LSU chancellor visits Lake Charles to explain changes

By By Nichole Osinski / American Press

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.”