02/20/2013 09:12 AM
BATON ROUGE – LSU’s Transition Advisory Team held their third meeting on Tuesday,
Feb. 19, in the Abell Board Room of the Lod Cook Alumni Center. The meeting was focused
on the academic and research elements of the university, which are two parts of the
three-fold mission of LSU, with the third being public service.
The meeting was opened with an overview of the public higher education systems in
Louisiana to help facilitate discussion on the similarities and differences of the
LSU 2015 reorganized model and the definitive role outlined for the state’s flagship
university. As defined in the Board of Regents 2011 Master Plan, Louisiana’s flagship
institution is the premiere public research university.
The flagship university is expected to provide leadership in higher education in the
state; practice highly selective admissions; offer a wide variety of undergraduate
programs; offer an extensive number of master’s and doctoral programs; maintain an
appropriate mix of undergraduate, graduate and professional students; and sponsor
a broad range of research programs.
The Transition Advisory Team heard a presentation from a panel of internal subject
matter experts to provide a better understanding of the academic and research missions
of the university.
The panel included Gaines Foster, dean of the LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences,
who discussed the role of humanities in higher education; Thomas Klei, Boyd Professor
and interim vice chancellor for research and economic development at LSU, who discussed
excellence in the research mission of higher education; and Stuart Bell, LSU executive
vice president and provost, who discussed excellence in the academic mission of higher
The defining message during the panel discussion on the university’s academic and
research mission was that it is all about people.
“If you are focused on anything, just know it’s all about people – the people we have
at the university today and the people not here who need to be here tomorrow,” Bell
In his talk on the role of humanities and social sciences, Foster said researchers
and students study human behavior, and the overall goal of LSU’s programs is to help
create better citizens.
“A modern complex university trains people in a lot of different skills; there are
still a core of goals,” Foster said. “We want to give our students the skills, perspectives
and the knowledge to live rich, full lives.”
In addition to studying human behavior, students learn more about themselves and about
other cultures and societies. By creating better citizens and leaders, this in turn
creates a stronger community and a better state.
Klei provided an overview of the Office of Research and Economic Development and its
areas of focus, which include the coast, materials science, energy, biotechnology
and biomedical sciences.
Klei said that what differentiates LSU from other universities in the state is the
selection of faculty. Research expertise and the desire to conduct research are of
the utmost importance when recruiting and attaining faculty.
According to Klei, faculty currently interact well regardless of where they are located,
and the reorganization will help to further break down barriers, increase interaction
and reduce duplications.
Bell said no matter how the reorganization process ends up, it has to increase LSU’s
ability to recruit the best.
“We go out as a flagship university and truly recruit a different student than other
universities,” said Bell, who noted that LSU’s product is graduates.
There is an importance on finding LSU’s focus and target specific focus areas. Bell
said if the university’s research is about anything, it needs to be about the coast.
LSU is prepared to be one of the top universities in the nation for coastal research.
In discussing alumni achievements and the potential for alumni giving, Bell said that
alumni continue to turn back to the foundation they received at the state’s flagship
university in helping them to achieve their successes.
“As the flagship university, research and discover are key to what we are, but we
meld that with our teaching, with our education, and the graduates we have, you wouldn’t
find anywhere else in the state,” he said.
The Transition Advisory Team held group discussions on the vision and tenants for
LSU 2015 and was given a status update on the sub-committee meeting structure and
meetings held to date.
The Transition Advisory team, a 10-member panel tasked with providing information
to the LSU Board of Supervisors to facilitate the reshaping of the LSU System, held
its first meeting on Jan. 8 and held an Immersion Workshop on Feb. 7.
The next meeting of the Transition Advisory Team is Tuesday, March 5, from 4 to 9 p.m. in the Lod Cook Alumni Center Abell room. The guest speaker will be Gordon Gee, president of The Ohio State University. All Transition Advisory Team meetings are available online via live streaming video for those who cannot attend in person.
More information on LSU’s re-organization process can be found at www.lsu.edu/LSU2015. Information on the site includes meeting schedules, minutes and video and presentations from past meetings.
Posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2013