LSU Reorganization: Board Adopts Guiding Principles, Will Appoint Transition Team
BATON ROUGE – The LSU Board of Supervisors voted unanimously at a special meeting on Friday, Nov. 2, to adopt six guiding goals and principles on which it will base its decisions regarding the realignment and reorganization of LSU.
The board also authorized LSU Interim President William L. Jenkins to appoint a transition advisory team, which will include faculty representation, to study all aspects of the reorganization and make recommendations to board members for how the process should move forward. The team will appoint and lead subcommittees composed of campus representatives and subject matter experts to determine the best ways to accomplish the goal of reorganizing LSU while holding true to the guiding goals and principles.
Otherwise, no action was taken on the AGB report that was presented to the board last Friday. The report proposed a reorganization of LSU, in which all entities of the LSU System would be unified and would report to one president in order to bolster the university’s programs and reputation.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Hank Danos told the standing-room-only audience that the board planned to be “deliberative” in its plans to reorganize LSU. “We don’t intend to be reckless in how we go about this change,” he said. “We are looking for the best possible solutions. I would like to assure everyone that the board wants the same thing you want – an efficient, effective and competitive LSU.”
The guiding goals and principles approved by the board are:
- Create a single, statewide, globally competitive LSU that develops a national and international reputation. Any changes must focus on achieving measurable transformational improvements in all LSU programs and services. All of LSU should have a single accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the structure should facilitate national reporting of institutional data on a consolidated basis.
- Improve student experiences by implementing a common course numbering system and a single application form for all campuses; expanding distance education to take advantage of renowned faculty from all of the LSU locations; and implementing new academic and graduate programs to meet regional educational needs.
- Enhance collaborative faculty research opportunities; remove administrative barriers in grant applications; and encourage and enable innovative, entrepreneurial interdisciplinary activities.
- Eliminate or consolidate unnecessarily duplicative and/or competing administrative functions; and develop uniform policies where efficiencies and effectiveness of such changes can be documented not to impede flexibility or introduce unnecessary bureaucratic approvals.
- Create an administrative structure that is relatively smooth, flat and consistent and promotes interactions among units. Responsibility for academic and administrative decisions and authority for implementing such decisions should be placed at the lowest possible organizational level to achieve maximum productivity, flexibility and accountability.
- The transition to the “One LSU” model should be accomplished in an orderly and deliberative manner but as expeditiously as prudently possible.
Jenkins also pledged that the board will carefully consider all aspects of a reorganization. “This is the beginning of a process,” he said, promising that the board will deliberate carefully and solicit widespread input.
He also spoke to the changing higher education environment nationwide. “We are in a period of profound tectonic change,” Jenkins said. “I understand fear of change better than most, but if we take that perspective, we’re doing a real disservice to the state of Louisiana. If you’re not thinking progress, if you’re not advancing, you’re regressing.”
Twelve individuals who had registered in advance to give public comments addressed the board, all of whom requested that the board do its due diligence in exploring the pros and cons of a reorganization on the individual campuses of LSU. Afterward, Danos thanked those who spoke for their interest, and said the board intended to keep all of their input in mind.
In other business, the board also voted unanimously to approve a preliminary proposed budget request for LSU campuses for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
At an earlier meeting Friday morning, members of the LSU Presidential Search Committee met to discuss the search for the LSU president position. William Funk of R. William Funk & Associates – the search firm assisting LSU with the search – asked each committee member what they were looking for in a candidate. Committee members agreed that they were looking for candidates who had a grasp of not only higher education and academics, but also business and health care; someone who was student-focused and possessed excellent political and communication skills; someone with vision who can bring people together; an action-oriented person with a proven record of executing what he/she set out to accomplish; and someone with a passion for LSU.
Funk reminded committee members that candidate confidentiality is critical in high-level searches, and he promised to cast a wide net in order to identify the best possible candidates from around the nation. He also said that consolidating the LSU president and chancellor positions is an advantage in luring top candidates to apply for the position since there are currently dozens of presidential searches being conducted around the country.