05/16/2013 11:56 AM
ATON ROUGE – The fourth meeting of the Academic Sub-Committee of the Transition Advisory
Team took place on Monday, May 13, at the LSU AgCenter in Efferson Hall. The sub-committee
is part of the LSU2015 process for the reorganization of LSU. The meeting was streamed
live via the Internet for those who could not attend and meeting archives are available
The meeting was opened with an update on SACSCOC and the upcoming reaffirmation process
for several LSU campuses, given by Jim Firnberg, chair of the Research & Discovery
Sub-Committee and member of the Legal & Regulatory Sub-Committee. Firnberg outlined
several points that he and Shelby McKenzie, LSU System lead legal counsel, found relevant
and important to the Transition Advisory Process and the Academic Sub-Committee in
He highlighted the implications of reorganization on the SACS reaffirmation process
and the general recommendation is to continue with current reaffirmation processes.
This does not preclude all campuses in the system being involved in ways to implement
the findings of the Transition Advisory Team process that would improve efficiencies
but don’t affect reaffirmation.
As part of LSU2015, there can be more cross campus collaboration and common courses
and curriculums, but other aspects such as having “one faculty” for the system wouldn’t
be able to work with separate campus accreditations.
Firnberg said they would like to have SACS appoint a single point of contact for LSU
as it goes through this process and that the appropriate substantive change documents
would be filed with that assigned person.
While LSU can learn from others, Jenkins said, he wants “the LSU model.”
“I don’t want to mimic anyone; I want it to be ours,” Jenkins said.
“It’s got to be an LSU plan,” Firnberg added. “We can’t adopt someone else’s plan
because we aren’t like anyone else.”
The sub-committee then reviewed their charter and discussions to date. They looked
at an overview of the Academic Sub-Committee priority recommendations, which were
taken from previous meeting discussions.
LSU Faculty Senate President Kevin Cope said that he was in agreement with the points,
but that the set of suggestions lacked a certain degree of resolution and didn’t focus
on the post-graduate process of a student going to graduate or professional school.
“What we really need is a sense of flow of students all the way through the graduate
process,” said Cope, who added that he would like to see long term projections.
The group also discussed the concern of African American enrollment in medical school,
the system’s need for a library system and the scholarly attainment of a degree from
“We do not believe that the primary metric of a degree from LSU is the type of job
you get or the pay scale for that job,” said Dr. Lester W. Johnson, professor and
chief of surgery, director of Surgical Services at LSU Health Sciences Center and
The sub-committee next engaged in a discussion on experiential education and service-learning.
Regarding experiential education, the sub-committee talked about how field experience
could be accounted in a person’s academic credits. The group discussed how experiential
education could be measured and provided examples of the types of experiences that
While faculty will ultimately need to work through the merits of experiential education,
Jenkins said that that it is an area worth exploring.
The group next discussed service-learning, including the objective of service-learning,
what is currently being done, possibilities for the future and best practices.
Jenkins said that it is part of the student experience and it is such a beneficial
part of the curriculum.
“It’s certainly helped me in my own training,” he said.
Some concerns brought up regarding service-learning included ensuring there are faculty
who will teach it, the faculty workload, class sizes, oversight and providing adequate
opportunities for students. The group discussed that a good model for how service-learning
can be structured is the 4-H Program.
The Academic Sub-Committee ended their meeting with a discussion on common curricula
and course numbering. Options for this effort included a common core curriculum for
the first 30 hours in all curricula for students on all LSU campuses (excluding the
Health Science Centers); a common course numbering system for all of these courses;
common syllabi for these courses; more faculty collaboration among faculty teaching
these courses; having faculty throughout LSU2015 develop online course material for
some of these courses that can be taken by students at any location; minimum faculty
requirements for teaching these courses; and common course numbering throughout LSU
by 2015 (or before).
“We have to have a much easier and transparent transfer process, at least among the
LSU campuses,” Firnberg said.
The sub-committee discussed these options and provided feedback and suggestions. One
of the biggest areas discussed was the common syllabi suggestion and that it takes
away creativity and flexibility.
Cope said that all of these options should be discussed and that there is merit in
the proposals. He said to remember that control over the curriculum is a top issue
“What makes us different … is that we offer a rich and complex and varied education,”
“All of these alternatives need to be examined a little more carefully and at a greater
length,” he added.
The Academic Sub-Committee met previously on Feb. 28 at LSU, on March 15 at the LSU
Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and April 5 at the LSU AgCenter.
This sub-committee is focusing on inter- and intra-campus innovation and collaboration,
academic standards and the strategic deployment of academic programs and leveraging
technology for learning. It is co-chaired by Jenkins and Dr. Lester W. Johnson, professor
and chief of surgery and director of Surgical Services at Louisiana State University
Health Sciences Center.
Agendas for this and all LSU2015 sub-committee and task force group meetings can be
found at http://sites01.lsu.edu/wp/lsu2015/events/. The names of Transition Advisory Sub-Committee members are available at http://sites01.lsu.edu/wp/lsu2015/transition-advisory-team-sub-committees/sub-committees/.
More information on LSU’s reorganization process can be found at http://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.
Posted on Thursday, May 16, 2013