve and promote the tribe’s heritage.

“Whenever I encounter an aspect of Louisiana culture with which I am unfamiliar, whether it concerns people, places, art, history, technology--you name it, I know that Pete will have some familiarity and in many cases detailed expertise, and he will take the time to share his knowledge,” said Jeffrey Girard, one of Gregory’s former colleagues at NSU and the 2015 Louisiana Archaeologist of the Year.

Gregory received the President’s Distinguished Service Award from NSU in 1999. The Creole Heritage Center presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award last year.

Gregory co-authored a major work, “The Historic Indian Tribes of Louisiana” with Fred B. Kniffen and George A. Stokes. He has contributed two major catalogs of Louisiana folk art and has authored papers on folkways, material culture, and archaeology in a number of professional journals. He also edited the major articles relating to the Caddo in The Southern Caddo: An Anthology. Gregory also co-authored “The Work of Tribal Hands: Southeastern Split Cane Basketry” with Dayna Bowker Lee.

“Louisiana is a rich state in terms of cultural diversity,” said Gregory “It is one of the most amazing places on the planet when you consider how people manage to keep their own culture going. They do things traditionally. I am glad I have been able to help people find their own voice along with an appreciation for what they do.”

Gregory has a long relationship with federal and state agencies involved in archaeology. Those connections have helped steer grants to Northwestern that helped undergraduate students do the type of fieldwork they are not normally able to do at research institutions.

During his career, Gregory has served as a consultant or on commissions for the Native American Rights Fund, the Louisiana State Museum, the Louisiana Division of State Parks, the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation, National Park Service, Coalition of Eastern Native Americans, the Governor’s Commission on Folklife, the Governor’s Commission on Archaeology, the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Burial Legislation and the American Indian Policy Review Task Force on Recognized and Unrecognized Tribes.

The LEH 2019 Bright Lights Awards Dinner will be held at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Student Union on April 4, at 6 p.m. Tickets begin at $150. Table sponsorships are available to interested parties. For more information, contact Mike Bourg at (504) 620-2482 or bourg@leh.org, or visit leh.org.

The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all residents of the state. Guided by the vision that everyone can realize their full potential through the humanities, LEH partners with communities, institutions, and individuals to provide grant-supported outreach programs, literacy initiatives for all ages, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, public lectures, library projects, 64 Parishes magazine, and other diverse public humanities programming. For more information, visit leh.org.
00 2019-01-10
Regional/National

Shakyla Hill opens her heart about love for Grambling


Shakyla Hill was nearly unguardable last Saturday afternoon dropping a game high 32 points in a victory over Alabama State. Afterward she let her guard down completely when discussing her feelings toward Grambling State University.

Asking her about her school was a softball question that I threw in for good measure at the end of a post-game interview. We were alone in the ASU “green room” minus two photographers who were milling around just waiting for the Alabama State coach. I was mostly satisfied after peppering Hill for ten minutes about the nuances of her basketball game. Her game is like ten pounds of dynamite packed into a four-pound bag. After all the amazing things she did on the court, it was the explosive response of emotion that surprised me the most.


Justin Nared
@CoachNared
If your school doesn’t mean this much to you, then you’re at wrong place.

HBCU Gameday
@HBCUGameday
After putting up 32 in a dub, we asked @shakylaa_ what @Grambling1901 means to her. She eventually found words. Listen to them here: https://www.facebook.com/206605946133976/posts/1809906219137266/ …

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3:38 PM - Jan 6, 2019
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“I cry a lot”
“I’m emotional, I cry a lot,” were the only three words Hill could find to come out of her mouth for thirty seconds.

I knew we were on to something special.

“Grambling has been everything to me. Everybody as a whole just feels like a family, regardless of wherever I go, whatever I do people at Grambling acknowledge me, they give me love, they show me love,” Hill continued on through her tears.


For the next 90 seconds she delivered the best recruiting pitch that Grambling State could have ever dreamed of. There was no doubt that her choice of HBCU had built a permanent place in her heart.

Organic fire
I was pretty certain that once we published her interview to social media it would do well. But even I was surprised at the velocity of its popularity. In roughly 36 hours the video gained over 100,000 views and 1,200 shares. Which is definitely viral by our own modest standards.

The video, and more importantly the message behind it, spread organically. This wasn’t a case of us paying Facebook to gain viewership, we are too frugal for that anyway. (My biggest thrill was when former NBA Slam Dunk Champion and childhood hero Spud Webb gave the video a thumbs up.)


Shakyla Hill and a few of her teammates
“I feel like I made the best decision ever. If I didn’t come to Grambling I probably wouldn’t be who I am right now,” Hill concluded.

But this wasn’t about having a cool video on our Facebook and Twitter pages. This was about the positive message of HBCUs spreading like wildfire for a couple of days. That’s what we want to happen everyday after all.

Now that the viral moment has slowed down a bit it leaves us all with one very important question. What does your HBCU mean to you?
00 2019-01-09
Baton Rouge

Teacher pay raises, minimum wage hikes top wish list for Gov. John Bel Edwards in 2019 legislative session


BATON ROUGE – Gov. John Bel Edwards will deliver lawmakers a lengthy list of recommendations – many of them familiar – for the 2019 legislative session.

Pay raises for teachers and school support personnel, along with a hike in minimum wage, and close on the gap in gender pay topped the wish list Gov. Edwards discussed with members of the Press Club of Baton Rouge during their weekly luncheon Jan. 7.


A recommended hike of $1,000 in annual pay for public school teachers, and a $500 per year bump in salary for school support personnel will go before legislators at the 2019 session which begins April 8, Gov. Edwards said.

“This is really an investment in our children, the most precious natural resource God has entrusted with us, and there’s nothing more important than education to set them up for success and for the state of Louisiana collectively,” he said.

The pay hike for teachers would cost the state $72.2 million per year, while the increase for support workers would amount to $25 million annually. Both would fall under Level 1 funding in the Minimum Foundation Program, which determines the state funding allocation for each Louisiana public school system.

The state’s low pay rate for teachers – $2200 below the national average – has caused led students forsake aspiring teachers to seek other majors in college.

Louisiana teachers are leaving the profession at a high rate, while low pay has put a negative impact on college students who pursue a career in education, he said. The shortage of teachers has also led to 35 percent of the students in the state taking class from instructors teaching outside their area of certification.

Furthermore, funding of K-12 education has declined in Louisiana and across the nation, he said.

“I believe pay increases will help Louisiana recruit more talented teachers and improve educational outcomes in schools across Louisiana,” Gov. Edwards said.

Louisiana has reported teacher shortages every year since 2004.

Pay increases would help recruit talented teachers and make Louisiana more competitive and improve the educational outcome in Louisiana, Gov. Edwards said.

“The number one ingredient for a quality education is to have a highly professional and motivated teacher in every single classroom with our children,” he said.

The pay hike for support personnel would aide custodians, secretaries, cafeteria workers and bus drivers.

He also wants to increase funding for in-class activities. Ninety-five percent of the teachers buy classroom supplies with their own money, and without reimbursement. A bump in the Minimum Foundation Program funding by 1.375 percent would help school systems with in-class supplies.

“I can say that from seeing my wife Donna as a music teacher when I’d see her having to buy things every single year for students, including instruments,” Gov. Edwards said.

At the same time, higher education has been funded without a reduction for only the second time in a row and only the second time 10 years, while TOPS has been funded fully and needs-based Pell Grant program is being funded at highest amount ever, he said.

Gov. Edwards also promoted what he called a “modest and meaningful” increase in the minimum wage over the next two years.

Under his plan, the minimum wage per hour would increase from $7.25 to $8.00 in 2020, and a raise to $8.50 by 2021. He said he will urge lawmakers to follow suit with 21 other states and the District of Columbia which increased the minimum wage at the start of 2019.

“Our minimum wage ($7.25) is not a meaningful wage in 2019,” Gov. Edwards said. Louisiana remains one of only five states in the nation with a state minimum wage, and this comes when the federal government has said it would not push any hike in minimum wage.

He also renewed his push for legislation that would close the disparity in gender pay.

“We have the highest wage gap in the United States, and everybody should be offended,” Gov. Edwards said.

He outlined his platform after he touted the accomplishments over his three years in office, most notably last year. Gov. Edwards touted a stable budget which he considers groundwork for continued growth for the state.

“I’m extremely bullish on the future of Louisiana and optimistic because of the foundation of success we’ve laid over the last three years, particularly last year when we were able to stabilize the budget for the long term because of a bipartisan compromised passed last year when we turned deficits into surpluses,” he said. “The surpluses have come at the same time we’ve been able to provide the people of Louisiana a net tax reduction from last year of less than $600 million.”

Gov. Edwards said the state was able to reach the lowest unemployment rate seen in a decade, and Louisiana’s employment currently at a near record high with over 2 million individuals employed in the state.

Since 2016, his administration attracted 113 major economic development projects which have brought $30.7 billion in capital investment in Louisiana and collectively resulted in 500 new jobs and retaining more than 19,000 existing jobs across the state, he said.

Gov. Edwards also touted statistics from the Federal Bureau of Economic Analysis that stated Louisiana’s economy grew 4.3 percent during the second quarter of 2018 and outpaced the national average.

The state’s economic growth also outdid 12 other states in the southeastern region of the nation, he said. In the process, the Gross Domestic Product reached an all-time high of $250 billion.

“Our economy has never been stronger, bigger, more robust,” Gov. Edwards said. The strong economy, he said, will bring with it two benefits -- no increase in taxes and no special sessions.

Edwards, who spoke to members almost exactly three years after his inaugural ceremony, heads into an election year with a sense of confidence.

He will face two Republican opponents – Congressman Ralph Abraham of Monroe and Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone.

Most political observers predict the Democrat from Amite will figure as a strong frontrunner in the fall election, particularly after three Republican contenders chose not to run.

U.S. Sen. John N. Kennedy – who has been outspoken against Gov. Edwards throughout the term – surprised pundits who widely speculated he would throw his hat into the race when he announced he would not seek the governorship.

He followed suit with state Attorney General Jeff Landry, who has been at odds with Gov. Edwards throughout the last three years. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise also squashed rumors of a run for the seat last fall.
00 2019-01-09
Hammond

Runs in the family: Southeastern CMS brother-sister duo wins GNOYO concerto competition


Two Southeastern Louisiana University Community Music School violin students recently won the Sinfonia Division of the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra (GNOYO) concerto competition.

Ten-year-old Brennan Saenz and his 8-year-old sister Alana Saenz, both of Mandeville, won the competition held recently in New Orleans and have been granted a performance with the GNOYO on March 24.

“We at CMS are very happy and proud of our students’ success, and we wish them many more successes to come,” said Community Music School Director Jivka Duke. “As their violin teacher, I can say that both Alana and Brennan are very dedicated to their violin studies, and their performances are always characterized by an exceptional level of musical maturity despite their young ages.

“Both of them are a joy to teach, and I can’t wait to start working toward their next musical endeavor.”

Brennan is a student at Lake Harbor Middle School and has played the violin for four years, piano for two years, and recently started playing trumpet for his middle school band. He is part of the St. Tammany Parish Talented Music program.

Alana attends Magnolia Trace Elementary School. A straight-A student, she has played violin for three years, piano for two years, and is a member of the third grade choir at her school.

The GNOYO concert will be held at Loyola University at Roussel Hall at 3 p.m. For tickets call 504-865-2074 or email tickets@loyno.edu.

For more information about CMS, call (985) 549-5502, or visit the CMS website at www.southeastern.edu/cms.
00 2019-01-09
Natchitoches

Rotary Club learns about technology at NSU


Rotary Club of Natchitoches met at Northwestern State University (NSU) for its Jan. 8 meeting to learn more about the 3-D Anatomage Table from the NSU Director of the School of Biological and Physical Sciences, Dr. Francene J. Lemoine and other faculty members. Drs. Jerry Brunson, Jonathan Akin, Allyson Spence, Millard Mangrum, and John Byrd helped demonstrate the Anatomage Table used in teaching biology and physical science in 3-D to all NSU students (Photos by Dr. Ron McBride).
00 2019-01-09
Natchitoches

NSU grad student work on exhibit at SRAC Artstation


Artwork by several Northwestern State University graduate students is on exhibit at the Shreveport Regional Arts Council Central Artstation Gallery. The exhibit is open to the public from now until January 16 at the Artstation Gallery, 801 Crockett Street, Shreveport.

Open during business hours, the exhibit features new work Nancy Notes, Hillary Frazier, Wendy Hazey, Jeffrey Nieman, Kimberly Parker, Madilyn Anderson, Hollis Ervin and Osvaldo Ferrer. The display includes a variety of mediums, including drawings, paintings, prints, jewelry, ink on paper and ceramics.

More information is available at https://www.shrevearts.org/central-artstation/ or by calling (318) 673-6500.


00 2019-01-09
Natchitoches

Northwestern State Music Academy begins spring semester Monday


The Northwestern State University Music Academy will begin its spring semester on Monday, January 14. 

The academy is under the direction of Northwestern State music faculty Dr. Christine Allen and Dr. Francis Yang and offers piano, violin, guitar and percussion lessons for students of all ages as well as adults.

Robyn Tan and Ramon Barralaga will teach piano. Chance Watley will teach violin. Jake English and Jose Miguel Colon will offer guitar lessons, and Juan Manuel Santos will teach percussion. Tan recently earned a master’s degree at NSU. The other instructors are undergraduate students.

Last year, academy students performed in a Christmas concert and spring recital. Students also participated in the National Federation of Music Clubs Festival, the Central Music Teachers’ Association Sonatina Festival and the Louisiana Music Teachers Association Upper Elementary Auditions.

For more information on the NSU Music Academy, contact Yang at yangf@nsula.edu.
00 2019-01-09
Natchitoches

NSU grad student work on exhibit at Shreveport’s Artstation


NATCHITOCHES – Artwork by several Northwestern State University graduate students is on exhibit at the Shreveport Regional Arts Council Central Artstation Gallery. The exhibit is open to the public from now until January 16 at the Artstation Gallery, 801 Crockett Street, Shreveport.



Open during business hours, the exhibit features new work Nancy Notes, Hillary Frazier, Wendy Hazey, Jeffrey Nieman, Kimberly Parker, Madilyn Anderson, Hollis Ervin and Osvaldo Ferrer. The display includes a variety of mediums, including drawings, paintings, prints, jewelry, ink on paper and ceramics.



More information is available at https://www.shrevearts.org/central-artstation/ or by calling (318) 673-6500.
00 2019-01-09
Natchitoches

BSN students participate in Flu Shot Day



NSU Alexandria Campus BSN student nurses administered multiple flu injections at the Rapides Parish Health Unit’s “Flu Immunization Day” Dec. 13, combining community service with a hands-on learning opportunity. From left are Hannah Lewis, Samantha Muncey, Cheyene Wise and Avery Tharp. Not picture is Rebecca Harrell, assistant professor.
00 2019-01-09
New Orleans

Guest column: To grow Louisiana's economy, promote college degrees


Last month, The Advocate published an article stating that following months of positive gains in Louisiana jobs, employment in the state rose to more than 2 million. Nationally, unemployment is low and predicted to fall further in the coming year, with a record number of job openings across nearly all industries. One of the drivers is the aging workforce and record number of retirements compared to potential employees to fill jobs. The economy and job market, indeed, appear to be strong.

It’s also college application and decision season — that time of year when high school seniors pick whether and where to pursue higher education. We hear from some that with the economy doing so well and a surplus of available jobs, the circumstances are ripe to bypass college and jump right into a good-paying position. If you are one of those people, keep reading.

New Orleans adds 12,200 jobs in November, biggest gain of any Louisiana metro area over 12 months
A 2017 report from The Institute for the Future, an independent futures research group, states that roughly 85 percent of jobs that today’s students will have in 2030 haven’t even been created yet. In particular, it is difficult to imagine the types of jobs that sophisticated emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, robotics, and cloud computing will reveal in the future.

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce notes that by next year, 65 percent of all jobs will require a college degree. The center also reports that during the post-recession era, of the 11.6 million jobs created, 99 percent went to workers with more than a high school education, and 72 percent went to those with at least a bachelor’s degree. By all indications, those with a bachelor’s degree or higher are taking nearly all available jobs in middle- and high-skills occupations, effectively a college-fed economy. And those without a college degree are falling out of America’s middle class. The bachelor’s degree has become a minimum qualification to compete and build a healthy career in most industries. Salaries tell a similar story: A bachelor’s degree is worth nearly 70 percent more in annual income compared to those with only a high-school diploma, and a graduate degree is worth 120 percent more. Over their lifetime, bachelor’s degree holders will earn more than $1 million more than their counterparts without a similar degree. Those college graduates also tend to have better access to health care, greater social networks and improved overall psychological well-being.

Granted, none of this may be a surprise to some readers. But this might: The U.S. Census Bureau indicates that of Louisianans age 25 or older, only 23 percent hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. In New Orleans, the figure is 36 percent — better than the statewide number, but still insufficient to meet the demands of a knowledge economy that will strengthen over the next decade.

More than ever, these trends demonstrate the need for a more educated Louisiana, and the value of a college degree, particularly a degree from a university that has adapted its programs to an evolving-jobs landscape and to the specifications of employers. A four-year degree is more than a mere credential. It should also prove that a graduate has honed the transferrable skills of inquiry, reasoning, critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, and communication that can be adapted to a variety of jobs.

Public research universities like the University of New Orleans fill a vital need in our country’s most important cities. They offer a unique combination of access, affordability and excellence that transforms the lives of students from all backgrounds. They create upward social and economic mobility, sustain robust economic activity and lift entire communities. So the question shouldn’t be, “Can you afford to go to college?” Ask yourself, “Can you afford not to?”

John Nicklow is president of the University of New Orleans.
00 2019-01-09
Regional/National

Professors Worry About the Cost of Textbooks, but Free Alternatives Pose Their Own Problems


When it comes to textbooks, faculty members have a lot of feelings. Many of them negative. But their thoughts on digital coursework and openly licensed materials aren't any less conflicted.

These opinions, found in "Freeing the Textbook: Educational Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2018," a survey of more than 4,000 faculty members and department chairs released Wednesday, paint a complex picture of a fast-changing landscape, one in which instructors and students have more options about course materials than ever before, yet the best path forward remains unclear.

This is the fourth such survey done by the Babson Survey Research Group, and it captures some key trends. More than 60 percent of faculty members believe the cost of course materials is a serious concern for students. Because of that, many instructors say they control costs by encouraging students to buy used textbooks, putting copies in the library, choosing less expensive material, or assembling their own coursework. And while more than 80 percent are satisfied with the accuracy of textbook content, that doesn't stop them from making changes: presenting material in a different order, skipping it entirely, and substituting different content at times.

The open-educational-resources movement, commonly known as OER, is an effort to encourage academics to use open-licensed materials in their classrooms as a way to lower costs. Some nonprofits, like OpenStax, have produced textbooks based on this material. The survey shows that OER has made inroads: 22 percent of people who teach introductory courses, subjects in which free textbooks are most commonly available, use it as required material, up from 15 percent last year.

Yet the percentage of faculty members who say they will use, or consider using, open materials in the next three years actually dropped slightly, with the numbers now at 6 percent and 32 percent respectively.

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Use of Free Textbooks Is Rising, but Barriers Remain
Faculty comments illustrate the range of feelings professors have about textbooks, digital coursework, why students avoid buying textbooks, and how students best learn.

First, there's no shortage of antipathy for the traditional textbook.

I detest traditional textbooks. I really believe students should be pushed intellectually and most textbooks are just far too over-produced and try to do too much. From what I can see students fail to even crack them open because they are dull or too simplistic. Or, when they do open them it is only in courses where they are memorizing content and not really engaging in deep thought.

The ye olde textbook is really not that useful when it is so easy for me to author my own handouts and assign articles and videos, especially since we have access to Kanopy with an amazing selection of videos.

Textbook prices remain a deep concern for many instructors. About 80 percent say the cost of teaching materials is important or very important in their selection process.

There is NO justification for the ridiculously excessive costs of textbooks after multiple editions. This ongoing racket takes advantage of students to simply boost publisher profits way beyond what is fair and reasonable. Has always left a very foul taste in my mouth.

For the first time, the survey also asked about online homework systems and inclusive access subscriptions, adaptations to an increasingly digital and on-demand culture. In the survey, 37 percent of instructors said they require students to use an online homework system, but only 7 percent use subscriptions.

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Asked why students don't have access to textbooks, 52 percent of faculty members say cost is the primary factor. Yet a significant minority — 38 percent — believe students don't buy textbooks because they don't think they need them.

There is a new attitude among my students that textbooks aren't essential to their understanding of the course content. My students feel if I am not reading the textbook to them directly (via a lecture) what is the point of buying it.

The average cost of a cell phone per major semester is about $700.00. In my opinion, textbooks are affordable by comparison. Plus, textbooks are a necessity in order to do well in class, whereas cell phones are a discretionary expense.

Attitudes toward digital material are also mixed. One faculty member called it "a win-win for students and publishers," but others noted that students seem to still prefer print.

And although the preference among faculty members for digital materials is now higher than their preference for print — a flip since last year — some faculty members have a strong antipathy toward digital.

Digital is directly related to the dumbing down of college classes. Students need to read carefully, take notes and do their work. You will not change the several thousand years of learning how to learn with digital books. Digital is hurting humanity and the future. Wake Up!

I think it's still very important that students have printed versions of texts required in my literature courses, since "close reading" is the central skill we practice at each meeting. Studies have been done that show students reading poorly online; this is true for me as well.

Faculty members also hold a wide variety of views on open educational resources, or OER. Some are all in.

I think it's best for students to keep required costs for a course as low as possible, especially given the access to open-source materials that currently exists today.

Others are torn between what they view as choice between cost and quality.

The Truth About Student Success

I use a free open textbook but have deep concerns about the quality of the text and am considering moving back to a higher-cost textbook. When I have used a higher-cost in the past, more students had difficulty affording the book, but the class as a whole showed greater mastery of the material.

One faculty member even raised the idea that open-resource materials were creating a two-tiered system that could harm lower-income students.

OER is not closing the achievement gap for underserved populations in math. A product like Pearson offers much more powerful resources, metrics, and both student and instructor use advantages compared to any OER courseware availability in math.

Several instructors point out that the challenge is sometimes not with textbooks themselves but with the lack of related materials and updated texts.

I use open educational resources in the courses for which I am the sole instructor so that the cost to my students is zero dollars if they choose digital access and $25 if they choose the print version of the textbook. Others at my institution are unwilling to consider converting the major's biology courses to OER because of lack of availability of quality ancillary materials as well as fears about edition updates.

The authors, Julia E. Seaman and Jeff Seaman, of the Babson Survey Research Group, end on a cautionary note: "While we see no diminishing among the proportion of teaching faculty who report that they will or are willing to consider OER that would indicate that the growth might end, we also do not see any increased enthusiasm among these same faculty that would indicate increases levels of growth."

Jeff Seaman, director of the group, said in an email that a "perceived lack of quality options" is holding back growth in OER usage. But given widespread concerns among faculty members about textbook costs, he added, institutionwide initiatives to use or expand these offerings could make a difference.

Beth McMurtrie writes about technology’s influence on teaching and the future of learning. Follow her on Twitter @bethmcmurtrie, or email her at beth.mcmurtrie@chronicle.com.
00 2019-01-09
Regional/National

Disrupting the Disrupters


Harvard professor Clayton Christensen described disruptive innovation as “a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors.” That’s just what started in the early to mid-1990s for online learning and continued until today. Colleges and universities efficiently reached new, underserved markets by virtually bringing the university to the student. The trend continues with overall college enrollment in the U.S. dropping for a fourth year, while the online portion of that enrollment continues to rise. But something else is coming into play -- in a very large way!

Online programs at thousands of colleges and universities are beginning to see a flattening of the growth curve. It is an inflection point in the inevitable product life-cycle curve. We are now topping the maturity segment of the curve for many modest-size programs. As markets are saturated and new competition and innovations enter the field, we are moving into the decline segment of the “traditional” online program.

A number of players and factors are changing the field. Georgia Institute of Technology calls it “at-scale” learning; others call it the “mega-university” -- whatever you call it, this is the advent of the very large, 100,000-plus-student-scale online provider. Coursera, edX, Udacity and FutureLearn (U.K.) are among the largest providers. But individual universities such as Southern New Hampshire, Arizona State and Georgia Tech are approaching the “at-scale” mark as well. One could say that’s evidence of success in online learning. And without question it is.

But, with highly reputable programs at this scale and tuition rates at half or below the going rate for regional and state universities, the impact is rippling through higher ed. Georgia Tech’s top 10-ranked computer science master's with a total expense of less than $10,000 has drawn more than 10,000 qualified majors. That has an impact on the enrollment at scores of online computer science master's programs offered elsewhere. The overall online enrollment is up, but it is disproportionately centered in affordable scaled programs, draining students from the more expensive, smaller programs at individual universities. The dominoes fall as more and more high-quality at-scale programs proliferate.

Sean Gallagher, executive director of Northeastern University’s Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy and executive professor of educational policy, explains the slow-motion seismic shift we are watching in higher education. The benefits are huge; the potential is even greater!

But, somehow, it does not feel the same being disrupted as it did 20 years ago when we were doing the disruption. So, what can be done by nonscaling universities? Much.

We can begin disruption anew with microcredentialing of just-in-time modules that anticipate the tech-driven training that industry will need in the coming year or two. We can offer microcredentialing of the communication, leadership and social skills that businesses say our graduates lack such as online leadership; communication skills (verbal, video and interactive); creative and innovative thinking; and more. We can serve international markets where growth is faster than domestically and needs are even greater. And we can seek to collaborate with other colleges and universities to jointly offer programs that draw upon the more diverse base of knowledge experts across multiple institutions.

Even if enrollments have not yet reached a plateau in your traditional online programs, now is the time to begin to look at the life-cycle curve and plan for the eventuality that your university will also be disrupted.

Read more by Ray Schroeder
00 2019-01-08
Lafayette

UL Lafayette, partners seek parity in higher ed


The University of Louisiana at Lafayette has joined a nationwide effort that aims to put a college degree within reach of low-income, minority and first-generation students.

Powered by Publics: Scaling Student Success is a collaboration among 130 public universities and university systems. Its goals include improving college access, closing the achievement gap and increasing completion rates.

The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities is the program’s sponsor.

APLU President Peter McPherson noted in a press release that many colleges and universities have programs designed to help underrepresented student populations. But Powered by Publics will encourage collaboration among partner institutions to show what works – and what doesn’t – when it comes to ensuring students succeed.

“We have to seize the moment and mobilize institutions to improve not just college access, but also equity in student outcomes and the number of students who earn degrees,” McPherson said.

UL Lafayette and LSU, Louisiana’s two largest public universities, are the state’s only participants in the program.

Each of the contributing institutions were chosen because they reflect various enrollment sizes, diverse student demographics and differing admissions standards.

In a press release announcing the program’s launch late last year, APLU said the “broad diversity of the institutions is intended to help create a playbook of adaptable student success reforms that can be adopted and scaled up across a variety of institution types.”

APLU identified 16 clusters based on geographic locations, enrollments and specializations. Clusters include four to 12 institutions that will collaborate over five years to address an assigned challenge.

Topics include how universities use data to monitor student progress; financial planning and literacy among students; and if career advising for first- and second-year students improve graduation rates.

UL Lafayette is in the southern-central cluster with nine other institutions, including Auburn, West Virginia, and the universities of Kentucky, Tennessee and Southern Mississippi.

UL Lafayette’s cluster will examine ways to address financial barriers that often impede a student’s academic performance and completion of a degree, said Dr. DeWayne Bowie, the University’s vice president for Enrollment Management.

“One of the major concerns in higher education today is the achievement gap that separates minority and low-income students from their peers. You can’t address the achievement gap effectively without confronting the financial realities associated with it,” Bowie said.

“Powered by Publics is an opportunity to examine this critical challenge by working with other institutions that are as committed as we are to removing obstacles that might deter students from completing a college degree.”

Bowie cited national recognition UL Lafayette has received in the past two years that underscore its commitment to serving underrepresented students.

It was among 96 colleges and universities to earn the 2018 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award.
Also in 2018, UL Lafayette received mention in a Forbes.com op-ed that singled out several colleges and universities for helping students from low-income backgrounds thrive.
In 2017, the Brookings Institution ranked UL Lafayette No. 9 among four-year, public universities in the U.S. for promoting social mobility.
In addition, the University launched the Louisiana Educate Program late last year to keep academically accomplished, low-income students in college.

“Our participation in the Powered by Publics program is a natural fit for a university with as strong a track record in diversity and inclusiveness as UL Lafayette,” Bowie said.
00 2019-01-08
Lafayette

Hilliard announces Creative Conversations programming


The Hilliard University Art Museum has announced its Creative Conversations programming series for the spring semester.

The events begin January 23.

During the fall and spring semesters, the museum features a weekly program, beginning at 6 pm, which officials say are complementary to the current season of exhibitions and provide a cross-disciplinary approach to learning. Every Wednesday night, the museum offers free admission from 5-8 pm in an attempt to provide increased access to the arts for the people of Acadiana. This series brings in artists, curators, scholars, and performers and provides a space where the community can come together to learn from experts but more importantly to talk with one another.

In addition to the weekly Creative Conversations programs, the museum will continue to host monthly Toddler Times and Yoga in the Galleries classes that are free to enjoy.

Toddler Time is on the first Wednesday of every month at 10 a.m. Families can enjoy song and finger play, story time, hands-on art activities, and free play. Due to the overwhelming success of this event, families are required to sign up for the program ahead of time.

Yoga in the Galleries is on the second Saturday of every month at 11 a.m. and is led by a local certified yoga instructor in one of the museum’s exhibition spaces. Yoga in the Galleries is sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.

Explosions and Explorations: Sound as a Means of Art
Wednesday, January 23 | 6:00-8:00PM
For decades, the realm of sound has proven to be an inspiring medium, pushing artists to explore countless topics and themes. Artist Keith Dorwick will delve into the history of sounds and its place in the world of art, discuss his own work, and premier a site-specific piece prepared exclusively for the Hilliard Museum.

“Liebsfruhling: Three Animated Poems”
Wednesday, January 30 | 6:00-8:00PM
Join UL Lafayette professors of Animation Yeon Choi, Jimmy Tancill and Ana Mouyis as they screen their latest collaboration – a series of animations revolving around the work of Romantic era composer Clara Schumann – and discuss their themes, techniques and creative processes.

Artist Talk with Daniel Canogar
Wednesday, February 6 | 6:00-8:00PM
Artist Daniel Canogar will lead an engrossing and in-depth discussion into his practice, methods, and ideology as presented in his exhibition Daniel Canogar: Echo.

Spring Exhibition Opening Reception
Friday, February 8 |6:00-8:00PM
Join us in celebration of a new season of exhibitions! Drinks and light refreshments will be provided.

Artist Tour with Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick
Saturday, February 9 | 10:30AM- 12PM
Join artists Keith Calhoun and Chandra McCormick as they lead a tour of their work on view at the museum, and discuss their motivations and creative processes.

Dickie Landry: Solo
Wednesday, February 13 | 6:00-8:00PM
Musician and internationally known artist Dickie Landry will perform several pieces from his repertoire in an evening of live music that is not to be missed.

Raise Our Voices: Community Spoken Word Workshop
Wednesday, February 20 | 6:00 – 8:00PM
Join Alex “PoeticSoul” Johnson for the first in a series of spoken word workshops responding to incarceration and criminal justice. Tour Slavery, the Prison Industrial Complex and add your voice to this greater community project.

“land displace/replace”: Public Art with Emily Stergar
Wednesday, February 20 | 6:00- 8:00PM
Collaborate with UL Lafayette College of the Arts Assistant Professor of Sculpture Emily Stergar, and other members of the community, as you work toward creating a public art installation on the lawn of the Hilliard University Art Museum

Play Day: Neon Nights
Saturday, February 23 | 4:00- 8:00PM
You won’t want to miss this special evening Play Day experience! Polly and Lou will be celebrating all things that glow and light up the dark as we play into the night!

An Evening with B. Mike
Wednesday, February 27 | 6:00-8:00PM
Join New Orleans based visual artist and filmmaker B. Mike as he leads a presentation of his practice, and explores his inspirations and the creative methodology behind his film projects and mural installations.

Plein Air Painting Demonstration
Tuesday, March 12 | Time to be determined
Morgan Samuel Price, judge for the 2019 Shadows-on-the-Teche Plein Air Competition, will create a painting on the museum’s grounds. Watch and learn techniques for painting outdoors.

Ernest Gaines and the Prison Industrial Complex
Wednesday, March 13 | 6:00 – 8:00
Cheylon Woods, Director of the Ernest Gaines Center at UL Lafayette, will lead a discussion delving into how the work of author Ernest Gaines relates to the exhibition Slavery, The Prison Industrial Complex.

John Bartholomew Bienvenu Lecture
Friday, March 15 | 7:00-8:00PM
The fifth annual John Bartholomew Bienvenu Lecture will be presented by Dr. Janice Simon, the Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor of Art History in the Lamar Dodd School of Art. Dr. Simon’s presentation, entitled “From North to South: Icons of Mid-Nineteenth Century American Landscape Painting”, will focus on the artists of the antebellum period whose work now defines American Landscape painting. This event will be held at the LITE Center in Lafayette, 537 Cajundome Boulevard.

Flute and Piano Music of the Mid-Twentieth Century
Wednesday, March 20 | 6:00-8:00PM
Join us for an evening of live music at the Hilliard. The program of Dr. Andrea Kapell Loewy and Dr. Yu Ling Huang-Davie consists of Flute and Piano compositions of the mid twentieth century, emphasizing the romantic and lyrical aspects of musical collaboration.

Artist Talk with John Hathorn
Wednesday, March 27 | 6:00-8:00PM
Explore the long and successful career of artist and UL Lafayette College of the Arts Professor of Painting John Hathorn as he looks back on his artist works, his life in academia, and what is yet to come.

Community Discussion: Incarceration
Friday, March 29 | 6:00-8:00PM
Dianne Mouton- Allen will mediate a discussion addressing the exhibition Slavery, The Prison Industrial Complex, featuring experts and community members from across the political spectrum.

Celebration of Marthe Reed
Wednesday, April 3 | 6:00-8:00PM
Celebrate the life of Marthe Reed – a local author whose recent and unexpected passing shocked many – and the release of her final book Ark Hive: A Memoir of South Louisiana.

Tattooed Walls
Wednesday, April 10 | 7:00-10:00PM
Celebrate Festival Season with the Hilliard Museum as Festival International de Louisiane. Sit back and watch an all-star lineup of visual artists from Acadiana as they conduct a light projection drawing concert by creating temporary works of art on the façade of the Hilliard Museum.

Raise Our Voices: Community Spoken Word Performance
Wednesday, April 17 | 6:00-8:00PM
Throughout the spring, Alex “PoeticSoul” Johnson has worked with members of the community in the creation of spoken word pieces responding to the issue of incarceration and the Slavery, the Prison Industrial Complex exhibit. Join us for a moving evening of performances in conclusion of this project.

Spring Exhibitions at the Hilliard University Art Museum

Spotlight on Allan Jones
Guest curated by Christopher Bennett, Ph. D.
August 10, 2018 – March 2, 2019

Spotlight on the collection: Henry Botkin
November 9, 2018 – May 4, 2019

Shadows-on-the-teche: Plein air
December 21, 2018 – March 15, 2019

Gisela Colon: Pods
January 18, 2019 – August 24, 2019

Daniel Canogar: Echo
February 1, 2019 – April 27, 2019

Slavery, The prison industrial complex: photographs by Keith Calhoun and
Chandra McCormick
Curated by Susan H. Edwards, Ph. D, and Katie Delmez. Organized by the Frist Art Museum, Nashville, Tennessee. February 8, 2019 – May 18, 2019

Tripping over cypress: recent work by Cliff Tresner
March 8, 2019 – August 10, 2019

Museum Hours, Admission & General Information

The Hilliard University Art Museum is located at 710 East Saint Mary Boulevard, on the campus of University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Museum Hours are: Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Wednesday, 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM; Saturday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM; closed Sunday and Monday. General Admission: $5 Adults, $4 Seniors (62+), $3 Students (5-17). FREE for Members, UL Students/Staff/Faculty with identification, and visitors under 5. Guided tours of the galleries are available Friday & Saturday at 2 PM, complimentary with admission. For general information, please visit HillliardMuseum.org or call 337-482-2278.

About the Hilliard Museum

The Hilliard University Art Museum operates on the campus of University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and was originally founded in 1964 as the Art Center for Southwestern Louisiana. Featuring a state-of-the-art modern facility that was erected in 2004, the museum houses more than 2,200 objects in its permanent collection, and is the largest art exhibition space between New Orleans and Houston. The Hilliard serves a wide range of educational and cultural needs by fostering cross-disciplinary intellectual discourse on campus, and throughout the region. At the core of the Hilliard’s mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit the art of our time, while celebrating the great diversity of Louisiana’s heritage.


00 2019-01-08
Lake Charles

Is your business ready to survive?


Small businesses face danger every day. Just as individuals deal with layoffs and temporary work stoppages, a small business must be ready to deal with similar difficulties. Keeping the doors open is always a challenge. Here are four common danger scenarios.

• Losing a big customer.

Losing a major customer can crash a small business. The big buyer may close a facility, might choose a different vendor or face difficulties such as loss of an owner. Sales may depend on the employees of a nearby facility; what happens if the operation shuts down? If the bulk of a company’s revenues hinge upon the lost customer, the small business may not survive without that income. Smart managers review their customer mix and avoid relying too heavily on sales to one company.

• Road construction. Road construction can prevent customers from reaching a business location. Municipalities do their best to keep traffic flowing but a business may find that its customers do not want to deal with delays and inconveniences. Online sales or special delivery services so that customers do not have to visit the store can boost income and improve survival odds.

• Embezzlement. No business owner wants to think that an employee would steal from the company. However, most embezzlement occurs at small businesses and the offender is usually someone who is trusted by the owner. Having checks and balances will often eliminate the opportunity for someone to steal and have the theft go unnoticed. Balancing checkbooks and reviewing accounts payable are tedious tasks but owners are wise to verify these documents themselves.

• Cybercrime. Ordering inventory online, checking finances, communicating with customers and accepting customer payments are common electronic transactions for a small business. Digital thieves can take advantage of vulnerabilities and steal data, hack into bank accounts and hold computers for ransom. Recovering from cybercrime can be very expensive and difficult. A cyberinsurance policy, effective software and good training for employees can reduce exposure to this business danger.

Let the consultants at the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at McNeese State University help you with the difficulties of running your small business. For 35 years, the LSBDC at McNeese has worked with entrepreneurs and business owners who are looking to start or grow their small business. Visit www. lsbdc.org/msu to learn more about us. For no-cost assistance with your business, call 337-475-5529.



Donna Little is the director of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at McNeese State University. Contact her at 475-5945 or dlittle@lsbdc.org.



Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and Louisiana Department of Economic Development. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.
00 2019-01-08
New Orleans

Guest column: To grow Louisiana's economy, promote college degrees


Last month, The Advocate published an article stating that following months of positive gains in Louisiana jobs, employment in the state rose to more than 2 million. Nationally, unemployment is low and predicted to fall further in the coming year, with a record number of job openings across nearly all industries. One of the drivers is the aging workforce and record number of retirements compared to potential employees to fill jobs. The economy and job market, indeed, appear to be strong.

It’s also college application and decision season — that time of year when high school seniors pick whether and where to pursue higher education. We hear from some that with the economy doing so well and a surplus of available jobs, the circumstances are ripe to bypass college and jump right into a good-paying position. If you are one of those people, keep reading.

New Orleans adds 12,200 jobs in November, biggest gain of any Louisiana metro area over 12 months
A 2017 report from The Institute for the Future, an independent futures research group, states that roughly 85 percent of jobs that today’s students will have in 2030 haven’t even been created yet. In particular, it is difficult to imagine the types of jobs that sophisticated emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, robotics, and cloud computing will reveal in the future.

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce notes that by next year, 65 percent of all jobs will require a college degree. The center also reports that during the post-recession era, of the 11.6 million jobs created, 99 percent went to workers with more than a high school education, and 72 percent went to those with at least a bachelor’s degree. By all indications, those with a bachelor’s degree or higher are taking nearly all available jobs in middle- and high-skills occupations, effectively a college-fed economy. And those without a college degree are falling out of America’s middle class. The bachelor’s degree has become a minimum qualification to compete and build a healthy career in most industries. Salaries tell a similar story: A bachelor’s degree is worth nearly 70 percent more in annual income compared to those with only a high-school diploma, and a graduate degree is worth 120 percent more. Over their lifetime, bachelor’s degree holders will earn more than $1 million more than their counterparts without a similar degree. Those college graduates also tend to have better access to health care, greater social networks and improved overall psychological well-being.

Granted, none of this may be a surprise to some readers. But this might: The U.S. Census Bureau indicates that of Louisianans age 25 or older, only 23 percent hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. In New Orleans, the figure is 36 percent — better than the statewide number, but still insufficient to meet the demands of a knowledge economy that will strengthen over the next decade.

More than ever, these trends demonstrate the need for a more educated Louisiana, and the value of a college degree, particularly a degree from a university that has adapted its programs to an evolving-jobs landscape and to the specifications of employers. A four-year degree is more than a mere credential. It should also prove that a graduate has honed the transferrable skills of inquiry, reasoning, critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, and communication that can be adapted to a variety of jobs.

Public research universities like the University of New Orleans fill a vital need in our country’s most important cities. They offer a unique combination of access, affordability and excellence that transforms the lives of students from all backgrounds. They create upward social and economic mobility, sustain robust economic activity and lift entire communities. So the question shouldn’t be, “Can you afford to go to college?” Ask yourself, “Can you afford not to?”

John Nicklow is president of the University of New Orleans.
00 2019-01-07
Hammond

Southeastern Louisiana to host mental health conference Jan. 10-11


The University Counseling Center (UCC) at Southeastern Louisiana University will sponsor the second annual Terrell Conference for Mental Health Practitioners Jan. 10-11 in the university’s Student Union.

Annette Baldwin, outreach liaison for the Southeastern UCC, said conference highlights include a keynote speaker and reception Thursday evening. Friday includes a full day of continuing education opportunities for counseling and other mental health professionals in the areas of supervision, ethics and diagnosis, as well as the expo and networking lunch.

“Participants will have the opportunity for one-on-one conversations with local mental health practitioners, faculty, staff and counseling students,” Baldwin said. “The Conference Expo will showcase area mental health partners dedicated to various aspects of mental health treatment and recovery.”

Keynote speaker Nicholas Hayes will present “Recovery Research Outcomes – Past, Present and Future.” The presentation will address how current recovery science initiatives could impact the future of healthcare, how technology can assist with increasing recovery access throughout communities, and highlight how everyone can support emerging recovery science initiatives in their communities, said Baldwin.

Director of Clinical Research and Outcomes for the Cumberland Heights Foundation in Nashville, Hayes is enrolled as a doctoral student in the Couples, Marriage, and Family Therapy Graduate Program at Texas Tech University. He holds dual licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist Associate, as well as a Chemical Dependency Counselor.

Registration costs, which include special rates for students, and other details can be found on the website southeastern.edu/terrellconference.

The conference honors Tom Terrell, former director for the UCC, for his work with students, faculty and staff at Southeastern, as well as the leadership roles he played with the Louisiana Professional Counseling Association. Terrell was instrumental in developing the Louisiana licensure law for mental health professionals and played a key role in achieving accreditation of the Southeastern UCC with the International Association of Counseling Services.

“The UCC has worked with our university and mental health community partners to bring another great conference for professionals, faculty, staff and graduate students,” said Baldwin. “We listened to feedback from last year’s conference and are providing more opportunities for networking with added time to our expo and a networking lunch.”

For more information, email Baldwin at recovery@southeastern.edu.
00 2019-01-07
Lafayette

Class time is coming soon for next Crappie University


LAFAYETTE — The Crappie Psychic’s coming to town. So is the son of the maker of the highly popular Salter’s Jiggin’ Pole. And a professional crappie fishing guide who relies on marine electronics to put slabs in the boat at Toledo Bend, his home away from home, will be there, too.

They are the three instructors for the return of Crappie University to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The lineup for the one-day session should appeal to sac-a-lait fishermen in and around Acadiana, Babs Dees said Friday morning from her Sales and Program Developer, Department of Continuing Education office at UL Lafayette.

Dees, a Loreauville native who lives along the Bayou Teche in rural Iberia Parish, is excited about this year’s Crappie University scheduled to be held Feb. 23 at ULL’s Light Center, the state-of-the-art theater on Cajundome Boulevard right behind the Cajundome. She has been working with Crappie University president Gary Dollohon of Tulsa, Oklahoma, on bringing the course here for the second straight year.


Dees, who is from a hard-fishing family, including her sister, Renetta Judice of Loreauville, and her son, Ray Dees of Loreauville, an all-around outdoorsman who played baseball at ULL, believes attendance will exceed that of the inaugural Crappie University on campus one night a week for four weeks (Jan. 6 and Feb. 6, 20 and 27) in 2018. Ninety-two “students” attended those two-hour sessions, she said.

Why higher expectations? Because, Dees said, Dollohon listened to evaluations from last year’s participants who indicated a one-day course would be better and that lining up instructors who are from the region, or who know about fishing with marine electronics, would enhance the learning experience.

“We had people drive from Denham Springs for the 7:30 to 9:30 classes. It’s difficult to drive back and go to work the next morning,” Dees said, noting there were quite a few students who drove 60 miles or more one way.

Also, students indicated they wanted to hear from “local” fishermen, instructors who understood the nature of fishing this part of the Sportsman’s Paradise, she said.

Registration for the upcoming Crappie University begins at 8:30 a.m. the day of the course and “classwork” starts at 9 a.m., the ULL official said. The registration fee, which can be paid in advance, is $99.

A lunch will be served.

This year’s instructors for ULL’s Crappie University are Clyde Folse, a charter boat captain from Raceland known for his Crappie Psychic Lures, including Crappie Ammo; Blaine Salter Jr. of Erwinville, the son of J.B. Salter of Salter’s Jiggin’ Pole & Bait Co., and Ed Terry of New Orleans, a crappie fishing veteran who owns Sac-A-Lait Slab Hunter Guide Service and guides on Toledo Bend from February through October.


“I think we’re going to be right on track for what seems to be what participants in these classes wanted,” Dollohon said Friday afternoon from his Tulsa office.

“You’ve got the guys who are really good with a jig fishing pole. We’re kind of covering all the information crappie anglers need and are hungry for. I think it’s going to be a tremendous value to attendees.”

That Terry fishes open water successfully with the help of marine electronics is a plus, he said, adding, “As you know, that’s changing almost daily. New electronics can be intimidating to old-timers like me.”

There is one other Crappie University course scheduled for this year in Louisiana. It will be held Jan. 26 at Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City. Slade Dougherty of Alba, Texas, who owns Lake Fork Electronics Training Guide, Terry Richard of West Monroe, a professional crappie fisherman who won a Crappie Masters Louisiana State Championship in February 2016, and Folse are the instructors for that one-day event.

Folse and his products are widely known in this region. A veteran angler for three-plus decades, he and his family started his business in July 2014 and it has grown.

The 55-year-old outdoorsman said he welcomes the opportunity to speak as an instructor.

“ ‘Catch More Crappie’ is the name of my seminar,” Folse said Saturday morning, noting it’s about where to go, when to go, what to use, etc. He talks about baits, lines, leadheads, rods and reels and touches on how to find the fish with and without marine electronics, noting he doesn’t rely on marine electronics, so he shares his expertise on how to read the water.


He also likes to get his audience involved, he said, including a question-and-answer period.

“I believe in my heart I do a very good seminar. I’ve been doing them quite a while and people enjoy them,” he said.

“I think it’s going to be big for our company. It’s going to be a lot of exposure.”

Dees knows how beneficial Crappie University can be. She attended every one last year at ULL.

So did her sister, Renetta Judice, and Gayle Gilbert, who also live along the Bayou Teche in rural Iberia Parish. Judice and Gilbert are avid sac-a-lait fisherwomen who mostly fish out of Baldwin.

They were under the impression that sac-a-lait fishing is seasonal until they were enlightened by one of the instructors, Steve Danna of Farmerville, who shared his knowledge on how to catch slabs 24/7, Dees said. Armed with that information, Judice and Gilbert went out often and have more than enough sac-a-lait fillets for this year’s annual family fish fry on Palm Sunday, she said.

“We had excellent feedback,” Dees said.
00 2019-01-07
Lafayette

UL’s petroleum engineering department recognized by International Association of Drilling Contractors


LAFAYETTE – The Department of Petroleum Engineering at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is now an accredited WellSharp Well Control provider.

Since the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon event, strict regulatory assessment standards were put in place worldwide.

The department satisfied the regulatory requirements for well control instruction and has been awarded the title by the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC). Department spokesman Randy Andres says their program is the only in the nation, if not the world, to achieve this status.

Andres says the department was also recognized for “providing the finest drilling education in the nation.”

Find the published WellSharp accredited training providers here.
00 2019-01-07
Monroe

ULM’s Dental Hygiene program receives $20K grant


The University of Louisiana Monroe’s Dental Hygiene Program, under the direction of Associate Professor Sharon Chaney, has been awarded a $20,000 grant from Delta Dental Community Care Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Delta Dental Insurance Company.

These funds will be used for each ULM Dental Hygiene Clinic for patient treatment equipment to provide efficient oral hygiene care to Northeast Louisiana residents while providing optimum dental hygiene education to the ULM students.

ULM has three dental hygiene clinics: Riser Elementary School-based dental hygiene clinic in West Monroe, a mobile dental hygiene unit, and the ULM Dental Hygiene Clinic in Caldwell Hall on campus. In 2018, ULM Dental Hygiene clinics served 2,452 patients.

The satellite clinic at Riser School has been very successful providing treatment to children who may not have access to dental care. Operation of the mobile dental hygiene unit provides dental hygiene care to patients at various remote underserved areas in Ouachita, Richland, Morehouse, East Carroll and Caldwell parishes.

ULM Dental Hygiene students rotate through each clinic to provide exams, x-rays, oral hygiene education, therapeutic treatments, sealants, nutritional counseling and fluoride treatments. Students are able to provide dental hygiene care to diverse patients at various remote clinical sites.

Each clinic is making a positive difference in quality dental hygiene care for the patients.

In 2018, the eULM Bachelor of Science Degree Completion in Dental Hygiene (AAS to BS) was ranked one of the Top 10 programs in the nation by SR Education Group. eULM’s program was the only program in the state which was recognized. The online program is administered by Associate Professor of Dental Hygiene Jordan Anderson, RDH, BS, MDH.

More: Would you OK a property tax to support ULM?
00 2019-01-07
Monroe

New Medical school closer to happening on the ULM campus



00 2019-01-07
Monroe

ULM names local students to President, Dean’s List


The University of Louisiana at Monroe has recently released the names of students who made the President’s List and Dean’s List for the Fall Semester of 2018.

To be eligible for the President's List, a student is required to earn at least a 3.9-grade point average on a minimum of 12 semester hours completed. You must be an undergraduate student to qualify

To be eligible for the Dean's List, a student is required to earn at least a 3.5-grade point average on a minimum of 12 semester hours completed.



FRANKLIN PARISH

Baskin:

Taylor Gill, Dean’s List.

Jigger:

Kaitlyn Eley, President’s List.

Winnsboro:

Samantha Acton, Dean’s List.

Jessica Armstrong, President’s List.

Paul Bernard, Dean’s List.

Hagen Campbell, Dean’s List.

Cecily Davis, President’s List.

Abbie Garner, Dean’s List.

Heath Hackney, Dean’s List.

Tiona Harris, President’s List.

Caleb Holloway, President’s List.

Joshua King, Dean’s List.

Clara Moon, Dean’s List.

Ashley Moore, Dean’s List.

Jacy Oliver, President’s List.

Kasen Rollins, Dean’s List.

Elijah Ward, Dean’s List.

Wisner:

Carley Kiper, Dean’s List.

Andrew Roberts, Dean’s List.

Brittany Whittington, President’s List.



CATAHOULA PARISH

Harrisonburg:

Erica Cater, President’s List.

Tiffany Cater, President’s List.

Natalee Duncan, President’s List.

Emily Huff, President’s List.

Jonesville:

Matthew Harris, President’s List.

Alexis Ingram, Dean’s List.

Alexis Pardue, Dean’s List.

Joseph Sanson, Dean’s List.

Makayla Weeks, Dean’s List.



TENSAS PARISH

Newellton:

Addison Capdepon, Dean’s List.

Mallorie Gossett, Dean’s List.

St. Joseph:

Aaron Barfield, Dean’s List.

Brandon Rush, Dean’s List.

Waterproof:

Angelica Johnson, President’s List.


00 2019-01-07
Natchitoches

NSU’s Poleman receives RMA Foundation scholarship


Answering an e-mail has turned out to be very beneficial for Taylor Poleman as the Northwestern State University student has been awarded a $3,000 scholarship from the Risk Management Association Foundation.

The scholarship is presented to students interested in working in the banking industry after graduating. Poleman, a senior business administration major in the Louisiana Scholars’ College at Northwestern State from Shreveport, plans to graduate in May.

Poleman has worked the past two summers as a Risk Management Pathways intern for the FDIC in its Shreveport field office.

“The College of Business sends out a weekly email with job/internship opportunities, and I thought I would give it a try,” said Poleman. “I ended up really enjoying it, going back for a second summer and getting a permanent position after graduation. After learning so much about the industry, I really enjoy the numbers, of course, the behind-the-scenes aspect, and the fact that I have the opportunity to help people in such an important area of life.”

During her internship, Poleman travelled with a team from the field office, visiting individual financial institutions in Louisiana and Arkansas to complete on-site bank examinations. Poleman worked with the field office team to evaluate financial statements and bank reports and examine each institution’s CAMELS components. Her supervisor and other examiners trained Poleman in the examination practices.

“I enjoyed it so much that my thesis topic is banking,” said Poleman. I will evaluate the differences between the US and European Union bank failure resolution processes.”

Poleman said discovering the behind-the-scenes of the banking world while at the FDIC was intriguing.

“I had no idea the complexity of banks before this experience, much less about the regulatory dimension,” said Poleman. “I am a numbers person, so evaluating all of the financials is very fun and interesting for me. I also appreciate the qualitative aspects of getting to know these community banks and their practices. Getting into the federal level of banking also excites

me, as I look forward to making sure that financial institutions do everything in their power to keep the best interests of the economy and their customers a priority.

“Between the technical aspects of my job, to the ability to be a contributing member of an agency that protects people and their funds from unsafe practices, something I would

have never expected in banking.”

At NSU, Poleman has worked in the Office of University Recruiting as a student ambassador. She was a member of the Student Advisory and Outreach Board and Alpha Lambda Delta. Poleman served as a Quality Enhancement Program student representative.

The Risk Management Association (RMA) is a not-for-profit, member-driven professional association serving the financial services industry. Its sole purpose is to advance the use of sound risk management principles in the financial services industry. For more information on the Risk Management Association, go to rmahq.org.
00 2019-01-07
Ruston

LA Tech announces Fall honor roll


Louisiana Tech University has announced the names of students on its fall quarter president’s and dean’s honor lists.

Students whose names are followed by an asterisk earned recognition as members of the president’s honor list. That distinction signifies achievement of at least a 3.8 academic grade point average on a minimum of nine semester hours completed (100-level or higher), with no grade lower than a B.

To be eligible for the dean’s honor lists, a student is required to earn at least a 3.5 academic grade point average with no grade lower than a C on a minimum of nine semester hours completed (100-level or higher).

Courses yielding satisfactory/failure grades and courses audited do not count toward eligibility for either recognition. Only undergraduates with no incomplete grades are eligible to make either list.

Honor students are listed below by their hometowns, with all Louisiana students listed first by parish.



Franklin Parish

· Baskin: Mallarie Elizabeth Lowe*

· Crowville: Taylor Denise Poland

· Gilbert: Leslie Anne McLemore

· Winnsboro: Hannah Katheryn Cobb*, Rachel Holbrook Collins*, Randi E. Cox*, Jacob Felton Moore, Zachary Morgan Waller, Joseph Lane Wolleson*

Catahoula Parish

· Harrisonburg: Austin Taliaferro Goldstein*

· Jonesville: Mackenzie Grace Bennett, Joshua I. Hudson*, Bailey Elizabeth Mophett*, Melissa Leanne Taylor, Todd McKay Wilson*

· Sicily Island: Megan Renee Ford

Tensas Parish

· Newellton: Mary Kifer Glass*

· St. Joseph: Victoria Elizabeth Adams*, James Edward Gray*


00 2019-01-07
Ruston

2018 WAS NEWSWORTHY FOR LINCOLN PARISH HIGHER EDUCATION


Grambling State University’s Favrot Student Union will be one of a number of buildings being renovated as part of a $2 million project projected to be completed in the spring of 2019.


00 2019-01-04
Lafayette

11,000 fewer oil and gas jobs in Acadiana 2008 vs. 2018


It was the year Democrat U.S. Sen. Barack Obama defeated Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain to become the 44th president, the New Orleans Saints were a year away from a 13-3 season that led the team to its first Super Bowl and for the first time in 2008, crude oil sold for more than $100 a barrel.

As 2019 begins, Republican newcomer Donald Trump is two years into his first term as president, the New Orleans Saints are 13-3 and making a run for a second Super Bowl appearance and oil is selling for around $72 a barrel.

Despite recent talk of a slight uptick in the oil and gas business in Acadiana, in the past decade nearly 11,000 jobs were lost in oil and gas in the five-parish Lafayette Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Here is a glance at where the industry in Acadiana and Louisiana was in 2008 versus 2018.

24,175 versus 13,282: the number of people employed in the oil and gas industry in the five-parish Lafayette Metropolitan Statistical Area (Lafayette, Acadia, Iberia, St. Martin and Vermilion parishes) in 2008 versus 2018, a drop of 10,893.
2,374 versus 807: Louisiana new drilling permits 2008 versus 2018, a drop of 7,712.
268 versus 71: Gulf of Mexico new drilling permits 2008 versus 2018, a drop of 197.
1,878 versus 1,060: Total U.S. rig counts 2008 versus 2018, a drop of 818.
168 versus 60: Total Louisiana rig counts 2008 versus 2018, a drop of 108.
68 versus 35: North Louisiana land rig counts 2008 versus 2018, a drop of 33.
20 versus 3: South Louisiana inland water rig counts 2008 versus 2018, a drop of 17.
26 versus 5: South Louisiana land rig counts 2008 versus 2018, a drop of 11.
53 versus 17: South Louisiana offshore rig counts 2008 versus 2018, a drop of 36.
$102.29 versus $71.85: Louisiana sweet crude oil price per barrel 2008 versus 2018, a drop of $30.44 per barrel.
$99.57 versus $66.34: West Texas intermediate crude oil price per barrel 2008 versus 2018, a drop of $33.23 per barrel.
$96.85 versus $72.31: Brent crude oil price per barrel 2008 versus 2018, a drop of $24.54 per barrel.
$8.86 versus $3.09: Henry Hub natural gas price per MMBTU (one million British Thermal Units) 2008 versus 2018, a drop of $5.77 per MMBTU.
(Note: 2018 figures are through November)

Source: Lafayette Economic Development Authority

More: Houston man celebrates New Year with new family in Louisiana

Top 25 Lafayette Parish employers 2008:
Lafayette Parish School Board, 4,250

Lafayette Consolidated Government, 2,008

University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 1,900

Lafayette General Medical Center, 1,757

Wal-Mart, 1,664

*Island Operating Company, 1,500 (headquarters)

Stuller Inc., 1,471 (headquarters)

*Halliburton, 1,371

Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, 1,310

AT&T Wireless, 1,150

University Medical Center, 1,000

*Omni Energy Services, 950+ (headquarters)

Mac-Laff, 950

*Moncla Well Service, 849

Acadian Ambulance and Air Med, 835 (headquarters)

Ess Support Services Worldwide, 831

The Ace Group, 652 (headquarters)

*Frank's Casing Crew, 625

Women's and Children's Hospital, 610

Lafayette Parish government (not LCG), 597

Albertson's, 582

*Chevron, 569

Petroleum Helicopters Inc., 555 (headquarters)

*Fugro, 550

U.S. Post Office, 487

*Oil and gas industry

More: Got $1M? You could own this historic Lafayette mansion

Top 25 Lafayette Parish employers 2017:
Lafayette General Health, 4,245 (headquarters)

Lafayette Parish School Board, 4,209

University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2,894

Lafayette Consolidated Government, 2,400

Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, 1,888

Wal-Mart, 1,479

*WHC Inc., 1,270

Stuller, 1,191 (headquarters)

*Island Operating, 1,000

Lafayette Parish government (not LCG), 996

*Baker Hughes, 891

*Schlumberger, 885

*Quality Companies, 800

*Superior Energy Services, 769 (headquarters)

LHC Group, 769 (headquarters)

Women's and Children's Hospital, 700

Acadian Companies (Acadian Ambulance), 659 (headquarters)

*Frank's International, 607 (headquarters)

McDonald's of Acadiana, 600 (headquarters)

Super 1 Foods, 560

Waitr, 516 (headquarters)

AT&T Wireless Call Center, 516

Petroleum Helicopters Inc., 492 (headquarters)

Albertson's, 460

*Fieldwood Energy, 437

U.S. Post Office, 436

*Weatherford, 415

*Oil and gas industry

(Source: Lafayette Economic Development Authority)
00 2019-01-04
Lake Charles

New play on autism to be performed at McNeese


LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - With more cases of autism showing up among children, a better understanding of the condition is needed. That’s why the McNeese Theatre is presenting a play on the topic this spring.

“We started gathering material," said Charles McNeely, Associate Professor of Theatre Arts at McNeese State University. "That’s the first stage is finding information. I was fascinated by things that I was finding; stories of people and what they overcame.”

Charles McNeely said two upcoming input sessions are being held to gather information for the play.

“Everybody can contribute something; a story or an idea. We will theatricalize it by improvising, by just brainstorming. How can we do this so that ultimately it needs to do two things? It needs to be the truth and it needs to be useful in some way.”

McNeely said the McNeese Autism Program and St. Nicholas Center are involved.

“This is for anyone on the planet who has, is, or will come in contact with someone who has autism or Asperger’s. We want them to understand that when they see something, someone behaving a little differently, we want them to know why so they can relate to them better.”

Rehearsals on the autism play start Jan. 14 at Tritico Theatre. McNeely hopes the idea catches on nationwide. For more information, contact McNeely at 337-475-5041.

Copyright 2019 KPLC. All rights reserved.
00 2019-01-04
New Orleans

Here's how much Louisiana's college leaders get paid


By Wilborn P. Nobles III, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
The salaries of presidents at Louisiana's public and private colleges and universities were released last month by the Chronicle of Higher Education. The newspaper surveyed public colleges in both fiscal year 2016 and 2017. Pay for private colleges is based on the calendar year, Jan. 1 through Dec. 31.

The Chronicle's executive compensation package from Dec. 10 provides the latest data on more than 1,400 chief executives at more than 600 private colleges from 2008-16 and nearly 250 public universities and systems from 2010-17. In Louisiana, the highest-paid public college president is Louisiana State University's F. King Alexander with a total compensation package listed at $610,666. The state's highest-paid private college president is Mike Fitts at Tulane University with a total compensation package listed at $1.1 million.

Scroll down to see the total compensation for 13 of Louisiana's college leaders. Some leaders also received perks such as a vehicle or housing allowance.


13. Chris Holoman, Centenary College: $111,024
Salary: $103,788

Other compensation: $7,236

Holoman became the 31st president at Centenary College of Louisiana in 2016. He assumed the role after former president David Rowe stepped down in July 2016 to lead Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, Florida, according to The Shreveport Times.

12. Daniel Reneau, UL System: $187,500
Photo via Louisiana Tech
12. Daniel Reneau, UL System: $187,500
Salary: $187,500

House benefit: Yes

Car benefit: Yes

Reneau served as interim president for the UL System in 2016 after Sandra Woodley resigned in December 2015. Former Northwestern State University president Jim Henderson now holds the top job, according to the UL System website.

11. David Rowe, Centenary College: $188,087
David Rowe speaks to attendees of the Air Force Art of the Atomic Age exhibit in the Meadows Museum of Art, at Centenary College of Louisiana, on Sept. 12, 2013. (Photo by U. S. Air Force Senior Airman Benjamin Gonsier)
11. David Rowe, Centenary College: $188,087
Salary: $146,926

Nontaxable pay: $19,562

Other pay: $21,599

Pay set aside: $7,770

Rowe took the helm at Centenary College in August 2009. He stepped down from the role at Centenary in July 2016 to lead Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, Florida, according to The Shreveport Times.

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Jim Henderson

@DrJBHenderson
Jackson says "Gala was SICK!" 😈🤘🏻 So proud of and grateful for the amazingly talented @NSULA_Capa students, faculty, and staff.

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10. Jim Henderson, UL System: $190,169
Salary: $184,615

Nontaxable pay: $5,554

Retirement: $48,312

House benefit: Yes

Car benefit: Yes

Henderson became the University of Louisiana System president on Jan. 1, 2017. He previously served as president of Northwestern State University from 2015 to 2016.




Photo by Kathleen Flynn, Nola.com / The Times-Picayune
9. Walter Kimbrough, Dillard: $298,676
Salary: $275,118

Nontaxable pay: $23,558

Kimbrough became the 7th president of Dillard University in July 2012 after former president Marvalene Hughes announced her resignation in February 2011 after guiding Dillard through its rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina.


Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
8. John Nicklow, UNO: $325,000
Salary: $325,000

Retirement: $18,688

House benefit: Yes

Car benefit: Yes

Nicklow's term as the president of the University of New Orleans began in April 2016, after the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors chose him 10-6 on March 16, 2016. He was previously the provost of UNO.


Photo via Louisiana Tech
7. Leslie Guice, Louisiana Tech: $350,000
Salary: $350,000

Retirement: $85,400

House benefit: Yes

Car benefit: Yes

Guice has been the president of Louisiana Tech since December 2012.


Handout
6. Joseph Savoie, UL-Lafayette: $360,818
Salary: $350,000

Nontaxable pay: $10,818

Retirement: $129,166

House benefit: Yes

Car benefit: Yes

Savoie has been the Lafayette university's president since July 2008.


Photo via Loyola University New Orleans
5. Kevin Wildes, Loyola: $418,552
Salary: $331,500

Nontaxable pay: $87,052

The Rev. Kevin Wildes retired in June 2018 as one of Loyola's longest-serving presidents, as he spent 13 years in that role since he was hired in 2004. He was replaced by Tania Tetlow, the university's first woman and first lay president.





Diana Samuels, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
4. Ray Belton, SU System: $452,000
Salary: $400,000

Other pay: $52,000 in car and housing allowances

House benefit: Yes

Car benefit: Yes

Retirement: $30,000

Belton was named the chancellor and president of Southern University June 12, 2015. He previously served as chancellor of Southern's Shreveport campus.






Frankie Prijatel NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
3. Reynold Verret, Xavier: $476,389
Salary: $437,835

Nontaxable pay: $38,554

Reynold Verret replaced longtime Xavier President Norman Francis in July 2015 after Francis retired from his 47 years of leadership in June 2015. Verret was inaugurated in February 2016 after he previously served as provost and chief academic officer at Savannah State, Georgia's first public historically black university, where he was employed since 2012.


Brianna Paciorka, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
2. F. King Alexander, LSU: $610,666
Salary: $600,000

Nontaxable pay: $10,666

Retirement: $65,880

House benefit: Yes

Car benefit: Yes

Social club benefit: Yes

Alexander became the leader of Louisiana's flagship university in 2013. He is the state's highest-paid public university president.


Frankie Prijatel, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
1. Mike Fitts, Tulane: $1,127,000
Salary: $867,000

Nontaxable pay: $15,000

Other pay: $245,000

Deferred compensation (such as contributions to supplemental retirement plans): $26,000

Fitts was inaugurated as Tulane's 15th president in 2016, although he has sat at the helm since the summer of 2014. He replaced Scott Cowen after Cowen retired in 2014. Cowen was the sixth highest paid university president in the United States in 2013 after he received a total compensation of $1.6 million from Tulane.

Tulane officials have praised Fitts for shattering fundraising records, eliminating cash deficits and improving the academic achievements of first-year students. Tulane's board in June 2018 extended his contract at the private Uptown school through June 30, 2023
00 2019-01-04
New Orleans

Recycling Programs For Your Christmas Tree


NEW ORLEANS- Christmas tree collections in Southeast Louisiana are right around the corner.

Lucky for you, there are several ways that you can dispose of your old,unwanted tree starting today.

Southeastern Louisiana University is continuing its now 24-year tradition of recycling Christmas trees.

Each year, the university’s Sustainability Center collects the trees and ships them off to Manchac to help with ongoing wetland restoration projects.

During the time of the program’s existence, they have collected around 40,000 trees.


RELATED STORY
Local college collecting Christmas trees

You can contribute to their cause by dropping off your trees at these 4 locations:

The Hammond Maintenance Facility: 18104 Hwy. 190 in Hammond today through Mardi Gras from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Southeastern Sustainability Center, 2101 North Oak St. in Hammond today through the 31st from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8-10 a.m. on Fridays.
Pennington’s Hardware and Screen-printing, 407 Highway 22 W in Madisonville today through the 31st from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Middendorf’s Restaurant in Manchac will be accepting trees starting tomorrow, January 4th.
Local parishes will begin Christmas tree collections starting next week.

The St. Charles Parish Public Works Department will pick up live Christmas trees for recycling curbside around the parish on January 10th, 17th and 24th.

The St. Bernard Parish Government will be holding its curbside collections January 7th through the 11th.

Both Orleans and Jefferson Parishes will be collecting live trees from the 10th through the 11th.

St. Tammany Parish residents can drop off their trees at the St. Tammany Parish fairgrounds in Covington. Trees will also be accepted at the old Levee Board property near Slidell.

Officials want to remind residents to completely remove any tinsel or ornaments from your tree before placing them at the curb.
00 2019-01-04
Shreveport

NWLA braves the needle for a local college student


SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - People from across Northwest Louisiana ventured out in the cold, wet weather Thursday morning to donate blood for a local college student facing a serious diagnosis.

LifeShare Blood Center hosted a blood drive for Adam Driskill, a Louisiana Tech student and the son of the former president of Remington College.

Driskill is currently fighting Stage-III lymphoma.

“It really is awesome, it shows how awesome of a community Shreveport has," said SarahJayne Driskill, Adam’s sister. “Even on a cold and rainy day, we can come together.”

SarahJayne told KSLA that family, friends and even complete strangers donated for Adam.

“I know he’s been really humbled by everything,” said SarahJayne. “I think we’re just really blessed, I think he’s super blessed and super excited people want to help him.”

Mary Jo Henderson, a Driskill family friend, said it’s critically important folks donate blood — especially around the holidays.

“If we don’t come out and donate, there won’t be any lives saved in this community,” said Henderson. “In this day and time with so many things going on in the community, you make the difference, you do."

Officials with LifeShare report around 20 units of blood was donated this morning on Adam’s behalf.

Adam is a sophomore and hopes to conduct research in environmental studies with an emphasis on marine life.

Copyright 2019 KSLA. All rights reserved.
00 2019-01-03
Lake Charles

McNeese Theatre presents ‘Songs for a New World’


The McNeese State University W.A. and Dorothy Hanna Department of Performing Arts opens its 2019 spring theater season with the musical “Songs for the New World.”

Performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 9-12 and 2 p.m. Jan. 13 at Tritico Theatre.

The musical, written by Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown, takes the audience through various vignettes with different settings and themes. They range from a character aboard a Spanish sailing ship in 1492, to a ledge on a skyscraper. Each character is forced to make a difficult decision in the moment.

Renee Luedders of Denver is the guest director. McNeese faculty member Garry Leonberger is the musical director.

Cast members Tyler Brumback and Lara Connally said they want the audience to find something in the production they can relate to or be inspired by, especially when faced with tough life choices.

“Maybe they saw something that helped them or felt recognized,” Connally said.

Brumback said one part of the musical brought on many emotions because it reminded him of his late mother.

Other cast members include MaryKate Core, Lake Charles; Heather Foreman, Sulphur; Amy Phillips, Livingston, Texas; and Peyton Stanford, Welsh.

The band includes Keegan Crawford, Houston; Tony James, Lake Charles; Brent Lensing, Livingston; Isaiah Windsor, Riverside, Calif.; and Tyler Young, Westlake.

Other crew members include Hasmig Aroian of Austin, Texas, conductor; Michelle Brunson of Rosepine, technical, light and set director; and Luke Conbally of Austin, stage director.

Tickets are $15 for adults, and $10 for McNeese faculty, staff, seniors, K-12 students and teachers. McNeese students with a current I.D. get in free.



For more information or to purchase tickets, call 475-5040 or visit mcneese,edu/performingartsboxoffice.
00 2019-01-03
New Orleans

St. Tammany college notes for January 2, 2019


LSU: Jennifer Algero, of Mandeville, a psychology major, is one of seven LSU graduates who were awarded the Distinguished Communicator Award during LSU’s 297th commencement exercises. These students earned this honor by meeting high standards set by faculty in various colleges and by the LSU Communication across the Curriculum program. The students earned high grade-point averages in communication-intensive courses — based on written, spoken, visual and technological communication — and built digital portfolios, displayed as public websites, which included their communication projects from courses, internships, leadership roles and public service.

NORTHWESTERN STATE UNIVERSITY: These local students are among the 922 graduates of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches who completed their coursework in the summer 2018 and fall 2018 semesters:

From Covington, Jason Creath and Ashton Fonseca
From Folsom, Catherine Bosetta
From Hammond, Katie Cali and Chase Tassin
From Lacombe, Ceola Fleming and Alyssa Robert
From Mandeville, Brian Fast, Judy Franzen and Blake Naquin
From Slidell, Tristan Bennett, Katherine Gallinghouse, Erin Gibbs, Samantha Hernandez, Matthew Jester and Danielle Messer.
COAST CAROLINA: Lyra-Grace Schwarts, a theater arts major from Pearl River, has been named to the President's List with a perfect 4.0 grade point average at Coast Carolina University in Conway.
00 2019-01-03
New Orleans

Crescent City college notes for January 2, 2018


TULANE UNIVERSITY: The A.B. Freeman School of Business and the School of Liberal Arts at Tulane University are the beneficiaries of a new $3.5 million gift from Carole B. and Kenneth J. Boudreaux. The gift will create a scholarship fund for Freeman School graduate students and establish the Kenneth J. Boudreaux MBA ’67 Professorship in Finance. It will also establish the Carole Barnette Boudreaux NC ’65 Creative Writing Endowed Fund, which will launch two programs that will bring both great and emerging writers to campus. Kenneth J. Boudreaux received his MBA from the Tulane School of Business in 1967 and served as a professor of finance and economics at Tulane before his retirement in 2010. Carole Barnette Boudreaux received a bachelor of arts degree in English from Newcomb College in 1965. She received a master of education degree from the University of New Orleans in 1973. Their son Beau Boudreaux holds a doctorate in English and is a poet and adjunct professor at Tulane.

LSU: Jessica Mire of Destrehan, a chemical engineering major, is one of seven LSU graduates who were awarded the Distinguished Communicator Award during LSU’s 297th commencement exercises. These students earned this honor by meeting high standards set by faculty in various colleges and by the LSU Communication across the Curriculum program. The students earned high grade-point averages in communication-intensive courses — based on written, spoken, visual and technological communication — and built digital portfolios, displayed as public websites, which included their communication projects from courses, internships, leadership roles and public service.

NORTHWESTERN STATE UNIVERSITY: These local students are among the 922 graduates of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches who completed their coursework in the summer 2018 and fall 2018 semesters:

From Avondale, Brian Videau
From Des Allemands, Cadie Beall
From Destrehan, John Domangue and Patrick Juneau
From Gretna, Jaime Balleza, Alfonza Jackson and Donald Wagner
From Harahan, Stephanie Schmidt
From Kenner, Verne Champagne, Kailyn Verdin and Tracy Williams
From LaPlace, Darian Cline and Keitha Smith
From Luling, Lynn Edwards and Garrett Monti
From Marrero, Katie Desalvo and Christa Steib
From Meraux, Emma Miller
From Metairie, Kaitlyn Arena, Walter Bridges and Jessica Kovacs
From New Orleans, Jessica Connor, Amy Favalora, Mia Jackson, Karice Moore, Monique Myles, Tchanavian Norris and Tayla Oliver
From Westwego, Syretta Atkins.
NUNEZ SIGNUP: Registration for the Spring 2019 semester is available now for Nunez Community College, 3701 Paris Road, Chalmette, at www.nunez.edu. On-campus registration assistance will be available Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 16-17, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, Jan. 18, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Jan. 19, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Classes will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 22, both day and evening. Financial aid is available for those who qualify. For more information, email admissions@nunez.edu or call (504) 278-6467.
00 2019-01-03
Shreveport

Blood drive to help LA Tech student diagnosed with lymphoma


SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Faculty, staff, and students are asking to pull up a sleeve to help a former Remington College colleague’s son.

Adam Driskill is a Louisiana Tech student who is just diagnosed with Lymphoma. His father is the former President of Remington College, Jerry Driskill.

From 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Thursday morning, the LifeShare bus will be on Remington’s campus for as many people to donate to “Adam’s Army” as possible.

The school has teamed up with LifeShare Blood Centers to hold a blood drive in honor of Adam.

Workers at the blood bank say this is a critical time of year when blood is needed the most.
00 2019-01-03
Shreveport

The affect of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on your 2018 filing


SHREVEPORT - The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has major implications for budgets and taxes in every state. For some, the act has been good news, for others the act has been a cause of worry.

Last December, President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law. That bill marked the biggest overhaul of the nation's tax code in over three decades.

Louisiana senator John Kennedy endorses the act.

On his website he writes, "I can proudly say that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 has done more to improve lives in Louisiana than any other piece of legislation in recent history."

And there are some benefits to the act that we'll see this filing season.

"If you kept the same income level, you should be in a little bit lower overall effect tax break."

James Cook is a tax manager with Heard, McElroy, and Vestal. He says that tax break means you could pay less in taxes this year.

Another benefit of the act hits parents right in the pocket book.

"They also have greatly increased your child tax credit. So, if you have a dependent child who qualifies, then your child tax credit has doubled to $2000.00."

If you're caring for a non-child dependent, you stand to gain as well.

"You also can have up to $500.00 of nonrefundable credit for that individual, too."

While the bill does offer a number of benefits, it had its disadvantages as well.

"All miscellaneous itemized deductions that are 2% are now gone, so those are deductions such as your investment broker fees, your tax prep fees are actually now non-deductible and any unreimbursed employee expenses are now nondeductible."

There have been some changes to what you can claim as itemized deductions.

"Those are your state and local taxes, so your income tax or sales tax, if you use that, your property taxes that you pay, those are capped at $10,000.00"

That cutoff means some people will lose the benefit of paying property and income taxes. Moving expenses are another casualty of the tax cuts and jobs act.

"Moving deduction is no longer allowed for qualified moving expenses unless you're an active duty military member who has been re-stationed somewhere."

Some of the country's top college athletics programs stand to lose millions of dollars thanks to the act. The new law removes tax deductions for alumni contributions related to season tickets, which happen to be a major source of income for athletics departments nationwide.

Louisiana Tech says they haven't felt the impact of the act.

"We've done very well selling our premium seats as well as our annual fund continues to grow; we haven't seen any impact at all in terms of growth," says Chris Lynn, the Associate Athletics Director for Development at Tech.
00 2019-01-02
Associated Press

Governor taps new faces for higher ed boards


BATON ROUGE — The agencies overseeing Louisiana’s colleges and universities will see a number of new faces including a former gubernatorial chief of staff, a district attorney and a former speaker of the House after Gov. John Bel Edwards made new appointments.

New members include James S. “Jimmy” Clarke of Lafayette, a Louisiana State University graduate who used to be former Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s chief of staff and is now director of state policy for HCM Strategists, a health and education policy consulting firm.

He’s a new appointment to the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors, along with Lafourche Parish District Attorney Kristine M. Russell of Thibodaux.

The Louisiana Board of Regents, which oversees all state higher education boards, will have two new members. Edwards appointed both Gary N. Solomon Jr., of New Orleans, and Felix R. Weill of Baton Rouge.

Solomon owns the New Orleans firm that designed and built the Road to Tokyo exhibit in the National World War II Museum. He will represent the 2nd Congressional District. Weill, a former member of the LSU Foundation board, represents the 6th Congressional District.

Both Robert W. Levy of Vienna and Sonia Perez of Baton Rouge were reappointed to the Board of Regents. Perez, an at-large member, heads AT&T Louisiana. Levy graduated from both Nicholls State University and LSU’s law school. He is a retired district attorney and represents the 5th Congressional District.

The board that oversees Southern University will have two new members. Edwards appointed Sam A. Gilliam of Shreveport and Arlanda J. Williams, of Houma.

Gilliam was an interim chancellor at Southern University-Shreveport and will represent the 4th Congressional District.

Williams, vice chancellor of Delgado Community College, sits on the Terrebonne Parish council and will represent the 1st Congressional District.

Raymond M. Fondel Jr.of Lake Charles and Leon R. Tarver II will also be returning to the Southern Board after being reappointed by the governor.

The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors will also see new members.

That board oversees nine institutions: Grambling State, Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, Nicholls State, Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, University of Louisiana at Monroe and University of New Orleans.

The new members are: Joe Salter, first assistant to the Louisiana secretary of state and former Louisiana speaker of the House, of Florien; John R. Condos, president of Access Healthcare Management; Virgil Robinson Jr., retired president and CEO of Dryades Savings Bank; and Mark E. Romero, executive vice president of Brown & Brown of Louisiana.

Raymond M. Fondel Jr. of Lake Charles and Leon R. Tarver II will be returning to the Southern Board after being reappointed by the governor.
00 2019-01-02
Hammond

SLU to collect discarded Christmas trees to enhance wetlands


HAMMOND — Southeastern Louisiana University is asking area residents to give the environment a gift after Christmas this year. Discarded Christmas trees can be dropped off and used for a wetland restoration rather than throwing them out with the trash.

“We can put the old Christmas trees to work in our area marshland while also reducing the waste stream going into landfills,” said Rob Moreau, manager of Southeastern’s Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station located on Pass Manchac between lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas.

Although grant funding from the state for Christmas tree recycling in many areas ended years ago, local partners have stepped up with donations to fund the collection of trees and make the project possible. This marks the 24th straight year Southeastern has conducted its recycled tree program. Moreau depends on volunteers and students to deploy the trees in the Manchac wetlands.

It is estimated that approximately 40,000 trees have been deployed through the Southeastern program since that time, according to a news release.

Southeastern scientists at Turtle Cove use the discarded trees to help build up marshland in areas that have been affected by erosion and other factors, Moreau said.

He added that the trees will be used in a variety of ways, including ongoing research on the trees’ effects on helping to fill in test logging ditches, creation of Christmas tree “mounds” to create habitats for wildlife and help to control erosion along various shorelines, most recently occurring on Galva Canal.

Collaborating in the project for the fourth year is the Southeastern Sustainability Center on North Oak Street, which will serve as a drop-off point for area residents to leave their used Christmas trees. Other partners include the city of Hammond and Middendorf’s Restaurant in Manchac, also as drop-off sites.

Trees can be dropped off beginning Jan. 3 through Mardi Gras from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hammond Maintenance facility, 18104 U.S. 190, next to Piggly Wiggly Super Market. The Southeastern Sustainability Center, 2101 North Oak St., will collect trees beginning Jan. 3 through the end of the month from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Friday; and Pennington’s Hardware and Screenprinting, 407 La. 22 W., Madisonville, will accept trees during the same time period from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Moreau said a Turtle Cove trailer drop-off site also will be maintained at Middendorf’s Restaurant beginning Jan 4.

No flocked trees will be accepted, and all trees should be stripped of any ornaments, lights, tinsel, stands, nails and screws, etc.

For more information, contact Moreau at rmoreau@southeastern.edu or by visiting the southeastern.edu/turtlecove.

Donations to help support the activity can be sent by check payable to “Friends of Turtle Cove” and mailed to Southeastern Box 10585, Hammond, LA 70402 or can be made by credit card by visiting the Turtle Cove website and under the “Friends and Donors” link.
00 2019-01-02
Hammond

Southeastern Channel telecourse wins Telly Awards


A Southeastern Louisiana University telecourse has been recognized with two national Telly Awards.

Produced by the Southeastern Channel, the university course, “Earth and Space Science 102,” was honored at the 39th annual Telly Awards with Bronze Tellys for “Editing” and “Use of Graphics.”

The Telly Awards is the premier award honoring video and television across all screens, with more than 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents being submitted this year. This year’s winners included CBS, NBC, HBO, ESPN, PBS, National Geographic, and Nickelodeon.

Southeastern Channel telecourse producer Jamie Bass produced, directed, shot, edited and created the graphics for the telecourse that was taught by Southeastern Earth Science Instructor Stephanie Welch. Telecourses are video courses that air on television and also serve as online courses for both on-campus students and those unable to attend classes on campus.

Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon said the winning episode was the 11th lecture of the course ESSC102, which covered the formation of the solar system with Welch lecturing in front of images of planetary landscapes and the travel of heavenly bodies through space.

Bass accomplished the look by videotaping Welch lecturing in front of a blue screen in the Southeastern Channel studio and later compositing that footage with the solar, interstellar and extraterrestrial images for the background.

The episode can be viewed at thesoutheasternchannel.com/blog/2018/06/27/southeastern-channel-wins-telly-awards.

“Jamie took my PowerPoints and brought them to life in a way that I think is far more entertaining for the students than a traditional lecture,” Welch said. “And if they are entertained, I think they will learn the material better.”

Chemistry and Physics Professor and Undergraduate Coordinator Gerard Blanchard, who has also taught telecourses for his Physics 191 and 192 classes, suggested that Welch teach the class as a telecourse.

“I am happy that this course won these awards, because it lets everyone know that the quality of production of telecourses at Southeastern is very high,” Blanchard said. “Good quality production makes it easier for students to receive the content.”

The Southeastern Channel produces several new courses each year and has produced over 40 original telecourses for distance learning, including physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, history, marketing, management, education, psychology, sociology, communication, career planning, environmental business, English, and Occupational Safety, Health, and Environment (OSHE) courses.

Settoon said the channel’s telecourses were originally produced and aired specifically for distance learning and non-traditional students, but they now include widespread application and use via internet for traditional students on Southeastern’s campus, as well as for traveling students and those deployed globally.

More than 5,000 students enroll in telecourses at Southeastern each year.

“The courses are also used by professors online and for dual enrollment classes in a number of high schools,” Settoon said. “The beauty is that each lecture of every course is accessible to any student enrolled in a course an infinite number of times at any time of the day and on any platform, from Charter Spectrum cable to all mobile devices, including iPhones.”

The courses air for a general viewing audience on the Southeastern Channel on Spectrum 199 in Tangipahoa, Livingston, St. Tammany and St. Helena parishes and on the channel’s live streaming webcast at www.thesoutheasternchannel.com. In addition, the courses are archived and viewable for enrolled students via Moodle, the university’s learning management system.

The Southeastern Channel has now won nearly 400 national, international and regional awards, including 17 awards from the Emmys and 40 Telly Awards.
00 2019-01-02
Hammond

Southeastern Engineering Technology Program receives grant


Southeastern Louisiana University’s Engineering Technology Program received a $5,000 grant from the Terracon Foundation earlier this month.

The grant will establish a scholarship to be distributed between two engineering technology students.

Terracon is a Baton Rouge-based, multi-discipline firm specializing in environmental, facilities, geotechnical, and materials services.
00 2019-01-02
Houma/Thibodaux

Two local officials named to Louisiana college boards


Gov. John Bel Edwards has appointed two local officials to four-year terms on Louisiana college governing boards.
Terrebonne Parish Councilwoman Arlanda Williams was named to the Southern University Board of Supervisors. It oversees Southern’s campuses Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Shreveport. Williams, a graduate of Southern University in New Orleans, is vice chancellor of Delgado Community College in New Orleans. She will represent the 1st Congressional District on the board.
Lafourche Parish District Attorney Kristine M. Russell was appointed to the University of Louisiana System’s Board of Supervisors. It oversees nine regional universities, including Nicholls State in Thibodaux. Russell received a bachelor’s degree from Nicholls and a law degree from LSU. She will represent the 6th Congressional District on the board.
Edwards announced the appointments Friday.
00 2019-01-02
Lafayette

What's ahead for the Cajundome in 2019?


2019 is shaping up to be a year of changes for the Cajundome.

Pamela Deville took over as the arena’s director when Greg Davis retired in October after 25 years in the role. Davis said his retirement was partly to help the venue save money as it deals with budgetary issues.

Deville is no stranger to the Cajundome. She’s worked there in various roles for 32 years, making the transition “a very smooth process,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Cajundome will try to fill the open dates created in the fall after organizers announced that the oil and gas expo LAGCOE, a longtime Lafayette staple, is moving to New Orleans for its 2019 event.

“Our hope is to find or cultivate an annual conference that can showcase the technological developments and assets of our community by creating a consumer expo or educational conference that draws a regional audience," Deville said.

Megan Ezell tries a local delicacy at the 14th Annual Taste of Acadiana at the Cajundome on July 25, 2018. Events like this food showcase can bring in vendors and visitors to the arena and region.
Megan Ezell tries a local delicacy at the 14th Annual Taste of Acadiana at the Cajundome on July 25, 2018. Events like this food showcase can bring in vendors and visitors to the arena and region. (Photo: SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network)

Country superstar Carrie Underwood and one of the original boy bands, Backstreet Boys, are booked for the Cajundome for September 2019. Other events on the schedule include WWE Monday Night Raw Live in February, the Toughest Monster Truck Tour in March and Louisiana Comic Con, also in March.

Deville said the Cajundome is competing with other venues for “several major concert tours.” Some of its biggest competitors include the Smoothie King Arena in New Orleans and the CenturyLink Center in Bossier City.

The Cajundome can hold up to 12,772 people, Deville said. The Smoothie King Arena holds about 18,000 and the CenturyLink Center holds about 14,000.

“Promotors make money off the shows where they can sell the most seats,” she said. “So, it becomes a challenge and an opportunity for our staff to be creative in our event marketing and promotions while relying on our fan base, which resides in a 150-mile radius, to buy local and purchase tickets to Cajundome shows.”

Singer Janet Jackson performs at the Cajundome on Sept. 7, 2017. The arena hopes to draw more concerts in 2019.
Singer Janet Jackson performs at the Cajundome on Sept. 7, 2017. The arena hopes to draw more concerts in 2019. (Photo: SCOTT CLAUSE / USATODAY Network)

Ben Berthelot, executive director of the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission, said high-profile concert acts can draw fans from across the region, leading to a trickle-down effect for hotels, restaurants and more.

MORE: How Garth Brooks saved the Cajundome in 2017

“The question is: Are they spending the night? And I think the answer is that they are, depending on the artist,” said Berthelot. When Garth Brooks played five shows over two weekends at the Cajundome in 2017, local hotels saw high occupancy, even on traditionally slow nights like Sundays.

“I think that with the right act and the right night, a concert can certainly have a huge economic impact,” Berthelot said.

Country singer Thomas Rhett performs at the Cajundome on May 17, 2018. The arena is hoping to draw more concerts in 2019.
Country singer Thomas Rhett performs at the Cajundome on May 17, 2018. The arena is hoping to draw more concerts in 2019. (Photo: SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network)

Deville said one challenge facing the industry is convincing people that the live experience — whether a concert, sporting event or other entertainment — is worth the time, money and effort.

“Your favorite song, character or player will never be as entertaining or exciting on a playlist, radio or TV as it is at a live event,” she said. “Our job is to make sure that the fans’ expectations are met and/or exceeded.

"Looking to the future, we see technological improvements enhancing the overall guest experience and providing new and unique ways for fans and guests to take their event experience to the next level and keep them coming back for more.”

MORE: Ragin' Cajuns sports try to draw fans to games while building a program

It isn’t just the Cajundome that relies on events to bring in dollars. In 2016, the venue had an economic impact of nearly $16 million and non-local attendee spending had an impact of more than $37 million, said Gregg Gothreaux, executive director of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority.

Most of that money went to hotels, restaurants, retail stores and other entertainment venues, Gothreaux said.

Leo chases a decoy tossed by Jason Reynolds at The Louisiana Outdoor Expo and Boat Show at the Cajundome on July 27, 2018. Events like this can draw a large number of visitors for multiple days in the Lafayette area.Buy Photo
Leo chases a decoy tossed by Jason Reynolds at The Louisiana Outdoor Expo and Boat Show at the Cajundome on July 27, 2018. Events like this can draw a large number of visitors for multiple days in the Lafayette area. (Photo: SCOTT CLAUSE/THE ADVERTISER)

“Events that bring in a large number of out-of-town attendees for multiple days have the most impact on the region’s economy,” he said. In particular, conventions, sports events, seminars and large meetings bring the most overnight hotel stays.

Because of that, Gothreaux said, a 300-room convention hotel with additional space, plus a 45,000-square-foot expansion of the Cajundome Convention Center could be viable.

“That extra space would propel Lafayette to the next level of convention cities, allowing our partners at LCVC to market the city to a higher tier of convention and event planners,” Gothreaux said.

Berthelot agreed.

The Cajundome remains a popular venue for regional and statewide conventions, in part because of the food and music that attendees can enjoy when they are not in meetings or training sessions. But he said a hotel and expanded convention center space would be a “game-changer.”

“When you get out of the meeting, you want to have something cool to do. We certainly have an advantage in that regard,” Berthelot said. “The disadvantage is infrastructure. Some areas have passed us up. But I’m optimistic based on the conversations I’ve had. Given the financial situation, you can’t just keep doing what you have already done. I’m optimistic that they are not doing that and they are trying to bring as many events as possible to our area.”
00 2019-01-02
Lafayette

Edwards appoints former Blanco chief, Higgins challenger to higher ed boards


Gov. John Bel Edwards has appointed new faces to Louisiana's higher education governing boards, among them former Gov. Kathleen Blanco's chief of staff, a district attorney and a Democrat who challenged incumbent Republican Congressman Clay Higgins.

Blanco's former chief of staff James S. "Jimmy" Clarke of Lafayette is among the governor's new appointments to the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors. Clarke, an LSU graduate, is senior director of state policy for HCM Strategists.

Lafourche Parish District Attorney Kristine M. Russell of Thibodaux, a Nicholls State University and LSU graduate, was also appointed to the University of Louisiana System board.

Mildred E. “Mimi” Methvin of Lafayette, an attorney and former United States magistrate judge, finished second to Higgins in last fall's election. She is a Tulane University graduate.

Edwards appointed Gary N. Solomon Jr., of New Orleans, and Felix R. Weill of Baton Rouge as new members of the Louisiana Board of Regents, which oversees all of the state's higher education boards.

Solomon is owner and president of the Solomon Group and serves as a representative of the 2nd Congressional District.

Weill, an LSU graduate, is an attorney and owner of the Weill Law Firm. He represents the 6th Congressional District.

Edwards also reappointed Robert W. Levy of Vienna and Sonia Perez of Baton Rouge to the Board of Regents.

Levee, a retired district attorney and graduate of Nicholls State University and LSU, serves as a representative of the 5th Congressional District.

Perez is the President of AT&T Louisiana. She serves as an at-large member.

Edwards also appointed two new members to the Southern University Board of Supervisors.

They include Sam A. Gilliam of Shreveport and Arlanda J. Williams, of Houma.

Gilliam, a Southern and LSU graduate, former served as interim chancellor of Southern University-Shreveport. He represents the 4th Congressional District.

Williams, a Southern graduate, is vice chancellor of Delgado Community College and a Terrebonne Parish councilwoman. She represents the 1st Congressional District.

Edwards also reappointed Raymond M. Fondel Jr. of Lake Charles and Leon R. Tarver II to the Southern Board.

Fondel, a Southern graduate, owns the Raymond M. Fondel Jr. Insurance Agency and represents the 3rd Congressional District.

Tarver, president emeritus of the Southern University System, will serve as an at-large member.

Edwards reappointed three new members to the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors, which oversees Grambling State, Louisiana Tech, McNeese State, Nicholls State, Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, University of Louisiana at Monroe and University of New Orleans.

They are John R. Condos of Lake Charles, Virgil Robinson Jr. of New Orleans, Mark E. Romero of New Iberia and Joe Salter of Florien to the University of Louisiana System board.

Condos, president of Access Healthcare Management, is a McNeese State graduate who will serve as an at-large member.

Robinson, retired president and CEO of Dryades Savings Bank, is a Grambling graduate. He represents the 2nd Congressional District.

Romero, executive vice president of Brown & Brown of Louisiana, is a University of Louisiana at Lafayette graduate who represents the 3rd Congressional District.

Salter, first assistant to the Louisiana secretary of state and former Louisiana speaker of the House, is a Northwestern graduate who represents the 4th Congressional District.

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1
00 2019-01-02
Lake Charles

Sasol supports MSU


Sasol donates $75,000 to the First Choice Campaign at McNeese State University. Local industry partners and contractors are investing in McNeese and the future of Southwest Louisiana through the campaign, a three-year initiative with a goal of raising $1 million per year for the next three years. Sasol will contribute $25,000 per year over the three-year period for the campaign. This commitment from Sasol to the First Choice Campaign will provide necessary resources to sustain growth in high demand academic areas. On hand for the presentation are, from left, Marcus Boutte, Sasol senior manager of supply chain, McNeese President Dr. Daryl V. Burckel, Paul Hippman, Sasol vice president of operations, East Plant, Tom Tyree, Sasol senior manager of engineering and controls, and Pete Symons, Sasol manager of corporate affairs.


00 2019-01-02
Lake Charles

Eleven McNeese graduates earn Summa Cum Laude designations


Eleven McNeese State University students received the Summa Cum Laude (3.90-4.00) designation in fall commencement ceremonies Dec. 8 at Burton Coliseum.

Two students were recognized for earning a 4.0 grade-point average throughout their college careers — Meghan Ashley Levens of Houston in elementary education and Alla Voth of Temiktau, Kazakhstan, in accounting.

The other honor students recognized were:

Summa Cum Laude: Peyton Alexis Conner, Longville; Robert James Dick, Cleveland, Ohio; Aimee Elizabeth Dobos, LaPorte, Texas; Calli J. Dupont, Lake Charles; Shelby Noelle Hunt, Ragley; Tylar Marguerite Matte, Longville; Emily E. Meek, Westlake; Andrea Encina Moreno, Santa Cruz, Bolivia; and Elizabeth R. Soileau, Ville Platte.

Magna Cum Laude (3.70-3.89): Stefan Erik Borssen, Lake Charles; Mason Nicole Lyon Bower, Lake Charles; Amy E. Bryan, DeRidder; Alexander S. Darbonne, Iota; Sarah Lee Deshotel, Pine Prairie; Sarah E. Dillard, Anacoco; Kelsey B. Fontenot, Ville Platte; Jenna M. Hacker, Corpus Christi, Texas; Kennedy Suzanne Jeffcoats, Reeves; Bipesh Koirala, Laphadi, Nepal; Diamond C. Lee, Fort Worth, Texas; Kailey R. Lejeune, Kaplan; Hannah A. Longino, Oakdale; Christian N. Marsh, Sulphur; Suzanne Louise Monlezun, Lake Arthur; Morgan Delaine Sherrill, Sulphur; Shanna Brooke Spree, Houston, Texas; and Dawn Marie Welburn, Vinton.

Cum laude

(3.50-3.69): Kennedy K. Bodfield, St. Catharines, Canada; Miranda Ann Daigle Booth, Grand Lake; Allyson Renae Breaux, Lake Charles; Sarah Lynn Miller Caswell, Lake Charles; Ravyn Rene’ Cormier, Crowley; Shashanka Ghimire, Bharatpur, Nepal; Gabrielle L. Guidry, Jennings; Abigail D. Guillory, Lake Charles; Victoria R. Guillory Lake Charles; Ashley Kay Hargrave, Iota; Matthew J. Hecht, Walker; Anna Kaj Henriksen, Lake Charles; Allison E. Hoffpauir, Crowley; James Jean-Baptiste Inderkummen, Lake Charles; Courtney M. Leblanc, Delcambre; Madison C. Malone, Lake Charles; Alexandra P. Mason, Port Lavaca, Texas; Mary Ellen McCanless, Lake Charles; Mary Elizabeth Mead, Sulphur; Jamie Aleysa Mele, Lake Charles; Hunter Scott Misse, Sulphur; Natalie M. Oliver, Lake Arthur; Alexandra Browne Ramsey, Longville; Kirsti N. Regan, Egan; Joseph P. Romero, Lake Charles; Taatum Adair Rubin, Estherwood; Alysse M. Vondenstein, Egan; Autumn Praise Windham, Lake Charles; and Payton N. Zaunbrecher, Rayne.
00 2019-01-02
Lake Charles

SW La. needs more STEAM


Our region needs more S.T.E.A.M. in the New Year. That is, we need more emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. And the “A” stands for arts. Future jobs and the future of our region depend on education and training in these categories. STEM is an acronym for the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Discussion of STEM-related programs has become a necessity because too few college students are pursuing degrees in these fields. STEM job growth is projected to increase by up to 23 percent by 2020. Many people would agree that STEM is the key to innovation and job creation in the United States.

The National AfterSchool Association says the theory and research behind STEM education has continued to mature, and today there are a growing group of advocates who believe that STEM is missing a key component. That component is the arts. Art encourages creative thinking and innovative interpretations. The word art is used to represent the full spectrum of the liberal arts: language, social studies, physical art, fine art, music and design. Exploring the use of art can provide young people with new and imaginative opportunities for communication and expression. The creative processes behind art can be used to drive innovation and find inventive solutions to problems.

According to the Smithsonian Science Education Center, the United States ranks 17th in science and 23rd in math among developed nations. Seventy-eight percent of U.S. high school graduates do not meet benchmark readiness for one or more college courses including math, science, reading, or English.

We are fortunate in our region to have both a technical community college and a university. The engineering program at McNeese is one of the top rated in the nation for return on investment. Calcasieu Parish schools have been recognized nationally as leaders in technology. Many areas do not have these resources as building blocks.

Getting U.S. students interested in studying STEMrelated fields is only part of the picture. Educating the best and brightest international students in STEM fields should also be a major priority for the United States.

In Louisiana, STEM jobs will demand a total of over 66,000 jobs this year. Thirtyseven percent of STEM jobs in the state will be in engineering and technicians occupations. Eighty-three percent of these jobs will require post-secondary education and training. Eight percent of all B.A. and M.A. jobs and 12 percent of all Ph.D jobs in Louisiana will be in a STEM field.

Are you interested in the chance to study in a STEM field? The U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net is a great place to learn about the possible fields you can go into by studying in a STEM major, such as computer science, life and physical sciences, health care, social sciences, technology and engineering.

The Alliance is going to push for a SWLA STEAM Initiative in the New Year. We hope to work with our five parish school systems, McNeese State University, and Sowela to develop relevant programs to attract our young people towards these studies, which, in turn, will lead to careers to make our region competitive.

As a kick-off, our annual Chamber SWLA Banquet will feature a leading technologist, high-tech entrepreneur, and disruptive thinker. Linda Bernardi is a former IBM chief innovation officer and Watson co-lead. She will bring us pertinent information to help our area compete in these changing times. Details for the Jan. 24 banquet at the Golden Nugget are available at allianceswla.org.
00 2019-01-02
Lake Charles

McNeese student cracks IBM national code hacking challenge


LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - One McNeese State University student is quite the brain wiz.

It was a race against time as 3,000 people worked to complete IBM’s national online interactive code cracking challenge. Michael Casteel heard about the competition from a friend.

“I was like, ‘Sure I’ll try it out, seems interesting,’ ” Casteel said.

The computer science and computer engineering student had taken on the challenge of completing six puzzles.

"Do whatever you need to do to solve the puzzle and type in the answer,” Casteel said. “Once that happened, that amount of time it took you to answer went to your total score."

But it wasn’t just competitors from the computer science field.

“There was plenty of people from all kinds of disciplines, which was kind of the fun of it,” Casteel said. “It was a lot more lateral thinking, you didn’t need to know a lot of technology stuff.”

However, not everyone could meet the intellectual demands.

"Only about 300 finished the first puzzle," Casteel said.

Each week, three puzzles were released and competitors had roughly 48 hours to complete them. Casteel says some took 20 minutes whereas others took hours.

"Often, it’s look at the information you’re given and recognize what it is, and then take it and think what can I do, this is probably some kind of message hidden in this information,” Casteel said.

Dr. Catherine Anderson is Casteel’s school advisor and says he is self-motivated to learn.

"I believe my contribution to his development as a computer scientist has just been to be there, to talk to him, and advise him on what equipment he needs and gets," Anderson said.

Casteel placed among the top 10 scorers of the competition and was able to visit IBM.

"It showed me so much more about what technology and what methods they use that I’ve never known before," Casteel said.

But Dr. Anderson says she is not surprised Michael’s success.

"Like I said, wherever he wants to go, he’s the type of person that goes after what he wants and that’s where he will end up," Anderson said.

Casteel says he is looking forward to exploring other opportunities in the computer science world.

While he is not sure if IBM is the company for him, they are definitely in the running.

Copyright 2018 KPLC. All rights reserved.
00 2019-01-02
Monroe

Is adult education the best weapon against poverty?


A classroom fills slowly Tuesday morning. Most of the students sit on the back two rows. One is in the front.

There's a woman with graying hair, a young guy with a curly ponytail and blue earbuds, someone in camouflage, another in sweats. One man wears a Mario T-shirt. One woman is more dressed up.

They represent a range of demographics and lives — black, white, younger, a bit older, some with families, working and going to school or not.

MORE: Deadline nearing for Lafayette Parish magnet applications

Today they are on the same page, a worksheet of math problems they're going over with South Louisiana Community College instructor Brandon Rousseau.

"Can we do No. 6?" asks a 27-year-old stay-at-home mom from New Iberia.

On another she helps a classmate sitting behind her.

For the final 20 minutes of class they start "a discussion on circles." Rousseau uses words like diameter, circumference, radius and Pi.

"All these are bringing up some bad memories," the man in the Mario shirt joked, referring to high school math classes.

But he gets it later when Rousseau goes over formulas to find them.

"Now I see why 'Pi equals C over D' is always true," he says to the teacher.

Some have binders, others notebooks or folders. Most have a soft drink or frozen coffee in front of them.

Brandon Rousseau teaches an adult education math course at South Louisiana Community College in Lafayette.
Brandon Rousseau teaches an adult education math course at South Louisiana Community College in Lafayette. (Photo: Leigh Guidry/USA TODAY Network)

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Down the hall from Rousseau's math class, more students are in English, preparing to take that section of the high school equivalency test — once called GED, now called HiSET.

One classroom holds students getting more one-on-one instruction. Another has five students learning to speak and read English.

This is what adult education looks like at SLCC and community colleges across Louisiana. There are even classes outside of colleges, at churches and housing authority sites.

"There's not one typical adult ed student," said K. Connor Chauveaux, assistant director of adult education at South Louisiana Community College.

The Louisiana Community and Technical College System's WorkReadyU served more than 42,000 students in 2017 and 2018.

And Louisiana needs it.

"There are 600,000 adults in Louisiana without a high school diploma," Chauveaux said.

According to American Community Survey Estimates, the figure is about 582,000 or 16.5 percent of Louisiana's working-age population. That's 3 percentage points higher than the national figure.

That impacts their earning power and in turn their families and the communities in which they live.

"You get shut out of so many jobs without that," Chauveaux said.

So some in Louisiana are urging more action to bolster adult education. Jim Clinton, president and CEO of the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, calls it "Project Rewrite."

"Project Rewrite is our intention to help people rewrite their life scripts," Clinton said Nov. 19 at CLEDA's annual Summit on Higher Education in Alexandria. "We believe it requires a statewide commitment to make it work."

He referenced such efforts in Kentucky, a state with similar economic sea changes (Kentucky's coal is like Louisiana's oil field) and one that passed statewide legislation to address its adult population without a high school diploma.

MORE: Get ready for the 'new-collar' workforce, where training can trump the traditional degree

The Kentucky Adult Education Act passed by the 2000 General Assembly created a partnership with the Council on Postsecondary Education, increased funding and led to other legislation and improvements to adult education. The state calls this Skills U.

"That really underscores the value of thinking in decades, acting in moments," Clinton said. "... None of this ever happens alone. We get better when we work together."

The goal of Project Rewrite is to achieve a 15 percent increase in HiSET awards each year for five years beginning in 2019. And he'd like to see that as an official goal of the LCTCS and of state lawmakers.

"What we're proposing today is daunting, but it's possible," Clinton said.

In Central Louisiana, CLEDA's focus, there are more than 52,000 adults (ages 18 to 64) without a high school diploma or equivalent. That's 19 percent of adults in Cenla.

"Think about what that means to the economy when 52,000 people are trapped in extremely low-wage, part-time jobs or no job at all," Clinton said. "It contributes to poverty, inhibits our quality of life and ability to become the best we can be."

It not only impacts the individual and his or her family, but also society as healthcare and incarceration costs fall to taxpayers.

Research shows this demographic is more likely to have health problems, less likely to be able to pay for treatments and more likely to be incarcerated. The state spent about $16,000 per prisoner in 2015, according to the Vera Institute of Justice.

The impact of increasing educational attainment ripples through a community, said Reecie Stagnolia, vice president for adult education in Kentucky since 2009.

He said a lot of job opportunities are going unfulfilled. Increasing the skills and education in an area is what can change that.

"The economic development ripples include recruiting business and industry and expanding," Stagnolia said. "It's about human capital. That's the infrastructure they want."

And it's free at Louisiana community colleges, with programs supported by state and federal grants. Students cover the cost of the HiSET tests, and often they can get assistance through the school.

Colleges also offer co-enrollment programs. With Career Pathways, students can work toward their high school equivalency and a degree or certificate program at the same time. That's a cheaper and quicker route to changing one's life.

"Cost isn't really the barrier for most students," Chauveaux said. "Coming back to school can be scary. "

And then there are the things students face outside of the classroom, like homelessness or family responsibilities or inconsistent work schedules.

Schools like SLCC offer in-person classes from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. as well as through an online platform or a hybrid option that combines the two.

LCTCS President Monty Sullivan has said he wants to see every Louisiana household with someone with a credential — whether that's a degree, "high-value certificate" or something that shows mastery of a skill — that can help earn a living wage.

"Without that, they are not able to participate in this economy," Sullivan said. "Education equals resources. Imagine how Louisiana changes."

MORE: La. colleges are adding more advanced certificate programs — here's why
00 2019-01-02
Monroe

2018's biggest trends and headlines in Louisiana higher ed


As 2018 winds down, here's a look back at some of the biggest trends and headlines in Louisiana higher education this year.

Links to each full story are provided, but here's the "TL;DR" synopsis version for you.

Adult education is free
Almost 600,000 adults in Louisiana do not have a high school diploma, but they can work toward an equivalent for free at community colleges across the state. And experts say adult education could be the best weapon against poverty.

Food insecurity in college is really a thing
Some college students don't know where their next meal is coming from. That struggle is called food insecurity — the lack of reliable access to sufficient quantities of affordable, nutritious food. And it's something nearly half of America's college students experience, according to the 2016 Hunger on Campus report. So Louisiana universities and community colleges are starting on-campus food pantries and even receiving big donations, like commercial refrigerators, to help.

The on-campus food pantry at Southeastern Louisiana
The on-campus food pantry at Southeastern Louisiana University has been a model to other schools looking to start their own to battle students' food insecurity. (Photo: Randy Bergeron/SLU Public Information)

LCTCS turned 20
The Louisiana Community and Technical College System celebrated a milestone this fall, 20 years after its founding in 1998-99. Back then the colleges offered 164 programs. Today they offer 1,168, including two-year degrees and those that take less than two years or one year. More than 356,000 credentials have been awarded to graduates of LCTCS over the last two decades.

The 'new collar' workforce is growing
Some tech employers prefer hiring two-year grads over those with a traditional four-year degree. That's true for giants like IBM and Google as well as Louisiana-based companies, so they're partnering with community colleges in a number of ways. These workers are being called "new collar," a play on "blue collar."

'Nontraditional' is the new normal
The traditional 18-year-old, dependent on parents, full-time college freshman isn't what the majority of American college students look like today. Now, nontraditional is the new normal.

You're seeing more certificate programs
Louisiana colleges are adding more advanced certificate programs in an effort to recruit more students and meet demands of a technologically advanced and ever-changing economy. Louisiana's public universities added 150 such programs in the last eight years. Only four active programs existed before 2010, the year 22 were added.

Dorms look different today
Campus housing has been changing for years, shifting from the traditional dormitories to apartment-style buildings often run by managing companies rather than universities. If it's been a while since you've seen one, just know these aren't like your father's dorms.

Northwestern State University's historic student residence Varnado Hall has been remodeled. It is the university's only traditional dorm on campus. Other living options are apartment-style.
Northwestern State University's historic student residence Varnado Hall has been remodeled. It is the university's only traditional dorm on campus. Other living options are apartment-style. (Photo: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services)

Open educational resources expanded
LCTCS reported saving students millions of dollars using e-textbooks and other open educational resources (OERs) over the course of a year. Working with LOUIS (The Louisiana Library Network), faculty have implemented open educational resources like e-books in more courses.

The state saw a new commissioner of higher ed
Louisiana welcomed a new state commissioner of higher education. Kim Hunter Reed, a Lake Charles native and LSU graduate, took the job in July and replaced Joseph C. Rallo as he retired. In a visit to Lafayette in August she told stakeholders and community members that "education is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity."

There was that $999 textbook
Some students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette were shocked to see a $999 price tag on an online version of an accounting book in the fall semester. And it took off on social media, prompting a Twitter response from the university. It was not a typo.

"Our intention was to encourage students to get the hard copy so they would avoid having to print so much. We will do better next time," read the tweet.

White supremacists targeted campuses
Yes, even in Louisiana. Stickers from one of the groups highlighted by the Anti-Defamation League made their way to University of Louisiana at Lafayette in the spring and summer and to Louisiana State University in early August.

From Sept. 1, 2016, through Jan. 29, 2018, the ADL recorded 346 incidents of white supremacist fliers, stickers, banners and posters appearing on college and university campuses, according to its website. There was a 258 percent increase from fall 2016 (41 incidents) to fall 2017 (147 incidents).

Regents approved a med school license for ULM
Future doctors could be trained in Monroe by 2021. In May, a committee of the Louisiana Board of Regents approved an initial license for the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. The private, nonprofit university plans to open a new branch on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Students used Red Bull as currency
Three UL Lafayette students traversed Europe using only cans of the energy drink Red Bull as currency. It was called the "Can You Make It?" Challenge, and The Cajuns did pretty well. They traded cans for train rides, food and shelter as they made their way from Rome to Amsterdam in about five days in April. They came in 15th place out of the global competition and were the highest-ranking U.S. team.

The Cajuns team members drink some Red Bull to celebrate
The Cajuns team members drink some Red Bull to celebrate making it to Amsterdam from Rome using only cans of the energy drink as currency. (Photo: Courtesy of Sam Riehl)

A lot of students are parents
At least a quarter of all undergraduate students — 4.8 million students — are raising dependent children, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research in 2014. Unplanned pregnancies often delay a degree or mean dropping out, so Louisiana universities are looking at ways to support their parenting students. Schools across the state offer on-campus resources like preschool and counseling.

We crunched the numbers on campus safety
Reported sex crimes on American college campuses — including sexual assault, rape and fondling — increased 205 percent between 2001 and 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

In Louisiana, the number of reported campus rapes increased 30 percent in three years, from 37 in 2014 to 56 in 2016, according to data from U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education Campus Safety and Security.

Read more about why experts think reports are increasing.

Stay with us as we follow these trends and more in 2019. Cheers!
00 2019-01-02
Natchitoches

Northwestern State’s facility enhancements complement University’s momentum


Northwestern State supporters have been fulfilling the spirit of the giving season throughout all of 2018 as private gifts have helped complete or initiate several facility projects totaling nearly $800,000 with more improvements either in progress or on the horizon.

The Demons Unlimited Foundation “Victorious” campaign to upgrade NSU athletic facilities was kick started with $600,000 seating upgrade and $900,000 video board projects at Turpin Stadium within the past two years. This fall, the stadium main entrance underwent a $600,000 transformation that featured the addition of larger-than-life banners of 12 NSU football legends. A new road was constructed to assist in traffic flow around the stadium, which received a facelift of new trees near the main home entrance.

Other upgrades in 2018 included a nutrition center for all athletes, end zone hospitality areas at Turpin Stadium, a new interactive touch display data base showcasing NSU’s N-Club Hall of Fame, and resurfacing courts – in purple – at the Jack Fisher Tennis Complex.

NSU Director of Athletics Greg Burke cites the timing of the facility enhancements as integral to a wave of momentum that has swept across the NSU campus, highlighted by the highest enrollment (11,081) in the school’s 134-year history. The athletic program is complementing the university momentum. Case in point: the Demon baseball program, during the course of one weekend at the NCAA Corvallis Regionals this past May, generated $4.2 million worth of earned media according to metrics compiled by Meltwater, a company that monitors media output.

“As a department, we live by three core values, and it’s imperative that the first two — academic achievement and personal responsibility — never falter,” said Burke, who led a department with a 78 percent graduation rate that served more than 4,000 hours of community service. “Make no mistake, however, that fulfilling the third core value — competitive success — is also paramount for many reasons.”

The best, however, is yet to come as the crown jewel of the “Victorious” campaign will be a state-of-the-art strength and conditioning annex to the athletic field house. The $3.5 million annex will feature a weight area that spans 11,600 feet. The second phase of the initiative will include the addition of a high-tech rehab center and other sports medicine upgrades.

“The new weight room will rival any training facility not only in our conference, but in the country,” said NSU football coach Brad Laird, who quarterbacked the Demons in the early 1990s.

“We have a lot to sell recruits about NSU but one of our assets has to be quality facilities,” added softball coach Donald Pickett, who completed a decade at NSU last spring.

All 14 NSU sports will benefit from the new strength and conditioning center. In fact, it was the 2018 spring sports season that ignited a positive rush of momentum across the entire NSU athletic program.

Former Demon baseball Academic All-American Bobby Barbier, in just his second year at the helm, guided NSU baseball to its first Southland Conference Tournament title, 36 wins, and a strong showing in NCAA Regional play. The track and field program led by another former Demon athlete, Mike Heimerman, sent a school-record nine athletes to the NCAA Championships in Oregon, where the Demons’ 4×100 meter relay team earned first-team All-America honors while breaking a 36-year-old school record. The Lady Demons’ tennis team advanced to the conference tournament title match for the seventh time this decade.

Barbier now is spearheading a $500,000 privately-funded upgrade to Brown-Stroud Field that includes a new press box, two executive suites, chairbacks across the entire grandstand and new concessions and bathrooms. The renovation is scheduled to finish ahead of the Demons’ home opener against LSU on Feb. 20, a rematch of the NCAA Corvallis Regional matchup in which NSU led into the ninth inning.

Completing projects like the strength and conditioning annex and baseball grandstand project, along with locker rooms for the track and tennis programs that are also on the drawing board, will require unprecedented private support. Burke feels the timing is right.

“A window of opportunity based on the momentum of our university and athletic program is front and center,” Burke said. “It is vital that we — our administration, coaches, staff, former athletes and fans — capitalize at what is perhaps the most dynamic time period in the history of NSU.

“Completing that strength and conditioning annex, along with the sports medicine component, would turn this athletic program on its ear. That’s something that excites us greatly.”

COMPLETED

* N-Club Hall of Fame display – ($50,000)

* Turpin Stadium Front Entrance ($640,000)

-Road/parking

-Planters/irrigation/trees

-75’X25’ banners installed

*Additional Turpin Stadium enhancements over the past two years:

-New video board ($900,000)

-Chair back seats ($600,000)

* Nutrition Center – ($10,000)

* Soccer drainage – ($5,000)

* Carpet (Fieldhouse Offices, Locker Rooms) – ($35,000)

* N-Club “NZone” Tailgate Hospitality Area – ($20,000)

IN PROGRESS

* Baseball Grandstand Project – ($500,000)

* Track: New seating/press box installation ($288,000)

* Track Complex Updates – ($32,000)

* Softball Dugouts – ($20,000)

*Volleyball Locker Room Renovation – (estimated at $25,000)

* Soccer dugouts – (approximately $12,000)

ON THE HORIZON

* Strength and Conditioning Annex – ($3.5M)

* Tennis Locker Room- ($500,00)

* Track Locker Room – ($1M)

NSU-Annex Future



CREDIT: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services and NSU Photographic Services

00 2019-01-02
New Orleans

Should race be considered in college applications? Students weigh in


Sabria Kazmi’s background defies easy classification. She has grandparents from Tennessee, Iraq and two countries in South Asia.

So when the 18-year-old filled out her college application, she puzzled over what boxes to check. The task is all the more sensitive this year amid the mounting debate over the role of race and ethnicity in admissions.

First, Kazmi came to white. Check. Then Asian. Check. Followed by Middle Eastern and Pakistani. Check, check. She found a blank space to write in her Bangladeshi roots.

Kazmi, a high school senior in Northern Virginia, could have gone further because one grandmother is part Cherokee. But she stopped there.

"I remember someone once telling me something like, 'Oh, you should put Native American on your college applications. It will help you,' " Kazmi said. "I of course did not because it would not be fair for me to claim to have the same culture and to have faced the same obstacles as someone with a larger connection to their Native American ancestry."

The roiling national debate over affirmative action in college admissions has raised the stakes for these questions about identity. Hundreds of thousands of applicants are wrestling with whether and how to describe their race and ethnicity and what that information should mean to the gatekeepers reading their files.


"There is a lot of interest in self-identifying - 'who I am' and what that means," said Annie Reznik, executive director of the Coalition for College, a nonprofit organization that provides an online application portal. "A driving force of that is recognizing the frustration that students feel when they are pigeonholed into a box that they don't think is applicable."

This year, competitive colleges are facing heightened scrutiny because of a federal lawsuit accusing Harvard University of discriminating against Asian-Americans. Harvard denied the allegations during a trial this fall that explored its use of race in weighing applications. A verdict is expected in coming months. The case could threaten affirmative action efforts nationwide if it reaches the Supreme Court.

Harvard and other schools using "race-conscious" admissions say race is one factor among many in reviewing all aspects of an application. They say racial diversity brings compelling educational benefits to campus. Critics say none of those benefits outweighs the harm done to applicants who might lose the chance to go to a prestigious college because they weren't born to a desired demographic.

At one of the nation's top high schools, Kazmi and six other students keenly aware of this debate wrestled with identity, equity and ambition in a recent conversation with The Washington Post. Officials at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Virginia, helped The Post convene them for a 90-minute focus group on race and admissions. The seniors, all aiming for selective colleges, held strong and sometimes clashing views.


Wenxi Huang, 17, confessed to an "itching, nagging feeling" when he checked the box on his application indicating Asian ancestry. The Chinese-American student felt the information should be irrelevant in admission decisions. "I just want to live in a country where my race doesn't matter," he said. "Where I'm never judged or picked or excluded for my race."

Jennifer Hernandez, also 17, a Salvadoran American, wants colleges to take race and ethnicity into account. Her Hispanic identity "is something that makes me who I am," she said. "It adds to my character and adds to my personality."

These arguments are familiar at Thomas Jefferson High, known as TJ. The selective public high school, with about 1,800 students from across the region, sends graduates every year to prestigious colleges.

TJ screens applicants for its ninth-grade class through test scores, grades, essays and teacher recommendations. About 70 percent of its students are of Asian ancestry, and about 21 percent are white, according to county data. Fewer than 5 percent are black or Hispanic - a statistic that fuels perennial debate in Northern Virginia about access and equity. (Another 5 percent identify as multiracial.)

TJ's admissions team does not consider race. But many selective colleges do - and they want as much detail as they can get.


The Coalition for College and the Common Application, another online portal for college applicants, allow students to choose as many racial and ethnic identifiers as they wish - or leave the section blank. About 40,000 Common App users in the last cycle did not disclose race or ethnicity - 3.7 percent of the total.

For the Coalition for College, 2 percent of about 108,000 users declined to answer. Reznik said data suggested most applicants are eager to share as much as possible about race or ethnicity. More than 97 percent, she said, answered follow-up questions that enabled them to pinpoint a place or region of ancestry. For example, users who identified as Hispanic or Latino could then click one or more boxes from a menu of Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain, Central America or South America. Or they could fill in a blank to give another answer.

Ethan Phillips, 17, a TJ senior, said he paused briefly on the race question and consulted with his parents. He had heard speculation that identifying as white could have "a negative effect on the rest of the application."

Phillips considered whether he could, or should, note his family's Irish immigrant heritage. "My parents and grandparents came from farmers and blue-collar workers in Missouri," he said. "That's part of my story." But there didn't seem to be an easy way to indicate all of that. He checked the white box and moved on.


Phillips said he supports considering race and ethnicity as long as those factors do not determine the final decision. "There's a big difference between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome," he said. "We need to be ensuring that every student has an equal opportunity to get into the college that they wish to."

Several students were sympathetic to the idea that colleges should strongly consider other elements in an applicant's background, such as family income, parental education and even geographic origin.

"Because kids from Idaho don't have the same things as the kids from NoVa," said Pari Parajuli, 17, using a shorthand for Northern Virginia. But she said race also should be taken into account as a matter of social justice. "It provides more context," she said. Parajuli identified on her application as Asian and wrote in her Nepali heritage.

Michael Yohannes, 17, the son of Eritrean immigrants, who identifies as African-American, said race-based affirmative action should be used in tandem with socioeconomic affirmative action. In other words, he said, colleges should seek to help marginalized racial groups that also are in financial need. "I don't believe the higher income should have that kind of affirmative action applied to them," he said.


Yohannes also said he was dubious of the idea that black students with recent African immigrant heritage should get the same benefit in the process as those whose ancestors have centuries of roots in America and its long history with slavery and Jim Crow. "I don't think that should happen," he said, "even though I know this is going 'against' my background. But I'm just saying, on the concept of fairness."

Sebastian Ibarraran, 17, the son of Mexican immigrants, said race and ethnicity remain crucial for understanding the background of applicants, regardless of family income. He noted that he lives in McLean, an affluent suburb, and comes from a family with experience in higher education. On paper, he said, he might look nearly the same as many of his white neighbors who are not Hispanic.

"But the thing is, none of these people who lived around me, they never had to deal with, in fifth grade, one of their friends saying, 'Oh, Mexicans are rapists and druggies,' " Ibarraran said. Nor, he said, did those neighbors face assumptions about the educational credentials of Hispanic students.

Ibarraran said he often senses put-downs from people who believe he doesn't have to try as hard as his peers to get into top colleges, that his SAT scores don't have to be quite as high to make the cut. "Not only is that really hard," he said, "but it's also false because these colleges, they actually see a lot more than you think they see."


Hernandez said similar experiences shape her views. She grew emotional as she recalled the "differences in expectations" that she has faced while growing up as a Hispanic student accepted into a highly competitive public high school. She said she has endured taunts about the likelihood of her becoming a teen mom before becoming a scientist. (For the record, she is not a mother.) There are those, she said, "who think you got here because you didn't earn it. Even though you did. You worked hard - maybe even twice as hard, maybe three times as hard, to get where you are. But it's never acknowledged."

Huang said he is convinced that race-based affirmative action is racist. "I can't tolerate it," he said. But Huang said he values racial diversity on college campuses and trusts that admission officers can make that happen by looking at other elements in the background of applicants. Racial diversity, he said, "shouldn't be the first thing you look at. It should be something that happens naturally based on diversity in other aspects."

This month, high-achieving students at TJ and elsewhere are hearing the first wave of decisions on college applications. Many will wonder why they got rejected even though they have stellar grades and test scores. In all likelihood, they’ll never know what role race played, if any. “When you get denied from college,” Ibarraran said, “they don’t send you a letter with a reason why you got denied.”
00 2019-01-02
Shreveport

One-on-one with Grambling AD David Ponton


With former Grambling Athletics Director Paul Bryant leaving the university after mutual agreement, GSU did not have to go far for his replacement.

David Ponton, otherwise known as Coach P, will step into that role New Years Day.

Daniel Brown sat down with the Melville, Louisiana native to get his views on leading Grambling State despite having roots with their rival.

Their conversation follows.

Daniel: You mention the fact that you went to Southern, you were a basketball player at Southern. The Bayou Classic, that's got to be an interesting time for you right?

Ponton: I'm going to say it like this, I like to eat everyday, you know, so I pull for the Jaguars when they're not playing Grambling. When they're playing Grambling, no, I'm pulling for Grambling and to be honest I've always pulled for Grambling football. Many of my students never knew that I went to Southern University or played at Southern. Many of them didn't know that I'm a Hall of Famer at Southern or anything like that. So when they hear that, 'no that's not right, that was Grambling.' Nah, actually I did."

Daniel: In addition to family members that played football for Grambling, Tigers basketball legend Bob Hopkins coached at the university in the 80s and while Ponton was working for Shell Oil Company, he had an interest in getting back to sports.

Ponton: "(Hopkins) He said, 'You're not going to leave all that money on the table and corporate America to come (here),' I said, 'Coach, I'll do it in a heartbeat.' He called me about two months later and once he called me I said, 'Coach, I'm on my way.' I gave my notice to (Shell) and that's been 30 years ago."

Ponton: "The fact that you can be around an area that long and survive that long, that speaks volumes, period. So I would say being here in this area has been like being home."

Daniel: Since 1988 Ponton has been a coach at GSU and bounced around in various roles until his current post as Vice President of Student Affairs. That's when in late 2018 school president Rick Gallot proposed the athletics director position.

Ponton: "He said that would I be willing to consider this opportunity. It's a dream job. I mean I've always loved athletics and I just transfered a lot of my knowledge from problem solving over on the Student Affairs side over to the Athletics side. Naturally it's a totally different culture, but I was in that culture for 20 years."

Ponton: "My priority now is athletics. This is not like a split job. I want to make sure that that's emphasized is that my priority is athletics at this time. I retain the title of VP for Student Affairs. Athletics was brought under that umbrella of Student Affairs and I will be the chief athletic administrator in that diagram."

Daniel: It's a full team effort for an athletic department to get everything rolling, Director (Paul) Bryant successful in his tenure here, field turf installed, soccer renovations, stuff with the baseball stadium. Is there any kind of pressure that you feel to maybe live up to some of the accomplishments that he was able to done while he was in that role?"

Ponton: "It's not so much a pressure, it's just a precedent that you have to make sure that you maintain that status. So it's a bar that you have to make sure that you maintain and that you go even higher. So there are a lot of things that we can do. I mean Paul did a great job of like you said, securing those things for us and it's my job to make sure that we go even further."

Daniel: Ponton faces numerous obstacles now, but believes his history at Grambling is a benefit.

Ponton: "The biggest challenge, which is one of the reasons why I was put into this position is stability. You know, being is this situation because we've had so much instability over the last few years as far as presidents are concerened, athletic directors are concerned, so being in the area that, first of all, I've been here for so long and know the area, know the culture, stability is going to be huge."

Daniel: "With other staff at student affairs taking over the workload, Ponton says the future of athletics is bright.

Ponton: "This is much bigger than me. Much, much bigger than me. We used to have a saying that this is a place where stars are born and champions are made and there are a whole lot more stars out there and a whole lot more champions to be made."
00 2018-12-21
Lafayette

Lafayette innovation board talks funding, cryptocurrency


The board of the Lafayette Public Innovation Alliance, at its first meeting Dec. 19, discussed how it might use cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to attract investors, innovators and digital nomads to the parish.

In his annual Robideaux Report in April, Mayor-President Joel Robideaux broached the idea of creating a local Bitcoin-like digital currency and a lab of blockchain researchers and developers, which could position the city to become a global innovation hub.

In July, the City-Parish Council voted to create a new public trust, the Lafayette Public Innovation Alliance, to concentrate on building the local tech economy. Robideaux deposited $100 to get the trust fund started.

At the board's first meeting Dec. 19, Robideaux said there is the potential to attract investors and technology start-ups through a philanthropic venture capitalist trust fund.

Trustee Bruce Greenstein, executive vice president of LHC Group, recapped a presentation by Hilary Joseph Castille of Crypto Research in Lafayette. Lafayette, he said, could create an economic development home for "digital nomads" and a class of innovators who shy away from big cities like Boston and San Francisco but might consider a smaller city with good football, food and a lower cost of living.

The Lafayette Public Innovation Alliance public trust board met Dec. 19, 2018, for the first time.
The Lafayette Public Innovation Alliance public trust board met Dec. 19, 2018, for the first time. (Photo: Claire Taylor)

Cryptocurrency, Greenstein said, could be used as an investment methodology for the trust.

Money raised via cryptocurrency, Robideaux said, could be invested in incentives for technological entrepreneurs with each investor getting a piece of the equity.

Robideaux said the board should consider traditional and non-traditional ways to bring money into the trust to allow the alliance to attract innovative businesses.

Besides Robideaux and Greenstein, the board of trustees includes Ramesh Kolluru, University of Louisiana at Lafayette vice president of research, innovation and economic development; Chris Meaux, founder and CEO of Waitr; and Mandi Mitchell, assistant secretary for Louisiana Economic Development.

Board members serve five-year terms. Meetings and records are open to the public. Lafayette Parish is the beneficiary of the trust.
00 2018-12-21
Regional/National

Push for Student-Level Data the Feds Don’t Collect


The gaps in data about the academic progress, needs and outcomes of part-time, first-generation, older and low-income college students has long frustrated higher education advocates, policy makers, charitable foundations and college administrators who want to see all students succeed.

Over the last three years, the Institute for Higher Education Policy, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation and the National Student Clearinghouse have partnered to build a system, using a new "metrics framework" they developed, that will fill those data gaps and help institutions, states and researchers analyze the academic performance of all college students.

The partnership sidesteps the debate over, and wait for, Congress to move forward with plans to build a national student-level data system. The groups building their own system are encouraging more colleges and universities to join their partnership.

“We, as a field, have identified these general metrics that help us to understand how students are accessing, progressing and completing in higher education,” said Amanda Janice Roberson, IHEP’s assistant director of research and policy. “But between state collection and federal collection and a variety of data collection methods, we’re measuring students in different ways.”

The Postsecondary Data Partnership, which recently ended a yearlong pilot that involved three state college and university systems and 27 individual institutions, would alleviate the problem of having different and often inefficient ways of measuring students. Institutions and state higher education systems would submit data about their students to the National Student Clearinghouse. The clearinghouse, which already receives enrollment and degree completion data from more than 3,600 colleges in the county, would also receive data relevant to the partnership.

As part of the partnership, the clearinghouse validates the data and creates analytical and interactive dashboards. Those dashboards reflect the metrics that are often missing or inadequate for measuring such outcomes as students' credit accumulation, employment rates and costs for not completing credits. The Institute for College Access and Success, a progressive group that focuses on affordability and access in higher education, recently released a new report calling for the federal government, states and accreditors to standardize how they calculate job placement numbers for higher education programs.

“The core innovation is making sure the experiences of low-income students and students of color are counted,” said Jennifer Engle, deputy director of postsecondary success in the United States program at the Gates Foundation.

The clearinghouse sends reports on the data collected to organizations and agencies, including those already in the partnership such as Complete College America, Achieving the Dream and Jobs for the Future. These nonprofit organizations have been the leaders in promoting popular initiatives such as remediation reform and reverse transfer to increase improve students' employment and education outcomes. Reverse transfer allows students who've already transferred from a community college to a four-year institution to earn an associate degree from the community college. Remediation reform involves getting students into credited English and math courses at a faster pace than noncredit, traditional remedial classes do, thus helping students to complete college in less time and earn degrees faster.

Groups such as Complete College America and Achieving the Dream are now also asking their member institutions to join the partnership. The clearinghouse is hoping to expand the partnership to up to 500 institutions by the end of 2019, said Doug Shapiro, executive research director of the clearinghouse.

Laurie Heacock, vice president for data, technology and analytics at Achieving the Dream, said the organization will host information sessions about the partnership during its national convention in February.

"When you have disparate data collection systems that have different cohort definitions, with some only looking at entering fall student cohort and some only looking at entering full-time students, for community colleges that is problematic,” Heacock said.

Federal data collection systems such as the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System have only recently expanded from only using first-time, full-time status to measure graduation rates. The department made changes last year that allowed completion data for part-time and non-first-time students to be collected and published.

Federal data collections do a poor job of measuring student metrics such as retention, academic momentum and credit accumulation, said Travis Reindl, a senior communications officer with the Gates Foundation. Those metrics have become commonplace in measuring student performance and their likelihood of graduating.

The data partnership hopes to address such shortcomings.

The changes can't come soon enough for John Armstrong, a senior policy analyst with the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. During a presentation to colleges about the partnership at CCA’s national convention earlier this month, he complained about the slow pace at which federal and state agencies collect and disaggregate information across race, ethnicity, gender and other student identifiers.

Angela Bell, the associate vice chancellor of research and policy analysis for the University System of Georgia, which was part of the pilot conducted by the partnership, said being part of the partnership meant that system administrators could now get very specific data that was once unavailable and do more sophisticated data analysis that they could then measure against or compare to the data of other institutions. For example, she said, the university system could examine the progress of first-generation Pell Grant recipients who are Asian women.

The institutions are submitting student unit record data to the clearinghouse, which means “there’s nowhere to hide,” Bell said, referring to the increased level of transparency the partnership will now provide. For example, by submitting such highly specific data, university systems or colleges can create alerts when a single student accumulates more credits than they need to graduate, she said.

A bipartisan bill that would overturn the ban on a federal postsecondary student-level data system was introduced in the Senate a year ago but has not moved through Congress.

Shapiro, the clearinghouse research director, said the partnership helps colleges and universities that aren't waiting for Congress to act and want to know their students’ performance now so they can change or adjust programs and policies to improve student outcomes in a timely manner.

“What we’re building is specifically for institutions that want to opt in to create a system that better informs them of their student success,” Shapiro said. “These are institutions who can’t wait.”
00 2018-12-20
Hammond

SLU to collect discarded Christmas trees to help build up coastline


HAMMOND, LA (WAFB) - Southeastern Louisiana University is asking people to drop off their discarded Christmas trees to be used for wetlands restoration rather than throwing them away.

“We can put the old Christmas trees to work in our area marshland while also reducing the waste stream going into landfills,” said Rob Moreau, manager of SLU’s Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station, which is located on Pass Manchac between lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas.

Grant funding for the Christmas tree recycling program, now in its 24th year, ended some time ago, but several local partners have donated to make the project possible. Volunteers and students at SLU bring the trees to the wetlands for distribution. About 40,000 trees have been brought to the wetlands since the program started.

Moreau says the trees will be used in many ways, including for ongoing research on the trees' effects on filling in test logging ditches, the creation of Christmas tree “mounds” to make habitats for wildlife, and to help control erosion along the coastline.

Southeastern Sustainability Center on North Oak Street serves as a drop-off location for people to leave their discarded trees. Hammond Maintenance Facility and Middendorf’s Restaurant in Manchac are also drop-off points. This year, a new drop-off location has been added at Pennington’s Hardware and Screenprinting in Madisonville, located at 407 Hwy. 22 W.

DROP-OFF TIMES

Hammond Maintenance Facility (18104 Hwy. 190): Jan. 3 through Mardi Gras; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Southeastern Sustainability Center (2101 North Oak Street): Jan. 3 through 31; 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 to 10 a.m. on Fridays
Pennington’s Hardware and Screenprinting (407 Hwy. 22 W): Jan. 3 through 31; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily
Moreau says a Turtle Cove trailer drop-off site will also be maintained at Middendorf’s beginning Jan. 4.

No flocked trees will be accepted. All trees should be stripped of ornaments, lights, tinsel, stands, garlands, nails, screws, etc.

Click here for more information, or email Moreau at rmoreau@southeastern.edu.

DONATE TO TURTLE COVE

Make checks payable to Friends of Turtle Cove
Mail to Southeastern Box 10585, Hammond, LA 70402
www.southeastern.edu/turtlecove - Friends and Donors link
Copyright 2018 WAFB. All rights reserved.
00 2018-12-20
Hammond

Southeastern Louisiana University names 4,334 to fall 2018 honors list, 592 from Livingston Parish


Southeastern Louisiana University has named 4,334 students to its honors list for the fall 2018 semester, including 592 from Livingston Parish.

The honors list is divided into three academic levels: President’s List, Dean’s List and Honor Roll.

To be named to the President’s List, students must have earned a 3.50 or better grade point average. Students on the Dean’s List have earned a 3.20-3.49 grade point average, and Honor Roll students have earned a 3.00-3.19 grade point average.

Honors list students must be full-time undergraduates carrying at least 12 credit hours and have no grade below a “C.”

Southeastern provides a website to view the names of students receiving academic honors for the current semester and past semesters at http://www.southeastern.edu/admin/rec_reg/academic_honors/index.php.

Students from Livingston Parish named to the honors list are:

Albany

President’s List: Cara J. Blanchard, Alison C. Carroll, Ariel B. Cook, Fabein Disedare, Joanna R. Foster, Skylier Lehmann, Brenna V. Miller, Robert G. O’Neal, Makayla B. Peters, Miranda E. Rodrigue, Julia B. Williams, Kasey E. Woodard, Justin B. Woodring, Maiah D. Woodring

Dean’s List: Madisyn Bankston, Cierra R. Disedare, Keri Disedare, Schuylar M. Ramsey, Maria E. Sanchez

Honor Roll: Hannah R. Cardaronella, Taylor B. Damare, Bailee K. Gardiner, Joshua P. Madere, Lauren L. Owens, Madison C. Peters, Emma A. Purvis

Denham Springs

President’s List: Sawyer J. Abbott, Trevor S. Abbott, Emma G. Achee, Kassidy A. Alise, Brandon J. Ardoin, Mary E. Attaway, Michael W. Bankston, Jacob Barbier, Gabrielle Barnett, Joseph D. Basso, Conner Berthelot, Parker J. Berthelot, Mason P. Bonura, Kristin A. Booty, Alexis J. Bourgeois, Shelton C. Brown, Deanne W. Bryant, Glynn E. Burr, Breanna N. Burton, Kayla R. Callicott, Marisa A. Calvaruso, Brandon A. Cannella, Sydney E. Chauvin, Joni E. Cowart, Evan T. Cranford, Elizabeth S. Creel, Madison D. Cresie, Justin P. Dantzler, Aimee K. Dardeau, Megan A. Davis, Alexis N. Davison, Jordan E. Deaton, Brianna J. Denmark, Tiffany T. Deville, Colby T. Diez, Claire A. Dimaria, Carl G. Doescher, Savannah M. Douglas, Alana J. Dubecky, Brynne L. Dugas, Nickolas A. Dunbar, Joshua C. Durocher, Amber Edwards, Samantha Ellis, Evan R. Elmore, Solie N. Falcon, Kaleigh Fletcher, Joshua L. Ford, Rachel M. Ford, Jared S. Forrest, Tara Freeze, Landon P. Fuentes, Ricky W. Fuller,

Also, Amanda C. Gann, Lauren E. Garaudy, Kristyn M. Gary, Mattie E. Gibson, Stephanie D. Godfrey, Dylan R. Goodrich, Bethany Gray, Paige E. Green, Victoria L. Guidry, Bailey R. Gunter, Natalie S. Gunter, Dillon T. Haley, Savannah L. Hall, Juliette M. Hampton, Holland Hardison, Ladijesh Harr, Olivia C. Harrington, Brooke D. Harris, Danielle S. Hebert, Hannah N. Heinz, Emilee Hickman, Paige Higginbotham, Joshua D. Hinkel, Shelby A. Hinton, Austyn S. Hodge, Craig J. Hodges, Amanda M. Holliday, Patrick A. Holwager, Ally E. Howard, Jordyn D. Huey, Alexus L. Hutchinson, Andrea Idong, Andrew C. Ilgenfritz, Amanda F. Jackson, Jeannette M. Jackson, Irin P. Jacobson, Anabelle L. Jennings, Haley D. Johnson, Victoria L. Jones, Gabrielle T. Kling, Ainsleigh C. Lacombe, Jacob M. Lajaunie, Kayla A. Lamana, Georgia L. Langlois, Brice N. Larson, Daniel C. Larson, Grace Lasseigne, Jessica A. Latchem, Madison H. Lea, Tony J. Licciardi, Ryleigh R. Magee, Mackenzie C. Martone, Kylee A. Mayeux, Shelby B. McKee, Bree A. McCarley, Nicole E. McCarter, Brittney Meek, Alanna J. Messina, Layne Miley,

Also, Madison P. Mincey, Hayley Moore, Phoenix A. Morel, Katelyn A. Moss, Tiffany A. Nevels, Sydney S. Norris, Madison L. Olah, Tiffany M. Oneill, Payton A. Onellion, Tiffany Ort, Lauren M. Patrick, Amanda M. Patterson, Kadie Peyton, Julian C. Porta, Reese A. Pourciau, Becka M. Quebedeaux, Tanya Ramirez, Gabrielle H. Rancatore, Anniah P. Ranel, Madelyn L. Richardson, Raychelle M. Riley, Carrigan J. Robinson, Kamren K. Rodriguez, Toby R. Rosenthal, Rylie E. Rosevear, Rebecca Rushing, Taylor N. Sanchez, Brenna R. Satterfeal, Rachel M. Scardina, Joseph M. Sceroler, Jessica A. Scholz, Mandy N. Seale, Kaisey N. Seegmiller, Jacob S. Shaffett, Sarah Shoun, Hailey M. Sing, Olivia C. Smith, Lucia T. Spinosa, Maeghan E. Staley, Bryce W. Stallcup, Hannah N. Stevens, Abbie M. Stevenson, Olivia J. Streat, Justin P. Sumrall, Madison L. Sunde, Mason E. Swain, Lorren A. Tannehill, Madelyne E. Taylor, Taylor M. Teal, Lindsey D. Tharp, Alexandra L. Thompson, Vincent T. Ton, Vivian N. Ton, LeAnna N. Toups, Jessie K. Tullos, Steven K. Venable, Elyssa Walker, Rachel E. Wallace, Justin W. Watts, Courtney L. Webster, Ryan A. Williams, Madison S. Wilson, Amanda L. Wood, Amanda Wray

Dean’s List: Brett C. Ahlf, Trase A. Ainsworth, Darin B. Alleman, Samuel J. Allen, Kaylan A. Arcediano, Kyle D. Arceneaux, Ainsley N. Archer, Katelyn Avants, Joshua D. Ballard, Allison Barrios, Jade N. Blackmon, Kolby B. Bond, Sydney F. Breaux, Gabrielle C. Brown, Philip M. Brown, Casey Caccamo, Andrew P. Calmes, Joseph L. Cambre, Kayla C. Campbell, Alexis M. Carlos, Deanna R. Carothers, Lauren A. Carpenter, Chloe A. Carter, Kaleigh D. Caruso, Payton E. Chustz, Anna E. Cobb, Savannah L. Cook, Daniella Crane, Ashley L. Davis, Megan J. Derbes, Lauren E. Evans, Lauren E. Faller, Layton T. Fontenot, Claudio V. Franc, Zachary J. Fruge, Hayli M. Gillette, Kailynn M. Gonzales, Gillian T. Grance, Savannah M. Harley, Sabrina H. Hughes, Ciara Hunter, Katelyn A. Jackson, Trevor Jenkins, Benjamin P. Johnson, Tyesha N. Jones, Clayton E. Jordan, Mansi Kamboj, Bailee G. Kelley, Olivia G. King,

Also, Kyleigh R. Lane, Madison R. Larson, Hayley A. Lauraine, Lewis G. Laurent, Brandon D. Maulding, Morgan L. McClendon, Kurdeshia C. Meyers, Chasidy Miller, Leah B. Miller, Brooke L. Oberste, Breland N. Paline, Leslie L. Parrish, Kelly M. Peyton, Ashton M. Priester, Christian W. Purpera, Andrew J. Rabalais, Kennon R. Raiford, Hannah E. Ratcliff, Adam S. Reynolds, Amari B. Russell, Rebeka E. Sanchez, Ethan A. Sansoni, Britney S. Schweitzer, Nash A. Simon, Shelby L. Skinner, Samuel J. Smith, Gabrielle M. Stafford, Dylan A. Stanley, Sydney M. Stockman, Breanna Stout, Lydia J. Stuckey, Paullena D. Sumrall, Chelsea Theriot, Kelsey P. Ulery, Sarah S. Vinson, Joshua B. Wetzel, Emily A. Whittington, Daniel E. Wingate, Joshua R. Wingate, Zachary E. Woodall, Alyssa M. Ybarra, Simon D. Zachary, Alexa G. Zambito

Honor Roll: Olivia C. Alexander, Austin B. Allen, Christian M. Beter, Michael T. Brignac, Haley E. Broyles, Brandt A. Buchanan, Kamryn A. Chambers, Taylor R. Champagne, Hannah I. Chung, Adinah E. Cobb, Zoie B. Cook, Madison R. Delaune, Elizabeth A. Dozier, Amber E. Dutsch, Alexis P. Edmonston, Kace D. Ellison, Harleigh N. Emrick, Glenn P. Falcon, Michael A. Fitzgerald, William A. Geoghagan, Mckenna D. Hidalgo, Heather N. Hodges, Julia M. Hollingsworth, Payton K. Killcrease, Hannah A. Labauve, Jessica A. Landry, Justin D. Levatino, Kennedy R. McEachern, Peyton W. McFadden, Olivia N. McNabb, Chandler A. Meier, Kali O. Montgomery, Ashton V. Murphy, De’Ja D. Murray, Kevin R. Noble, Lauren E. Parrott, Hailie L. Rabalais, Kayla A. Rabalais, Ashley M. Rayborn, Olivia F. Reed, Ashley S. Rodriguez, Austin T. Rogers, Carley E. Saunders, Zoey B. Schwarm, Austin B. Shirley, Jarrielle L. Spann, Cameron G. Sumrall, Travis D. Thompson, Katelyn N. Till, Alexandria J. Underwood, Megan E. Vizinat, Julian M. White, Ian M. Wiginton

French Settlement

President’s List: Clayton R. Parker

Dean’s List: Caroline R. Little, Tristyn T. Meche, Isabella M. Negrotto, Brayden M. Reeves

Honor Roll: Emily P. Gambrell, Jackson L. Lebourgeois

Holden

President’s List: Alexis M. Aime, Raini A. Blackwell, Leigh A. Cannino, Brianna L. Castleberry, Katelyn B. Craig, Blake A. Crayton, Breanna Finnell, Dylan M. Grantham, Kayla Hano, Rebekah D. Hart, Tyler J. Hasson, Casey M. Holden, Jannin Izaguirre, Madison E. Mizell, Ana M. Morales, Taylor Page, Dana M. Pierson, James W. Seguin, Michael D. Sykes, Madisyn A. Wascom

Dean’s List: Tiffany A. Ambrose, Emily R. Bankston, Michael T. Bergeron, Olvin J. Diaz Martinez, Macy N. Dufrene, Montori Weber

Honor Roll: Wesley Beall, Aaron T. Carlton, Brannon N. Gloyd, Mallory A. McDaniel, Gabrielle R. Reynolds, Alexandra C. Sanders, Chaix N. Sharp

Livingston

President’s List: Ashleigh Balfantz, Paul A. Blanchard, Heather R. Blount, Geoffrey K. Bostwick, Caleb P. Charpentier, Colton P. Corkern, Madeline J. Felps, Ashton B. Gill, Matthew Gordon, Kailey N. Hixson, Lyla M. Hixson, Lacey N. Hunt, Jennifer L. Jemison, Kyle Lewis, Jessica F. Litolff, Whitney L. Lobell, Ashley E. Martin, Laurie E. Martin, Alex R. McMorris, Melissa N. Merritt, Karly A. Murphy, Hayden C. Nickens, Daniel A. Palmer, Mariana A. Pliego, Anna M. Pope, Callie A. Roddy, April L. Sigrest, Shelbi B. Spier, Samuel H. Taylor, Jacob L. Varnado, Jerica D. Waller, Madison P. Watts, Matthew J. Wheat, Matthew Wiley, Grace L. Wolfe

Dean’s List: Hayley E. Allen, Mason R. Burnette, Alyssa M. Chatagnier, Morgan Craft, Crystal G. Hilbun, Erica Hilbun, Meghan R. Hughes, Keri M. Hunt, Bailey D. Karpinski, Brandon Lundy, Sydney D. McCreary, Courtney L. McLin, Logan T. Mendoza, Destiny W. Sadler, Caroline V. Simmons, Rachael E. Simpson, Bailey L. Turner, Madison D. Whiddon, Sarah N. Wilson

Honor Roll: Brandon R. Martin, Paula R. Mitchell, Jessica L. Nesom, Kamryn E. Spears, Trace White

Maurepas

President’s List: Victoria E. Bovia, Julia E. Ernest, Hannah K. Gautreau, Kristen Hodges, Kaleigh Kuykendall, Lacy L. Loupe, Laigen L. Loupe, Ali E. McCoy, Lindsey Roddy, Sophia N. Salinas, Kinsey A. Stovall, Emily Wagner, Amanda N. Walker

Dean’s List: Landon L. Delatte, Ashley Doggette

Honor Roll: Brailie A. Gautreau, Rhett M. Wilson

Springfield

President’s List: Robert J. Brown, Emma L. Clark, Blake T. Dickerson, Jaila L. Golden, Tylon W. Kennedy, Megan D. Lanoy, Samantha Sanders, Morgan Savoy, Bree E. Saxon, Emily D. Simeon, Sarah G. Simeon, Rachel L. Sullivan, Justine E. Threeton, Joshua M. Vicks, Kayla A. Wheat

Dean’s List: Matthew L. Foster, Chelsea A. Ratcliff, Sara A. Sadowsky, Alexis N. Sparacello, Taylor A. Steele, John T. Travis, Geri L. Wilkerson

Honor Roll: Christopher A. Coats, Olivia G. Currie, Kacie M. Hoover, Erica K. Jubin, Riley R. Moran, Dakota R. Stewart

Walker

President’s List: Rosalie M. Ammersbach, Cody Arceneaux, Victoria A. Bankston, Christina A. Barrilleaux, Jacob C. Bousquet, Kristen Burrick, Carly P. Cain, Landon J. Carter, Skyler A. Champlin, Madison L. D’Amico, Mary L. David, Kade W. Day, Lauren E. Decoteau, Catherine E. Dunlap, Sara B. Farwell, Emily J. Fink, Calyn C. Foster, Jacob J. Hecht, Amber N. Howard, Ellie L. Hughes, Casey Hunt, Mason Z. Inman, Brett D. Luneau, Logan S. Maurello, Skylar McLin, Lauren M. Meades, Ryan M. Miller, Gabrielle Nixon, Meghan M. Odom, Tyler A. Page, Ashley K. Parker, Brielle E. Ricca, Jessica R. Robinson, Brennon A. Rogers, Hannah F. Shelton, Brooklyn A. Sherrod, Rachael L. Smiley, Gretchen M. St.Pierre, Baylie N. Stears, James M. Stephens, Brianna N. Sutton, Ashley N. Thacker, Bart L. Thomas, Jordyn M. Tolar, Breanna J. Turpin, Alexis J. Waguespack, Shanon M. Waguespack, Raegan F. Welborn, Sunnie D. Wood

Dean’s List: Natalie K. Bachman, Brittany P. Bobzin, Lorna Brooks, Rhonda R. Broussard, Mackenzie J. Caillouet, Matthew C. Chustz, James J. Cook, Brittany J. Coxe, Tessera B. Crockett, Noah R. Danburg, Catherine A. Darden, Paige R. Devall, Maia Carmelita A. Dominguez, Emma C. Duffy, Mason A. Dwyer, Kathryn G. Fore, Bailey R. Gautreaux, Cameron C. Hood, Reagan A. Lilak, Alissa B. Martin, Devyn A. Matherne, Caleb D. McDonald, Hilton McGaughey, Makayla C. Rodriquez, Shelby A. Romero, Jacqueline Stephenson, Abigail M. Swetledge, Brittany N. Talbert, Alyssa M. Travis, Rissa P. Webb-Simmons, Tabitha E. Williams

Honor Roll: Remy D. Baham, Kailey R. Brown, Triston W. Fontenot, Deven N. Gautreau, Kaitlin J. Gilbert, Gavin T. Lake, Austin P. Leblanc, Dillon R. Mancil, Kaleigh E. McMillan, Brianna Pearson, Megan R. Spence, Kylie S. Underwood, Tristan A. Wilkinson, Emily R. Wright

Watson

President’s List: Jessica A. Bowen, Danyle M. Sonnier, Matthew B. Sullivan

Dean’s List: Lindsey E. Rizzo, Jordan M. Tate

Honor Roll: Amy K. Byrne
00 2018-12-20
Hammond

Southeastern Louisiana University names 4,334 to fall 2018 honors list, 592 from Livingston Parish



00 2018-12-20
Houma/Thibodaux

Magnet elementary school to open at Nicholls


A public magnet school for 40 high-performing fourth- and fifth-graders will open next year in Thibodaux.

Nicholls State University and the Lafourche Parish School Board signed an agreement today to offer the new program.

As part of the agreement, 20 students from each grade level will visit Nicholls’ campus every day for personalized instruction from Lafourche Parish and Nicholls teachers.

Eligible students must be enrolled now in a Thibodaux elementary school and have a grade-point average of at least 3.0, or a B. They can apply at the Lafourche school system’s offices, 805 E. Seventh St., Thibodaux.

“This program is another affirmation of our school district being an A district,” Lafourche School Board President Al Archer said in a joint news release with Nicholls. “It reinforces all of the commitments and the partnerships in education within the community. This is another step for our students to excel and do very well. They can start here at Nicholls at a young age, and when they return as college students, they will be coming home. This is a win-win for everyone involved.”

Students will arrive on campus in the morning with an assigned teacher and aide and will interact with Nicholls College of Education students and faculty. With access to all of the resources on the Nicholls campus, the teachers will be able to craft individualized lesson plans for the students based on their academic performance.

“This program is going to be beneficial for our students as well as Nicholls State University,” retiring Lafourche schools Superintendent Jo Ann Matthews said. “It’s a joint partnership that will embrace STEM and embrace moving students along faster. They’ll have access to everything the university can offer.”

The school also will benefit Nicholls students training to become teachers, said Steven Welsh, dean of the College of Education.

“Our students must complete clinical experiences before they go on their residency. With this program, that residency can happen right here on this campus, which we’re very excited about,” Welsh said. “This will also provide a way for our teaching faculty to model teaching techniques to our students.”

It’s the second agreement Nicholls has signed this week to offer cooperative instruction.

The university partnered Monday with South Louisiana Community College to make it easier for students at a state school in Morgan City to transfer credits to Nicholls. The agreement, which takes effect immediately, will apply to hundreds of students studying to receive two-year associate’s degrees in nursing, criminal justice, business administration and biology. Many of their classes at the community college’s Young Memorial Campus will now apply toward a four-year degree at Nicholls.

The agreements take effect immediately and set in stone the classes that will transfer over to Nicholls, making it easier for graduates with an associates degree from the aforementioned programs from SLCC to transfer to Nicholls.

-- Executive Editor Keith Magill can be reached at 852-2201 or keith.magill@houmatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter @CourierEditor.
00 2018-12-20
Lake Charles

Get more students into dual enrollment


Dual enrollment that gives Louisiana's high school students opportunities to earn high school and college credit at the same time isn't where it needs to be. However, education officials are aware of the shortcomings and appear to be ready to tackle the problems.

Among the missing pieces are a statewide plan and uneven access to the program, according to a report in The Advocate. The state Board of Regents and the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education held a joint meeting to discuss the issue.

National standards indicate Louisiana was late to the game, the newspaper said. One problem has been earlier emphasis on using the program only for gifted students.

Another issue is the fact some students pay nothing for the classes while others are charged as much as $800 per course. Rural area students say they don't enjoy the same access available for students living in cities.

Kim Hunter Reed, state commissioner of higher education, said, "For a number of students, it is exposure and an opportunity to go from ‘I am not sure I am college material' to a self-talk that ‘I can do it.' "

During the 2017-18 school year, 31,517 students were enrolled in dual education. That is up from 19,716 a decade ago. However, only 23 percent of high school students are taking college courses. Another concern is the fact only 21 percent of the total are black students who make up 44 percent of the high school population.

John White, state superintendent of education, said the state should ensure tuition fees are not blocking enrollments. He said more should be done to get youngsters from all backgrounds ready for the courses.

Regional, technical and community colleges handle 81 percent of dual enrollment. The University of Louisiana System has 43 percent of the total, or 13,360 students.

Jim Henderson, president of that system, said regional colleges have formed robust relationships with local school systems. He said that is what makes it possible to have an effective dual enrollment program.

The Louisiana Community and Technical College System handles 38 percent of those taking college courses, or 12,062 students.

The ability to finance dual enrollment is another major problem. Unfortunately, many of tomorrow's leaders are the losers when funding isn't found.
00 2018-12-20
Monroe

A new property tax could be headed your way in Ouachita Parish


OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KNOE) - ULM President Nick Bruno said one way to help the school grow is with a property tax.


"It's a way that the community helps the university that is located in your community," said Bruno.

Ouachita Police Juror Shane Smiley said the jury announced a letter of intent to call a tax election. ULM wants a 5 mill property tax for over 30 years, which all cities and the parish would pay.

Bruno said this means for a house worth about $200,000 that's about $50 a year.

"The money would appear on the property tax each year. It would be collected and would be allocated to the university to spend in accordance to the election call," said Smiley.

Bruno said this came about when business leaders and alumni suggested the tax to help grow the university and help students pay for school.

"Our students, their tuition has gone up 130% in the last 10 years, and it's making it unaffordable for students to get an education. That's why part of these funds would go towards scholarships," said Bruno.

Voters were mixed when we asked them about it. Some say they want more information while others say they're taxed out, but Bruno says they don't receive enough money in state taxes to support their plan.

"There is no earmark tax that says 'I'm giving you 1% already at that goes to the university.' That is not the case. There is no tax that goes directly to education," said Bruno.

He also said this would impact the entire area.

"You may not get a check from ULM, but somewhere down the line, ULM has contributed to their quality of life. For example, over 200,000 people visited our campus last year. Many from right here in our area," Bruno said.

The Ouachita Parish Police Jury plans to vote Jan. 22 on whether to put the tax on the ballot. If it passes, it would be taken up during the May 2019 election.
00 2018-12-20
Monroe

Jazzmine Williams’ painting of a ULM scene is a winner in national art contest


In her corner of the senior artists studio at the University of Louisiana Monroe in Stubbs Hall, Jazzmine Williams has a wonderful space that’s both neat and creatively messy. There are impressive examples of her talent in painting and ceramics.

“I'm a senior and I study ceramics, also known as pottery. I also received a talent grant from the art program this year for my artwork,” said Williams, who will graduate in the spring.

Even with ceramics as her concentration, Williams has won an impressive award for her painting.

“For her recent accomplishments in painting she placed second in the national 2018 Annual Art Competition by Artist Magazine, a respected publication, for the category ‘Interior Still Life,’” said Cliff Tresnor, Art Program Coordinator, in the ULM School of Visual and Performing Arts.

Williams’ 11-by-14 inch oil on canvas is entitled “12:45 PM.” Her artist’s statement published with the painting in Artist Magazine states, “My subject for this painting was an interior study at my college. This point of view is from inside my college’s computer lab — I stay close to the door. It’s memorable to me because I always stay in that room throughout the day to study for other classes.”

Working so well in two disciplines shows Williams’ versatility and skill.

“I like learning different ways of being an artist. You have to study color, study perspective and proportions, and composition, if it's 2D work,” she said. “Mixing clay at the perfect consistency, knowing what tools to use for sculpting, making measurements, if it's 3D work. It's very busy being an artist, but I enjoy expanding my knowledge to improve my abilities.”

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In speaking about her art, Williams said, “My personal work is colorful and dynamic. What I like most about my art is creating a mood with action and/or color. Whether it is from my ceramic work, my drawings, or my paintings. It doesn't matter what medium I use; I like to create things that are fun to look at.”

For Williams, she may gain inspiration during the process, but she leaves little to chance.

“It's easier to plan before painting than just making art in general. That way I won't forget what I wanted to create. Sketchbooks are pretty useful for that,” she said.
00 2018-12-20
Regional/National

OnlineMasters.com Names Top Master's in History Programs for 2019


OnlineMasters.com, a trusted source for unbiased college rankings and higher education planning, announced the release of their Best Online Master's in History Programs for 2019. The research identifies the top programs in the nation based on curriculum quality, program flexibility, affordability, and graduate outcomes.

In addition to insights gained from industry professionals, OnlineMasters.com leveraged an exclusive data set comprised of interviews and surveys from current students and alumni. Each online degree program was analyzed with only the top 27 making it to the final list. The methodology incorporates the most recent data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and statistical data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Most importantly, only programs from accredited nonprofit institutions were eligible.

“A master’s in history is a very versatile degree and solid investment for students who want the flexibility to change career paths,” says Barbara Montgomery, Program Recognition Manager “ Students who pursue a master’s in history can gain employment in a wide variety of roles, but common career paths include journalism and teaching. The steady job growth in this market is just one of the many reasons OnlineMasters.com researched, analyzed, and ranked the Top Master’s in History Programs. To access the complete ranking, please visit https://www.onlinemasters.com/best-degree-programs/history/

2019 Best Master's in History Programs (in alphabetical order):

American Public University
Arizona State University
Eastern Illinois University
Emporia State University
Fort Hays State University
Grand Canyon University
Harvard University
Indiana State University
Jackson State University
Liberty University
Louisiana Tech University
Missouri State University
Norwich University
Pittsburg State University
Sam Houston State University
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
Southern New Hampshire University
Southwestern Assemblies of God University
Troy University
University of Louisiana at Monroe
University of Massachusetts Boston
University of Memphis
University of Nebraska at Kearney
University of North Alabama
University of North Carolina at Wilmington
Wayland Baptist University
Western Kentucky University

About OnlineMasters.com
OnlineMasters.com provides proprietary and unbiased research to help students discover their options for the best graduate programs. The organization aims to inspire students to think big and make an impact in society through the pursuit of higher education. With user-friendly guides and hundreds of program rankings, OnlineMasters.com enables students to make informed decisions about earning a master’s degree online.
00 2018-12-20
Ruston

Louisiana Tech student selected as SIGSEC 2018 Doctoral Student Award recipient


RUSTON — The Special Interest Group on Information Security and Privacy (SIGSEC) of the Association of Information Systems (AIS) recently selected Sahar Farshadkhah, a Doctor of Business Administration student at Louisiana Tech University, as one of three recipients of the SIGSEC 2018 Doctoral Student Award.

Farshadkhah, a third year business doctoral candidate concentrating in computer information systems, was chosen to present her research at the Pre-ICIS Annual Workshop on Information Security and Privacy (WISP) on Dec. 13 in San Francisco, Calif.

“In general, AIS SIGSEC provides networking opportunities for people who conduct research, develop, and/or teach about information security, assurance, digital forensics, privacy and information system risk management and auditing,” Farshadkhah said. “It is a great opportunity for me to present my research in front of most of the distinguished scholars in the cybersecurity area.”

Farshadkhah’s research focuses on behavioral information security, particularly the role of behavior and informal methods in information security assurance. “Besides an organization’s information security concerns, understanding an employee’s philosophy to comply or not comply with information security rules may help provide a more efficient solution to make an organization secure from information and data point of view,” she explained.

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Specifically, the research she will present at WISP explores the willingness of employees to share information security advice and how it may better awareness and compliance.

“I am so grateful for being part of the College of Business doctoral program,” said Farshadkhah. “I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to my professors for their unconditional support.”

WISP is a one-day intimate workshop where senior researchers provide valuable feedback on research papers. It is intended to be a forum for scholars, practitioners, and doctoral students interested in information security and privacy to exchange ideas and encourage collaboration among the members of the SIGSEC community. Various topics included in the workshop include socio-technical analysis of information security/privacy, cultural issues in information security and privacy, analysis of system vulnerabilities and risk exposure, cybersecurity and diplomacy, Bright internet safe platforms, freedom of expression, and privacy protection.

For more information about WISP, visit albany.edu/wisp. For more information on Louisiana Tech’s DBA program, visit business.latech.edu.
00 2018-12-19
Baton Rouge

In Louisiana, more than a third of ex-lawmakers continue to try to influence their old colleagues


Louisiana's nursing homes are among the nation’s worst.

The state ranked 50th in patient quality of care in a recent AARP report, which noted high rates of pressure sores and antipsychotic medications.

Elderly citizens widely prefer staying in their homes with help as long as possible, studies show. And advocates for changing the system say that making institutionalization a last resort would save the state money.

But when legislation was introduced this year to address that imbalance, three prominent former lawmakers helped torpedo it before it could progress.

Former House Speaker Jim Tucker urged the House Appropriations Committee to kill the proposal. Joe McPherson, the former chairman of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, told his onetime colleagues the reform was impractical. And Sherri Buffington, the committee’s former vice chairwoman, watched from the audience.

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Jim Tucker 2
Jim Tucker, former speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives, is now CEO of the nonprofit nursing home conglomerate CommCare Corp. Tucker, shown above in 2011, pushed against legislation discouraging institutionalization of the elderly and disabled.

TRAVIS SPRADLING | TSPRADLING@THEADVOCATE.COM
Each of them is deeply connected to the nursing home industry, which has strongly opposed the changes.

Tucker is the CEO of CommCare Corp., a nonprofit that runs 13 Louisiana nursing homes. McPherson is the administrator and part-owner of a nursing home in Lafayette. And Buffington, who as a legislator sponsored laws that helped nursing homes reap more money, now lobbies for the health care sector, including a Shreveport hospital system that owns a nursing home.

The muscular display from former lawmakers is not unusual in Louisiana, a state known for a pro-business climate, and in particular a lax regulatory environment. Former lawmakers, whose legislative jobs brought in $30,000 to $40,000 a year in combined salaries and per diems, frequently leverage the part-time jobs into much higher-paying roles in the private sector or in the upper ranks of government. The bills they sponsored and positions they espoused at the Capitol give them a launching pad for lucrative future opportunities.

Some work around the state ethics law requiring them to wait two years before lobbying the Legislature. Instead, they push industry positions before other government branches or sign on as “consultants” rather than lobbyists. Others take on top jobs at state agencies or in the executive branch, working on behalf of interests they once championed from the floor.

“There’s a whole flock of them,” said state Sen. Conrad Appel, a Republican who sponsored the bill this year supporting more home- and community-based care. “Do they have any extra authority because they were a legislator? I’d say no. But they do have a leg up because they’re friends with people there, and they know how the system works, and they have contacts.”

The Family Plan: In Louisiana, lawmakers promote bills that help their relatives and clients
The Family Plan: In Louisiana, lawmakers promote bills that help their relatives and clients
State Sen. Norby Chabert wanted to offer a helping hand to his district’s truck stop casinos.

To gauge the continuing influence of former lawmakers, The Advocate and ProPublica tracked the 99 former members who left the Legislature between 2010 and last month’s elections. Thirty-five went on to jobs in the spheres of lobbying, consulting, governmental affairs, state government, state boards or as legislative advocates for businesses they run. The group includes members of all political affiliations.

“They’ve proven their loyalty to the industry already, and they still have influence,” said Bruce Blaney, a former state health official, about lawmakers who advocate for nursing homes. As the head of an association of more than 300 in-home support providers, Blaney has often tangled with the nursing home industry. He has yet to prevail.

***

Troy Hebert, a 14-year veteran of the House and the Senate, parlayed his lawmaking experience into a top government job under former Gov. Bobby Jindal. He’s hardly alone, as governors frequently fill out their cabinets with legislators. Among the former lawmakers Gov. John Bel Edwards has tapped to fill out his Cabinet: Robert Adley, who represented him on the Commerce and Industry Board; Legislative Affairs Director Noble Ellington; Office of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Karen Gaudet St. Germain; Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Jack Montoucet; former chief of staff Ben Nevers; and State Parks Assistant Secretary Gene Reynolds.

Understanding how legislators in many states can push bills they’d profit from
Understanding how legislators in many states can push bills they’d profit from
It's a fundamental part of representative government: Politicians are elected to advocate for their constituents, and not their own interests.

Other former legislators have landed high-profile jobs elsewhere in state government, including Grambling State University President Rick Gallot and chief deputy insurance commissioner Nick Lorusso.

But in Hebert’s case, the independent from Jeanerette built a legislative track record as a friend of bar owners and alcohol suppliers. Some critics complained when, in 2010, the senator took over the industry’s regulation as state alcohol and tobacco commissioner.

“His record on legislation — regarding alcohol — had definitely leaned toward a less regulatory perspective and a weakening of laws as they existed at the time,” said Janet Dewey, a former state executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving who testified against a 2005 bill of Hebert’s.

The bill would have allowed convenience and grocery stores to sell frozen alcoholic concoctions such as daiquiris. When Hebert presented the bill, he sat beside liquor lobbyist Christopher Young, a close friend who was a formidable voice on alcohol-related issues. Young pleaded guilty last year to a misdemeanor charge of transmitting obscene images. He declined to comment for this story.

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Troy Hebert and Chris Young
Louisiana’s former Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner Troy Hebert, right, had a track record as a lawmaker who carried bills favorable to bar owners and liquor suppliers. At the ATC commission, Hebert’s friendship with liquor lobbyist Chris Young, middle, drew scrutiny from federal law enforcement. In this 2005 photograph, Young discussed a bill with Hebert and attorney Jan Jordan that would have let convenience and grocery stores sell frozen alcoholic drinks.

Arthur D. Lauck
Hebert also unsuccessfully sponsored a 2008 bill that would have allowed military members under 21 to drink legally. That was a pared-down version of a 1997 bill he sponsored that would have called a statewide vote on whether to lower Louisiana’s drinking age to 18. That bill also failed.

When Hebert became commissioner of the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, a job that paid up to $107,800 in salary and benefits and included use of a government-owned Chevy Tahoe, some credited Young’s influence.

In a sworn 2017 deposition taken in a civil case, Brian Dejean, the ATC’s former lawyer, testified that Young “carried a lot of weight in regard to decisions that involved the industry” and said Young had helped install Hebert in the job. Screenshots included in the court file showed texts between Dejean and a former employee suggesting that Hebert and Young “ought to get a (prison) cell together” after Young’s obscene images charges. The exchange suggested that Young offered guidance to Hebert on which ATC employees should be fired.

Louisiana’s powerful lobbies for bar owners and alcohol distributors have long carried clout with the Governor’s Office and other high-ranking politicians largely because of their campaign contributions and statewide activism, according to Arthur Smith, who has represented multiple ATC employees in lawsuits against Hebert. Jindal also appointed Hebert as his legislative liaison in 2015.

But Hebert disputes that Young had anything to do with his appointment and says he doesn’t believe Jindal consulted anyone from the alcohol industry before naming him. Jindal’s former chief of staff Timmy Teepell said separately that Young played no role, and that Hebert was “the best guy for the job” among many applicants. Hebert left the job as Jindal was exiting office, and he said he now works as a contractor.

This Louisiana politician sank ride-sharing bill; his close pal sells insurance to cabs
Special report: This La. politician sank a ride-sharing bill; his close pal sells insurance to cabs
Gordy Dove has begged Uber and Lyft to make their ride-sharing services available in Terrebonne Parish, where he serves as parish president.

In the ATC job, Hebert’s signature accomplishment was slashing the budget by more than a third and cutting the staff by 40 percent. The cuts were especially deep in the law enforcement staff. When Hebert took the role in 2010, ATC had 76 employees. By the time he left, the staff count was down to 46.

Hebert’s friendship with Young led to recurring questions about his performance as commissioner. It also drew close scrutiny from federal law enforcement.

The FBI suspected Hebert of misusing his position to do favors for Young’s clients, according to an FBI memo included in court filings. When agents discovered Young had emailed an obscene image of a child, which Young claimed was a joke, they urged him to help his own cause by offering information on Hebert. Young declined to comment.

Hebert was never charged, and in an interview, he said he was never approached by the FBI.

Smith said he found an intervention by Hebert in 2012 on behalf of one of Young’s clients unusual. That came after an intoxicated man left the Bulldog bar in Baton Rouge and crashed into two cyclists, killing one and severely injuring the other. Hebert interceded into an ATC agent’s investigation of the Bulldog and cleared the bar of any violations.

Hebert said he pitched in because the investigator was inexperienced and slow. He said his involvement was unrelated to Young.

Former, current ATC agents settle racial discrimination suit against ex-Commissioner Troy Hebert
Former, current ATC agents settle racial discrimination suit against ex-Commissioner Hebert
Two former Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control agents and a current agent have settled their federal racial discrimination lawsuit…

“There’s significant testimony that enforcement of alcohol and tobacco laws decreased substantially under Hebert’s reign,” Smith said. “He always bragged about reducing the number of employees, but the testimony was that the enforcement went down drastically. And it’s very much tied to his relationship to the alcohol industry.”

Hebert disputed the criticism and said enforcement skyrocketed amid the cuts by 500 percent. “That is the narrative of civil service workers, that if you cut staffing, you’re less effective,” he said.

***

The ranks of Baton Rouge lobbyists are thick with former lawmakers. Erich Ponti left the Legislature in mid-2015 to head the Louisiana Asphalt Pavement Association. Ann Duplessis is now the president for the Louisiana Federation for Children, which advocates for charter schools. Anthony Ligi represents the Jefferson Business Council. Another former House speaker, Chuck Kleckley, advocates on behalf of casinos and makers of body cameras. Mike Michot’s clients range from local governments to grocery stores.

Understanding how legislators in many states can push bills they’d profit from
Understanding how legislators in many states can push bills they’d profit from
It's a fundamental part of representative government: Politicians are elected to advocate for their constituents, and not their own interests.

Nick Gautreaux served six years as a Democrat in the state Senate before the governor named him commissioner of the Office of Motor Vehicles in 2010. He served less than two years, then registered as an executive branch lobbyist. That was permissible under state ethics laws, so long as he did not lobby the OMV.

Gautreaux now represents the Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association, after promoting its interests in the Legislature. In the Senate, he carried bills on behalf of the horse racing industry — one of which protected quarter horses specifically by legally enshrining the number of days they had to run on Louisiana racetracks.

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Nick Gautreaux
Former Louisiana state senator and former state alcohol commissioner Nick Gautreaux, shown above in 2008, sponsored bills that were supported by the horseracing industry when he was in the Legislature.

Mark Saltz
As a lawmaker, Gautreaux also supported the legislative agenda of the Louisiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, a nonprofit group that receives public money and uses racing proceeds to provide medical and pension funds for horse owners, trainers and others. There had long been concerns about how the nonprofit was spending its money.

The Legislative Auditor’s Office wanted to apply rigorous governmental auditing standards to the HBPA. But Gautreaux sponsored a bill in 2010 that crossed out language that said an HBPA account “shall at all times be subject to audit by the legislative auditor.”

In recent interviews, he noted that he supported a compromise measure after his bill did not go forward, as evidence that he did not oppose accountability for the HBPA and said the auditor could still scrutinize public funds. And Gautreaux also referenced a 2008 letter he said he sent to the legislative auditor that requested audits of two other HBPA accounts.

But even today, Gautreaux believes the HBPA should be exempt from rigorous public auditing standards, even after the HBPA’s past president, Sean Alfortish, pleaded guilty in 2011 to fraud charges.

Among other misdeeds, Alfortish had tried to rig elections to ensure his selection to a second term. After Alfortish went to prison, a report by the legislative auditor — which was ultimately granted oversight — said Alfortish and two other employees had also spent more than $800,000 in public funds on lavish trips, meals and parties. Auditors also found that HBPA employees raised money for Gautreaux's and Jindal’s re-election campaigns while on the clock, with whoever raised the most for Gautreaux getting a $500 bonus.

Out of prison, former head of La. horsemen's group sues for right to own thoroughbreds
His legal debt to society paid in full, Sean Alfortish wants back in the horse racing game.

Alfortish said in an interview that it was OK for HBPA employees to fundraise because he views the organization as a private one. He said the legislative auditor’s report was “wrong in many aspects,” but declined to comment further on his actions at the HBPA.

Auditors flagged the fundraising as a potential Internal Revenue Service violation that could have hurt the HBPA’s nonprofit status. And the HBPA, in a lengthy response to the audit at the time, promised reforms.

Gautreaux shrugged off the fundraising and said he didn’t know that had been going on. “If I’m a horse supporter and they raise money for me,” he said, “that’s their deal, not my deal.”

Gautreaux filed other bills favorable to the HBPA and Alfortish, including one that would have allowed the HBPA to open its own off-track betting operation.

“I emphatically know he was one of the floor leaders for the racing industry,” Bryan Krantz, whose family used to own the New Orleans Fair Grounds racetrack, said of Gautreaux. Gautreaux and Alfortish were close, he added.

But Gautreaux said he only recently became friends with Alfortish. He said he advocated for horse racing because he grew up with horses, as have many of his former constituents.

“He was a great advocate for horse racing in Louisiana during his time as a legislator,” Alfortish said.

Louisiana legislators earn big money from government agencies – but some kept secret
Louisiana legislators earn big money from government agencies – but some kept secret
When the Louisiana Legislature isn’t in session in Baton Rouge, state Sen. Danny Martiny spends his days in his small law office 80 miles away defending law enforcement agencies.

Gautreaux said he doesn’t need to apologize for his advocacy. Lobbying is hard work, he said, adding that lobbyists are now needed more than ever because term limits have drained institutional knowledge from the Legislature.

That’s a sentiment many lawmakers share. Many legislators told The Advocate they see nothing wrong with the revolving door connecting lawmaking to lobbying.

“The people of Louisiana need lobbyists, OK?” Gautreaux added. “If the general public were smart, they would elect a lobbyist as a legislator.”

***

Also passing through the Capitol’s revolving door are legislators who may not need to register as lobbyists, but who continue to influence legislation by advocating for businesses and industries in which they have an interest.

When Tucker, McPherson and Buffington returned to the Capitol this year, they were welcomed with mentions of their past service. The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee greeted Tucker as “Speaker,” while the chairman of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee thanked McPherson for his prior work in that committee.

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Joe McPherson 2
Joe McPherson, a former state senator, is the administrator and part-owner of Maison de Lafayette nursing home. Since leaving the Legislature in early 2012, he has returned multiple times to advocate for nursing homes.

TRAVIS SPRADLING | TSPRADLING@THEADVOCATE.COM
Tucker and McPherson testified against separate attempts to let insurance companies manage the state’s long-term care patients, determining whether they are better served in nursing homes or home- and community-based services. After the failures, AARP criticized lawmakers for ignoring “tens of thousands of older adults in their districts who want to live at home.”

The defeat of the “managed care” model preserved a status quo that has benefited nursing home operators, but not necessarily their clients. Multiple attempts to change the system have failed.

When Republican state Rep. Rick Edmonds tried to amend the state’s budget in the House Appropriations Committee to pave the way for managed care this year, Tucker argued against it and support dissipated.

“With his experience in the Legislature and his longtime experience in the industry, I do think that it carried weight,” Edmonds said.

In an interview, however, Tucker downplayed his influence.

“Former members are like day-old French bread,” Tucker said. “We go stale in a hurry.”

Bill that gives elderly 'a critical choice' to live at home or in a nursing home rejected by Senate committee
Bill that gives elderly 'a critical choice' to live at home or in a nursing home rejected by Senate committee
In the most recent battle to change the way Louisiana cares for its elderly, nursing home owners were pitted against advocacy groups like the …

Tucker, a Republican, said his relationship with the nonprofit nursing home conglomerate he heads, CommCare, predated his legislative service. He was an investment banker for the nonprofit in 1994, and he joined its board in 2008. Tucker left the Legislature at the beginning of 2012, and he was named CommCare CEO in 2015, a job that pays a salary of $597,230, according to the nonprofit’s tax filings.

Tucker said his service on CommCare’s board presented no conflicts while he served in the Legislature — even when he voted on nursing home legislation — because the bills under consideration would have affected the industry as a whole, not CommCare alone. That’s a frequent defense from lawmakers in similar scenarios. State ethics laws — written by legislators — allow lawmakers to write, advocate for and vote on bills that would enrich themselves, their family and their clients as long as others in the industry would benefit as well.

“This is a citizens’ Legislature,” Tucker said. “Anybody who has any outside experience votes on things that impacts their world. ... As long as you don’t cross a line where you don’t vote on something for your company in particular, I don’t see a conflict.”

But Elliott Stonecipher, a Shreveport-based pollster and government watchdog, disagreed. He said recusals should apply across the board. And Stonecipher said Tucker should have resigned from the Legislature if he wanted to be involved “in any way, shape or fashion with legislation even remotely affecting CommCare.”

Inside Louisiana' nursing home system that values profits over patients
Special report on nursing homes: Inside Louisiana system that values profits over patients
The past 10 months have ticked away at a torturously slow pace for Kenny Johnson, who prayed every day he’d get the call telling him it was time to leave the nursing home.

McPherson also has said his ownership of a nursing home did not bar him from chairing the Senate committee that regulates them — or from corralling legislators in the years since to vote down managed-care bills.

In 2017 testimony, McPherson boasted that Edwards had visited his nursing home and sought advice about managed care. Both are Democrats. The governor has been criticized for changing his position on managed care to be more supportive of the nursing home industry. Edwards’ spokesman, Richard Carbo, confirmed that the visit happened.

“While Gov. Edwards doesn't recall the specifics of his conversation with Mr. McPherson, he did solicit input from a broad group of stakeholders throughout the state,” Carbo said.

McPherson said by email that he would continue to “factually provide balance to thwart the powerful influence of AARP and their financial business partners the Insurance industry as they try to siphon hundreds of millions of dollars from needed and mandated services for the state’s frail and elderly.”

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Sherri Buffington (copy)
Sherri Buffington, former vice chairwoman of Louisiana’s Senate Health and Welfare Committee, sponsored bills favorable to nursing home interests. Now she lobbies for a health care system.

Buffington, a Republican, was a key ally of nursing home owners during her time in the Legislature. She carried bills that helped to ensure that nursing homes got the major share of the Medicaid dollars marked for the elderly and physically disabled. In Louisiana, 79 percent of that money goes to nursing homes, compared with 21 percent allocated for community-based services, while in other states, the ratio is closer to 60-40.

In 2006, Buffington also sponsored a key bill that locked in a generous nursing home payment structure. The bill came a year after the legislative auditor released a blistering report suggesting major changes.

She also won passage of a bill that drove up state costs and protected nursing home profits by requiring the state to “rebase” reimbursement rates for nursing homes at least biannually. Rates ballooned by 54 percent between 2006 and 2016, jumping up to $173 a day, according to a 2017 legislative audit.

Buffington is registered as a lobbyist, and the Shreveport Willis-Knighton health care system she lobbies for also owns a nursing home in north Louisiana.

Appel said he was not surprised to see Buffington in the committee room when his bill came up.

“She’s always been very close to nursing homes,” he said.

Buffington did not return calls seeking comment.

“It is fairly common for us to see former legislators back at the Capitol to work on issues either personal to them, or to another industry,” AARP lobbyist Andrew Muhl said. “Whether they work for nursing homes, personally own a nursing home or have a business interest, they work hard to protect policies that are important to them and work twice as hard to defeat the others.”

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom based in New York. Sign up for ProPublica's Big Story newsletter to receive articles and investigations like this one as soon as they’re published.

https://go.propublica.org/20181205
00 2018-12-19
Monroe

A ULM senior is the first woman to get her Remote Pilot license in the school's aviation program


MONROE, La. (KNOE) - There aren’t many women in aviation, and according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), only five percent of licensed remote pilots are women. Now, one ULM student is one of them.


Stephanie Robinson is a senior at ULM in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Management program. It's the new program replacing the aviation major. She just got her remote pilot license last month and is the first woman in the UAS Management program to get her license.

“I just have my temporary one in, I haven't gotten my real one in yet so I’m just waiting on that in the next few weeks,” says Robinson. A remote pilot's license lets you fly unmanned devices like drones.

She says it wasn’t always her intention to major in aviation. "I came in as a Biology major and didn't know what I wanted, so I took an aviation class my second semester and ended up loving it,” says Robinson.

Her professor, Paul Karlowitz, says Robinson is soaring through the major. "She's probably our best student with the drones. She's devoted herself to it,” says Karlowitz.

Robinson says she’s one of three women in the UAS Management program. “[Some guys] can be like ‘Oh you know they're girls they can't do as much,’ but we can,” says Robinson.

She says many women think aviation is a male-dominated field, so they don't try it. The FAA says women make up only 7% of manned aircraft pilots, and 5% of unmanned pilots. However, Robinson and Karlowitz, say that should change. Karlowitz is a retired Air Force pilot and says he “got to fly with some of the first women Air Force pilots. They actually fly better than the men do at times."

"Females are up and coming especially in aviation,” says Robinson. “I know they had projected by 2020, there's going to be a whole lot more female pilots than there's ever been.”

Robinson says now is the perfect time for women. "With such a pilots shortage, there are more women going into the industry because they're realizing ‘Oh they do need more men and this is a growing industry so why not, we can do it just like they can’,” says Robinson.

Robinson says this is just the start of her sky-high journey. "Eventually I want to become a pilot for UPS, so that's really what I want to do with my life, but it's a work in progress."
00 2018-12-19
Monroe

Would you OK a property tax to support ULM?


The University of Louisiana Monroe leaders and supporters have made a plan of action that would expand the university's programs and facilities. To reach the goals set in the plan, ULM would need an additional source of funding supported by Ouachita Parish voters.

On Monday, Ouachita Parish Police Jury President Scotty Robinson announced notice of intent to call an election. If the police jury approves the proposal, voters see it on the May 4 ballot.

The group who developed the plan for ULM asked the police jury for a property tax of not more than 5 mills to be levied for a period of not more than 30 years. The funds would be used as part of a cooperative endeavor agreement with ULM Facilities Inc. to promote economic development in Ouachita Parish. Uses will include programs and facilities for the university.

Five mills on a home assessed at $150,000 would be $37.50, or $62.50 for a home appraised at $200,000 or $137.30 for a home appraised at $350,000.


ULM Vision 2031 is a plan of action that will carry the university to its centennial. Police jurors will hear a presentation and discuss the issue at the Jan. 22 regular meeting.

According to a news release from ULM, the university's existing programs and services contribute $566.8 million to the economy.

The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine is building at ULM and plans to start classes by 2020. By 2024, new doctors will enter the local workforce, and the university expects to see growth in all fields.

Goals of ULM Vision 2031 are:

Establish ULM as a premiere destination for medical and health sciences.
Provide GAP scholarships for qualified but low-income Ouachita Parish students.
Attract matching funds for future projects.
Expand doctoral programs.
Modernize and expand Brown Theater, making it North Louisiana's cultural center.
Update and expand Fant-Ewing Coliseum to make it an academic, entertainment and sports center.
Enhance athletic facilities to attract more visitors.


00 2018-12-19
Regional/National

America's dying industries: These businesses lost the most workers in past decade


In 2017, 153.3 million Americans were employed in either full- or part-time jobs, up 5.4% from 2008. Job growth was not uniform across all industries, however. In many industries, the number of people employed shrank considerably, with some industries shedding more than half of their workforce.

Nearly all of the industries that lost a large share of their employees struggled to compete with advancements in technology. America’s increasing reliance on the internet and connected devices spelled disaster for printed media.

Technological advancement has also given way to increased automation in factories, reducing the need for workers. Many industries in the manufacturing sector were also affected by outsourcing. Operations affiliated with U.S. companies employ millions of workers overseas, and many of them are in industries that rank on this list.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed annual employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2008 to 2017 to identify the fastest dying industries. Industries on this list had employment declines of at least 37% in the last decade. Eight industries lost over half of their workers during that time.


Due to automation, outsourcing, and the changing technological landscape, many of the industries that lost the most jobs over the past decade are expected to continue to struggle. Martin Kohli, chief regional economist for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, said that in the next decade publishing jobs will likely continue to decline. “Our 10 year projections did show continued shrinkage in print publishing” Kohli said.

Still, the publishing industry will not likely completely disappear. The continued existence of other industries on this list, like apparel and textile manufacturing, are less certain, according to Kohli.

To identify America’s 25 dying industries, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed employment change from 2008 through 2017 for U.S. industries in the fourth level of detail in the North American Industry Classification System by the Office of Management and Budget. All data, including the number of establishments within each industry and average weekly and annual wages, was retrieved from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.

Book and periodical merchant wholesalers
Book and periodical merchant wholesalers (Photo: Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images)

24. Book and periodical merchant wholesalers
• Employment change 2008-17: -37.6%
• Employment total: 36,184
• Wage growth 2008-17: +7.9%
• Avg. annual wage: $44,372

Book and periodical merchant wholesalers is one of many industries that has been hit hard by the rise in the digital media industry. As people increasingly read their book, magazine, and newspaper content online, book and periodical wholesales are seeing reduced demand from retailers. With the industry in decline, employment has dropped 37.6% over the past decade.

23. Office supplies, except paper, manufacturing
• Employment change 2008-17: -37.6%
• Employment total: 11,198
• Wage growth 2008-17: +14.5%
• Avg. annual wage: $49,893

Once essential supplies like pens, pencils, staplers, and stamps are being phased out in offices worldwide. Instead of writing notes, people send emails. Instead of hard files, people file on a company server or cloud. As the industry has struggled, pay growth for those working to manufacture office supplies has been sluggish. Since 2008, pay in the industry has increased by just 14.5%. That slightly outpaced the U.S. cost of living increase, but fell well behind the pay growth in the vast majority of other industries.

22. Drywall and insulation contractors
• Employment change 2008-17: -38.0%
• Employment total: 241,401
• Wage growth 2008-17: -14.8%
• Avg. annual wage: $26,807

The number of new homes being built fell below one million for the first time since at least the 1950s in 2008, and remained there until 2014. This year, a decade after the housing market crash, employment for drywall and insulation contractors is about 38% below pre-crash levels. However, now that the housing market is more settled, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment in this industry will be relatively stable for the next several years.

21. Political organizations
• Employment change 2008-17: -38.4%
• Employment total: 7,728
• Wage growth 2008-17: -10.0%
• Avg. annual wage: $34,308

Though it seems the recent elections attracted everybody's attention, the political organization industry shed 38.4% of its workers from 2008 to 2017. These include people working in political action committees, political parties, campaigns, and interest groups at the local, state, and national level. The industry was also one of the very few that saw its wages decline during that time frame as well. Political organization wages fell 10% over the past decade.

Telephone apparatus manufacturing
Telephone apparatus manufacturing (Photo: BrianAJackson / Getty Images)

20. Telephone apparatus manufacturing
• Employment change 2008-17: -40.1%
• Employment total: 19,475
• Wage growth 2008-17: +32.5%
• Avg. annual wage: $130,878

Since 2008, employment in the telephone apparatus manufacturing industry shrank by more than 40% to fewer than 20,000 workers. This industry largely produces products like wire telephones, cordless phones, and answering machines – all products that have been made virtually obsolete by the cell phone. In America, 95% of people have a cell phone of some kind. The share of people who have a smartphone has more than doubled since 2011, up to 77%. Traditional mounted phones lack the convenience and features of mobile phones and are being quickly phased out of the consumer market.

19. Textile and fabric finishing mills
• Employment change 2008-17: -41.3%
• Employment total: 23,253
• Wage growth 2008-17: +25.8%
• Avg. annual wage: $45,527

The textile and fabric finishing mills industry has been emblematic of the problems plaguing the U.S. manufacturing industry as a whole. Domestic textile manufacturers have been replaced by many U.S. apparel companies with manufacturers from developing countries from across the world to reduce costs. Employment in the industry is also falling due to increased automation in factories. In the past decade, the industry shed 41.3% of its workforce. Going forward, the industry may stand to benefit from tariffs on textiles imposed on China by the Trump administration.

18. Cut and sew apparel contractors
• Employment change 2008-17: -41.5%
• Employment total: 35,926
• Wage growth 2008-17: +23.4%
• Avg. annual wage: $33,104

Apparel contractors who cut and sew fabrics owned by others for making clothing face many of the same issues that those in the textile industry face, particularly increasing competition from overseas. The cut and sew apparel contractors industry is one of just 21 U.S. industries that shed more than 40% of its workers over the last decade. From 2008 through 2017, there was a 41.5% decline in employment in the industry.

17. Tobacco manufacturing
• Employment change 2008-17: -41.8%
• Employment total: 12,184
• Wage growth 2008-17: +15.4%
• Avg. annual wage: $43,977

Tobacco manufacturing jobs have decreased significantly over the past decade, as tobacco use continues to decline. Over the last few decades, the health associated with smoking have become more well known, and the share of Americans who smoke has declined considerably, from 45% of U.S. adults in the 1950s to 16% today, an all-time low. Smokeless tobacco usage has increased in recent years, but not enough to offset the lower demand resulting from smokers quitting and younger Americans not taking up smoking.

Like other manufacturing jobs, falling employment in tobacco manufacturing is also attributable in part to automation's ever increasing role in production.

16. Other telecommunications
• Employment change 2008-17: -42.4%
• Employment total: 80,395
• Wage growth 2008-17: +156.2%
• Avg. annual wage: $63,094

The telecommunications sector comprises companies involved in communication technology – primarily wireless operators, cable companies, and internet service providers. While employment in the wired and wireless telecommunications industry rose slightly over the past 10 years, employment in other, more specialized telecommunications activities – such as satellite tracking, communications telemetry, and radar station operation – declined 42.4% over the from 2008 to 2017, one of the largest declines of any industry.

Stationery product manufacturing
Stationery product manufacturing (Photo: Eerik / Getty Images)

15. Stationery product manufacturing
• Employment change 2008-17: -42.6%
• Employment total: 17,336
• Wage growth 2008-17: +17.2%
• Avg. annual wage: $50,759

Stationery product manufacturing is one of many industries hurting due in part to the growing ubiquity of digital communication. While employment in the internet publishing industry nearly tripled over the past 10 years, the number of workers in stationery product manufacturing fell by 42.6%, one of the largest declines of any industry.

While, according to the Association for Print Technologies, employment in the industry is down overall, demand for speciality paper products, such as handcrafted journals, heavy cardstock, and Moleskine notebooks, is on the rise and may help to slow falling employment in the industry.

14. Other depository credit intermediation
• Employment change 2008-17: -42.6%
• Employment total: 10,889
• Wage growth 2008-17: +32.0%
• Avg. annual wage: $77,263

The pace of depository credit intermediation, or bank lending, declined substantially during the 2008 financial crisis and remains far below its pre-recession levels. In October, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and PNC Financial Services reported year-over-year loan growth of just 2%, far less than in previous years. Employment in commercial banking fell by 2.2% from 2008 to 2017, and the number of workers in other depository credit intermediation activities – which includes industrial banks and private banks – fell by 42.6%.

While depressed lending activity can be an indication of low consumer confidence and slowing economic growth, some analysts say it is too early for alarm. Reduced lending activity can be a sign of a healthy economy, as companies with stronger revenues have less need to borrow.

13. Book stores and news dealers
• Employment change 2008-17: -43.3%
• Employment total: 81,003
• Wage growth 2008-17: +22.5%
• Avg. annual wage: $38,779

With the growing use of digital media, from newspapers to magazines to books, as well as growing competition from online retailers, the book retailing industry has taken a battering. Amazon has about 50% of the U.S. market book market share, while the largest brick-and-mortar book retailer, Barnes & Noble, has about 20%. One in eight Barnes & Noble locations have shuttered in the past seven years. Overall, employment in the book stores and news dealers industry has declined by 43.3% from 2008 to 2017

12. Support activities for printing
• Employment change 2008-17: -44.2%
• Employment total: 23,920
• Wage growth 2008-17: +126.6%
• Avg. annual wage: $52,346

Support activities for printing is yet another industry struggling due in part to increased digitization – employment decline in the industry over the past decade was one of the largest. Fewer than 24,000 Americans remain working in the support activities for printing industry, down from nearly 43,000 in 2008. The industry includes book binding, embossing, and engraving. But books, magazines, and stationary are quickly being replaced with online versions of the products.

11. Other publishers
• Employment change 2008-17: -48.2%
• Employment total: 13,950
• Wage growth 2008-17: +24.1%
• Avg. annual wage: $32,154

Those in the other publishers industry work on publishing products other than newspapers, magazines, books, directories, mailing lists, or music. This may include items such as art prints, calendars, or greeting cards. This industry, like many other printing industries, struggles to compete with digital media. Traditional art print publishers now also compete with independent artists, who can print and sell their own work on a variety of online platforms like Etsy. Over the last decade, employment in the industry fell by 48.2%.

Business and secretarial schools
Business and secretarial schools (Photo: PeopleImages / Getty Images)

10. Business and secretarial schools
• Employment change 2008-17: -48.3%
• Employment total: 7,063
• Wage growth 2008-17: +269.2%
• Avg. annual wage: $39,951

Business and secretarial schools offer courses in office procedures like secretarial skills, stenographic skills, and word processing. These duties are being replaced by automated procedures or executives are handling these tasks themselves as they become easier with advancements in technology. The BLS projects that secretary jobs will decline by 192,200 by 2026.

These bleak projections may be driving potential secretaries away from secretarial school and into different professions. The number of people working in business and secretarial schools has declined by 48.3% over the past decade.

9. Land subdivision
• Employment change 2008-17: -49.3%
• Employment total: 40,207
• Wage growth 2008-17: +35.5%
• Avg. annual wage: $71,744

The U.S. housing market is beginning to return to normal following the Great Recession and housing market crash. Housing starts in 2017 were similar to 2007 levels, before the crash. The land subdivision industry, which divides land into parcels for housing and other purposes, suffered as a result of the market's struggles. As of 2017, industry employment is just about half of what it was a decade before.

8. Newspaper publishers
• Employment change 2008-17: -50.3%
• Employment total: 160,739
• Wage growth 2008-17: -17.8%
• Avg. annual wage: $32,765

Newspaper publishing is one of only eight U.S. industries that employs less than half as many workers as it did in 2008. There are now just 160,739 newspaper publishers workers in the United States, compared to more than 320,000 a decade earlier. While people still read newspapers, many who do subscribe to the digital version, reducing the need for those who print physical copies. Industry workers today are making less money than industry workers in 2008. Since that time, the industry's average annual wages dropped 17.8%, one of the larger declines of any industry.

7. Hosiery and sock mills
• Employment change 2008-17: -51.2%
• Employment total: 7,544
• Wage growth 2008-17: -11.6%
• Avg. annual wage: $31,243

Hosiery and sock mills are facing challenges on two fronts. Many of these products, which were once made by hand, are now being mass-manufactured by machines. These mills now need far fewer people to operate. Other hosiery and sock mills are being undercut by foreign competitors. Total industry employment declined by 51.2% since 2008. In that same time, average annual wages have also declined by 11.6% for those who still work in hosiery and sock mills.

6. Directory and mailing list publishers
• Employment change 2008-17: -56.0%
• Employment total: 19,709
• Wage growth 2008-17: +19.0%
• Avg. annual wage: $76,446

The convenience of the internet is driving the directory and mailing list publisher industry out of business. Over the past decade, the industry's employment has dropped by 56%. Most small businesses have a website, and that number is continuing to increase. Some people still use resources like the Yellow Pages to look for businesses in their area, but fewer do every day and those who do tend to be in the 55 and older demographic. As a result, the industry struggles and will likely continue to struggle.

Photofinishing
Photofinishing (Photo: andipantz / Getty Images)

5. Photofinishing
• Employment change 2008-17: -57.9%
• Employment total: 9,006
• Wage growth 2008-17: +58.7%
• Avg. annual wage: $55,048

More and more Americans choose to share their photos online rather than print a physical copy. Photofinishing industry workers continue to feel the sting from this development in technology, as there are 57.9% fewer people working in the industry now than there were in 2008. With the advent of digital cameras and smartphones, people can instantly snap, edit, and share their photos digitally, eliminating the need for a middleman in most cases.

4. Magnetic media manufacturing and reproducing
• Employment change 2008-17: -58.7%
• Employment total: 14,449
• Wage growth 2008-17: +54.0%
• Avg. annual wage: $114,011

Since 2008, most jobs in magnetic media manufacturing have disappeared. These positions, which involve making audio and video tapes as well as floppy disks, have largely become irrelevant as Americans become less reliant on physical media in favor of streaming and cloud storage services. Streaming media services like Netflix and digital downloads of films on services like iTunes are phasing out older technology. From 2008 to 2017, employment in this industry dropped from more than 30,000 workers to 14,449.

3. Port and harbor operations
• Employment change 2008-17: -59.9%
• Employment total: 10,635
• Wage growth 2008-17: +8.7%
• Avg. annual wage: $49,979

Jobs at ports and harbors such as cargo handling and ship navigation are being phased out by automation. Machines and computers are able to accomplish these tasks with more speed and precision and at a reduced cost. Nearly 60% of port and harbor operations jobs have been eliminated in the past decade.

Even as jobs in ports and harbors decline, the industry still is incredibly important to the U.S. economy. The economic impact of U.S. port was $4.6 trillion in 2014, or more than a quarter of U.S. economic output.

2. Women's, girls', infants' cut-sew apparel mfg
• Employment change 2008-17: -61.5%
• Employment total: 22,248
• Wage growth 2008-17: +41.6%
• Avg. annual wage: $58,204

Many clothing and manufacturing jobs have been hit hard over the past decade by both outsourcing and automation. The women's, girls', infants' cut-sew apparel manufacturing industry has been no exception. The industry makes apparel for women, girls, and infants from purchased fabric. The number of Americans working in this industry declined by more than 61% in the past decade.

Other apparel knitting mills
Other apparel knitting mills (Photo: FotografiaBasica / Getty Images)

1. Other apparel knitting mills
• Employment change 2008-17: -64.0%
• Employment total: 3,740
• Wage growth 2008-17: +15.1%
• Avg. annual wage: $37,852

There were 229 mills classified as other apparel knitting mills in 2008. These are places that knit outerwear, underwear, and nightwear. A decade later, the number of these types of mills fell to 139. During that period, employment in the industry fell by 64%, the steepest decline of any industry. Across many apparel manufacturing industries, outsourcing and automation are reducing the overall employment.
00 2018-12-19
Regional/National

Most Trustees Believe That Public Approves of Higher Ed


Polling in recent years has revealed deep public skepticism about the purpose and value of higher education.
Just this year, the Pew Research Center found that more than 60 percent of those asked thought that higher education was headed in the wrong direction. For the past two years, polling by New America has found that only a quarter of those who responded said that higher education was fine the way it was.

But that’s not how many of the people on the governing boards of those institutions see it.

Seventy-seven percent of college trustees said that the public has a somewhat or mostly positive view of higher education, according to a new survey from the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, together with Gallup.

Richard D. Legon, president of the association, said the difference between the public’s view and how trustees see it may have to do with their support for their own institutions. At the same time, he said, trustees generally realize that they have “some serious work to do to regain the public trust.”

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To the extent that the public has a negative view of higher education, the survey found, trustees blamed negative media coverage and misperceptions. The top three issues “influencing the general public’s negative view of higher education” are media coverage of student debt, the price of tuition, and the perception that colleges are too liberal, according to the report, which included the responses of nearly 1,300 association members.

This year’s survey, the second such measure of trustee perceptions, shows that governing-board members are more aware of the public’s views than they were last year, said David W. Miles, chair of the association’s Board of Directors and a trustee of Drake University. Last year’s survey found that 84 percent of trustees believed the public viewed higher education positively.

The sense of negative media coverage only reflects the fact that most news stories focus on things that have gone wrong, he said.

“In the conversations that I have been a part of, there is not a sense that higher education is being maligned or mistreated by the media,” Miles said. What the association seeks to do is to get trustees to remind the public of the positive effects of higher education, but not to gloss over the problems.

2026: The Decade Ahead

Trustees’ own views of the challenges facing their institutions reflect, to some degree, the concerns of the public as well as the worries that administrators often express. Those include cuts in state or federal support, net tuition, the financial stability of the institutions, and declining enrollment.

The trustees who responded to the survey had greater concerns about higher education generally than they did about their own institutions. Fewer than half were somewhat or very concerned about the future of their own colleges over the next 10 years. Nearly 75 percent were concerned about higher education overall, the survey found.

“If you look at the issues, in this report board members have a healthy awareness of the challenges facing higher education,” Legon said.

The trustees who responded come from all sectors of higher education, although more than two-thirds of them are at private nonprofit colleges. Just 19 percent represent public colleges, and 15 percent are from private, for-profit institutions. Sixty percent of those who responded are white, and nearly 90 percent are male.

Eric Kelderman writes about money and accountability in higher education, including such areas as state policy, accreditation, and legal affairs. You can find him on Twitter @etkeld, or email him at eric.kelderman@chronicle.com.
00 2018-12-19
Ruston

LA Tech student one of three selected as SIGSEC Award recipients


RUSTON — The Special Interest Group on Information Security and Privacy (SIGSEC) of the Association of Information Systems (AIS) recently selected Sahar Farshadkhah, a Doctor of Business Administration student at Louisiana Tech University, as one of three recipients of the SIGSEC 2018 Doctoral Student Award.

Farshadkhah, a third year business doctoral candidate concentrating in computer information systems, was chosen to present her research at the Pre-ICIS Annual Workshop on Information Security and Privacy (WISP) on Dec. 13 in San Francisco, Calif.

“In general, AIS SIGSEC provides networking opportunities for people who conduct research, develop, and/or teach about information security, assurance, digital forensics, privacy and information system risk management and auditing,” Farshadkhah said. “It is a great opportunity for me to present my research in front of most of the distinguished scholars in the cybersecurity area.”

Farshadkhah’s research focuses on behavioral information security, particularly the role of behavior and informal methods in information security assurance. “Besides an organization’s information security concerns, understanding an employee’s philosophy to comply or not comply with information security rules may help provide a more efficient solution to make an organization secure from information and data point of view,” she explained.

Specifically, the research she will present at WISP explores the willingness of employees to share information security advice and how it may better awareness and compliance.

“I am so grateful for being part of the College of Business doctoral program,” said Farshadkhah. “I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to my professors for their unconditional support.”

WISP is a one-day intimate workshop where senior researchers provide valuable feedback on research papers. It is intended to be a forum for scholars, practitioners, and doctoral students interested in information security and privacy to exchange ideas and encourage collaboration among the members of the SIGSEC community. Various topics included in the workshop include socio-technical analysis of information security/privacy, cultural issues in information security and privacy, analysis of system vulnerabilities and risk exposure, cybersecurity and diplomacy, Bright internet safe platforms, freedom of expression, and privacy protection.
00 2018-12-18
Lafayette

SLCC and Nicholls ink partnership


South Louisiana Community College and Nicholls State University formally announced a partnership with the signing of four articulation agreements.

“This is an historic day in education and it’s all for students. We’ve signed transfer articulation agreements with other institutions, but never this many simultaneously,” said SLCC Chancellor Natalie Harder. “We’re thankful to work so closely with Nicholls’ leadership and faculty on each of these. We also are excited to continue to fulfill our commitment to the residents of Morgan City and St. Mary Parish by offering these additional educational opportunities.”

Today’s signing agreements included the following academic programs:

Nursing – SLCC students who successfully complete the Associate of Science degree (ASN) will have the opportunity to transfer into the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program at Nicholls State University.

Criminal Justice – SLCC students who successfully complete the Associate of Science degree in Criminal Justice will have the opportunity to transfer into the Bachelor of Science degree program in Criminal Justice at Nicholls.

Business Administration – SLCC students who successfully complete the Associate of Science degree in Business Administration will have the opportunity to transfer into the Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration at Nicholls.

Biology – SLCC students who successfully complete the Associate of Science – Louisiana Transfer degree program with a concentration in Biology will have the opportunity to transfer into the Bachelor of Science degree program in Biology at Nicholls.

“It’s a wonderful day for our students when two institutions like ours can come together,” said Nicholls State University President Jay Clune. “I am truly excited about this partnership. We admire the work that is being done at South Louisiana Community College, and we are grateful for the opportunity to help their students pursue their dreams.”

These articulation agreements – sometimes referred to as 2 (years) + 2 (years) – guarantee transfer to a partner university after earning an Associate’s degree.

“As a staunch advocate for higher education, this is just another great example of cooperation between our four-year and two-year schools. By creating additional avenues for students to attain their higher education goals, we are making these institutions stronger to meet the needs of an ever-changing workforce in today’s modern world,” said Sen. Bret Allain from District 21. “These 2+2s will enable places like Nicholls and SLCC to remain the fertile training ground for our area’s employers.”

In addition to Nicholls State University, SLCC also has articulation agreements with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Northwestern State University. Current pathways include Biology, Business, Criminal Justice, Environmental Science, Informatics, and Nursing.
00 2018-12-18
Monroe

LA Tech students coming up with a plan to bring affordable housing to Bawcomville


BAWCOMVILLE, La. - (12/17/18) Louisiana Tech students are creating a plan to bring affordable housing to Bawcomville.

Today, students and faculty from LA Tech's School of Design met with the Community Threads of Northeast Louisiana.

The group surveyed the land on Washington Street and learned about the challenges facing residents.

The new space will also be home to the Twin City Arts Academy; an effort to bring positive change to the area.

Professor Kevin Singh said, "The biggest thing is not only to think about new and innovative ways to do housing, but also how can we create a model community that can serve other areas as well."

TCAA Director Dan Sumner said, "There's so much talent in every neighborhood and kids just need the opportunity to be able to develop that and have leadership."

The students have creative freedom to come up with a community that will inspire residents.
00 2018-12-18
Natchitoches

NSU Biology students present at Canadian conference


Northwestern State student Bayleigh Smith of Lake Charles won first place at the 2018 Entomological Society of America, Entomological Society of Canada, and Entomological Society of British Columbia Joint Meeting held recently in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Smith, a biology major, competed in the Medical, Urban, and Veterinary Entomology (MUVE) section of the undergraduate poster competition. Her project was studying the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum, and the cellular responses that helps the tick recognize and initiate a response to invading pathogens.

Biology student Samantha Smith of Alexandria presented her research in the potential use of brown widow, Latrodectus geometricus, toxins as biopesticides.

NSU faculty member Dr. Lindsay Porter gave an oral presentation on the immune response of Amblyomma americanum to microbes.

The conference had a record attendance of 3,800 people from 68 countries with 2,430 oral and 569 poster presentations.
00 2018-12-18
Natchitoches

Hildebrand scholarship will benefit future teachers


NATCHITOCHES – As an educator whose career spanned several decades and included work on the state and local level, Julia Hildebrand felt a desire to support aspiring teachers who have a passion for children. She and her husband recently established the Julia Hildebrand Education Endowed Scholarship for education majors through a donation to the Northwestern State University Foundation that will support students who are passionate about teaching. Recipients must maintain a minimum 2.5 grade point average.



“I’m just grateful to NSU for the opportunity I had to study and become a teacher,” she said. “Teachers have a responsibility to not only provide instruction in the curriculum they also have to create a loving and happy learning environment.”



Dr. Kimberly McAlister, dean of NSU’s Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development said the Hildebrand’s generosity will help students with a desire to work with Louisiana’s children.



“Julia Hildebrand has faithfully served the children of Louisiana in a variety of capacities including teacher, supervisor, director of curriculum and instruction, school board member and state grant evaluator. This scholarship will continue her impact on the education of children,“ McAlister said. “Certified teachers are critically needed in Louisiana as the number of teachers entering the workforce does not meet the demand of school districts. “



Hildebrand was a kindergarten and elementary classroom teacher and supervisor of elementary instruction and director of curriculum and instruction in Natchitoches Parish before her retirement in 1994. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Northwestern State in 1962, a master’s in elementary education in 1967 and completed an Ed.S. in elementary education in 1972. During her career, she served as an evaluator of student teachers, a trainer for the Louisiana Teacher Assessment program and was a BESE program evaluator. She has held offices in several professional organizations and is past president of the Natchitoches Parish School Board where she served as chairman of the education and personnel committees. In 2014, she was inducted into NSU’s Hall of Distinguished Educators.



Hildebrand served on several state- and parish-wide education committees, upgrading standards for math and reading, developing the first pupil progression plan and a junior great books program for gifted students in Natchitoches Parish. She was also involved with the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) bringing French teachers to Natchitoches Parish and later started parent-teacher conferences for all schools in the parish.



Hildebrand has also been active in the community. She and her husband were co-chairs of the Natchitoches Christmas Festival and she was an officer in the Business and Professional Women’s Club and a member of Chapter I, Philanthropic Education Organization, serving as president of the Louisiana chapter. She has been an active member of First Baptist Church since 1957 as a teacher, serving on the several committees and a member of the Couples Too Sunday School class. She has held offices with the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches, representing APHN on the Historic District Development Commission, and acting in key roles to organize the Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival and fall tour of homes. She has also been involved with the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society, the Mayor’s Ready Committee and initiated the Terrific Kids program for the Kiwanis Club in 1985, which continues today.



Hildebrand said that during her years as a supervisor, NSU’s College of Education was helpful to her, particularly Dr. Mildred “Dede” Hart Bailey, a respected dean and administrator.



Hildebrand credited her husband Tynes with the idea of establishing an education scholarship in her name. Tynes Hildebrand, who was head basketball coach at NSU for 16 seasons and athletic director from 1983-96, has an athletic scholarship in his name at NSU.



Hildebrand said the ideal scholarship recipient would be a person who felt a calling for teaching and would provide love and support as well as knowledge to a child. She said the scholarship could be beneficial not only to a traditional student, but also someone seeking alternative certification to teach or a graduate student.



The Hildebrands are parents to two sons, Tynes Jr. and Bruce, who graduated from NSU’s School of Business and are CPAs. They have five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.



“We wanted to give back to NSU because it’s been so good to us. It’s payback with gratitude,” she said.



“We are so appreciative to Julia and Tynes Hildebrand in establishing the Julia Hildebrand Education scholarship for someone pursuing undergraduate or alternative certification,” McAlister said. “Their generosity will help students who desire to work with Louisiana children.”



Information on degree programs available in NSU’s School of Education are available at education.nsula.edu.
00 2018-12-18
Regional/National

Indian American Finance Professor Tarun Mukherjee Establishes Scholarship at University of New Orleans


The University of New Orleans Nov. 26 announced that finance professor Tarun Mukherjee, who has spent nearly four decades as a faculty member at the university, has established a scholarship in honor of his parents.

The Kali Charan Mukherjee Endowed Scholarship in Finance is a renewable $1,000 a year scholarship for students majoring in finance, the university said.

Mukherjee was one of 10 children born into a middle class family in India. He said his parents, who are deceased, sacrificed a great deal to see that he and his siblings received the best education that the family could afford.

“They inculcated in all of their children that education was the most valuable asset of all,” Mukherjee said in the report. “The award is a very small way to pay tribute to all the sacrifices they made so that their children are where they are in their lives.”

Mukherjee said the scholarship is designed as a recruiting tool for the university, specifically the Department of Economics and Finance in the College of Business Administration to attract high-achieving students.

The Indian American has been at the university since 1981, and described his landing in the finance field as “simply accidental.” He majored in history in India and planned to earn a doctorate in the subject. However, the university where his oldest brother was teaching didn’t offer a doctorate. He ended up in an M.B.A. program and received a doctorate in finance from Texas Tech, according to the report.

To be eligible for the scholarship students must be a first-semester freshman who has enrolled full-time at the university and have an ACT score of at least 24 or SAT score of at 1260; a 3.0 GPA or higher; first-semester freshman with declared major in finance; and submit an essay on why they’ve chosen to pursue a degree in finance.

The scholarship award of $500 will be given at the start of the fall and spring semesters and is renewable for eight undergraduate semesters, excluding summer sessions.

Students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and remain a finance major, the report said.
00 2018-12-18
Ruston

COTTON NAMED TECH’S DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT FOR UNIVERSITY ADVANCEMENT


Matt Cotton, a 2008 business administration graduate of Louisiana Tech and a recruiter and admissions specialist for the University since 2012, has joined Tech’s University Advancement team as its Director of Development.

Cotton’s appointment comes less than three weeks after the University launched the most ambitious capital campaign in the school’s 125-year history — Forever Loyal. Its purpose is to raise $125 million to increase collaboration, innovation, and service across the campus.
00 2018-12-17
Baton Rouge

More Louisiana high school students are taking college courses, but access still uneven


Although the number of public high school students taking college courses is up 60 percent, barely 1 in 5 of those enrolled are black students.

Louisiana education leaders said uneven access, the lack of any statewide plan and other hurdles are hindering the effort to make the dual enrollment program a bigger part of the education landscape.

"We have challenges remaining," said Larry Tremblay, deputy commissioner for planning, research and academic affairs for the state Board of Regents, which oversees higher education.

Dual enrollment offers high school students a chance to earn both school and college credit.

Why aren't more Louisiana high school students earning college credit? 'The answer is money'
Why aren't more Louisiana high school students earning college credit? 'The answer is money'
It seems like a no brainer — high school students earning up to a year of college credit, which means big savings for students, families and t…

The case for pursuing the credits is overwhelming, Tremblay said.

Those who take part enroll in college at higher rates, graduate sooner and save money. The most popular courses are math, English and history, in that order.

A total of 31,517 students were enrolled for the 2017-18 school year, the latest available. Ten years ago, the total was 19,716.

But only 23 percent of high school students are taking college courses, according to state figures.

The fact that just 21 percent of the total are black students — they make up 44 percent of the high school population — has sparked attention and concerns.

How do we improve it, asked Marty Chabert, incoming chairman of the Board of Regents, during a joint meeting last week of the Regents and the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

"It illuminates the equity gaps that we see," Higher Education Commissioner Kim Hunter Reed said in an interview.

"For a number of students, it is exposure and an opportunity to go from 'I am not sure I am college material" to a self-talk that 'I can do it,' ” she said.

State Superintendent of Education John White said the state should ensure tuition fees are not blocking enrollments. "We truly need to be doing more to get kids of all backgrounds ready for the courses," White said, also in an interview.

Regional, technical and community colleges account for 81 percent of dual enrollment.

The University of Louisiana system, which includes Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of New Orleans and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, comprise 43 percent of the total, or 13,360 students.

Southeastern alone handles 13 percent of dual enrollment students statewide and Louisiana Tech another 10 percent.

By comparison, LSU accounts for 7 percent of the total and the LSU system represents 14 percent of dual enrollments statewide.

Southern University in Baton Rouge makes up 1 percent of the total, and the Southern University system 5 percent.

Neither LSU nor Southern officials responded to a request for comment.

The 13 schools that make up the Louisiana Community and Technical College System handle 38 percent of those taking college courses, or 12,062 students.

Jim Henderson, president of the University of Louisiana system, said regional colleges have formed robust relationships with local school systems. "That is vitally important to having an effective dual enrollment program," Henderson said.

Dual enrollment challenges have been a recurring topic in recent years.

In 2016, the Legislature passed a resolution seeking answers on why more students are not taking part, especially because barely half of high school seniors carry a full course load.

Last year, Regents grappled with issues aimed at ensuring existing classes include enough rigor and are taught by qualified instructors.

Here's what could change under new rules for Louisiana students earning college credit in high school
Here's what could change under new rules for Louisiana students earning college credit in high school
After a timeout in August, the Louisiana Board of Regents is set Monday to consider tightening the rules on how high school students can earn …

By national standards, Louisiana was late to the game.

Tremblay said dual enrollment courses used to be aimed at gifted students.

In a related area, the state has also long ranked at or near the bottom in the U.S. in the number of high school students who earn college credit through Advanced Placement.

Good news, bad news in latest report on Louisiana high schools' Advanced Placement results
Good news, bad news in latest report on Louisiana high schools' Advanced Placement results
While low nationally, the number of public high school students who earned college credit this year rose 10 percent, state Superintendent of E…

The lack of any statewide framework, like those in North Carolina and Ohio, is one of the stumbling blocks, officials said.

"Other states have figured out how to do it very well," said state Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, who has been involved in efforts to raise the profile of the classes.

The lack of any overarching state plan means dual enrollment varies from district to district.

school bus _lowres
Despite big push, Louisiana woeful in getting high schoolers to earn college credit; why?
Louisiana's five-year push to reach the national average for public high school students earning college credit missed the target — by a lot.

Some students pay nothing for the classes. Others are charged up to $800 per course. Students in rural areas complain about lack of access to classes freely available in cities.

"It is all a locally brokered thing," White said. "We really need to get to a point where there is a statewide, minimum level of access for qualified students."

Said Reed, "When opportunity is defined by geography, then we know we have to do something different."

Robert Levy, outgoing chairman of the Regents, made the same point.

"We don't have a state framework," said Levy, who lives in Dubach.

"From day one we have said, 'Where is the money?' ” he added. "We should demand from our legislators that great progress be made on this."
00 2018-12-17
Baton Rouge

University of Louisiana at Lafayette awards 1,260 diplomas during Fall 2018 commencement


The University of Louisiana at Lafayette graduated 1,260 students Friday at fall commencement ceremonies.

Bachelor’s degrees were awarded to 1,068 graduates. Master’s degrees were awarded to 172 graduates. Eighteen graduates received doctoral degrees. Two graduate certificates were awarded.

“No geographic or religious or political or economic differences can break the sometimes imperceptible – yet always permanent – chords that bind us together” said ULL President Joseph Savoie. “Our lives and destinies are intertwined. They remind us that the choices we make invariably will affect someone else,” he said.

The Fall 2018 graduates came from 47 Louisiana parishes, 29 states and 26 countries. The class was comprised of 747 women and 513 men. The youngest graduate was 20 years old and the oldest was 63.

Nine students were recognized as summa cum laude graduates for achieving perfect 4.0 grade point averages.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, the ceremony’s commencement speaker, told graduates that ULL “faculty didn’t just teach you knowledge and skills, though they are critically important. Perhaps, more importantly, the UL experience taught you how to think critically and synthesize new information.”

Prior to the ceremony, Edwards delivered a commendation to Matthew Delcambre, ULL Center for Business and Information Technologies.

In October while visiting the cathedral in the city of Salisbury, England, Delcambre foiled an attempt to steal the 803-year-old Magna Carta.

A fire alarm sounded. Then a man, holding a hammer, emerged from a bathroom and broke into the display case that held one of the world’s oldest symbols of democracy.

Delcambre chased the man, tackling him in an adjourning courtyard. British media hailed Delcambre as a hero.

As administrators and faculty gathered for the procession, Edwards threw his arm around Delcambre and said, “Matt, I wanted to meet you.” The governor then opened a blue folder and began reading a special commendation that hailed Delcambre’s “bravery and heroism in safely securing the Magna Carta.”

Alumnus Winfred Sibille, Class of 1951, was awarded an honorary doctorate. Sibille has been a member of the University of Louisiana System’s Board of Supervisors since 1995 – the longest-serving board member in UL System history.
00 2018-12-17
Houma/Thibodaux

Nicholls State celebrates 103rd commencement


They walked in as students and walked out as alumni today when Nicholls State University students received their diplomas in the school’s 103rd Commencement ceremony at Stopher Gymnasium in Thibodaux.

In all, 605 degrees were awarded, including an honorary degree of doctorate of commerce awarded to Donald T. Bollinger, former chairman and CEO of Bollinger Enterprises. Bollinger serves as the chairman of the Nicholls Foundation Board and, along with sisters Charlotte and Andrea, donated the first $1 million endowment in Nicholls history in 1997. He has also served on the Louisiana Board of Regents and the University of Louisiana System Board of Trustees.

Three different sessions were held of the graduation ceremony, which featured Charlotte Bollinger, executive vice-president of the Bollinger Shipyards, giving the commencement address.

In her address, Bollinger encouraged the prospective graduates to keep learning and stay on top of new technologies.

“It doesn’t seem all that long ago when I was told that I’d be able to get into my car without a key, and I didn’t believe it,” Bollinger said. “Only 10 years ago nobody had an iPhone. Think about that.”

One of the graduates was Shelby Lancon of Morgan City, who already holds a degree in finance from Nicholls and now has earned a master’s of business administration. Lancon already has a job lined up, as a financial analyst for Ochsner Health.

“It’s awesome, I’m so excited,” Lancon said. “I’m ready. I’m relieved, but at the same time I feel very blessed to have been able to do it. I’m excited to see more of what’s out there.”

James Rodrigue, a music major from Thibodaux, is a third-generation graduate of Nicholls. His grandfather, also James Rodrigue, graduated 50 years ago, and his father, Kelly Rodrigue, is the registrar at Nicholls.

Rodrigue plans on going to grad school before pursuing a career as a choral director.

“It’s really neat to have something like this in common with my dad and my grandpa,” Rodrigue said. “It’s nice to have this portion of my educational career done, but I know that I’m not quite out of the woods yet.”

Tomi Milstead, of Thibodaux, had moved to North Carolina after graduating from high school but came home to Nicholls to study English two years ago. Milstead graduated with honors Saturday.

“It’s scarier than I imagined it to be,” Milstead said. “It’s like this existential crisis: What does one do when they’ve been in school their entire life, from kindergarten until now? I’m not sure what my plans are from here, but so far in my life I haven’t had to force any doors open.”
00 2018-12-17
Lafayette

News 15 celebrates it’s own UL graduates


After years of hard work and sacrifices, it was a celebration this morning at the Cajundome for more than twelve-hundred UL lafayette students as they received their diplomas.

It was also a special day for this TV station, as three members of the News15 family were among those proud graduates.

Three members of the News15 family can finally breath a sigh of relief, now having earned their degrees from UL. News production assistant Horace Hall says he couldn’t feel more relieved.

“The weight of my shoulders has finally been lifted off. Like, I don’t ever have to wake up and go to school again. It feels so great”, says News Production assistant Horace Hall.



“It feels good to have young people get their credentials, their degrees. They can go into the work force. They can help build the economy,” says UL President, Dr. Joseph Savoie.



But these three graduates are already in the work force. Until now, they’ve had to juggle school and the grind of early morning news production.

Morning and noon show anchor Taylor Trace, says she’s extremely impressed with the dedicated of the graduates.

“A lot of them get here at four o’clock and then to have the energy to go to class and maintain their class workload, while also running on little to no sleep and lots of coffee. we’re all so proud of them.”

With a schedule like this, you tend to lose what many college students take for granted. News 15’s morning and noon show director says working as a single mother didn’t make her journey easy.

“There were some nights where i couldn’t sleep because i had to do homework and then go straight into work the next day,” says Olivia.

“It was like a constant reminder that, ‘Hey, you still gotta do this. You started. Let’s finish it.’ so i finally did it and it feels so good.”
00 2018-12-17
Lafayette

Mother, two children receive degrees from UL Lafayette


Vanessa Adamson, her daughter Avery and her son Brock made the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Fall 2018 Commencement ceremonies on Friday a family affair. They were each awarded degrees.



Vanessa earned a master’s degree in criminal justice. Avery earned a bachelor’s degree in general studies. Brock earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration.



“It’s a memory we will always share,” Vanessa said.



Vanessa, who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Phoenix, began pursuing her master’s degree at UL Lafayette in Spring 2017. She is director of the University’s Office of Community Service. Avery and Brock enrolled at UL Lafayette in Fall 2014.



“As soon as they were in college and settled, I began making plans to go back to school,” Vanessa said.



Soon after the three realized it was possible they could all graduate this semester, Brock and Avery began tweaking their schedules.



They took courses during summer semesters in order to align their anticipated graduation dates with Vanessa’s.



“I took six credit hours two summers in a row just to make sure we would all be able to graduate together,” Brock explained.



Avery said striving for a common finish line created pressure beyond completing assignments and taking exams.



“There were times when we were like, ‘I don’t know if this is all going to work out.’ But we made it,” she said.



To reach their goal, mother, daughter, and son leaned on each other.



Vanessa often steered her children to halls and classrooms when they arrived on campus as a freshman, for example. Avery said the guidance helped because she was “overwhelmed” during her first semester.



“She would drop me off just to show me where buildings were.”



Despite never taking the same classes – Avery earned her degree primarily online – the three still understood what the others were going through.



“It was fun because we were all doing the same thing – attending classes, studying, writing papers – so we could relate to one another,” Vanessa said.



Avery plans to work in the medical field. Brock plans to work in the oil and gas industry, while Vanessa will begin pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership at the University next month.



“I love learning new things, so why not continue my education? So, I’ll just dive right into it in January,” Vanessa said.



Avery said she admires her mother for her ability to juggle the demands of family, work and school.



“We’re so proud of her,” she said.
00 2018-12-17
Lafayette

Governor hails modest hero of Magna Carta caper prior to UL commencement


Gov. John Bel Edwards participated in a benign ruse Friday to honor and surprise a University of Louisiana at Lafayette administrator who tackled a man who police said tried to steal the Magna Carta.

Matthew Delcambre is director of the Center for Business and Information Technologies at UL. In October, he and wife Alexis were visiting the cathedral in the city of Salisbury, about 90 miles southwest of London, where Delcambre had attended a conference.

A fire alarm sounded. Then, a man, holding a hammer, emerged from a bathroom and moved toward a display case that held the Magna Carta. The 803-year-old document is one of the world’s oldest symbols of democracy. It enumerates principles of fairness, justice and human rights, and inspired the creation of democratic governments in England and the United States.

Salisbury Cathedral displays one of four known copies of the 13th-century document in a glass enclosure. Police said the attacker struck the case at least three times, but fled once he found its double-paned glass top impenetrable. The Magna Carta, Latin for “great charter,” was not damaged.

Delcambre chased the man into an adjourning courtyard and tackled him. He and cathedral employees held the suspect on the ground until police arrived.

English media hailed Delcambre’s heroism. The Associated Press picked up those press accounts. The story then spread around the globe, and headlines in Louisiana caught Edwards’ attention.

The governor signed a commendation Nov. 9, acknowledging Delcambre’s actions, but decided he wanted to present it to him personally. The opportunity to do so came Friday prior to UL’s Fall Commencement. Edwards was the ceremony’s featured speaker.

But, there was a catch: Delcambre’s presence at the ceremony wasn’t guaranteed.

Enter Dr. Ramesh Kolluru.

The university’s vice president for Research, Innovation and Economic Development was the scheme’s primary architect. His office oversees the university’s research centers.

Delcambre is innovation managing director of the Center for Visual and Decision Informatics, as well as director of CBIT.

Kolluru phoned Delcambre and “told him that every commencement, I invite one of our research center directors” as his guest to the ceremony.

Delcambre accepted. But, it was a ruse. “I don’t actually do that, but now, I am thinking it’s not a bad idea,” Kolluru conceded with a laugh.

Delcambre stood near Kolluru in the Cajundome’s Mardi Gras Ballroom on Friday morning. The ballroom is where administrators and faculty bedecked in full academic regalia gather prior to commencements.

Edwards entered with University President Dr. Joseph Savoie, and the state’s chief executive began shaking hands, slowly moving toward Delcambre. Kolluru greeted the governor, then introduced Delcambre.

“Matt, I wanted to meet you,” Edwards said, quickly throwing his arm around Delcambre’s shoulders. The friendly gesture surprised Delcambre.

Matthew Delcambre

Edwards then opened a blue folder and began reading a special commendation that hailed Delcambre’s “bravery and heroism in safely securing the Magna Carta.”

Delcambre looked down at the carpet. His face flushed. It remained red for minutes after the brief ceremony concluded.

“This was completely unexpected,” said Delcambre, who has, since the October incident, declined to characterize his actions as heroic or even extraordinary. The self-effacement was on ready display Friday when he described himself as “very much” a private person.

“The response was very overwhelming. I did not think it was that big of a deal. I just did what I think most people would have done in that situation.

“Look, it wasn’t just me,” Delcambre continued. “They had workers and security at the cathedral that were part of this. I just happened to chase after him as he was getting away. Then, other people were able to come and help hold him until the police got there.

“The response has been much more than I ever expected, and it had died out,” Delcambre said. He paused, and a grin crossed his face. “Until today.”
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Lake Charles

PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE


McNeese State University

AT&T supports McNeese: AT&T donates $10,000 to the McNeese State University Foundation for scholarships to students majoring in science, technology, engineering or math. On hand for the presentation are, from left, state Rep. Mark Abraham (R-District 36); Sen. Dan W. “Blade” Morrish (R-District 25); Blaine E. Kelly, strategic account lead, government and education solutions, AT&T Services; McNeese President Dr. Daryl Burckel; and Sarah Allen, regional director, external and legislative affairs, AT&T Services.

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McNeese State University

For McNeese State University: Triad Electric and Controls donates $15,000 to the First Choice Campaign underway at Mc-Neese State University. Local industry partners and contractors are investing in McNeese and the future of Southwest Louisiana through the campaign, a three-year initiative with a goal of raising $1 million per year for the next three years. This innovative plan is in place to self-generate revenue with a goal to meet the needs of growing academic programs in support of the economic expansion in Southwest Louisiana. On hand for the presentation are, from left, Danny Campbell, Lake Charles Triad general manager, McNeese President Dr. Daryl V. Burckel and Cody Stroud, Lake Charles Triad business development manager.

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Special to the American Press

For Melissa Doise Foundation: During October, associates of Coushatta Casino Resort raised $12,500 to benefit a local non-profit organization, Melissa Doise Hope for the Miracle Foundation, to raise awareness and funds to assist Jeff Davis Parish residents battling breast cancer. Casino associates raised a total of $12,500, achieving a Diamond Level sponsorship for the Foundation’s ninth annual Melissa Doise Hope for the Miracle Race. From left: Coushatta Casino Resort Associate Engagement Coordinator Angela John, Tribal Development/Associate Engagement Manager Kristen Johnson, Director of Human Resources William Gadberry, Sharon Doise Vincent (mother of Melissa Doise), Melissa Doise Foundation Boardmember Donna Richert, Coushatta Tribal Chairman David Sickey, and Coushatta Tribal Councilmembers Crystal Williams, Loretta Williams, and Kevin Sickey.

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Special to the American Press

Capital One supports Boys Village: Boys Village was recently awarded a $10,000 grant from Capital One Bank. On hand for the donation are, from left, Fil Bordelon, president of area Capital One Bank, and Max Mathieu, executive director of Boys Village.
00 2018-12-17
Lake Charles

Beekeeping program creates buzz


McNeese State University is doing its part to help promote the benefits of bees as pollinators through a partnership with local beekeepers and the Harold and Pearl Dripps School of Agricultural Sciences with the introduction of a bee program at the McNeese farm.

The goal is to not only educate McNeese students but also agriculture producers and the community about the benefits of bees as pollinators for food and agriculture crops, the value of wildflowers and plants that provide food for bees and the honey that is produced by the hives, according to Chip LeMieux, school director.

Students enrolled in Animal Science 101 are learning about bees in relation to the agriculture industry, including their importance as pollinators and how this impacts the food system and the serious threats facing bee populations today.

Farm manager Darrin Goodwin said that not only was the bee program initiated as a way to introduce students to beekeeping, but the school is also excited about potentially applying for research grants and developing a graduate program involving the beehives.

“We understand and appreciate what bees do for our environment and Louisiana has an especially good climate for bees, giving Mc-Neese a unique opportunity to contribute to the research in this area,” Goodwin said.

This, he adds, is especially important as bee populations continue to suffer from ailments like Colony Collapse Disorder in which worker bees mysteriously abandon their hives, young and queen. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, since CCD first appeared in the United States in 2006, it has contributed to an annual loss of 30 to 60 percent of beehives across the country.

“The bee shortage has rippled through the agriculture industry, causing significant economic impacts,” Goodwin said.

Local beekeepers Ronald Ellis, Larry Kebodeaux, Gena Miller and Steve Harrell have donated equipment, hives and over 25 years of combined expertise to get the bee program off the ground. “It’s been my dream for years for McNeese to have a bee program,” said Ellis, who worked with Goodwin to get the program launched.

During the course, students learn from these volunteers about the process of commercial honey production and receiving hands-on experience in harvesting, extracting and bottling honey produced at the farm.

According to Goodwin, honey is now available for sale at the McNeese CAMPP (Center for Advancement of Meat Production and Processing) store in Room 121 of Gayle Hall, along with fresh cuts of beef, sheep and pork processed at the CAMPP facility in Lacassine.

“Proceeds from the honey sales will go towards developing the bee program and paying for supplies,” Goodwin said.

Beekeeper Kebodeaux sees working with the program as an investment for the future of beekeeping. “This is something that benefits everyone. Bees are really struggling now and this new program at McNeese can make a big difference. Maybe research done here in the future will help discover a cure for CCD. It’s a win-win for the bees and McNeese.”

For information more information, call the school at 475-5690.



Ashlee Lhamon is a graduate assistant at McNeese State University.
00 2018-12-17
Lake Charles

THE PERSISTANT SCHOLAR


It took 65 years, but Eldene Hanchey Niel is an official college graduate
By Naomi Guidry
news@americanpress.com

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Joe Kolbow / Special to the American Press

At the age of 84, Eldene Hanchey Niel received her bachelor’s degree in general studies Dec. 8 from McNeese State University.

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Eldene Niel

As a student in 1954, top, and in 1973

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Eldene Hanchey Niel, 84, of Lake Charles, was one of 580 students who graduated from McNeese State University this month. She first began taking courses at McNeese 65 years ago.

Joe Kolbow

Special to the American Press

Graduating from college was something Eldene Hanchey Niel had always wanted to accomplish.

“From the time I was very little, I always wanted to get a college degree,” she said.

At the age of 84, Niel walked across the stage Dec. 8 at Burton Coliseum to receive a bachelor’s degree in general studies from McNeese State University — a day that was 65 years in the making. She graduated with a 3.37 grade-point average.

After graduating as valedictorian from Merryville High School, Niel first attended McNeese in the fall of 1953. She was a home economics major, with a goal of one day becoming a dietician.

Niel remained at McNeese for three semesters before having to leave for personal reasons. After those semesters, Niel found a job at Shell Oil Company, where she worked as a stenographer, radio operator and teletype operator for four years.

“I took night classes while working at Shell,” Niel said. “I took night classes in speech, advanced typing, advanced shorthand, accounting and advanced English grammar. The speech course was taken because I was the radio operator at the Shell Oil Company; the course improved my diction and helped me in this position. The advanced courses in typing and shorthand allowed me to advance to higher-paying positions.”

During that time, she changed her major to liberal arts because she said she wanted a well-rounded education. She and husband John started their family during this time.

In the fall of 1972, when her son was in the first grade, Niel returned to college, taking one course at a time, according to an autobiography she published in 2014. Her first class was French 101, followed by French 102 in the spring of 1973. Mathematics 105 and 106 followed in the next two semesters, fall 1973 and spring 1974.

It was then Niel said she realized she was needed in her husband’s dental office, where she began working as office manager.

In 1983, she was able to return to pursuing her college education.

“In the fall of 1983, I took Business 123, business calculations,” she said. “In the spring 1984, I took Computer Science 102, basic computer. In spring 1985, I took Art 351, art appreciation. In the summer 1985, I took Voice 131. In the fall of 1985, I took Music 315, music appreciation.”

Following her husband’s retirement from dentistry in the early 1990s, he began taking a French course through the EASE (Emphasis on Adult Special Entry) program at McNeese. The progam allows adults 60 and older to take one course per semester, Niel explained. John began his course in the fall of 1995. His wife followed suit in the spring of 1996.

MORE INSIDE
See a complete list of fall graduates from McNeese, A6

The couple had a specific interest in learning French. Niel and her husband even traveled to France to study the French language.

“We went to France through a program through Northeastern University of Monroe,” she said. “We stayed in three different homes. It was considered a semester. I earned three hours of credit. That was a very good experience.”

Niel said she took her last class in French in the fall of 2001.

“One year after (my husband) died, I went (to McNeese) again,” she said. “But I had to drop out after that. About three years ago, I decided ‘OK, I’m gonna get this degree.’ ”

But a degree in French was not an option at McNeese. She then switched her major to general studies.

Niel returned to McNeese in January 2015, starting with a Sociology 201 course. Since then, she missed only one semester due to illness.

“One year, in the spring of 2017, I got the flu and I had to drop out,” she said. “My professor had just had brain surgery. I didn’t want to give her the flu, so it was better for me to drop out.”

Her most recent course was an online course. “That helped me a lot,” she said, adding that street flooding due to heavy rains could sometimes make it difficult to make it to class. “I enjoyed the online course because of the bad weather.”

By the end of the fall semester, Niel had earned her spot in the fall 2018 graduating class.

“It seemed almost like it was unreal,” she said. “I thought ‘I can’t believe this is finally happening.’ ”

Her family was proud to attend her college graduation.

“They all came to the graduation,” she said. “We had a really nice celebration.”

What will she do now that she’s a college graduate?

“I might do substitute teaching in French immersion schools,” she said. “My short-term goal is to get prepared to really master the French language.”

She also plans to continue taking courses at McNeese. Niel plans to review French 201 and 202 courses during the next two semesters, even though she’s already received credit for them.

“At that point, if I want to, I can substitute as a French teacher,” she said. “Every semester, I plan to go back, as long as my health is good.

“I would really like to take Latin and Greek. I like foreign languages. And possibly piano class.”

Niel wants others her age to know about the EASE program.

“I try to tell everybody I know about the EASE program,” she said. “It’s a marvelous offer that they give us.”



For more information about the EASE program, visit https://www.mcneese.edu/admissions/ease_emphasis_on_adult_special_entry or call 337-475-5615.
00 2018-12-17
Lake Charles

Lake Charles College Prep granted charter renewal


The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on Wednesday unanimously approved a three-year renewal of Lake Charles College Prep’s charter agreement.

Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, president of the board of trustees for the Southwest Louisiana Charter Academy Foundation, said the school worked diligently to meet the parameters for a long-term renewal. BESE gave the school a one-year renewal this time last year.

“I commend our administrators, teachers, parents and students for their hard work over the past year to accomplish the school growth that is recognized by the renewal of our charter,” he said.

BESE’s approval, along with the school’s plans to build a new facility, ensures that LCCP “is now a permanent educational choice for our community,” Thibodeaux said.

He said LCCP plans to break ground on its new, state-of-the-art high school facility next spring.

A charter school’s existence is tied to strict compliance requirements outlined by the Louisiana Department of Education, Sabrah Kingham, director of education, said. Every aspect of a charter school is examined annually by the state department, including academics, finances and organizational systems.

“It’s very rigorous,” Kingham said. “You have to fall within a certain range in order to be renewed, and that’s why we’re so grateful.”

Based on the feedback the high school received last year during its state review, the school has implemented new leadership, a more rigorous curriculum and a new educational service provider, McNeese State University, to ensure its campus-wide success.

“We have worked very hard,” Kingham said. “Yes, we’re excited, but we know that we have to keep going because we’ve got to meet the standards for our students.”

Thibodeaux and Kingham both applauded McNeese’s Department of Education for working with the high school on its road to renewal and into its future. Kingham said the college provides LCCP staff with weekly professional development to ensure teachers are up to date with the latest trends in education.

“The collaboration with our college is strengthening our community and keeping us very current,” she said.

Kingham added that the renewal of the charter agreement is a reminder for families in its “sister” pre-K through eighth grade schools that choice in public education will continue in Southwest Louisiana.

“We want to see our kids come through our charter schools pre-K through high school,” she said.

‘It’s very rigorous. You have to fall within a certain range in order to be renewed and that’s why we’re so grateful.’
Sabrah Kingham
Lake Charles College Prep director of education
00 2018-12-17
Natchitoches

All-American Amir James, 13 high honors grads among 42 NSU athletic grads at Friday’s commencement exercises


Two-time All-America sprinter Amir James led among the 42 Northwestern State athletic graduates receiving degrees Friday at fall commencement exercises in Prather Coliseum.

James ran the third leg this spring on the Demons’ 4×100 meter relay team that finished seventh nationally and broke a 36-year-old school record with a 38.92 time. He was a second-team All-American as a sophomore in 2016 after a 15th-place finish at the national meet in the 4×100. He was honorable mention All-America in the 100 meter dash that season.

He won seven gold medals at Southland Conference indoor and outdoor championships among 15 podium appearances for top three event finishes. James broke the Southland’s 200 meter dash indoor record as a junior (21.15) and set NSU’s outdoor 200 record, 20.41, in May.

Friday’s athletic graduates included Dan Hlad, Cullen McDonald and Kyle Swanson of the Demon baseball team that won the 2018 Southland Conference Tournament crown, a first in school history, and picked up an NCAA Regional win over San Diego State and were a ninth-inning rally away from eliminating LSU at the 2018 Corvallis Regional.

Honorable mention All-America shot putter Cedric Paul, a second-generation Demon, won a pair of Southland Conference championships in his four years before reaching the NCAA Outdoor Championships among the nation’s top 24 qualifiers in June.

Among the most accomplished competitors receiving degrees Friday were eight All-Southland Conference performers including James and Paul: 2017 football defensive end honorable mention selection Lyn Clark, former baseball infielder Chase Daughdrill (2014 first-team All-Louisiana and second-team All-Southland), Lady Demon thrower Keona Jackson (the 2015 Southland indoor shot put champion earned a master’s degree), Lady Demon softball infielder Sidney Salmans (2018), cross country and track standout Joshua Wilkins (2017 all-conference in both sports, and a second-generation Demon) and football’s Chris Zirkle (2017).

Three student-athletes who will continue to play for NSU earned degrees and graduated with high honors Friday: Lady Demon basketball’s Victoria Miller, starting football offensive linemen Dustin Burns and Zirkle.

That trio were among 13 current and former student-athletes with cumulative grade point averages of 3.5 or better.

April Ficarrotta of the Lady Demon soccer team, former track and cross country competitor Dylan Dunford, Miller and Swanson earned summa cum laude status with GPA’s of at least 3.9 on a 4.0 scale. Miller, who graduated in 2 ½ years, led all school of business graduates into the arena during the afternoon ceremony.

Graduating magna cum laude with a GPA between 3.7 and 3.89 were Zirkle, Kathryn Wristen of the Lady Demon volleyball team and former football player Benny Broadway.

Receiving cum laude distinction for cumulative GPA between 3.5 and 3.69 were Lady Demon track and cross country competitor Emily Heard, former football player Patrick Juneau, softball’s Kayla Roquemore and Salmans, along with Burns and Hlad.

Former Demon football player Gerald Long, the president pro tempore of the Louisiana Senate, was the commencement speaker.

Summer 2018 Athletic Graduation List (participating in Fall 2018 commencement) (8)

Baseball (2)

Chase Daughdrill (Former Student-Athlete): Bachelor of Science in Nursing; College: Nursing & School of Allied Health; Major: Nursing; Honors: Honor Roll
Kyle Swanson: Bachelor of Science; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Biology; Concentration: Biomedical; Honors: Summa Cum Laude
Football (1)

Tremaine Whittley : Bachelor of Science; College: Education and Human Development; Major: Psychology
Soccer (1)

Cache’ Haley: Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Majors: Addictions Studies and Psychology
Softball (1)

Baylee Shephard (Former Student-Athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration; Minor: English
Men’s Track (1)

Desmond Mapps: Bachelor of General Studies; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: General Studies; Concentration: Social Science; Minor: Social Science
Women’s Track (1)

Keona Jackson (Former Student-Athlete): Master of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Human Performance; Concentration: Sport Administration
Administration (1)

Amber Lamers (Former Manager/Women’s Basketball): Master of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Psychology, Clinical

Fall 2018 Athletic Graduation List (34)

Baseball (3)

Daniel Hlad: Bachelor of Science; Major: College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration; Honors: Cum Laude
Cullen McDonald: Bachelor of Science; Major: College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration; Honors: Honor Roll
Frederic Parker: Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Psychology

Men’s Basketball (3)

Cody Cambre (Former Student-Athlete): Bachelor of Arts; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Criminal Justice; Honors: Honor Roll
Caelon Powells (Former JV Student-Athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Psychology
Bailey Walker (Former Student-Athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Industrial Engineering Technology; Honors: Honor Roll

Women’s Basketball (1)

1. Victoria Miller: Bachelor of Science; Major: College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration; Concentration: Marketing; Honors: Summa Cum Laude

Football (9)

Timmis Bonner: Bachelor of Science; Major: College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration
Bryson Bourque: Bachelor of General Studies; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: General Studies; Concentration: Social Science; Minor: P.E., Sport and Leisure Management
Benny Broadway (Former Student-Athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Physical Education Grades K-12; Honors: Magna Cum Laude
Dustin Burns: Bachelor of Science; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Biology; Concentration: Biomedical; Honors: Cum Laude
Lyn Clark (Former Student-Athlete): Bachelor of General Studies; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: General Studies; Concentration: Arts and Communications; Minor: Social Science
Regan Edwards (Former Student-Athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Exercise Science; Honors: Honor Roll
Patrick Juneau (Former Student-Athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Biology; Concentration: Biomedical; Minor: Chemistry; Minor: Microbiology; Honors: Cum Laude
Joshua Roberts (former student-athlete): Bachelor of Arts; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Communication; Concentration: Broadcast & Digital Media Prod.; Minor: Business Administration
Chris Zirkle: Bachelor of Science; Major: College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration; Honors: Magna Cum Laude

Soccer (2)

April Ficarrotta: Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Psychology; Honors: Summa Cum Laude
Olivia Marazzo: Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Psychology; Honors: Honor Roll

Softball (2)

Kayla Roquemore: Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Exercise Science; Honors: Cum Laude
Sidney Salmans (Former Student-Athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Elementary Education Grades 1-5; Honors: Cum Laude

Men’s Track (6)

Dylan Dunford (Former Student-Athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Biology; Concentration: Biomedical; Honors: Summa Cum Laude
Amir James: Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Computer Information Systems; Concentration: Networking & System Management
Brandon Lewis-Graham: Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Psychology; Honors: Honor Roll
Cedric Paul: Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Majors: Computer Information Systems and Business Administration; Concentration: Networking & System Management
Kyrin Tucker (Football Student-Athlete Also): Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Psychology
Joshua Wilkins: Bachelor of Arts; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Liberal Arts; Concentration: Creative and Performing Arts Industry

Women’s Track (4)

1. Emily Heard: Bachelor of Science in Nursing; College: Nursing & School of Allied Health; Major: Nursing; Honors: Cum Laude

2. Fabrianna Nation: Bachelor of Arts; College: Arts and Sciences; Major: Communication; Concentration: Strategic Communication; Minor: P.E., Sport and Leisure Management

3. Braneshia Payton: Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Business Administration

4. Kristina Vujanic (Former Student-Athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Psychology

Volleyball (1)

Kathryn Wristen: Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Majors: Addictions Studies and Psychology; Honors: Magna Cum Laude

Administration (3)

1. Jennifer Enloe (Athletic Adm. Student Worker): Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Psychology; Minor: Hospitality, Management and Tourism

2. Hunter Horton (PA Announcer for Multiple Sports): Bachelor of Science; College: Business and Technology; Major: Hospitality, Management and Tourism; Concentration: Hospitality Services; Minor: Communication; Honors: Honor Roll

3. Christian Van Buren (Strength and Conditioning Student Assistant; Also Former Football Student-Athlete): Bachelor of Science; College: Education & Human Development; Major: Health and Exercise Science; Honors: Honor Roll
00 2018-12-17
Natchitoches

NSU awards degree to 922 students at Fall 2018 commencement



00 2018-12-17
New Orleans

Photos: Gov. John Bel Edwards gives the University of New Orleans fall commencement speech



00 2018-12-17
New Orleans

Edwards channels George H.W. Bush: Calls UNO graduates a ‘thousand points of light’


As Gov. John Bel Edwards addressed the crowd of University of New Orleans graduates Friday (Dec. 14), he recalled his own college graduation from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.

That day in 1988 was cold and rainy. The cadets smelled like old sheep in their soaking-wet, wool uniforms, he said, but Edwards won’t forget his own commencement speaker: former President George H.W. Bush.

The governor doesn’t recollect what Bush, serving as vice president at the time, said, but he never forgot that Bush “stood in the driving rain to shake hands with each of the 950 graduates" as they crossed the stage to receive their diplomas.

“I have a tremendous amount of admiration for the personal example he set,” Edwards told the 700 graduates gathered for UNO’s commencement.

In the George H.W. Bush story, New Orleans figures prominently
In the George H.W. Bush story, New Orleans figures prominently

His most significant time in New Orleans occurred in August 1988, when he accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination


For the record, UNO’s graduation ceremony was held at the Lakefront Arena, an indoor facility, so -- as Edwards joked Friday -- there was no risk he would have to stand in the rain to hand out diplomas himself.

The governor’s affectionate story about Bush is one of several that has been passed around recently. Bush died at the age of 94 on Nov. 30, placing him back in the public eye over the last few weeks.


Funerals and services for the former president were held over four days last week. As a result, Bush’s politeness, sense of duty and valor have been compared several times to the temperament of President Donald Trump, who has been criticized for being self-serving and mean-spirited.

Edwards didn’t make a comparison between Bush and Trump during his UNO speech, but he wove Bush in throughout his remarks. The governor, a Democrat, referred to UNO’s new graduates as “a thousand points of light” -- a phrase made famous by Bush during his 1988 presidential campaign.

Bush, a Republican, referred to his philosophy of promoting widespread volunteerism and private clubs to solve social ills as “a thousand points of light” for the first time at the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans.

Thousands salute George H.W. Bush funeral train as he’s laid to rest in Texas
Thousands salute George H.W. Bush funeral train as he’s laid to rest in Texas

It was the first presidential funeral train since 1969.


It was a catchphrase he would use over and over again as a presidential candidate and after he was in office. Later in life, Bush even established the Points of Light Foundation, a private organization which advocates for volunteerism and charities across the globe.

Edwards said the diversity of UNO is part of what makes the “thousand points of light” phrase relevant to the school’s graduates. The people receiving diplomas Friday ranged in age from 18 to 79 years-old, hailed from 27 states and were born in 23 countries. About one in every three of them was the first person in their family to go to college, according to the governor.


“This is what the American dream looks like,” Edwards said while looking out over the crowd in caps and gowns.

Edwards closed out his speech by asking the graduates to be points of light “no matter where your next chapter takes you.”

In the wake of Bush’s death, Trump praised the “thousand points of light” concept as well, but as recently as July, he had mocked the philosophy at a rally in Montana. “Thousand points of light, I never quite got that one,” Trump said at the rally. “What the hell is that?”
00 2018-12-17
Ruston

GSU HOLDS COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES


Slightly less than 450 students received their diplomas Friday at the Grambling State University fall 2018 commencement exercises.

Lala Aicha Coulibaly, a computer science student from Bamako, Mali, graduated with a 3.91 cumulative grade point average and served as the fall 2018 class valedictorian.

Coulibaly traveled 5,500 miles from home, where the native language is Bambara, to attend GSU. She spent three months learning English before enrolling.
00 2018-12-17
Shreveport

https://www.arklatexhomepage.com/news/local-news/gsu-valedictorian-completes-one-of-a-kind-journey/1660526982


The Fall 2018 valedictorian for Grambling State University celebrates not only academic success, but also a one-of-a-kind journey on this fall’s graduation stage.

Lala Aicha Coulibaly graduates with a 3.91 cumulative GPA, majoring in computer science, and with fluency in three languages: French, English, and her native tongue, Bambara, which she grew up speaking in Bamako, Mali. Mali is 5,500 miles from Grambling State University and Coulibaly shared some of her story with her fellow students.

“I spent three months learning English prior to enrolling in GSU,” said Coulibaly. “There were times when I didn’t think this day would ever happen. I doubted my ability to communicate effectively, and there are no other students or professors here that speak Bambara. I worked hard, and I’m so thankful to everyone here at GSU who helped me and encouraged me.”

For Coulibaly, this Fall’s graduation is about more than honors or a degree. After not returning home since 2015, she will get to celebrate with her father who will make a 15-hour flight to see her walk the stage.

“I really admire her for the active role she took in her studies and completion of her projects. She is truly a stand-out individual who will impress everyone she meets,” said Dr. Prasanthi Sreekumari, Assistant Professor of Department of Computer Science. “It has been a pleasure teaching such a polite, talented, hardworking and dedicated student. I wish all success in her future endeavors.”

In addition to her honor as top graduate, Coulibaly and her father also celebrate a number of her recent accomplishments which include:

participating on the second place Winning Team in the 2017 Bayou Classic BizTech Challenge;
winning second place in the Digital and Media Technologies category in the 2018 Bayou Classic BizTech Challenge; and
writing the winning essay and receiving a WISE Scholarship at Grambling State.
00 2018-12-17
Shreveport

GSU valedictorian completes one of a kind journey


GRAMBLING, LA - The Fall 2018 valedictorian for Grambling State University celebrates not only academic success, but also a one-of-a-kind journey on this fall’s graduation stage.

Lala Aicha Coulibaly graduates with a 3.91 cumulative GPA, majoring in computer science, and with fluency in three languages: French, English, and her native tongue, Bambara, which she grew up speaking in Bamako, Mali. Mali is 5,500 miles from Grambling State University and Coulibaly shared some of her story with her fellow students.

“I spent three months learning English prior to enrolling in GSU,” said Coulibaly. “There were times when I didn’t think this day would ever happen. I doubted my ability to communicate effectively, and there are no other students or professors here that speak Bambara. I worked hard, and I’m so thankful to everyone here at GSU who helped me and encouraged me.”

For Coulibaly, this Fall’s graduation is about more than honors or a degree. After not returning home since 2015, she will get to celebrate with her father who will make a 15-hour flight to see her walk the stage.

“I really admire her for the active role she took in her studies and completion of her projects. She is truly a stand-out individual who will impress everyone she meets,” said Dr. Prasanthi Sreekumari, Assistant Professor of Department of Computer Science. “It has been a pleasure teaching such a polite, talented, hardworking and dedicated student. I wish all success in her future endeavors.”

In addition to her honor as top graduate, Coulibaly and her father also celebrate a number of her recent accomplishments which include:

participating on the second place Winning Team in the 2017 Bayou Classic BizTech Challenge;
winning second place in the Digital and Media Technologies category in the 2018 Bayou Classic BizTech Challenge; and
writing the winning essay and receiving a WISE Scholarship at Grambling State.
00 2018-12-14
Hammond

Miss Southeastern 2019 named, advances to Miss Louisiana pageant


HAMMOND — Southeastern Louisiana University accounting junior Chelsey Blank, of Paulina, has been chosen Miss Southeastern 2019.

Blank received her crown from Miss Southeastern 2018 Alyssa Larose, of Kenner, at the annual pageant Nov. 30 at Southeastern’s Vonnie Borden Theatre. Sponsored by the Campus Activities Board, the pageant is affiliated with the Miss America Pageant system.

Blank also received the Talent Award as well as the Student Government Association Academic Award.

First runner-up was Aesha Magee, a health systems management senior of Mount Hermon.

Second runner-up was Lily Torbert, a sophomore, of Houma, double majoring in biological sciences and Spanish. Torbert also won the Miss Congeniality award.

Baylee Smith, a political science junior of Amite, took home both Lifestyle and Fitness and the People’s Choice awards.

Business administration junior Kayla Chategnier, of Luling, received the Miracle Maker Award.

Blank will advance to the Miss Louisiana’s pageant in Monroe in June.
00 2018-12-14
Lafayette

UL, businesses targeted in nationwide bomb threat hoax


According to USA TODAY, officials from New York City to Dallas to San Francisco say businesses received emailed bomb threats Thursday that were part of what they believe is a nationwide hoax.

Police are working with the FBI to investigate every threat.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette and several Lafayette businesses were targets of the threats.

According to a report from KATC, employees received an email indicating that there was an explosive device in one of the buildings.

The building and areas surrounding the parking tower were been evacuated.

Several other businesses in the city, including LUS Fiber on Moss Street, received similar threats through email, the report says.

According to a report from KLFY, the FBI has issued a statement responding to bomb threats that have been reported across the nation.

“We are aware of the recent bomb threats made in cities around the country, and we remain in touch with our law enforcement partners to provide assistance. As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety," the statement says.


Bomb threats have also been reported in New Iberia, three buildings in Opelousas, including Holy Ghost Church, and Baton Rouge. No devices were found at any of the locations in New Iberia, the report says.

Other bomb threats have been reported across the state. In Alexandria, police are asking the public to avoid areas around two banks that allegedly received bomb threats. One is the First Federal Bank on North Boulevard near the Alexandria Mall, and at Red River Bank at Center Court.

There were no reports that any actual explosive devices had been discovered, but the threats alone had forced many police departments to monitor and investigate.

"We are currently monitoring multiple bomb threats that have been sent electronically to various locations throughout the city," The New York City Counterterrorism Bureau said on Twitter.

"These threats are also being reported to other locations nationwide & are NOT considered credible at this time," the statement said.

Some of the emailed threats had the subject line: “Think Twice.”

In Detroit, police were dispatched to the Guardian Building and the Wayne County Treasury building, after an officer received a threat to blow up the Treasurer’s building Thursday.

“One of our employees got an email threatening that if money wasn’t transferred into a designated account, they were going to blow up 400 Monroe,” Pageant Atterberry, a Wayne County Sheriff’s spokeswoman, told The Detroit News. “Then, we got an anonymous phone call from someone threatening to blow up the same building. DPD is in charge, and they’re evacuating the building.”

Other cities reporting similar threats were Oklahoma City, Seattle, Detroit and Buffalo.

•In North Texas area, towns of Arlington and Irving in the Dallas-forth Worth metropolitan area also fielded threats. According to the Twitter site, DFW Scanner, which monitors local police radio, the bomb threats have demanded a large payment of bitcoin.

•In Massachusetts, the state police said its Fusion Center was tracking "multiple bomb threats emailed to numerous businesses in the state." It said its bomb squad had notified local police departments.

• In Orlando, officers responded to bomb threats at the Bank of America Center tower downtown, at an office park and a townhouse building, The Orlando Sentinel reported.

The Orlando Police Department said it was is assisting federal authorities in investigating the threats, the newspaper said.
00 2018-12-14
Lafayette

UL Lafayette Commencement ceremonies feature livestreams, social media


Unable to attend Fall 2018 Commencement ceremonies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette?



You can watch them anyway.



The General Assembly at 11 a.m. on Friday in the Cajundome, and separate ceremonies that will be held throughout the day for each of the University’s eight academic colleges, will be livestreamed. Livestreams can be accessed via computer, smartphone or tablet at http://bit.ly/LouisianaGradsFA18

The General Assembly will also be broadcast live on the University’s Facebook page at http://facebook.com/officialullafayette

Graduates can share their stories with family and friends by using #ragingrads on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Google+ posts.

A Snapchat filter will be available from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the Cajundome and Convention Center and at Bourgeois Hall.

Doctoral candidates will be hooded at the General Assembly. All graduating seniors and faculty members will attend, wearing full academic regalia.

Master’s and bachelor’s degrees will be conferred at ceremonies for each academic college. Below is a schedule and locations for those ceremonies.

Cajundome

8 a.m. College of Liberal Arts
2:30 p.m. B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration
Cajundome Convention Center – Festival Ballroom (2nd floor)

8 a.m. College of the Arts
2:30 p.m. Ray P. Authement College of Sciences
Cajundome Convention Center – Exhibit Hall B (1st floor)

8 a.m. College of Education
2:30 p.m. College of Engineering
Bourgeois Hall

8 a.m. College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions
2:30 p.m. University College
Learn more about Fall 2018 Commencement at commencement.louisiana.edu
00 2018-12-14
Monroe

760 ULM students graduate at Saturday ceremony


Torrential rains and gusty winds did not stop 760 soon-to-be graduates from filling Fant-Ewing Coliseum on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 8, for commencement exercises.

Joining them were friends and family, leaders of the University of Louisiana Monroe and honored guests.

President Dr. Nick J. Bruno commented on the hours-long deluge, saying, “Since being president, we’ve never had a rainy day on commencement. I guess that record is broken.”

He then said, “I congratulate each of the candidates. It is a very special day regardless of the weather and we celebrate their accomplishments.”

Bruno welcomed the guests, University of Louisiana System President Dr. James Henderson and UL System Board Member Shawn Murphy.

He introduced Henderson to pay tribute to a former ULM president.

Henderson has a special relationship with the former president and said, “He also happens to be my mother’s older brother. I’m talking about Dr. Dwight Vines.”

Vines served as the university’s fifth president from 1976-1991. He joined the faculty in 1958 as an instructor of management. He was Dean of the College of Business Administration for nine years before becoming president.

“When he retired, Dr. Vines had served ULM for 33 years, 16 of those as president,” Henderson said.

His uncle hardly retired, and continually shares ideas and thoughts with his nephew.

“I get at least 12 emails from him a day,” Henderson said.

“Recently, he said that after his wife, his children and his grandchildren, his greatest love is NLU, that’s what he calls ULM. You could not have a more devoted admirer,” Henderson said.

To honor Vines, the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors named him President Emeritus of the University of Louisiana Monroe.

“I know that Dr. Vines wishes he could be here today, I know he is watching online,” Henderson said.

Bruno presented Henderson with a commemorative medallion for Vines.

Bruno introduced the keynote speaker saying, “I’m proud of the accomplishments he’s made and am privileged and happy to present Dr. Eric Pani.”

Pani is Vice President of Academic Affairs and Professor of Atmospheric Science. Over the past 30 years, Pani has served as Associate Provost, Assistant to the Provost, Associate Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, and head of the Department of Geosciences. He will retire in February.

“Nearly 40 years ago I was where you are today. I was graduating college for he first time. I don’t remember much about that day, but I hope you will remember some of what I say today,” Pani said.

He used the analogy of building a house to building a life in his message.

“I could spend hours as a kid playing with blocks, because you create something you didn’t have before,” he said. “What you’ve done so far, you’ve created the foundation for your life.”

“Starting tomorrow you start building on that foundation,” he said.

Pani advised the new graduates to use quality materials, to interconnect, be resilient, be interesting, fill their lives with family and friends, “and finally, have fun with the construction. It’s your house, it’s your life.”

Following the keynote address, Dr. Bruno shook hands with each graduate when they received their diploma and walked across the stage.

The 763 degrees awarded include: 39 associate degrees, 559 bachelor’s degrees; one Doctor of Pharmacy degree; 153 master’s degrees; three Doctor of Education degrees; eight Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

Thirteen international students were awarded their diplomas.
00 2018-12-14
Regional/National

The Degree Rules, for Now


Recent headlines have touted the move by several big employers to stop requiring new hires to hold college degrees. Meanwhile, a drumbeat of studies show increasing labor market returns for degrees, and employers say they value the critical thinking skills of liberal arts graduates.

These seemingly oppositional trends are both real and on display in a new report from Northeastern University’s Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy. The report sheds light on a technology-enhanced shift in the way workers are being hired in the knowledge economy.

The traditional college degree remains by far the best ticket to a good-paying job, a well-established fact bolstered by a survey the center conducted. But the results also suggest that college leaders should pay close attention to the gradual, ongoing transformation of HR functions as well as to nascent changes in how employers view alternative credentials, particularly of the digital variety.

“The way employers relate to higher education is shifting,” said Sean R. Gallagher, the center’s executive director and the report’s author. “It’s employers getting savvier.”

The center surveyed 750 hiring leaders at U.S. employers in August and September. The results are nationally representative, spanning a wide range of industries and organizational sizes.

Most respondents reported an increase (48 percent) or no change (29 percent) in how they value educational credentials in hiring during the last five years. Just 23 percent reported a decline.

A majority (54 percent) of those surveyed agreed with the statement that college degrees are "fairly reliable representations of a candidate’s skills and knowledge." And 76 percent agreed that completing a degree program is a “valuable signal of perseverance and self-direction” in a job candidate.

Likewise, 44 percent of respondents said the level of educational attainment required or preferred for the same job roles had increased over the last five years. Most who responded that way (63 percent) indicated that additional education requirements were due to evolving skills needed for jobs, rather than the mere availability of candidates with better credentials, a finding that agues against conventional wisdom on credential inflation.

In addition, 64 percent of respondents said the need for "continuous lifelong learning" in the future will drive demand for higher levels of education and more credentials.

While the traditional degree’s currency is secure for now, the survey found that employers increasingly are moving toward hiring based on applicants’ skills or competencies. And while it remains small, the market for nondegree microcredentials is growing rapidly, according to the survey.

The report points to the increasing use of data and analytics in hiring, noting that another study found 30 percent of HR departments reporting some form of analytics usage this year, up from 10 percent a few years ago.

As a result of the increasing reliance on artificial intelligence and analytics in hiring, the report predicted that employers are likely to change their preferences for credentials.

One area where this is happening is the rise of skills-based hiring that often de-emphasizes degrees and pedigrees. These typically technology-enabled strategies involve employers defining specific skills that are necessary for the job and seeking them in candidates. As examples, the report points to IBM's New Collar Jobs project and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Talent Pipeline Management Initiative.

The survey found that 23 percent of respondents are moving in this direction, with another 39 percent reporting that they are exploring or considering such a move.

Going Online and Micro

Online credentials have become mainstream, according to the report.

“Both the education market and the HR function are less digitized than many other sectors,” Gallagher said, pointing to finance and health care as examples. “It’s coming to education.”

The survey found that 71 percent of HR officials have hired someone with a degree or credential that the employee earned completely online. However, 39 percent of respondents viewed online credentials as being second class, saying they are generally lower quality than those completed in person. Yet more than half (52 percent) said they believe that in the future, most advanced degrees will be earned online.

That hunch is backed by data the Urban Institute released earlier this week about master's degrees.

The rate of enrollment in online master's courses or programs has increased substantially since 2000, the analysis found, and is more common than in bachelor's degree programs. In 2016, the institute said 31 percent of students in master’s tracks reported that their program was entirely online, with 21 percent reporting that they took some online courses.

“You can’t ignore online,” Gallagher said.

The growth of digital learning options has spawned a variety of short, subdegree awards. These microcredentials include digital badges, MicroMasters from edX and Udacity’s Nanodegrees.

Awareness of these credentials in HR departments remains relatively low, according to the survey, yet still substantial. For example, 29 percent of respondents said they had encountered MicroMasters in the hiring process, and 10 percent said they had hired a candidate who had earned one. Another 36 percent said they had never heard of the credential from edX.

Microcredentials currently appear to be functioning as a supplement to degrees, the survey found. But that could change. A majority of respondents (55 percent) agreed with the statement that microcredentials are “likely to diminish the emphasis on degrees in hiring over the next 5-10 years.”



Test Before Hire

The biggest near-term challenge to the reliance on degrees in hiring, the survey found, is the use of prehire assessments such as online tests given to job candidates.

More than a third of respondents (39 percent) expect these assessments to have an impact on hiring within three years, and nearly 70 percent within five years.

Those findings build on a report Ithaka S+R released earlier this week in an attempt to map the “Wild West” of prehire assessment.

The report documented a “wave of rapid innovation” in this space. The interest is being driven in part by the perceived gap between job candidates’ competencies and employers’ needs, the group said, which in turn is contributing to a growing distrust by employers in “signaling credentials” such as college degrees, industry association endorsements and state licensures.

“We are at the early stages of a new market, a new industry,” said Martin Kurzweil, director of the group’s educational transformation program. Kurzweil co-wrote the report with Meagan Wilson, a senior analyst there, and Rayane Alamuddin, associate director for research and evaluation at Ithaka S+R.

As an essay published by Inside Higher Ed earlier this week noted, prehiring assessment faces regulatory and legal challenges in this country, including the risk of lawsuits alleging that such screening of hires is discriminatory. Yet plenty of experimentation with the practice is occurring, said Kurzweil.

The activity around prehiring assessment brings both promise and risks, he said. Kurzweil is excited about the prospect of “hiring people based on what they can do rather than their pedigree.” But the stakes are high, he said, particularly as profit-seeking companies move into the space.

The marketplace for prehiring assessments already is flooded, according to the report. Content and software across assessments and employers' human resources systems often are incompatible. And higher education administrators and industry association officials tend to be out of touch with new methodologies used by employers and assessment providers.

The time is ripe for college leaders to play a role in shaping the use of prehire assessments, Kurzweil said, such as contributing to norms around how the tools are used.

“We think higher education should be more engaged in what’s happening,” he said. “This is a historical force that’s sweeping through. It’s going to happen.”
00 2018-12-13
Hammond

Southeastern University to rename four streets on campus


HAMMOND - A Louisiana university is changing the names of multiple streets on its campus.

According to Southeastern Louisiana University, the street names are changing to more accurately reflect the university's identity, geography, and sense of place. At the request of Southeastern, the Hammond City Council voted to approve the changes.

Texas Avenue will become Union Avenue, Tennessee Avenue will change to Mane Street, and Virginia Avenue will become Roomie Road. Also, Tornado Drive, which once housed Hammond High School, will be renamed Lion Lane.

Officials say the new names came about at the urging of students after several first-time guests using GPS expressed confusion as to why a university in Louisiana would feature street names of others states and different mascots.

“It was just a bit confusing, for example, for someone visiting campus for the first time ever,” said Richard Davis, Southeastern Student Government Association President. “If you think about it, it just doesn’t make sense. Why would you take Texas Ave. to get to Southeastern Louisiana University’s Student Union or turn onto Tennessee Ave. for the Southeastern Louisiana University School of Nursing?”

Southeastern said online mapping services have been notified of the changes, and efforts are underway to update all campus maps and directorial identifiers.
00 2018-12-13
Lafayette

Students take stock – and make money – in UL Lafayette investment course


The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Foundation received financial advice last week from four of its portfolio managers: students enrolled in an investment course in the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration.



The student investors have a solid track record. Their portfolio management acumen has made nearly $100,000 for the University in the past three years.



The UL Lafayette Foundation invests and manages all private gifts to the University. In 2015, its Board of Trustees decided to invest up to $1 million in a student-managed investment portfolio. It allocated $100,000 in December 2015 and in May 2016. Additional contributions will continue as the program grows.



Students determine how the funds are invested. They first evaluate an economic sector, then compare an individual stock’s strength to the performance of its sector. Students use their research to write reports similar to what a Wall Street analyst might do for a client.



Those reports were the basis for last Tuesday’s presentations to the Foundation board, said Dr. Praveen K. Das. The associate professor of finance has taught the investment class each spring and fall semester since its inception.



“The course helps students develop a greater understanding of financial markets and stock price movements, and gain valuable investment research skills,” Das said.



There are safeguards. The Foundation narrowed the selection of stocks to securities in the S&P 500, an indicator investors use to evaluate market performance. The index contains 500 leading companies divided among 11 industrial sectors, including energy, health care, information technology, utilities and communications services.



There are also limits as to how weighted the portfolio is toward any one sector, and no stock purchase can exceed 2 percent of the portfolio’s total value. In addition, recommendations students make to buy new stocks or to trade, sell or hold existing securities are reviewed by the Foundation’s investment committee.



Thomas L. Kreamer, a Lafayette financial adviser and 1980 University graduate, is the committee’s chairman. He said the Foundation has followed “every piece of advice students have given us – buy, sell or hold” since the class began. “They have done a great job.”



And reaped dividends for the University, too. By the end of September 2018, student investments had grown the portfolio’s value to $294,124, a 15.2 percent annual return. By comparison, the S&P 500 returned about 16.1 percent to investors during the same period, Kreamer said.



The student-managed portfolio contains 28 stocks, including familiar names such as Amazon, Procter & Gamble, Lockheed Martin and Stanley Black & Decker. If the Foundation board accepts recommendations students made last week, the portfolio will gain four securities and lose one.



The class is open to juniors and seniors. Finance majors Drake Bodin, Michael Guillot and Courtney Quebedeaux – who all graduate Friday – and accounting senior Katelyn Ward collectively reviewed eight stocks in the fall semester.



Some were current portfolio holdings; others were possible additions. Students provided board members with four-page reports that outlined revenue and earnings data, growth estimates and how each company compared to others within a sector.



Students balanced recommendations with anticipated risks. Quebedeaux urged board members to add Apple to the portfolio, but cautioned that – despite the stock’s consistent overperformance against competitors such as HP, Facebook and Google – the company relies too much on its signature iPhone for revenue.



In addition, trade tensions between the United States and China, a substantial market for Apple products, further muddies the company’s outlook, Quebedeaux noted.



Guillot advised that the portfolio maintain, or hold, its current investment in General Dynamics. The aerospace and defense company beat six of the last eight earnings estimates, he explained. Increased defense spending in the U.S. and worldwide bodes well for the company’s continued strength.



“We already hold it, and I find that as a fairly priced company, it is better to hold and seek the possible benefits of recent government budget increases in defense rather than get rid of it now,” Guillot said.



The course received a boost this fall with the opening of the Maraist Financial Services Lab in F.G. Mouton Hall. A $2.5 million gift from alumnus Michael P. Maraist and his family funded construction of the lab, site of last week’s presentations.



The facility has a dozen Bloomberg Terminals, which Das said students relied on “extensively” in their analyses.



The service provides students and faculty the same platform used by the world’s leading banks, corporations and government agencies. It includes real-time price, news and trading data that enable users to build and analyze portfolios, and compare investment strategies.



Before the Bloomberg Terminals, students would have to rely on other analysts’ work to make recommendations. Now, they can create their own models using data the service provides in just a few keystrokes, Kreamer said.



“The Maraist Lab opens up a completely new world for them to do fundamental research like they have never been able to do before. It’s an incredible tool.”



Photo caption: UL Lafayette finance major Drake Bodin presents investment research to members of the University’s Foundation board on Dec. 4 in the Maraist Financial Services Lab. The lab opened this fall in F.G. Mouton Hall on campus. (Photo credit: Doug Dugas / University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
00 2018-12-13
Lafayette

Governor John Bel Edwards to speak at UL Lafayette's commencement ceremony on December 14


Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards will be the featured speaker at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Fall 2018 Commencement ceremony.

The General Assembly will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 14, at the Cajundome.

In 2008, Edwards was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives. He served for eight years until he became governor. He was House minority leader for three years.

Edwards earned a degree in engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1988. He served in the U.S. Army as an Airborne Ranger on active duty and commanded a rifle company in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Edwards was sworn in as the state’s 56th governor in January 2016.
00 2018-12-13
Monroe

Katie Dawson named teacher of the year for her work with ULM Online


Katie Dawson, interim director of ULM Online, has been named the 2018 Post Secondary Teacher of the Year for Region 8, an award she received for her innovative work with the University of Louisiana Monroe’s online programs.

She was presented with a certificate on Nov. 28 at the Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators 34th Annual Conference. The association’s goal is to “enable the full utilization of the power of technology to assist in the fulfillment of the goals of education.”

"It was such an honor to be recognized with this award, and even more so to be nominated by a great faculty member. I feel fortunate to work in an innovative, collaborative, and supportive environment,” Dawson said.

Dawson was nominated by James Boldin, associate director and associate professor of music of the ULM School of Visual and Performing Arts.

Eric Pani, vice president of academic affairs, said, “Dawson’s commitment to online learning has made her one of our state’s leaders in distance education. She has worked with ULM Online since its inception and was involved in online learning before that. Her effort as a curriculum designer helped all the faculty who worked with her produce high-quality classes. As interim director of ULM Online, her performance has reached an even higher level of achievement, and her influence in making online learning better has expanded. I feel she has earned this award and want to congratulate her on this well-deserved recognition.”

Her first position at ULM was as an adjunct faculty member in the communication department where she prepared syllabi, course material and taught a variety of courses. Dawson taught several classes, including public speaking, fundamentals in communication, interpersonal communication and honors communication. She was named the ULM Honors Faculty of the Year in 2013-14.

“I started as an adjunct faculty member in the department of communication at ULM in January 2010. I joined the staff of the newly developed eULM Office, now ULM Online in August 2013, and I became Interim Director of ULM Online April 30,” Dawson said. “I've been fortunate to grow professionally at ULM and that as a staff member I can continue teaching a couple courses online each semester.”

Dawson’s approach to online course design is to take ideas used to teach in a face to face course and creatively redesign them to be used online. She realized that she could design online courses which fulfilled the educational requirements and were engaging and interactive for students at a distance.

For five years Dawson was coordinator of online programs. It was in that role that she helped full-time faculty develop online courses for the ULM Online programs. As demand for online programs increased, the university expanded the online options for students. Dawson was a resource for helping faculty and programs create online courses to meet those needs.

Her curriculum vitae states some of her work as coordinator was to “facilitate online course development process for faculty, develop innovative course assignments and assessments, maintain undergraduate online course designs … “

Dawson and online learning are making an impact for the adult students who make up the majority of ULM Online students.

Dawson came to ULM from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

“I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Corporate/Organizational Communication in 2006 and my Master of Arts in Communication in 2009 from Western Kentucky University,” she said.

She is finishing her Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Higher Ed Administration from Louisiana Tech.
00 2018-12-13
Monroe

Regents issue final approval for GSU's Bachelor of Science in cybersecurity


Grambling State University, Louisiana’s top producer of African-American computer science graduates, received final approval to offer the state’s first Bachelor of Science degree in cybersecurity in 2019.

At a Wednesday meeting, the Louisiana Board of Regents offered the final approval and support for the university’s program that will enroll its first cohort for fall 2019.

“We’re excited because of what this means for our students and their futures,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “We know that in the next year alone, there will be more than two million jobs available in the field. As this market grows, so does the opportunity for well-trained talent; including our graduates.”

Program interest and student opportunity

For six years, Grambling State has led Louisiana as the top producer of African-American computer science graduates. Today, more than 300 students on campus have completed at least one of the nine active courses in cybersecurity offered at Grambling State. These courses count toward the new degree or a concentration for current students majoring in criminal justice, computer information systems, and engineering technology.


A fall 2017 student survey showed 75 percent of GSU students expressed some level of interest in the new degree.

“Cybersecurity is one of the top issues right now in the world of technology," said GSU computer science major Jarrid Richards. “If I were not graduating this fall, I would definitely change my major. I think every student should consider the field; cybersecurity is technology’s next big opportunity.”

According to third-party data published by Indeed.com, salaries for entry-level jobs in cybersecurity range from approximately $36,101 per year for internships to $113,851 per year for IT Security Specialist nationwide.

Program overview and next steps

The new program’s director will be Yenumula B. Reddy, a current Grambling State faculty member, researcher and member of the Louisiana Cybersecurity Commission who has spearheaded the program’s development.

“We are excited about the work of Dr. Reddy and his team,” Gallot said. “Their innovation in research and the classroom have a tremendous impact on our students.”

As proposed, the Grambling State University Bachelor of Science degree in cybersecurity will require the completion of 120 credit hours; including specialized coursework in computer science, criminal justice, and network architecture and security.

As a next step, the university will hire two additional faculty and prepare to open 12 new courses in cybersecurity during the 2019-20 academic year pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

For more program information, interested students can visit gram.edu/cybersecurity.
“With the vision of your team and the support of this Board, we are confident Grambling is prepared to educate cybersecurity professionals the market is demanding,” said University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors Chair Al Perkins. “These graduates will be equipped with highly sought-after skills to protect us as technology becomes more prevalent in our daily lives.”
00 2018-12-13
Monroe

Katie Dawson named teacher of the year for her work with ULM Online


Katie Dawson, interim director of ULM Online, has been named the 2018 Post Secondary Teacher of the Year for Region 8, an award she received for her innovative work with the University of Louisiana Monroe’s online programs.

She was presented with a certificate on Nov. 28 at the Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators 34th Annual Conference. The association’s goal is to “enable the full utilization of the power of technology to assist in the fulfillment of the goals of education.”

"It was such an honor to be recognized with this award, and even more so to be nominated by a great faculty member. I feel fortunate to work in an innovative, collaborative, and supportive environment,” Dawson said.

Dawson was nominated by James Boldin, associate director and associate professor of music of the ULM School of Visual and Performing Arts.

Eric Pani, vice president of academic affairs, said, “Dawson’s commitment to online learning has made her one of our state’s leaders in distance education. She has worked with ULM Online since its inception and was involved in online learning before that. Her effort as a curriculum designer helped all the faculty who worked with her produce high-quality classes. As interim director of ULM Online, her performance has reached an even higher level of achievement, and her influence in making online learning better has expanded. I feel she has earned this award and want to congratulate her on this well-deserved recognition.”

Her first position at ULM was as an adjunct faculty member in the communication department where she prepared syllabi, course material and taught a variety of courses. Dawson taught several classes, including public speaking, fundamentals in communication, interpersonal communication and honors communication. She was named the ULM Honors Faculty of the Year in 2013-14.

“I started as an adjunct faculty member in the department of communication at ULM in January 2010. I joined the staff of the newly developed eULM Office, now ULM Online in August 2013, and I became Interim Director of ULM Online April 30,” Dawson said. “I've been fortunate to grow professionally at ULM and that as a staff member I can continue teaching a couple courses online each semester.”

Dawson’s approach to online course design is to take ideas used to teach in a face to face course and creatively redesign them to be used online. She realized that she could design online courses which fulfilled the educational requirements and were engaging and interactive for students at a distance.

For five years Dawson was coordinator of online programs. It was in that role that she helped full-time faculty develop online courses for the ULM Online programs. As demand for online programs increased, the university expanded the online options for students. Dawson was a resource for helping faculty and programs create online courses to meet those needs.

Her curriculum vitae states some of her work as coordinator was to “facilitate online course development process for faculty, develop innovative course assignments and assessments, maintain undergraduate online course designs … “

Dawson and online learning are making an impact for the adult students who make up the majority of ULM Online students.

Dawson came to ULM from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

“I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Corporate/Organizational Communication in 2006 and my Master of Arts in Communication in 2009 from Western Kentucky University,” she said.

She is finishing her Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Higher Ed Administration from Louisiana Tech.
00 2018-12-13
Natchitoches

NSU professor hosts Math Circle on LSMSA campus


Math teachers from Natchitoches and Shreveport visited the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) to attend the first of potentially many Math Circle meetings in the area. The group included both middle and high school instructors from the two regions.

The event, hosted by Mathematics Professor Judith Covington of Northwestern State University (NSU), started in Shreveport with the intent of helping local math teachers feel appreciated while also providing them a moment to relax in between their busy academic schedules.

“Our goal is to remind these teachers of their love of mathematics and to involve them in actually doing mathematics,” said Covington. “Most that attend say that the evening is like a game night for teachers.”

Covington, who had previously worked at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, founded and directed the original North Louisiana Math Teachers’ Circle in Caddo.

The evening included an evening of math games, as well as supper at no cost to attendees.

The event was funded by the Noel Foundation in Shreveport, a non-profit dedicated to supporting cultural arts, education, and community. The group is currently looking for local funding in the Natchitoches area. If interested, contact Judith Covington at covingtonj@nsula.edu.
00 2018-12-13
Ruston

GSU ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY STUDENTS BUILD DRONE


Grambling State University assistant professor Jon Frazier, fourth from right, flies a drone (top left) built by Frazier’s engineering graphics class at GSU.
00 2018-12-12
Hammond

Southeastern confers degree on more than 1,000


Southeastern Louisiana University conferred degrees on more than 1,000 graduates Saturday, Dec. 8, during the university’s commencement ceremony.

Of the 1,029 students who received degrees, 118 were from Livingston Parish. Candidates for associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees were honored during the ceremony.

Kim Hunter Reed, Ph.D., Louisiana’s Commissioner of Higher Education, addressed Southeastern graduating students.

Reed’s appointment as Commissioner of Higher Education in April 2018 made her the only female in the country currently serving as a state higher education lead who has led higher education in more than one state.

Prior to being named Commissioner, Reed served as executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. Working with the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, Reed led efforts to drive increased educational attainment and erase equity gaps. During her tenure in Colorado, she oversaw the implementation of nearly $109 million in additional support for Colorado Higher Education, bringing funding levels in the state to a historic high.

In his welcome, SLU President John L. Crain noted that the 1,029 individuals being recognized at commencement included 361 men and 668 women who were receiving 15 different degrees, as well as representatives from 21 states and 14 countries.

The university awarded its highest academic honor, the President’s Medal for Academic Excellence, to six students with the highest cumulative grade point average in the university’s five colleges.

Two of the honorees came from Livingston Parish.

Medal recipients were:

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – political science major Damian Marcus Boldt of Tickfaw, 4.0 GPA; and psychology major Jessica Michol Monsour of Slidell, 4.0 GPA.
College of Business – accounting major Megan Denise Lanoy of Holden, 3.953 GPA.
College of Education – elementary education major, grades 1 – 5, Hannah Morgan Vaughn of Belle Chasse, 4.0 GPA.
College of Nursing and Health Sciences – kinesiology/exercise science major Madelyn Noel Jarman of Abita Springs, 3.971 GPA.
College of Science and Technology – biological sciences, integrative biology major Logan N. Johnson of Kentwood, 3.918 GPA.
Students from Livingston Parish who received associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees were:

Doctoral Degrees

Walker

Stefanie R. Sorbet, Educational Leadership Ed.D..

Masters Degrees

Albany

Wendi H. Neal, Nursing.

Denham Springs

Brooke E. Barrett, Applied Sociology; Breanna L. Byrd, Nursing; Macy L. Catalano, Nursing; Lucie J. Jones, Nursing.

Livingston

Angela Q. Cavalier, Counseling.

Walker

Hunter J. Chaney, Business Administration; Heather D. Meades-Cifreo, Educational Leadership; Haleigh Sharp, Business Administration; Victoria F. Varnado, Special Education.

Bachelors Degrees

Albany

Cara J. Blanchard, Social Work; Alison C. Carroll, Family & Consumer Sciences; Taylor B. Damare, Accounting; Fabein Disedare, Criminal Justice; Phillip R. Flynt, Management; Emily G. Leeper, Marketing.

Denham Springs

Carleigh C. Adams, Biological Sciences; Meagan M. Ashley, Art; Allison C. Barrios, Criminal Justice; Joseph D. Basso, Management; Peyton B. Blackwell, Marketing; Alexi R. Booth, Nursing; Michael T. Brignac, Finance; Hilary A. Burns, Nursing; Lauren A. Carpenter, Management; Summer M. Carter, General Studies; Brooke A. Clary, Biological Sciences; Zoie B. Cook, Industrial Technology; Carmen N. Coon, Family & Consumer Sciences; Evan T. Cranford, Nursing; Regan V. Davis, Marketing; Megan J. Derbes, Management; Alana J. Dubecky, Social Work; Erika Ferretiz, Psychology; Lauren E. Garaudy, Criminal Justice; Michael A. Gardner, Biological Sciences; Samuel T. Gordon III, Accounting; Adaline J. Griggs, Accounting; Carl D. Guidry, Kinesiology; Dillon T. Haley, Kinesiology; Victoria A. Harthcock, General Studies; Heather C. Hendrix, Health Education & Promotion; Joshua D. Hinkel, English; Summer L. Juneau, Kinesiology; Tracy L. Kearney, Nursing; Caleb D. Kerstens, Political Science; Areal J. LeJeune, Psychology; Ashton T. Leblanc, Art; Kaitlyn A. Lindsey, Elementary Education Grades 1-5; Natalie N. Lorena, Biological Sciences; Kelsey A. Lougon, Nursing;

Also, Karlee E. McKernan, General Studies; Olivia N. McNabb, Family & Consumer Sciences; Leah B. Miller, Biological Sciences; Tyler N. Miller, Kinesiology; Alexis J. Montgomery, Psychology; Vikki Parker, Accounting; James B. Pierce, Accounting; Katie L. Pierce, Early/Childhood Education Grades PK-3; Tra M. Pinion, Marketing; Carrigan J. Robinson, Accounting; Haley N. Ryland, General Studies; Madeline M. Scivicque, Art; Allison B. Shelton, Communication Sciences & Disorders; Shelby R. Stevens, Health Systems Management; Olivia J. Streat, Kinesiology; Lindsey D. Tharp, General Studies; Chelsea B. Thomas, Computer Science; Alexandra L. Thompson, Management; Kori N. Tilyou, Psychology; Sarah S. Vinson, Family & Consumer Sciences; Caleb H. Walls, Social Studies Education; Courtney R. Warren, English; Joshua B. Wetzel, Information Technology; Amanda L. Wood, Nursing; Alexa G. Zambito, General Studies.

French Settlement

Cory J. Oliphant, Engineering Technology.

Holden

Tiffany A. Ambrose, Family & Consumer Sciences; Cassie R. Boudreaux, General Studies; Tyler S. Hampton, Communication; Madison E. Mizell, Kinesiology; Dana Pierson, Family & Consumer Sciences; Alexandra C. Sanders, Nursing; Mona L. Sykes, General Studies.

Livingston

Gabrielle L. Achord, English Education; Ashleigh L. Balfantz, Management; Cory L. Boudreaux, Criminal Justice; Cadie Guitreau, Psychology; Erica Hilbun, Sociology; Whitney L. Lobell, Kinesiology; Ashley E. Martin, Nursing; Alex R. McMorris, Business Administration; Jazmine D. Oliphant, Business Administration; Shelbi B. Spier, Nursing; Ambriehlla M. St. John, Criminal Justice; Michael S. Stitt, Management; Samuel H. Taylor, Biological Sciences; Monica L. Vincent, Occupational Health, Safety, and Environment; Carlie N. Whittington, General Studies.

Maurepas

Jace R. Berthelot, Marketing; Claire R. Richardson, Management.

Springfield

Erica K. Jubin, General Studies; Megan D. Lanoy, Accounting; Taylor M. Picou, Political Science.

Walker

Mackenzie J. Caillouet, Nursing; Joshua R. Crawford, Kinesiology; Sara B. Farwell, Nursing; Calyn C. Foster, Nursing; Ray W. Fuller, Accounting; Shelby L. Hano, Psychology; Justin Hibbard, Middle School Education Grades 4-8; Jordyn T. LeBlanc, Nursing; Haley E. Loyacano, Elementary Education Grades 1-5; Madelyn P. Paternostro, Management; Taylor M. Sharp, Communication; Logan K. Sibley, Criminal Justice.

Watson

Amy K. Byrne, General Studies
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Lafayette

UL recognizes top scholars as Outstanding Master’s Graduates


UL Lafayette recognizes top scholars as Outstanding Master’s Graduates

Emily Covington is the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Outstanding Master’s Graduate.

She is among five finalists for the award. Each will be recognized during Fall 2018 Commencement General Assembly. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. on Friday at the Cajundome.

Each spring and fall semester, individual graduate programs nominate a student for the award. Criteria include leadership, scholarship, service and research.

The dean of UL Lafayette’s Graduate School leads a committee that selects the top candidates. An Alumni Association committee interviews the finalists and chooses an overall Outstanding Master’s Graduate.

In addition to being the fall semester’s overall honoree, Covington represents the Department of Communication as its Outstanding Master’s Graduate. She has a 4.0 GPA.

Covington’s thesis explored the influence of imagined interactions – those that occur only within an individual’s mind – on actual interpersonal conflicts. She presented her research at several regional and national conferences.

A chapter Covington authored is included in a volume that examines the relationship between mental health and imagined interactions. The book was published earlier this year.

She plans to work in community development or at a nonprofit following graduation.

Covington earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from UL Lafayette in 2016. As an undergraduate, she was the Department of Communications’ Outstanding Graduate and the Outstanding Graduate for the College of Liberal Arts.

She is the daughter of Julie Darce Mire of Church Point, La., and Kurt Covington of Lake Charles, La.

Here’s a look at the remaining Outstanding Master’s Graduate honorees.

Elizabeth Barron is the Outstanding Master’s Graduate in the Department of Biology. She has a 3.72 GPA.

Her master’s thesis examined the predatory performance of king snakes, which perform a valuable ecological service by consuming rodents.

Barron volunteered at the U.S. Geological Survey Wetlands and Aquatic Research Center and at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. In both roles, she surveyed emerging wildlife diseases and assessed the status of the Louisiana pine snake, which the federal government classifies as threatened.

Barron is a member of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists and the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles.

Following graduation, she plans to work as a private lands biologist.

Barron earned a bachelor’s degree in animal, dairy and poultry sciences in 2016 from LSU in Baton Rouge. She is the daughter of Geralyn and Richard Barron of Lafayette.

Caleb Fogle is the Outstanding Master’s Graduate in the Department of Psychology. He has a 4.0 GPA.

His thesis explored how parenting with empathy and mindfulness influences social behaviors in children. Fogle presented his research at numerous regional, national and global conferences.

He participated in several projects coordinated by UL Lafayette’s Louisiana Contextual Science Research Group. Fogle also worked with the Lafayette Police Department and Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office as part of a faculty-directed research project on policing and mental health.

He was an intern and co-counselor at a therapy center and a private practice.

Following graduation, he plans to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology.

Fogle earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2016 from Murray State University in Kentucky.

He is the son of Karen Fogle of Louisville, Kentucky, and the late Gary Fogle.

Katie Murphy is the Outstanding Master’s Graduate in the School of Architecture and Design. She has a 3.82 GPA.

Her master’s project examined how architecture in coastal regions reinforces community identity and contributes to a region’s cultural vitality.

During her graduate studies, Murphy partnered with the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission and the Heritage Trail Partners to save an historical structure threatened by suburban development. Her efforts led to the property’s purchase and preservation.

She also contributed to the Community Design Workshop’s research for the Interstate 49 Connector Project, an elevated six-lane highway that’s proposed for Lafayette.

Following graduation, Murphy plans to work for an architectural firm.

She received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from UL Lafayette in 2017, and is the daughter of Colette Murphy of Loganville, Georgia, and the late Michael Murphy.

Adam J. Trahan is the Outstanding Master’s Graduate in the Department of Physics. He has a 4.0 GPA.

His thesis examined how low-frequency acoustic waves spread inside cloud layers on the planet Venus. Trahan presented his research at the 2018 national meeting of the Acoustical Society of America.

He represented the Department of Physics in UL Lafayette’s Graduate Student Organization, and served as treasurer of the Society for Physics Students’ campus chapter.

Trahan earned a bachelor’s degree in physics in 2016 from UL Lafayette. While an undergraduate, he interned at the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Carderock Division in Bethesda, Maryland. He also worked as a bioassay analyst at a materials technology company in Lafayette.

Following graduation, Trahan hopes to work at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in coastal Mississippi. He is the son of Nancy Duhon of Abbeville, La.

Photo caption: The Fall 2018 Outstanding Master’s Graduates are, from left: Katie Murphy, School of Architecture and Design; Emily Covington, Department of Communication; Elizabeth Barron, Department of Biology; and Adam J. Trahan, Department of Physics. Caleb Fogle, Department of Psychology, is not pictured. (Photo credit: Rachel Keyes / University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
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Lafayette

UL Lafayette graduate, mother of 3 receives degree after nearly a decade of struggles


Leila Mirdamadi came to Lafayette, where two of her daughters lived, after a bitter divorce and huge lifestyle change.

It's taken almost nine years, but on Friday she'll finally cross that Cajundome stage and throw her cap.

Mirdamadi, 58, was born and raised along the coast of California. She got married in her early 20s and had three daughters.

"I had a great life — I now see a very privileged life," she said. "I thought it was normal."

She and her husband split up, living apart but still married for years. It was amicable, she said, until the divorce process in 2009.

"Things got real ugly, real quick," she said.

In the meantime, Mirdamadi's older two daughters had moved to college at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Time for school? Get ready for the 'new-collar' workforce, where training can trump the traditional degree

As things got dire, her oldest convinced her mom and youngest sister to join them in Louisiana.


"Her work experience mostly consisted of raising me and my sisters," said daughter Jheila Poynter. "When her and my dad split up she had no money, no house, no anything."

Mirdamadi and her teenage daughter sold off their belongings and hit the road.

It was hard to leave the only home she'd ever known — California — where almost all of her family was.

"When I came here I was lost. I didn't know who I was," Mirdamadi said.

They drove into Lafayette "on fumes," she said, in August 2009. She rented a home with her three kids. The oldest was commuting from Lafayette to LSU for law school, the next at UL Lafayette and the youngest started Lafayette High.

Mirdamadi had just turned 49. She started working in retail when she got to Lafayette, but "my head wasn't in the right place for sales," she said.

Then she got a job at a grocery store. It paid the bills but wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.

She didn't know how to change her situation. Her oldest daughter recommended Mom try college.

MORE: Linebacker Devin White becomes first LSU player to win the prestigious Butkus Award

But Mirdamadi had all the excuses. I'm too old. I can't afford it.

Poynter asked her, "Why is this so shocking or impossible to you? All three of your kids went to school."

She explained about federal grants and other financial aid, and her mom decided to give it a try.

Mirdamadi said she got straight A's her first semester in the College of Liberal Arts. She wanted to prove she could do it, and try to erase those bad high school report cards in her memory.

"I thought going to school was just to get a career," Mirdamadi said. "Now I know it's more than that. ... I didn't know I could grow at this age."

She faced obstacle after obstacle, from balancing a full-time job with a full workload to medical issues that forced her to sit out a semester.

She suspects her crazy-busy, sleep-deprived lifestyle contributed.

"All-nighters at my age are not easy," she said.

She changed majors, repeated a semester, ran out of financial aid after six years and more. Along the way she had "champions" like her kids and advisers.

MORE: Louisiana woman turns mom's Alzheimer's journal into inspiring book

It taught her a lot about perseverance.

"I found a way to make it work each time," she said. "Life goes on. Life happens and sometimes it's really horrible. ... (I learned) I have the capacity to change my life."

It's been a lesson to those around her, too.

"My mom never gave up despite the cards being stacked against her repeatedly," Poynter said. "... I'm more proud of her than I could possibly ever say. It wasn't for anybody else. It was for her."

Poynter and her sisters will be at commencement Friday to watch their mom graduate with a bachelor's degree in general studies.

After years of working, going to class and completing assignments at all hours of the night, Mirdamadi is looking forward to finding out what's next for her.

"I want to start my life," she said.
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Natchitoches

Hurst Hall Scholarship will benefit graduate students


NATCHITOCHES – The family of the late Dr. Hurst M. Hall Sr., a long-time member of the Northwestern State University faculty, created a scholarship in his memory to benefit a student pursuing a master’s degree in education for a period of three years.



The family chose to award the scholarship at the master’s level or higher because there are fewer scholarship options for those students.



“Most people at the master’s level and beyond have more financial constraints because they have families and other responsibilities,” said Jane Hall, Dr. Hall’s wife. “Hurst believed in education and always continuing to learn no matter what your age.”

Dr. Hall, 88, passed away Aug. 6 in Natchitoches. He was born in Mt. Pleasant, Mississippi, and was the oldest son of Callie and Lewis Hall. He graduated from Toccopola High School and then earned Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in health and physical education from the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi where he ran track. He also earned the Advanced Master of Arts in education degree in guidance and counseling from Ole Miss before earning the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Psychology and Counseling at the University of Alabama in 1969.



After earning his bachelor’s degree, he entered the U. S. Air Force and served from 1951-1955. He then served as director of special services and as a guidance counselor for Union Public Schools in Union, Missouri.



Dr. Hall married the love of his life, the former Jane Elizabeth Kean, in 1954, and together they raised two children, Kimberly Jane and Hurst Jr. (Landy).



Hall joined the Northwestern State University faculty in 1959 as a psychologist and educational consultant on special evaluation teams. During his 40-year tenure he taught countless students serving as a professor, department head and division chairman for special education, human services and educational psychology. Hall was the author and co-author of numerous publications and grants, and he devoted a significant part of his career as a consultant for several state and federal agencies. He was president of Phi Delta Kappa and was an active officer and member of the American and Louisiana Psychological Associations, the National Association of School Psychologists, Psi Chi, the Council for Exceptional Children, the Louisiana Personnel and Guidance Association, and the Natchitoches Mental Health Association. He held lifetime teacher and counselor certificates in several states; he proudly served as a Licensed Professional Counselor for the National Board of Certified Counselors. He was named Professor Emeritus in the College of Education at Northwestern State following his retirement in 2001.



“Dr. Hall was my adviser when I was working on my Masters of Education,” said Brooke Williams, a former student. “I delayed receiving my Master’s because I didn’t want to write a thesis. Dr. Hall called me one day and told me that I had to have my first revision on his desk by the weekend. No ifs, ands or buts about it. Of course, because I had great respect for him, I busted my behind and had my first revision on his desk. When I brought it to him, he smiled at me and said, ‘I knew you could do it.’ He always was supportive and encouraging. He also had a great sense of humor. I am pleased so see that NSU is honoring his name with a scholarship.”



Hall was active in the community, and a member of the Natchitoches Rotary Club, where he was named a Paul Harris Fellow. He was a member of the Grand Masonic Lodge of Louisiana, Phoenix Lodge No. 38 in Natchitoches; a member of the El Karubah Shriners, and a member of the Sons of the American Revolution. His family were active members of Trinity Episcopal Church, where he served as a reader, choir member and Senior Warden. He was a founding member of the Back Porch Band in Natchitoches, and was named to the Louisiana State Hall of Master Folk Artists in 2002.



“Thank you for continuing Dr. Hall’s tradition of working to help students,” said Dr. Kimberly McAlister, dean of the College of Education and Human Development. “He was such an advocate for students and his genuine care and interest was evident in all his interactions with faculty and students.”



“Dr. Hurst Hall made a difference in my life,” said Dr. Vickie Gentry, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. “Always supportive to the College of Education and Department of Psychology. Always seeking ways to support students and his colleagues. A generous, kind-hearted man. I miss him so much; this scholarship will carry on the traits he best represented.”



To make memorial contributions to the Dr. Hurst M. Hall Memorial Scholarship in Education, visit northwesternalumni.com or call (318) 357-4414.


Members of the Hurst Hall family created a scholarship to honor the long-time educator through a contribution to the NSU Foundation. On the front row from left are granddaughter Molly Hobby, daughter and NSU alum Kim Hall Oas, great-grandson Hurst Michael Hall, grandson Dr. Hurst Hall III, great-granddaughter Cate Hall and brother Joe Robert Hall. Standing are grandson-in-law Ryan Hobby, granddaughter Callie Hall, wife Jane Hall, granddaughter-in-law Carolyn Hall, granddaughter Suzie Hall, granddaughter Hannah Hall Buzamato and daughter-in-law and NSU alum Julie Hall. The Hall’s late son Hurst Jr., “Landy,” was also an NSU graduate.
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Natchitoches

NAFA supports NSU Foundation scholarship


NATCHITOCHES – Representatives from the Natchitoches Association of Financial Advisors presented a donation of $10,000 to the Northwestern State University Foundation, a contribution to support an endowed scholarship established by the NAFA.



David Haymon of Leesville, Buddy Wood of Many and Nettles Brown of Natchitoches met with NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio and Director of Development Jill Bankston, CFRE, to explain why the group chose not to establish scholarship criteria.



“We have a scholarship that has no restrictions. It’s usually the last one that’s given,” Brown said. “We are about helping kids. There are no restrictions except for financial need.”



“We are making a difference in this region,” Maggio said. An unrestricted scholarship may benefit not only a traditional student but could lend support to a student who is a working parent, someone who needs to return to the workforce, students from rural areas and those who are first-generation students. “We are changing a lot of folks’ lives.”



Brown suggested that if all NSU alumni contribute just $100 annually the impact on student support could be tremendous.



“Students love being here,” Bankston said. “The pride on the Northwestern State campus is tremendous right now. Unrestricted scholarships help students who need a hand with books or other expenses to stay in school and complete their degrees.”



For information on giving to the NSU Foundation, visit northwesternalumni.com or contact Bankston at bankstonj@nsula.edu or at (318) 357-4241.


The Natchitoches Association of Financial Advisors contributed to a scholarship the group established that is awarded based on financial need. From left are NSU Director of Development Jill Bankston, Nettles Brown, NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio, David Haymon and Buddy Wood.
00 2018-12-12
Natchitoches

Graduating teacher candidates recognized


NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s School of Education Portfolio Presentation Day was Monday, Dec. 3. The day began with the 32 resident and student teachers sharing highlights from their clinical experience and ended with a ceremony to honor their achievements.



Dr. April Giddens, assistant professor of Education and 2012 Louisiana Teacher of the Year, delivered a congratulatory address. William Brent and Bob Jordan presented Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP): Learning for Life awards to the candidates who participated in a year-long residency.



“These candidates will join the ranks of educators who are a part of Northwestern State’s rich teacher preparation legacy,” said Ramona A. Wynder, interim Director of Clinical Practice. “We are extremely proud of their accomplishments.”


Graduating teacher candidates in music education were recognized by faculty from both the School of Education and the School of Creative and Performing Arts. On the front row from left are Cameron Mayfield, Aaron Martin, Tristian Zamora, Derienne Copeland, Emily Ortiz, Kylah Banasky, Amanda Mustian and Dr. Sharon Joy. On the back row are Robdrick Halton, Billy Gorr, Eric Bourg, Dr. Bill Brent, Dr. Greg Handel, Dr. Mitch Davis and Jordan Whatley. Graduates from the College of Education and Human Development will be awarded degrees during 10 a.m. commencement Friday, Dec. 14.

Graduating teacher candidates were recognized and presented apple pins by faculty. The students will receive diplomas during 10 a.m. commencement Friday, Dec. 14. On the front row from left are Ramona Wynder, Madison Milligan, Sidney Salmans, Morgan, Woodall, Autumn Smith, Kaitlyn Arena, Amy Eckerle, Tatyanna Kinsey, LeKayla Smith and Ebone Burton. On the back row are Sterlin Foster, Benny Broadway, Maycy English, Kristan Valdez, Baley McAlexander, Suzanne Williams, Antavious Roberson, Kenedy Lampert, Clinton Oliver and Shayna Brown.
00 2018-12-11
Baton Rouge

After House Speaker Taylor Barras objects, no upgrade to Louisiana budget forecast


More than $43 million in budget priorities – mostly law enforcement expenditures – has been delayed again, after state House leadership again objected to an attempt at upgrading the state's economic forecast on Monday.

House Speaker Taylor Barras was the only member of the Revenue Estimating Conference to reject the advice of state economists about improved projections that would free up money to fund pay raises for corrections officers and cover costs of local sheriffs who house state inmates, among other priorities lawmakers identified in the state budget that began July 1.

"There just seems a number of concerns and we would seem to be taking a big leap of faith," said Barras, R-New Iberia. "I have to put our taxpayers first."

All other members of the revenue panel, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, LSU economist Jim Richardson and Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, voted in favor of the latest projections, but REC votes must be unanimous, so Barras' vote against blocked the maneuver.

It was the second time in as many weeks that state House Republican leaders have blocked the funding boost. Two weeks ago, House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry, a Metarie Republican who took part in the meeting in Barras' absence, was the lone vote against.

After tense meeting over possible rosier Louisiana financials, no update to revenue forecast
After tense meeting over possible rosier Louisiana financials, no update to revenue forecast
Just when it seemed fights over Louisiana's state budget had become a thing of the past, tempers flared again at the State Capitol on Tuesday …

"The more information we have, the more accurate we are with the forecast," Barras said. "If we wait later in the fiscal year to make this adoption, not much gets affected."

The Legislature, in approving a budget plan for the fiscal year that started July 1, left about $43 million in items to be funded if the state forecast was upgraded.

"It seems to me that the will of the Legislature was made clear," said Dardenne, who serves on the panel at Edwards' direction. "I think it's unfortunate that we've injected a funding discussion into the process."

Barras also blocked an attempt to boost the projection for the next budget cycle.

The move could complicate the drafting of Gov. John Bel Edwards' executive budget proposal that will be released next month.

Edwards, a Democrat who is seeking re-election next year, has been an outspoken proponent for pay raises for K-12 teachers in the coming year. Without the additional revenue recognized, that proposal may not make it into his executive document that kick-starts the budgeting process.

"In all fairness to our teachers, we need to make sure that funding is there and is reliable," Barras said.

Also in limbo is $10 million to open a new youth offender facility in Bunkie that has been repeatedly delayed because of funding concerns.

Dardenne argued that an update this month would be more accurate than the current projection, which was adopted in June.

"It's obviously not early in the process," he said. "We have always taken action at this point in time."

The economists on Monday had recommended adjusting the budget outlook to reflect about $130 million more in revenue the state is on track to collect before the budget ends June 30.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee, which includes senators and House members from the chambers' spending panels, would ultimately get to say which items on the contingency budget would be funded if more revenue is recognized.

"Our job is to estimate revenue," Dardene said. "It's up to the Legislature to determine how it's spent."

Alario said he respects Barras' position but he voted in favor of the updated figures.

"I know how dedicated he is to this state and trying to make the right decisions," he said. "(But) by us denying the actual facts of an increase, we prohibit the budget committee from having an opportunity to vote on those things."

"This is a refreshing time for us and a sign the economy is heading in the right direction," Alario added.
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Houma/Thibodaux

Charlotte Bollinger to speak at Nicholls December graduation


Education advocate, businesswoman and philanthropist Charlotte Bollinger will serve as the keynote speaker for the 103rd Commencement at Nicholls State University Saturday, Dec. 15 in Stopher Gym.
This year, graduation will be split into three ceremonies. Ceremonies for the College of Business Administration and the College of Education will be at 9 a.m., followed by the College of Arts and Sciences at noon and the College of Nursing and Allied Health at 3 p.m.
A Lockport native, Bollinger is the executive vice president and corporate secretary of Bollinger Shipyards. She has devoted her life to education and family. The former teacher joined her brother Donald “Boysie” Bollinger in running the family business in 1984. Since that time, Bollinger Shipyards has grown into one of the premiere shipbuilders and repairers for military and commercial vessels in the country.
“Like so many people in our region, our family has always understood the significance of Nicholls to our community,” Bollinger said. “We love the university and appreciate the high quality of education and college life experiences provided to students. I am humbled and honored to have been asked to speak to the graduates at the fall commencement. Dr. Clune has brought a fresh and vibrant vision for Nicholls. It is exciting to watch it happen and to be a part of his team.”
Bollinger has remained an active advocate for education. She served on the Louisiana Board of Regents after being appointed by Gov. Bobby Jindal and also served on Gov. Buddy Roemer’s School-to-Work task force. She is a former president of the Lafourche Education Foundation and previously served as the chairwoman of the board for the New Orleans Ballet Association.
She has long recognized the value of Nicholls State University to the bayou region. Along with Boysie and sister Andrea, they donated the first $1 million endowment in Nicholls history in 1997. She also donated money to renovate the Cotillion Ballroom in the Donald Bollinger Student Union.
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Lafayette

UL Lafayette Symposium: James Lee Burke and Louisiana Politics


NEW IBERIA, La. — Anthony and Matthew Wilson will share the podium in New Iberia, Louisiana, at the fourth annual University of Louisiana at Lafayette James Lee Burke Academic Symposium “James Lee Burke and Louisiana Politics” on April 6, 2019.
The free event, sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts, is part of the Books along the Teche Literary Festival to be held April 5 – 7. The two scholars and brothers, will speak from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. at the Iberia Parish Library’s Main Branch (445 E Main St., New Iberia).
Both Anthony and Matthew Wilson bring to their presentations strong credentials as well as their knowledge of Louisiana’s culture, politics and literature.
Anthony Wilson, associate professor of English at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga., has written extensively on southern literature including two books about swamps as they influence literature and culture: Shadow and Shelter: The Swamp in Southern Culture (2006) and Swamp: Nature and Culture(2018). He has written for Oxford Companion to the Literature of the U.S. Southand the forthcoming collection New Orleans: A Literary History from Cambridge University Press. He has been a fan of James Lee Burke since high school and has penned articles about him for the Dictionary of Literary Biography and for KnowLouisiana.org.
Matthew Wilson, director of the Center for Faith and Learning and associate professor of Political Science at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, is also a senior fellow of the John G. Tower Center for Political Studies and of the Italian Institute for International Political Studies. His research focuses on public opinion, elections, representation and the role of race and religion in politics, both in the United States and abroad. He is the author, co-author, or editor of three books, including Understanding American Politics, Politics and Religion in the United States and From Pews to Polling Places: Faith and Politics in the American Religious Mosaic, as well as dozens of articles and essays.
Mary Ann Wilson, literary scholar, professor emerita at UL Lafayette, and mother of Anthony and Matthew will moderate the discussion. At the college she was a fellow of the Center for Louisiana Studies and held the James D. Wilson Endowed Professorship in Southern Studies. After retiring from UL Lafayette in May 2018, she moved to LaGrange, Ga., where the town square boasts a statue of the Marquis de Lafayette. She is presently working on a personal essay titled A Tale of Two Lafayettes, chronicling the French revolutionary hero’s role in American and southern history.
Although the event is free and open to the public, preregistration is encouraged. Visit the festival’s website BooksAlongTheTecheLiteraryFestival.com to register for the symposium, and for other free and ticketed events.
For more information, please contact Claire Manes at 337-981-1943 or eclaire420@hotmail.com.

00 2018-12-11
Lake Charles

Five tips for a successful 2019


For many business owners, the end of the year brings thoughts of accomplishments during the past 12 months and contemplation of what lies ahead. Everyone hopes for a more fruitful year with greater profit and the satisfaction of being a more successful entrepreneur. With that in mind, here are five aspects of business life to consider for 2019.

1. Pursue a better balance between work and life.

Spending time with family and friends can refresh the spirit. Setting priorities and developing a schedule to accomplish daily tasks will help the business owner find the time to enjoy life.

2. Report all of your business income. It is easy to under-report cash income for your business. However, depositing every penny is a smart move. You will avoid tax problems and when it is time to borrow money, you will be happy that you’ve documented all of your sales.

3. Schedule time to work “on” the business instead of “in” the business. An owner is usually the expert in the business operation, with the knowledge and skills to provide the services or products that produce the income. To grow the business, an owner must learn to work “on” the business instead of “in” it. This means blocking time in the daily schedule to market the company, develop processes to improve operations, review financial information and handle other aspects that lead to more sales and higher profits.

4. Develop a relationship with a commercial lender. Though many entrepreneurs desire to be debt free, borrowing money can be an important step in growing a company. If an unexpected opportunity arises, it is wise to be ready to obtain a loan or a line of credit. The best time to prepare for a loan is before it is needed. Make 2019 the year for getting to know a commercial lender so you will be prepared for whatever the future holds.

5. Network in the community. Go to a business event in your community and promise yourself that you’ll shake hands and chat with at least five individuals. Force yourself to talk to strangers. Try asking a simple question such as how long he has been operating or why she decided to start the company. Remember that everyone is there to connect to other business owners. After a few events, you will find that you are much more comfortable networking and you will likely have made excellent contacts for your company.

Let the consultants at the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at McNeese State University work with you to plan for 2019 to be a more successful year. For over 30 years, the LSBDC at McNeese has worked with entrepreneurs and business owners who are looking to start or grow their small business. Visit www.lsbdc.org/msuto learn more about us. For no-cost assistance with your business, call 337-475-5529.

Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and La. Department of Economic Development. All opinions are those of the autho rand do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.



Donna Little is the director of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at McNeese State University. Contact her at 475-5945 or dlittle@lsbdc.org.
00 2018-12-11
Lake Charles

McNeese graduate elected for Kinder City Council hours after accepting degree


KINDER, LA (KPLC) - It’s been a whirlwind of a week for LaToya D. Tunwar.

“I turned 29 on Tuesday," Tunwar said. "I graduated with my Masters in criminal justice this morning and I just received results that I’m the Councilwoman for District 1.”

Tunwar was elected in the Dec. 8 runoff election, just hours after earning her degree.

“After two years, I worked very hard for this accomplishment, being a single parent working full time," Tunwar said. "When everybody said LaToya D. Tunwar, everything just fell off my shoulders.”

Tunwar said she gave it all to God. On top of earning her degree she worked full time as the office manager at Allen Parish Indigent Defender Board. She says she hopes to inspire those who think they’re unable.

“No matter your ethnicity, age, your capabilities, go out and do it," Tunwar said. "Push to the end and whenever you do it, make sure you put your best foot forward.”

At 29, Tunwar is the youngest Councilperson and she hopes this will encourage younger generations to go out and vote.

Most importantly, she says thank you.

“Thank you guys for the support and I’m looking forward to working with you guys," Tunwar said. "Let’s make this community better together.”

Copyright 2018 KPLC. All rights reserved.


00 2018-12-11
Natchitoches

NSU students exploring new opportunities in Gamer’s Guild


The sound of buttons smashing, cards slapping and dice rolling fills the third floor of the Northwestern State Friedman Student Union on Thursday nights.

Students are attending Gamer’s Guild “meetings” in rooms 320 and 321 — really they are gathering to play video games and card games.

Whether students want to join a Dungeons and Dragons session or participate in any number of themed video and card games going on, Gamer’s Guild president Anthony Renteria says all students are welcome.

“We’ll have games depending on the theme that night — whether it be co-op, Japanese shooters, music, etc.,” said Renteria, a theatre major from San Antonio. “We have a table in the middle of the room with Pokemon TCG.

“We want people to come by and see if they enjoy it. It’s a place to meet new friends, try games you wouldn’t expect to and have a great time.”

The Gamer’s Guild is a registered student organization that came into being about a decade ago, splitting from the SAF Society (Science Fiction, Anime and Fantasy).

“In the beginning, we were focused mainly on table-top (role-playing games) and card games like Magic: The Gathering, but video games slowly creeped in, and now they are a focus,” said advisor John T. Dunn, an associate professor of Fine Arts. “We usually discuss a gaming trend or a topic in the gaming world at the beginning of the meeting, but we spend the rest of time playing.”

No fees are required to join, but a $10 fee is optional to support trips like Cyphacon, a three-day event in Lake Charles in April that showcases products in the anime, fantasy and gaming industry.

Julian Shum, an art and history major from Hong Kong who serves as an officer, said he enjoys playing independent video games that aren’t part of the mainstream.

“These indie games are a fun experience at an affordable price,” Shum said. “But I’m also excited about holiday releases for games on the Nintendo Switch like Super Smash Bros Ultimate.”

Competitive gaming has created the foundation for eSports, which pit players and teams against each other in video and computer games.

Colleges have picked up on the trend as a few are starting their own eSports teams, an idea supported by electronics engineering major Christopher Johnson.

“I would support that 100 percent (at NSU),” said Johnson, the Gamer’s Guild treasurer. “You have to be careful who you put on the team because everybody isn’t entirely a team player.”

Renteria, who has taken a specific interest in virtual reality gaming, said he’s spoken with NSU president Dr. Chris Maggio about the eSports possibility.

“I do see the possibility of it being implemented on campus,” Renteria said. “How our group would be involved comes into question because eSports is about competitive gaming whereas we are mostly about casual gaming.

“Would we compete in team games like Overwatch, Counter Strike or League of Legends, or would it be fighting games where just one player is needed to compete? … A lot of research would have to be done involving equipment, access to that equipment and which games to play, but if we put the time in, it could work.”

Shum likes the idea of a university-funded game room which could support an eSports team but also provide a relaxation outlet for the student body.

Whatever the gaming future on campus, students can blow off steam by playing games with a friendly bunch in the student union.


Members of Northwestern State’s Gamer’s Guild play the card game Pokemon TCG on the third floor of the Friedman Student Union. Any student is eligible to join this registered student organization, which meets on Thursdays.

00 2018-12-11
New Orleans

Gov. Edwards to speak at UNO Fall Commencement


Gov. John Bel Edwards is the 56th governor in the State of Louisiana. Despite having inherited a $2 billion budget deficit when he took office in 2016, Gov. Edwards worked across the aisle to stabilize Louisiana’s budget. For the second year in a row, he funded higher education without a cut after a decade of the largest disinvestment in the country. He has made investments in education a centerpiece of his administration.
00 2018-12-11
Regional/National

How U. of Michigan Reeled In Low-Income Students With a Colorful Invitation


What if getting low-income students to apply to a highly selective college was as simple as telling them the doors were open?

A new working paper suggests that, along with the promise of financial aid, might be the case. The paper describes an experiment to reach out to potential applicants to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. The researchers found that after telling high-achieving, low-income students they should apply to the institution, many of them did.

Of the targeted potential applicants, nearly 70 percent applied, a rate that was more than double that of the control group’s 26 percent. Moreover, about 27 percent of the targeted students enrolled at the university, compared with just 12 percent of students in the control group.

Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, U. of Michigan
Susan Dynarski
“Our results show a low-cost intervention can profoundly alter student application to and enrollment at highly selective colleges,” reads the paper, “Closing the Gap: The Effect of a Targeted, Tuition-Free Promise on College Choices of High-Achieving, Low-Income Students.” It was published as part of the National Bureau of Economic Research’s working-paper series and was written by Susan Dynarski, an economist at the University of Michigan; C.J. Libassi of College Board; Katherine Michelmore, an assistant professor of public administration and international affairs at Syracuse University; and Stephanie Owen, a doctoral student at Michigan in public policy and economics.

Their findings suggest what may be a particularly effective strategy for highly selective institutions to increase the number of low-income students they enroll. Such a strategy could counteract the phenomenon known as “undermatching,” in which students attend less-selective colleges than their grades and test scores suggest they could.

But as the paper’s authors point out, getting those students to even apply to highly selective institutions is a challenge. Such students typically don’t believe they have the academic record or financial means to attend top colleges, even though they are qualified and, when they enroll, tend to perform well there. So, the authors argue, the students end up at institutions with fewer resources, and often experience poorer outcomes than they would otherwise.

A ‘Powerful Message’
In 2015 the University of Michigan started the High Achieving Involved Leader scholarship, or HAIL. Its goal was to send “a powerful message that this world-class university is open to Michigan’s talented students, regardless of their income,” Dynarksi said at the time.

Key to the study was a scholarship letter that was sent to 1,932 students over two cohorts and was intended to amplify the HAIL effort. A similar letter was sent to the students’ parents or principal a few weeks later, to reinforce the message.

The Future of Enrollment

“Since your child is an excellent student, we want to offer a potentially transformative college opportunity,” each letter began. “If [first name] applies and is admitted to the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, your child will be awarded the HAIL scholarship covering the entire cost of U-M tuition and fees for four years.”

Each letter, which cost less than $10 to produce and mail, was designed to demand attention. It was enclosed in an envelope emblazoned with the university’s blue-and-yellow colors. The words “Free tuition” conspicuously appeared several times in the letter. In other, similar studies, drabber versions of an envelope appeared to be “from an unrecognized source” and so “were largely ignored or disregarded as fraudulent,” the authors write. The letter in the experiment was meant to feel like a golden ticket.

The letter also promised students the scholarship whether or not they filled out the Fafsa, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The Fafsa has long been the key for many students to receive federal financial aid, but its byzantine format can be difficult to navigate, especially for first-generation students who are more often from low-income backgrounds.

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The authors write that their model is especially well suited to Michigan and could be less effective in states, like Massachusetts, where private institutions provide more financial support to high-achieving students. Moreover, the authors acknowledge, the University of Michigan “is the most-selective, highest-quality, and least-expensive option for low-income students” in the state, and that could partly explain the program’s success. So while the preliminary results are encouraging, the paper’s authors urge caution.

“When well-targeted, a HAIL-like intervention could substantially improve postsecondary outcomes for low-income students,” the paper says. “When poorly planned, or wielded by bad actors, it could do serious harm.”

Chris Quintana is a staff reporter. Follow him on Twitter @cquintanadc or email him at chris.quintana@chronicle.com.
00 2018-12-10
Houma/Thibodaux

Charlotte Bollinger to speak at Nicholls December graduation


Education advocate, businesswoman and philanthropist Charlotte Bollinger will serve as the keynote speaker for the 103rd Commencement at Nicholls State University Saturday, Dec. 15 in Stopher Gym.
This year, graduation will be split into three ceremonies. Ceremonies for the College of Business Administration and the College of Education will be at 9 a.m., followed by the College of Arts and Sciences at noon and the College of Nursing and Allied Health at 3 p.m.
A Lockport native, Bollinger is the executive vice president and corporate secretary of Bollinger Shipyards. She has devoted her life to education and family. The former teacher joined her brother Donald “Boysie” Bollinger in running the family business in 1984. Since that time, Bollinger Shipyards has grown into one of the premiere shipbuilders and repairers for military and commercial vessels in the country.
“Like so many people in our region, our family has always understood the significance of Nicholls to our community,” Bollinger said. “We love the university and appreciate the high quality of education and college life experiences provided to students. I am humbled and honored to have been asked to speak to the graduates at the fall commencement. Dr. Clune has brought a fresh and vibrant vision for Nicholls. It is exciting to watch it happen and to be a part of his team.”
Bollinger has remained an active advocate for education. She served on the Louisiana Board of Regents after being appointed by Gov. Bobby Jindal and also served on Gov. Buddy Roemer’s School-to-Work task force. She is a former president of the Lafourche Education Foundation and previously served as the chairwoman of the board for the New Orleans Ballet Association.
She has long recognized the value of Nicholls State University to the bayou region. Along with Boysie and sister Andrea, they donated the first $1 million endowment in Nicholls history in 1997. She also donated money to renovate the Cotillion Ballroom in the Donald Bollinger Student Union.
00 2018-12-10
Lafayette

Fête: You Are What You Drink, Part 2


Appreciation Dinner
They were drinking in the accolades as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette recognized its high rollers, who collectively gave $13.5 million to the university in the past year. Hosted by the UL-Lafayette Foundation Board of Trustees and emceed by Scott Brazda, there were university VIPs aplenty, among them President E. Joseph Savoie; Provost and VP for Academic Affairs Jaimie Hebert; foundation CEO John Blohm; and Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Director Bryan Maggard. Donor gifts support student scholarships, faculty research and facilities, and among those honored for giving $25,000 or more were Richard Zuschlag and Carol Trosclair.
00 2018-12-10
Lafayette

UL announces commencement ceremonies for Fall 2018


Undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees will be conferred during the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Fall 2018 Commencement ceremonies on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, at the Cajundome and Convention Center.

The General Assembly will be held at 11:00 a.m. at the Cajundome. Doctoral candidates will be hooded at this session. All graduating seniors and faculty members will attend, wearing full academic regalia.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards will give the Commencement speech. Alumnus Winfred Sibille, ’51, will be awarded an honorary doctorate during the General Assembly.

A longtime advocate for education, Sibille has been a member of the University of Louisiana System’s Board of Supervisors since 1995. He has held many leadership roles during his tenure, including chairman of the board. Sibille is the longest-serving board member in UL System history.

Master’s and bachelor’s degrees will be conferred at ceremonies for each academic college. A schedule and locations are below.

Cajundome

8:00 a.m. College of Liberal Arts
2:30 p.m. B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration
Cajundome Convention Center – Festival Ballroom (2nd floor)

8:00 a.m. College of the Arts
2:30 p.m. Ray P. Authement College of Sciences
Cajundome Convention Center – Exhibit Hall B (1st floor)

8:00 a.m. College of Education
2:30 p.m. College of Engineering
Bourgeois Hall

8 a.m. College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions
2:30 p.m. University College

Parking for members of the public who plan to attend ceremonies at the Cajundome and Convention Center will be at Cajun Field. Public parking for ceremonies at Bourgeois Hall will be at Blackham Coliseum and at Cajun Field.

Motorists are encouraged to arrive to ceremonies as early as possible to prevent traffic congestion and to streamline parking.

Security measures will be in place at the Cajundome and Convention Center, and at Bourgeois Hall. University Police officers will examine the contents of purses, bags, and packages of attendees. Extremely large bags or oversized packages won’t be permitted inside Commencement venues.

The General Assembly will be broadcast live on the UL Lafayette Facebook page. Ceremonies for each academic ceremony will be livestreamed at http://bit.ly/LouisianaGradsFA18
00 2018-12-10
Lake Charles

McNeese graduate jump-starts music career


McNeese State University music performance major Victor Medina was not among his 562 classmates who donned their blue and gold caps and gowns for Saturday’s 2018 fall commencement in Burton Coliseum.

Medina, who graduated in absentia, has gotten a jump-start on his career as a professional musician. He was tapped in mid-November to play the lead trumpet for the national touring Broadway production of Dr. Seuss’ “How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical” that runs through the end of December.

He credits the faculty and staff in the W.A. and Dorothy Hanna Department of Performing Arts for preparing him for this moment and for working with him while he’s been on tour so he could graduate on time.

“I appreciate what the department and faculty have done to help me achieve this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said.

“Victor is one of the many great success stories of graduates from the W.A. and Dorothy Hanna Department of Performing Arts,” according to Dr. Lonny Benoit, head of the department. “The outstanding faculty and staff of the department are proud of Victor and his peers for their outstanding academic achievements and musical and theatrical performances. We remain committed to our alumni while they enter their careers and continue to mentor them as they grow into spectacular young professionals. The entire McNeese faculty truly embodies the vision of McNeese State University — we change lives through excellence with a personal touch!”

Victor Medina plays the lead trumpet for the national touring Broadway production of Dr. Seuss’“How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical.”

At McNeese, Medina was principal trumpet with the Wind Symphony and Jazz band, a member of the Pride of McNeese Marching Band and Symphonic Band. He has been a two-time member of the Madison Scout Drum Corp International Band that has marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

He says he was drawn to the performing arts program at McNeese because of its affordability, reputation and trumpet professor, Dave Scott, who has supported and encouraged him throughout his university career.

“This is a fantastic opportunity and the department couldn’t be happier,” Scott said. “We have so much talent here at McNeese, and when these job prospects come open, we as a department and a university are willing to accommodate students like Victor. If a student passes up an opportunity like this and says, ‘Well, maybe next time I’ll be ready,’ there might not be a next time.”

From Houston, Medina has been playing trumpet since he started band in middle school 12 years ago. But, he says he was something of a reluctant trumpet player.

“I was never that interested in the trumpet,” he said. “I actually wanted to be a percussionist. However, when I signed up for band, all of those spots were taken, so I was offered trumpet or trombone. I just picked the smaller one. I’m glad I did.”

This is not Medina’s first experience with a touring company. He previously spent five weeks during the summer of 2016 in Japan performing with the musical, “Blast! The Music of Disney,” to sold-out venues in Nagoya, Osaka and Tokyo.

That touring experience, he said, helped him build the confidence and professional connections that brought him to Broadway. Medina has performed “The Grinch” in Chicago, Boston and Milwaukee and is looking forward to final performances in the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia and Madison Square Garden in New York City.

“My experiences as a trumpet performance major have been nothing short of great,” Medina said. “There have been some obstacles on the path to my degree, but my professors have always worked with me and offered the best solutions, and for that I cannot thank them enough. My professors have pushed me as a student and, more importantly, as a person, which I am finding out is very beneficial for transitioning into the professional world. McNeese was the perfect choice for me.”



Ashlee Lahom is a graduate assistant at McNeese State University.
00 2018-12-10
Lake Charles

PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE




Shared from the 12/9/2018 American Press eEdition
PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE
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McNeese State University

API supports MSU Foundation: The Southwest Louisiana Chapter of the American Petroleum Institute recently donated $75,000 to the McNeese State University Foundation to establish the American Petroleum Institute Endowed Scholarship for students. Butch Ferdinandsen, center, president-elect for the McNeese Foundation Board of Directors, accepts the donation from SWLA Chapter of API board members, from left, A.J. Vincent, James Nugent, Pat Hay and Todd Hine.

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Special to the American Press

For Sowela Foundation: Sowela Chancellor Dr. Neil Aspinwall and Sowela Foundation board members Martin Guillory and Bill Hankins accept a donation on behalf of the Sowela Foundation of $123,000 for the Workforce Training Scholarship Program which is made possible through the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana and Sasol. The presentation was made by the president of the Community Foundation of the Southwest Louisiana, Sara Judson, and Sasol Vice President of Operations: West Plant Michael Kane.

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McNeese State University

Westlake Chemical supports MSU: Westlake Chemical presents a $20,000 donation to McNeese State University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science through the Mc-Neese Foundation for the engineering student study center. On hand for the presentation are, from left, Dr. Mitchell Adrian, McNeese provost and vice president for academic affairs and enrollment management, Wayne Ahrens, Westlake Chemical vice president, Operations Region 1, Curtis Brescher, Westlake Chemical plant manager, North and South Plants, McNeese President Dr. Daryl Burckel, and Joe Andrepont, Westlake Chemical principal, community and governmental affairs.

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Special to the American Press

Entergy supports city of Lake Charles: Anthony “Chip” Arnould, senior region manager, Entergy Louisiana presents Mayor Nicholas E. Hunter with a check for $15,000 on behalf of Entergy in support of several of the city’s community events. Programs such as Downtown at Sundown, Red White Blue & You, and the Light up the Lake Christmas Celebration rely strictly on corporate sponsorships such as Entergy’s. This year’s check included an additional $5,000 for sponsorship of the Louisiana Municipal Association annual convention hosted in Lake Charles. Joining Arnould and Hunter is Denise Fasske with the city of Lake Charles.

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Special to the American Press

For DeWanna’s Community Closet: Christus Ochsner Health Southwestern Louisiana Foundation’s Executive Director of Development Kay C. Barnett, CFRE, right; and Children’s Miracle Network Director Cara Wyland, left, present a donation in the amount of $8,000 to DeWanna’s Community Closet, to assist in providing basic essentials to Calcasieu Parish students in need. DeWanna’s Community Closet provides needed resources like school uniforms, belts, jackets, underclothes, socks, shoes, backpacks and school supplies free of charge to all Parish educators to make available to students in need. DeWanna Tarver is founder of DeWanna’s Community Closet.

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Special to the American Press

For Sowela Foundation: Sowela Chancellor Dr. Neil Aspinwall and Sowela Foundation board members Martin Guillory and Bill Hankins accept a donation on behalf of the Sowela Foundation of $10,000 for the Sasol/Curt Eysink Endowed Scholarship from Sasol Vice President of Operations:West Plant Michael Kane.

For Barbe High School: Ryan Navarre of Billy Navarre Auto Group recently presented a sponsorship check in the amount of $3,000 to Coach Carl Klein for the Alfred M. Barbe High School basketball program.

See this article in the e-Edition Here
00 2018-12-10
Lake Charles

McNeese coach Sterlin Gilbert


PERSONAL

Age 40, born Aug. 11, 1978 in San Angelo, Texas. Single, no children.

PLAYING CAREER

1999-2001 — Angelo State. Two-time All-Lone Star Conference selection as a dual-threat quarterback for the Rams, whose colors are blue and gold. Angelo State went 7-4, 6-4 and 6-4 in his three years as a starter.

COACHING CAREER

2003-04 — Springtown (Texas) High School. Running backs coach in first year, quarterbacks the second year.

2005 — University of Houston. Graduate assistant under head coach Art Briles.

2006-07 — Cooper High School, Abilene, Texas. Offensive coordinator/Quarterbacks coach.

2008-10 — Head coach Lake View High School, San Angelo, Texas. Named West Texas High School coach of the year in in 2008.

2011 — Temple (Texas) High School. Offensive coordinator/Quarterbacks.

2012-13 — Eastern Illinois University. Offensive coordinator/Quarterbacks. Coached under Dino Babers, now the head coach at Syracuse. Was named the FCS national coordinator of the year in 2012 when the Panthers went 12-2. Coached current San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

2014 — Bowling Green. Co-offensive coordinator/Quarterbacks. Babers was the head coach.

2015 — Tulsa. Offensive coordinator/Quarterbacks. Worked under head coach Phillip Montgomery. His quarterback Dane Evans finished eighth in the nation in passing yardage.

2016 — University of Texas. Offensive coordinator/Quarterbacks. Worked under head coach Charlie Strong. Quarterback Shane Buechele started as a true freshman was on the Manning Award watch list.

2017-18 — University of South Florida. Offensive coordinator/Quarterbacks. Again worked under Strong.

QUOTES

‘ Those cannons are going to be firing because we’re going to score points. That’s a guarantee. We’re going to ring those cowbells ... We’re going to put an exciting brand in front of you to give you a reason to show up every Saturday and continue to cheer on your Cowboys.’

Sterlin Gilbert

New McNeese head football coach



‘This guy has been to Texas, he’s coached against Notre Dame and all this stuff. That kind of moved him up a notch with me — where’s he’s been and who he’s competed against, the players he’s coached.’

Bobby Keasler

Former McNeese head coach and member of search committee



‘He’s a proven developer in offensive and quarterback production. He is ready to be a head football coach. He is prepared to lead the McNeese Cowboys to championships.’

Bruce Hemphill

McNeese athletic director



‘We wanted to make sure we took any limits off of who could be the McNeese coach. We wanted to make sure that there was no ceiling or that you have to have a certain connection to the school or that someone had to have a tie here or a tie to Louisiana. We wanted the very best coach we could find.’

Dr. Daryl Burkel

McNeese president



‘The one thing about this place is it’s extremely special and the support that we have is second to none. I’ve been multiple places. It’s not like this everywhere you go. When you have support, you have a chance.’

Gilbert
00 2018-12-10
Lake Charles

Get ready to ring those cowbells


A new era of McNeese State football was ushered in on Friday.

In front of a packed EndZone Club in the Jack V. Doland Fieldhouse, Sterlin Gilbert was introduced as the next Cowboys head coach, the sixth in the history of the program.

Both school President Dr. Daryl Burckel and Athletic Director Bruce Hemphill spoke briefly to a crowd of media, boosters, fans and others before introducing Gilbert to a round of applause.

“The most attractive candidate, coach Gilbert, is our first choice,” Hemphill said prior to introducing Gilbert. “And our choice parallels the McNeese vision and mission to change lives. His coaching experience and success is what drew us to him along with his focus to develop young men on and off the field.”

Wearing a navy-blue suit with a white dress and yellow-patterned tie, Gilbert spoke to the crowd for a few minutes without answering questions and covered a variety of subjects. He promised, “An exciting brand of football,” would be brought to McNeese.

“We’re going to be extremely explosive on offense,” Gilbert said. “We’re going to be extremely physical on defense; we’re going to play great and sound on special teams.”

He also mentioned taking advantage of Cowboy Stadium to create the home-field advantage that McNeese had come to be known for.

“Those cannons are going to be firing because we’re going to score points,” Gilbert said. “That’s a guarantee. We’re going to ring those cowbells. We’re going to be exciting. We’re going to put an exciting brand in front of you to give you a reason to show up every Saturday and continue to cheer on your Cowboys.”

On the recruiting front, Gilbert said he’s already been in contact with current McNeese commitments and he wants kids to sign with the Cowboys when the early signing period starts on Dec, 19, but only if they truly feel they want to.

As someone who coached high school football in Texas, Gilbert said he plans to use his high school coaching connections and heavily recruit Louisiana’s neighbor to the west. But he also said he plans to keep the home state a priority.

‘His coaching experience and success is what drew us to him along with his focus to develop young men on and off the field.’
Bruce Hemphill
MSU athletic director

“I love being able to create new relationships with not only the players but the coaches and being able to recruit their kids,” Gilbert said. “I’m anxiously awaiting that as we get into next week and get out into the state of Louisiana and get into Texas and start recruiting the best student-athletes that we can to come to McNeese.”

After speaking to the crowd upstairs, Gilbert took time to for pictures and to speak with the boosters and fans before going downstairs to the team room for a news conference where he and Hemphill answered questions.

Among the issues raised was Gilbert’s rolling-stone movement. Since entering the college ranks as a full-time coach at Eastern Illinois, he’s been at five schools in seven seasons and never stayed at one school longer than two seasons.

When Hemphill was asked if he had any hesitancy about hiring Gilbert because of Gilbert’s lack of roots, he said no.

“We were looking for the best fit,” Hemphill said. “The best fit for now — along with the fact that he has been so successful with all of his offensive coordinator positions. And he’s been very popular with his players. So, as far as the future, that took no affect to us whatsoever. If people come calling, that means that we’ve chosen the right person.”

Burckel said Gilbert’s base salary will be $180,000, the same as former head coach Lance Guidry received at the end of his contract. That does not include bonuses, incentives or money that could be made from television, radio and camps, Burckel said.

“From what I understand, that was acceptable,” said Burckel, who added that he took a hands-off approach to the coaching search. “So we believe we had a competitive package.”

Gilbert confirmed that he will call the offensive plays, but he also plans to hire someone to possibly be a co-offensive coordinator. He said he wants to have the full coaching staff in by January, hopefully before the team gets back to campus to start the spring semester.

While he has not made any offers to coaches, Gilbert said that he’s close and that he’s received a lot of contact from coaches who want to join his staff. A day after cleaning house of assistant coaches, he did not completely rule out retaining coaches from McNeese’s staff last season.

His task of returning Mc-Neese into what fans want it to be is off to a fast start.
00 2018-12-10
Lake Charles

McNeese introduces new football coach


LAKE CHARLES — “We’re going to play an exciting brand of football. We’re going to fire the cannons and ring the cowbells because we’re going to score points.”

It didn’t take long for new McNeese head football coach Sterlin Gilbert to bring cheers throughout the packed EndZone Club on Friday morning with those words when he was formally introduced to Cowboy Nation and the media as the program’s 16th head coach.

Gilbert, the former offensive coordinator at the University of South Florida, was officially hired Wednesday.

“The work has already begun,” said Gilbert. “As soon as I got here, as soon as my feet hit the ground, the work was in motion. The good thing right now is we don’t play a game tomorrow, but what we’re doing is setting the standard here today.”

The 40-year old stressed the importance of possessing a high standard for the program and student-athletes, including academics and graduating players, engaging the community, and building on a brand that’s already well-known throughout the country.

“We’re going to set a standard,” said Gilbert. “It’s going to be a new standard and we’ll hold those guys (players) accountable each and every day. We will be invested in the success of our young men, athletically, academically and socially. We will graduate our players from McNeese and hold those guys to a high accountability to be great on campus, great in the classroom, and being able to walk out of here with a meaningful degree.”

A few players were in attendance for the press conference, but most have already left campus for the semester break.

“I’m excited about getting in front of our players,” said Gilbert. “I can’t wait get my arms around them and start creating those relationships.”

Gilbert has run high-scoring and high-yardage offenses at every stop (Eastern Illinois, Tulsa, Texas, USF) and touched on bringing that style to McNeese.

“We’re going to play an exciting brand of football … an exciting brand,” he said. “We’re going to be extremely explosive on offense; we’re going to be extremely physical on defense; we’re going to play great and sound on special teams.”

Said Director of Athletics Bruce Hemphill: “the most attractive candidate, Coach Gilbert, was our first choice. And our choice parallels the McNeese vision and mission to change lives. His coaching experience and success is what drew us to him along with his focus to develop young men on and off the field.

“He’s a proven developer in offensive and quarterback production. He is ready to be a head football coach and is prepared to lead the McNeese Cowboys to championships.”

Gilbert said he’s expected to name a coaching staff sometime in January.

“I’ve had numerous amounts of texts and emails on my phone where people want to come to McNeese,” said Gilbert, “they want to come here and coach. They’re not just congratulating me. People want a job here. They want to work here. It’s a national brand and that excites me.

"The people that were here before me, the people that are here, have done an unbelievable job. We’re going to continue to do a great job in moving this program forward and continue to have a recognized brand throughout the country.

“Great people, great Southern hospitality, great food, great recruiting, great football… that’s what we get up in the morning for.”
00 2018-12-10
Monroe

Mother: Our daughter is receiving the best at ULM Occupational Therapy


There is a very special place at the University of Louisiana Monroe. It's colorful, and bright, and filled with voices. It's the Occupational Therapy Center in Caldwell Hall.

The center, under the direction of Dr. Patti Calk, is making life better by helping adults and children with different challenges.

“Being a first-time parent is scary. Being a first-time parent with a child with unknown physical delays is even scarier," said Sarah Hendrix. "When our beautiful baby girl, Aubrey James, was born, everything seemed fine. However, we would quickly learn she has several holes in her heart, one of which is close to her aortic valve. My husband and I were informed we would need to see a pediatric cardiologist."

After spending five days in the hospital to monitor Aubrey James’ oxygen level, the family was sent home. Aubrey James was having trouble eating.

Her physician suggested occupational therapy because she wasn't exhibiting the tone that a typical baby her age should.


"Our initial thought was, absolutely not. Our baby did not need this. However, we wanted the best for our little girl so we agreed," Sarah said.

After a several-days stay in the hospital, Dr. Patti Calk at the University of Louisiana Monroe called Sarah's phone. She'd been referred by one of Aubrey James' doctors. Calk would go on to work with Aubrey James for occupational therapy and feeding therapy.

Sarah said she was nervous about the assessment, but Calk's positivity and care quickly eased her worries and restored hope.

"We have been attending occupational therapy for over a year and a half. Aubrey James has flourished. While her unknown physical delays will probably never be explained, it really doesn’t matter. The amazing ULM Occupational Therapy team showed us how to cope with difficulties and find another way to succeed," Sarah said. "We are so incredibly blessed."

Calk, Donna Eichhorn, Dr. Barbara Johnson, Dr. Carolyn Murphy, Dr. Emily Mike, Loretta Sims, the students and the entire department have been an integral part of Aubrey James’ success, Sarah said. "We will be forever grateful."

Pictured with the toy car adapted for Aubrey James Hendrix to ride in are, from left, Donna Eichhorn, Frank Murphy, Dr. Carolyn Murphy, Kara Steele, and ,seated, Dr. Patti Calk holding Aubrey James Hendrix. “In case you can’t tell, she has our hearts,” Calk said.
Pictured with the toy car adapted for Aubrey James Hendrix to ride in are, from left, Donna Eichhorn, Frank Murphy, Dr. Carolyn Murphy, Kara Steele, and ,seated, Dr. Patti Calk holding Aubrey James Hendrix. “In case you can’t tell, she has our hearts,” Calk said. (Photo: Courtesy photo)

The Occupational Therapy program will offer a Doctor of Occupational Therapy beginning in 2021.

Calk said it takes time to develop the coursework for a doctoral level program, and to give the students getting their Occupational Therapy Assistant degree time to bridge through to the Master of Occupational Therapy program.

"The OT staff is an extraordinary asset for ULM," Sarah said. " We now know how important it is for a child to receive occupational therapy when he or she is showing a delay... and we are most certainly receiving the absolute BEST care for our daughter through ULM OT. “

Know more

For those interested in learning more about the ULM Occupational Therapy program, call 318-342-1610 or visit ulm.edu/ot/.
00 2018-12-10
Monroe

Temple Grandin: Put down the video games and tinker


Temple Grandin, an advocate for people with Autism, encouraged parents to wean kids off video games and give them the opportunity to build, draw and tinker with hands-on projects.

Grandin is autistic but didn't get that diagnosis until adulthood. She credits early childhood intervention with her success. By age 3, she still wasn't speaking, and her mother insisted that she got the therapies she needed to develop. By age 5, she was in a regular kindergarten classroom.

Today, she's a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She has a doctorate in animal science and has written books on autism and animal behavior. She's a consultant regarding animal welfare, and about half of the livestock handled in the U.S. are processed in facilities she designed.

Grandin spoke Thursday night at Louisiana Tech University as a part of the kick-off celebration for the ENRICH (Education and Research in Children’s Health) Center, which works to enrich environmental, psychosocial, and physical health outcomes for children through research, education, and outreach.

The need for different minds

In elementary and middle school, Grandin said, she had friends who shared similar interest in horses and rocket building. She said her third-grade teacher would explain to her classmates that she had a disability they couldn't see, so they should help her.

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By high school, however, she became the subject of bullying, but her science teacher encouraged her to learn more about her passions and pursue a career in science.

The autism spectrum, she said, is broad and ranges from Albert Einstein to people who are non-verbal. There's a lot of room in there for progress if parents and teachers work to stretch a child's abilities in reasonable ways. Each case is unique. For one child, it might be a stretch to put their own shirt on. Another kid might need practice talking to people, like in a volunteer setting.

She encourages people with disabilities to focus on what they're good at, not what they can't do well. She said when you're weird, you have to sell your work.

Grandin said she's worried that over-labeling kids will prevent children who think differently from developing interests in careers they might enjoy. Some accommodations are necessary, she said, but kids shouldn't be coddled out of developing skills that will help them in the world.

She encouraged parents to offer choices of hobbies that will give children hands-on experience in the world and lead to useful skills. She pointed to working on getting a kite airborn as a way she learned about aerodynamics as young girl.

Skilled trades, she said, will never go away or be replaced by computers. She joked there's an app that can tell if a mole is melanoma, but when water infrastructure breaks, the need for plumbers and engineers is vital.

Temple Grandin spoke Thursday night at Louisiana Tech University as a part of the kick-off celebration for the ENRICH (Education and Research in Children’s Health) Center.
Temple Grandin spoke Thursday night at Louisiana Tech University as a part of the kick-off celebration for the ENRICH (Education and Research in Children’s Health) Center. (Photo: Donny J. Crowe/Louisiana Tech University)

ENRICH

The ENRICH Center currently has two main programs: We Inspire Smart Eating (WISE) and Bulldog Book Club.

Julie Rutledge, director of the center, said children who get weekly WISE sessions are eating more of the program-targeted foods at home. Kids learn about fruits and vegetables in a low-stress way and get to try them. She said one mom said her son went from only wanting chicken nuggets to craving tomatoes.

Early interventions like WISE are needed, she said, because the habits we develop as children follow us to adulthood.

Lots of brain development happens in early childhood, especially in language development.

Bulldog Book Club gives young kids monthly, age-appropriate books to encourage literacy.

The book club also is expanding to provide literacy kits to the parents of newborns to start literacy development earlier.
00 2018-12-10
Monroe

Sky high: ULM’s Robinson licensed to fly drones


The University of Louisiana Monroe’s UAS Management (Unmanned Aerial Systems aka drone) program has achieved a milestone: UAS major Stephanie Robinson is ULM’s first FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) licensed female drone pilot. Robinson mastered the demands of this innovative and unique program and passed the FAA small UAS pilot knowledge exam with flying colors.

This exam is like any other FAA pilot knowledge exam in that it is conducted under strict time controls and under video surveillance until completion of the exam. The FAA requires this certification for people to commercially utilize drones.

Robinson, 21, is a junior from Start. She has been actively engaged in ULM’s drone management program while she is pursuing her goal of becoming a manned aircraft pilot. She is one of only two students who are qualified and allowed to legally fly drones that are part of ULM’s fleet.

“I hope to get a job working with drones whenever I graduate,” Robinson said. “Possibly working with agriculture or environmental assessments.”

The program is working in collaboration with external partners to incorporate drones into environmental assessments, as well as other applications.

According to Dr. Paul Karlowitz, Associate Professor of Aviation and Director of UAS Operations, “Stephanie is one of the most active students in supporting ULM’s drone program. She is an exceptional student who has devoted lots of time to becoming licensed and growing our program. We are very happy that she is the first ULM female student to earn this FAA designation.”

The UAS program is looking at additional ways to get other talented students more involved in the UAS program, including increased drone flying times with a variety of drones and various sensors. This increased flight experience and hands-on technical support of drones and drone fleet management is invaluable to the legal and ethical applications of drone technology.

For Robinson, it all leads toward her dream job. “My goal in life is to become a pilot for UPS,” she said.

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00 2018-12-10
Natchitoches

First cohort of BSN students to complete clinicals in Natchitoches will graduate Dec. 14


As a member of the Spirit of Northwestern Demon Marching Band and other music ensembles, Rebecca Blackshear relied on her music scholarships to help pay for college and as part of the first cohort of nursing students to complete their clinical studies in Natchitoches, she is grateful she didn’t have to relocate and give up her music scholarships.

“We brought the Baccalaureate Nursing program to Natchitoches two years ago. Prior to that we only had the associate nursing program,” said Dr. Dana Clawson, dean of the NSU’s College of Nursing and Allied Health. “This is our first graduating class from the baccalaureate Natchitoches campus program.”

Blackshear is one of 17 nursing students who completed their degrees in Natchitoches and will be awarded diplomas during Fall Commencement on Friday, Dec. 14.

The majority of Northwestern State nursing majors complete clinical studies at NSU’s Shreveport-Line Avenue Campus or at the Alexandria campus. But some students have personal and/or professional obligations that make taking clinicals in another city prohibitive. For example, student-athletes and those who are scholarship students in Creative and Performing Arts or other organizations would not have been able to fulfil their scholarship obligations while completing clinicals. Other students have part-time jobs or families in Natchitoches.

For Blackshear, it was imperative that she stay in Natchitoches to keep her music scholarships and maintain leadership positions she holds in several organizations.

“I actually did not know that Natchitoches was even an option for clinical until I was filling out my application, but it is one of the best things that has happened to me since coming to NSU,” Blackshear said. “I was also privileged enough to get a paid position as a Student Extern through Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, so staying in Natchitoches for clinical was a huge help with work as well. A lot of people approach me about doing extra-curricular activities on top of clinical, and I always respond the same: the professors in the nursing program, especially on the Natchitoches campus, are in the business of seeing us succeed, and have always been willing to do what is needed to assist me in just that. Nursing school is difficult, but with help from professors that care about me and the want to be a nurse, it is possible.”

Tamara Baxter is the Natchitoches campus coordinator. Of the 17 graduates, six began and finished at the Natchitoches campus, she said.

“Students have been very grateful for the opportunity to remain in the Natchitoches area to complete their full clinical experience,” Baxter said. “Prior to this cohort, students could only complete their pre-requisite classes and would have to relocate or commute to the Shreveport or Alexandria campuses. We have had our students commute to Alexandria area hospitals for certain clinical experiences and to Bossier to participate in simulation activities, but for the bulk of their BSN education, they have been right here.”

Baxter said students who may be from other parts of the state also are grateful because they do not have to relocate and they can remain with the support system they have developed away from home.

Blackshear grew up in a Navy family and her parents currently live in Scurry, Texas. She completed school in Forney, Texas, near Dallas where she participated in a program that exposed high school students to several different health sciences professions and enrolled at NSU as a double major in nursing and music performance.

“I eventually had to pick one. I struggled a lot, because music and education have always been some of my greatest passions, among others, like caring for people, hearing their life-stories and being there for people through hard times. I realized, though, that nursing takes all of my passions and rolls it into one incredible profession. Once I made that realization, it was nursing full steam ahead, and I had never been more excited about making a decision in my life.”

Blackshear believes that the leadership skills she learned by participating in band, music ensembles and honor societies had a direct impact on her professionalism as a nurse. She organized a Natchitoches chapter of the Student Nurses Association and serves as president. She credited professors of nursing Dr. Amy Garcie and Dr. Theresa Kyzar and Dr. Dan McDonald, assistant professor of music, as important mentors.

“Overall I just want people who are interested in nursing, or are currently in nursing school to know that it is so possible to be successful here,” Blackshear said. “It sounds scary when students hear us talk about our clinical experiences, or the fact that our grading scale is harder, or how many chapters are on one exam for us; but, ultimately, the professors at NSU, especially here in Natchitoches, want nothing more than to see all of us become successful nurses. A whole bunch of tough love goes into that, but that’s exactly what it is: love.”

Information on NSU’s College of Nursing is available at nursing.nsula.edu.

Fall Commencement at NSU will be at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Dec. 14. Graduates from the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development, the Louisiana Scholars’ College and the College of Arts and Sciences with the exception of those receiving degrees in general studies will receive diplomas at 10 a.m. Graduates in general studies along with those receiving degrees from College of Nursing and Allied Health and the College of Business and Technology will receive diplomas at 3 p.m. Information is available at nsula.edu.

Pictured above, on the front row from left are Mikayla Tudor of Prairieville, Nancy Vargas of Forest Hill and Kara Teddlie of Verda. On the middle row are Ashley Lauren Ortiz of Woodworth, Caitlin Dauzat of Alexandria, Jamie Brooks of Baton Rouge, Katy Zimmerman of Winnfield, Katelan Gossett of Jena and Karly Constantino of Alexandria. On the back row are Jan Heard of Harrisburg, Jenifer Meadows of Many, Jayme Johnson of Natchitoches, Rebecca Blackshear of Scurry, Texas; Zachary Friday of Campti, Linzay Hunnell of Woodworth and Allie Frost of Pollock.
00 2018-12-10
Regional/National

The Power of Guaranteed Admissions


The focus of much admissions discussion this fall has been holistic admissions, in which applicants are evaluated based on the entirety of their application -- grades, test scores, essays, background, opportunities -- without any formula that assures admission to those with a certain combination of grade point average and SAT score. Harvard University has made holistic admissions central to its defense of the lawsuit charging the university with discrimination against Asian American applicants. Holistic admissions, the university has argued, makes it possible to spot talent in a disadvantaged applicant who didn't take as many Advanced Placement courses or score as high on the SAT as a more privileged applicant. Holistic admissions, Harvard has said, is consistent with Supreme Court rulings and promotes diversity in higher education.

Last week, however, a study was published about the advantages -- in promoting diversity -- of guaranteed admissions programs. The study doesn't criticize holistic admissions but points to the benefits -- in achieving diversity -- of having applicants know that certain achievements will assure them of admission to top colleges and universities.

The study, published in the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, finds that the Texas 10 percent plan, one of the most prominent experiments in guaranteed admissions, made high-talent, low-income students more likely than they historically have been to apply to the flagship universities in Texas. So guaranteed admissions, the paper argues, can reduce the problem of "undermatching," in which talented, disadvantaged students apply to few if any competitive colleges -- even though in many cases they would be admitted and awarded aid. Given the better graduation rates and (in many cases) significantly greater resources available at the more competitive colleges, many education experts see undermatching as a major problem.

The 10 percent plan is a state law that gives the top 10 percent of high school graduates in every public high school automatic admission to any public college or university in the state. Texas adopted the plan in 1997 after a federal appeals court barred public colleges and universities in the state from considering race or ethnicity in admissions decisions. Many Texas high schools are highly segregated by race and ethnicity, so admitting the top 10 percent from each one means that institutions like the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University at College Station have diverse student bodies even without considering race in admissions. (Those who follow the plan may know that the percentage covered was lowered recently for UT Austin, but the period in this study was when it was still 10 percent.)

For the study, Kalena E. Cortes, an associate professor of public policy at Texas A&M University, and Jane Arnold Lincove, an associate professor of public policy at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, looked at the records of 146,000 Texas public high school students who graduated in spring 2008 and spring 2009 and who applied to at least one four-year public university in Texas.

The researchers used test scores to measure whether students were undermatching. While low-income students were more likely than high-income students to undermatch, ability to apply to a college based on 10 percent status decreased by 23 percentage points the odds of a high-ability, low-income student enrolling at a "safety school" instead of one of the more competitive colleges he or she could get into.

Top 10 percent eligibility was also associated with a 16-percentage-point increase in the probability of applying to a flagship campus for high-income, highly qualified students and a 22-percentage-point increase for similar low-income students.

Critics of affirmative action frequently talk about "overmatching," in which beneficiaries of affirmative action may land at colleges and universities where they may lack the ability to succeed. But in this study, the research found that those who were overmatching were high-income, low-ability students, not disadvantaged students.

The authors conclude by saying that their study points to the value of clearly understood admissions procedures, which may be easier for some institutions than for others.

"In general, policies that can increase transparency about college admission processes, including those that guarantee admissions based on clearly measured achievements, are likely to help resolve mismatch problems that are associated with information asymmetries," the authors write. "At public universities, this can be achieved through state policy changes. It is less clear whether private universities seeking to improve diversity in enrollment would be willing to bypass holistic admissions process to provide certainty to applicants. It is also unclear whether strategies such as active recruitment and publicizing generous financial aid policies could be as effective as admissions certainty in influencing application behavior among low-income applicants."

In an interview, Lincove said that many colleges will "want more control" over admissions decisions than any automatic policy would permit, or may have "capacity constraints" that would make the Texas model impossible.

But she noted that some elite private institutions have offered forms of guaranteed admissions to certain graduates of local schools. And others have made financial aid more predictable. Lincove noted, for example, that the recent $1.8 billion gift from Michael Bloomberg to Johns Hopkins University prompted the institution to say that it would operate need-blind admissions and would eliminate loans from aid packages.

These policies, while not the same as those in Texas, "reduce uncertainty" for low-income potential students, she said. All colleges should think about ways to do that, she said.

Holistic admissions can be used in conjunction with guaranteed admissions. In Texas, after the Supreme Court affirmed the legality, in some circumstances, of considering race in admissions, UT Austin resumed evaluating some applicants that way, even while keeping the percent plan guarantee. But Lincove noted that far more black and Latino students are admitted to top public universities through the percent plan than through holistic admissions.

And while Harvard and others defend holistic admissions as a diversity tool, Lincove noted that much of the material that admissions officers review in holistic admissions may favor the well-off applicant.

"Holistic admissions is fundamentally stacked against inclusion," she said. "Wealthier students are gaming the system in many ways -- SAT prep classes, professional essay writers, legacies, recommendations from influential family friends, etc." Lincove added that she worries "that holistic admissions is playing a losing game when there is a for-profit industry built around helping a certain class of students overmatch."

Read more by Scott Jaschik
00 2018-12-10
Ruston

World renowned author with autism speaks about developmental disability at LA Tech


RUSTON, La. (KNOE) A world-famous author speaks out about autism at Louisiana Tech.


Dr. Temple Grandin hopes her message can help others understand.

She even has autism herself.

"When I was a little kid, I was severely autistic," said Grandin.

Over time, Grandin learned to overcome her challenges.

"I got very good early education. I had wonderful teachers."

For many years, she's been outspoken on the developmental disability.

She has written nine books with four of them on autism.

People lined up in the Howard Auditorium to meet Grandin and even let her sign copies of her books.

"Having her come for our kickoff event has been incredible opportunity to shine a light on the field of children's health and the types of programs we're striving for," said Julie Rutledge from the Louisiana Tech ENRICH Program.

During her speech, Grandin compared some of history's greatest minds who likely dealt with autism.

"What would happen to somebody like Thomas Edison today? He was probably on the autism spectrum. He was described as a hyperactive high school dropout. How about Einstein? He didn't speak until age 3."

Her message relays that it varies depending on each person.

"The brain can be more thinking or social-emotional. You see some of that is just normal variation; then you can get into very severe autism where the person never really learns to dress themselves."

But she says it can be dealt with at an early stage.

"If you have young children who are not talking, you got to start working with them. You can't just let them sit out and vegetate on the TV. Get them talking. You got to teach them how to shake hands with people because when you have a few social circuits missing in their brain. You got to teach them like a foreign country. You got to teach them how to do it. How much pressure you apply, how much distance they need to stand apart."
00 2018-12-07
Lake Charles

McNeese names USF assistant as new head coach


LAKE CHARLES — A day of rumors, reports and leaks finally ended with an official announcement.

McNeese State has a new head football coach.

The Cowboys named Sterlin Gilbert the 16th head coach in the program’s history Wednesday evening.


“Through this process it became very clear that McNeese is very highly rated throughout the country and positions in our athletics department are extremely attractive,” McNeese athletic director Bruce Hemphill said in a release. “We are looking forward to the culture that Coach Gilbert will build and to the competitive team that he will lead on the field.”

Gilbert will be introduced at a press conference on Friday at 11 a.m.

“There is no question that Sterlin Gilbert is one of the premiere coaches in the country,” said Dr. Daryl Burckel,” McNeese president, “but most importantly, his character and commitment to bringing out the best qualities in his players was a constant theme during the vetting process. I am excited that we are beginning a new era for McNeese football.”

“I am extremely honored to be the head football coach at McNeese,” said Gilbert. “I’m excited to meet with our players, laying out the vision, culture, and how we will directly invest in their success.

“I look forward to meeting and creating new relationships with high school coaches and recruiting their great student athletes to McNeese.”

Gilbert replaces Lance Guidry, the former player who was fired after three seasons despite posting a 21-12 record. Guidry was let go after his team fell out of playoff and Southland Conference title contention by losing its last three games and four of its last five.

Despite a 5-1 start, the Cowboys finished just 6-5, winning only once after their bye week.


Gilbert was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of South Florida under head coach Charlie Strong. He was hired by Strong while at Texas and went with him to USF in Jan. of 2017.

The 40-year-old Gilbert will bring a solid offensive resume to McNeese. However, he did come under fire according to the Tampa Bay Times as his offense stalled during a five-game losing streak at the end of this season. According to the paper, Gilbert’s contract was to quadruple from $100,000 to $400,000 on Jan. 1. That in large part was because Texas was paying a portion of his current salary.

McNeese has always suffered from the perception that it under pays coaches. During recent weeks Burckel, a former Cowboy football player himself, has commented that he would like to change that and was more than willing to go away from just hiring the next McNeese person up for the job.

“We want the best coaches and people we can get for McNeese State,” Burckel said at the time of Guidry’s firing. “We want the right people to come here for the right reasons.”

Burckel added that while he hopes his coaches stay a long time he understands they have to do what is right financially for their families and careers.

“We want people who want to be the best and if they move on, that’s what happens sometimes,” Burckel said. “The important thing is we hire the right people for us and the future of our university and students.”

Gilbert has no ties to McNeese, but did coach at the FCS level when he was at Eastern Illinois, which is where both Sean Payton and Tony Romo each quarterbacked.


Gilbert previously held positions as co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Tulsa (2015), Bowling Green (2014) and the previously mentioned Eastern Illinois (2012-13). Gilbert’s previous four offenses at four different programs prior to arriving at USF posted a combined average of 505.3 yards and 36.8 points per game, producing 304.3 yards per game through the air and 200.9 yards per game on the ground.

This should be a boost to a Cowboy offense that struggled to score points all of last season, averaging just over 20 a game.

Over the last two season’s Gilbert’s offenses has helped the Bulls to back-to-back bowl games.

South Florida has posted a 17-7 record under Strong and Gilbert.

During the 2012-13 seasons, Gilbert served as the offensive coordinator at Eastern Illinois, where in his second year he was named 2013 FootballScoop FCS Coordinator of the Year.

The Panthers led the nation in total offense (589.5 ypg) and scoring (48.2 ppg) that season, while ranking second with 372.4 passing yards, and 20th with 217.1 rushing yards per game.

They finished the year 12-2 and won the Ohio Valley Conference Championship.
00 2018-12-07
Monroe

ULM's Autism Center receives $10k grant to study rural communities


NELA, La. (KNOE) - The Autism Center at ULM has been working with families in Northeast Louisiana for two years, and they say the need is vast. “We've had roughly 200 referrals so far since 2016, so we know there's a great need, but we know there are more people we can reach,” says Dr. David Irwin, Director of the Autism Center.


The center evaluates children to see if they have children, refers them to treatment locations and gives them background on different therapy options. Now, with the $10,000 grant, they’ll come up with a tool-kit for families, listing what resources are available for people in rural areas. Throughout 2019, they’ll study fifty families with autistic children and understand what resources are most important for them and try to find a way to bring those resources to smaller cities.

Dr. Irwin says it’s increasingly difficult for families with an autistic child to get the treatment they need when it’s an hour drive away. “It costs gas, it costs time to get to places and a lot of times they don’t have the money for those types of things,” says Irwin.

“Sometimes they want to go to a specialist and learn how they might help their child, so a lot of times when they get in these rural areas there's just nowhere to turn to,” says Irwin.

ABA Therapy Solutions understands the struggle for families, so they opened up clinics in smaller cities in NELA (Winnsboro, Calhoun, and Bastrop). “It's more realistic for the kids to stay longer or come more days to get the hours that they need just because it's right there,” says Lillian Stanley, Program Director for ABA Therapy Solutions’ Winnsboro office.

For young kids, Stanley says it makes all the difference having resources available. “If you start intervention at a young age then they're being taught how to act in society appropriately, and how to learn these skills,” says Stanley. “The older they get, I mean once you've been doing something for ten to fifteen years, it's harder to teach them otherwise."

Irwin is hoping ULM’s Medical School will help them bring more treatment options for Autistic children in NELA. “Once we have the medical school here at ULM we feel like we can move into research trials and different treatments,” says Irwin.

The Autism Center will begin teaching fifteen credit hours of Autism-based classes at ULM to educate the community.
00 2018-12-07
Monroe

AKA honors Bruno with CAMEO Award for dedication to education, diversity


Dr. Nick J. Bruno, President of the University of Louisiana Monroe, has been recognized for his outstanding work in education, diversity and the community with the CAMEO Award from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Omicron Iota Chapter.

The awards ceremony was Nov. 16 at Delta Community College with the theme “Exemplifying Excellence Through Service.” CAMEO stands for Community Service, Arts, Medicine, Education, Organization. The CAMEO Awards began in 2003 when, according to the sorority, they “chose to celebrate those in the community who gave tirelessly of their time and talents to promote the greater good of mankind.”

Bruno was chosen because, “Your visionary impact on our community and your dedication has earned you the right to be honored …,” according to AKA-OIO.

“I am honored by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Omicron Iota Omega Chapter for presenting me with their CAMEO Award for Education,” said Bruno. “This organization is acutely aware that to support education is to support the future. And that future is students; students who have as much right as we do to an education, but they don’t yet have the right to secure it. That responsibility is up to us.”

Patricia Turner, AKA-OIO member and Co-Chairman of the 12th Annual CAMEO Awards, stated of Bruno’s selection, “ … for over 40 years Dr. Bruno has made exceptional strides in his career as an educator. We respect and salute all of his achievements, but ultimately selected to honor him for arriving in Monroe and reaching out to the community by creating the Business and Community Advisory Committee, a group that analyzes the workforce needs of the region.”

“This is the type of vision that creates jobs by pulling and keeping businesses in the area. It pulls people of all ethnicities together and seeks to bridge the divide and celebrates diversity. And, yes we honor him for his love of family, his love for ULM and this entire community and for his candor, commitment and courage; we remain proud to have honored this outstanding educator!” she said.

Turner cited Bruno’s community impact as a champion of diversity, stating, “We honor him for his direct approach to tackling the growing anguish of his ULM minority students by hosting a race forum to hear their concerns; and for his continuous support of the ULM Black Alumni Organization which is evident by his recurrent attendance at their biennial reunions.”

Bruno’s write-up by the sorority mentioned just a few of his accomplishments.

• Former UL System vice president for business affairs.

• 8th president of the University of Louisiana Monroe.

• Revitalized ULM campus with $100 million in improvements.

• Has served on the board of directors for the Monroe and West Monroe-West Ouachita Chambers of Commerce.

Bruno was recognized at the event by keynote speaker Rick Gallot, President of Grambling State University and CAMEO event organizers Patricia Turner, Co-Chairman; LaTanga Blackson, Mistress of Ceremony; Kimberly Davis, Chaplain; Raven Owens, President; Kathy Gray, Co-Chairman; and Judge Aisha Clark.
00 2018-12-07
Regional/National

Students Taking More Credit Courses and Introductory Math Faring Well


CHICAGO -- Colleges in Nevada have found a strong correlation between the success of students in college-level, introductory math courses and the number of credits they take in their first year of college.

Students who took 15 or more credits completed the math courses at higher rates than their peers who took fewer credits, according to Nevada higher education officials.

The officials presented their findings, based on data from 2013-16, on Wednesday during the national convention of Complete College America. CCA has been a longtime advocate of the 15 to Finish initiative and corequisite remediation, which places students who in the past may have been placed in traditional remedial courses in regular college-level math and English courses instead and provides them with additional academic or social support.

Crystal Abba, vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at the Nevada System of Higher Education, said these college-completion initiatives work best when they are implemented at the same time.

“This is really a testament to 15 to Finish as well,” said Linda Heiss, senior director of institutional research at the Nevada System of Higher Education. “The students enrolled in 15 credits the first semester were completing at a much higher rate, but also what made a difference was their initial placement.”

At two-year institutions, 62.5 percent of students who took more than 15 credits completed the math course within the first year and a half of college in 2016. Only 27.2 percent of students who took between six and 11 credits passed the math course in the same year, according to state data.

The positive effects of students taking more credit-bearing courses also occurred at the state’s four-year institutions. Seventy-nine percent of students who took more than 15 credits in the first semester completed an introductory math course within a year and a half compared to 70.8 percent of students who took between 12 and 14 credits in 2016.



The state adopted a policy in 2015 that required degree-seeking students deemed unprepared for college-level work to complete an introductory English or math course within the first year of enrollment. There are some exceptions to the policy for students enrolled in STEM or other programs. Researchers have found that even students initially placed in remedial math have a better chance of succeeding in college when they take college-level math and are given additional academic support. Those students also subsequently accumulate more credits toward graduation.

Some educators have been critical of the 15 to Finish initiative and warn that it can be overwhelming to students, particularly those enrolled at community colleges, if they have other familial and work responsibilities.

Abba agrees that taking 15 credits a semester isn’t for everyone, but she said there are ways to help those students through flexible course scheduling options and by providing them additional financial aid that may eliminate the need to work and attend college part-time.

She added, however, that the data also show that these students can handle taking a college-level math class and the additional course load.

Still, challenges remain for the colleges. Students who take remedial courses are dropping out at high rates and not making it to the college-level math course, said Theo Meek, director of advising at the University of Nevada, Reno.

And too many students are not enrolling in any math course in their first year. At the College of Southern Nevada, a community college and the state’s largest public institution, nearly 68 percent of first-time, degree-seeking students did not enroll in math during the first year of college, according to the state.

“We’re finding in Nevada that corequisite remediation works,” Meeks said. “Getting them completed or onto the gateway course if they’re in remedial is another significant problem.”
00 2018-12-07
Ruston

DAVID PONTON TO TAKE OVER GSU ATHLETICS


Inducted to the Southwestern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame last year because of his basketball career as a Southern University Jaguar, David “Rusty” Ponton has long been a fixture at Grambling State University.

And soon, he’ll be head Tiger of the GSU Athletics Department.

On Wednesday, GSU President Rick Gallot announced Wednesday that David “Rusty” Ponton, the university’s vice president for Student Affairs, will now lead its athletics division in addition to student affairs.
00 2018-12-06
Hammond

Southeastern Louisiana University to improve guest experience at commencement


Guests at Southeastern Louisiana University’s winter commencement should expect several changes designed to enhance the overall event experience, according to a press release.

Updates include an increased number of attendants to assist guests with directions and seating, the addition of bag checks and alterations to the list of allowed items to enhance security, and live streaming of the ceremony on the Southeastern Channel.

Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management Kay Maurin said, for security purposes, all commencement attendees are asked to limit handbags, camera bags, and tote bags to only those that are necessary.

All articles brought into the facility will be subject to search, she added, and this may increase the amount of time it will take for some attendees to enter the University Center. The doors to the University Center will open at 8 a.m. to allow extra time for bag checks.

“The safety of our graduates, faculty, staff, and guests is our top priority,” Maurin said. “Bag checking is an important security practice and is utilized by colleges and universities across the country.

“Our team will offer expedited entrances for anyone not carrying a bag and all others will be subject to quick searches. We encourage guests to arrive early and with their groups in order to go through bag check and enter the arena together as quickly as possible.”

To ensure a safe and comfortable commencement, Maurin said the following items are strictly prohibited from being brought into the University Center: beverage containers, aerosol and spray cans, animals (except for service animals for persons with a disability), balloons and beach balls, alcoholic beverages, weapons, signs, banners, flags, laser pointers, noisemakers (including but not limited to whistles, air horns, bull horns, sirens, thunder sticks) strollers, drones, confetti, glitter, streamers, silly string, fireworks, party poppers and sparklers.

Guests are asked to refrain from saving seats out of consideration for other guests. Seating is available on a first-come first-served basis, so groups should plan to arrive early to find seats together.

“Commencement is a ceremonious occasion honoring our students’ impressive accomplishments. Decorum and courtesy are important to our guests, the candidates and their families,” said Maurin.

“Guests and graduates are encouraged to remain for the duration of the ceremony so that each graduate and their family can share their moment without interruptions. Applause should be kept to a minimum so that each graduate’s name can be heard as it is called.”

As part of commencement decorum, Maurin added, guests should silence cell phones and other electronic devices. Candidates should plan to meet their guests outside the University Center, as guests are not allowed on the arena floor or stage.

For those who are unable to attend commencement or wish to follow it from home, the Southeastern Channel will live stream the event for the first time. The stream can be accessed by logging on to thesoutheasternchannel.com/programs/graduation/.

“Many graduates have family and friends who are unable to travel to Hammond to attend graduation,” Maurin said. “We are now live streaming the ceremony so those family members and friends can see their loved ones cross the stage in cap and gown to the receive their diplomas.”

For more information about commencement, visit southeastern.edu/commencement.
00 2018-12-06
Lafayette

Photos, video: Therapy Dogs give UL-Lafayette students a break from the finals week grind



00 2018-12-06
Lafayette

Get ready for the 'new-collar' workforce, where training can trump the traditional degree


As technology seeps into everything from teaching to manufacturing, skilled workers with two-year degrees in computer science, cyber security and software development are increasingly in demand – and supply is struggling to keep up.

Hundreds of thousands of tech industry jobs are going unfilled, and companies are realizing that universities aren't the only places they'll find qualified workers.

Many tech-related jobs do not require a four-year degree. What's more, some tech employers prefer applicants with only a two-year degree.

"Two-year jobs are industry drivers," said Megan Martin, dean of technology, engineering and math at Bossier Parish Community College in Louisiana.

In fact, as many as one-third of IBM's U.S. employees lack a traditional four-year degree, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty wrote for USA TODAY in 2016.

"What matters most is that these employees – with jobs such as cloud computing technicians and services delivery specialists – have relevant skills, often obtained through vocational training," Rometty wrote.

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The technology giant shifted its sights to also include community colleges in its search for potential employees. Others in the tech world, from Google to local businesses, are doing the same.

This is the "new-collar workforce" – a play on the term blue-collar. Many blue-collar jobs may evolve or be replaced as jobs become more automated and technological.

"Today we are looking more at students with a two-year degree to hire, because they have the baseline knowledge we need and can further expand their skills with our specialized in-house training," said César A. Marrero, CEO of Xentient Technology in Bossier City, Louisiana.

With a 2-year degree, employees are more 'malleable,' easier to train
Students with a two-year degree can be more "malleable" and adaptable to job-specific training, Marrero said. His company partners with Bossier Parish Community College in student workshops, mock interviews, internships and more.

"As a company, we benefit from getting them at an early stage in their career and mold them into the roles they will perform," he said.

More: The top 10 industries that are adding jobs and thriving

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Marrero, IBM and others are putting their money where their mouth is, investing in partnerships with two-year schools and hiring their graduates. Some leave with an associate's degree and others only a credential.

Such tech partnerships can be found across the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.

"There was a time when the hiring expectation was baccalaureate degree," system President Monty Sullivan said.

Now, companies look for two-year graduates with certifications. They also hire people with post-baccalaureate certifications. For those, companies ask community colleges to get current and potential employees "skilled up" in something new or something the employees lack, Sullivan explained.

"People now look to technical and community colleges as the front door to higher education and the job force," Sullivan said. "We develop relationships and connect graduates to jobs."

Most schools in Louisiana's system have industry partners, such as IBM with Baton Rouge Community College, CenturyLink with Louisiana Delta Community College in Monroe, and DXC Technology with Northshore Technical Community College.

'Out of school for so long,' then trained and hired by tech employer
Michael Hagan and Tim Spotswood are students in South Louisiana Community College's application software development program. Spotswood, a veteran, got a tech job after starting school at a community college. He'd been out of the classroom for 12 years.
Michael Hagan and Tim Spotswood are students in South Louisiana Community College's application software development program. Spotswood, a veteran, got a tech job after starting school at a community college. He'd been out of the classroom for 12 years. (Photo: Leigh Guidry/USA TODAY Network)

When Tim Spotswood, 31, finished his military service, he knew he wanted to go to school to start a career. He opted to start at a community college.

"I've just been out of school for so long," he said – 12 years at the time. "I thought I'd try a smaller setting to get adjusted."

He started at South Louisiana Community College in 2017, studying application software development. After a summer internship, he now is working part time at CGI Group in Lafayette.

He works 20 hours a week on entry-level software development while also going to school.

SLCC's application software development program is in its fifth year. It contains 39 credit hours, basically a concentrated version of a four-year degree focused on specific things companies are saying they need.

"That's why they are employable," lead instructor Athanasios Markou said about application software development grads.

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Spotswood plans to transfer to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to study informatics while working. The two schools have a 2+2 agreement, in which students can earn an associate's and bachelor's degree in four years.

"For me, I'm going on to four-year because there will be some jobs that require a bachelor's," he said. "I just don't want to be turned away because I don't have that."

Follow Leigh Guidry on Twitter: @LeighGGuidry


00 2018-12-06
Monroe

Grambling State, AD Paul Bryant agree to part ways


GRAMBLING – Grambling State and Athletics Director Paul Bryant have agreed to part ways.

Both parties reached the mutual decision Wednesday morning and it will take effect Dec. 31.

Grambling State president Rick Gallot appointed university vice president for student affairs David Ponton to take over the AD role along with his student affairs duties for the school effective Jan. 1, 2019. Ponton filling two roles will be cost-effective for GSU.

“I loved being here at Grambling,” Bryant told The News-Star Wednesday afternoon. “I loved what I did, the camaraderie I established. You never want to automatically leave, but some things are meant to be. And I think it was time to do something different.”

Gallot told The News-Star Wednesday that he didn’t want to see Bryant go, but he understood why Bryant would want to “explore other opportunities.”

“The good and bad of the seat I’m in, I get to participate one way or the other in everybody’s arrival and departure,” Gallot said. “It’s not a situation where you expect that people will stay all 30 years, stick around and get the gold watch. It’s a very fluid process. As much as I’d love to keep everything the same, you know that things do change, and people pursue other opportunities. In the grand scheme you’d love to keep everybody, but it’s just not realistic.

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“We have continued to communicate about what the future might hold. Only today, did we mutually agree that this was going to be best path forward for everybody. When you’ve got talented people, you know that others recognize that talent as well. We’re not surprised he’s got other options that he’s looking to pursue. We wish him well in those endeavors.”


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Bryant confirmed to The News-Star that he is actively exploring other options, that he interviewed and was a finalist for the vacant Prairie View A&M athletics director position before Fred Washington was hired back in October.

When asked if he thought him seeking another AD post some place else rubbed people the wrong way, he said, "possibly."

"In the business of athletics when schools look for talent, if they see something they like, they will reach out. I don't know if (it rubbed people the wrong way), but I try to handle my business. I always have.

"Nothing is lined up. But I have my agent looking for a couple of opportunities. Nothing as of yet, but there are some promising things out there."

Before Gallot officially hired Bryant back in January 2017, the athletic department had gone without a permanent director since 2014. Bryant, the former AD at South Carolina State, signed a two-year, $320,000 deal and had one more month of his initial contract at the time of his departure.

The first big project Bryant oversaw in his first few months at Grambling was the $2.4 million renovations, including the installation of artificial turf, the 48 by 25-foot videoboard and new padded brick walls that line the back of the end zones at Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium. It was the first facelift for the venue since its completion in 1983.

MORE | Did GSU have its most successful athletic year in recent memory in 2017-18?

Grambling State saw a more than 21 percent jump in total operating revenue and pulled in $7,853,609 in revenue for the 2016-17 athletic year, a $1,654,886 spike from the previous years, according to a USA Today athletic finance database published in the summer.

Bryant also helped the school sign a five-year apparel and footwear deal with adidas back in May worth more than $1.2 million in new gameday uniforms, practice gear and cleats and shoes for all 15 of the university’s teams.

Grambling head football coach Broderick Fobbs’ recent success of an HBCU national championship win in 2016 and back-to-back SWAC championships in 2016 and 2017 along with a third appearance in the game in 2015, made the coach a hot commodity for many other schools that had been searching for new head coaches. But GSU was able to keep Fobbs at his alma mater, agreeing to a new four-year, $1.28 million contract in June. The school didn’t offer a base salary raise, but instead got a $121,000 annual bump from the Grambling State University Foundation to make Fobbs the highest-paid SWAC coach and one of the highest paid HBCU football coaches in the country.

Under Bryant’s watch, the GSU men’s basketball team won its first conference title in 30 years in 2017-18 under first-year head coach Donte Jackson who the athletic director hired in July 2017. The women’s basketball team clinched a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 19 years. The baseball program was a win shy of advancing to an NCAA regional. The women’s soccer program has competed for back-to-back conference championships and coach Justin Wagar, a Bryant hire, won the SWAC Coach of the Year award in 2017.

After firing longtime coach Wilbert Early who struggled to keep the softball program out of APR issues and the doldrums of the league on the field, Bryant also hired the reigning SWAC Softball of the Year in Nakeya Hall from Alabama A&M this past summer.

MORE | Grambling AD Bryant Q&A: 'We have more to do'

Various athletic teams had struggled with academic issues before Bryant’s arrival. Since, most of the programs including the men’s basketball program and track and field teams have pulled themselves out of APR trouble and NCAA probation. Bryant was instrumental in applying and getting Grambling $430,000 in grant money to help fill several academic compliance and advisory positions inside the athletic department.

"I think my job performance -- I did what I was supposed to do. I did my job," Bryant said.

“We appreciate all of his efforts and we’re certainly excited about where we are as an institution about two-and-a-half years after (Bryant) taking over. When you look at the collective effort of the athletics and advancement, part of the fundraising that the foundation played in securing finances for stadium upgrades,” Gallot said. “We’re very thankful for the forward momentum and look forward to continued improvement in that area. The fact that he’s chosen other options at a good time for both parties, it’s commendable.

“He’s not leaving under a cloud or anything like that. It’s never a good time, but his stock is at its highest and it’s a good time for him to explore other opportunities.”

Follow Cory Diaz on Twitter @CoryDiaz_TNS and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CoryDiazTNS/
00 2018-12-06
Natchitoches

Middle Lab will present original musical “EBENEZER’


The Northwestern State University Middle Lab Drama Club will perform excerpts from the original musical “EBENEZER,” along with many other skits and songs at the Fall Theatre Showcase at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17 in the NSU Middle Lab Auditorium. Dr. Samuel Stokes, teacher of talented music at NSU Middle Lab School and music composition and arranging instructor for Northwestern State University, premiered the original musical “EBENEZER,” based on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” at The Music Studio of Warrensburg in Warrensburg, Missouri, Dec. 1.

“There have been a few different musical versions of “A Christmas Carol” over there years, but “EBENEZER” is unique because it uses a blend of traditional Christmas carols and hip-hop,” according to James Duncan, owner and artistic director of the Music Studio of Warrensburg. “The kids really enjoyed the mix of traditional carols with modern rap style. We all had fun with working the raps out.”

The Music Studio of Warrensburg opened in 2016 and provides music and acting lessons to students of all ages. “EBENEZER” included a wide range of ages in its cast – the youngest was 5 and the oldest in his 70s.

Duncan said the biggest challenge was to get the cast to speak in the more antiquated style of English used in the script. Stokes said the he “really wanted to stay true to Dickens and maintain as much of the original dialogue as possible. Even in the rap verses, I incorporated as much of the original text as I could, but of course took liberties to make them fit the rhythm and rhyme schemes.”

“There was a lot of excitement among the cast to have the opportunity to premiere an original musical and everyone was especially excited to have Dr. Stokes in the house for the weekend, because getting to meet a composer/author isn’t an everyday occurrence for most kids. That brought a lot to what we were doing,” Duncan said.

Stokes, who graduated from the University of Central Missouri with a Bachelor of Music in 2002 and a Master of Arts in 2005, was also excited to return to Warrensburg for the first time in many years.

“It was amazing to see how the town and the campus have changed,” he said. “Warrensburg really seems to be growing and thriving. It was great to visit some of my old professors at UCM and other folks from the Warrensburg community who really supported my musical endeavors when I was a student there.”

Stokes said he would like to expand upon the musical in the future.

“EBENEZER” was originally written as a one-act musical, but I abridged some of the material from the original novel in order to make it more accessible and to require fewer scene changes. In the future, I would like to incorporate some of these other scenes and add some more musical numbers to make it a full two-act musical. I’m going to try to have that done by next Christmas.”

Donations for the NSU Middle Lab Drama program will be collected at the door.

More information about Dr. Stokes and the “EBENEZER” musical can be found at SamuelStokesMusic.com

Pictured above, cast members on front row from left are Colin Watson, Jorja Brandt and Penelope Welker. On the second row are James Duncan, Matilyn Shore, Becky Burns, Kylie Whalan, Molly Houk and composer Samuel Stokes. On back row are Joshua Welker, Dominic Wickware, Chuck Buck, Gregg Burns and Corey Watson.
00 2018-12-06
New Orleans

Outstanding student loan debt hits nearly $1.5 trillion: report


Outstanding student loan debt increased by $37 billion in the third quarter and stood at $1.44 trillion as of September, according to a report from Bloomberg. The report cites newly released data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Bloomberg pointed out that a 2012 report noted the delinquency rates for student loans are likely to be understated because about half of these loans are in deferment, in grace periods or in forbearance. This implies delinquency rates are roughly twice as high among loans counted in the repayment cycle, Bloomberg stated.

The federal student loan program has surpassed a trillion dollars as students and colleges grapple with rising tuition costs, stagnant wages and low state investment in higher education nationwide. Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office reported in September that only a small number of people have had their debt discharged under the program.

Last month, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos discussed the rapidly growing federal student loan totals at a Federal Student Aid Training Conference on Nov. 27. Video footage of the event recorded by the Education Department shows DeVos telling the audience that she needs to “raise a warning flag with American students and American taxpayers.”


“We have a crisis in higher education. Our higher education system is the envy of the world, but if we as a country do not make important policy changes in the way we distribute, administer and manage federal student loans, the program which so many students rely on will be in serious jeopardy,” DeVos stated.
00 2018-12-06
Regional/National

Amazon Mania Revealed These 3 Things About Higher Ed


Late last year the University of Virginia used a new umbrella term for disciplines such as commerce, computer science, mathematics, and systems engineering: “Amazon-related fields.”
UVa — in a memo submitted to state economic-development officials amid the online retail company’s search for a second headquarters — tallied more than 1,700 students who had graduated in one year in those sectors. And it pledged to raise that figure by up to 200 students annually, outlining the costs required to make it happen.

Those and other ideas revealed the state of play for public research universities extremely attentive to finding new sources of revenue: They will push boundaries for a shot at major industry partnerships. To woo Amazon, universities across the country floated future investments in fields that align with the company’s needs, and they appeared open to collaboration — with one another and with industry.

The dust has now settled: Amazon last month picked Northern Virginia and New York City to split its prize. But higher education’s proposals during the search helped demonstrate what matters to public research universities today, and what they’re willing to do to get it. Here are three such revelations:

1. Universities pitching to Amazon appeared open to collaboration — even with crosstown rivals. But turning those ideas into reality is harder than it seems.

Both Dallas and Atlanta envisioned new institutions of higher education that would combine resources from universities and community colleges to teach skills that Amazon needed. The plan for Dallas’s “Amazon U.,” Mayor Michael S. Rawlings said, included collaborations between public and private universities, the local community college, early-childhood education, and the Dallas Independent School District.

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“We were going to create a remarkable university for them to make sure they had the people that they needed in the long term, and they believed we could,” Rawlings said last month.

Early in the process, Virginia institutions considered the Cornell Tech campus, on Manhattan’s Roosevelt Island, as a possible inspiration. Facilities there are anchored by a partnership between Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

No firm plans are yet in place for that type of collaboration in Virginia, said Deborah Crawford, vice president for research at George Mason University, one institution considering such an effort during Amazon’s search. Still, she said, she is not ruling it out for the future, particularly in cybersecurity and data analytics.

Collaborations are “very hard to pull off” because of entrenched differences and stiff competition among an area’s campuses, said Mitchell L. Stevens, an associate professor of education at Stanford University.

Catharine Bond Hill, managing director of Ithaka S+R, a higher-ed consulting and research organization in New York, acknowledged that large-scale collaboration between institutions is rare.

But she said there may be good arguments for moving forward with such plans in cities Amazon didn’t select. If collaboration strengthens research or broadens access, it makes sense to try.

“Maybe this will be a proof of concept that they can do that to benefit their local communities,” said Hill, a former president of Vassar College.

2. Look for more-fluid boundaries between the work of research universities and of tech behemoths.

Universities fear losing researchers in specialized fields to lucrative gigs at companies like Amazon, “with all the resources and lots of the data,” Hill said. Close partnerships between researchers and Amazon may create more-fluid relationships in the future, she said.

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“That would be in everybody’s interest,” she said. “If universities don’t have talented faculty to work with students and do original research, that’s not going to be good for the private sector either.”

What could research more aligned with industry priorities look like? For one idea, look to UVa. During the Amazon search, the university proposed a $31-million computational-modeling and simulation initiative that would virtually test designs and experiments, according to a proposal to Virginia’s economic-development group reviewed by The Chronicle.

Among the potential applications of the technology are pharmaceuticals and drone operation, both sectors that Amazon has entered.

The field, UVa officials wrote in a memo to Virginia’s development agency, “could be a critical area of partnership with Amazon.” That proposal was not ultimately part of Northern Virginia’s package, but it’s still an area of interest for the university, said Pace Lochte, its assistant vice president for economic development.

Already, she said, UVa professors work in short stints for Amazon and plan to return to the campus with new insight into industry.

That a professor would want to collaborate with a private company like Amazon is natural, Stanford’s Stevens said.

“You'd be foolish, as a university or college administrator, ... to not bring value to those clients.”
“You have these new firms that have almost limitless capital, vast stores of data, and an almost certain ongoing need for education and training for education and workers,” he said. “You’d be foolish, as a university or college administrator, … to not bring value to those clients.”

George Mason worries that companies will poach professors, but the university sees Amazon’s selection of Northern Virginia as another incentive to prospective faculty members, “more of a benefit than a risk,” Crawford said.

Moody’s Investors Service agrees. It said in a report (for its subscribers only) last month that Amazon’s choice was “credit positive” for the Virginia Tech, citing a likely boost to its reputation.

Part of Virginia Tech’s proposal to Amazon was a commitment to hire dozens of new faculty members and researchers, which would need to be funded by the state, said Theresa S. Mayer, the university’s vice president for research. A spokeswoman said the university planned 33 hires at a Northern Virginia site and 92 more in Blacksburg, Va., site of its main campus, over six to seven years.

Virginia Tech plans to deepen its work in machine learning, security, and the intersection of technology and policy, Mayer said, and to leverage the Amazon selection to hire top faculty members from other institutions.

3. Universities lined up to give Amazon and its employees perks. That raises questions about higher education’s autonomy.

The practice of using higher education to lure a business to a region is longstanding, said Christian K. Anderson, an associate professor of higher education at the University of South Carolina at Columbia. For modern examples, look at research parks, which serve similar purposes. “The whole idea is, you’ve got professors we can consult with and … graduate students we can bring on.”

Still, some of the ideas universities pitched during the Amazon search seem to exceed regular practices, he said.

The University System of Maryland agreed to offer immediate in-state tuition to Amazon employees and their spouses and children, waiving a 12-month residency requirement. In a memo to state officials, UVa touted Northern Virginia facilities that could “deliver executive format and other education programs … targeted to Amazon’s talent-development needs.”

“It makes us wonder what the level of autonomy of the future of the research university is,” Anderson said.

At UVa, Lochte said, the university must balance industry connections with instilling critical-thinking skills.

“I don’t think I see us stopping everything we’re doing, on a dime, and dropping everything we see as important to address a specific short-term need,” she said. “But we also don’t want to be blind to the evolving landscape.”

Lindsay Ellis is a staff reporter. Follow her on Twitter @lindsayaellis, or email her at lindsay.ellis@chronicle.com.
00 2018-12-06
Ruston

BIG GAIN FOR GRAMBLING


GRAMBLING — It’s a big score for the Grambling State University, the city of Grambling and Lincoln Parish as a whole.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced that GSU will host the 2019 and 2020 Football National Championships at the historic Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium.
00 2018-12-05
Hammond

Louisiana’s Commissioner of Higher Education to address Southeastern commencement


Louisiana’s Commissioner of Higher Education will address Southeastern Louisiana University graduating students at the commencement ceremony Saturday, Dec. 8.

Kim Hunter Reed, Ph.D. will speak at the event scheduled for 10 a.m. at the University Center. The university will confer more than 1,000 degrees on students who are graduating with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

“We are pleased to welcome Commissioner Reed back to campus to address our graduates at Commencement,” said Southeastern President John L. Crain. “I am certain the graduates will find her words inspirational. As a Louisiana native who has many accomplishments, she is also a great role model.”

Reed’s appointment as Commissioner of Higher Education in April 2018 made her the only female in the country currently serving as a state higher education lead who has led higher education in more than one state.

Prior to being named Commissioner, Reed served as executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. Working with the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, Reed led efforts to drive increased educational attainment and erase equity gaps.

During her tenure in Colorado, she oversaw the implementation of nearly $109 million in additional support for Colorado Higher Education, bringing funding levels in the state to a historic high.

Reed has extensive higher education and government experience, having served in former President Barack Obama’s administration as deputy undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education. She led the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

A Lake Charles native, Reed chaired Louisiana’s higher education transition team in 2015 and served as the state’s policy director. She also served as chief of staff and deputy commissioner for public affairs for the Louisiana Board of Regents and executive vice president of the University of Louisiana System.

Reed is no stranger to Southeastern, having served as executive assistant to the president. She also filled, on an interim basis, several other administrative positions at the university, including vice president of student affairs and director of public information.

Reed earned a doctorate in public policy from Southern University, a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Louisiana State University.
00 2018-12-05
Lafayette

Help fund UL student Scholarship with the Art of Giving UL Alumni Art Fundrasier


Help provide scholarships to UL students! The Art of Giving event at the UL Alumni Center will be taking place this Thursday and Friday. 18 local artists will have their work on display. The proceeds from the art sale will go to help fund the wide array of scholarships the UL Lafayette Alumni Associationoffers.
00 2018-12-05
New Orleans

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ORLEANS TO OFFER ACCELERATED PYTHON CODING CLASS


The University of New Orleans (UNO) Professional and Continuing Education will be offering new class, the Fundamentals of Python coding, beginning December 17, over the course of two days. The class is designed to be fast-paced and comprehensive, totaling six hours.

“After just two class days, students will have a foundational understanding of how to code in Python, which is also one of the most versatile and widely used programming languages,” said Tina Chang, associate vice president of Professional and Continuing Education.

Seasoned expert Michael Flot, who uses Python for his work in cybersecurity and bioinformatics, will be teaching the class.

Students will learn about installing Python, variables, functions, lists, and much more throughout the class.

“With the growing number of technology companies in greater New Orleans, it is foreseeable that digital literacy will become increasingly important in Louisiana,” continued Chang. “UNO Professional and Continuing Education will be offering more workshops, courses, and certificates to help increase digital literacy as well as meet the existing interest in the community.”

For more information about the Fundamentals of Python or to register, click here.
00 2018-12-05
New Orleans

In light of #MeToo movement, more Louisiana students seeking support


Following the #MeToo movement and the hearings on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, more women are coming forward on Louisiana college campuses with complaints of sexual assault and relationship violence.

LSU’s Lighthouse counseling program received 91 requests for support last year, up from 53 in 2016. During the September showdown between Kavanaugh and a woman who accused him of having assaulted her when they were teenagers, requests by LSU students for counseling increased to two a day.

Students can go to Lighthouse for support following rape, domestic violence, stalking or attempted sexual assaults.

Since assault allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men set off the #MeToo movement late last year, the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault (LaFASA) also has seen a spike in reports.

“When the #MeToo initially came out, a lot of our accredited sexual assault centers throughout Louisiana did see a surge in hotline calls,” Josef Canaria, LaFASA’s campus sexual violence coordinator, said. “Statewide, our rape crisis centers phone lines were off the hook.”

LaFASA is a nonprofit organization that counsels sexual assault survivors and works with colleges to create safer environments. Susan Bareis, the Lighthouse Program coordinator and an assistant director of health and wellness at LSU, also tries to make it easier for victims to seek help.

“There is an important conversation going on in our society,” Bareis said. “It’s still a topic that is not talked about enough, but it’s starting to become a little more uncovered. People are feeling supported.”

Sarah, an LSU student who was assaulted by an Uber driver when she was 18 and who asked that her last name not be used, feared that the political tensions over the Kavanaugh hearing would deter victims from reporting.

“This is something that really divided our country,” she said. “It’s such an empowering and beautiful thing to hear that this is actually helping women come forward.”

Surveys have indicated for years that sexual assault is a significant problem on college campuses and is often underreported.

A national poll conducted by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2015 found that 20 percent of women who had attended college over the previous four years said they had been sexually assaulted. In a survey released in February, 41 percent of female students atTulane University said they had experienced unwanted sexual contact ranging from fondling to attempted rape or rape.

Still, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network reports that nearly 70 percent of sexual assault victims do not inform authorities. A study published in a journal at Ohio State University found that most victims do not report attacks out of fear of being judged harshly or of damaging a personal relationship with the assailant.

Like many victims, Sarah found it difficult to discuss the details of her assault with her family and friends, much less with local police or campus officials. Sarah, now in her third year at LSU, was assaulted during her freshman year. She said the process was so intense and traumatizing that she eventually dropped the charges.

“Honestly, the aftermath was worse than the actual sexual assault,” Sarah said.

Sarah was coming home from a bar when the Uber driver started touching her. She asked him to stop, but he instead put his hand down her pants, kept making advances and verbally assaulted her. When the car came to a stop near her dormitory, Sarah jumped out. She immediately called campus police, who then called the Baton Rouge police.

Sarah said that while Baton Rouge police officers tried to make her feel as comfortable as possible, she felt uneasy retelling her story to university officials.

Sarah recalls a moment when she was asked to re-explain the attack in detail in front of a group of officials with her father present. “Know how when you’re watching a movie with your dad and a sex scene comes on and it’s the most awkward thing ever?” she said. “Yeah, so imagine that, but a billion times worse.”

“People always say, ‘Oh, why did it take her X amount of years to come forward?’ And you just don’t get it until it happens to you,” Sarah said. “I know I didn’t do anything wrong, but it still made me feel dirty just talking about it.”

While assaults on students by non-students usually involve investigations by local police, many women rely on their universities to adjudicate allegations of student-on-student sexual assaults.

Women across the country have complained for years that the process was too cumbersome and often failed to lead to sufficient punishment against their attackers.

To make it easier for female students, the Obama administration mandated that college campuses change their standard in judging the cases from “clear and convincing” evidence to just “a preponderance of evidence.”

However, President Donald Trump has proposed giving colleges the option of using either standard. That would allow them to go back to the clear and convincing standard and provide more protection for men who are accused.

President Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, said last month that she wants to balance the rights of the accused and the accusers and “do what’s right and just and fair for all students.”

Additionally, universities would no longer be liable for incidents involving two students that took place in off-campus bars or fraternity houses or incidents that were not reported to a designated school official.

LSU’s Bareis and officials at Southeastern Louisiana University and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches said they changed their policies under the Obama Administration and do not want to change them again.

Dr. Gabe Willis, a Southeastern official, said that changing the evidence standard for sexual assault cases also could require similar changes in other university disciplinary policies.

“So if you did ‘clear and convincing’ for sexual misconduct, you had to do ‘clear and convincing’ for an act of dishonesty,” he said. “So you couldn’t do one or the other.”

According to an article on The Atlantic magazine website, Erin Buzuvis, a law professor at Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts, believes that colleges will begin to embrace more of Trump’s policies over time.


“Now a university could, without fear of liability from the courts or the government, drastically decrease its overall attention to sexual misconduct,” Buzuvis said.

In the meantime, Sarah, the LSU student, urges victims to stay stronger than she could.

“Don’t be discouraged,” she said. “Keep fighting. Keep fighting your assailant to get justice and keep fighting the system. Because, honestly, the system is failing us right now.”
00 2018-12-05
Regional/National

Moody’s Gives Higher Ed a Negative Outlook, Again


The credit outlook for higher education remains negative for the second year in a row, according to the latest report from Moody’s Investors Service.

The next year and a half is expected to be grim because of low revenue growth from tuition, the primary source of revenue for colleges and universities, says the report, which was released on Tuesday by the credit-rating agency. Other sources of revenue, such as state funding for public colleges, should be stable, but Moody’s predicts that operating expenses will outpace revenue growth at most institutions.

Sustaining the College
Business Model

“Operating revenue growth will remain low for many four-year colleges and universities over the outlook period, resulting in continued challenging business conditions,” wrote Susan Shaffer, a Moody’s vice president, in the report. Concerns about “affordability and return on investment” also will constrain the growth of tuition revenue, according to the report.

Last year Moody’s downgraded the outlook for higher ed from “stable” to “negative.”

Labor is the biggest cost for universities and colleges, accounting for up to 75 percent of expenses at most institutions. Delivering a high-quality education is labor-intensive and expensive, said Nicholas Hillman, an associate professor of educational leadership and policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

“It’s just the nature of the beast,” he said.

Colleges and universities are expected to control those costs in the coming year, but doing so will create long-term challenges, the report says. For example, spending in areas like academic programming and technology are essential to institutions’ competitive edge.

RELATED CONTENT
Moody’s Downgrades Higher Ed’s Outlook From ‘Stable’ to ‘Negative’
The report does not present all bad news. Higher education should adapt to systemic changes, it says. “The sector has amassed healthy financial reserves during the outlook period following several years of robust investment returns,” according to a news release on the report.

What would it take to turn things around and achieve a stable outlook? That would require an expected revenue growth of at least 3 percent, the report says, at a majority of colleges.

Copies of the report are available to Moody’s subscribers.

Follow Cailin Crowe on Twitter at @cailincrowe, or email her at cailin.crowe@chronicle.com.
00 2018-12-05
Ruston

TECH LIGHTS UP SEASON


Louisiana Tech University kicked off its Christmas celebrations Monday with a tree-lighting ceremony in Centennial Plaza.

Pictured above is Miss Tech Courtney Hammons taking a moment to let Santa Claus know about her Christmas wishes.

Pictured below is Louisiana Tech Police Chief Randal Hermes, right, and Tech’s mascot, Champ, getting into the spirit of the season.

And pictured at right is Esther Allen, 4, taking a photo with Champ. Esther is the daughter of Grayson and Ashley Allen of Ruston.

The tree will be lit nightly.
00 2018-12-04
Lake Charles

NAMES IN THE NEWS


People shaping the future of Lake Area business
Picture
Nicholas

CSE celebrates

75 years

CSE Federal Credit Union is celebrating 75 years of service to Southwest Louisiana.

On Dec. 7, 1943, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, in accordance with the Federal Credit Union Act, granted the company’s charger. The original field of membership included the employees of Cities Service Refining Corporation, the employees of CDS Federal Credit Union, members of their immediate families and organizations of such persons.

At the first official board meeting on Jan. 6, 1944, a loan limit of $100 and a maximum share limit of $500 were established. At the end of 1944, the young credit union had 201 members with share deposits of $1,854 and loans outstanding of $1,180.

Fast forward to 2017 — with three branch locations, assets more than $300 million and more than 30,000 members, the National Credit Union Administration granted CSE a new community charter. This confirmed a field of membership expansion allowing the group to offer membership to any persons who live, work, worship, attend school, volunteer and/or does business in Calcasieu, Cameron and Jeff Davis parishes.

CSE continues to be involved in numerous community programs, including MusicMakers 2U, Ethel Precht HOPE Breast Cancer Foundation, Arts and Humanities Council of SWLA and the Children’s Miracle Network.

Imperial Health Lab

reaccredited

The Imperial Health Laboratory has met all criteria of Laboratory Accreditation by the Commission on Office Laboratory Accreditation, a national health care accreditation organization. COLA is a nonprofit, physiciandirected organization prompting quality and excellence in medicine and patient care through programs of voluntary education, achievement and accreditation.

Accreditation is given only to laboratories that apply rigid standards of quality in day-to-day operations, demonstrate continued accuracy in the performance of proficiency testing, and pass a rigorous biennial on-site laboratory survey.

Under the direction of Julie Miller, laboratory director, and Dr. Todd Peavy, laboratory medical director, the Imperial Health Laboratory recently achieved an overall score of 100 percent during their October 2018 survey. The Imperial Health Laboratory performs a wide range of tests, averaging about 850,000 analyses annually.

The Imperial Health Laboratory is located at 501 Dr. Michael DeBakey Dr. in Lake Charles. Imperial Health also has several draw stations strategically located throughout the Lake Area for patient convenience.

Nicholas to

lead LACUSPA

Kedrick Nicholas, associate dean of students at McNeese State University, has been elected as the 2018-2019 president of the Louisiana Association of College and University Student Personnel Administrators at its recent conference.

He is the eighth McNeese student affairs staff member since 1978 to serve as president of LACUSPA, which is an organization dedicated to servicing higher education professionals, students and associates in Louisiana.

Nicholas has served as a LACUSPA board member for the past three years.

School Board

recognized

The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting has been awarded to the Calcasieu Parish School Board by Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada for its comprehensive annual financial report.

The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.

McNeese recognized

at conference

The McNeese CARE Mentorship Program was recognized as the 2018 Program of the Year at the Louisiana Association of College and University Student Personnel Administrators conference.

CARE (Connect, Accelerate, Retain and Engage) is an outreach program designed to connect at-risk students with the resources and opportunities offered by the university to help them succeed. Students are paired with faculty, staff and student leaders who serve as mentors to provide support and encouragement. More than 70 students have benefited from the program that began in 2017.

Chris Thomas, interim vice president for student affairs at McNeese, presented an educational session titled “Emotional Support: A Different Kind of Animal” at the LACUSPA annual conference. Thomas shared his expertise and research on the evolution of emotional support animals in society and how it is impacting university campuses.

Sirgo chairs

conference panel

Henry B. Sirgo, professor of political science at McNeese State University, chaired the “Early 19th Century” panel of the Great Legislators/Legislation International Conference/11th Triennial Deep South Conference at Louisiana State University–Shreveport.

Sirgo also chaired the “Perception and Treatment in the Public Arena” panel of the 98th annual meeting of the Southwestern Social Science Association held in Orlando, where he also presented a paper titled “Human Rights and Intergovernmental Relations in the United States: A Louisiana Focus.”
00 2018-12-04
Monroe

Grambling State to host 2019, 2020 NAIA football national championships


GRAMBLING – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics announced that Grambling State University will host the 2019 and 2020 football national championships at the historic Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium.

Formerly held in Daytona Beach, Florida, the mid-December game is expected to bring more than $1 million in economic impact to north Louisiana. Historically, the event draws student-athletes, fans and media personnel to host cities and includes broadcasts to ESPN3 and regional networks throughout the country.

“The Grambling State University campus is synonymous with both football and academic achievement,” NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr said. "We are grateful to add a host city with this incredibly rich legacy to our list of partners.”

“From homecoming to Bayou Classic, our team has proven time and again that we’re one of the best at delivering on game and fan experience,” said Marc Newman, vice president for advancement, research, and economic development at Grambling State. "We are working to leverage that reputation to move our university and city ahead, and are excited to have NAIA join us as partners in that effort.”


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The 2019 and 2020 host opportunities are a result of the continued work of the Ruston-Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau in partnership Grambling State University and the City of Grambling to better collaborate with local hotels, transportation providers, and businesses to drive growth.

“This selection is a major accomplishment for our area,” said Travis Napper, president and CEO of the Ruston-Lincoln CVB. “Each major event adds value for the citizens, businesses, and the students who call Lincoln Parish home.“

“We couldn’t be more excited about hosting NAIA and these amazing students,” said Mayor Edward Jones of the City of Grambling. “They will get to experience the town and culture that has produced hundreds of football legends.“
00 2018-12-04
Natchitoches

NSU to hold Fall Commencement Dec. 14


Northwestern State University will hold its Fall 2018 Commencement Exercises on Friday, Dec. 14 in Prather Coliseum.

Graduates from the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development, the Louisiana Scholars’ College and the College of Arts and Sciences with the exception of those receiving degrees in general studies will receive diplomas at 10 a.m. Graduates in general studies along with those receiving degrees from College of Nursing and Allied Health and the College of Business and Technology will receive diplomas at 3 p.m.

The commencement speaker will be State Senator Gerald Long.

Long is serving his third term as state senator for District 31 and is the current Senate president pro tempore. He was elected to the State Senate in 2007 and re-elected without opposition in 2011 and 2015. Senate District 31 includes all of Sabine and Red River parishes, a majority of Natchitoches Parish and parts of Grant, Winn and Rapides parishes.

Long is a graduate of Winnfield Senior High School and Northwestern State, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in education with a concentration in social studies and a minor in English. His work experience has included teaching at Houma Junior High School, Leesville High School and a career with State Farm Insurance. After retiring from the insurance business, he became a representative for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes where he served students throughout the district.

Long is married to Valerie Aymond Long and together they have four children and 11 grandchildren. He is a member of First Baptist Church of Natchitoches, where he serves on the deacon board. Long is a member and past president of the Natchitoches Kiwanis Club, Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce, Northwestern State University Athletic Association Board of Directors, Louisiana Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, Legislative Advisor Board Southern Regional Education Board, Legislative Rural Caucus, Ark-La-Tex Investment & Development Corporation. He was elected Man of the Year by the Professional Business Women of Natchitoches in 2005, elected Legislator of the Year by Rural Hospital Association in 2008 and awarded the Tourism Louey Award in 2012.

As a state legislator, Long has served as vice chairman of the Senate Committee of Insurance. He sat on the Revenue & Fiscal Affairs Committee, Education Committee and also was on the Select Committee on Homeland Security. He serves as chairman of the Natural Resources Committee and sits on the Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture and Rural Development Committee, Insurance Committee, Retirement Committee, serves on the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget and is an interim member of the Finance Committee.
00 2018-12-04
Regional/National

The Impact of Holistic Admissions


The holistic approach to admissions -- in which students are evaluated based on a review of their entire background, not on a formula based on grades and test scores -- has been in the news lately. Harvard University is facing a suit charging it with discriminating against Asian Americans in admissions, but Harvard points to its use of holistic admissions to explain why some Asian Americans are rejected in favor of other students who may have lower grades and test scores.

Harvard is among the most competitive colleges in the country, if not the world, when it comes to college admissions. But holistic admissions is used widely at other institutions. And when a college shifts from a formula for admissions to holistic admissions, the impact may be particularly visible. That's the case this fall at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, which just started using holistic admissions. The university says the shift has been a success and that it has admitted an academically strong class with significantly more diversity than the university saw under the old system. But the university is being accused of watering down standards and is feuding with the Louisiana Board of Regents (a statewide coordinating board) over whether LSU had the authority to shift to holistic.

Under the Board of Regents requirements, LSU was supposed to admit only students with a 3.0 high school grade point average or a 25 ACT composite score. Up to 4 percent of the class could be exempt from that requirement. Those requirements hardly place LSU in the most competitive category for flagships in its region. At the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, for example, the average high school GPA of freshmen this fall was 3.71, and 40 percent of students had at least a 30 on the ACT.

The new holistic admissions policy states that the university will "take an in-depth look at your transcript to evaluate rigor of curriculum, grade trends, and course selection all within the context of your high school." Further, it states that "we carefully consider every student who applies to LSU. We seek to attract academically gifted students, as well as students who show promise and potential for college success."

LSU is calling the new system a success, and the vast majority of admitted students far exceeded the minimums set by the Board of Regents.

The class this fall had 5,803 freshmen, up from the previous high of 5,725 the year before. Despite increasing class size, LSU's freshmen had a mean GPA in high school of 3.5 (the same as under the old system) and a constant ACT mean as well, at 26.

Holistic admissions had a major impact on the enrollment of minority students, who last year made up 21.6 percent of freshmen and this year make up 30.9 percent of freshmen. (Louisiana is about 65 percent white, with most others being African American).

Minority Students in LSU Freshman Class

2017 (old system) 2018 (holistic) % change
Black 591 894 +51.3%
Hispanic 312 432 +38.5%
Asian 196 287 +46.4%
Multiethnic 105 143 +36.2
Native American 26 37 +42.3%
LSU is seeing these gains even though race and ethnicity are not factors that are considered in the holistic review (as they are at Harvard and many other institutions).

Jose Aviles, vice president for enrollment management, said many of those who might have been admitted in previous years were put off by cutoff scores that appeared exclusionary. "Students can see themselves at LSU, and not simply a cutoff score where certain groups of students might self-select not to even apply," he said.

But the university is facing some criticism that it has "lowered standards" with holistic admissions.

Charles A. Whitehurst, a professor emeritus of engineering and an alumnus of LSU, wrote in a recent letter in The Advocate that the shift was moving the university "in the wrong direction." He said that people who care about LSU should oppose any move to admit those who don't meet the old minimum admissions requirements.

"Lowering admission standards in any way is wrong, and indicates a leaning toward progressive liberalism," he said. "The university must maintain a level of independence from ideological trends and political expediency."
00 2018-12-04
Regional/National

Why Teaching Engineering Costs More Than Teaching English


New research on the cost differences in higher education found that colleges and universities spend more money on providing courses in preprofessional programs and high-paying academic fields in science and engineering than on courses in the humanities and social sciences.

A working paper released Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research states that teaching costs at higher ed institutions across the country varied widely across academic fields and were generally higher in fields where graduates earn more money.

For instance, the cost of teaching electrical engineering is 109 percent higher than teaching English, but teaching math is 22 percent lower than teaching English, according to the authors of the paper, “Why Is Math Cheaper Than English? Understanding Cost Differences in Higher Education.”

“This variation in costs is a function of large differences in class size and, to a lesser extent, differences in average faculty pay,” the researchers wrote. “We observe different stories across fields in terms of the trade-offs implied by the cost drivers. Some fields, like economics, offset high wages with large classes, resulting in costs that are comparable to English despite higher faculty pay.

“Other fields, such as mechanical engineering and computer science, do not offset high faculty pay with large classes, resulting in costs that are much greater than English. Still others, like physics, partially offset higher faculty salaries with heavier faculty workloads, resulting in costs that are moderately higher than English.”

The findings have implications for higher education policy and funding decisions at a time when state and federal lawmakers are increasingly demanding more accountability from colleges and universities, and more evidence that they provide students with measurable academic and employment outcomes.

“These outcomes differences have prompted policymakers to promote enrollment in high earning fields through various direct and indirect incentives to institutions and students, such as targeted scholarships and performance-based funding,” the authors noted. “However, we know very little about the economic cost of this investment or the resource consequences of steering more students into these fields.”

The researchers used data spanning from 2000 to 2015 from more than 550 institutions representing a “large and diverse” sample, and 7,150 individual academic departments, said Kevin M. Stange, one of the lead authors and an associate professor at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

“We wanted to establish a baseline set of facts that are sort of true for the industry overall,” he said, “not just those at institutions in one state, or for fields in one sector, or for colleges with one level of selectivity.”

Doug Webber, an associate professor and director of graduate studies in the economics department at Temple University, predicted that the research will be a game changer.

“I can't overstate how important this paper is going to wind up being for both the research and practice of higher education finance,” he tweeted Monday.

Webber said prior to the new paper he was not aware of any analysis of data on the detailed costs of college instruction.

“There is reasonably good, very aggregate data on how much schools are spending, but it’s not broken down by department,” he said. “Prior to this paper, it was very difficult to draw any conclusions as to why costs have been changing over time and how they been changing,” and whether there has been any success at bending the cost curve.

The findings “should temper a bit” the thinking that producing one more English major versus an electrical engineering major is impractical.

“It costs a lot more to produce the electrical engineer,” he said. “States need to be aware of that.”

“For higher ed researchers, there’s so much that can be done with the data,” he said. “How much of the price increase in higher education over the last few years has been due to these various cost factors? We’ll able to look at this in a much more granular way that no one has before.”

The research estimates differences in instructional costs by field, describes the associations between class size and faculty workload and the cost differences, and documents trends over time in field-specific costs, all with an eye toward “providing a comprehensive descriptive analysis of instructional costs within institutions.”

For instance, they noted cost differences that evolved over time.

“Some STEM fields -- mechanical engineering, chemistry, physics, biology, and nursing -- experienced steep declines in spending over the past fifteen years while others saw increases. Fourth, these trends are explained by large increases in class size (mechanical engineering, nursing) and increases in faculty teaching loads (chemistry, biology) alongside a shift in faculty composition toward contingent faculty.”

By having a better understanding of cost differences across fields, institutions and states could take them into account when setting prices and allocating resources, the authors noted.

"Many public institutions charge students differentially by college or field and some states recognize cost differences in their appropriations formulas, but these cost differences are present even for states and institutions that do not use such practices," they wrote. "Second, the social return to investment in high-earning fields may be lower than wage premiums suggest because high-return fields also tend to be more costly to teach."

Stange said their analysis of cost drivers could help illuminate “the return the U.S. government and the states get from investing a tremendous amount of resources to higher ed.

“The questions is what kind of return we’re getting on these investments and how can it be improved?” he said.
00 2018-12-04
Regional/National

In Unusual Letter, Democratic Senators Ask ‘U.S. News’ to Change Emphasis of College Rankings


A handful of Democratic senators want an influential ranker of colleges to reconsider what’s important in higher education.

Specifically, the six senators wrote in a letter to U.S. News & World Report, compiler of the most prominent college rankings in the country, that more weight should be given to institutions that open their doors to students from underrepresented backgrounds.

“We urge U.S. News to use its influential platform to better align its rankings with the three longstanding goals behind federal financial aid: improving college access, supporting student success, and providing every talented student a pathway to economic stability and meaningful participation in our country’s economic, social, and civic life,” they wrote in the letter, released on Monday.

Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images
Two U.S. senators — Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California — were among six Democrats to ask U.S. News & World Report to adjust its annual college rankings to reward institutions that improve their students’ social mobility.
The letter signers are Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Cory A. Booker of New Jersey, Christopher A. Coons of Delaware, Kamala D. Harris of California, Chris S. Murphy of Connecticut, and Brian E. Schatz of Hawaii. Booker and Harris have been mentioned as possible contenders for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential election.

But the senators’ unusual call — how often do lawmakers suggest that a publication change its editorial practices? — reflects increasing national pressure for higher education to do more for low-income students. Washington Monthly, for example, publishes a set of college rankings partly based on what the institutions “are doing for the country,” which includes recruiting and ensuring the graduation of low-income students.

College leaders, too, have warned that the nation’s obsessive focus on the ubiquitous rankings may carry significant costs. U.S. News appears to have gotten the message, at least in part. It tweaked this year’s rankings to give greater weight to the graduation rates of students who receive Pell Grants. But the new measures are only a sliver of the statistics that determine an institution’s ranking.

Idea Lab: Student Success

The magazine also removed from the formula a college’s acceptance rate and reduced the importance of students’ standardized-test scores and high-school class standing, the type of markers more commonly associated with students who come from wealthier families.

The senators acknowledged the “modest improvements” the publication had made in its ranking formula, but wrote that more needed to be done.

“We fear U.S. News continues to create a perverse incentive for schools to adopt or maintain policies that perpetuate social and economic inequalities,” they wrote.

The senators also called on the publication to better recognize community colleges and minority-serving institutions that “serve as our country’s engines of social mobility and incent others to do so.”

Chris Quintana is a staff reporter. Follow him on Twitter @cquintanadc or email him at chris.quintana@chronicle.com.
00 2018-12-04
Shreveport

La. Tech program aims to help Parkinson's patients in rural areas


More than 1,000,000 Americans will be living with Parkinson’s disease by the year 2020, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation.

Health care officials say resources can be hard to come by in rural areas, that’s why Louisiana Tech is working with north Louisiana patients to find the help they need.

+4
punching bag
Dr. Larry Neal visits Louisiana Tech each week to participate in Rocksteady Boxing. It’s a program designed for people like him who are living with Parkinson’s disease. It helps build strength, flexibility and speed.

"Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological disease, there is no cure for it. Ultimately it will probably get worse,” said Neal. “The longer we can talk about advancement of symptoms and keep us from taking more and more medications, our quality of life will be much better."

The 75-year-old found out he had Parkinson's disease four years ago. Besides offering boxing classes, the university recently received a grant to start its own Parkinson’s resource center.

It'll help people like Neal who live in rural communities know what's available to them.

+4
neal and sellers walking, med shot
It also serves another purpose, for nursing students who may want to step out in a different field -- like Abigail Sellers, who wasn't quite sure which field she wanted to study.

“This has shown me I can be very involved in the community, even if I’m not a nurse who works directly with them, I can still volunteer in the community like Rocksteady Boxing... it's been very eye opening," she said.

Sellers didn't know what Parkinson’s was until two years ago when her grandfather was diagnosed. That got her interested.

+4
med shot, second punching bag equipment
"We have found lots of people, and my pop is an example of this, he didn't know some of the things that are out there to help him," she said. "Also some of the symptoms, people aren't aware of."

+4
hands
Parkinson's disease has four main symptoms:

Trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head
Stiffness of the limbs and trunk
Slow movement
Impaired balance and coordination, sometimes leading to falls
“Student nurses are going to expand the ability for patients in the parishes that aren't well served with neurology,” added Dr. Neal. “It’s a way to get information and develop a program that is ideal for them to reduce and control symptoms."

Officials say there's a shortage of trained neurologists specialized in PD in the United States. That's why Louisiana Tech wrote a grant to support the training of their nurses to bring more awareness.

The Parkinson’s Foundation says 10,400 people in Louisiana have Parkinson’s disease.

For more information on Louisiana Tech's program, click on their website or call (318) 257-2514.
00 2018-12-03
Hammond

Northlake Community Band to give free concert on Dec. 4


HAMMOND — The Community Music School at Southeastern Louisiana University will present the Northlake Community Band in a concert titled “Fall Potpourri” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, in Pottle Auditorium on Southeastern’s campus. Admission is free.

Jerry Voorhees, Southeastern professor emeritus of Bassoon, will conduct the concert that will include works by G. Holst, J. Jenkins, J. Williams, H. Fillmore, L. Anderson and others.

For more information, call (985) 549-5502 or email cms@southeastern.edu.
00 2018-12-03
Houma/Thibodaux

Former Nicholls professor writes history of famous murder


The first sensational court case of a century full of sensational court cases is chronicled in a new book by south Louisiana native Christopher Peña, titled “Death Over a Diamond Stud: The Assassination of the Orleans Parish District Attorney.”

The book tells the tale of the first 20th-century judicial murder in the United States, of the newly elected District Attorney J. Ward Gurley by Lewis Lyons in 1903, and Lyons’ subsequent trial and (spoiler alert) execution.

Peña, who received bachelor’s degrees in theater and history from Nicholls State University, where he also taught nursing from 1982 until retiring in 2009, said the Lewis Lyons trial was the sensation of its day.

“It was like the O.J. Simpson trial,” Peña said. “There were throngs of people who went to his arraignment, and to the trial, which lasted over two weeks. It took them five days to pick a jury because it was so well-publicized.”

That publicity came primarily from New Orleans’s several newspapers, where Peña found the bulk of his information for the book.

Many of Lyons’s conversations, reactions and varying physical descriptions as the trial went on were painstakingly recorded by the reporters of the day, allowing Peña to provide often very colorful and precise detail.

“The newspaper reporters were just prolific writers,” Peña said. “They would just shorthand everything, go back to the office and transcribe it and put it in the paper the next day. They even had pictures of the guys who served on the jury in the newspaper.”

Lyons never denied killing Gurley, over Lyons’s grievance over Gurley’s handling of a legal matter involving false arrest for theft of a diamond stud, and unsuccessfully tried to kill himself immediately after doing so.

His defense at the trial was temporary insanity, and the book clearly illustrates the primitive understanding of mental illness of the time, among many other fascinating details that set the scene for the reader.

“This was one of the first major cases in New Orleans where insanity was used as a defense,” Peña said.

Peña will be in the area to sign the book in Thibodaux, where his mother’s family is from and where he lived for several years. That signing will be at the Lafourche Parish Library main branch, 314 St. Mary St., at 3 p.m. Dec. 7.
00 2018-12-03
Lake Charles

Commencement for McNeese set for Dec. 8


McNeese State University will hold its 151st commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at Burton Coliseum.

The fall class of 2018 includes 586 candidates from 35 parishes, 22 states and 14 countries, and 605 degrees will be awarded, including 42 associate degrees, 447 bachelor’s degrees, 115 master’s degrees and one education specialist degree.

Dr. C. Mitchell Adrian, provost and vice president for academic affairs and enrollment management at Mc-Neese, will preside over the commencement ceremony, recognize retiring faculty and confer degrees on candidates.

McNeese President Dr. Daryl V. Burckel will welcome the fall candidates.

Brad A. Guillory, president-elect of the McNeese Alumni Association, will address the students on behalf of the association.

Several honor graduates will also be recognized during the ceremony. They are designated as summa cum laude (3.90-4.00), magna cum laude (3.70-3.89) and cum laude (3.50-3.69).

The presentation of degree candidates will be announced by John Bridges for the six colleges, the Doré School of Graduate Studies and the Department of General and Basic Studies.

Vocal performance seniors Layton Bergstedt, Tyler Brumback, Amy Phillips and Ashley Traughber will lead the students and audience in the alma mater.

All family members and guests attending Saturday’s commencement ceremony are encouraged to arrive early. Burton Coliseum has a maximum number of seats, and once the audience reaches capacity, late arriving guests will remain outside until other guests leave and seats are available. This is for the safety and security of all guests and graduation candidates and to comply with Fire Marshal regulations.

The McNeese commencement ceremony will be live streamed at www.facebook.com/McNeeseStateU for family members and friends unable to attend commencement. The ceremony will also be broadcast on the Calcasieu Government Channel at a date to be announced.
00 2018-12-03
Lake Charles

McNeese creates search committee to find new head football coach


LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - McNeese State University has created a search committee to find the next head football coach.

McNeese announced earlier this month that it was not renewing the contract of Lance Guidry, who led the Cowboys for three years, compiling a 21-12 record.

The committee, selected by McNeese President Dr. Daryl Burckel, is comprised of McNeese officials, former football players and community members.

The committee members are:

Ben Bourgeois, local businessman and former McNeese football player
Bobby Keasler, former McNeese head football coach
Lester Langley Jr., local businessman
Dr. Jeff Lemke, faculty athletic representative and professor in the College of Liberal Arts
Kedrick Nicholas, associate dean of students and former McNeese football player
Dr. Michael Snowden, chief diversity officer and Title IX officer
Dennis Stine, local businessman
Tanner Stines (Chair), associate athletic director
Copyright 2018 KPLC. All rights reserved.
00 2018-12-03
Monroe

Monroe chamber recognizes local educators


The Monroe Chamber of Commerce recently honored the Teachers of the Year from both the Ouachita Parish School System and the Monroe City School System.

During a Nov. 15 event, the Monroe Chamber also recognized the 2018 outstanding faculty for Louisiana Delta Community College and the recipient of the University of Louisiana at Monroe Foundation Award of Excellence in Teaching.

The event was held at Bayou DeSiard Country Club.

Teachers of the year from the Monroe City School System were: LaWanda Elliott, Jefferson Upper Elementary; Jesse Flunder, Lee Junior High School and; Keith Trigg, Carroll High School.

Teachers of the Year from the Ouachita Parish School System who were recognized are: Julie Norris, George Welch Elementary School; Marci Bryant, Ouachita Junior High School; and Erik Aswell, West Monroe High School.

Dr. Eric Davis, Principal at Wossman High School, was also recognized as the recipient of the Louisiana Principal of the Year for 2019.

Faculty of the year for Louisiana Delta Community College who were recognized are: Charles Banner, School of Natural Sciences and Math; Dr. Natalie Campbell, Business and Technology; and Gerald D. Sepulvado - West Monroe Campus, Electrician. Dr. Arturo Rodriguez, Associate Professor of Finance and Interim Director, School of Accounting, Financial and Information Services, College of Business and Social Services was also recognized.

Rodriguez was also the recipient of the 2018 University of Louisiana at Monroe Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching earlier this year.

The awards ceremony is held each year to honor and recognize outstanding excellence in teaching.
00 2018-12-03
Natchitoches

NSU artists will sell wares at annual Maker’s Faire


Northwestern State University’s Department of Fine + Graphic Art will host its annual Maker’s Faire from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5 and Thursday, Dec. 6 and from 9 a.m.-noon Friday, Dec. 7 in Orville Hanchey Gallery.

Students and faculty from the department host the sale each December at the start of the gift-giving season to offer unique and original artwork in a variety of mediums that include paintings, ceramics, jewelry, sculpture, fiber arts, photographs, mixed media and more. Prices are reasonable and shoppers may be able to visit with the artists.

More information is available by contacting Department Chair Matt DeFord at defordm@nsula.edu or (318) 357-6560.
00 2018-12-03
New Orleans

4 Louisiana writers named as ‘Black Male Writers for Our Time’ by NYT


Four men with Louisiana roots were named as “black male writers of our time” by T: The New York Times Style Magazine. Novelist Maurice Carlos Ruffin of New Orleans and poets Yusef Komunyakaa of Bogalusa, Jericho Brown of Shreveport and Rickey Laurentiis of New Orleans are joined by 28 others in the feature, published online on Nov. 30.


Maurice Carlos Ruffin
@MauriceRuffin
I'm so happy to share this news! The New York Times did a special feature on me and some of my favorite writers! I've slipped into a waking dream. This is living proof of that fact.https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/30/t-magazine/black-authors.html …

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7:13 AM - Nov 30, 2018
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Black Male Writers for Our Time
These 32 American men, and their peers, are producing literature that is essential to how we understand our country and its place in the world right now.

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“Contemporary African-American literature is formally sophisticated, irreducibly nuanced and highly individualized,” Ayana Mathis wrote in the story. “The writers in these pages may be a cohort of sorts, yet their work is distinguished by a great variety of voices and aesthetics. And certainly our conversations about the current literature by black men ought to include as much consideration of how writers say things as what they’re saying.”

Ruffin has written for the Virginia Quarterly Review, Los Angeles Times, Literary Hub, The Bitter Southerner and Southern Foodways Alliance’s Gravy, and his novel, “We Cast a Shadow”, debuts in January 2019. Ruffin is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of New Orleans and a contributor to Know Louisiana magazine, as well as a member of Peauxdunque Writers Alliance and the Melanated Writers of New Orleans.



Komunyakaa is best known for poetry collections “Dien Cai Dau” (1988) about his experience with the Vietnam War; “Neon Vernacular” (1993), which contains imagery of Southern culture and jazz and blues and won the Pulitzer Prize; “Warhorses” (2008) and “The Emperor of Water Clocks” (2015). The awarded poet has taught at the University of New Orleans and other institutions. He is currently a Distinguished Senior Poet in New York University’s graduate creative writing program.

Brown grew up in Shreveport and holds a BA from Dillard University, an MFA in creative writing from the University of New Orleans and a PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Houston. He is known for writing poetry collections “Please” (2008) and “The New Testament” (2014), which fellow Louisiana-born poet Komunyakaa called “a chronicle of ‘life and death, personal rituals and blasphemies, race and nation, the good and the bad’ that illuminates ‘scenarios of self-interrogation and near redemption.’” Published in The New Yorker, the New York Times, New Republic and other outlets, Brown is releasing “The Tradition,” another poetry collection, in April 2019.

Laurentiis, from New Orleans, holds an MFA in Writing from Washington University in St. Louis and Bachelors in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence and is the recipient of several poetry fellowships. He is the author of “Boy with Thorn” (2015) which was awarded the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, the Levis Reading Prize and the Julie Suk Award.


As part of the feature, each writer selected a work by their favorite black female American authors. Various works by writer Toni Morrison were selected by many, including Ruffin, who chose “Sula” (1973): “[It] taught me so much about patriarchy by the way Morrison basically had Sula seek the same kind of freedom that men have,” he said.

Two Louisiana writers were mentioned here, as well: novelist Jesmyn Ward and writer and ceramicist Osa Atoe.

Ward, novelist and professor of English at Tulane, was selected by Dinaw Mengestu for “Sing, Unburied, Sing” (2017). “The book is wiser, more attuned to the ways race and class, violence and poverty have shaped and continue to shape this country than just about anything else I’ve encountered,” novelist Megestu said. “There is also this fierce, irrepressible dignity and all these complicated, fraught gestures of love and attempts at love that make it hard to let this book go.”

Atoe was chosen by novelist Brontez Purnell for her black punk rockers zine called “Shotgun Seamstress.” Purnell is from Virginia, then moved to Portland, Oregon, where she met people displaced by Hurricane Katrina, she told DNO in October. She moved here in 2009: “My first impression of New Orleans was that it was warm, cheap and pretty… There’s a reason there are so many songs about New Orleans. It’s just inspiring in that way. It’s a city that feels alive and animated, like a person.” Currently, Atoe lives in Baton Rouge to have more room for her ceramics, she told DNO.


This article was updated at 6:55 p.m. on November 30, 2018, to include poet Jericho Brown and at 8:00 p.m. to include Rickey Laurentiis. The Times-Picayune regrets the error.
00 2018-12-03
Regional/National

The Impact of Holistic Admissions


The holistic approach to admissions -- in which students are evaluated based on a review of their entire background, not on a formula based on grades and test scores -- has been in the news lately. Harvard University is facing a suit charging it with discriminating against Asian Americans in admissions, but Harvard points to its use of holistic admissions to explain why some Asian Americans are rejected in favor of other students who may have lower grades and test scores.

Harvard is among the most competitive colleges in the country, if not the world, when it comes to college admissions. But holistic admissions is used widely at other institutions. And when a college shifts from a formula for admissions to holistic admissions, the impact may be particularly visible. That's the case this fall at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, which just started using holistic admissions. The university says the shift has been a success and that it has admitted an academically strong class with significantly more diversity than the university saw under the old system. But the university is being accused of watering down standards and is feuding with the Louisiana Board of Regents (a statewide coordinating board) over whether LSU had the authority to shift to holistic.

Under the Board of Regents requirements, LSU was supposed to admit only students with a 3.0 high school grade point average or a 25 ACT composite score. Up to 4 percent of the class could be exempt from that requirement. Those requirements hardly place LSU in the most competitive category for flagships in its region. At the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, for example, the average high school GPA of freshmen this fall was 3.71, and 40 percent of students had at least a 30 on the ACT.

The new holistic admissions policy states that the university will "take an in-depth look at your transcript to evaluate rigor of curriculum, grade trends, and course selection all within the context of your high school." Further, it states that "we carefully consider every student who applies to LSU. We seek to attract academically gifted students, as well as students who show promise and potential for college success."

LSU is calling the new system a success, and the vast majority of admitted students far exceeded the minimums set by the Board of Regents.

The class this fall had 5,803 freshmen, up from the previous high of 5,725 the year before. Despite increasing class size, LSU's freshmen had a mean GPA in high school of 3.5 (the same as under the old system) and a constant ACT mean as well, at 26.

Holistic admissions had a major impact on the enrollment of minority students, who last year made up 21.6 percent of freshmen and this year make up 30.9 percent of freshmen. (Louisiana is about 65 percent white, with most others being African American).

Minority Students in LSU Freshman Class

2017 (old system) 2018 (holistic) % change
Black 591 894 +51.3%
Hispanic 312 432 +38.5%
Asian 196 287 +46.4%
Multiethnic 105 143 +36.2
Native American 26 37 +42.3%
LSU is seeing these gains even though race and ethnicity are not factors that are considered in the holistic review (as they are at Harvard and many other institutions).

Jose Aviles, vice president for enrollment management, said many of those who might have been admitted in previous years were put off by cutoff scores that appeared exclusionary. "Students can see themselves at LSU, and not simply a cutoff score where certain groups of students might self-select not to even apply," he said.

But the university is facing some criticism that it has "lowered standards" with holistic admissions.

Charles A. Whitehurst, a professor emeritus of engineering and an alumnus of LSU, wrote in a recent letter in The Advocate that the shift was moving the university "in the wrong direction." He said that people who care about LSU should oppose any move to admit those who don't meet the old minimum admissions requirements.

"Lowering admission standards in any way is wrong, and indicates a leaning toward progressive liberalism," he said. "The university must maintain a level of independence from ideological trends and political expediency."
00 2018-11-30
Houma/Thibodaux

Nicholls announces administrative changes


Nicholls State University has named a new vice president of student affairs and a new director of the Higher Education Leadership master’s degree program.

Eugene Dial will leave his position as vice president of student affairs in January to lead the growing program.

Michele Caruso, the current dean of students, will replace Dial as associate vice president of student affairs.

“I’m excited to about the potential for the Higher Education Program. I’ve served as the major professor for over 100 students who have completed the program. In this new role, I believe I’ll be able to take the program to new heights,” Dial said in a statement.

There are currently 24 students enrolled in the higher education program, Nicholls Media Coordinator Jacob Batte said.

“Dr. Dial is passionate about this subject. He’s taught it for years and is uniquely qualified to grow this initiative and make it a landmark degree program at Nicholls,” Nicholls President Jay Clune said.

Based on his experience at the University of West Florida, Clune said he believes the school can significantly grow the program’s enrollment, Batte said.

Higher education administration positions are expected to grow at a rate faster than the average job over the next five years, Nicholls officials said, citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“We recognize that there is going to be a need for these jobs in our area and across the country, and we believe this is a field where Nicholls can become a leader,” Clune said.

Dial will also assist on special projects, such as accreditation and internal reporting for the university, Batte said.

He has served as the vice president of student affairs for 17 years. He’s been at the university since 1986. He was one of six semifinalists for the top job at Nicholls by the Presidential Search Committee last year, but did not make it to the final round of candidates interviewed by the University of Louisiana System board.

Caruso, who will take on her new position on Jan. 9, will oversee all aspects of student life and student services, including housing, judicial affairs, student organizations, Greek affairs, international student services, the counseling center, university health services, disabled student services, campus recreation, student educators and leaders, and behavioral crisis management.

“I am humbled and excited for this opportunity to make an even greater impact on the student experience,” Caruso said. “I look forward to contributing to the progress of the university, and I hope to live up to Dr. Clune’s vision for the university.”

A licensed professional counselor, Caruso originally joined the Nicholls campus in 1996, the university said. She served as the dean of student services for 16 years before being promoted to dean of students earlier this year.

Staff Writer Julia Arenstam can be reached at 448-7636 or julia.arenstam@houmatoday.com. Follow her on Twitter at @JuliaArenstam.
00 2018-11-30
Lafayette

Mind and body: How do Louisiana colleges help athletes maintain their mental health?


As a former collegiate gymnast, Lauren Li, found comfort at LSU after experiencing emotional distress at Penn State.

“Anxiety, depression, eating disorders: It was tough just talking about it because being used to suppressing those emotions,” said Li, who was on LSU’s highly ranked team over the last three seasons. "I had to, like, learn how to be comfortable talking about it and seeking help for it if I wanted to help myself."

It is no secret that expectations are high for athletes at universities across the country. These pressures take a toll, emotionally and physically, on athletes in all sports. And there has long been a stigma that discourages many of them from seeking mental and psychological help.

But now schools in Louisiana and elsewhere are doing more to address the problem, thanks in part to guidelines that the National Collegiate Athletic Association created in 2016 to encourage them to address the problem.

'Awareness level can’t be high enough'
LSU has done the most in Louisiana and now has three mental health counselors working in its athletic department.

LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron said the school has expanded counseling for athletes.
LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron said the school has expanded counseling for athletes. (Photo: Dylan Alvarez/LSU Manship School News Service)

“We have several support groups.” said LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron. “We have a lot of counseling for our guys and anything that happens we put them in counseling.”

Tulane’s athletic department has hired its own mental health specialist. But most Louisiana schools still refer athletes to counseling centers that treat all students. Some of these schools — like Louisiana Tech, University of Louisiana Monroe and Northwestern State University — bring in speakers on mental health issues, give athletes surveys with questions designed to flag emotional problems or teach their coaches to spot signs of distress.

MORE: We need to talk about suicide more

“It’s been a major shift,” said Greg Burke, Northwestern State’s athletic director. “There was a definite stigma.” But with greater transparency, “the awareness level can’t be high enough right now.”


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Still, Gerald Jordan, the assistant athletic director for sports medicine at Louisiana Tech, cautioned that “it’s hard to compare the big and small schools just because the resources are typically so drastically different.

“What we can do here is probably not what Grambling can do five miles down the road versus what we can do here is probably not in comparison to what LSU can do,” Jordan said.

Overcoming the stigma
It also can still be hard for many athletes to get past the stigma themselves.

“When you think of most athletes, whether they’re at the collegiate level or beyond, they’ve been playing their sport for their entire lives,” said LaKeitha Poole, LSU’s director of sport psychology and counseling, said. “That’s a major part of their identity.”

LaKeitha Poole, LSU’s director of sport psychology and counseling, helps athletes to get past the stigma that seeking counseling suggests weakness.
LaKeitha Poole, LSU’s director of sport psychology and counseling, helps athletes to get past the stigma that seeking counseling suggests weakness. (Photo: Dylan Alvarez/LSU Manship School News Service)

“Any form of help-seeking, which in their terms would be seen as a weakness, definitely isn’t appealing initially,” she said.

Hannah Blackford, a freshman softball player at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, said she suffered from anxiety after moving 950 miles from her home in Iowa. The transition to mounting schoolwork, rigorous softball practices and being away from her family led to constant struggles, she said.

MORE: LeJeune can't wait to begin career at UL

At first, Blackford was caught up in the stigma, too.

“Yeah, when my coach referred me to the counselor, I thought I could figure things out for myself,” she said.

She said she was shaking before her first meeting with the counselor and thought it was just going to cover “stupid stuff I already know.” But, she said, “It opened me up and opened my eyes to reality.” Now she visits the counselor every week or two.

Raising awareness
Anxiety is not the only issue that athletes face. Depression also can be a factor but might not show.

A survey of 257 college athletes by researchers at the University of Iowa in 2006 suggested that 21 percent of them were experiencing symptoms of depression. Other researchers have estimated that 10 to 15 percent of college athletes have mental health issues that warrant counseling.

Pressure from coaches, the physicality of most sports and difficulties in balancing time demands all can influence the mental health of student-athletes. Athletes also often have an elevated status and are expected to uphold their school’s image.

MORE: Suicide prevention: Self-care tips, true stories on how survivors cope

Awareness of mental health issues in sports was boosted by research on concussions and the resulting brain injuries and by Will Smith’s movie “Concussion” in 2015.

The NCAA guidelines, passed in 2016, are voluntary and lay out the best practices for colleges to follow in four areas: identifying mental health care professionals for athletes, setting out routine and emergency practices for referring athletes to the counselors, developing preseason mental health screening questionnaires to identify potential areas of concern and promoting environments that support well-being and resilience.

Surveys also have shown that athletes are more likely to seek help if services are provided in familiar places, like athletic training centers.

Asking for outside help
LSU can afford to have three mental-health counselors in its athletic department because it is the only Louisiana school whose sports programs earn a profit.

Having mental-health specialists at athletic facilities “would be wonderful if the revenue was available,” said Jim Murphy, the head trainer at McNeese State University in Lake Charles.

“If you look at higher education in the state of Louisiana, there’s not much money, and in fact, they keep taking money away from it,” he said.

Murphy said that if the university’s student health center cannot see an athlete quickly enough, he will call mental-health professionals in Lake Charles and ask them to help out.

MORE: Louisiana receives millions to address mental health in public schools

Louisiana Tech and UL Monroe both invite a mental-health counselor from HealthPoint Center in Monroe to speak to their athletes.

Louisiana Tech also gives athletes preseason surveys that include three “red flag” questions related to their sense of hope, everyday emotions and whether they have any thoughts of harming themselves or anyone else. If their answers raise concern, they see a counselor within a day or two.

Lauren Miller, the mental health specialist for the Tulane athletics department, said requests for counseling are evenly split now between male and female athletes despite the stereotype that women are more likely to open up than men.

'There’s help all around you'
Regardless of where student-athletes receive counseling, the emphasis placed on mental health issues is easing the stigma.

Li, the former LSU gymnast, said she thinks “we’re on the rise to turning that stigma around.”

“But I think it’s 50/50 right now,” she said, “because there are some people I know that are in denial about their mental health and some people that want to be open about it and want to seek help for it.”

When she was originally recruited, Penn State promised Li that the environment surrounding her would be a supportive, safe one. But reality contrasted with this vision.

MORE: If you've ever had suicidal thoughts, make a safety plan

“There was a lack of acknowledgment of our hard work and just really no positive encouragement or positive words said,” Li said. “We’re drilled into our head that we represent the university, that everything we do, we’re like the face of the university, you can’t be yourself basically. I know I felt like that a lot. Even after coming here, I felt like it was my responsibility to be someone else.”

“If I had any advice for student athletes struggling with mental health,” she said, “it’s just they’re not alone, and there’s help all around you. You just have to reach out to one person to get it started, and you'll get better. Just keep at it.”

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New goal: Plans call for renovating, not expanding Cajun Field
00 2018-11-30
Lafayette

Winfred Sibille to receive honorary doctorate at UL Fall Commencement


UL Lafayette
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette will award an honorary doctorate to a longtime advocate for education during Fall 2018 Commencement ceremonies.

Dr. Joseph Savoie, UL Lafayette president, will present an honorary degree to Winfred Sibille during the General Assembly. That event will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 14, at the Cajundome.

Sibille’s decades-long contributions to education in Louisiana are extensive.

He has been a member of the University of Louisiana System’s Board of Supervisors since 1995. During his tenure, Sibille has held many leadership roles, including chairman of the board. He is the longest-serving board member in UL System history.

Sibille served on the Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission. The commission oversees TOPS scholarships and Go Grants for college students.

His commitment to elementary and secondary education in the state includes work as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and legislative consultant for the Louisiana School Boards Association.

The Louisiana Association of School Executives recognized Sibille as State Educator of the Year in 1989.

Sibille is a graduate of Sunset High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Southwestern Louisiana Institute, now known as UL Lafayette. He earned a master’s degree in education from LSU. He holds a master’s degree-plus 30 graduate hours from LSU, Nicholls State and UL Lafayette.

Learn more about Fall 2018 Commencement at commencement.louisiana.edu.
00 2018-11-30
Monroe

Monroe native, Grambling grad finds 'immeasurable' reward in higher education


Murray Fortner learned an important lesson about the education profession from his namesake, Uncle Murray Williams.

“He once told me that the difference between a bad doctor and a bad teacher is that a bad doctor can destroy only one life at a time,” Fortner recalled. “I appreciated then the importance of good teaching.”

Fortner, department chair and professor of psychology and sociology at Tarrant County College Northeast, took those words to heart, and he has long been recognized for his work in the classroom.

In 2018, The Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation named him as a Piper Professor. The statewide award recognizes superior academic, scientific and scholarly achievements and dedication to teaching in Texas.

Fortner comes from a long line of educators — “some were professional and others were simply profound,” he said — and gained a love for learning at a young age. One of 10 children, Fortner grew up in Monroe, Louisiana, the son of a U.S. Marine Corps officer.

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“I became very disciplined as a child,” Fortner reflected. “My father believed in excellence, and early in my life that philosophy became part of my mental makeup.”

Academic excellence

Fortner excelled academically and musically. His high school class’ salutatorian, Fortner had his choice of colleges. He chose Grambling State University, lured at first, by its world-class marching band. He was a recognized singer, served as special editor of the school newspaper, hosted a radio program and consistently earned a spot on the dean’s list.

“My oldest brother attended Louisiana Tech University, which was five miles from my college,” Fortner said. “He told me once that getting an education at a Historically Black College was not as challenging as his college, so I enrolled for one quarter at Louisiana Tech. I made the honor roll and then returned to dear old Grambling. I always did like a challenge.”

After earning his bachelor’s degree in English and journalism, Fortner continued his education at Northern Arizona University. He received a master’s degree in composition and rhetoric and then began his career as a professor, receiving an offer to teach at his alma mater, Grambling State. Over the next four years, Fortner honed his skills as a teacher before deciding it was time to continue his education. In 1987, he became the first African-American admitted to the University of Kentucky’s doctoral program in communications. A year later, University of Kentucky offered Fortner a full fellowship, waiving his tuition and appointing him as an adjunct professor.

“The educational experience was enlightening,” Fortner said. “It felt as if I had tapped into an energy source that I did not know existed. Things were going as scheduled all the way to passing my comprehensive exams and starting my dissertation.”

Success: Education spurs brothers to new heights

It was at that point that Fortner got devastating news. Doctors diagnosed his mother with a terminal illness. Fortner’s father had passed away during his first year at Grambling State. With the news about his mother, he felt lost. He headed back to Monroe, where he continued to work on his dissertation while helping his sisters and aunt care for his mother. Three years later, Fortner returned to the University of Kentucky and accepted his doctorate.

“After receiving my Ph.D., I came to a proverbial crossroad. I could either pursue a career at a major university and focus on research, or I could follow the path of a man who made a major difference to this country and the world, Dr. Martin L. King,” said Fortner. “Other than my father, grandfather, and uncles, he was the man who inspired me most. He was the consummate teacher; he tried to school a nation.”

Fortner wanted to become an agent of change and decided he could best accomplish that in a classroom. Three months after his mother’s funeral, he moved to North Texas — “one of the best decisions of my life,” he said.

A friend who worked with the Dallas Independent School District recruited Fortner for a program teaching journalism to elementary and middle school students. He went on to work with high school students through the University of Texas at Arlington’s Upward Bound program. Despite having done work for UTA and the University of North Texas, when a job opened at Tarrant County College, Fortner found his calling.

Helping students succeed

Fortner began his career at TCC Northeast as a professor of English. He has taught thousands of students in humanities and social and human services, organizing annual symposia, publishing scholarly works, and serving on numerous academic committees. He works to create seamless pathways from TCC to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and each summer, Fortner serves as a teacher in TCC’s Adult Education program.

“I enjoy helping people realize their full potential,” said Fortner. “I have helped many students move from getting a GED to enrolling in my college classes.”

Fortner is also dedicated to helping young students prepare for success. Drawing upon his time teaching primary and secondary students, he founded a nonprofit called FOCUS (Future Outstanding College and University Students). The organization puts students on the pathway to higher education at an early age.

“More students from challenged backgrounds needed to know about college, and I, along with my colleagues, wanted to be that voice,” he said.

Those surrounding Fortner took note of his accomplishments and teaching abilities. His classes are among the first on campus to fill, and he earned the Northeast Campus Outstanding Faculty Award on two occasions. He also has the distinction of being nominated for the TCC District’s highest teaching awards by two academic divisions.

Honored by peers, students

In fall 2017, TCC Northeast’s Social and Recognition Committee took on the task of nominating an individual for the Piper award. Fortner quickly came to the forefront of the discussion.

“He is a student favorite,” said Lisa Self, committee chair. “He is a mentor to students and faculty alike. Dr. Fortner is a truly nice person who is generous with his time and energy to contribute to the betterment of the campus and District.”

Those who work alongside Fortner were eager to share their perspectives.

“Quite simply, Murray Fortner is one of the most gifted teachers I have known in my career,” wrote Social and Human Sciences Division Dean Linda Wright in a letter supporting Fortner’s nomination. “Observing in his classroom is a joy. He is engaging, enthusiastic and always positive. One can’t help but leave his class feeling uplifted.”

Representation: Couple makes notebooks to inspire black children

“Throughout his entire career, (Fortner) has been a champion of education as the impetus for positive change,” wrote Joan Johnson, chair of TCC Northeast’s Department of Government and Paralegal Studies, to the Piper awards committee. “He is inspiring and motivational, and his passion for teaching shines through in everything he does.”

The proof is in the words of his students.

“As he teaches the subject content, he never misses a chance to teach us skills that translate into success far outside his classroom,” wrote Alice Muhindura, who took Fortner’s Introduction to Sociology and Social Problems classes. “Dr. Fortner provides guidance and encouragement which, to some of us, might be equally or more important than the material covered in the textbooks.”

The Piper committee agreed with the high praise, naming Fortner one of 10 Texas college and university professors to receive the award for 2018. He received a $5,000 honorarium and a gold pin to commemorate his selection.

“The TCC Northeast president, dean, vice president of academic affairs and my faculty and staff colleagues make this an environment conducive to achievement,” said Fortner. “I am honored to be a part of this team, as well as honored to receive the award.”

'My reward is immeasurable'

Fortner’s future plans include growing FOCUS to impact more young lives.

“At some point, I will reroute all of my energy to this project,” he said. “I want to reestablish education’s place on the agenda of African-American families in particular. I want to steer black communities away from being an ‘entertainment industrial complex’ and move masses back to classes. Entertainment and sports can change one family’s life, temporarily. Education can change many families’ lives, forever.”

For Fortner, that change is what matters.

“I have a brother who has a bachelor’s degree in business. He once told me that I have all the paper on the wall, but he has all the paper in the bank,” said Fortner. “I responded that he has spent his adult life trying to get rich, but I have spent my adult life trying to enrich the lives of others. I am a teacher. My reward is immeasurable.”
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Natchitoches

Two NSU students present research at regional conference


Two Northwestern State University students recently presented research at the Southcentral branch meeting of the American Society of Microbiology held at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. The meeting was attended by students and faculty from throughout Louisiana, Arkansas. and Mississippi.

Jordan Bringedahl of St. Francisville, a senior double majoring in biology and applied microbiology and chemistry minor, presented her work “Identifying Leptospira interrogens in ferral hog populations using MALDI-TOF.” Noah Baudoin of Shreveport, a senior majoring in applied microbiology with an environmental sciences concentration, presented his work on the degradation of acetaminophen under aerobic conditions. Bringedahl and Baudoin are members of NSU’s chapter of the American Society of Microbiology.

Both students work with Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Christopher N. Lyles, who also presented research on the plausibility of pathogen proliferation within elevated storage facilities. Alumnus Thomas Phillips, a current graduate student at Nicholls State University, presented his work on the biodegradation of the pesticide metribuzin.


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Natchitoches

NSU Chamber Choir to present annual Lessons and Carols service Tuesday


The Northwestern State University Chamber Choir will present a candlelight service of “Lessons and Carols” Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at 145 Church St. in Natchitoches. Admission is free and open to the public. Dr. Nicholaus B. Cummins will conduct the Chamber Choir. This is the 28th consecutive year the NSU Chamber Choir has presented this service.

The “Lessons and Carols” is a service based upon a century-old tradition established at Kings College, Cambridge, in England, where it is performed every Christmas Eve to standing room only crowds and broadcast worldwide on the BBC. “Lessons and Carols” consists of nine lessons, readings for both the Old and New Testament of the Bible, all related to the Advent and birth of Christ. Following each lesson, the choir singing a text that relates to each of the readings. During the carols, altar servers light a variety of candles, which remain lit throughout the service. Gradually, the church is transformed from darkness into light as the Service concludes in a festive recessional.

The premier vocal ensemble at NSU, the 36-member Chamber Choir is comprised of the top vocalists at Northwestern State. Each December, the Chamber Choir performs their “Lessons and Carols” service at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, which has become a Natchitoches tradition. The ensemble has sung at state ACDA and LMEA conventions, performed by invitation at Carnegie Hall, and recently placed second in the Laurea Mundi Budapest Choral Competition earlier this year.

The choir has been invited to participate in the Ave Verum International Choral Competition in Baden, Austria on May 31-June 2, 2019. NSU’s Chamber Choir was one of 10 choirs chosen from around the world along with ensembles from countries including Russia, Slovakia, Czechia, Ukraine, Hungary and Italy. Northwestern State’s ensemble was the only choir from the U.S. selected for the competition.
00 2018-11-30
Ruston

BOMB THREAT CANCELS GSU NIGHT CLASSES


GRAMBLING — Night classes at Grambling State University were cancelled Wednesday after the school’s police department was notified of a bomb threat called in to the Grambling Hall facility.
At 4:50 p.m. Wednesday, GSU sent out an email/text alert saying, “In response to an afternoon bomb threat, evening classes are canceled, and administrative offices closed.”

Shortly before 9 p.m. university officials sent out an email/text alert saying “an all clear has been issued for Grambling Hall and surrounding buildings and that Main Street and Founders Avenue had been reopened to all traffic.
00 2018-11-30
Ruston

PLAYING WITH POWER


Computers are a regular part of most people’s lives in modern culture, but to many people a computer is simply a box that performs its functions by unknowable means.

This idea of mystery surrounding computers is something Lincoln ACHIEVE and Louisiana Tech University sought to help students overcome through a one-day computer build program Tuesday.

Four teachers from Choudrant High School, Ruston Junior High School and Simsboro High School came to Tech campus Monday and learned how to build state-of-the-art machines.
00 2018-11-29
Hammond

Southeastern choirs to present choral performance Nov. 29


The Southeastern Louisiana University Bella Voce, Concert Choir, University Chorus, and Northshore Choral Society will present “And Suddenly… A Jazz Holiday,” an evening of holiday carols in preparation of the holiday season, on Thursday, Nov. 29.

Sponsored by the Department of Music and Performing Arts, the free performance is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church, located at 401 W. Morris in Hammond. Director of Choral Activities Alissa Mercurio Rowe will conduct the choirs.

“The concert includes a lovely holiday program with many festive carols that the audience will know,” Rowe said. “We are featuring a number of solos and asking the audience to sing along. It should get everyone in the holiday spirit.”

The concert begins with “The Christmas Song” and also includes “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “Jingle Bells,” “We Need A Little Christmas,” “White Christmas,” “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly,” “Ding Dong Glory Christmas Rag,” “Away in a Manger,” “Once In Royal David’s City,” “Silent Night,” “We Three Kings,” “In the Bleak Midwinter,” “Personent Hodie,” “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” and “And Suddenly.”

Audience members are invited to sing along to “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “Deck the Halls.”

For more information on the concert, contact the Department of Music and Performing Arts at (985) 549-2184.
00 2018-11-29
Lafayette

Groundbreaking UL Lafayette alum shares motivational message with grad students


Dr. James Jackson received a C in geography, but history put him on the map.

Jackson was the first African-American to earn a graduate degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Between his admission in 1959 and his graduation with a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision in 1963, he was among a small number of students of color at the University.

'C' in geography
Speaking at Edith Garland Dupré Library on Tuesday, Jackson revealed that the major struggle he faced while a graduate student wasn’t related to his enrollment’s path-breaking nature, however. It was that "C" in geography.

“It wasn’t my fault,” he said, the irritation still evident more than a half-century later. The professor read exam questions to students rather than using a printed test, Jackson explained. He read them twice, and only twice, before moving on to the next query.

Jackson never had taken an exam that way, and the professor used the same method on subsequent exams. The Cs mounted and, when averaged, enshrined the middling mark on Jackson’s transcript.

Earned top degrees
Jackson nevertheless earned his master’s degree and two additional diplomas, including a doctorate in elementary education from LSU. He went on to a career as a teacher and administrator with the Lafayette Parish public school system, ultimately becoming an assistant superintendent.

Persistence was a common theme during Jackson’s appearance Tuesday at a luncheon with graduate students. The event was sponsored by the James Jackson Community of Scholars.

The joint project between the University’s Office of Campus Diversity and Graduate School provides academic and social support to underrepresented and minority grad students. It’s named for James Jackson to honor his groundbreaking status in university history, said Dr. Mary Farmer-Kaiser, dean of the Graduate School.

Part history, part pep talk
Bettye Jackson, a retired teacher who earned multiple education graduate degrees from UL Lafayette, joined her husband for a 50-minute conversation that was part history lesson and part pep talk.

The Jacksons met while both were undergraduates at Grambling State University. After earning a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science and a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps, James Jackson decided to attend graduate school. He wrote letters to two colleges. He received a reply from only one — Southwestern Louisiana Institute, now UL Lafayette.

It was 1959. Southwestern had integrated five years before; the student body remained mostly white, however. But Jackson said SLI’s supportive administration — and its reputation for tough academics — drew him to campus. He commuted daily from Crowley, where he and Bettye were living with an infant daughter.

'You could go anyplace'
“If you finished from UL, you could go anyplace. It was rough. You had some excellent teachers here. They would work you. Work. Work. Work. Work. I had calluses between my fingers, blisters from writing so much,” recounted Jackson, now 85.

Bettye began typing his class notes and assignments to relieve his aching hands, but Jackson said support at home wasn’t the only way he persevered. He found encouragement from fellow graduate students, too.

“If you try to do it alone, you are not going to make it,” he said.

Bettye Jackson echoed her husband’s sentiments: “Even though there were many times I was the only person of color in the class, there were people who encouraged me. After a while, everybody looked the same. We were all on the same level. We looked at one another as individuals who could succeed.

'People will help you'
“There were people here at UL that showed an interest in me,” she continued. “You know why? Because I was interested in myself. That makes a difference. If people see that you want to do well for yourself, people will help you.”

Hollis Conway moderated the conversation with the Jacksons. He’s the assistant director for Diversity, Leadership and Education in the Office of Campus Diversity. Conway underscored the Jacksons’ message of finding support from peers.

“Don’t be afraid to reach out. You aren’t going to do it by yourself, but success isn’t meant to be something accomplished by yourself. It’s about people. It’s about relationships. Please take that (lesson) with you from what they said.”

'We can ... do it, too"
Emily Covington did. She’s pursuing a master’s degree in communications, and was among the 40-plus graduate students who attended Tuesday’s talk.

“No matter what obstacles you encounter in graduate school, or in any degree program at all, with enough perseverance and enough hard work you can overcome it.

“He was the first person of color to get a graduate degree from here,” Covington continued, referring to James Jackson. “So, if he can push through the struggles the average grad student faces — and being one of the only people of color in the classroom — then we all can absolutely do it, too.”
00 2018-11-29
Lafayette

House GOP leaders want to roll back state sales tax



00 2018-11-29
Lafayette

UL Lafayette Alumni Center to host annual Art of Giving event


The UL Lafayette Alumni Center is inviting everyone to get into the Christmas spirit with their Art of Giving shopping event.

The two-day event begins on Thursday, December 6 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm and continues on Friday, December 7 from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm at the Alumni Center on campus.

The fundraiser supports UL Lafayette and local artists throughout the area. The UL Press will also hold their annual book sale in conjunction with the event.

The event is free to attend. A portion of the proceeds from purchased items will go towards the funding of student scholarships.

For more information on the Art of Giving event, visit the UL Lafayette Alumni Association website.
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Lake Charles

LC Messiah Chorus readies for 78th performance of Handel’s classic


The Lake Charles Messiah Chorus and Orchestra’s 78th performance of George Frederick Handel’s “Messiah” is set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, at McNeese State University’s Francis G. Bulber Auditorium.

Darlene Hoffpauir, chorus board member, said the free event is a longtime Christmas tradition in Lake Charles. Francis Bulber created the chorus during the 1939-1940 school year, with performances held every year since, except 2011.

“We’re very fortunate to be part of the community for so many years,” Hoffpauir said.

Several students in Mc-Neese’s music program will be featured as soloists. They include Layton Bergstedt, Amy Phillips, Lara Connally, Lindsey Bower, Mary Kate Core, Ashley Traughber, Tyler Brumback, Taylor Trahan and Travis Stegall.

Colette Bulber Tanner is the conductor of the orchestra and choir. She is the daughter of Francis Bulber, who founded the chorus and orchestra.

Hoffpauir said the fourpart choir has been rehearsing for the show since October, with members varying in age.

“We’re looking at college students all the way through retirees,” she said.

The song “Behold the Lamb of God” is new to this year’s program.

For more on the performance, visit lcmessiah.org or the Lake Charles Messiah Facebook page.
00 2018-11-29
Monroe

Grambling gets the all-clear after bomb threat


Grambling State University got the all-clear after a bomb threat about 8 p.m. Wednesday.

GSU Police and local agencies were investigating the threat to Grambling Hall on the university campus. Jovan Hackley, GSU spokesman, said the call came in around 4 p.m.

Everyone was asked to evacuate the area within 300 feet of the building. Evening classes were cancelled, and administrative offices were closed.

The university will resume normal operation Thursday morning.

Call 318-274-2222 to report suspicious activity.

Earlier Wednesday, Texas Southern University, another Historically Black College and University in Houston, was evacuated due to a bomb threat. The all-clear for that campus came about 4:30 p.m.


00 2018-11-29
Monroe

ULM receives $10k for breast cancer research


For 13 years, the Louisiana Cancer Foundation has financially supported breast cancer research at the University of Louisiana Monroe with donations totaling $117,500. Tuesday, Dr. Paul Sylvester, Associate Dean of Research in the ULM College of Pharmacy, accepted a $10,000 donation from LCF Executive Director James Adams.

“Including the present donation, the Louisiana Cancer Foundation has given a total of $117,500 to our program to support our cancer research activities over the past 13 years at the ULM College of Pharmacy,” said Sylvester, who holds the Pfizer, Inc., B.J. Robison Endowed Professor of Pharmacology.

Adams, who is also executive director of the Northeast Louisiana Cancer Institute, was joined by LCF Assistant Director Donna Nolan, Cancer Foundation League President and board member Carla Costello and board member Annie Staten.

“On behalf of the Louisiana Cancer Foundation and its board of directors, I’m pleased to present a $10,000 donation to the ULM Foundation in support of Dr. Sylvester’s continued cancer research,” Adams said. “One of the mission goals of our organization is to support cancer research. Since we are a local organization, we wanted to support local research if possible. Approximately 13 years ago we discovered that a very well-known and published scientist, Dr. Sylvester, was conducting breast cancer research right here at ULM. Since that time we have tried to partner with Dr. Sylvester by donating to his impressive research involving tocotrienols and breast cancer.”

Sylvester explained the focus of his research is nutrition-based, specifically a form of vitamin E.

“Our laboratory has been involved in breast cancer research for many years and our current interests include examining the relationship between nutrition and cancer, with particular emphasis on understanding the intracellular mechanisms mediating the anticancer effects of tocotrienols, a rare form of vitamin E,” he said. “The ultimate goal of this research is the development of tocotrienol-based therapies that can be used in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer in women.”

The Louisiana Cancer Foundation is a local 501c3 organization that was formed in 1999. The LCF has no administrative costs and all funds received through fundraising, donations and grants are used to benefit the communities and cancer patients of Northeast Louisiana. The LCF offers several free cancer screenings each year which benefit hundreds of people in local communities. The foundation also oversees a patient financial assistance program which has helped approximately 5,000 cancer patients in the amount of over $1.8 million since the program’s inception in 2002.
00 2018-11-29
Natchitoches

Melder named head of CJHSS department at NSU


Dr. Mark O. Melder has been named head of the Department of Criminal Justice, History and Social Sciences at Northwestern State University. The Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System has approved the appointment.

A graduate of Northwestern State in with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Melder earned a Master of Arts and Doctorate in Sociology at Louisiana State University. Melder has been a member of Northwestern State’s faculty from 2007-10 and since 2014. He was coordinator of the master’s program in homeland security since June 2017 and acting department head since April. Melder has also been on the faculty of LSU and Louisiana Tech.

“I am honored to have been selected by my departmental colleagues and the university and system to lead the Department of Criminal Justice, and Social Sciences,” said Melder. “We offer a number of diverse degrees and serve over 500 majors in our 5 undergraduate programs and our masters program, and I look forward a bright future with our department and our university.”

Melder’s research interests are domestic and international militia groups and intimate partner homicide. His master’s thesis examined the motivations of militia members to join and remain active in a militia group and led to an article published in the Journal of Deviant Behavior “The Moral Careers of Militia Group Participants: A Case Study (2014).”

Melder’s doctoral dissertation, “The Anomaly of Racial Variance in Female Perpetrated Spousal Killing,” examined the phenomenon of intimate partner homicide, specifically women who kill, attempting to explain the racial differences in domestic homicide rates.

He is working on research in post-traditional students learning styles and continuing to research domestic and international terrorism.

The Department of Criminal Justice, History, and Social Sciences offers bachelor’s programs in resource management, criminal justice, history and unified public safety administration, a master’s in homeland security and a Pre-Law and Paralegal Studies Certificate of Completion Program and a Public Policy and Administration Program Certification. A post-master’s Global Security and Intelligence Certification is available along with an Adult Learning and Development concentration in Homeland Security offered in conjunction with the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development.

For more information on the Department of Criminal Justice, History and Social Sciences, go to cjhss.nsula.edu.
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Natchitoches

Burroughs Scholarship will benefit English majors


NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s Department of English, Foreign Languages, and Cultural Studies has established a scholarship fund in honor of the late Dr. Sara Burroughs. Donations will be used to fund three student scholarships for English majors. The target fundraising goal is $60,000.



“These scholarships in honor of Dr. Burroughs, a popular professor and distinguished department faculty member, are the first of their kind for the English major at NSU,” said Department Chair Dr. Jim Mischler. “We have many gifted students who are in great need of funds to begin or continue their education, but we have not had the resources to help them to secure the educational financing needed. Our students should have the freedom to focus on their studies and not how they will pay for school next semester. Your generous donation will help English majors to succeed in school, in the workplace, and in life.”



Burroughs, who passed away in spring 2018, attended Centenary College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English. She advanced her education with a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Texas, a Master of Arts in English from the University of Texas and a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma.



“She was the consummate scholar and English professor, beloved by her colleagues and the students she taught for twenty-seven years at NSU,” Mischler said.



During her tenure, she was chair of the department from 1987-1992 and received the Excellence in Teaching Award; she was named Professor Emerita in 2008. She retired in 1999 and moved to Shreveport. In retirement, she remained active in church and community activities. She lived life to the fullest, traveling to all parts of the world.



Donors can make a tax-deductible donation by visiting English.nsula.edu/donate and specify that the gift should go to the Department of English, Foreign Languages and Cultural Studies, Dr. Sara Burroughs English Scholarship Fund.



To make a tax-deductible donation, there are two ways to give. Donors can visit https://english.nsula.edu/donate/ and specify that the gift go to the Department of English, Foreign Languages, and Cultural Studies, Dr. Sara Burroughs English Scholarship Fund or mail a check to the Department of English, Foreign Languages and Cultural Studies, 318 Kyser Hall, 165 Sam Sibley Drive, NSU, Natchitoches, LA. 71497. Checks should indicate Dr. Sara Burroughs Scholarship in the memo line. For more information, call the department office at (318) 357-6272.
00 2018-11-29
Natchitoches

Car named Aurora celebrates 30th annual Gala


NATCHITOCHES – A car named Aurora will greet guests attending Northwestern State University’s 30th annual Christmas Gala this week. The Mazda RX-8 art car parked in front of A.A. Fredericks Auditorium was completed specifically for the Gala celebration to commemorate the Christmas Gala and the thousands of spectators who have been entertained by it over the years.



“Scott Burrell [assistant director of the School of Creative and Performing Arts] and I began talking about the possibility of creating a design to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Gala earlier this semester,” said Collier Hyams, professor of art. “I designed it loosely based around the Gala theme.”



The design theme is centered around the Aurora Borealis Northern Lights presented in Pop Art Ben-Day dot style made famous by Roy Lichtenstein with Dr. Seuss influenced Christmas trees, Hyams explained.



“I borrowed the cut paper snowflake idea from one of our design class projects and the Zipper is unzipping like a sweater to reveal a darker layer showing the Gala Logo. This is a nod to Clark Kent transforming into Superman showing the big S logo. The purple mouth section is a nod to the Jaguar and Ferarri LeMans racecars of the 1950s and 1960s. The purple lips are also for my daughter Juliet and purple for NSU. If I had to name her she would be ‘Aurora.’



The car will be featured in the Natchitoches Christmas Parade Saturday, Dec. 1 with participants in Gala, including actors, dancers, musicians and artists. The parade rolls at 1 p.m. in downtown Natchitoches.



Contributing to its completion were Professor of Art Leslie Gruesbeck, who headed up interior decorations; NSU Graphic Designer Beth Mann, who created the Gala 30th anniversary logo, and Larrie King, graphic designer and NSU alum, who designed the 30th anniversary logo for NSU’s School of Creative and Performing Arts.



The project was made possible by CAPA, NSU Christmas Gala, NSU Facilities and Mazda North American Operations. Pixus Printers of Lafayette printed the design.



The car will remain in front of A.A. Fredericks through the end of the semester.



The NSU Christmas Gala will be performed through Nov. 30 in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium. Performance times are 7 p.m. each evening with a 9 p.m. performance on Nov. 30. Tickets are still available through capa.nsula.edu. Tickets are $15. NSU, BPCC@NSU and Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts students are admitted free with a current student I.D. For more information, call (318) 357-4522.


Designed by NSU Art Professor Collier Hyams, Aurora the art car commemorates the 30th anniversary of NSU’s Christmas Gala and will be on display outside A.A. Fredericks Auditorium through Dec. 14.
00 2018-11-29
New Orleans

UNO poll: Orleans residents less concerned about crime; JP residents more optimistic about future


NEW ORLEANS —
Crime is still a concern for residents in Orleans Parish, but many of them are satisfied with the quality of life in the city compared to previous years, a new poll found.

The University of New Orleans released Wednesday its annual Quality of Life Survey, which polls voters in Jefferson and Orleans parishes about issues and quality of life.

According to the results from UNO's Survey Research Center, crime is still the biggest problem facing Orleans Parish residents, but they also said they are "much less likely to report that than they did two years ago."

The survey polled 500 voters in each parish and took place from Oct. 17 to Nov. 5, the university said in a statement.

One of the other highlights from the survey was that Jefferson Parish residents are more optimistic about the future than those in New Orleans. The survey also found New Orleans residents are more satisfied with life in the city than in the past eight years.

"Crime is the biggest problem facing both parishes, but residents in Orleans are much less likely to report that than they did two years ago," the results described.

The survey also asked people about current leadership in each parish. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell has a 57 percent approval rating and Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni has a 60 percent approval rating.

In neighboring Jefferson Parish, Sheriff Joe Lopinto has three-fourths approval from residents while approval ratings are lower for New Orleans police Superintendent Michael Harrison and Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.

This is the 19th Quality of Life Survey since UNO began the yearly poll in 1986. Researchers said they hope the poll will provide an "ongoing picture of how voters view local government services and the general quality of life."

Click here for the full results of the survey.

Keep up with local news, weather and current events with the WDSU app here. Sign up for our email newsletters to get breaking news right in your inbox. Click here to sign up!
00 2018-11-29
Regional/National

Seniors Think What They’ve Learned Will Help Them Do Their Jobs. Do Employers Agree?


Hello and welcome to Teaching, a free weekly newsletter from The Chronicle of Higher Education. This week:
Dan explores new results from an annual student survey.
Beth tells you about a new consortium that allows students in liberal-arts colleges to take online courses elsewhere.
Our colleague Ruth Hammond points out some recent books of interest.
The Job-Readiness (Dis)connection

Even at a time of low unemployment, there’s been a lot of hand-wringing in recent years about how well-prepared college graduates are for work. Maybe that’s because the escalating price tag of tuition and the growing debt burden from student loans put pressure on a degree’s ROI.

But there’s good news, according to the newly released National Survey of Student Engagement, or Nessie, which reflects self-reported survey data about the undergraduate experience of freshmen and seniors at nearly 500 baccalaureate institutions. The survey was conducted this past spring.

Most seniors, Nessie found, feel prepared for work: Ninety-three percent said their learning was relevant to their career paths, with those who majored in professional fields saying so a bit more often than arts-and-science majors.

“It’s reassuring that students feel that what they’re learning will be beneficial,” said Alexander C. McCormick, an associate professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Indiana University at Bloomington, and director of Nessie. “That’s different from saying it actually is.”

He’s right. The Association of American Colleges & Universities has observed a disconnect. In 2015, it polled college students and employers and found that students tended to have more confidence in their readiness than employers did. Less than a quarter of employers thought recent college graduates were “well prepared when it comes to having the ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings,” but 59 percent of students thought they were.

Three years later, that number improved: About three quarters of executives and hiring managers were satisfied by graduates’ preparation in this area — though, notably, just 15 percent of executives said they were “very satisfied” (students weren’t part of this survey).

To McCormick, this gap in perception suggests an opportunity for more dialogue between faculty members and employers to improve each group’s understanding of what they do and need, respectively. At the same time, he said, these conversations probably shouldn’t lead to things like assigning more students to write memos or run business meetings. “Faculty members,” he said, “understandably don’t see themselves as trainers.”

Companion data collected from more than 13,000 professors as part of the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement found some disciplinary differences in how instructors view their courses’ relationship to the world of work.

Most of the surveyed faculty members talk about career plans with their upper-division students “often” or “very often” — with those in education, health, and social-service professions (like public administration and social work) doing so most often, at about 80 percent. And while engineering, physical sciences, math, and computer-science faculty did so least often, that rate was still about 60 percent.

Faculty members have other ways of bringing the real world into the classroom. About two-thirds of faculty members, in STEM and non-STEM fields, said they “substantially structure” their upper-level courses so that students solve “complex real-world problems.” Among students, those majoring in engineering or the social services reported the largest gains in this type of learning relative to those reported by seniors on average.

Another way students encounter real-world problems is through a group of experiences collectively called High Impact Practices. They include internships, study abroad, and undergraduate research; their educational power is thought to come from their ability to present students with ill-defined problems that have consequential though often imperfect solutions. One of these practices, service learning, was the most popular, as it often is; 62 percent of seniors reported engaging in a service-learning project during college.

I’m curious, especially among readers who teach in the arts and sciences: How important do you think it is for you to help your students make their way in the world after college? If so, what are some ways you do it? Email me at dan.berrett@chronicle.com, and I’ll highlight some responses.

**Revamp Your College's General Education Program

A thorough, well-planned gen-ed program is essential to preparing today's students for an increasingly complex world. Get this special report for key insights into what you need to know before rethinking your college’s core courses.**

Sharing Online Courses

This week the Council of Independent Colleges announced a project that lets students take online courses from member institutions. The CIC Online Course Sharing Consortium is billed as a win-win for members: It helps fill seats in under-enrolled courses and expands academic options for students, particularly those struggling to complete their degrees on schedule. The arrangement, in which the CIC is partnering with College Consortium, a technology company, streamlines tuition, financial aid, credit verification, and other issues that can bog down cross-institutional enrollments.

Richard Ekman, the council’s president, says the collaboration aims to solve some perpetual challenges in higher education: time to degree and the accumulation of credits from different institutions. “Every college these days has students transferring in and out and aggregating course credits from a number of sources,” he notes, which can cause real headaches for the registrar. The CIC’s state councils in Texas and North Carolina saw positive results with similar models, which sparked the national organization’s interest. Less than a month after hatching the idea, the consortium has formal participation agreements with 12 institutions, with the potential for hundreds more.

The move reflects the steady growth of online education among traditional institutions, and increasing familiarity with digital learning. Small liberal-arts colleges are not the type of campuses typically thought of as online providers, yet studies show that nearly a third of students in the U.S. have taken a distance-education course. Not surprising when you consider the broader shift to a digital, on-demand economy. “The vast majority of our colleges are getting into it just now, every day,” says Ekman. “But they’re getting deeper and deeper into it.”



Recent Books About Teaching

Our colleague Ruth Hammond highlights for Chronicle readers some recent books about higher education, and she points out a few that are relevant to teaching:

Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education, by Thomas J. Tobin and Kirsten T. Behling (West Virginia University Press) explains how a model for learning that supports students with disabilities can help all kinds of learners.
Building Transfer Student Pathways for College and Career Success, edited by Sonya Joseph and Mark Allen Poisel (University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, and the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students) discusses the challenges faced by community-college students in transferring to four-year colleges, and suggests remedies.
Thanks for reading Teaching. If you have suggestions or ideas, please feel free to email us at dan.berrett@chronicle.com or beth.mcmurtrie@chronicle.com. If you have been forwarded this newsletter and would like to receive your own copy, you can sign up here.


— Dan and Beth

Love the Teaching newsletter? Recommend it to a friend. Want to learn more about The Chronicle’s coverage of teaching and learning? Read this. Have questions about the newsletter? Read this FAQ. Past editions are available here.
00 2018-11-28
Baton Rouge

LSU athletes open up about sports-related anxiety, depression


BATON ROUGE - As a former collegiate gymnast, Lauren Li, found comfort at LSU after experiencing emotional distress at Penn State.

“Anxiety, depression, eating disorders: It was tough just talking about it because being used to suppressing those emotions, I had to like learn how to be comfortable talking about it and seeking help for it if I wanted to help myself,” said Li, who was on LSU’s highly ranked team over the last three seasons.

It is no secret that expectations are high for athletes at universities across the country. These pressures take a toll, emotionally and physically, on athletes in all sports. And there has long been a stigma that discourages many of them from seeking mental and psychological help.

But now schools in Louisiana and elsewhere are doing more to address the problem, thanks in part to guidelines that the National Collegiate Athletic Association created in 2016 to encourage them to address the problem.

LSU has done the most in Louisiana and now has three mental health counselors working in its athletic department.

“We have several support groups.” said LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron. “We have a lot of counseling for our guys, and anything that happens we put them in counseling.”

Tulane’s athletic department has hired its own mental health specialist. But most Louisiana schools still refer athletes to counseling centers that treat all students. Some of these schools-- like Louisiana Tech, University of Louisiana Monroe and Northwestern State University--bring in speakers on mental health issues, give athletes surveys with questions designed to flag emotional problems or teach their coaches to spot signs of distress.

“It’s been a major shift,” said Greg Burke, Northwestern State’s athletic director. “There was a definite stigma.” But with greater transparency, “the awareness level can’t be high enough right now.”

Still, Gerald Jordan, the assistant athletic director for sports medicine at Louisiana Tech, cautioned that “it’s hard to compare the big and small schools just because the resources are typically so drastically different."

“What we can do here is probably not what Grambling can do five miles down the road versus what we can do here is probably not in comparison to what LSU can do,” Jordan said.

It can still be hard for many athletes to get past the stigma themselves as well.

“When you think of most athletes, whether they’re at the collegiate level or beyond, they’ve been playing their sport for their entire lives,” said LaKeitha Poole, LSU’s director of sport psychology and counseling. “That’s a major part of their identity.”

“Any form of help-seeking, which in their terms would be seen as a weakness, definitely isn’t appealing initially,” she said.

Hannah Blackford, a freshman softball player at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, said she suffered from anxiety after moving 950 miles from her home in Iowa. The transition to mounting schoolwork, rigorous softball practices and being away from her family led to constant struggles, she said.

At first, Blackford was caught up in the stigma, too. “Yeah, when my coach referred me to the counselor, I thought I could figure things out for myself,” she said.

Blackford said she was shaking before her first meeting with the counselor and thought it was just going to cover “stupid stuff I already know.”

“It opened me up and opened my eyes to reality,” Blackford said.

Now she visits the counselor every week or two.

Anxiety is not the only issue that athletes face. Depression can also be a factor but might not show.

A survey of 257 college athletes by researchers at the University of Iowa in 2006 suggested that 21 percent of them were experiencing symptoms of depression. Other researchers have estimated that 10 to 15 percent of college athletes have mental health issues that warrant counseling.

Pressure from coaches, the physicality of most sports and difficulties in balancing time demands all can influence the mental health of student-athletes. Athletes also often have an elevated status and are expected to uphold their school’s image.

Awareness of mental health issues in sports was boosted by research on concussions and the resulting brain injuries and by Will Smith’s movie “Concussion” in 2015.

The NCAA guidelines, passed in 2016, are voluntary and lay out the best practices for colleges to follow in four areas: identifying mental health care professionals for athletes, setting out routine and emergency practices for referring athletes to the counselors, developing preseason mental health screening questionnaires to identify potential areas of concern and promoting environments that support well-being and resilience.

Surveys also have shown that athletes are more likely to seek help if services are provided in familiar places, like athletic training centers.

LSU can afford to have three mental-health counselors in its athletic department because it is the only Louisiana school whose sports programs earn a profit.

Having mental-health specialists at athletic facilities “would be wonderful if the revenue was available,” said Jim Murphy, the head trainer at McNeese State University in Lake Charles.

“If you look at higher education in the state of Louisiana, there’s not much money, and in fact, they keep taking money away from it,” he said.

Murphy said that if the university’s student health center cannot see an athlete quickly enough, he will call mental-health professionals in Lake Charles and ask them to help out.

Louisiana Tech and UL Monroe both invite a mental-health counselor from HealthPoint Center in Monroe to speak to their athletes.

Louisiana Tech also gives athletes preseason surveys that include three “red flag” questions related to their sense of hope, everyday emotions and whether they have any thoughts of harming themselves or anyone else. If their answers raise concern, they see a counselor within a day or two.

Lauren Miller, the mental health specialist for the Tulane athletics department, said requests for counseling are evenly split now between male and female athletes despite the stereotype that women are more likely to open up than men.

Regardless of where student-athletes receive counseling, the emphasis placed on mental health issues is easing the stigma.

Li, the former LSU gymnast, said she thinks "we’re on the rise to turning that stigma around.”

“But I think it’s 50/50 right now,” she said, “because there are some people I know that are in denial about their mental health and some people that want to be open about it and want to seek help for it.”

When she was originally recruited, Penn State promised Li that the environment surrounding her would be a supportive, safe one. But reality contrasted with this vision.

“There was a lack of acknowledgment of our hard work and just really no positive encouragement or positive words said,” Li said. “We’re drilled into our head that we represent the university, that everything we do, we’re like the face of the university. You can’t be yourself basically. I know I felt like that a lot. Even after coming here, I felt like it was my responsibility to be someone else.”

“If I had any advice for student athletes struggling with mental health... It’s just they’re not alone, and there’s help all around you. You just have to reach out to one person to get it started, and you'll get better. Just keep at it," she said.
00 2018-11-28
Lafayette

UL hosts annual Professional Career Reception


The eighth annual Professional Career Reception was held today at the Picard Center.

The event is hosted every year by University of Louisiana at Lafayette Career Services, Louisiana Workforce Commission, One Acadiana, and Lafayette Economic Development Authority.

Job seekers were able to meet with hiring managers from a variety of companies that are hiring for openings in management, sales, finance and banking, engineering, technology, software development, customer service, accounting, marketing, healthcare and more.

Attendees were encouraged to bring copies of their resumes and to dress professionally.



“The career reception provides an intimate atmosphere for job seekers to connect with companies that are looking to fill professional positions,” said Ryan LaGrange, LEDA’s Manager of workforce Development. “This is a great opportunity for experienced professionals and recent graduates to meet with local hiring managers.”
00 2018-11-28
Lafayette

UL police identify suspect in racial slur vandalism case


University of Louisiana at Lafayette police are searching for a man believed to have vandalized a banner with a racial slur earlier in November.

According to a press release from the school's police department, an arrest warrant has been obtained for 58-year-old Gerald C. Knorr, on the charges of institutional vandalism of more than $500 and criminal trespass.

Knorr is not a UL student or employee, the release says.

Institutional vandalism over $500 is a felony punishable by up to two years in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine. Criminal trespass is a misdemeanor.
00 2018-11-28
Lake Charles

Edwards in LC for Citgo donation


Citgo Lake Charles officials announced Tuesday a $300,000 donation to McNeese State University’s First Choice Campaign, a fundraising effort with private businesses dedicated to sustaining growth at the campus.

The donation will be spread out over three years, with McNeese getting $100,000 annually.

Daryl Burckel, McNeese president, said the goal is to raise $1 million per year for three years.

Gov. John Bel Edwards called Citgo’s donation “a serious commitment” to offering programs that can help students get jobs upon graduation. He said Louisiana will continue to invest money in higher education.

“I think you’re going to see McNeese flourish like it hasn’t in a very long time,” Edwards said.

Jerry Dunn, vice president and general manager of Citgo’s Lake Charles refinery, said more than 20 percent of its employees, or roughly 240 people, are McNeese graduates.

“Citgo recognizes that McNeese is a vital component that powers our economy (and) enhances the quality of life in Southwest Louisiana,” he said.

Burckel said the First Choice effort is designed to boost enrollment and retain students. Some of the needs include improving chemistry and engineering labs, along with adding faculty and support positions, like an intern coordinator.

“We believe that at the end of three years, we’re going to increase enrollment that it’s going to automatically just fund these programs,” Burckel said.

Nearly $400,000 has been donated so far to First Choice, including Citgo’s contribution, Burckel said.
00 2018-11-28
Monroe

Goodbye Grove: ULM fans savor one last tailgate


The only way to say goodbye to the Grove was with a party. Louisiana-Monroe fans, always happy to oblige, made the most of their final football Saturday under the thicket of pecan and oak trees adjacent to Malone Stadium’s south side.

ULM’s longtime tailgating area will soon be a parking lot for the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM). While the proposed medical school has the potential to be an economic game changer for the region, progress has a price.

“We’ll never see the campus like this ever again,” Heath Forbes said. “Whether that’s good or bad is to be determined.”

Forbes, who played tight end at ULM, drove over 500 miles from Nashville, Tennessee, to watch the Warhawks play the hated Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns in Saturday’s regular season finale. Others from as far west as California and north as Chicago made the trek to experience one of college football’s hidden gems.

Since Malone Stadium opened in 1978, the Grove became the epicenter for decades of concerts, chili cookoffs, "Hawk Walks" and postgame activities. Life as a college football have-not is hard, but the game-day experience has always been a point of pride for ULM fans win, lose or really lose.

“A lot of us started coming out here when we were kids,” said Clint Thibodeaux, a ULM graduate and diehard Warhawks fan.

“We remember coming out here with our dads for games and other events and there’s just a ton of great memories out here.”

Since Malone Stadium opened in 1978, the Grove became the epicenter for decades of concerts, chili cookoffs, "Hawk Walks" and postgame activities.Buy Photo
Since Malone Stadium opened in 1978, the Grove became the epicenter for decades of concerts, chili cookoffs, "Hawk Walks" and postgame activities. (Photo: Michelle Tripp/The News-Star)

As first reported by The News-Star, ULM agreed to pave the Grove at the behest of VCOM to accommodate the proposed medical school. While the medical school remains “proposed” until it secures accreditation, construction began in September.

If accredited, the medical school will be located between the Laird-Weems alumni center and ULM water ski facility on Bayou Desaird. The current Grove area will be a parking lot for students and faculty.

ULM is developing plans to relocate tailgating for home football games beginning with the 2019 season.

“We’ve had the same tailgating spot for 25 years and I hate to lose it,” ULM fan Greg Andrews said. “The medical school is going to be great and a big deal for the community, but did we have to sacrifice the Grove to make it happen?”

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The Grove isn’t the only casualty in ULM’s pursuit of a medical school. The ULM L-Club’s recently renovated clubhouse and the on-campus house used by the ULM golf team are set to be demolished. The L-Club raised $125,000 to pay for the renovations.

ULM and the L-Club are developing a plan to relocate the club house to the south end zone of Malone Stadium.

“Our fate is left to the powers that be,” said Forbes, an L-Club member. “After all these years, we got the house up to the standard we want to get people back involved with the L-Club. Now we don’t have an answer for them.”

VCOM is expected to submit an accreditation application to the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation for the medical school this fall with the first class of students targeted for 2020.

Neither ULM nor the state of Louisiana are responsible for any construction or operating costs for the $40 million project. ULM and VCOM will operate as separate entities but share some faculty and facilities.

Per ULM, feasibility studies project $70-and-$80 million in annual economic impact from the proposed medical school.

“Nobody likes change but we’re pretty confident that the administration is going to make the new tailgating spot something that we all can enjoy,” Thibodeaux said.

“We don’t mind moving around a little bit and hopefully we can keep the tradition going for our kids and grandkids.”

Follow Adam on Twitter @adam_hunsucker
00 2018-11-28
Regional/National

Imagining an Apple Store for Online Degrees


Georgia Institute of Technology is considering creating brick-and-mortar "storefronts" for prospective and current students to sample its course offerings, listen to lectures and network.

The effort is part of Georgia Tech's plans to make its online degrees and professional education certificates more appealing to the nontraditional students of tomorrow, who the institution predicts will expect "flexible learning experiences."

“We know that students are happy with the online delivery, but we have found that they still have the desire, and in many cases the need, to connect physically with us,” said Rafael Bras, the university's provost.

Georgia Tech administrators published an ambitious report earlier this year exploring how the university might evolve to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population in the next 20 years. The report included a proposal to build a “distributed worldwide presence” through the creation of spaces called Georgia Tech atriums.

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Bras, who convened the commission that created the atriums concept, imagines the spaces being located in co-working spaces, corporate offices or even shopping malls. Georgia Tech has already trademarked the atrium name, though the plans remain conceptual for now.

Bras wants the atriums to serve as a physical “touch point” for the 10,000 students already studying online through Georgia Tech -- a place where they can connect with the institution and with one another.

Many students enjoy the flexibility of studying online but still crave contact with the institution and other students in their cohort, said Bras. For example, large numbers of online students travel large distances to attend their commencement ceremonies on Georgia Tech's campus in person. And when university representatives host networking events in areas where there are already large clusters of online students, such as San Francisco or New York, lots of students always show up, said Bras.

“They want to come and meet you and see you,” he said.

“The need for something analog to complement the digital is something that many companies have already zeroed in on,” said Bras. Companies such as Apple or Amazon don’t need stores to sell their products, yet both have invested in retail space. “That need for individuals to see and touch something ‘real’ is there, and will remain there, in our opinion.”

Georgia Tech has ambitions to open atriums in some “key places around the country and perhaps the world,” said Bras. But initially, the institution is planning a pilot much closer to home. The first atrium is likely to be located in Technology Square, a 10-block stretch of office, research, retail, residential and hotel space on Georgia Tech’s campus in midtown Atlanta.

The Coda Building -- a modern high-rise building currently under construction in Technology Square -- has been earmarked as a potential first atrium location. Georgia Tech will be an anchor tenant of the building, which is due for completion next year, but half the space will be shared with private companies. The atrium could be located in a high-traffic area “right next to the entrance of the building,” said Bras. He doesn’t foresee the space looking like a “big empty classroom.” Instead, he’s picturing something more “like a mini-Apple Store” where people can get hands-on with technology and sample Georgia Tech’s online credentials.

A rendering of the Coda Building, due to be completed in 2019.
A rendering of the Coda Building, due to be completed in 2019.

Many institutions, including Georgia Tech, already have physical outposts outside their main campuses. But the atriums will not be anything like a secondary campus, said Bras. A campus requires complex and expensive infrastructure -- buildings and staff and services. Atriums will be “a different animal” that is more adaptable to regional needs, he said.

Sean Gallagher, founder and executive director of Northeastern University’s Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy, said Georgia Tech’s plans are part of an “established but under-the-radar trend” toward hybrid learning experiences in the online education market.

Online course provider 2U announced a partnership with the co-working space WeWork this year. More recently, Southern New Hampshire University acquired nonprofit LRNG, announcing plans to launch community spaces where students can work toward digital badges and degrees. Dozens of other institutions and online course providers have started mixing online learning with on-campus opportunities, said Gallagher.

Gallagher wrote an article for EdSurge discussing how online education providers had been influenced by “masters of omnichannel business models” such as Disney and Starbucks, “which sell customer experiences as much as products and services.”

Northeastern “made a big bet” on education in this direction back in 2010, when it decided to open a series of regional centers to support online education, said Gallagher.

Having a network of locations can help institutions stand out in a crowded online degree market, where students can often feel disconnected from the institution or members of their cohort, said Gallagher. A hybrid model “offers the best of both worlds,” he said.

He said regional locations can also boost an institution’s brand. Research suggests that the majority of online students choose to study at institutions close to where they live.

Chris Mallett, chief operating officer at Northeastern’s Lifelong Learning Network, said enrollment in graduate-level professional programs “nearly doubled” between 2012 and 2018 in areas with Northeastern regional campuses.

Unlike many for-profit institutions, which historically offered regional classroom spaces to online students in smaller cities or suburban areas, institutions such as Northeastern and Georgia Tech are now targeting large urban markets close to major employers, said Gallagher.

“If you look at the heritage of online education, it was about reaching rural students,” he said. “Now there needs to be a certain scale for the strategy to be worthwhile.”

Read more by Lindsay McKenzie
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00 2018-11-28
Regional/National

Statewide Data on OER Savings


North Dakota’s investment of $110,000 in open educational resources saved students at the state’s public institutions at least 10 times that amount -- and likely much more -- in textbook costs over two academic years, according to a new report from the state auditor’s office.

As of last fall, at least 650 courses across the system exclusively use OER, affecting at least 15,000 students. Auditors estimate that students saved between $1.1 million and $2.4 million in textbook costs during the first two years of the initiative. That savings number reflects only a portion of the courses that included OER: the actual figure is likely much higher. The audit also excluded summer sessions from its calculations due to lower enrollment numbers.

The report represents the first-ever independent audit of a state’s OER initiative, according to Tanya Spilovoy, director of open policy at the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) and, from 2013 to 2016, the North Dakota system’s director of distance education and state authorization.

N.D. Institutions That Received OER Funding

University of North Dakota ($47,640)
Valley City State University ($10,000)
North Dakota State College of Science ($9,910)
Mayville State University ($8,500)
Lake Region State College ($1,500)

“It wasn’t written by anyone in the OER community,” Spilovoy said of the audit report. “My big takeaway is that it proved even with a modest state investment, if it’s implemented well, if it’s a good plan, OER can yield really high student cost savings.”

Advocates of OER view openly licensed course materials as an equitable alternative to increasingly expensive required textbooks from commercial publishers. Numerous states, and more recently the federal government, have begun funding OER initiatives, but consensus on their impact remains elusive.

Three years ago, state legislators in North Dakota set aside $110,000 of funding for “OER training” -- $30,000 for systemwide faculty development and the remainder dispersed among five of the system’s 11 institutions. Spilovoy led the charge implementing those funds.

To estimate the reported figure, auditors focused exclusively on courses that use only OER materials, rather than a mixture of OER and traditional textbooks. They zeroed in on 10 general education courses, each offered at all 11 state institutions, and identified several different cost numbers for each of the following:

Purchasing a new version of a traditional textbook
Purchasing a used version of a traditional textbook
Renting a hard copy of a traditional textbook
Renting an electronic copy of a traditional textbook
From those, auditors arrived at a median textbook cost for the aggregate of all 10 courses, ranging from $734 to $1,660, computed the per-credit cost and multiplied it by the number of credit hours per course and by the number of students. The report assumes that the exact cost savings falls somewhere between the two extremes.

OER advocates continue to seek a definitive metric for determining return on investment. Estimates like $12 million in savings for students in New York tend to raise questions about how many of those students would have otherwise purchased or rented a full-price textbook.

Earlier this year, an Achieving the Dream report with a national scope offered a model for calculating cost savings similar to the one in the North Dakota report, but with some subtle differences. The organization also identified two cost savings figures and assumed the actual value would be between the two. Unlike the North Dakota audit, though, one number assumed that all students who used OER saved the full cost of a traditional textbook, while the other used a “blended” format to factor in the possibility of buying used materials or renting.

Spilovoy acknowledges that some institutions won’t have access to the rigor an independent state auditor can provide -- but she hopes other states will follow North Dakota’s example.

“This is a great report to set the tone for what other states could do,” she said.

Further illustrating the complexity of determining cost savings, state legislators in North Dakota this week released a report that indicated students in the state have saved more than $10 million in textbook costs as a result of OER implementation since 2015. That report had a broader scope, extending through the 2017-18 school year and including estimates for courses that include a mix of OER and traditional course materials, according to Thomas Beadle, a member of the North Dakota House of Representatives who championed the 2015 funding and hopes to push his colleagues to support increased funding for OER.

"We’ve got a good foundation and there’s just a little more that we can do," Beadle said.

The OER Road Ahead

Beyond numbers, the North Dakota report offers recommendations for the university system’s further OER efforts, and a few warnings about possible pitfalls of moving too quickly.

Auditors saw major potential for savings in high-enrollment general education courses and urged the system to ensure that students know during registration which courses will include OER materials. Other benefits, according to the report, including the option to offer both electronic and hard copies to students, and early indications that course outcomes for students in OER courses are the same or better than in courses with traditional textbook materials.

The report’s outlook on OER isn’t entirely rosy. A section on “significant negative aspects” reads like a laundry list of concerns OER critics have long raised: OER doesn’t offer enough ancillary materials like quizzes and homework assignments; some disciplines haven’t yet developed a suitable repository of high-quality content; OER takes too much time and effort to implement.

Close to 80 percent of nearly 1,000 faculty members who responded to a survey from the auditors said that time and effort represent a “somewhat” or “very” significant barrier to implementation. More than 60 percent indicated that the lack of contractual incentives also played a role in their reluctance. Auditors suggested several such incentives: faculty stipends, which the system offers when feasible, and “release” time for interested faculty members, which sometimes requires an institution to hire an adjunct instructor as a temporary replacement.

In many cases, faculty members simply don’t know what OER is or how they might acquire it. Only 42 percent of faculty respondents to the auditor’s survey said they are aware of OER and understand how it can be used; the remainder said they’re somewhat aware but unclear on its utility, have heard of OER but don’t know anything about it or have never heard of it. Slightly more than 50 percent of faculty respondents said they have not used OER, compared with 27 percent who have used it as a supplement and 13 percent who replaced all traditional textbooks with OER.

The system’s response to auditors, published in the report, indicates that three North Dakota institutions are seeking funding for a “Great Plains Open Textbook Network” -- a systemwide portal with links to every institution’s OER content and other relevant resources.

Nicole Allen, director of open education at the Scholarly Research and Academic Publishing Coalition, cheered the report's findings and described the North Dakota system's OER approach -- for which she served as an adviser from 2015 to 2017 -- as a "model" with engaged librarians and suitable funding support.

"Hopefully this report will serve as a resource for other states looking for ways to make college more affordable, and renew interest at NDUS, too," Allen said.

Read more by Mark Lieberman
00 2018-11-28
Shreveport

HELPING LOUISIANA UNIVERSITY ATHLETES COPE WITH STRESS, PRESSURE


As a former collegiate gymnast, Lauren Li found comfort at LSU after experiencing emotional distress at Penn State.


Lauren Li, former LSU gymnast. By Dylan Alvarez/LSU Manship School News Service
“Anxiety, depression, eating disorders: It was tough just talking about it because being used to suppressing those emotions, I had to like learn how to be comfortable talking about it and seeking help for it if I wanted to help myself,” Li, who was on LSU’s highly ranked team over the last three seasons, said.

It is no secret that expectations are high for athletes at universities across the country.

These pressures take a toll, emotionally and physically, on athletes in all sports. And there has long been a stigma that discourages many of them from seeking mental and psychological help.

But now schools in Louisiana and elsewhere are doing more to address the problem, thanks in part to guidelines that the National Collegiate Athletic Association created in 2016 to encourage them to address the problem. LSU has done the most in Louisiana and now has three mental health counselors working in its athletic department.

LSU leads effort but Tulane, Tech, ULM and Northwestern State seek resources
“We have several support groups.” said LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron. “We have a lot of counseling for our guys, and anything that happens we put them in counseling.”

LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron. By Dylan Alvarez/LSU Manship School News Service
LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron. By Dylan Alvarez/LSU Manship School News Service
Tulane’s athletic department has hired its own mental health specialist. But most Louisiana schools still refer athletes to counseling centers that treat all students. Some of these schools — like Louisiana Tech, University of Louisiana Monroe and Northwestern State University — bring in speakers on mental health issues, give athletes surveys with questions designed to flag emotional problems or teach their coaches to spot signs of distress.

“It’s been a major shift,” said Greg Burke, Northwestern State’s athletic director. “There was a definite stigma.” But with greater transparency, “the awareness level can’t be high enough right now.”

Still, Gerald Jordan, the assistant athletic director for sports medicine at Louisiana Tech, cautioned that it’s hard to compare schools across the state because resources are typically so drastically different.

“What we can do here is probably not what Grambling can do five miles down the road versus what we can do here is probably not in comparison to what LSU can do,” Jordan said.

Getting past the stigma
It also can still be hard for many athletes to get past the stigma themselves.

Any form of help-seeking, which in their terms would be seen as a weakness, definitely isn’t
appealing initially.

LaKeitha Poole, LSU’s director of sport psychology and counseling. By Dylan Alvarez/LSU Manship School News Service.
“When you think of most athletes, whether they’re at the collegiate level or beyond, they’ve been playing their sport for their entire lives,” said LaKeitha Poole, LSU’s director of sport psychology and counseling, said. “That’s a major part of their identity. Any form of help-seeking, which in their terms would be seen as a weakness, definitely isn’t
appealing initially.”

Hannah Blackford, a freshman softball player at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, said she suffered from anxiety after moving 950 miles from her home in Iowa. The transition to mounting schoolwork, rigorous softball practices and being away from her family led to constant struggles.

At first, Blackford was caught up in the stigma, too.

“Yeah, when my coach referred me to the counselor, I thought I could figure things out for myself,” she said. She tells of shaking before her first meeting with the counselor and thought it was just going to cover “stupid stuff I already know.” But, she said, “It opened me up and opened my eyes to reality.” Now she visits the counselor every week or two.

Pressure, physical demands all influence the mental health of student-athletes
Anxiety is not the only issue that athletes face. Depression also can be a factor but might not show.

A survey of 257 college athletes by researchers at the University of Iowa in 2006 suggested that 21 percent of them were experiencing symptoms of depression. Other researchers have estimated that 10 to 15 percent of college athletes have mental health issues that warrant counseling.

Pressure from coaches, the physicality of most sports and difficulties in balancing time demands all can influence the mental health of student-athletes. Athletes also often have an elevated status and are expected to uphold their school’s image.

Awareness of mental health issues in sports was boosted by research on concussions and the resulting brain injuries and by Will Smith’s movie “Concussion” in 2015.

Having mental-health specialists at athletic facilities ‘would be wonderful if the revenue was available.’
The NCAA guidelines, passed in 2016, are voluntary and lay out the best practices for colleges to follow in four areas: identifying mental health care professionals for athletes, setting out routine and emergency practices for referring athletes to the counselors, developing preseason mental health screening questionnaires to identify potential areas of concern and promoting environments that support well-being and resilience.

Surveys also have shown that athletes are more likely to seek help if services are provided in familiar places, like athletic training centers.

LSU can afford to have three mental-health counselors in its athletic department because it is the only Louisiana school whose sports programs earn a profit.

Having mental-health specialists at athletic facilities “would be wonderful if the revenue was available,” said Jim Murphy, the head trainer at McNeese State University in Lake Charles. “If you look at higher education in the state of Louisiana, there’s not much money, and in fact, they keep taking money away from it.”

Murphy said that if the university’s student health center cannot see an athlete quickly enough, he will call mental-health professionals in Lake Charles and ask them to help out. Louisiana Tech and UL Monroe both invite a mental-health counselor from HealthPoint Center in Monroe to speak to their athletes.

Louisiana Tech also gives athletes preseason surveys that include three “red flag” questions related to their sense of hope, everyday emotions and whether they have any thoughts of harming themselves or anyone else. If their answers raise concern, they see a counselor within a day or two.

Lauren Miller, the mental health specialist for the Tulane athletics department, said requests for counseling are evenly split now between male and female athletes despite the stereotype that women are more likely to open up than men.

‘We’re on the rise to turning the stigma around’
Regardless of where student-athletes receive counseling, the emphasis placed on mental health issues is easing the stigma.

Li, the former LSU gymnast, said she thinks “we’re on the rise to turning that stigma around.”

“But I think it’s 50/50 right now,” she said, “because there are some people I know that are in denial about their mental health and some people that want to be open about it and want to seek help for it.”

When she was originally recruited, Penn State promised Li that the environment surrounding her would be a supportive, safe one. But reality contrasted with this vision.

“There was a lack of acknowledgment of our hard work and just really no positive encouragement or positive words said,” Li said. “We’re drilled into our head that we represent the university, that everything we do, we’re like the face of the university, you can’t be yourself basically. I know I felt like that a lot. Even after coming here, I felt like it was my responsibility to be someone else.”

“If I had any advice for student athletes struggling with mental health,” she said, “it’s just they’re not alone, and there’s help all around you. You just have to reach out to one person to get it started, and you'll get better. Just keep at it.”

By Dylan Alvarez, Brennen Normand and Jace Mallory/LSU Manship School News Service
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Lafayette

Gov. John Bel Edwards will be UL Lafayette’s Fall 2018 Commencement speaker


University of Louisiana at Lafayette) - Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards will be the featured speaker at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Fall 2018 Commencement ceremony.

The General Assembly will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 14, at the Cajundome.

Edwards was sworn in as the state’s 56th governor in January 2016.
His leadership has helped reverse an almost decade-long trend of budget cuts that resulted in the largest shift in revenue sources for higher education in state history. The Louisiana Legislature hasn’t cut higher education funding for the past two years.

The governor marked the start of a special legislative session in May with an address at UL Lafayette. That event replaced the customary joint session address in the state’s capitol.

The special legislative session – the second in 2018 – addressed fiscal challenges Louisiana faced.

In 2008, Edwards was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives. He served for eight years until he became governor. He was House minority leader for three years.

Edwards earned a degree in engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1988. He served in the U.S. Army as an Airborne Ranger on active duty and commanded a rifle company in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

After earning a law degree from LSU’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center, he established a civil practice in Amite, La., his hometown.

Edwards is married to Donna Hutto Edwards. They have three children: Samantha Bel, Sarah Ellen and John Miller.

Learn more about Fall 2018 Commencement at commencement.louisiana.edu.
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Lafayette

New goal: Plans call for renovating, not expanding Cajun Field


When the University of Louisiana at Lafayette went public with its athletic facilities masterplan in 2013, grand ideas for renovating Cajun Field were unveiled.

Seating for roughly 5,000 was added to one end zone in 2014, replacing a grassy hill, and the college football stadium’s capacity is now listed at 41,462.

Additional stadium expansion in intervals also was proposed as part of the masterplan, and if every phase of it were to be built capacity could someday exceed 65,000.

But with attendance at NCAA games nationwide on the decline over the past four years, and the stadium much less than half full for most of UL’s home games this season and last, however, Ragin’ Cajuns athletic director Bryan Maggard doesn't think further expansion is needed.

Related: Where are the fans? College football teams searching for answers

“I certainly don’t believe we need to add capacity to Cajun Field,” said Maggard, who replaced Scott Farmer in March 2017.

“I’m not saying we need to shrink it, by any means,” Maggard added. “But we certainly – at least from my perspective, today – do not need to add capacity.”

Announced attendance at NCAA games has dropped each year since 2014, from 44,603 on average then to 42,203 last season.

At bowl-bound UL, which won 31-28 at UL Monroe last Saturday and will play this Saturday at Appalachian State in the first Sun Belt Conference championship game, average announced home attendance is down more than 10,000 from a high of 29,171 in 2011.

Major Cajun Field renovation, however, is a high priority for Maggard.

More: UL's balancing act is attracting fans while elevating the program

Two options tied to renovation of the stadium’s upper deck also were developed as part of the original masterplan, both calling for complete replacement replete with an eight-story press box facility and new premium seating.

That work, originally announced as a $57.6 million project, has not been started.

But it is being studied, and plans for it could be made public either late this year and early next.

Related: UL gets to Sun Belt game with win at ULM

“We’re talking about different pricing options from different phases of a renovation,” Maggard said last week.

“I think from a decision-making standpoint, we can be talking several weeks to some months still. This will be a big endeavor. I really believe it will be.”

UL’s original intentions were for stadium renovation plans to already have been announced by now.

But they’re not being rushed.

More: UL players tell student fans, 'Be a part of it with us on Saturdays'

“At the end of the day,” Maggard said, “you get one chance to do this right.

“So, it has taken a lot of time. It’s taken more time than I thought it would.

“But I also realize,” he added, “that in order to make the best decision, to do the right thing, you just need to work through a lot of details and have a lot of conversations to determine how you can accomplish the best solution for us today.”

Maggard said a plan will be unveiled “when the timing is appropriate.”

“I do know this is something a lot of people want to see done, me included,” he said. “So, without question, that’s gonna be a priority of mine going forward. It has been.”

More coverage:

UL football, what you need to know

Ragin' Cajuns coach Napier loves playing UL Monroe last

Before facing ULM, UL still has much to fix on defense

UL's road to the New Orleans Bowl not so easy anymore

Column:Cajuns have 'bigger ambitions' than mere bowl-eligibility


Ragin' Cajuns football coach Bill Napier discusses declining attendance. Wochit
00 2018-11-27
Lafayette

University of Louisiana-Lafayette School of Music hosting Christmas Concert Wednesday


LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) - The University of Louisiana at Lafayette's School of Music is hosting a Christmas Concert later this week.

On Wednesday, November 28th, the UL-Lafayette Symphony Orchestra, Combined Choirs and Faculty Soloists will be on stage for a performance of Oratorio de Noël, Op. 12, by Camille Saint-Saëns, Tundra by Ola Gjeilo, and many other Christmas carols and favorites.

The event is free to attend, but space is limited.

For more information, click here.
00 2018-11-27
Monroe

Gov. John Bel Edwards spoke to Grambling students during Presidents Leadership class


GRAMBLING, La. - (11/26/18) 24 Grambling students had the chance to learn about leadership from none other than Louisiana's top leader himself.

Today Grambling's Presidents Leadership class hosted Governor John Bel Edwards.

Governor Edwards was not physically on campus, but he was able to chat with students via Skype.

The leadership class gives students the opportunity to take part in discussions on leadership, education, and the needs of students at HBCU's throughout the state.

Grambling's President Rick Gallot says it was a great opportunity for students to hear directly from the Governor.

President Gallot says, "He talked about the need to continue to invest in higher education. It was good to hear it from him, what it took to be able level off our funding for all of higher education."

Gallot says the next big plan for GSU is to go before the Louisiana Board of Regents in two weeks to discuss the new cyber security program which will be the first and only bachelor's degree in cyber security in the state of Louisiana.
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Monroe

Audit: ULM paid $62.5K to employees who approved their own time records


According to an audit report released Monday, the University of Louisiana Monroe paid $62,532 in salaries to a dozen employees who approved their own time records.

No supervisor certified the time worked. This happened in 16 pay periods between Oct. 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018.

In the management's response letter, Vice President of Business Affairs Bill Graves said the issue already has been addressed.

He said a new time entry system was fully implemented on October 2017. More than 24,000 time sheets were processed during that period, and only 28 time sheets were problematic.

Graves said the employees noted in the finding were salaried and due the amounts paid. Approved leave requests are on file for the employees who used leave during the period.

"No one received payments that they should not have and no funds were misappropriated. During the period Oct. 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018, over $46 million of employee pay was processed without issue," Graves wrote.

He said the university considered the finding immaterial in light of the fact that a new time sheet system was being put in place. The employees noted in the finding are set up as proxies who can approve time sheets in absence of a supervisor. The university has a system to note when an employee approves their own time sheet and requires written approval from the supervisor.
00 2018-11-27
Natchitoches

Farm Bureau supports Jack Pace Scholarship


NATCHITOCHES – Natchitoches Parish Farm Bureau made a contribution to the Jack W. Pace Memorial Endowed Scholarship at Northwestern State University in appreciation for the late Dr. Pace’s service to Farm Bureau as a member of the board since 1979. Pace was a past president of Natchitoches Parish Farm Bureau and was recently voted onto the State Farm Bureau Board. He passed away Aug. 3.



Pace was a member of the Northwestern State faculty for 41 years where he taught animal science and preparatory classes for the nursing curriculum, served as head of the Department of Agriculture and Biological Sciences and was advisor to the Rodeo Team and NSU Vet Tech committee. Through many years of teaching at NSU, he touched the lives and inspired hundreds of his students to become nurses.



The scholarship will be presented to a Northwestern State student from Louisiana majoring in biology who must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or better.



“NSU was a real passion for him,” said Bonnie Pace, Dr. Pace’s wife, as former students shared stories in which Dr. Pace taught not only coursework but also soft skills in his classroom.



In October, the Department of Biological and Physical Sciences named Room 217 in Bienvenu Hall the Dr. Jack Pace Memorial Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory.



“Dr. Pace taught in that classroom for 35 years and inspired countless biology and nursing majors,” said Dr. Francene Lemoine, department head. Lemoine said Pace impacted not only students, but was also a wonderful colleague who always had encouraging words for his fellow faculty members.



Pace was a dedicated leader in all aspects of his service in education, agriculture and to his community. In addition to serving on the Farm Bureau board, he also served on the Natchitoches Parish Police Jury, Natchitoches Parish Fair Board, the Natchitoches 4-H board, the Natchitoches JC’s and was past Master of the Masonic Lodge and Shriners. He also served on the Louisiana Livestock Steering Committee, the Ark-La-Tex Ag Council, and was a former president of LACTA and State Chairman (Equine Division) of Morris Animal Foundation.



He was a member of the American Society of Animal Science and the American Genetics Association. Pace also served as a cattle and equine judge for Delta Dixie, Louisiana State Fair, Louisiana District Shows, and judged cattle and advised cattle ranchers internationally in Honduras and Columbia. He had great love and support for the National FFA Association. He and his son Wesley owned and operated Pace Farms.



Pace received many honors and commendations: Who’s Who Among American High School Students, 1977 Outstanding Young Man of America and the C. William Broomfield Memorial Award and Honorary State Farmer Degree. He was a Louisiana Master Cattleman and was a gubernatorial appointee as an advisor to the Sparta Groundwater Conservation District.



In addition to his wife, Dr. Pace is survived by sons Jacky Ray Pace and Wesley Ashley Pace, and three grandchildren.



“This is a special Scholarship and we are grateful for friends of Dr. Pace and the people of Farm Bureau for getting behind this,” said Drake Owens, executive director of the NSU Foundation and a former Pace student. “Dr. Pace meant so much to NSU and was a well-respected professor.”



“He loved Farm Bureau,” Bonnie Pace said. “And whether it was big or little, he always wanted to make a difference. He was a great husband and a great father. He loved his state and he loved his community. Farm Bureau was a passion of his. Hopefully this will be goal for some young person to receive this scholarship.


Farm Bureau of Natchitoches contributed to a scholarship established in memory of the late Dr. Jack Pace, a long-time member of the NSU faculty who served on the Farm Bureau Board. From left are Farm Bureau Agents Lance Lopez and Ron Brown, Natchitoches Farm Bureau Board President James Wagley, Bonnie Pace, NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio and Dr. Francene Lemoine, head of NSU’s Department of Biological and Physical Sciences.
00 2018-11-27
Natchitoches

NSU, KTBS sign cooperative endeavor for new media students


NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s Department of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts signed a memorandum of understanding with KTBS-TV3, the Shreveport ABC affiliate, that will give students in the Department of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts opportunities for field experiences with KTBS and expand their experience with broadcast journalism and station operations. Administrators say the partnership will help prepare students for success in the media industry and possible employment with KTBS after graduation.



“Our department of New Media is honored to have this partnership with KTBS. Together, we can identify, teach and nurture talented students interested in a broadcast career,” said Dr. Paula Furr, head of the Department of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts. “We also look forward to having our faculty and staff work with the staff at KTBS to ensure our broadcast program maintains its currency with industry standards as we prepare students for careers after college.”



Through the agreement, NSU and KTBS will work together to identify students with the desire and talent to pursue broadcast journalism or associated careers in media management, marketing, accounting and community outreach. Faculty and administrators will collaborate on coursework to remain current and will work together to coordinate field experience for students. KTBS will work with NSU faculty to provide classes and assignments and will work with students to prepare them for a media-related career.



George Sirven, general manager at KTBS, said he is excited about the agreement and hopes it’s the first of many partnerships in the station’s coverage area as KTBS prepares for the next generation of TV.



Following a formal signing, faculty in the Department of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts led KTBS representatives on a tour of the department’s computer and writing labs and TV studio.



NSU’s Department of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts offers concentrations in strategic communication, broadcast and digital media production and multimedia journalism. More information is available at nsula.edu/newmedia.


NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio, left, and KTBS General Manager George Sirven, right, formalized an agreement that will facilitate field experience opportunities for NSU students pursuing degrees through the Department of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts. Several members of the NSU faculty and KTBS management personnel were present to mark the occasion.
00 2018-11-27
New Orleans

University of New Orleans honors distinguished alumni


A standing-room crowd of more than 500 people celebrated the achievements of University of New Orleans graduates Nov. 1 at the Distinguished Alumni Gala at the National WWII Museum. Former insurance executive William Chauvin was honored as the 2018 Homer Hitt Distinguished Alumnus of the Year, and Son of a Saint founder and executive director Bivian “Sonny” Lee was honored as the 2018 Homer Hitt Distinguished Young Alumnus of the Year.

The university’s academic colleges and the interdisciplinary studies program also honored their own distinguished alumni.

“This may not need to be said, because I know all of you feel it here tonight, but the University of New Orleans is experiencing a wave of momentum,” President John Nicklow said as he ticked off a number of the University’s recent successes, including enrollment growth, improved research outcomes and a dramatic increase in fundraising.

The University of New Orleans is the only public research university in New Orleans, and of its more than 70,000 alumni around the globe, more than 45,000 live in metro New Orleans. The university is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

In his acceptance remarks, Chauvin detailed his path to UNO, including a humorous tale of the ill-fated semester he spent at another institution as a pre-veterinary science major. After some uncomfortable encounters with large livestock, he decided to transfer. He returned to his hometown and enrolled at UNO, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1974. It was at UNO where he also met his wife of 43 years, Joanne.

“So when asked why I continue to support UNO all these years post-graduation, the answer is very simple,” Chauvin said. “I believe strongly that I have a moral obligation to support the institution that provided me with the keys to my success so that future generations of students will be able to experience the same opportunities of personal and professional growth that I have been so lucky to experience.”

Chauvin is chairman of a Vistage CEO peer support group. He previously served as senior vice president of finance and treasurer for XL Catlin Inc., a global insurance and reinsurance company. He also was an executive with Global Special Risks Inc. and Southern Marine & Aviation Underwriters Inc. Chauvin began his career as an accountant for Price Waterhouse & Co. in New Orleans. He is the 35th honoree to receive the Homer Hitt Distinguished Alumni Award.

Lee is the president and executive director of Son of a Saint, a nonprofit that inspires mentorship and enhances the lives of fatherless boys. He founded the organization in 2011 in honor of his father, former Saints player Bivian Lee Jr., who died of a heart attack at the age of 36. Son of a Saint provides emotional support, life skills development and exposure to constructive experiences to its mentees. Lee was named New Orleanian of the Year by Gambit in 2016.

Lee recognized his family, friends and Son of a Saint staff who were in attendance to support him — in particular his mother, Cynthia, who he said taught him respect, empathy and discipline. Lee recounted his decision to stay close to home to attend UNO and described the on-campus jobs that allowed him to meet people from around the world and learn valuable life lessons. He earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management in 2006.

The College of Sciences honored Lute Maleki as its 2018 Distinguished Alumnus. Maleki, who earned a doctorate in physics from UNO in 1975, is senior distinguished engineer and executive in charge of LiDAR Development for Cruise Automation, the self-driving unit of General Motors. He previously worked as a scientist at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California.

The College of Engineering honored Jules Schneider. Schneider, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from UNO in 1984, has spent 33 years working for Lockheed Martin Space Systems. He’s director of assembly, test and launch operations, making him responsible for all of the final assembly, integration and testing of the Orion Spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center.

The College of Business Administration honored Philip May, who earned his MBA from UNO in 1992. May is the president and chief executive officer of Entergy Louisiana LLC, which serves more than 1 million electric customers in the state. He is responsible for the company’s electric transmission and distribution systems, customer service, regulatory and public affairs, economic development programs and charitable contributions, as well as its financial performance.

The College of Liberal Arts, Education and Human Development honored Angie Gates, who earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in arts administration from UNO. She is the director of the Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment for the District of Columbia and interim director of the Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Gates serves as a governor of the Recording Academy's Washington, D.C., chapter.

Interdisciplinary studies honored Maj. Gen. Chad Franks, who graduated from UNO in 1990. Franks is the deputy commander of the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, U.S. Central Command. He oversees joint and coalition operations, intelligence and plans in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Additionally, he is the commander of the 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force-Levant, U.S. Air Forces Central Command. Frank is deployed overseas so his father-in-law, Bob Duvernie, accepted the award on his behalf.

Mark Romig, the 2016 Homer Hitt Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, served as the master of ceremonies, and UNO jazz studies students provided the musical entertainment in the museum's Freedom Pavilion.
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New Orleans

New Orleans: Silicon Valley of the South?


NEW ORLEANS — WHEN DXC Technology, the Virginia-based global information technology giant, announced plans last year to build its latest "Digital Transformation Center," more than 30 cities threw their hats into the ring to host the facility. The lure: the project would create 2,000 high-paying tech jobs – averaging about $63,000 annually – over the next five years.

The winner? A city more known for gumbo than gigabytes: New Orleans.

Indeed, Greater New Orleans Inc., the city's economic development nonprofit organization, noted the 2017 win was ranked by many who follow economic development as second that year only to the announcement that Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturer that makes electronics for Apple, would invest billions in a Wisconsin plant.

And in a move whose symbolism couldn't be missed, DXC, with revenues of about $25 billion, leased multiple floors in the Freeport-McMoRan building, across the street from the iconic Mercedes-Benz Superdome, to accommodate the 300 hires that comprise its first batch of employees. The Central Business District high-rise was long a symbol of the city's economic reliance on the oil and gas industry, housing the world headquarters of Freeport-McMoRan, the energy and mining giant, which quit New Orleans for Phoenix in 2007. A jazz band marched up and down Poydras Street to celebrate DXC's grand opening.

New Orleans, a city long hanging its economic fortunes on energy, tourism and hospitality, is remaking itself into a bona fide tech hub. Since 2006, the city has lured more than 45 high-tech startups or subsidiaries, among them Accruent, an Austin, Texas-based provider of software-based inventory systems; Gameloft, the French mobile video game giant; and GE Digital, a cloud-storage and systems software company. The result is the creation of more than 20,000 jobs, including about 3,000 jobs that GNO Inc. estimates that its targeted recruiting efforts have brought to the city.

[ COMMENTARY: Big Tech’s Troubling Role in City Inequality ]
Tech companies are coming for a lot of reasons, economic and cultural. For one, the state of Louisiana, hoping to juice tech employment statewide, offers a 25 percent tax credit on qualified payroll to companies that move all or a portion of their technology operations to the state. Millions of dollars of state and city funds are also being funneled through local universities to help train prospective employees.

And in 2008 the city spurred the renovation of an 85,000-square-foot office building on storied Magazine Street – called the I.P. Building – and turned it into a state-of-the-art tech facility "that hipsters in San Francisco would be happy working in," says Michael Hecht, GNO, Inc.'s CEO.

As alluring, a three-minute drive or eight-minute walk away from the IP hub is, by example, Cochon, a wildly popular New Orleans eatery (think black-eyed pea gumbo and char-grilled oysters) that symbolizes one of the most vibrant restaurant scenes in all of America. New Orleans' reputation for food, music, livability and affordability is turning out to perhaps be the biggest incentive of all.

"We're a low-cost, high-culture city," Hecht says. "We're San Francisco, but at half the cost – and with nicer people."

Don't take Hecht's word for it. In 2011, when Gameloft, the Paris-based maker of downloadable games for the iPhone and other mobile platforms, decided upon New Orleans as a U.S. hub, it fretted briefly about attracting programmers to a city not yet known as a tech haven. It needn't have worried. With GNO, Inc.'s help, Gameloft attracted 17,000 applicants – for 15 available jobs.

This doesn't surprise Robert "Bobby" Savoie, who in 2008 founded Geocent, a supplier of information technology and engineering services to clients that include the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the U.S. military, and has grown it from a startup with 10 employees to about 300 today. Savoie sees a steady stream of applicants fleeing high-cost places like California's Bay Area where seemingly well-paid engineers "have to get roommates because they can't afford to live alone."

In the New Orleans area, by contrast, "our real estate prices are unbelievable," according to Savoie. "Our programmers and engineers can afford to buy their own places here. A young couple can afford to raise a family here."

That's also been the experience of Lucid, another 2008 startup that has grown from a handful of employees to 300 today – half of them in New Orleans – by figuring out how to vastly speed up market research and polling. Patrick Comer, Lucid's founder and CEO, says he was motivated in part because his wife is a Louisiana native and as a couple they wanted to be part of the city's rebuilding efforts after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.


Patrick Comer, CEO and founder of Lucid, stands for a portrait in his office in New Orleans.(JABIN BOTSFORD/THE WASHINGTON POST/GETTY IMAGES)

Comer, who had worked for years in the tech hotbeds of California and New York, worried, however, whether the go-go, always-switched-on pace of the industry was a good fit for a place known for its laid-back temperament and sybaritic ways – since the early 1900s, New Orleans has been known as The City That Care Forgot.

What he's learned is that the city's temperament is actually a potent draw for the techie mindset – techies tend to be people who like to work hard and then play hard.

"Only about a quarter of our employees come from Louisiana," Comer says. "We are relocating talent to New Orleans because they want to come here. The cultural authenticity of the city is extremely attractive to them."

Put another way, Lucid employees can put in 12-hour days and, in New Orleans after hours, still find food, music and a party scene. "We've learned that, yeah, our employees can take a day off for Mardi Gras and still be delivering for us at a very high level," Comer says.

Also, echoing Savoie's point: "We pay California salaries and our employees enjoy a New Orleans cost of living. That's huge."

The city still poses challenges for employers and employees alike. Crime, while trending downward for the past two decades, remains a problem. New Orleans' murder rate, for example, ranked fourth among cities of more than 250,000 population, according to a 2017 FBI report. Potholes still plague a lot of city streets and the New Orleans K-12 public school system – while vastly improved over the dysfunctional one that existed before Katrina – is still a work in progress. Summers swelter here and, despite much improved levees, New Orleans still faces annual threats of destructive hurricanes.

That said, mild winters offset those sweltering summers and the network of city-based universities – Tulane, Loyola and the University of New Orleans, among them – has drawn high praise from a number of the tech companies that have moved here since the boom began in 2007. In fact, university-industry partnerships have become a prime feature of the city's tech attraction.

[ SEE: Photos of the Largest Cities in the World ]
Consider a UNO-GE Digital pact called the Software Engineering Apprenticeship Program, SWEAP for short, that since 2014 has placed more than 50 participating students in well-paying GE Digital jobs. The program assigns senior software engineers to mentor students in class while they also get hands-on training at GE Digital's New Orleans tech center.

For Kevin Dawson, a GE Digital vice president, the mix of attractions – culture, costs, livability and access to a well-educated, motivated workforce willing to come from all over the U.S. – makes New Orleans' a no-brainer. About half of GE Digital's New Orleans workers come from elsewhere and the rest are locals.

"Louisiana is full of incredibly smart, tech savvy, resilient people who are deeply tied to their communities; they want to live, work and have families in the place they love," he says. "The region has an excellent university system, a diverse workforce and a deep cultural understanding of life-work balance. These characteristics make it an excellent place to hire, grow and retain amazing technical talent."

It doesn't hurt that the rest of the city is also doing well economically. Since Katrina, downtown New Orleans alone has attracted about $7 billion in investment, notably in the replacement or renovation of hotel rooms, apartments and condominiums damaged by Katrina or new construction to meet a post-Katrina surge in tourism and housing. In 2017, for example, New Orleans recorded a record 17 million-plus visitors. Perhaps one impetus: in Travel & Leisure's 2016 rankings of the 10 best cities for food in the U.S., New Orleans ranked first.

Geocent's Savoie thinks New Orleans' tech boom is poised to continue booming.

"I love our company here and I love our future here. In a way, we export brains and import money," he says. "We are just on the edge of this and it is ready to explode … and where better to be than New Orleans?"

Clarified on Nov. 21, 2018: This has been updated to better reflect the role of Greater New Orleans Inc.
00 2018-11-27
Regional/National

A College Degree More Than Fifteen Years in the Making


orian Ford preferred to do her homework in the bathtub. Most nights, she cooked dinner and then retreated to the bathroom of her mother’s cluttered house, where she and her two sons had been living for two years. Every time she tried to work anywhere else, her boys begged her to entertain them before bedtime. To carve out space to think, she had to pretend to take a bath.

One evening in mid-November of last year, Ford piled blankets into the tub, climbed in, and booted up her laptop. She stared at the screen, then exhaled deep and long. The Wi-Fi was broken. Only two papers and a trigonometry test separated Ford, then thirty-three, from finishing the English degree she’d started at Grambling State University, fifteen years earlier. Without the Internet, she couldn’t download research papers or check her e-mail to see if her Shakespeare professor had sent feedback on her final essay. Ford suspected her semester was nearing an ignominious end.

Ford got out of the tub. “Where are my keys?” she asked her sons as she trudged through the living room. “I need to go to Aunt Val’s to do my homework.”

Matthew, Ford’s six-year-old, followed his mother outside. Discovering that his basketball had gone flat, he sat down in the front yard and entertained himself by using an old, disconnected cell phone as a calculator. The week before, he had told Ford, “I desire to be a math genius.” His brother, Isaiah, age twelve, wanted to be a rapper or an N.B.A. star. Ford prayed that Isaiah would abandon these fantasies for a career in computers.

A well-fed cat dawdled nearby as Matthew lay in the grass, punching numbers into the phone. The four of them lived on a quiet, dead-end street in a twelve-hundred-square-foot brick house that looked nothing like the boarded-up shotguns in the poorest areas of Shreveport, Louisiana. But the house’s charms concealed its limitations. It was close to three highways but no parks. The area had one of the city’s highest crime rates. The state assigned the neighborhood schools a D ranking. Ford worried that the neighborhood would hold her sons back, so she woke up every weekday at 4 a.m. to put Isaiah on a bus to a middle school one town over. Matthew slept until five-thirty, then travelled to a magnet elementary school, three neighborhoods away. On weekends, she took her sons downtown to feed the homeless and helped them write rap songs about studying. She did it all hoping they’d go to college, although Ford believed—and statistics showed—that her sons would be more likely to graduate if she earned a degree herself.

Ford held her breath as she cranked the engine of her rusted, unreliable Chevy Impala. Most days, she had to use the pointy part of an earring to disconnect and reattach the battery cables before the car started. This time, the car rattled to life on its own. The dashboard noted 237,542 miles.

Matthew stared at his mother as the car warmed up. It was 8 p.m., close to his bedtime, but Ford felt like she owed him some attention. He’d cried earlier that night, because he felt that no one wanted to spend time with him. Ford stuck her head out the window. “Come on,” she said.

The Impala whined and clacked as Ford muscled it into a turn. Her older sister, Val, lived fifteen minutes away, in a quiet subdivision where every home had a big front yard. Val had moved into the four-bedroom house only days before, so Ford found a space on the floor between boxes. Matthew rolled around the room on an exercise ball, pretending he was in an ocean surrounded by predators.

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Given all Val had accomplished without a degree, Ford had expected that her own life would be better. She’d started college imagining she’d also be someone with a nice home and a devoted husband. Instead, Ford lived with her mother and slept in the hangout room her family called “community grounds,” while her boys shared a bunk bed one wall over. Ford cobbled together money from two part-time jobs and various side hustles, but the paychecks weren’t enough to cover her own place. An English degree, Ford hoped, would change her circumstances.

Ford opened the computer and studied her professor’s feedback. She had spent weeks trying to understand “Othello.” She’d read the play twice and listened to it on audiobook as she drove the hour to and from Grambling. But little that she heard from her professor made sense to her.

Ford’s paper was about the play’s depictions of racism. She’d argued that the Elizabethan-era protagonists were racists who believed God condoned their hatred, but her professor said she hadn’t proved her central thesis. “This is way too much baseless conjecture,” he wrote. “Don’t impugn motives you can’t prove.”

Ford estimated that she had a sixty-per-cent chance of failing the class. If she did fail, she wouldn’t graduate. The ceremony was a month away, but she hadn’t sent out invitations or taken any of the commemorative photos other students were modelling for in the middle of campus.

Matthew rolled toward her on the exercise ball. “I’m trying to get to land,” he said. “Can I make it past the sharks?”

After 10 p.m., Matthew slid off the exercise ball and lay his head on Ford’s chest. She closed her eyes and kissed his forehead.

Ford switched to working on her paper about “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the nineteenth-century short story. The main character is a depressed, defiant woman whose husband tries to confine her; she believes she sees a woman trapped in the wallpaper. Ford read the story to herself: “And she is all the time trying to climb through. But nobody could climb through that pattern—it strangles so.”

Shreveport is one of the blackest cities in Louisiana, the country’s second blackest state. Black people in Louisiana are less likely to complete a college degree than almost anywhere else in the country. Fewer than ten per cent of the black people in Ford’s Zip Code have a bachelor’s degree.

Today, the mayor, police chief, and local district attorney in Shreveport are all black, but white people long held the power. Caddo, the city’s surrounding parish, was the last place in America to lower the Confederate flag when the South lost the Civil War, in 1865. Between Reconstruction and the nineteen-fifties, according to the Equal Justice Initiative’s “Lynching in America” report, more black people were lynched here than in all but two U.S. counties.

In the white parts of town, oak trees tower over brick houses, manicured lawns, and smooth sidewalks. In Hollywood, the black community where Ford spent her early years, trees grow in dirt yards; back then, her mom’s clapboard home sat across cracked asphalt from what Ford considered the real “hood.” She knew to yell “drive-by” and run inside when someone drove slowly through the neighborhood.

Until she was sixteen, Ford didn’t know her father, a postmaster who lived in Seattle. As a kid, she watched reruns of “Sanford and Son” and imagined her father was Lamont, the show’s peacemaker. But, although Ford longed for a dad, her mother seemed to love her with the force of several parents. One Christmas, Janet bought each of her three daughters a twelve-pack of socks, then wrapped each pair individually so that gifts would fill out the space underneath their tree. Most weekends, Janet and her daughters volunteered to help the homeless and took the bus to the library and to visit Charlie-Bob, the one-eyed alligator at the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum. Often, Janet would take them to see a plaque and a photograph that showed Ford’s great-great-great grandmother, who had helped found Shreveport’s first black church. “You are connected to greatness,” Janet told the girls.

Once Ford was old enough to enter Head Start, Janet volunteered there every day. The program leaders offered her a job helping students with disabilities on the way to and from school. The pay was meagre, but the hours were perfect for a single mom with three daughters.

Janet thought her neighborhood’s predominantly black schools offered subpar curricula, so Janet enrolled Ford and her younger sister Amanda in a majority-white magnet elementary school. Both girls earned honor-roll grades, but teachers preferred Amanda, a quiet child who kept her opinions to herself. Ford, they told Janet, talked too much and too loudly. “If you didn’t fit the mold, you were labelled a problem,” Amanda said. “From a young age, Ford knew exactly who she was and wanted to express herself. But her voice was not appreciated.”

Amanda’s skin was a few shades lighter than Ford’s. As an adult, Ford would tell people that she and her younger sister were “night and day”—in part, a play on their skin colors.

Teachers called Janet a few times a week, asking her to come to class and ask Ford to be quiet. Eventually, Janet grew tired of having to ride the bus to the school and transferred Ford to Caddo Heights, a black elementary school that the family considered “the neighborhood hood school.”

Ford thrived at Caddo Heights, where no one complained about her voice. Teachers complimented Janet on raising such an educated and nice daughter. In fifth grade, after school officials announced they would buy a limo ride for the student who performed the best on the statewide proficiency exam, Ford won.

In 1998, when Ford was fourteen, Janet tried again to send her to a better-performing, majority-white school. Ford’s G.P.A. and standardized test scores were good enough to qualify her for the math-and-science magnet program at C. E. Byrd High School, across town. But all of her friends were going to Woodlawn Leadership Academy, a neighborhood school that Ford remembers her mother calling “Hoodlawn.” (Janet denies that she used the nickname.)

Ford had spent her entire life surrounded by black people. She went to a black church. Few white people lived on her street. According to state rankings, C. E. Byrd High School was Shreveport’s second-best high school, but it was also the city’s whitest high school.

The morning of her first day, Ford hatched a plan. She rolled around in the patch of dirt that served as the family’s front lawn. Janet surveyed her daughter’s muddied clothes. “You’re going anyway,” she said.

At Byrd, Ford ran for the freshman student council. She gave out miniature Snickers bars and buttons with the Ford logo. When the student-council adviser tallied the results, Ford learned that only seventeen out of a class of four hundred students had voted for her. The few black students who did succeed, she noticed, were star athletes and light-skinned. Ford was neither.

Ford started telling herself that she was really a Woodlawn student who just happened to spend her days at Byrd. She never missed a Friday night Woodlawn football game. During basketball season, while other Byrd students sported Yellow Jackets gear, she repped the Woodlawn Knights. Ford asked her mother every week to transfer her to Woodlawn, and, eventually, she wore her down. During the last week of her freshman year, the intercom rang in Ford’s sixth-period English class. The school secretary announced that Ford was transferring out of Byrd. A crowd of white students watched, Ford recalled, as she moonwalked and pop-locked out the school’s grand front doors.

As Ford abandoned Byrd for Woodlawn, which the state ranked “academically below the state average,” Amanda chose a predominantly white magnet program when she started high school. Caddo Parish Magnet High had the best academic scores in the parish; Woodlawn had the worst. But Woodlawn gave Ford a chance to succeed in the way she had longed to at Byrd. She joined the yearbook staff and the R.O.T.C. program. Her classmates chose her as the homecoming queen, the student-body president, and Most Likely to Succeed.

Janet spent every lunch break pitching in at Woodlawn. She sold Icees at band practice as a fund-raiser so often that the senior class chose her as their end-of-the-year banquet speaker. She used the occasion to warn the teen-agers against sex. Becoming a parent at sixteen had limited her opportunities, Janet told the kids.

Janet worried that her daughter’s high school hadn’t set her up to succeed at a university. Few teachers at Woodlawn talked about life after high school, and college recruiters skipped the school on their tours through Shreveport. But, as graduation neared, Woodlawn’s hospitality teacher, Deborah Reed, needled Ford about college. How could the student-body president just give up after high school? Reed told Ford she was taking some students to visit Grambling, an hour away. Ford should go, Reed said, at least to glimpse the university life she would be forgoing.

One April morning, Ford and a hundred other kids climbed into two school buses. The city’s empty storefronts faded into pine trees, and, after an hour of bumping through the rural nothingness of North Louisiana, they arrived. Ford stared out the window as the driver pulled into a spot near the red-brick, white-columned admissions office. Members of the Alpha Phi Alpha and Kappa Alpha Psi fraternities stood straight-backed, waiting for the high-school students. Ford had never seen boys so beautiful. They wore suits, she noticed, not sagging pants, like the boys in her high school did. In the distance, black students read together under oak trees. Everyone, Ford thought, was at Grambling to do something positive. They wanted to be better, she thought, and, watching them, Ford wanted that, too.

In 1830, Louisiana joined a growing number of states that passed laws forbidding anyone from teaching slaves to read or write. But, following the Civil War and the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, as the Freedmen’s Bureau and the American Missionary Association worked to help four million emancipated people find work and homes, black Southerners started asking for schools, laying the foundation for the system of schools that are now called historically black colleges and universities (H.B.C.U.s). The missionaries opened Straight University (now Dillard University), in New Orleans, in 1869, and within a few years the city had four black colleges. But most people who lived in towns in the piney woods of northern Louisiana couldn’t afford the three-hundred-mile train ticket.

According to Mildred Gallot’s “A History of Grambling State University,” a group of black farmers in Grambling decided that their area needed its own black school, so they pooled their money to buy abandoned plantation land. By 1888, they owned twenty-five acres—enough, they thought, for a university. The farmers hired two teachers and began building. They contacted Booker T. Washington, the president of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, in Alabama, and probably the most famous black man in America.

In 1901, Washington sent one of his protégés, Charles P. Adams, to lead the institution. At six feet ten and three hundred pounds, Adams was, the student paper newspaper would later write, “one of the biggest men ever to be seen” in town. Upon exiting the train, he discovered a single two-story frame house in a forest of sweet-gum trees. Adams sold his own land in southern Louisiana for seven hundred dollars to turn the unfinished building into classrooms and dormitories. He travelled by foot and horseback to nearby towns to ask white churchgoers for money. For years, he persuaded white people to help keep the school afloat, including politicians, such as the governor, Huey P. Long, in exchange for the implicit promise of political support from the black community. Adams gave white people all the spots on Grambling’s board. He chose white people to give the commencement speeches.

Grambling’s earliest students learned practical skills in their classes: how to make beds out of orange crates and dresses from flour sacks. Eventually, the college expanded to offer a teaching degree, but the certification produced limited returns for students in a state with few jobs for black educators. In 1928, nearly three decades after Grambling opened, Louisiana legislators recognized the school as one of its seven official institutes of higher learning. But they granted the college only half the money they sent to Southeastern University, a similarly-sized white school made public the same year as Grambling. To compensate, Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones, a teacher who would later become the president of Grambling, took students out to perform minstrel shows for wealthy white people in neighboring towns.

Enrollment grew from a hundred and twenty students, in 1936, when Jones took over the presidency, to more than two thousand students, by the mid-nineteen-fifties, by which time Grambling’s facilities were deteriorating with overuse. Meanwhile, leaders at white colleges began complaining that black students were applying to their schools, and suggested that perhaps they wouldn’t if Grambling had nicer buildings and more course offerings. Legislators sent money for land, dormitories, and sidewalks.

What officials at white schools seemed to fear most, other than the matriculation of black students, was lawsuits. Undergraduate programs could lawfully bar black students until mid-century, because of the precedent set in Plessy v. Ferguson, a Louisiana case; but, in 1948, the Supreme Court found, in Sipuel v. Board of Regents, that a black student could attend the University of Oklahoma’s law school. In 1950, Louisiana State University’s law school rejected a dozen black students. One of them, Roy S. Wilson, sued the school and won; he enrolled that November. Meanwhile, the first of the five cases that became Brown v. Board of Education were moving through the courts.

By the mid-nineteen-sixties, though, the vogue for funding black colleges abruptly waned: as state officials sent two thousand dollars per student to Louisiana State University, they inexplicably cut Grambling’s funding to twelve hundred dollars a student, leaving it too broke to buy library books or science equipment. In 1967, eight hundred students—a fifth of the student body—walked out of class in protest. Too many Grambling students read at only a ninth-grade level, protesters said, and others earned teaching degrees no other state deemed good enough for certification.

“Grambling is unable to produce the sort of atmosphere conducive to learning that the Southern Negro so desperately needs,” the student-body president, Willie Zanders, told reporters who travelled to cover the protest. “The average Southern Negro who comes to college comes in a deep sense of depression caused by his low social and economic status in the system.”

A few years later, in the first-ever attempt to desegregate a state’s entire higher education system, the federal government intervened. Louisiana, the U.S. Department of Justice found, still operated separate school systems for black and white students, a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The federal Department of Justice department sued the state, in 1974, to force it to send hundreds of millions of dollars to Grambling and to Southern University, a historically black school in Baton Rouge. When the money finally arrived, in the late nineteen-eighties, it allowed Grambling to offer degrees in nursing and criminal justice—programs that attracted a record number of applicants.

But the federal government’s intervention hurt Grambling, too. White universities in Louisiana began recruiting black students more aggressively; L.S.U., the state’s flagship campus, tripled its enrollment of black students from three per cent to ten per cent between 1975 and 2002. (Today L.S.U. is about twelve per cent black, in a state where forty-three per cent of the K–12 students are black.) Grambling recruiters found it harder to compete for top black students at college fairs. The white schools offered newer buildings, more advanced computer labs, and larger scholarships than Grambling could. Black students who would have chosen between Grambling and other H.B.C.U.s a decade earlier began enrolling at white institutions instead. By the time Dorian Ford toured Grambling, in 2002, the school had three-fifths the student population that it did a decade earlier.

As Ford walked the Grambling campus, she didn’t see budget holes or buildings in need of upgrades. She saw a scrappy, powerhouse football team that had sent the first black quarterback to a Super Bowl start. A university tour guide told her that Grambling had produced state legislators, university presidents, and the Grammy-winning R. & B. musician Erykah Badu. Ford didn’t care if other people thought she could get a better education at the white university down the road. It was Grambling’s blackness, and all that school leaders had achieved with less, that inspired her.

Reed drove her to Grambling to apply, three days after the fall semester of 2002 started. Reed sat with Ford as she filled out the application forms, then waited for the admissions officers to review them. Grambling had an open admissions policy then, which meant that the school accepted students regardless of how well they performed in high school or on standardized tests, but Ford fidgeted anxiously as she waited. She and Reed lingered until the mid-summer sunset. The counsellor emerged, handed over a piece of paper with a bill and a dorm-room assignment, and Ford became the first in her family to enroll in a four-year university.

Ford’s favorite uncle gave her fifteen hundred dollars, but that didn’t come close to covering the six-thousand-dollar price tag for Ford’s first year at Grambling. Dorian had puzzled over the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, an eligibility form longer than her mother’s tax return. Ford’s family was poor enough to qualify for a four-thousand-dollar Pell Grant, the federal money set aside for low-income families, but she applied too late to receive any money for the fall term. She took out a loan backed by her father, who gave her a silver Suzuki Aerio.


Dorian Ford.Photograph by Brandon Thibodeaux for The New Yorker
The night before Ford’s first day at Grambling, Janet stayed up late to write her daughter’s name on notebooks and rolls of toilet paper. She ironed every shirt in Ford’s closet, then nestled them into boxes, careful to minimize creases.

When Ford arrived, by herself, at school the next morning, she found a broken elevator in her high-rise dormitory, so she walked the six flights up to her room. The stairwells reeked of urine. Students had kicked in doors on some floors and ripped telephones from the walls on others. Another student helped her carry the fridge and other heavy items, but she hefted the other boxes alone, one at a time. Afterward, Ford went to take a shower in the community bathroom, where the water came out brown. She turned the shower off, then called her mother. “College isn’t supposed to be the hood,” she said.

Ford didn’t know at the time that Grambling offered a catalogue of courses, so she asked her adviser to plan her freshman year. Her mind drifted during hotel management, an elective the adviser chose because Ford said she enjoyed Reed’s hospitality classes. Ford perked up during freshman seminar, the class every Grambling student takes to learn about the legacy of her school. She memorized the fight song and the alma mater. She studied the literacy laws that Louisiana had passed before the Civil War to prevent black people from learning. She beamed when her professor told students that the “G” in Grambling also stood for greatness.

The next year, she took out eight thousand dollars in loans and cobbled together a semester of business and education seminars, plus a required math class. A few weeks into Algebra II, Ford missed an assignment, then skipped class to complete it. Soon, she was missing more classes than she attended. By the end of the school year, she had two F’s and was put on academic probation, which meant that she couldn’t take out any federal loans to start her junior year.

She didn’t ask for help. Ford was too embarrassed to admit that she—a straight-A student in high school—had fallen behind. She had never needed to weather setbacks at Woodlawn; she’d been the best at everything she tried. Disappointed, she distracted herself by focussing on the parts of her life that she felt she was good at. She joined the Society of Distinguished Black Women, a non-Greek organization that emphasizes volunteer work, and soon became its president. She also started dating a computer-information-systems major at Grambling with dean’s-list grades and a job at an Applebee’s. He was athletic, focussed, and nice to his mother, qualities Ford believed marked him for something big. That fall of 2004, Ford started to feel sick. She went to the neighboring town’s emergency room. The doctor told Ford she was pregnant.

Ford slid off the examination table and cried on the hospital floor. She had been around young mothers her entire life. Her sophomore year of high school, Ford had thrown her best friend a baby shower during second period. But Dorian Ford wasn’t supposed to be a single mother, she told herself. She was supposed to be reading under Grambling’s oak trees. She couldn’t afford to buy college textbooks without student loans or a check from her father. How could she support a child? Lying on the floor, Ford considered abortion or adoption. Both made her cry harder.

Eventually, Ford decided to drop out and move to New Orleans to find better-paying work. She and her boyfriend could raise their child together.

Ford withdrew from Grambling mid-semester. She told herself that she could take a break from college, earn money, then return when the baby was older. She gave birth to Isaiah in Shreveport, in February of 2005, and, three weeks later, they moved with her boyfriend to New Orleans. They spent a few blissful months as new parents together. Ford, then twenty-one, found work at a hospital through a temp agency and earned seventeen dollars an hour. But after the job ended she couldn’t find anyone else willing to pay that much to a college dropout.

That August, Ford and Isaiah went to Baton Rouge to stay with her boyfriend’s family while they rode out Hurricane Katrina, which ruined his parents’ house in New Orleans, where they had been staying. In the wake of that upheaval, Ford decided to try again at Grambling. She took out another thirteen thousand dollars in loans and moved back mid-semester in the fall of 2005. Ford and her boyfriend tried dating long-distance, but, later that year, before Isaiah’s first birthday, Ford’s boyfriend met another woman and ended their relationship. He continued to support Isaiah.

Ford’s Distinguished Black Women sisters watched Isaiah while she worked nights at the Methodist Children’s Home to supplement the money her ex-boyfriend sent. Sometimes she brought the one-year-old Isaiah to classes, trying to keep him entertained by sitting him at a desk next to her and giving him papers to scribble on. But most of her professors disapproved of Isaiah’s presence. One of them kicked them out of a session and told Ford never to bring a child to class again. She began skipping classes when she couldn’t find someone to watch him, and she found little time for studying. Midway through the spring term, several of her professors told her she was earning a D. School was too expensive, she thought, to pay for classes she wouldn’t pass. She left for spring break and didn’t return.

Leaving Grambling was the norm; only eleven per cent of Ford’s classmates graduated within four years. Nationwide, only a third of students attending an H.B.C.U. graduate within six years, but those low rates aren’t limited to black institutions—African-American students are less likely than white, Asian, and Hispanic students to finish college on time, no matter where they go to school.

In 1977, before most schools in the South desegregated, more than a third of black college graduates earned their bachelor’s degrees at H.B.C.U.s. Today, only about fifteen per cent do. Students who enroll in black universities today are more likely to come from subpar high schools, undereducated families, and dangerous neighborhoods than those who enroll in more selective schools.

Black institutions also enroll a high number of poor students. Though only a third of Louisiana undergrads receive a Pell Grant, eight of every ten students at Grambling do. Poor students nationwide are less likely to finish college. At nearly fifty schools, not a single student who qualified for a Pell Grant graduated within six years, according to federal data released last year to the Hechinger Report. At Grambling, the graduation rate for students who did not receive Pell Grants was ten percentage points higher than the rate for low-income students.

University leaders can boost success rates for students from poor neighborhoods and underperforming high schools, researchers have found, by offering remedial classes and intensive counselling. But those wraparound services are expensive, and Grambling has found itself with a decreasing pot of money.

When Bobby Jindal, an Ivy League graduate and Rhodes Scholar, took office as governor, in 2008, Louisiana was flush with cash, a by-product of the rising price of oil and the sales-tax revenue that surged as people bought new cars and furniture to replace what they lost in Hurricane Katrina. A year into his tenure, the post-Katrina federal aid dried up, the price of oil plummeted, and Jindal started cutting. By 2013, he sliced Grambling’s budget by fifty-six per cent.

As the state’s contribution to Grambling plummeted from $31.6 million to $13.8 million a year, the college cycled through presidents, cut degree programs, and laid off teachers. After a 2002 audit found Ford’s freshman-year dormitory uninhabitable, crews eventually bulldozed the high-rise and built three-story residence halls to replace it, but other buildings remained unusable. Mold and mildew spread through so much of the football stadium that a visiting team refused to use the locker rooms. In 2013, Grambling players boycotted their own program, complaining that they often tripped on the warped weight-room floors, and that their equipment was so dirty that several players contracted staph infections.

Late last year, the U.S. House of Representatives proposed cutting federal funding to minority-serving institutions whose six-year graduation rates are below twenty-five per cent. (Grambling’s six-year graduation rate is thirty-four per cent.) Johnny Taylor, the ex-president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, for its recent three-part investigation of H.B.C.U.s, that as many as a quarter of the nation’s hundred and seven black colleges and universities won’t survive the next two decades. Six have closed since 1988, the investigation found, and dozens of others suffer from low graduation rates, as well as declining enrollment and revenue.

Marybeth Gasman, a University of Pennsylvania professor of education and a leading expert on H.B.C.U.s, said that critics have been dismissing the schools since she was in graduate school, more than twenty-five years ago. “H.B.C.U.s are really resilient, much like African-Americans are resilient,” Gasman said. “Despite the fact that they enroll only eight per cent of African-American students, they graduate sixteen per cent of African-American students. They disproportionately produce graduates in stem and medicine, teachers, and students who go to graduate school.”

More black students attend Grambling than Louisiana State University, a school that is six times larger. In 2001, the state forced Grambling to create an academic baseline by 2010; it now accepts students with a 2.0 grade-point average, a 1020 S.A.T. score, or a twenty on the A.C.T. Before that, it admitted any student who applied.

No one else in Ford’s family admired Grambling the way she had. Ford’s younger sister, Amanda, longed to attend an Ivy League school, but Janet wanted her close to home. Amanda’s A.C.T. score and perfect grade-point average earned her a full ride to Louisiana Tech, the predominantly white college five miles east of Grambling. In 2008, Amanda earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. At her sister’s graduation, Ford peeled away from the family and sobbed in the bathroom. She was proud of her sister, and she couldn’t shake the disappointment in herself.

After Ford left Grambling, she moved back to Shreveport. She took a job at a call center, where she worked her way up from the phones to quality assurance. She started out at twelve dollars an hour, about fifty cents more than the state’s median wage for African-Americans. She put in enough overtime hours to make more than the average of twenty-eight thousand dollars a year earned by a Grambling graduate. She began to host comedy shows and speed-dating events. She sold the Suzuki and bought the Chevy Impala only one year and thirty-five thousand miles removed from the lot.

In 2010, she got pregnant with Matthew, whose father didn’t want a romantic relationship with her. With a new baby, she couldn’t work her usual overtime hours at the call center or hold events in bars. She applied for food stamps, a move that embarrassed her so thoroughly that she drove to grocery stores one town over to use them. Busy and mostly broke, she ignored the monthly notices about her nearly fifty thousand dollars in loans. She defaulted. (A study of more than a thousand universities’ self-reported data in 2016 found that Grambling students carried the second-highest average debt load in the nation, at $51,887. Sixteen per cent of Grambling students default on their loans, versus eleven per cent over all.)

In 2011, Ford started a mentorship program to encourage Shreveport kids to consider college. She called it Giving Education Your All and organized events at a community center near the airport two Saturdays a month. She’d learned enough from her own mistakes, she thought, to guide students as they applied for college. She taught high-school seniors how to fill out the financial-aid forms and offered to drive students to Grambling to check out the campus. By then, Ford knew more people who’d started and left Grambling than people who’d finished college.

In 2012, her unpaid student loans drove Ford to declare bankruptcy. Her chief asset was the Impala. Still, she planned to return to Grambling. She tried to explain it to her mom and sisters: Grambling was a family. She could go anywhere in America and be able to connect to someone in “the GramFam.” Sure, the university had disappointed her at times, but she had failed it, too. Real families, she believed, took the good with the bad. Plus, she told her sisters, she just felt right when she returned to campus for football games. When the World Famed Tiger Marching Band drummed and danced in synch across the field, her heart swelled. The school band had performed in more Super Bowl halftime shows than any other musical group, and its fight song was hers.

One Saturday, at a Giving Education Your All workshop, a fourteen-year-old girl asked Ford a question. “Miss Ford, how many degrees you got? I bet you got like five.”

Ford’s stomach hurt. She felt like a hypocrite, encouraging the girl to do something she hadn’t. She took a deep breath.

“None,” Ford told the girl.

The conversation gnawed at Ford. A few months later, when she lost out on a promotion at the call center because she didn’t have a degree, she made up her mind to finish her bachelor’s. She reënrolled in the summer of 2015, at age thirty-one. She decided to major in English literature because the degree seemed versatile—with an English degree, she could become a lawyer, a teacher, or even the head of a nonprofit, she thought.

Ford didn’t have money for day care, so she brought Matthew, then four, to her first class, African-American Literature. Her Impala bounced along the school’s cracked roads, past the trees that had inspired her as a teen-ager. She found a parking spot in front of the English building and turned her car off. She had posted a picture of her student I.D. on Facebook that morning, but, on campus, alone, with her son in the car, Ford wondered if she was making the right choice.

Because of Jindal’s cuts, a year at Grambling now cost more than twice what it did when Ford first enrolled. Though one in four of Grambling’s undergrads is twenty-five or older, Ford worried her classmates would think of her as “that old heifer.” She’d have to pass the math classes she’d failed back when high-school algebra was still fresh in her mind. She’d been out of school a decade. She had two kids. The degree wasn’t going to come easy, she knew. She’d skipped classes when she lived a block away. This time, she promised herself, she’d make every session, even if it meant spending two hours a day in the declining Impala.

During that first class, the students watched a movie, and Matthew watched it, too. On other days, he “took notes” when the professor lectured, and even tried to answer questions. The professor didn’t mind.

Grambling employed three presidents during its first ninety years. In the twenty-seven years since, the university has run through ten. The academic year Ford reënrolled, the president wrote an open letter stating that Grambling was “fighting for her life” as the school’s enrollment declined and its budget sank deeper into the red. For Grambling’s thirteenth president, the University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors decided on a local personal injury lawyer, Richard Gallot, Jr. Gallot had served in the Louisiana house and senate for nearly two decades. He drove an extended-cab pickup truck, attended New Living Word Ministries every Sunday, and wore alligator-skin cowboy boots on the capitol floor.

Grambling’s previous presidents had been transplants from black institutions on the East Coast. Gallot bragged that he’d only ever lived in one Zip Code: Grambling’s (with a brief stint in Baton Rouge, for law school). His mother, Mildred, who was born to sharecroppers in South Louisiana, picked cotton before she won a small scholarship to Grambling. (She is the same Mildred Gallot who wrote the history of the school.) She earned a teaching degree in 1959, but, after schools in every Louisiana parish ignored her application, she stayed on and became a history professor at Grambling. Gallot’s father, Richard, Sr., a barber and entrepreneur, got his business degree there, at age thirty-nine. As a kid, Gallot rushed home from school every day to watch the World Famed Tiger Marching Band practice. He’d grab a stick, then pretend to perform alongside them. In high school, he turned down a scholarship to Dartmouth because he wanted to join Grambling’s band.

After two weeks of praying and fasting, Gallot decided to take the job. At his swearing-in, in July of 2016, he presented the school’s foundation with a personal check for twenty thousand dollars—money to kick-start an aggressive fund-raising campaign. The university’s endowment is six million dollars, less than a hundredth of L.S.U.’s endowment, and a drop in the ocean compared to larger public schools, such as Texas A. & M. or the University of Michigan, both of which hover near ten billion dollars.

Gallot raised $1.2 million in four months from alumni and businesses, but donations alone couldn’t pay to replace Grambling’s most damaged buildings. He began strategizing how to fund a new library. Mold covered the building’s ceiling, and the H.V.A.C. system didn’t work. When the state higher-education coördinating board announced that it was coming to Grambling for its annual meeting, Gallot told his secretary to book the reception in the library.

“President, you can’t take the Board of Regents there,” the school’s events coördinator told him.

“Oh, yes, I can,” Gallot said. “They need to see and smell what our students see, smell, and feel every day.”

The H.V.A.C. ran too hot the day of the reception. As the lawmakers and their wives filed in, some started sweating. Several looked up and eyed the ceiling. The few tiles left had turned black. “You can smell it in the air,” one lawmaker’s wife said. The ploy worked: the board agreed to give Grambling twenty-five million dollars to build a new library.

By 2017, Gallot had won faculty members a two-per-cent raise—for some, their first raise in twelve years. Grambling professors earn about twenty thousand dollars less a year than Louisiana State University faculty do, but Gallot hoped the gesture would lower tensions that had simmered under the school’s past three presidents. After Gallot persuaded the University of Louisiana board of supervisors to let Grambling create a new nursing program, the provost suggested updating the “Grambling song” to add Gallot to its list of presidential greats.

In April, Beyoncé designed her historic Coachella set in the image of a halftime performance at an H.B.C.U. football game, featuring musicians from H.B.C.U. marching bands and costumes inspired by black Greek and fraternal organizations. Recognizing a marketing opportunity, Gallot tweeted Beyoncé’s performance with the hashtag #BeyouClassic, a play on the name of Grambling’s most popular football game. He also offered her the chance to lead the school’s World Famed Tiger Marching Band. (The singer did not respond, but her foundation, partnering with Google, later awarded a twenty-five-thousand-dollar scholarship to a graduate student in Grambling’s Department of Mass Communications.)

Grambling graduated about a third of its students within six years—an average rate for H.B.C.U.s, but Gallot told people he wasn’t satisfied with being “good for a black school.” And, last year, state officials announced that nine Louisiana universities, including Grambling, must increase their graduation rates by a collective twenty per cent by 2025. Black students make up forty-three per cent of the state’s elementary-school, middle-school, and high-school classes. If state leaders want to improve their public schools, they must help minority students earn degrees—and no other Louisiana college or university has as many of either population as the state’s public H.B.C.U.s, Southern University and Grambling.

Gallot pushed professors to use computer programs to track students whose grades or attendance suggested that they might drop out. And he revived a few modest solutions that Grambling has tried before: math-tutoring labs in the dorms, a financial-literacy class. He proposed a new tactic, too: What if, he suggested, Grambling professors asked students who dropped out why they left? “We’ll call them and ask,” he said. “Is it money? What is the issue, and is there something we can do to get you back?”

As graduation day neared, Ford set aside her homework one night to write Gallot a letter. She wanted him to know why Grambling’s graduation rate was so low. “There is a story behind every number that doesn’t cross that stage,” she wrote. “People are suffering when they just want to make better lives for themselves.” She had screwed up the first time she tried Grambling, she wrote. But this time she attended all of her classes and participated with so much gusto that it annoyed her classmates. A few complained, but Ford brushed off their comments. She’d been hurt in elementary school when teachers said she was too loud, but she had read Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” since then, and she had come to believe that her voice was her power.

Grambling had some good professors, Ford wrote. Her favorite was an English professor who set high but clear expectations and always e-mailed to remind Ford to register early for classes. Others, Ford wrote, failed more students than they passed. One ripped up her Advanced Composition paper—she spoke too well in class, she said the professor told her, to write such incomprehensible essays.

Ford waited to send the letter to Gallot. She wanted to proofread it first, but she procrastinated by filling her hours with odd jobs and volunteer work. On the weekdays, when she didn’t have school, she substitute-taught or made and sold bowls of gumbo to help pay for her sons’ sports fees. She spent Saturdays taking the boys to feed the homeless.

“We’re learning to be good citizens,” she told Matthew one Saturday in November as they packed meals at a charter school in a strip mall. While they spooned baked beans into Styrofoam containers, other moms asked Ford about college. Ford didn’t tell them that she herself found it impossible to balance midterms with parenting. When Matthew made the honor roll at school, she missed the ceremony. She came home after class that day and found him crying.

“I worked hard,” he said. “Everyone’s mom was yelling for them, and I looked around for you, and you were in class.”

Worse, Isaiah had an F in English. Ford made the boys do forty-five minutes of homework every night, whether or not their teachers had assigned any, but she’d been so distracted with Shakespeare and Gothic literature that she had missed her son struggling. She worked three hours a day for two straight weeks on the “Othello” paper. When she turned in a new draft, she said the professor told her that it would earn her a C in the class.

Ford had set aside eighty-nine dollars out of her loan-refund check at the beginning of the semester for a cap and gown. A week before graduation, she stopped by the campus bookstore and bought the graduation outfit. That night, she set the cap and gown on top of the kitchen table, then snapped a photograph. She uploaded it, captionless, to Facebook. She told her father to book his flight from Seattle. She asked Amanda to drive down from Chicago.

One day after Amanda arrived, and four nights before graduation, Ford’s Gothic Literature professor e-mailed to say Ford’s essay on “The Yellow Wallpaper” was not adequate: Ford showed ‘no real engagement with research,’ and cited only six, rather than the required eight or nine, works they’d read in class. Ford could redo the paper the next semester, the professor said, but she wouldn’t graduate that week.

Ford shut her computer. She stuffed the cap and gown, still wrapped in clear plastic, into her mother’s closet. Then she locked herself in the bathroom and cried.

A few hours after she found out she wouldn’t graduate, Ford forced herself to go to a talent show at Woodlawn, her old high school, where she was hosting the red-carpet portion of the evening. The principal, noting how easily Ford connected with the teen-agers, told her he was desperate for teachers, even uncertified ones. Shreveport public schools had more than a hundred open positions and largely relied on fifty-five-dollar-a-day substitutes to keep watch over students. Few people chose to take jobs at Woodlawn, a poor school the state had upgraded to a D on its last report card.

“Are you interested?” the principal, Grady Smith, asked.

Ford started at Woodlawn Leadership Academy in mid-January, teaching English to ninth and tenth graders. The second-floor classroom was sticky-humid, and whole rows of desks sat empty. Ford wore new braids she’d spent six hours weaving in herself.


Ford coaches the baton-twirling team at Woodlawn High School.Photograph by Brandon Thibodeaux for The New Yorker
On her fourth day, she outlined the basics of writing fiction to a room of eighteen students. “You can make up any story,” she said, on the theme of family bonds. One boy proposed writing about men who get out of jail, only to return a week later. A few kids snickered, but Ford praised the student for touching on an important issue. Shreveport, she told the class, had a high recidivism rate. “Recidivism means when people get out of jail and then go back to jail for the same thing over and over again,” she explained.

Ford told the students that their stories needed to be five paragraphs and typed. Several of them groaned. Most had never written anything that long, and few had computers at home.

“What if we can’t get to no library to do our homework?” one girl asked.

“I want this typed because we are in high school,” Ford said. “We are in the tenth grade. Ms. Ford is going to make sure you're prepared for college whether you want to go to college or not. If you have an e-mail address, what you can do is put your thoughts into your phone. Then you can e-mail it to yourself and print it out from the school library. We have to do things that are going to help us.”

Next week they’d start “Romeo and Juliet,” a play that the state required all high-school sophomores to read, but none of Ford’s students even knew the difference between singular and plural. She didn’t yet know how she could help them comprehend the archaic language she herself had struggled with.

Smith was optimistic. Ford was one of the best teachers the principal had seen in years. “This is her fourth day, and she still hasn’t called for security,” he said. “That’s major. If you can handle the classroom, you can learn how to teach.”

The intercom buzzed, and the school secretary announced that any student interested in joining the travel club should head to the cafeteria. Nearly every Woodlawn student qualified for free school lunches, and Ford suspected none of hers could afford the two-thousand-dollar trip to New York that the school had proposed. All but five left class anyway.

Ford told the remaining kids that they could work on their stories. While they wrote, Ford looked over the half-page essays the students had written earlier in the week. She turned to one that was composed in big bubble letters. The girl who wrote it had cussed Ford out on the first day of class.

“If I had one wish it would be that life is so much easier at times some things is hard but it shouldn't be difficult If I had one wish school wouldn’t be so hard It would be fun, loving and caring If I had one wish the teachers will be more understanding They will understand what we go through as being kids and not look at us as grown-ups and except more from us.”

The girl had included only one period, but the essay was heartfelt, so Ford gave her a perfect score.

Casey Parks is a staff reporter at the Hechinger Report.Read more »
00 2018-11-26
Baton Rouge

TV Notes: First the food, then the football; check out 'Chimpsgiving'


Tune in a little early for Thursday night's game between the Saints and the Atlanta Falcons in New Orleans to catch chef Emeril Lagasse creating an NFL-themed Thanksgiving feast.

The 7 p.m. show will air from Emeril's Tchoupitoulas Street restaurant, where, as the dinner is being prepared, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews brings his "distinctive brand of New Orleans music capped by his own rendition of the 'Sunday Night Football' theme song backed by New Breed Brass Band," according to an NBC Sports news release.

The holiday night game, the Saint-Falcons' second meeting this season, is being presented as the Sunday Night Football “Thanksgiving Special,” thus Andrews' take on "Game On," usually belted out by Carrie Underwood.

“What better place to celebrate Thanksgiving than in a city that perpetually revels in food, family, and football,” Lagasse said. “We’re so happy to be a part of this Thanksgiving special and bring our traditions home to you. Who Dat?!”

“To me, food and music are the heartbeats of New Orleans,” Andrews added. “To experience one of the best chefs in the world live and up close while he is creating his unique dishes and to be the soundtrack to that was really incredible.”

Kickoff is at 7:20 p.m. from Mercedes-Benz Superdome. NBC Sports' sideline reporter Michele Tafoya will award the traditional postgame turkey legs and game balls, the release also said.

And don't leave the room at halftime — that turkey sandwich will just have to wait — because you won't want to miss performances by Southern University's Human Jukebox and Dancing Dolls, along with Grambling State University's "World Famed" marching band.

The game will air locally on WVLA, Channel 33 (cable Channel 3).

BBC visits La. chimps
"Sue Perkins and the Chimpanzee Sanctuary" will premiere at 8 p.m. Thursday on BBC America (cable Channel 225).

The documentary, part of a day of chimp-focused programming BBC America is calling “Chimpsgiving,” follows British writer and comedian Perkins’ visit to Chimp Haven in Keithville.

Chimp Haven, a 200-acre forested sanctuary southwest of Shreveport, is home to more than 260 chimpanzees retired from biomedical research.

In the documentary, a group of female chimps led by Jill prepares to be introduced to an all-male chimp group for the first time.

"For Pierre, the group’s alpha male who was removed from West Africa as a baby, it may be the first time he encounters female chimps," a news release says.

For more information, visit chimphaven.org or follow the facility on Twitter, @ChimpHaven.

'Nourish' host honored
Dr. Howard Conyers, of New Orleans, host of the web series, "Nourish,"' is one of Southern Living magazine's 25 “Southerners of the Year” for 2018.

Louisiana Public Broadcasting produces "Nourish" for PBS Digital Studios.

"Dr. Conyers is honored as 'both a NASA rocket scientist and barbecue evangelist' and his work researching and demonstrating traditional Southern barbecue techniques, 'feeds his soul and connects him to his family and community, who have done the same for generations,'" a news release says.

According to LPB, more than 12 million viewers around the world have watched “Nourish” episodes which have featured the Cochon de Lait festival in Mansura, a gumbo-cooking session with New Orleans legend Leah Chase, boudin-making with New Orleans chef Donald Link, and debating the ingredients of Carolina barbecue sauce with chef and Conyers’ Southern Living co-honoree Rodney Scott.

“Nourish” is co-produced by Conyers and LPB deputy director Christina Melton. It is filmed and edited by post-production supervisor Donald Washington and videographer Bennie Robertson. The series can be viewed at youtube.com/PBSNourish and facebook.com/PBSNourish.

'Admissions' on 'Square'
On the heels of LSU's new “holistic admissions” process instituted this fall, "Louisiana Public Square" will examine college entrance standards from several different perspectives on “An Eye on Admissions” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21, on WLPB, Channel 27 (cable Channel 12).

"The new admissions policy for incoming students relies more on essays and recommendations than on ACT and SAT scores and grade-point averages. Proponents of the move say it’s a better way to identify strong students while opening up opportunities for families unable to afford prep classes for standardized exams. Opponents say the move will increase student attrition and could endanger LSU’s flagship status," a news release says.

In January, the Board of Regents will begin auditing all of Louisiana’s public four-year colleges to measure compliance with the state's minimum admissions standards. The percentage of “exceptions” to the standards invoked by LSU under its new process was nearly double what the higher education board allows, the release also says.

Panelists for the show will be Jose Aviles, LSU Office of Academic Affairs; state Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge; Dr. James Henderson, University of Louisiana System president; and Mark Ballard, Capitol Bureau chief for The Advocate.

The program will also offer comments from F. King Alexander, LSU president; Ronnie Anderson, a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors; Patrick Gagen, an LSU senior and columnist for The Reveille student newspaper; Jeannine Kahn, vice president of academic affairs for the University of Louisiana System; Dana Schlotterer, assistant principal of The Runnels School; and James Wharton, former chancellor of LSU.

Beth Courtney, LPB CEO, and LPB news anchor André Moreau host the program. Visit lpb.org/publicsquare for more information.

"Louisiana Public Square" can also be heard on WRKF in Baton Rouge. Check the station website for a schedule.

FOLLOW JUDY BERGERON ON TWITTER, @JUDYBERGERONBR.
00 2018-11-26
Hammond

SLU College Republicans hold events


HAMMOND — The Southeastern Louisiana University College Republicans recently held two forums on Southeastern’s campus in an effort to help educate students and community members.

In collaboration with the College Democrats, the two organizations hosted a “Blue Meets Red” event Oct. 26. Held “on the S” in the Student Union, the forum was to inform and discuss hot topic issues while educating how broad the political spectrum is, according to a news release.

The same evening, with a goal to bridge the gap between the younger and older generations, the College Republicans partnered with the Tangipahoa Republican Parish Executive Committee to host a Secretary of State forum. Students, community members and conservative leaders had the opportunity to hear from candidates A.G. Crowe, Rep. Rick Edmonds and Rep. Julie Stokes on how they want to bring a new perspective to the state offices in Louisiana, according to the news release.

The organization also partnered with members of the St. Tammany Parish Republican Executive Committee and Professional Women of St. Tammany to host a voter-registration drive on the Southeastern campus, in which they registered approximately 50 students to vote.

The Southeastern Louisiana University College Republicans is a newly reformed organization at Southeastern with a mission to promote the principles and values of the Republican Party, according to the release.

All students at Southeastern are welcome to join the College Republicans or attend any meetings or events. The College Republicans are not allowed to endorse any candidate but encourage all students to get involved in campaigns, according to the news release.

For information about the SLU College Republicans, contact Kayleigh Reneau at (985) 445-3769 or visit the organization on social media: @slu_republicans on Instagram; Southeastern La University Republicans on Facebook; and @SLUrepublicans on Twitter. Its next meeting is 6 p.m. Tuesday to honor veterans at Southeastern and in the community.
00 2018-11-26
Houma/Thibodaux

Nicholls fans embrace home playoff game


Nicholls State University football fan Charity Triggs remembers the days when only a small number of people tailgated before Colonels home games in Thibodaux.
Those days, she said, are long gone.
Triggs was one of 8,571 fans who packed John L. Guidry Stadium today to see the Colonels take on the University of San Diego in the first round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
Thousands more fans flocked to the stadium hours before the game to tailgate.
Triggs, who often attends Nicholls tailgate parties during regular season home games, said it was amazing to see the large crowds at Nicholls today.
“It’s great for the community to come together and support Nicholls,” Triggs said. “I just hope it continues to grow and everyone continues to come and support the Colonels every year.”
Nicholls fans were rewarded for their loyalty as the Colonels picked up a 49-30 win over San Diego. It was the first playoff win for Nicholls since 1986, and it was the first home playoff win in school history.
They will move on to play Eastern Washington in the second round of the playoffs next week in Cheney, Wash.
Nicholls football coach Tim Rebowe said the fans played a major role in today’s victory. The Colonels enjoyed a 6-0 record in home games this season.
“I thought it was fantastic. You’ve got to give credit to the administration for getting a home playoff game so we can play in front of this type of crowd and atmosphere,” Rebowe said. “The people came out again for us. I know the defense in Evan (Veron) and Sully (Laiche) were getting them up in the third and fourth quarter. They were so loud. Those guys came out and supported us and we’re very thankful for it.”
Jeremy Becker, president of the Nicholls Foundation, said it was a great accomplishment for the Colonels to host a home playoff game for the second-straight year.
“It’s an amazing thing not only for the university but the community to come out and see playoff football,” Becker said. “How many chances do you get to have postseason football played in Thibodaux? It’s great to see the community come together. It’s nice weather. We have a bunch of guys working hard and we need to be out here to support them.”
Many Nicholls fans took advantage of the good weather to enjoy the tailgating scene outside of the stadium.
Some fans began their tailgate parties as early as 5 a.m. today.
Former Nicholls football player Shane Kliebert, who is a board member on the Nicholls Alumni Association, said there was plenty of food and good times for all.
“Everybody is cooking. You can go around and taste a little bit of everything,” Kliebert said. “The food is outstanding. This is just unbelievable to see the amount of people who have come out and support. It’s exciting to see all the people out here coming to see the Colonels.”
Kliebert said the Colonels fans take pride in protecting their home field advantage at John L. Guidry Stadium. He recalled Nicholls’ playoff game against South Dakota last year when the officials blew a play dead “due to crowd noise.”
“The amount of crowd noise that we will bring here is unbelievable,” Kliebert said. “It’s an outstanding testament to the amount of fans that come out here and really put their heart and soul into the Nicholls Colonels. The players feed off it.”
Vacherie native Kenny Hymel said many Nicholls fans enjoy watching the program that Rebowe has built in the last five years. Nicholls went from 0-12 in 2014 to Southland Conference champions this year.
“It’s fun because they have so many local guys from the area,” Hymel said. “It gives these guys an extra place to play because they are not big enough for (Football Bowl Subdivision), but they can come to Nicholls. It shows what Coach Rebowe is doing here.”
Although he loved the large crowds for Nicholls football, Hymel said he would like to see more local support for the team.
“We need Thibodaux to paint the town red,” Hymel said. “We need Nicholls banners at the restaurants. I didn’t see any of that coming in here.”
Nicholls President Jay Clune, his wife, Allison, and his 6-year-old Boxer mix, Boots Clune, took time to walk around the tailgate area and meet with Colonels fans.
“This is remarkable,” Clune said. “We see the people came out in droves, and this is great since we’re on Thanksgiving break. There use to be a couple of tailgaters. Now there are thousands.”
Clune said the Colonels fans are major part of the program’s success.
“The fans, the band and the cheerleaders have made a difference,” Clune said. “They are loud. It’s a good college atmosphere. I think it’s great for the players.”
Before the game, Clune met with nearly 50 football fans who made the trip from San Diego.
The San Diego fans arrived in Thibodaux on Thursday and got to experience some southern hospitality during the stay. While tailgating today, many Nicholls fans stopped by to drop off some famous Louisiana dishes such as gumbo, jambalaya and more.
“We’re excited to be here. It’s kind of far from home,” San Diego fan Michelle Jackson said. “It’s a new place. Our guys are excited to be here. Everybody we’ve met has been incredibly kind and welcoming. It was amazing and the food was delicious.”
San Diego Director of Athletics Bill McGillis said the trip to Thibodaux was “a great change of scenery” for their players and fans, most of whom have never visited Louisiana.
“It’s just a real welcoming environment here,” McGillis said. “It’s a good college football environment with the tailgating. We’re fortunate to be here. We appreciate the hospitality.”
Now the Colonels and some of their fans will prepare for their journey to play Eastern Washington next week.
“My wife and I already booked our trip because we want to see the red football field in Eastern Washington,” Kliebert said. “We want to bring some southern hospitality to Washington. Hopefully it doesn’t snow. We’re going to dress in multiple layers. We’re going to be ready.”


00 2018-11-26
Lafayette

Campus Cupboard food pantry at UL-Lafayette addresses food insecurity among students, staff


A news story on campus hunger led to a revelation on the part of University of Louisiana-Lafayette assistant dean Pearson Cross. If students, faculty and staff on other campuses aren’t eating enough, then some at UL are surely going hungry too, Cross figured.

That spark set in motion a year-long effort that has resulted in a new food pantry housed in the Intensive English Program building at 413 Brook Ave. Students, faculty and staff who are in need can obtain dry food items for six hours per week: on Tuesdays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon.

Speaking four days before the soft opening on Tuesday, Cross said he didn’t know what to expect. Hundreds of people showing up could be problematic, he said, adding that hoped for about 40. As it happened, fewer than a dozen had showed up after the first hour, Cross said in a subsequent phone call on Tuesday afternoon.

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“We worried initially that we would be overwhelmed at first,” Cross said, adding there are plans for a larger grand opening around the first of the year. “Now it looks like we are going to be a little underwhelmed, which is probably safer.”

Cross, a political science professor, didn’t realize what he was getting into last year when he started talking to people about addressing food insecurity on campus. But the positive response was overwhelming, he said, and soon there were regular meetings of people from various university departments and offices — the Office of Sustainability, the Office of Community Service, to name only two — hammering out plans for what is now called Campus Cupboard.

“This has all been a new adventure for us, and every part of it has been eye opening with regard to the complexity of getting an organization up and off the ground,” Cross said.

Demonstrating the need was one of the first tasks, so the group designed a survey to measure food insecurity, with questions on how frequently respondents worried about paying for food or skipped meals. Cross said the result surprised him: 40 percent of more than 1,000 respondents qualified as “food insecure,” he said.

That’s consistent with a two-year-old study compiled by the College and University Food Bank Alliance and other groups, which defined food insecurity as a lack of reliable access to affordable, nutritious food. The study found that 48 percent of students reported food insecurity within the previous month, and 22 percent had “very low levels of food security that qualify them as hungry,” according to the study.

Finding space was one of the first tasks, and it wasn’t easy. Competition for extra room on campus can be tight, Cross said, and only certain types of space can accommodate the Campus Cupboard idea, which is to allow people using the service to browse and pick the items they want.

Before browsing, people will fill out a confidential questionnaire to assess their level of need, which will qualify them for a certain number of items. They will then be able to fill their bags with allotted number of starch, meat and other items from the shelves.

“It’s hard enough probably for some students to admit they have a need,” said Trey Delcambre, a psychology student working on the project as a graduate assistant. “Giving them an opportunity to take ownership of that experience, grabbing items off the shelves, makes it feel a little bit more familiar.”

Cross, Delcambre and others working on the project finally secured two small rooms that open to a common meeting area in the Intensive English building, with a back door to receive food deliveries. Clearing that hurdle immediately presented another one: the condition of the rooms.

“They were trashed,” Cross said. “The ceiling is falling in, the walls are disgusting, the floor is ripped up.”

And there was asbestos. But the university administration freed up $15,000 to fix up the rooms, which now have new tiled floors, ceilings, locks, light switches and paint jobs. As organizers secured the space, they also worked to connect with Second Harvest Food Bank and other charities to build up an initial food inventory. Cross said he hopes eventually to expand to include fresh produce and cold-storage items.

Whether such an expansion is possible is one of many questions that Cross said will be answered over time. How many people will use Campus Cupboard? Will more space be needed? How to ensure the pantry’s offerings align with what people need and want?

“We don’t know right now,” Cross said. “Our first client has not come through the door. The first six months we are going to be getting our operation together.”
00 2018-11-26
Lake Charles

PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE


Special to the American Press

Mudd Family supports St. Nicholas Center for Children: For the sixth year, the Mudd Family Memorial Scholarship is providing Catholic education to children diagnosed with autism who attend St. Nicholas Center for Children for therapy. Front row, from left: Decqlan Smith, Jacob Savoie, Allen J. Mitchell IV, Jackson Duplechin and Conner Nixon; middle row, from left: Charlotte Kohlenberg, principal, St. Theodore Holy Family Catholic School; Noah Morelli; Christi Jarreau, principal, Immaculate Conception Cathedral School; Andrew O’Quain; Bishop Glen John Provost; Michelle Mudd, donor; Andrew Cobian; Maddox Cole; Chad Mudd, donor; and Bastion Semmes; top row, from left: J.R. Watts, Andrew Bradley, principal, St. Louis Catholic High School; Kimberlee Gazzolo, superintendent of Catholic schools; Wendy Wicke, Principal, St. Margaret Catholic School; Bain Jones; and Trevor Donnelly, principal, Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic School.

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McNeese State University

For First Choice Campaign: The McNeese State University Foundation donates $25,000 to support the First Choice Campaign at McNeese. Local industry partners and contractors are investing in McNeese and the future of Southwest Louisiana through the First Choice Campaign, a three-year initiative with a goal of raising $1 million per year for the next three years. McNeese is a dynamic, nationally recognized, student-centered university and these funds will provide the necessary resources for sustaining growth and self-sufficiency over the next three years that will continue to make McNeese the first choice for Southwest Louisiana. Willie Mount, right, president of the McNeese Foundation Board of Directors, presented the donation to McNeese President Dr. Daryl Burckel.

For Southwest Louisiana Veterans Home: Members of the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem, Grand Priory of America-Imperial Calcasieu Delegation recently presented a check for $1,000 to Southwest Louisiana Veterans Home. The delegation represents Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jeff Davis, Lafayette and Vermilion parishes. On hand for the donation were Becky Hudson, Mary Sue Lyon, Nila Halloran, Matthew Duhon, John Halloran, Jean Thomas, Ella Dartez Williams and Paul Matthews. The Order is an Ecumenical Christian Order that does charitable works throughout the world.

Magnolia LNG supports Second Harvest Food Bank: Magnolia LNG recently donated $1,000 to Second Harvest Food Bank to support its mission of fighting hunger and building food security in South Louisiana. The donation will help fund the collection and distribution of food including USDA allotments; contributions received through Feeding America; industry and individual contributions; and direct purchases.

Magnolia LNG supports Healthier SWLA: Magnolia LNG donated $1,500 to the Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center to support the functions of Healthier Southwest Louisiana. The money will go toward a variety of programs to help combat obesity and improve the health of the area, including a program that teaches residents about sustainable agriculture through community gardens.


00 2018-11-26
Lake Charles

Guidry era over


Four paragraphs.

That was all it took to end the Lance Guidry era for McNeese football.

The school announced via email that it would not renew the contract of Guidry following the Cowboys’ late-season collapse in his third year on the job.

When pressed by the American Press, sports information director Matt Bonnette said that the school would have no further comment.

Guidry, a Welsh-native who played at McNeese and was an assistant for the Cowboys prior to becoming the head coach, signed a three-year contract in December 2015 to replace Matt Viator, who left to become the head coach at Louisiana-Monroe. McNeese was Guidry’s first full-time head coaching position, but he did hold the interim title at Miami University (Ohio) and Western Kentucky in 2010 and 2012. respectively. In two games as an interim head coach, he led the teams into bowl games, going 1-1.

In three seasons, Guidry led the Cowboys to a 21-12 record. But he never took McNeese to the playoffs, although the 2017 team was left out of the playoffs in 2017 despite a 9-2 record.

The finish to the 2018 season also did not help Guidry’s case. After starting the season 5-1 overall and 4-0 in Southland Conference play, the Cowboys finished the season losing three-consecutive games and four out of its last five.

While Guidry was Mc-Neese’s head coach, the Cowboys never ranked below second in the SLC in total or scoring defense. In his first season as head coach, he gave up the defensive coordinator role before re-claiming it going into year two.

But while the defense was usually not the issue, the offense deteriorated each season in Guidry’s time as the head coach. In 2016, the Cowboy offense averaged 32 points and 441.3 yards per game; in 2017, it went down to 29.8 points and 408.3 yards per game; in 2018, the numbers dropped to 20.8 points and 290.9 yards per game.

No one in the athletic department was made available for comment beyond what was in the statement, and there will be no press conference about it. A message left for Guidry’s cell phone was not returned.

Guidry did not meet with the entire team to tell them that he was not returning because some players had already gone back home for the Thanksgiving break. He met with the players that were still on campus and informed the ones that already left by text message.

Bryan Foster, a former McNeese football player who played with Guidry in 1992 and 1993, also has two sons that play for the Cowboys (defensive backs Calum and Gabe Foster).

Foster also seemed surprised by the news that Guidry would not return.

“I was kind of surprised in a way that they didn’t (renew Guidry’s contract),” Bryan Foster said. “But then again, you know how the world is today, everybody wants to win. If you’re winning, they’re going to find somebody to replace you. It takes a little time to build a program.”

Foster said he hadn’t spoken to Gabe and Calum as of early Tuesday evening, but he did say that the late-season losing did have an adverse on the team’s morale.

“I know it’s kind of been a struggle all season,” Bryan Foster said. “Just trying to keep the morale of the guys up. The morale on the team had gotten pretty low. I don’t if it was the way he coached or his style of coaching or what it was, but some other guys weren’t really happy, weren’t really satisfied.”

“I thank Coach Guidry for his service to the university and wish him well in his future endeavors,” Hemphill said in the statement’s only quote.

While debate went about on social media for and against Guidry’s ouster, at least one major booster was not happy with the decision to get rid of him.

“Well personally, I think they let the wrong man go,” said John Bruney, the president of the Petrochemical Athletic Association and one of the McNeese athletic department’s major boosters. “He’s only been there three years, he’s got a winning record. And I don’t think he was given the opportunity to fix his problems, which I feel is some of the assistant coaches. I just think he deserved another chance to fix that problem.”

The day before the announcement, Guidry did not seem to have any indication that he would not have his contract renewed. He spoke with boosters prior to his end-of-season press conference with the media. In that press conference, he spoke about recruiting and other possible changes that he would make during the off-season. He was also asked about his contract situation and said that he planned on speaking with Hemphill and McNeese State University president Dr. Daryl Burckel after the Thanksgiving break about it. But the way he spoke to the media made it seem like he would be here next season.

Bruney said he was surprised by the decision as well.

“It really did (surprise),” Bruney said. “I thought he’d get at least another year. But I understand that he and the (athletic director) had butted heads several times during the year over other issues. I was surprised but yet I wasn’t surprised. It was more of a vendetta than an actual firing because of his inability to coach.”
00 2018-11-26
Monroe

ULM Water Ski Team Receives Championship Rings


Sunday was special for the ULM Water Ski team.

President Nick Bruno presented the championship rings to the program.

Last month, the Warhawk water skiiers claimed their 29th National Championship, in the program's 40th year of existence.


00 2018-11-26
Monroe

Thankgiving dinner held for campus bound ULM students & faculty


MONROE, La. - Today a special Thanksgiving was held at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Students, faculty and staff were treated to a traditional turkey dinner at their home away from home.
The annual event is hosted each year by the Catholic campus ministry.
A way to bring those together who are not able to leave campus.

"We're celebrating thanksgiving in the most traditional way that we possibly can. We are thankful to the lord but we are also thankful to our military. But we are here today to offer a meal to faculty members, and staff members," said Dr. Carl Thameling.

Community Council said after today's successful event there next goal is to get a new sign.
00 2018-11-26
Monroe

Hometown hate: Bayou Classic very personal for GSU players from Baton Rouge


GRAMBLING – Many have tagged the annual collision between bitter in-state rivals Grambling State and Southern as a sibling rivalry. A couple of days after Thanksgiving a showdown stomps through the north and south portions of Louisiana and in the Bayou Classic’s wake, leaves more than just bragging rights.

For one day a year, and in some instances a week or even a month, families splinter and allegiances dictate what kind of reaction will take place between brothers, sisters, parents and children, neighbors and co-workers.

The emotions run deep, but for several players on Grambling’s football team that call Baton Rouge, where Southern is located, home, the Bayou Classic evokes a spirit that harbors something deeper and powered by more than just a rivalry. It’s been a lifelong mental and emotional tug-of-war and when the two teams meet Saturday inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, those feeling get drug up.

Southern recruited guys like GSU senior safety Percy Cargo Jr., senior defensive end La’Allan Clark and junior linebacker Donald Freeman out of high school, while others like redshirt freshman receiver Lyndon Rash, a Madison Prep graduate and redshirt junior cornerback Joe McWilliams, who attended high school on Southern’s campus at Southern Lab, say they were passed up by their hometown school.

“Grew up around the corner from their stadium, so I could hear their band playing growing up,” Clark said. “I always thought I was going to be a Jaguar until I got older.

“There’s a gate that leads from campus to off campus and I stayed on the other side of the gate. It was walking distance and I went to high school down the street at Scotlandville.”

Coming up in Baton Rouge, or the B.R., most of those guys were raised either Jaguar fans or with their entire family wearing Columbia Blue and Gold. And to them, the Black and Gold can mean betrayal, but only for a few days unless the Jags beat the Tigers.

“My mom graduated from Southern, my sister graduated from Southern,” Freeman said. “My cousin is Chad Williams. He and myself came here and they all call us loaners because we ended up coming here. It’s tough, but at the end of the day, they better be going for Grambling.”

The dynamic of GSU redshirt freshman offensive lineman Demontrey Jacobs and his mom Venessa Jacobs, who’s been taking her son to the Bayou Classic since he was 8 years old, relationship takes an interesting turn this week. Venessa is the head volleyball coach at Southern.

“She really didn’t put no pressure on me to come to Southern. It was just follow my heart really, where I feel like it best fit me and where I need to be,” Jacobs said. “My heart was at Grambling really. From my first visit, La’Allan was my host, showed me around a little bit. It was fun, it felt like home so I came here.

“She said she’s going to sit on the Grambling side with Gold on so it looks like not going for the other team and just supporting her kid.”

During Bayou Classic week, trash talk knows no age limit.

“My grandmama called me two days ago talking trash, talking about her Jags are back on top,” Rash said. “But she knows deep down inside that Black and Gold we’re going to come out on top. As far as family events, I really want to win it for that. There’s going to be a whole lot of trash talking, Thanksgiving, Christmas, they be talking. It’s big for me.”

Aside from getting it from within their own families, Grambling players from Baton Rouge will recognize a lot of the guys they’ll line up across Saturday, former high school teammates or guys they used to play basketball with in the driveway when they were young. It’ll feel like going against family.

“It means a lot, it means everything,” Grambling State head football coach Broderick Fobbs said. “This is what you would call a sibling rivalry. Sibling rivalries are always the most brutal because you see that person all the time and whoever comes out on top, they get to talk about it.”

For the Grambling State's Baton Rouge contingency, it’s tough to approach this game as just another game. The exposure to the rivalry from an early age and attending games, playing Southern will always feel different.

“This game means a lot to me,” McWilliams said. “Coming up, raised in Baton Rouge, always wanting to play in the Bayou Classic. This has always been a dream for me. I just didn’t know exactly which team I wanted to play for Southern or Grambling. I always wanted to attend an historical black college and university. I’m glad I chose Grambling.

“It’s hard to approach it as just another game. Growing up in Baton Rouge, most of your family is pulling for Southern. When you play in that Superdome against your hometown team, any play you miss, not one or two people going to see you, but everybody you know is going to see it. And you’re going to hear about it after the game. You don’t want to be that guy that everybody talks about.”

Senior G-Men haven’t lost to the Jaguars since their freshman season, winners of the last three Bayou Classics. Baton Rouge seniors like Cargo and Clark have been able to go back home with pride, helping Grambling beat Southern. Heading into their last go around, losing to SU and having to face family and friends back home is not an option.

“This is for Baton Rouge. This is pride right here,” Clark said. “Everybody’s watching at home. Most likely, they’re going for the Jags. Southern, they’re good, but this is our league.”

Winning the Bayou Classic is more about sending a message, Cargo said.

“The last two years we haven’t lost,” Cargo said. “The last year, I’m not trying to lose.

“I think we feel like we owe them because they let us sneak out of the backyard and come to Grambling. They didn’t know who they had right at home. As long as we stay together and play our football, we’ll be all right.”

Follow Cory Diaz on Twitter @CoryDiaz_TNS and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CoryDiazTNS/

Grambling State (6-4, 4-2) vs. Southern (6-3, 5-1), Bayou Classic

Kickoff: 4 p.m.

Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans

Watch: NBC Sports

Listen: KPCH – 99.3 FM (Ruston), KJMG – 97.3 FM (Monroe)
00 2018-11-26
Monroe

Annual Holidays at ULM Concert Tuesday, Nov. 27 at Brown Theater


Enjoy the sounds of the season on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m. as the University of Louisiana Monroe School of Visual and Performing Arts presents the annual Holidays at ULM Concert.

The concert showcases the talents of student and faculty musicians, singers, dancers and directors.

This special performance will be in Brown Theater on campus and is free and open to the public.

The concert will feature the ULM Wind Ensemble, Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, University Chorale, and Dance Repertory Ensemble.

Attendees will be inspired by the musical selections, including traditional holiday favorites such as "Sleigh Ride," "Joy To The World," "You’re a Mean One Mister Grinch," and an audience participation Christmas sing-a-long. Additional selections include "White Winter Hymnal" (as performed by Pentatonix), Russian Christmas music, and an exciting arrangement of the Ukrainian bell carol, known best by the title "Carol of the Bells."

For more information on this performance, contact the VAPA office at 342-3811 or visit the VAPA Facebook page.
00 2018-11-26
New Orleans

'I'm for everybody': Communal spirit of Grambling, Southern fuels New Orleans' Bayou Classic Parade


During the Bayou Classic Parade on Saturday morning, sidewalks were lined with fans wearing team colors: blue and gold for the Southern University Jaguars, black and gold for the Grambling State University Tigers.

Bayou Classic: Southern breaks skid, beats Grambling 38-28 with Ladarius Skelton leading the way
Bayou Classic: Southern breaks skid, beats Grambling 38-28 with Ladarius Skelton leading the way
Southern quarterback LaDarius Skelton’s much-anticipated Bayou Classic debut looked at the start like a warmup act. By the second half it had …

But Chad Harry, 38, band director for Bogalusa High School, changed into a green shirt before he walked to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to watch the annual football clash between Southern and Grambling.

Fourteen years ago, Harry wasn’t neutral. In 2004, he’d returned to Bogalusa, his hometown, steeped in black and gold, as a fresh Grambling graduate determined to restart the high school’s defunct marching band. Over the years, he hired a Southern University grad as his assistant director and created a band that reflects the rich musical traditions of both schools.

“We use the best of both worlds,” Harry said, as he stood in a hotel parking lot and helped his students pack their instruments into an equipment trailer. “And now, I’ve got friends on both sides. Past students of mine play for both sides. So I have to root for both,” he said. “I’m for everybody.”

It’s that sort of communal spirit that fueled the parade on Saturday. Paradegoers in black T-shirts grabbed blue beads flying from floats. People in blue T-shirts drank out of black cups. Mayor LaToya Cantrell, a graduate of Xavier University in New Orleans, rode as grand marshal on a float where staffers wore both blue and black.

At the front, the parade banner was carried by young men from the Son of a Saint program, which has been embraced by the New Orleans community because of the intensive, long-term mentoring and support it provides to scores of students whose fathers have been murdered or are serving lengthy prison sentences.

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Marquell Price, 19, a senior at G.W. Carver High School, was accepted into the Son of a Saint program when he was “a bad little kid” in middle school. Today, as a straight-A student weighing scholarship offers from 13 different colleges, he talks with his mentor nearly every day.

Every year, he walks at the front of the Bayou Classic Parade. “I like to see the smiles on people’s faces,” said Price, as he grabbed one end of the parade banner and started to walk.

As Price and the other boys walked along North Peters Street headed for the French Quarter, they passed Kenna Miller, 46, and her children Kierra, 17, and Maurice, 19, who were visiting from Los Angeles for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Miller’s parents are from New Orleans and she spent childhood summers here. Last week, Kierra made college visits to Xavier and LSU. If she chooses one, the whole family will relocate.

“There’s nowhere in the world like New Orleans,” Miller said, as she caught a cup thrown from Cantrell’s float.

Photos: Bayou Classic Parade rolls Saturday morning in New Orleans
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Near the golden Joan of Arc statue in the Quarter, Gwendolyn Anderson, 67, danced along with marching bands and raked in a pile of throws from each float. “I’m a two-time cancer survivor, so I am going to enjoy every day,” said Anderson, a Grambling alumna from Wichita, Kansas, who was in town with her two younger sisters.

Toward the end of the parade, in the Central Business District, Kendra Richards and Keisha Santiago had arrived early at Poydras Street and St. Charles Avenue so they could have a front-row view of their daughters, India Richards and Jada Santiago, flag twirlers with the Sophie B. Wright Charter School marching band.

When the girls arrived, in their blue and gold outfits, the corner exploded with cheers and encouragement. India smiled broadly in response. “It gives me motivation. I enjoy it more when my family is there,” she said. “It makes you get hyped.”

School chaperone Zena Collins, 55, who wore a gold Sophie B. Wright shirt that read “Mrs. Collins” across the back, nodded at India’s assessment.

For Collins, who danced for Alcee Fortier High when she was in high school, the parade felt personal for another reason. “My whole family went to Southern,” she said. “They went on to become secretaries, teachers and engineers.”

Walker: Southern sends Grambling home with a loss, ending three years of frustration
Walker: Southern sends Grambling home with a loss, ending three years of frustration
Finally, the Southern University fans got to shout their tradition "Go Home" chant to Grambling.

So on Saturday, as Collins accompanied the next generation of students through a crowd of blue and black T-shirts, she felt comfortable. “It feels like family,” she said.
00 2018-11-26
New Orleans

Report: What keeps tech companies coming to New Orleans? Tax credits, 'low-cost, high-culture'


New Orleans is remaking itself into a bona fide tech hub, according to a report from U.S. New & World Report.

The report said the city has lured more than 45 high-tech startups or subsidiaries since 2006, the latest being the 2017 announcement of Virginia-based DXC Technology building its latest "Digital Transformation Center" in the Freeport-McMoRan building -- bringing with it 2,000 high-paying tech jobs over the next five years.

'We need people, skills and new capacities:' DXC Technology cuts ribbon on 2,000-job New Orleans office
'We need people, skills and new capacities:' DXC Technology cuts ribbon on 2,000-job New Orleans office
Six months after landing what’s billed as the single largest jobs announcement in New Orleans’ history, local and state officials and business…

In total, more than 20,000 jobs have been created in New Orleans in that time span. But what is that's bringing them here?

Some might point to the 25-percent tax credit on qualified payroll Louisiana offers to companies that move all or a portion of their tech operations to the state that's been a high selling point. There's also the millions of dollars of state and city funds that have been funneled through local universities to help train prospective employees, too.

But the city's best selling point, perhaps, is a combination of its reputation for food, music and entertainment with its livability and affordability, allowing would-be residents to make California salaries while enjoying a New Orleans cost of living.

"We're a low-cost, high-culture city," Greater New Orleans Inc. CEO Michael Hecht says. "We're San Francisco, but at half the cost – and with nicer people."

Read the full report here.
00 2018-11-26
New Orleans

Our 20 best photos from the Bayou Classic


Southern University Jaguars head coach Dawson Odums hoists the trophy after the 2018 Bayou Classic
As Grambling State Tigers punter Garrett Urban (30) walks away, Benjamin Harris (18) of the Southern University Jaguars recovers a blocked punt for a touchdown
Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
As Grambling State Tigers punter Garrett Urban (30) walks away, Benjamin Harris (18) of the Southern University Jaguars recovers a blocked punt for a touchdown
Southern University Jaguars wide receiver Kendall Catalon (10) scores on an 80-yard reception in the third quarter as Grambling State Tigers defensive back Percy Cargo Jr. (21) defends
Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Southern University Jaguars wide receiver Kendall Catalon (10) scores on an 80-yard reception in the third quarter as Grambling State Tigers defensive back Percy Cargo Jr. (21) defends
Southern University Jaguars wide receiver Trey Smith (21) catches a second quarter touchdown as Grambling State Tigers defensive back Devanir Martin (25) defends
Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Southern University Jaguars wide receiver Trey Smith (21) catches a second quarter touchdown as Grambling State Tigers defensive back Devanir Martin (25) defends
Grambling State Tigers defensive lineman La'Allan Clark (98) loses his helmet but hangs into his fumble recovery in the third quarter
Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Grambling State Tigers defensive lineman La'Allan Clark (98) loses his helmet but hangs into his fumble recovery in the third quarter


Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Southern University Jaguars running back Devon Benn (9) scores on a 3-yard run in the third quarter

Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Southern University Jaguars defensive back Demerio Houston (14) breaks up a pass intended for Grambling State Tigers wide receiver Calief Samon (16)

Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Southern University Jaguars defensive back Timothy Thompson (2) intercepts a first quarter pass intended for Grambling State Tigers wide receiver Devante Davis (82) in the first quarter

Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Saints running back Alvin Kamara waves to the crowd

Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Southern University Jaguars wide receiver Randall Menard (87) catches a 44-yard touchdown in the third quarter


Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Grambling State Tigers linebacker Jeremy Carter (34) recovers a fumble by Southern University Jaguars quarterback Ladarius Skelton (8) in the third quarter

Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Southern University Jaguars wide receiver Trey Smith (21) gets a lift from offensive lineman Johnathan Bishop (65) after he catches a second quarter touchdown

Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Southern University Jaguars quarterback Ladarius Skelton (8) fights off Grambling State Tigers defensive back Devanir Martin (25) in the first quarter

Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Grambling State Tigers wide receiver Calief Samon (16) keeps a foot inbounds on a fourth quarter catch

Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Grambling State Tigers quarterback Geremy Hickbottom (19) scores on the second of his two fourth quarter keepers, a 2-yard run



Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Grambling State Tigers defensive lineman La'Allan Clark (98) scoops up a third quarter fumble and returns it down to the goal line

Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Southern University Jaguars running back Devon Benn (9) vaults defenders for a fourth quarter first down

Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Southern celebrates as time runs out

Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Southern University Jaguars quarterback Ladarius Skelton (8) holds the MVP trophy

Photo by Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
The Grambling inflatable deflates too soon, eating several players including Jeremy Carter
00 2018-11-26
New Orleans

St. Tammany College Notes for Nov. 22


EMMY AWARDS: For the sixth straight year, students at the Southeastern Channel, Southeastern Louisiana University’s educational access station, have been honored with college division Student Production Awards given by the Emmy Awards’ Suncoast Region of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. John Sartori, of Mandeville, was a winner in the “Talent” category. Justin Redman, of Slidell; Ben Delbert, of Covington; and Jonathan Calhoun, of Baton Rouge, were winners for their production in the “Commercial” category for an in-class series on a local business client. Sartori won for his on-camera composite that included anchoring and reporting for the national award-winning “Big Game” sportscast, hosting and producing the “Lion Tracks” coaches’ talk show, and play-by-play announcing of live Southeastern game broadcasts. Amanda Kitch, of Covington, won honorable mention in the “Photographer” category for her news videography composite.

SCHOLARSHIP ENDORSEMENT: A Mandeville student is among three that the LSU Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College has endorsed for scholarships to study in the United Kingdom. Cecily Stewart is applying for the Marshall Scholarship, which she would use to study international political economy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Stewart majors in international studies in the LSU College of Humanities and Social Sciences with minors in German and economics. She completed a successful semesterlong study abroad program at Swansea University. Stewart is a member of Phi Mu sorority.

HONORS AT USA: Rebecca Varnado, of Covington, and Julie Reese, of Slidell, have been initiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi at the University of South Alabama in Mobile. The organization is the nation's oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines.

ENGINEERING SCHOLARSHIPS: BASF recently awarded $2,500 scholarships to two LSU engineering students from the metro area, chosen for maintaining excellent grade-point averages and being active in campus and community organizations. Scholarship winners are:

Kelley Wieseneck, a mechanical engineering junior from Mandeville who attended Mandeville High School. She is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and chairs the public relations committee. Kelley tutors other engineering students in physics and assists in a research lab.
Abbas Al-Hassani, an electrical engineering sophomore from Metairie, where he was a National Merit Finalist while in high school at Haynes Academy. He is a member of the Bengal Reauxbotics team at LSU and participates in competitions with a 30-pound combat robot.
PRODUCTION DEGREE: Loyola University has added a new Urban and Electronic Music Production undergraduate degree for fall 2019. Taught in the university's College of Music and Fine Arts, the bachelor of science degree is the first of its kind in the country and allows students to develop skills in both production and performance that translate to the ever-changing music industry. For more information, see cmfa.loyno.edu/famis/urban-and-electronic-music-production.

ADVISING GRANT AT DELGADO: Delgado Community College has been awarded a grant of over $2.1 million from the U.S. Department of Education, to be received over five years to address the school’s commitment to improving student success through enhanced academic advising. “Staying on the Right Path” will improve pathways for student success that lead to higher persistence and graduation rates.
00 2018-11-26
New Orleans

Grambling, Southern marching bands to perform at Saints' Thanksgiving game against the Falcons


The New Orleans Saints have announced that their Thanksgiving Day game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome will feature a halftime performance by Grambling State University’s “GSU Tiger Marching Band” and Southern University’s “Human Jukebox” Marching Band.

“Starting in 1926, Grambling State University’s GSU Tiger Marching Band has performed for countless events,” including Super Bowl I, Super Bowl IX, the inauguration of Liberian President William Tolbert and at the inauguration of U.S. President George H.W. Bush, a press release says."

The 220-member Tiger Marching Band will perform along with Southern.


"The Southern University Marching Band is without question a spectacular force. Redefining college band style, the Southern University band’s success is measured by excitement of its vast and diverse audiences for whom they perform.

“The 275-member ensemble is captivating audiences worldwide and is considered by fans, followers, supporters, and national publications as the #1 marching band in the country. Its eight-member dance troupe, the Fabulous Dancing Dolls, complements every performance with their artistic display of style and grace.”


Southern and Grambling will head back to the Superdome on Saturday, when the two universities' football teams compete in the annual Bayou Classic.
00 2018-11-26
New Orleans

University of New Orleans honors distinguished alumni


A standing-room crowd of more than 500 people celebrated the achievements of University of New Orleans graduates Nov. 1 at the Distinguished Alumni Gala at the National WWII Museum. Former insurance executive William Chauvin was honored as the 2018 Homer Hitt Distinguished Alumnus of the Year, and Son of a Saint founder and executive director Bivian “Sonny” Lee was honored as the 2018 Homer Hitt Distinguished Young Alumnus of the Year.

The university’s academic colleges and the interdisciplinary studies program also honored their own distinguished alumni.

“This may not need to be said, because I know all of you feel it here tonight, but the University of New Orleans is experiencing a wave of momentum,” President John Nicklow said as he ticked off a number of the University’s recent successes, including enrollment growth, improved research outcomes and a dramatic increase in fundraising.

The University of New Orleans is the only public research university in New Orleans, and of its more than 70,000 alumni around the globe, more than 45,000 live in metro New Orleans. The university is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

In his acceptance remarks, Chauvin detailed his path to UNO, including a humorous tale of the ill-fated semester he spent at another institution as a pre-veterinary science major. After some uncomfortable encounters with large livestock, he decided to transfer. He returned to his hometown and enrolled at UNO, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1974. It was at UNO where he also met his wife of 43 years, Joanne.

“So when asked why I continue to support UNO all these years post-graduation, the answer is very simple,” Chauvin said. “I believe strongly that I have a moral obligation to support the institution that provided me with the keys to my success so that future generations of students will be able to experience the same opportunities of personal and professional growth that I have been so lucky to experience.”

Chauvin is chairman of a Vistage CEO peer support group. He previously served as senior vice president of finance and treasurer for XL Catlin Inc., a global insurance and reinsurance company. He also was an executive with Global Special Risks Inc. and Southern Marine & Aviation Underwriters Inc. Chauvin began his career as an accountant for Price Waterhouse & Co. in New Orleans. He is the 35th honoree to receive the Homer Hitt Distinguished Alumni Award.

Lee is the president and executive director of Son of a Saint, a nonprofit that inspires mentorship and enhances the lives of fatherless boys. He founded the organization in 2011 in honor of his father, former Saints player Bivian Lee Jr., who died of a heart attack at the age of 36. Son of a Saint provides emotional support, life skills development and exposure to constructive experiences to its mentees. Lee was named New Orleanian of the Year by Gambit in 2016.

Lee recognized his family, friends and Son of a Saint staff who were in attendance to support him — in particular his mother, Cynthia, who he said taught him respect, empathy and discipline. Lee recounted his decision to stay close to home to attend UNO and described the on-campus jobs that allowed him to meet people from around the world and learn valuable life lessons. He earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management in 2006.

The College of Sciences honored Lute Maleki as its 2018 Distinguished Alumnus. Maleki, who earned a doctorate in physics from UNO in 1975, is senior distinguished engineer and executive in charge of LiDAR Development for Cruise Automation, the self-driving unit of General Motors. He previously worked as a scientist at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California.

The College of Engineering honored Jules Schneider. Schneider, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from UNO in 1984, has spent 33 years working for Lockheed Martin Space Systems. He’s director of assembly, test and launch operations, making him responsible for all of the final assembly, integration and testing of the Orion Spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center.

The College of Business Administration honored Philip May, who earned his MBA from UNO in 1992. May is the president and chief executive officer of Entergy Louisiana LLC, which serves more than 1 million electric customers in the state. He is responsible for the company’s electric transmission and distribution systems, customer service, regulatory and public affairs, economic development programs and charitable contributions, as well as its financial performance.

The College of Liberal Arts, Education and Human Development honored Angie Gates, who earned a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in arts administration from UNO. She is the director of the Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment for the District of Columbia and interim director of the Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Gates serves as a governor of the Recording Academy's Washington, D.C., chapter.

Interdisciplinary studies honored Maj. Gen. Chad Franks, who graduated from UNO in 1990. Franks is the deputy commander of the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, U.S. Central Command. He oversees joint and coalition operations, intelligence and plans in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Additionally, he is the commander of the 9th Air Expeditionary Task Force-Levant, U.S. Air Forces Central Command. Frank is deployed overseas so his father-in-law, Bob Duvernie, accepted the award on his behalf.

Mark Romig, the 2016 Homer Hitt Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, served as the master of ceremonies, and UNO jazz studies students provided the musical entertainment in the museum's Freedom Pavilion.
00 2018-11-26
Regional/National

Grambling State performs at Battle of the Bands



00 2018-11-21
Baton Rouge

Southern, Grambling bands face off: 3 days, 3 battles starting with Saints on Thanksgiving


Three days. Three faceoffs between two marching bands who take the competition just as seriously as the football teams.

This year, it's not enough that Southern University's Human Jukebox and Grambling State University's band will face off in the Bayou Classic's "Battle of the Bands" on Friday night. It's not enough that the two will again try to outdo each other at halftime on Saturday at the Bayou Classic game.

These two epic bands, who put the show in showmanship, begin their three days of trying to outplay each other Thanksgiving night during halftime of the game between the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Each band will have 3½ minutes to show their stuff during halftime of the game, which kicks off at 7:20 p.m. Thursday. Grambling's band will take the field first, then Southern.

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And, while it's not a "battle," be sure SU's band will be watching with an eye toward outshining its rival.

"It's 'who's the best?'" said Kedric Taylor, Southern's interim band director. "Definitely."

NBC will televise the game, but it's not clear whether the network will air the bands' performances.

Thanksgiving events in New Orleans to kick off 2018 holiday season
Thanksgiving events in New Orleans to kick off 2018 holiday season
Thanksgiving and holiday traditions in New Orleans

"We're working on that. We're hoping for it to be," said Kyle Campbell, Saints director of game day entertainment. "The whole thing probably will not be."

As for the halftime show, Southern will perform tributes to former Saints owner Tom Benson, who died March 15, and quarterback Drew Brees, who set the NFL record for career passing yards (72,103) on Oct. 8, a record he continues to expand. It will be different from the rest of the weekend's performances, Taylor said.

Bayou Classic organizers: Saints-Falcons game on Thanksgiving Day could boost weekend festivities
Bayou Classic organizers: Saints-Falcons game on Thanksgiving Day could boost weekend festivities
Officials are hoping the already impressive $50 million economic impact from the Bayou Classic will get a boost this year from an unexpected o…

But you can be sure it will a high-octane environment.

Just as Southern and Grambling are long-standing Southwestern Athletic Conference rivals, the Saints and Falcons have been squaring off against each other ever since the Saints took the field in 1967.

Southern's 260-member Human Jukebox, which began in 1947, will be accompanied by its eight-member Dancing Dolls troupe. The band has had many high-profile performances, including the 1997 inaugural parade for President Bill Clinton. Its history with the Saints includes the team's return to their home field on Sept. 25, 2006, for the first time since Hurricane Katrina badly damaged the Superdome in 2005. The Falcons also were that day's opponent, and the Saints won 23-3.

Grambling started its band in 1926 with 17 instruments from Sears and Roebuck at a time when the university had no music department. Likewise, it has performed internationally and at the 2001 inauguration of President George W. Bush.
00 2018-11-21
Lafayette

La. colleges are adding more advanced certificate programs — here's why


As colleges vie to attract more students and meet workforce demands, they're adding more advanced certificate programs, often in niche or specialized areas like cardiovascular nursing or cyber technology.

Louisiana's public universities are no exception to the national trend, having added 150 such programs in the last eight years. Only four active programs existed before 2010, the year 22 were added.

According to the Hechinger Report, public and private colleges across America have added 41,446 degree or certificate programs since 2012. That's an increase of 21 percent.

Such programs earn students graduate, post-baccalaureate or post-master's certificates (GC, PBC or PMC).

"Graduate certificates are a great way to start graduate studies and they're a great way to complement graduate studies," said Mary Farmer-Kaiser, dean of graduate school at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. "It really allows you to specialize and go deeply into a specific content area."

They can build on what a student has already learned in a field or build a bridge to the next degree program. Darlene Williams, vice president of Technology, Innovation, and Economic Development at Northwestern State, calls this "stackable" credentials.

The appeal of certificates
For students, the appeal of these certificate programs rather than a traditional master's is they provide a quicker and cheaper route.

Students still pay graduate-level tuition, but the length of the program or number of courses is about half that of a master's program.

Perhaps they get that job or promotion sooner.

"These are more opportunities to help students achieve skills in a shorter amount of time and help them get that job," Williams said.

And it can be a way to test the grad-school waters, Farmer-Kaiser said. In many of the programs, that grad work can be applied to a master's or even a doctorate, Farmer-Kaiser said.

UL graduates sport customized mortarboards during theBuy Photo
UL graduates sport customized mortarboards during the university's spring commencement general assembly at the Cajundome in Lafayette, LA, Friday, May 15, 2015. (Photo: Paul Kieu, The Advertiser)

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For colleges, the appeal is more students paying graduate school tuition — more revenue — and meeting workforce needs.

Williams said Northwestern State officials meet with employers and advocacy groups to find out what they need from graduates and current employees make sure they're providing that in these post-baccalaureate certificates and add-on credentials.

So that for businesses the appeal is a more highly trained worker, which becomes more necessary as technology advances and jobs become more specialized.

Potential and current employees might need to take their graduate degree further or pursue a different area altogether, Farmer-Kaiser explained. That's where a certificate program comes in.

"If you look at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics workforce projections, graduate coursework is becoming an entry-level requirement," Farmer-Kaiser said. "We saw this with