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Student Experience Sub-Committee Looks at Career Services, Graduation Rates

04/04/2013 09:18 AM

BATON ROUGE – The third meeting of the Student Experience Sub-Committee of LSU’s Transition Advisory Team took place on Wednesday, April 3, at the LSU Energy, Coast and Environment Building. The meeting, which focused on career services and graduation rates, was streamed live for those who could not attend and meeting archives are available at www.lsu.edu/tat.  
 

The sub-committee is chaired by Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honore’ and Carroll Suggs, who both welcomed the members of the team and, along with Christel Slaughter of SSA Consultants, provided an update since their last meeting.
 

Honore’ told the group that the work of the Student Experience Sub-Committee can make an immediate impact on the future of the university by increasing students numbers, graduation rate and student fulfillment. He said it is a “self-fulfilling prophecy if we make it work right,” and the goal is to provide resources that help students to come into the university happy, leave the university happy and ultimately become successful and give back after their positive experience at the university.
 

The sub-committee heard a presentation from Mary Feduccia, director of Career Services for LSU, who provided an overview of the services offered by LSU Career Services. These services include career decision-making, improving marketability, experiential education services and employment services.
 

Feduccia said that she’s excited about “One LSU” and the opportunity to work with other campuses and share resources.
 

Feduccia provided an overview of the challenges she sees in the employment market. These include job availability, especially in Louisiana; the willingness to move; and students having inadequate job search skills.
 

“So many of our students are from Louisiana and would like to stay in Louisiana if they can find competitive jobs,” she said.  
 

In the near future, LSU Career Services will be moving into their new location, the LSU Olinde Career Center, in the LSU Student Union. This new career center will be a more visible location for LSU Career Services and will be an important stop for parents and prospective students visiting campus.
 

Erin Guruli, director of Career Services and Employer Relations for the LSU Law Center, provided an overview of the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center’s career services office.
 

Guruli talked about the importance of having a centralized office for law students because they focus on providing a personalized service and touch every law student in the program.
 

“We begin career planning at a very early stage in a student’s career,” said Guruli, who added that employers not only look for top academics but experience along the way.
 

The services offered at the LSU Law Center are specialized and specific to law so that they can take students through the process of finding employment during their first and second summers of law school and help with permanent employment when they graduate.
 

Guruli provided recent employment stats to the group, and the class of 2012 has seen a 92 percent employment rate.
 

Guruli said the law center has maintained consistently high employment rates and that the LSU Law Center ranks third in the Southern region in employment rate.
 

“We’re very proud of our statistics,” she said. “I always say the data doesn’t lie. We’re committed to the cause.”
 

When questioned about the rumor that LSU Career Services and the LSU Law Center Career Services Office would be combined through the reorganization, the sub-committee responded that they did not see any potential savings, efficiencies or improvement of services that would be gained through such a combination.
 

Feduccia added that the two offices are already working together to capitalize on the strengths of sharing resources and that they would never want to diminish what each office could offer.
 

Larry Tremblay, Louisiana Board of Regents deputy commissioner for Planning, Research and Academic Affairs, led a discussion on graduation rates and the Board of Regents’ view on graduation rate calculations.
 

Tremblay said that people fall into two camps when talking about graduation rates: people who focus on how low rates are and those who blame the methodology. Tremblay said that the focus shouldn’t be on the low rates or how they are measured, but on why rates are low.
 

“We can’t deny that we have challenges in the state of Louisiana,” he said.
 

Tremblay shared the factors that influence graduation rates, including the quality of student preparation, parents’ education level, income level and the residential nature of an institution.
 

“There are certain indicators,” Tremblay said. “You can show me a profile of a campus, and I could almost predict what their graduation rate is going to be.”
 

Tremblay gave an overview of the IPEDs Graduation Rate Survey and how that rate is determined. He also shared additional graduation rate calculations that the Board of Regents has developed that take into account transfer students and other factors to get a more accurate graduation rate measure.
 

“What we try to do is give a better idea of what the graduation rate should look like, and we also do a productivity measure,” he said.
 

Tremblay was asked to give the Board of Regents impressions of the Flagship University and what that includes in light of the LSU2015 reorganization efforts.
 

“From the Board of Regents standpoint, it’s critical to have a flagship campus. The flagship drives the reputation of the entire public education system, so we need LSU A&M as the flagship. Whether is includes the law center, an agricultural center … those are decisions to be made. In our impression, the flagship is the LSU A&M campus,” said Tremblay, who referenced the Regents’ master plan in his answer.
 

The group also discussed the budget situation across higher education and how these cuts have affected student experience.
 

Honore’ thanked Tremblay for his insight and said that his knowledge and wisdom has added to the group’s efforts and discussions.
 

Slaughter ended the meeting with an update on the LSU2015 survey and focused on the respondents who included student experience as one of their top three priorities. She provided the statistics from the survey thus far and the group looked through sample comments on student experience and retention at the LSU campuses.
 

“The good stuff going on here [at LSU] is the best kept secret in the state,” Suggs said. “We don’t talk enough about the good stuff we do.”
 

The Student Experience Sub-committee first met on Feb. 19 at LSU and then convened on March 14 on the campus of the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. Sub-committee and task forces are part of the LSU2015 process for the reorganization of LSU.  
 

The sub-committee is focusing on access and opportunity, support for student success to improve graduation rates as well as workforce and career opportunities, service learning, student financial aid and improving student recruitment and enrollment efforts.  Any interested students are encouraged to attend or watch via live streaming video. Input and feedback to the Student Experience Sub-committee can be sent to cslaughter@lsu.edu.
 

Agendas for this and all LSU2015 sub-committee and task force group meetings can be found at http://www.lsu.edu/LSU2015/subcommittees_meeting_schedule.shtml. 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.

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