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What was your previous position and where?I have been a coordinator in the LSU College of Education for the last 25 years, as of January. I have been the program director of the Louisiana State Youth Opportunities Unlimited, or LSYOU, Program since 1986. In 2000, the program directorship for the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, or GEAR UP, was added to my responsibilities. At that time, I also accepted a position as gratis instructor in the Department of Educational Theory Policy and Practice, or ETTP, also in the College of Education. Prior to coming to LSU, I was a teacher, counselor and director of counseling in the Jefferson Parish School System from 1971 through 1984.
What brought you to LSU?I arrived at LSU in January of 1985 to pursue a doctorate in education, specializing in policy analysis and evaluation, which I received in August of 1988. My dissertation research resulted in the development and funding of the LSYOU program — a case-managed, long-term intervention into the lives of at-risk students — designed to prevent students from dropping out of high school. This program has been in continuous operation since that time.
What is your research interests?My research interests include: the effects of policy — national, state and local — on the at-risk student population; the effects of school climate and culture on the at-risk student population; the effects of a long-term, case-managed approach on at-risk student populations; the effects of a comprehensive counseling and guidance program on school improvement; and the comparison of various school improvement programs on student success.
What do you hope to accomplish at LSU?I hope to scale up the techniques developed through the initiatives for at-risk students in the LSU College of Education to a state, regional or national level.
What do you enjoy most about LSU?What I enjoy most is the enthusiasm of college students from all disciplines who have interned or worked as graduate students or student workers in the LSYOU, GEAR UP, 21st Century and other at-risk initiatives these last 20+ years. This includes the enduring relationships that many of these individuals have developed with the students that they have tutored and mentored. LSU is a great place of unending human resources to implement a case-managed, relationship and data-driven approach to increase opportunities for our at-risk high school student population.
What are your major accomplishments?Over a 20-plus year career at LSU, I have written and received grants that have provided service to at-risk students in 15 Louisiana parishes totaling approximately $22 million.