03/12/2013 10:54 AM
BATON ROUGE – The second meetings of the Academic and Research & Discovery Sub-Committees of the Transition Advisory Team took place Monday, March 11, at the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans. The sub-committees are part of the LSU2015 process for the reorganization of LSU.
The sub-committees discuss areas of focus and key priorities and are mapping out work
plans by topic areas. Sub-committees are gathering information and crafting recommendations
that will be presented to the Transition Advisory Team and ultimately the LSU Board
The Academic Sub-Committee is focusing on inter- and intra-campus innovation and collaboration,
academic standards and the strategic deployment of academic programs and leveraging
technology for learning. It is co-chaired by William Jenkins, interim president and
chancellor of LSU, and Lester W. Johnson, professor and chief of surgery and director
of surgical services at LSU Health Sciences Center.
Jenkins opened the meeting by inviting Dr. Larry Hollier, LSUHSC New Orleans chancellor,
to provide an update on the facilities at the LSU HSC New Orleans campus. Hollier
welcomed the group and gave an overview of construction progress and building openings
in the recent months.
“We are very blessed to be able to have these buildings constructed at this time and
are happy to be sharing them with you today,” Hollier said.
Following a review of the Transition Advisory Team’s recent discussion with The Ohio
State University President Gordon Gee from March 5, more information found at http://www.lsu.edu/ur/ocur/lsunews/MediaCenter/News/2013/03/item58828.html, the Academic Sub-Committee held a group discussion of key issues facing LSU’s academic
The discussion was centered on the group’s homework questions from their last meeting,
which took place Feb. 28. These homework questions were what can we do to make us
more efficient, better and nationally and internationally competitive and what can
we do to meet the charge we have?
Jenkins said that as he looks at the landscape of higher education, there is an imperative
to do things differently.
“We don’t want to undertake something that’s going to fail. You know me, I don’t believe
in failure,” Jenkins said. “If we do this right, it has to be what’s best for the
citizens of Louisiana.”
Part of the meeting was spent discussing The Ohio State University’s model and the
pros and cons of that model from an academic standpoint to see if a similar model
is the best fit for LSU.
“We’re creating our model; we’re not following anyone’s model,” said Jenkins, regarding
concerns over some aspects of Ohio State’s model. “We need to create our structure.”
Other topics brought up during the Academic group discussion included promotion and
tenure; faculty salaries and compensation, especially as LSU moves toward more online
courses; faculty mobility; paperless processes; keeping students in the state; campus
integration opportunities; and NSF rankings.
“This is an opportunity for change,” said John Vassar, interim provost, academic affairs
at LSU Shreveport. “There’s far more dialogue in the past few months than my previous
13 years in the system.”
Building trust and increasing communication across the system was a common topic from
members of the sub-committee from campuses from across the state.
“In the emerging world, collaboration is the name of the game,” said Terry Davis,
professor, medicine and pediatrics, LSUHSC Shreveport. “We’ve got to get to know each
other and know that we’re all going to help each other.”
Finding ways to increase communication and build trust has been an important initiative
of the Transition Advisory Team and the Board of Supervisors throughout the reorganization
“Remember my quote, ‘we’re all in this together,’” Jenkins said.
The sub-committee closed their meeting by brainstorming ideas on advancing the academic
team as they prepare for their next meeting on April 5 at the LSU AgCenter in Baton
The Research & Discovery Sub-Committee is reviewing data on current productivity and
strengths in research efforts, investigating opportunities for joint research proposals
and projects with potential collaboration incentives, proposing recommendations to
improve productivity and accountability and leveraging technology transfer opportunities.
It is chaired by James Firnberg, chancellor emeritus of LSU-Alexandria, president
emeritus of Our Lady of the Lake College and an LSU professor emeritus.
Anthony Gillespie and Mitch Horowitz with Battelle Technology Partnership Practice
opened the Research & Discovery Sub-Committee meeting with a presentation on “Strategic
Inventory of Louisiana Research and Innovation Assets.”
Gillespie outlined emerging sector perspectives in a number of areas related to research
capabilities in place at Louisiana universities. These sectors included digital media
& enterprise software, water management, clean technology, advanced manufacturing,
life sciences, next generation oil & gas and nuclear energy.
During the sub-committee meeting, representatives from both the LSUHSC New Orleans
and LSUHSC Shreveport presented the key research assets and areas of strength for
their institutions. They also touched upon the significant cross-campus collaborative
projects they were currently involved in with other LSU System campuses.
Dr. Steve Nelson, dean of the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans, presented the
key research assets and areas of strength of LSU HSC New Orleans School of Medicine.
The areas that he touched upon included alcohol and drug abuse research, neuroscience
research, cancer research, and immunology/infectious diseases.
“Research is a team sport, that’s what it’s really all about,” Nelson said.
Dr. Elizabeth “Terry” Fontham, dean of LSU HSC School of Public Health, provided the
overview for the School of Public Health. The key areas included cancer research;
obesity, tobacco, alcohol and other modifiable risk factors; environment and health;
and disparities reduction.
Fontham discussed how to best help faculty expand research activities and collaborations
and the importance of the research program to the LSUHSC School of Public Health.
“We wouldn’t have many faculty if we didn’t have those grants and contracts,” Fontham
said. “The answer to how important is research: it’s absolutely essential in every
aspect of our school, including teaching.”
The overview of the key assets and areas of strength for the LSU HSC Shreveport was
provided by Dr. Robert Barish, chancellor, and Dr. Andrew Chesson, dean, School of
They focused on the research areas in Shreveport but highlighted their highly dedicated
faculty, who are competitive not only on a state level, but on a national one.
Chesson said that offering competitive salaries and benefits packages are important
for recruiting new faculty, but are also important in retaining current faculty, who
are actively being recruited by other institutions.
Aaron Miscenich, president of The New Orleans BioInnovation Center, provided an overview
of the BioInnovation Center and how their business incubator operates. The New Orleans
BioInnovation Center houses a new generation of innovators from Louisiana’s burgeoning
life science community. Situated between the Greater New Orleans Biosciences Economic
Development District and the New Orleans Medical District, on the 1400 block of Canal,
the center offers 66,000 square feet of state of the art wet-lab, office and conference
Mike Marsiglia with Marsiglia Construction talked to the sub-committee about the importance
of having a sustainable workforce and the need for partnerships with universities
to help provide workforce training.
“If we have a sustainable workforce, it filters into every business,” Marsiglia said.
Marsiglia also talked about the opportunities to partner with universities to research
and meet the needs of citizens, such as assisting small businesses in keeping up with
the fast-paced changes in technology.
Research and Discovery Sub-Committee will next meet on April 1 at the LSU AgCenter
in Baton Rouge.
Online video streaming is available at http://www.lsu.edu/tat for all reorganization-related meetings for those who cannot attend in person.
The names of Transition Advisory Team Sub-Committee members, along with Task Force
Group members, are available at http://www.lsu.edu/LSU2015/subcommittees.shtml.
More information on LSU’s reorganization process can be found at www.lsu.edu/LSU2015. Information on the site includes meeting schedules, minutes and video and presentations from past meetings. Also, visit LSU’s reorganization Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/LSU2015transition.
Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2013