Focus on Faculty: Reid Bates


Interim Director Reid Bates was featured in the Focus on Faculty  in the Winter 2015, Volume 91, Number 4 issue of LSU Alumni Magazine.

Read his feature here:

One could say Reid Bates has a lot on his plate. As interim director of the School of Leadership & Human Resource Development, as well as director of the International Studies Program, he has received numerous awards for his work, most recently being designated the Jones S. Davis Distinguished Professor of Human Resource & Organization Development. His progression from workplace to award-winning University faculty member was an indirect one.

Bates received his undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Iowa and found employment as a counselor in a group home for adolescent and emotionally disturbed children.

He then took a different path. After working as a carpenter for a company in Iowa for some twelve years, he opened his own carpentry company, but "one winter I decided to leave carpentry work and join the Peace Corps," he said.

During his four-year service with the Peace Corps, Bates used his carpentry skills to teach cabinet making in Swaziland, Africa.

When he returned to the States, Bates enrolled at Oregon State University and earned a master's degree with a specialty in managing international training programs. He was soon offered the directorship of Workforce Training & Development at the College of the Marshall Islands, and he developed vocational training programs for two years.

"Then," he said, "that's when I began traveling again."

He was hired by the Peace Corps to develop a training program for new volunteer instructors in Cameroon, Africa. During this year-and-half-long stint, he met his future wife - and that is what brought him to Louisiana and LSU. His bride-to-be, a native of St. Martinville, La., told him he would have to find his way back to her home state for them to be together.

"I began applying for Ph.D. programs," he said, "and was accepted with a full scholarship to LSU."

After completing his degree, he joined the faculty in the School of Leadership and Human Resource Development. According to Bates, the school is organized into four specialties: organizational behavior, workforce development, adult education, and human resource development.

While he no longer teaches because of his administrative duties, his training is primarily focused on human resource development - a section concerned with teaching students to make change happen in positive ways in organizations.

"These can be community-based, for-profit, private-sector, or governmental organizations,' he explained. 'We train people how to be effective practitioners and researchers in that particular field."

Bates said his time in places like Africa provided him some of his most powerful and meaningful experiences, and that is what motivated him to become involved in the international studies program. He took what he learned in his years of experience and brought that lived experience into his workplace to share with his students.

"I've worked in a lot of places - from the Caribbean to Africa - and I tried to pull those experiences into the classroom," he said.


Meg Ryan is a junior in the Manship School of Mass Communication and is the entertainment editor for The Daily Reville.