Rallo the new top dog for higher education

Published 8:25 am Friday, October 17, 2014

Louisiana has a new top dog when it comes to higher education.

The state’s Board of Regents recently named Joseph Rallo to Louisiana’s higher education post. The position had been vacant for several months.

Rallo comes with a solid resume, having served in both the Air Force and Navy, along with spending time as an administrator in the Texas Tech System.

The Board of Regents is hailing the hiring of Rallo as a major victory for the state.

“There was a great deal of invigorating conversation,” Board of Regents Chairman Clinton Rasberry told the Baton Rouge Advocate about Rallo’s hire. “Thoughtful insights were given and I’m quite happy and pleased with the result. “We look forward to a wonderful dialogue moving forward. There’s a lot for all of us to learn.”

While there is no question Rallo has the resume for the job, we also hope he is a good juggler, especially when it comes to budgets.

Over the past few years higher education in Louisiana has been hit hard by budget cuts. It will be important that Rallo and the rest of the state’s leaders in higher eduction find a way to keep up with the rest of the country despite fewer dollars.

All businesses have had to learn how to do more with less, and education, especially at the higher level, is no different.

It is a nearly impossible balancing act, to give young students the best possible education opportunities during tough economic times. It will be up to Rallo to find the means to do just that.

“Louisiana, to me, is a rather interesting state,” Rallo told the Advocate. “You have history that no other state has. You have an incredible amount of culture and vibrant people.”

Those are all positives that he can use to keep building a quality upper education system in the state. Still, so much of what he can do will come down to what he can spend. That is just a fact.

Rallo will oversee not only the implementation of state-level policies, but will also coordinate between Louisiana’s 38 colleges and universities, some 217,000 students. That’s a budget of $2.6 billion as well, which calls for more than a little juggling with each school wanting its piece of a shrinking pie.

The new commissioner then went on to say some of the first things he will look at is the state’s TOPS program and tuition hikes.

“There’s a lot of conversation in Louisiana about the value of higher education and that’s a conversation that needs to be had,” Rallo said.

We hope that when the new commissioner speaks on that subject the right people are listening.

Higher education in any state is not a one-person crusade. It is up to our leaders to find the right balance to make it work for the people of Louisiana.

Here’s hoping Rallo proves to be the right person to lead the cause.(MGNonline)