LSU interim Chancellor and President William L. Jenkins and LSU Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Stuart R. Bell, right. spoke to media about recent changes at LSU, in particular the reorganization of the system. (By Nichole Osinski / American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, February 22, 2013 2:05 PM
LSU officials are working through changes in lieu of the recent reorganization efforts of LSU 2015 initiated by the LSU Board of Supervisors. The new initiative was created to keep the university system in a successful tier one position despite recent cutbacks.
“The board is very keen that we streamline LSU, that we make it more efficient, more effective,” said LSU Interim Chancellor and President William L. Jenkins. “We’re looking at how we can manage in a changing world, a difficult world, and somewhat stringent financial conditions.”
Thursday, Jenkins, along with LSU Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Stuart R. Bell and three LSU deans, spoke to media and alumni at the Lake Charles Country Club about the upcoming changes to the university system.
Jenkins said the university is facing difficult financial times but that the LSU 2015 plan has been geared toward this issue. A report by the Association of Governing Boards was the initial factor for the realignment of various integral parts of the university system. The report, titled “A Newly Aligned Louisiana State University, Globally Competitive for the 21st Century,” focuses on making the university more compact in areas such as Jenkins’ current position.
The board approved combining the positions of LSU president and the chancellor into a single position, the president of LSU. The board now has a committee looking for someone to fill this new position.
“The university is managing to be efficient in these very tough, frugal financial times,” said Bell. “We can’t allow those budget reductions to devastate the university, so we’ll work hard to do the very best that we can within those circumstances.”
In November the board also approved six goals and principles in alignment with the reorganization. Included within these is the implementation of a common course-numbering system and single application form for all campuses to create a statewide “One LSU” system. There will also be more focus on entrepreneurial interdisciplinary activities and faculty research — an area that was previously limited due to budget cuts, Jenkins said.
In an effort to save money and improve academic performance, six units have been consolidated into the College of Human Sciences and Education under the leadership of founding Dean Laura Lindsay.
“We combined them as a way of rethinking our resources in a more effective and efficient way,” said Lindsay. “That was part of prior budget cuts that we’ve had to address at the university — working together, this had made it a more effective, a more powerful, a more exciting college.”
However, budget cuts have reduced the university’s ability to recruit the best faculty and staff, Bell said. He said the university looks for educators who will not only affect students but be engaged in research efforts in their fields.
Richard White, E.J. Ourso College of Business dean, said the LSU reorganization will help combat these issues by streamlining the university. He said the university needs to keep up with the changes brought about by outside factors such as technology and increased online courses.
“Universities are competing against each other for students; there are no barriers anymore,” he said. “Higher education is not going to be the same 20 years from now.”
Jenkins said the university’s realignment is at the moment the largest issue being faced. Because there has been an increased enrollment and solid graduation rates he said they need to focus on ways to make department programs more cost efficient to benefit students in the long run. He said the university does not rely on the state for funds like in the past.
“We have to be well-funded to succeed and we’re capable of doing that ourselves,” he said. “There’s been a shift in that today we’re more and more tuition driven and less and less state supported.”