LSU AgCenter and LSU College of Agriculture to Administratively Consolidate
BATON ROUGE – The LSU Agricultural Center and the LSU College of Agriculture will administratively consolidate in an effort to expand its statewide impact through more integrated teaching, research and public service, while also creating more administrative efficiencies.
LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander will present the administrative consolidation measure at the Sept. 6 Board of Supervisors meeting. If approved, Alexander will initiate and oversee a nine-month process where faculty, staff and students will work with administrative officials to consolidate efforts to enhance the College of Agriculture and the AgCenter to better serve the academic and public service needs of Louisianans in every Parish throughout the state. The College of Agriculture and the AgCenter have been separated since 1972.
“I can foresee this expanding the role and mission of our extension service efforts,” said LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander. “In keeping with the mission of a land-grant university, this allows LSU to broaden the scope of services offered through extension to include more business, education and health-related opportunities, along with the traditional agriculture services.”
This past year, there were 154 faculty and staff who were jointly employed in the LSU and the LSU AgCenter. With the administrative consolidation, there will be opportunities to streamline and blend processes for approval of faculty hires, the manner in which promotion and tenure is considered, and appointment of faculty with the consideration of workload. Shared resources among faculty allows for more flexibility to address emerging needs for academics, research and extension.
“This is an opportunity for the LSU A&M and AgCenter campuses to grow,” LSU AgCenter Chancellor William Richardson said of the plan. “Consolidating the administration will fully integrate agriculture internally to LSU and externally to the citizens of Louisiana through outreach.”
Over the past several years, both LSU and the LSU AgCenter have discussed ways to combine academic units and expertise to capitalize on shared resources. At the request of the president, and with the support of both LSU and the LSU AgCenter, this proposal consolidates administration of agricultural programs for all three functions: teaching, research and extension.
The proposal will provide greater efficiency in administrative and operational oversight, a more unified workforce, greater visibility for recruiting students and engaging stakeholders, enhanced productivity in research and academic pursuits, and more effective use of resources.
“By consolidating administrative functions of the AgCenter and the College of Agriculture, LSU will be better able to serve the needs of Louisiana,” said LSU Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost Stuart Bell. “In addition to providing efficiencies, this will integrate our agriculture efforts and research in our other colleges as well. We see this benefiting the citizens across Louisiana, along with providing more opportunities for our students and faculty researchers.”
Having a single identity for agriculture at LSU highlights the university’s commitment to agriculture in the state, creates a more robust program for students and eliminates stakeholder confusion. In addition, it is anticipated that instructional and research opportunities for faculty and students will grow with an increase in interdisciplinary research involving agriculture.
Other benefits include increased access to the statewide LSU AgCenter Research and Extension network for student internships, learning-by-doing exercises and discipline-specific service projects. There will also be greater opportunity for cooperative agreements in research/academic arenas with other LSU campuses and college systems in the state.
“The consolidation of AgCenter and College of Agriculture administration will strengthen the status of faculty in agriculture and improve our program delivery throughout Louisiana,” said Kenneth W. McMillin, chair of the LSU AgCenter Faculty Council. “The statewide educational and cultural efforts will be more cohesive in providing sustenance and economic development for our clientele. It is encouraging that the ‘A’ in LSU and Agricultural & Mechanical College will be integrated with the mechanical and human orientations in a unified LSU.”
The Sept. 6 meeting of the LSU Board of Supervisors will begin with committee meetings at 10 a.m. in the Board Room of the University Administration Building, located at 3810 West Lakeshore Drive, Baton Rouge. The full board meeting begins at 1 p.m.