LSU Board of Supervisors Approves New President of LSU Position; To Consider Proposal to Create Single Statewide University
BATON ROUGE – The LSU Board of Supervisors on Friday voted to combine the positions of President of the LSU System and the Chancellor of LSU into a single position, the President of LSU.
“Today is an historic day for LSU,” said Hank Danos, chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “This is a tremendous first step in moving LSU forward, toward giving LSU and its students the best opportunity to achieve excellence and serve the state of Louisiana to its fullest.”
The unanimous vote of the Board came after the presentation of a report prepared by the Association of Governing Board of Universities and Colleges (AGB), available online at http://www.lsusystem.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/AGB-Report-to-the-LSU-Board-of-Supervisors.pdf, that recommends a restructuring and realignment of the components of the LSU System into a single university. The Board will review the report and a special meeting will be held next week to consider its recommendations.
“This is about establishing a robust LSU to its rightful position as one of the nation’s top flagship research universities,” said William Jenkins, interim president and chancellor of LSU. “There are important decisions to be made in considering this report, but there is no denying that LSU is moving forward. Looking back is not an option.”
Jenkins became interim president in April upon the departure of President John Lombardi, and then assumed the additional responsibilities of interim chancellor of the LSU campus upon the departure of Chancellor Michael Martin in May.
The decision to combine the president and chancellor positions into a single President of LSU enables the Board to move forward with a search to fill the position. Board member Blake Chatelain will head a search committee and will be assisted by the search consulting firm of R. William Funk and Associates.
The report by AGB is titled “A Newly Aligned Louisiana State University, Globally Competitive for the 21st Century.” The report proposes an LSU that would be “greater than the current flagship, not only in component parts, but also in reach, authority, responsibility, and opportunity.” It proposes that the newly aligned LSU would be “not a Baton Rouge institution, but a state institution.”
The report says of the proposed new integrated multi-campus LSU, “The ultimate goal is a globally competitive, 21st century university and one with a much larger footprint: The main campus develops a national and international reputation, while simultaneously broadening the mission in Louisiana to educate the state’s citizens, prepare its workforce, provide health care to its populace, and focus research and innovation for its economy.”
The proposal positions LSU students as the primary beneficiaries of the new LSU and anticipates the ability for students to apply to multiple campuses under a simpler application process, to pursue a common curriculum with shared course numbering, the ability to move more seamlessly among campuses and generally benefit from expanded and shared resources in the new LSU structure.
The new LSU, according to the report, would provide faculty with more opportunities to connect with colleagues on other LSU campuses for teaching and research.
The new alignment and restructuring would result in a raised profile for the university, improved academic rankings, greater capacity for research, greater potential for fund-raising and more collaboration among the various campuses, according to the report.
The new structure would also have administrative benefits in cost-savings and efficiencies among units such as human resources, finance and budgeting, public relations and communications, governmental affairs, data warehousing and facilities, according to the report.
The report proposes a restructured and realigned LSU headed by the newly created President position that reports to the LSU Board of Supervisors, which maintains full constitutional authority over the university. The President would be supported by five Executive Vice Presidents, including a Senior Executive Vice President and Provost with primary responsibility for the main campus and all academic matters.
The Senior Executive Vice President and Provost would oversee the chancellors of LSU-Alexandria, LSU-Eunice, LSU-Shreveport and the Hebert Law Center while also managing Academic Affairs, including the deans and academic directors of the main campus; Distance Learning, Technology and Institutional Research; Student Success and Enrollment Management, and Research and Service.
An Executive Vice President for Health Affairs would oversee LSU Health Centers at New Orleans and Shreveport, the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and Health Care Delivery (hospitals and clinics). The report says the state would be better served at a more efficient level “by having the academic medical centers, hospitals and physician practice plans working more closely together in patient care, research, service and in administrative functions.”
The current functions of the Ag Center would be subsumed under an Executive Vice President for Agriculture as well as the operation of the existing College of Agriculture. An Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration would serve as the Chief Financial Officer for the new LSU and would oversee Budgeting, Financial Management, Human Resources and Facilities. An Executive Vice President for External Relations would be responsible a Governmental Relations office and a Communications department.
The report from AGB also outlines important issues to be addressed in order to achieve the realignment and restructuring, provides a task list that indicates timing and sequence for implementation and proposes an organization chart for the new LSU.