05/22/2013 08:52 AM
BATON ROUGE – LSU’s Transition Advisory Team held their seventh meeting on Tuesday,
May 21, in the LSU Business Education Complex. The meeting was streamed live via the
Internet for those who could not attend and meeting archives are available at www.lsu.edu/tat.
William Jenkins, interim president of the LSU System and interim chancellor of LSU,
delivered opening comments and introduced Richard White, dean of the LSU E. J. Ourso
College of Business, who welcomed the group to the Business Education Complex and
provided an overview of the college.
White said that the new business building has the changed the culture of the college
with the students staying on-sight more by studying together, communicating more with
each other and taking advantage of networking opportunities.
“This building is about the future and that’s what you gentlemen and ladies are involved
with here,” White said. “It fits with where LSU is going.”
White also highlighted the 30 percent-plus increase in enrollment for the E. J. Ourso
College of Business, as well as a significant jump in the rankings for the LSU MBA
program. He credited the improvement to the excellent reputation that LSU graduates
have with top employers who help to shape the rankings, noting that they have strong
technical and analytical skills coupled with people skills that are critical to success
in the workplace.
The Transition Advisory Team meeting focused on sub-committee updates and a review
of key priorities.
Christel Slaughter of SSA Consultants led the team through a review of the LSU2015
process and what’s taken place. She said it is a time to reflect and a time to look
The team reviewed the three major objectives that were given by the LSU Board of Supervisors.
These include develop a vision for a world class university; identify elements critical
to remaining competitive in the higher education environment of the future; and recommend
best-practice organizational models for a multi-campus flagship university.
“At the end of the day, this is what our work will be measured against by the Board
of Supervisors,” Slaughter said.
Slaughter also reviewed the LSU’s Transformation Imperatives and the LSU2015 timeline,
showing that the Transition Team is on track with the projected process.
Jim Firnberg and Shelby Mckenzie, co-chairs of the Legal and Regulatory Sub-Committee,
provided a report on their sub-committee’s findings and a letter that was sent from
their sub-committee to Jenkins on SACSCOC matters and reorganization.
Firnberg reviewed the meetings that have taken place with SACS representatives and
the findings from those meetings. He highlighted the implications of reorganization
on the SACS reaffirmation process and the general recommendation is to continue with
current reaffirmation processes. This does not preclude all campuses in the system
being involved in ways to implement the findings of the Transition Advisory Team process
that would improve administrative efficiencies but don’t affect reaffirmation.
Firnberg said they would like to have SACS appoint a single point of contact for LSU
as it goes through this process and that the appropriate substantive change documents
would be filed with that assigned person.
Jenkins said that SACS needs to be a partner as LSU moves ahead, but that LSU needs
to find its own model for the future.
“We have to create LSU’s organization,” he said. “We don’t have to mimic somebody
Given the fact that SACS noted that LSU could continue its efforts to find efficiencies
in its administrative services areas, two speakers were invited to address the Transition
Advisory Team, Brian Nichols, chief information officer at LSU, to focus on using
technology to improve services and reduce costs and Donna Torres, associate vice chancellor
for accounting and financial services at LSU, to discuss shared services that are
taking place within the system currently. She said that many people are surprised
that there is so much sharing of administration already.
“The university is a complex entity but by having these shared services … we really
have been able to take advantage of economies of scale,” Torres said.
“There are some ways that LSU operates that are different than a typical state agency.”
In the afternoon, the team heard reports from some of the Transition Advisory Team
Dr. Lester Johnson, professor and chief of surgery and director of Surgical Services
at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center – Monroe, provided the report
from the Academic Sub-Committee. He reviewed the charge and key priorities given to
the sub-committee and outlined the findings from the sub-committee’s meetings.
Johnson said that the conclusions of their discussions are both “a challenge and an
opportunity for a One LSU System.”
Firnberg, chancellor emeritus of LSU-Alexandria, provided the report from the Research
and Discovery Sub-Committee, which held four meetings to hear about research taking
place on all the system campuses.
The sub-committee came up with six areas of research interest for LSU2015, and these
included Coastal and Environmental Science; Biological, Biotechnology and Biomedical
Research; Energy; Arts & Humanities; Computation & Digital Media; and Renewable Natural
Firnberg outlined the issues LSU is facing regarding research: faculty and support
staff, finances, and infrastructure.
“Those are the three major impediments to us making progress in research,” he said.
Lt. Gen. Russel Honore’ provided the report from the Student Experience Sub-Committee.
Honore’ said his committee focused on the most important people on campus and that’s
The Student Experience Sub-Committee reviewed student recruitment in-state and out-of-state;
student retention and graduation rates; and workforce and career opportunities. Part
of the student experience presentation included a chart on in-state total estimated
expenses in comparison to SEC peers and sample comments on student recruitment and
The Transition Advisory Team also heard from Nichols with an update from the Technology
Task Force. Nichols highlighted the proposed recommendations of the task force.
The top recommendation was to complete the investigative process recommended by the
external consultant with the goal of moving to a unified enterprise solution over
the long-term and adopt hosted/outsourced IT system support models where practical.
“This is the one, as a group, that we have talked about in every one of our meetings,”
said Nichols, who added that the goal is to do what’s best for everyone for the long-term.
A new unified enterprise solution can enhance financial systems at the administrative
level, along with student experience across all of the system campuses. The largest
benefit of a unified enterprise solution is that the campuses can share and access
data, which would be a tremendous asset for collaborative research across campuses.
“If we want to be a great university, we have to do this,” said Lee Griffin, president
and CEO of the LSU Foundation and co-chair of the Finance & Revenue Sub-Committee.
Other recommendations of the Technology Task Force include moving to a single tenant
email deployment for central email services; consider unifying telephone systems;
research data management; and network bandwidth requirements.
The meeting concluded with a discussion about the final report to the Board of Supervisors
and funding and alternative revenue sources that other universities are utilizing
to retain talented faculty and their federal research dollars.
Slaughter referenced best practices research that was shared at earlier meetings and
encouraged Transition Advisory Team members to think strategically about how to leverage
revenue sources other than state general funds and tuition dollars to enable LSU to
reach its potential. Other universities are generating revenue through five or six
common methods such as monetizing assets, recruiting out of state students and increasing
Clarence Cazalot, president and CEO of Marathon Oil, suggested substituting corporate
funding for valued research efforts if federal funds for research are not currently
The Transition Advisory team is a 10-member panel tasked with providing information
to the LSU Board of Supervisors to facilitate the reshaping of the LSU System.
The team held its initial meeting on Jan. 8, an Immersion Workshop on Feb. 7, its
third meeting on Feb. 19 and its fourth meeting with Ohio State University President
Gordon Gee by Skype on March 5. The team met for the fifth time April 16 in a meeting
that featured Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute, and Stephen Moret, Secretary
of Louisiana Economic Development, and then a partial group met on April 19 with representatives
from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or SACS.
Agendas for this and all LSU2015 sub-committee and task force group meetings can be
found at http://www.lsu.edu/lsu2015/events/. The names of Transition Advisory Team members are available at http://www.lsu.edu/lsu2015/transition-advisory-team-sub-committees/transition-advisory-team-members/.
More information on LSU’s reorganization process can be found at http://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 Wednesday, May 22, 2013