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PEOPLE CREATING POSSIBILITIES Nicholls State University has set its target for 2016: To become the institution of choice for students in south-central Louisiana and beyond. Reaching that level will take the commitment of lots of people — but people have always been the university’s greatest strength. Nicholls stands out because of its accessible administrators, mentoring professors and welcoming staff — all working toward providing a dynamic, individualized college experience for each student. When faced with challenges, the Nicholls community will continue to come together, using its collective creativity to overcome. That dedication to the university’s mission and support from alumni and the region are what will carry Nicholls into the future.


WHERE WE’VE COME FROM Looking back In 1948, the institution opened as Francis T. Nicholls Junior College of Louisiana State University, offering two-year diplomas. Nicholls separated from LSU and became a state college in 1956, granting its first four-year degrees in 1958. As its degree offerings grew, the institution changed its name to Nicholls State University in 1970.

Serving the region Located in Thibodaux, Nicholls has been the leading provider of higher education in south-central Louisiana for more than half a century. It serves the needs of the population by providing programs that assist first-generation college students, nontraditional students and diverse populations (international students, veterans and even offshore workers with seven-on, seven-off schedules). Nicholls also actively participates in community development by partnering with local businesses, school systems, health care providers and community agencies.

Establishing academic strengths With its prime location along the banks of Bayou Lafourche, Nicholls provides unique opportunities for instruction and research in the fields of marine and environmental science. Capitalizing on its rich culture and geography, Nicholls became the first state university in the nation to offer a four-

year degree in culinary arts and the only Louisiana university to offer a degree in geomatics. The university is also known for its accounting and information systems; allied health sciences; child, family and social services; nursing; and teacher education programs.

Becoming selective In August 2005, Nicholls transitioned to a selective admissions institution. Although student enrollment decreased initially, the university has seen a steady increase in the ACT scores of first-time freshmen, number of TOPS recipients and number of Early Start Program participants who take university courses while in high school. Nicholls continues to recruit and admit students who are better prepared for college, resulting in increased retention and graduation rates.

Nicholls campus, circa 1965

Expanding the campus To remain competitive and to continue attracting highability students, Nicholls invested $82 million in campus improvements from 2006–10. Three new residence halls opened in 2008, offering modern amenities including suitestyle rooms, computer labs and lounge/study areas. Extensive renovations have also been done to Beauregard Hall, Vernon F. Galliano Dining Hall and Peltier Auditorium. Additionally, the $16 million, 63,000-square-foot Harold J. Callais Memorial Recreation Center will open in fall 2012.

Planning our future In developing the following strategic plan, Nicholls conducted numerous small focus groups of faculty, staff, students and outside advisory groups. About 250 participants gave their views on the university’s future direction. University administrators reviewed, edited and discussed the resulting collection of recommendations until consensus was reached on each strategic goal. Nicholls campus, 2008 2

WHERE WE’RE HEADED Mission Nicholls State University is a student-centered, regional institution dedicated to the education of a diverse student body in a culturally rich and engaging learning environment through quality teaching, research and service. Nicholls supports the educational, cultural and economic needs of its service region and cultivates productive, responsible and engaged citizens.

Newly redesigned to mimic a boardroom, the


designed specifically to meet the demands of

Nicholls State University will be the institution of choice for students in the service region and beyond as a result of the quality of programs, dedication to individual student needs and national recognition of unique programs and services.

busy business professionals who wish to earn

Values Nicholls State University supports values that promote citizenship, concern for self and others, and the desire for a better world by embracing as its core values: t Civic responsibility: We use our time and talents to serve our community. t Diversity: We embrace unique perspectives that all individuals bring to the learning environment. t Excellence: We reach for the highest level of achievement in all activities. t Integrity: We expect fairness and truthfulness in all instances. t Leadership: As representatives of the university, we embrace our role as leaders. t Respectfulness: We respect the rights of others and are responsive to the needs of others. t Responsibility: We are accountable for our actions.

Michele D. Guidry Executive MBA Classroom offers student a professional, technological atmosphere in which to learn. The Executive Master of Business Administration program, which Nicholls started in 2007, has been

an MBA while continuing to work.

Strategic goals GOAL 1

Increase the level of educational attainment for students.


Cultivate research that engages faculty and students seeking knowledge in areas of common interest.


Achieve greater accountability, efficiency and effectiveness across campus.


Continue the university’s collaboration with business, education and service entities to meet regional workforce needs and to provide cultural enrichment and service to the community.


Invest strategically in university employees to enhance customer service and sense of pride in the university.




Between and after classes, students use computers, work on group projects, complete assignments and relax in the Student Engagement Center, which opened in Peltier Hall during spring 2011. In the future, the center plans to host student-led forums, lecture series, social events, student organization meetings, advising seminars and more.




















The point when students are most likely to resign from a university is after their first year. That’s why Nicholls is focused on this pivotal period. Since transitioning to selective admissions in 2005 and raising admissions standards in 2010, Nicholls has increasingly recruited students who are more prepared for college and more likely to return for a second year. The university offers extensive tutoring and advising services through University College, which is particularly helpful for the 60 percent of first-generation college freshmen at Nicholls who might need extra assistance during the first-year transition. Through these efforts, Nicholls expects retention rates to grow.

Percentage of students in each freshman class who graduate in six years


35 30 25 20

29.2 26.6














The number of Nicholls students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in six years has steadily increased, with the exception of the freshman class of 2004, which was affected by Hurricane Katrina. Nicholls implemented selective admissions in 2005 and expects graduation rates for the 2005 freshman class to jump to 35 percent as a result.

Author Wes Moore visited the Nicholls campus in April 2012 to help engage students in a discussion of his book, The Other Wes Moore.

Think more critically What if you opened the newspaper to find an article about someone who has your exact same name, who grew up in the same community and who faced similar challenges — but who made different decisions that led down a destructive path? Nicholls freshmen discussed that question and more while reading The Other Wes Moore, which was the 2011–12 Common Book. The author, Wes Moore, visited the Nicholls campus for a Q&A and lecture about how he became a Rhodes Scholar, White House fellow and successful business leader while the other Wes Moore is serving a life sentence in prison for felony murder. Nicholls began the Common Book experience in 2010 with Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. The goal is to add cohesion and commonality to the freshman experience while enhancing critical thinking and writing skills. Freshmen discuss the chosen book with student, faculty and staff volunteers. The initiative also includes peer mentoring, which matches upperclass students with freshmen to discuss campus life and their chosen majors. The university has made it a priority to build on this initiative and other programs intended to increase critical inquiry and engage students and faculty.

RECRUITING DIVERSE POPULATIONS The Louisiana Center for Dyslexia and Related Learning Disorders at Nicholls is the only one of its kind in the state. The center assists about 120 students per semester with services such as remediation tutoring, academic planning and scheduling, specialized computer lab access, guidance with academic accommodations and a support system to

ease integration into college life. For many students with dyslexia, the center’s extensive offerings were the main reason they decided to attend Nicholls. To capitalize on this unique program, the university plans to launch a marketing campaign to raise awareness and increase the population that the center serves.


Promote the uniqueness of the dyslexia center

Nicholls students with dyslexia or related learning disorders turn to dyslexia center staff for help with advising, study skills, tutoring and academic accommodations.

Better serve our veterans

Attract more international students

Nationally recognized as a “Military Friendly School” by G.I. Jobs magazine, Nicholls plans to expand services offered to veteran students. Currently, the university provides veterans with admissions requirement exemptions, early class registration, faculty advocates and individualized advising. To better serve this population and assist in the transition to college life, the university is working to create a dedicated campus location for active military and veteran students, hire a full-time veterans program coordinator and ultimately offer a comprehensive veterans’ services program. In spring 2012, 145 benefits-eligible veterans were enrolled at Nicholls.

International students add to the rich campus diversity and expose local students to various cultures. From fall 2004 to fall 2011, Nicholls increased its international enrollment from 82 to 163, and further growth is a university goal. Currently, international students represent 41 countries. Top countries represented include: France, Nepal, Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico, Vietnam, Australia, China, India and Jamaica.

Each fall, the International Student Banquet gives faculty, staff and community members the opportunity to meet Nicholls international students and watch them perform entertainment native to their respective countries.




Marine and environmental biology graduate students plant black mangroves along the coastline. Each year, the Calypseaux Expedition introduces new students to the coast of the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary System and engages them in collaborative research projects with the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON).



At the Nicholls Farm, students and faculty are growing native plants for use in marsh, beach and dune restoration projects. The biological sciences department spearheads the Louisiana Native Plant Initiative — a multi-institution effort to preserve and study native plants, conserve a vanishing natural resource and develop a native seed industry. The farm contains an artificial sand dune for plant experimentation, and soon a 7.5-acre pond will allow researchers to grow wetland grasses, which could aid in replenishing vanishing marshes. The department also works with the Nature Conservancy to provide educational field trips, teaching Grand Isle School elementary students about their hometown’s ecosystems. 7KHDFUHIDUPMXVWHDVWRIWKHPDLQFDPSXVDOORZVIDFXOW\DQGVWXGHQWVWR research and cultivate tough, adaptable, wild native plants.


Evaluate stability of community banks

As the only Louisiana university with a geomatics program, Nicholls conducts important regional research projects using its state-of-the-art mapping software and field-surveying equipment. Faculty are working on initiatives with the multiparish Geospatial Technology Center, and they are collaborating with Nicholls biology researchers to identify home sewage systems that are depositing fecal matter into Bayou Lafourche — the source of drinking water for more than 200,000 residents. Students are working toward creating a 3-D model of campus using terrestrial-laser scanning, determining the effectiveness of the Bayou Lafourche Cleanup using geospatial analysis and mapping out Bayou Lafourche using hydrographic surveying.

In the midst of the U.S. economic crisis, a team of four Nicholls business professors began analyzing Louisiana’s community banks and their viability. Each bank was studied in terms of profitability, capital risk, credit risk, utilization and liquidity. The end reports have provided knowledge about the banks’ current conditions as compared to the national average for similar-sized banks. The researchers have continued to provide this financial analysis and have been monitoring the effect of the 2010 BP oil spill on community banks.

University Archives helped create “The Celebrated Houma Oyster: The History of the Cenac Family and the Oyster Industry in Terrebonne Parish,� a public display of artifacts, documents and photos. The exhibit was displayed at Ellender Memorial Library and at the Louisiana State Archives as part of the Louisiana Bicentennial Celebration.

Preserve history and culture When Houma orthopedic surgeon Christopher E. Cenac Sr. began compiling his family history, he sought the help of Ellender Memorial Library Archives. During a span of seven years, Nicholls staff helped him find additional documents, photos and artifacts, and they pointed him to other useful archival resources. Archives staff helped edit Cenac’s culminating book called Eyes of an Eagle: Jean-Pierre Cenac, Patriarch — An Illustrated History of Early Houma-Terrebonne, which was selected as an official book of the 2012 Louisiana Bicentennial Celebration. Archives is also assisting Cenac with his two upcoming historical books on Houma-Terrebonne. 10


6KRZFDVHRXUZRUN Each spring since 2006, the Nicholls Office of Research and Sponsored Programs has dedicated a week to celebrating student and faculty researchers. Academic colleges host public brown-bag sessions, in which faculty discuss their projects and findings, and students compete with poster displays. From 2006 to 2012, the number of faculty presenters has increased from 10 to 36, and the number of student research posters jumped from 7 to 34. Nicholls expects these figures, as well as the number of academic areas represented, to continue to rise.

Knowing that medical school would be in his future, Dr. Ryan Matherne chose to pursue his bachelor’s degree at Nicholls, where he knew he would find expert faculty and a personalized educational experience. Research wasn’t even on his radar until he learned of a student job assisting Professor Ramaraj Boopathy in his lab. “I originally applied for the position because I needed money to buy textbooks,” he says. “But I soon learned that the research opportunity offered much more than a paycheck. Nowhere I’ve been since has offered the level of one-on-one interaction I had at Nicholls. Before becoming a dermatologist, Although the research was unrelated to Dr. Ryan Matherne was a student health care, it promoted critical thinking researcher at Nicholls, studying how and problem-solving.” petroleum hydrocarbons (found in Matherne went on to earn his oil and gas) can be degraded in doctorate from Louisiana State anaerobic sites. University School of Medicine and complete his residency at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He now works as a board-certified dermatologist at Jones Dermatology in Thibodaux and is an adjunct assistant clinical professor at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. To help more undergraduates gain research experience, the Nicholls Department of Biological Sciences established a mentoring program that provides intensive, yearlong lab instruction and exposure to wide-ranging career possibilities. The pilot program was initially funded by the Louisiana Board of Regents through a post-Katrina stimulus plan. The university is pursuing funding for the program’s continuation and is investigating how the mentoring program can be implemented in other academic disciplines.


Teaching proper knife skills to culinary students leads to lots of diced, sliced and minced veggies, not to mention the resulting leftover food scraps — orange peels, onion skins, egg shells, etc. Chef John Folse Culinary Institute students and faculty have been composting food waste for years, but now they’re taking it to the next level. They plan to compost the food in separate bins: citruses, greens, high-sugar vegetables, whites (egg shells, paper towels, etc.), and coffee and tea. Biology faculty and students will then work with culinary to conduct soil samples and determine what ratio of what food scraps produces the best soil for plant growth. The local Starbucks has offered to donate its used coffee grounds for composting, and culinary faculty members plan to engage other community groups as the project continues.

Expose students to research

8QGHUJUDGXDWHDQGJUDGXDWHVWXGHQWVSUHVHQWWKHLUUHVHDUFKWRMXGJHVGXULQJ Research Week, held each spring during Jubilee: A Festival of the Arts and Humanities. 11



Chef’s coats have quickly overtaken Gouaux Hall. Student enrollment in the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute has grown from about 50 students in 1997 to about 300 students today. For the program’s continued growth, a new facility is in the works with an anticipated 2013 groundbreaking.




Peltier Auditorium now features DE\IRRWSURMHFWLRQVFUHHQ for enhanced presentations and a modernized, larger lobby more conducive to hosting special events.

Peltier Auditorium is often a student’s first look at Nicholls. While still in high school, they likely take the ACT or attend a community event there and likewise form an impression of the campus. From 2009 to 2011, work crews renovated the auditorium into a campus gem. The project included new seating, ceiling, lights, paint, flooring and ADA-compliant features. A wooden acoustical shell was added to the stage along with a rear-projection screen. A new entrance was built, and the lobby now features warm-colored artwork and furniture. Powell Auditorium was also renovated in 2012 with new flooring, new lighting, wireless Internet and table seating arrangements with laptop hookups. Despite the challenge of budget constraints, Nicholls continues to investigate alternative ways to fund such construction projects that help recruit and retain students.

Construct a culinary arts building The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute has quickly outgrown its space in Gouaux Hall, which it currently shares with biology and petroleum services programs. To increase student enrollment in this niche program — the first in nation to offer Fundraisers such as Bite of the Arts help raise funds for a four-year culinary degree the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute’s new facility. — Nicholls is planning the construction of a culinary arts building on the corner of Bowie Road and Louisiana Highway 1. The state has already committed $8.1 million toward the project, with Nicholls responsible for securing $4.5 million in donated cash and equipment. The new 33,000-square-foot facility is estimated to increase enrollment from about 300 current culinary students to more than 500. Building plans call for a student-run restaurant area, four teaching kitchens and a demonstration kitchen-classroom.

Streamline university operations

The College of Business Administration unveiled its newly renovated Powell Auditorium during the Estate and Business Planning Institute, which it hosted in May 2012. 14

In an effort to save resources and better serve students, Nicholls has been assessing how it does business and implementing more efficient processes. Long lines at Fee Collections have decreased tremendously now that students can accept their financial aid electronically and receive refund checks via direct deposit. Nearly all admission applications are completed online, and course materials and assignments can be accessed electronically via Moodle software. Academic and administrative information technology duties were consolidated into one centralized office, and online recordkeeping is now done through Banner, considered one of the most efficient software of its kind. Additionally, faculty, staff and student employees now complete their time sheets online, cutting down on paper and processing time. Nicholls will continue conducting focus groups to help discover areas of greater efficiency within each administrative unit.


Increase alumni engagement Graduates can serve as a university’s strongest ambassadors — promoting their alma mater in their communities, professions and social groups — and Nicholls plans to expand its outreach services to its more than 40,000 alumni. In spring 2012, the Nicholls Alumni Federation launched a redesigned issue of The Colonel magazine, which aims to tell more human-interest stories, keep alumni informed of campus happenings and celebrate Nicholls traditions. During Homecoming 2011, the federation also renamed its golf tournament after the late John Brady and moved the event to LaTour Golf Club in Mathews. The tournament grew from 16 teams in 2010 to 38 teams in 2011. Alumni affairs staff will continue working to keep in contact with alumni and engage them in support of the university.

Raise funds for the Mary M. Danos Theater renovations Since Talbot Hall opened in 1972, its theater has hosted hundreds of events from lectures to musical performances and plays, but it has received few updates. The theater needs new lighting, curtains, sound systems and seats, and has accessibility issues. In April 2012, Nicholls named the theater after the late Mary M. Danos, who was a longtime supporter of Nicholls along with her husband, Al. A donation from the Danos family will help kick-start fundraising for this renovation project. Nicholls will work with a consultant who specializes in theater design to propose a renovation plan and will secure the support of additional donors to fund the $1.6 million project.


During the revamped 2011 Nicholls Alumni Federation John Brady Golf Tournament, Gary Barbaro (BS ’80), center, served as honorary chairman. %DUEDURZDVWKHÀUVW1LFKROOVSOD\HUWREHGUDIWHGLQWRWKH1)/

Al Danos, center, donates funds for the Mary M. Danos Theater renovation SURMHFW6WDQGLQJQH[WWR'U'DYLG%RXGUHDX[YLFHSUHVLGHQWIRULQVWLWXWLRQDO advancement, are Al’s son Andre Danos, his daughter Alyce Danos, his granddaughter Sarah David and his daughter RenÊ David.

&UHDWHDXQLYHUVLW\ZLGHPDUNHWLQJSODQ New admissions postcards, featuring the “people creating possibilities� tagline, spotlight documentary photography and testimonies from students.

What sets Nicholls apart from any other university? Students, faculty and staff were clear in their answer: At Nicholls, people matter. That was the inspiration for the “people creating possibilities� tagline, which will guide the university’s 2012–2016 marketing plan. Marketing plans include new recruitment brochures, postcards and other forms of communication (such as text messaging) to better target prospective students. is also being redesigned into a more user-friendly, easy-to-navigate site. The university’s new marketing push also includes working with local businesses to form mutually beneficial relationships and create more of a college-town vibe in Thibodaux.




Anthony Naquin had his pick of universities. The E.D. White Catholic High School graduate’s resume was stacked with accomplishments: 4.48 GPA, 34 on the ACT, E.D. White Outstanding Graduate, Thibodaux Chamber of Commerce Teenager of the Year, seven-year member of District Honor Band, National Honor Society and more. He was recruited by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Tulane University and Rice University, but he ultimately decided to enroll at Nicholls. The university’s scholarship offer along with its strong biological sciences department helped Naquin realize that he could get a top-quality education without having to go into student loan debt. With aspirations of becoming a doctor, Naquin was impressed by Nicholls’ reputation for helping students get into medical school and succeed. Naquin quickly immersed himself into the campus, joining Orientation team, Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, the Residence Hall Association and the Pre-Professional Medical Association. Nicholls is working diligently to recruit more high-achieving students like Naquin. The university awarded 42 high school valedictorian scholarships for fall 2011, surpassing the previous year’s figure by 12. Additionally, the average ACT score for fall 2011 first-time freshmen was 21.7, exceeding the national average by 0.6 points and the Louisiana average by 1.6 points. Valedictorian Anthony Naquin chose Nicholls over private universities because of its scholarship SDFNDJHDQGVWURQJSURJUDPIRUSUHPHGVWXGHQWV

In response to new admissions standards, Nicholls will continue to review and revise its financial assistance program to meet the needs of students. With its push to recruit veterans, the university is investigating how it might be able to raise scholarship funds to help veterans fill the gaps that the GI bill doesn’t cover. Nicholls is also committed to serving its population of first-generation college students through programs such as the First-Generation Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship Program, which provides matching funds to state universities. 16

,QFUHDVHSURJUHVVLRQIURPÀUVW\HDUWRVHFRQG\HDUVRSKRPRUH Nicholls has seen a steady 50 growth in the number of 45 students who not only re-enroll their second year but also have 40 earned enough college credit 35 to be classified as sophomores at that point. Ensuring that 30 students are progressing on 25 time helps improve graduation 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 rates. The progression rate P R O J E C T E D jumped significantly in 2008, when the university’s three new residence halls opened. The new facilities have meant more students being active in campus life and living on campus, which typically leads to better grades. More students are also now coming to Nicholls with college credit that they earned due to their ACT scores, Advanced Placement testing or dual-enrollment courses they took in high school. To help students progress toward their degrees faster, the university also offers advising and tutoring services specifically aimed at getting students on the right track during their first two years. Percentage of students in each freshman class who progressed to sophomores within a year

5HYLVHÀQDQFLDODVVLVWDQFHSURJUDP to meet the needs of students

INCREASING ENROLLMENT Offer master’s level programs in nursing and English By spring 2013, nurses will be able to earn an advanced degree from Nicholls, rather than having to turn to out-of-state options. The Master of Science in Nursing program will be part of a consortium with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Southeastern Louisiana University and McNeese State University, meaning that each school will collaborate and share faculty resources. The online degree program will offer concentrations in family nurse practitioner, family psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner, nursing educator and nursing executive. Nicholls is also investigating the possibility of adding a master’s degree in English to help meet the demand for community college instructors. The university’s established master’s program in math already fulfills a similar industry need — one that is projected to increase as Louisiana stresses the importance of community colleges.

Increase opportunities for distance learning

Enhance student life

To serve students who need more flexibility, Nicholls is expanding its online course offerings. From 2010 to 2011, enrollment in distance learning courses increased by nearly 1,600 students, and the number of unique online courses increased by more than 80. Beginning in fall 2013, Nicholls and other University of Louisiana System schools will jointly offer an online bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership with Nicholls offering a concentration in food service strategies and operations. The program will specifically target the more than 500,000 adults in Louisiana who have some college credit but no degree. Nicholls will investigate offering more degrees entirely online to accommodate adult learners for whom traveling to the Thibodaux campus is not feasible.

The Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services has risen to the challenge of providing facilities, services and activities that meet the needs and interests of the modern college student. Since 2007, Nicholls has opened three new residence halls, renovated La Maison du Bayou apartments and Calecas Hall, completely redesigned Galliano Dining Hall and renovated sections of the Bollinger Memorial Student Union. In fall 2012, the Harold J. Callais Memorial Recreation Center will open, offering state-of-the-art workout equipment, group fitness classes and wellness programming. Nicholls expects the physical campus improvements to help recruit and retain students, who are likely to choose a university based on not just academics but also amenities. Student Affairs staff are developing longterm plans for improving student programming within these facilities.


Eight out of 10 nurses in the Bayou Region are Nicholls graduates. They will now have the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree at Nicholls, too.

The Harold J. Callais Memorial Recreation Center will feature an indoor running/walking track over looking two basketball/volleyball courts. 5HFHQWO\EXLOWUHVLGHQFHKDOOVIHDWXUHVXLWHVW\OH rooms, computer labs, wireless Internet, study areas and TV/game lounges. 17




Held on campus each March as a prelude to the Louisiana Swamp Stomp Festival, Tresors du Bayou Education Program introduces elementary through high school students to Louisiana culture, including art, history, crafts, music and dancing. In 2012, approximately 2,500 students and educators from 15 schools in the tri-parish region participated in the public event.

COLLABORATING WITH LOCAL AGENCIES Seek industry input Nicholls academic colleges and departments invite professionals in related fields to serve on their advisory boards and participate in the planning and evaluation of degree programs. Advisory representatives help ensure that Nicholls is addressing workforce needs and trends through curricula. University administrators aim to strengthen relationships with these advisory groups and build connections with regional service institutes such as South Louisiana Economic Council and the BaratariaTerrebonne National Estuary Program.

Provide educational enrichment 1LFKROOVDQG)OHWFKHUKDYHDPXWXDOO\EHQHĂ€FLDO relationship, including Fletcher instructors teaching remedial courses on the Nicholls campus.


%XLOGRQRXUXQLTXHUHODWLRQVKLSZLWK)OHWFKHU The partnership between Nicholls and Fletcher Technical Community College has been heralded as a statewide model. Arrangements allow students to cross-enroll at both institutions or seamlessly transfer to Nicholls after completing one of Fletcher’s two-year programs. Fletcher parking passes are valid at Nicholls, and Fletcher instructors teach remedial courses on the Nicholls campus. As admissions requirements rise, Nicholls will continue to enhance its collaboration with Fletcher as well as other regional community and technical colleges, creating a synergistic higher education system.

Hundreds of high school students get a glimpse into the Nicholls Department of Art each spring during High School Day. The free event allows students to participate in handson projects and attend demonstrations and lectures in art history, photography, graphic design, painting, sculpture, ceramics and printmaking. In 2012, the day consisted of 49 various art sessions led by the art faculty and 85 Nicholls art students. More than 270 students from 14 area high schools attended. Academic programs across campus will continue collaborating with local school districts in efforts to recruit students and improve the college-going rate. 7KH'HSDUWPHQWRI$UW¡VDQQXDO+LJK6FKRRO'D\SURYLGHVKDQGVRQDUWOHVVRQVDQGKHOSVUHFUXLWVWXGHQWV to Nicholls.

'HYHORSQHZZD\VWROHDUQ Graduate student Tobey Naquin created Colonel Chat as an experiment in virtual learning. In eight sessions over four weeks, Nicholls education majors communicated with South Thibodaux Elementary School students using webcams and free Internet software. Their one-on-one video chats provided virtual reading tutorials for the South Thibodaux fifth-graders. The project has been a win-win: Education majors gain better field experiences without having to leave the Nicholls campus, and participating students receive one-on-one instruction that can be adjusted to their individual academic needs. Before Colonel Chat, the fifth-grade students’ average improvement from a lesson’s pretest to posttest was 8 percent. With the Colonel Chat tutorials, the average growth jumped to 23 percent. This service-learning program has grown to include partnerships with three local classes, and the College of Education plans to expand Colonel Chat to additional grade levels and subjects. $QHZZDYHRIWXWRULQJ&RORQHO&KDWXVHVYLGHRFKDWWHFKQRORJ\WRSURYLGHVWXGHQWVZLWKRQHRQRQH LQVWUXFWLRQIURP1LFKROOVHGXFDWLRQPDMRUV



Get involved in community groups Nicholls encourages its employees to become saturated in the community. Faculty and staff contribute their time and talent by volunteering, serving as officers or board members, and leading projects for numerous local organizations, churches, schools, associations and nonprofits such as: Laurel Valley Village Les Acadiens Theatre Louisiana Academy of Sciences Louisiana Educational Television Authority Louisiana High School Rally Association Louisiana ProStart Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries NAACP National Resource and Conservation Service New Orleans Museum of Art Society of Louisiana CPAs South Central Industrial Association South Louisiana Wetland Discovery Center The Nature Conservancy, Grand Isle Thibodaux Historic Council Thibodaux Main Street Thibodaux Rotary Club Thibodaux Service League United Way Veterans of Foreign Wars

The Nicholls CAN! food drive aims to unite the campus in its efforts to give back to the community twice a year.

Make Nicholls CAN! food drive a tradition As food banks across south Louisiana reported large increases in demand, Jean Donegan, head of the art department, organized Nicholls CAN! — a campuswide canned food drive. For two weeks in March 2012, collection bins were placed around campus and in 13 local businesses. Overall, Nicholls collected more than 6,500 food items and more than $3,300 in cash donations, which were divided among area food banks. Nicholls plans to hold the food drive twice a year — before Thanksgiving and before spring break — and increase donations and the number of participating businesses.


American Red Cross Bayou Area Habitat for Humanity Bayou Community Band Bayou Country Children’s Museum Bayou Industrial Group Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America Center for Traditional Louisiana Boatbuilding Chauvin Folklife Festival Court Appointed Special Advocates Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Friends of Thibodaux Library Good Samaritan Food Bank HOPE for Animals Houma Regional Arts Council Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce Junior Auxiliary of Houma Kiwanis of Thibodaux Lafourche Chamber of Commerce Lafourche Heritage Society Lafourche Parish Tourist Commission



The Nicholls College of Business Administration is working toward the development of a maritime management concentration to meet industry demands. With several of the world’s largest boat companies located in south Louisiana, many Nicholls business graduates work directly or indirectly in the maritime industry. No four-year maritime degree options exist among Louisiana’s universities. Nicholls could be the ideal place for such a program due to its prime location, the wealth of nearby maritime-related jobs and its AACSB internationally accredited business school. Nicholls is working to determine what courses are needed and to raise private funds to hire experienced faculty and market the program. 21




As part of the Employee Assurance Initiative, Nicholls faculty and staff will be invited to a “Bend the President’s Ear” meeting once a year. Each month, a different group of employees will have the chance to ask questions and voice their concerns to the university president in a small-group setting.

5(&58,7,1*$1'5(7$,1,1*+,*+48$/,7<3(56211(/ Create employee events and programs As part of the universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s efforts to increase morale, a committee is organizing monthly employee activities and an annual celebration for employees and their families. By engaging faculty and staff in team-building and social activities, Nicholls hopes to improve job satisfaction, as evidenced through surveys, and build community. To help orient new faculty and staff to the Nicholls campus and Thibodaux area, the university is also developing a mentoring program that will pair new employees with seasoned ones. Although Nicholls already has a new employee orientation program, an assigned mentor could help answer general questions and offer tips on navigating campus procedures, finding local child care, getting involved in campus or community organizations, etc.


Current and retired Nicholls employees look forward to the holiday gumbo, an annual tradition since the early 1990s. The event, hosted by WKHXQLYHUVLW\SUHVLGHQWIHDWXUHVWZRWDVW\JXPERVHOHFWLRQV1LFKROOV themed ornaments and door prizes. Nicholls plans to add more HPSOR\HHFHQWHUHGHYHQWVWRLWVFDOHQGDU

Develop a salary improvement plan

Boost university pride

With no salary increases since 2007, Nicholls recognizes the need to develop a plan for improving salaries and wages in a fair and equitable manner when funds become available. To help prioritize where raises are most needed, the human resources staff is comparing current Nicholls salaries to market salary information obtained through the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR). After conducting this study and creating a salary improvement plan, Nicholls will be poised to allocate raises wisely and fairly as soon as funding is available.

A new Employee Assurance Initiative, which kicks off in fall 2012, aims to increase university loyalty and pride among employees through various programs and events. One of its goals is to increase the number of employees who openly share their Nicholls pride by wearing Colonel merchandise while shopping, dining out, volunteering or traveling. Initiative leaders plan to provide faculty and staff with a different Nicholls employee-themed T-shirt each year. The university will cultivate strategic partnerships with local businesses and community leaders to help promote Nicholls and the Houma-Thibodaux area as great places to work and live.


EMPOWERING FACULTY AND STAFF Celebrate employee accomplishments Recognizing faculty and staff who excel in their professions and exceed expectations has long been a goal for Nicholls. Presidential awards for faculty and academic administrator excellence are presented each fall along with Apple Awards for outstanding faculty who mentor students, guide student organizations, support student activities and help shape studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; careers. At the annual Service Awards Program, employees are celebrated for their years of service, and awards are presented to an outstanding trades worker, professional staffer and civil service employee. Nicholls is investigating additional ways to reward and recognize employees not only via awards and ceremonies but also by spotlighting their work and efforts through the universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s website and publications. (DFKVSULQJWKH2IĂ&#x20AC;FHRI+XPDQ5HVRXUFHVRUJDQL]HVWKH6HUYLFH$ZDUGV Program to present Nicholls pins to employees based on their years of VHUYLFHVWDUWLQJDWĂ&#x20AC;YH\HDUVDQGWKHQDWHDFKĂ&#x20AC;YH\HDULQWHUYDO

Enhance professional development opportunities

Emphasize customer service When asked what sets Nicholls apart, people often refer to its â&#x20AC;&#x153;personal touch.â&#x20AC;? To capitalize upon that attribute and even enhance it, the university plans to embark on a customer service initiative. Largely, it involves adopting a mindset: treating internal customers â&#x20AC;&#x201D; fellow employees â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and external customers â&#x20AC;&#x201D; students â&#x20AC;&#x201D; as important, valued components of the university. This approach will be important to those on the front line in admissions, advising, financial aid and fee collections but also in classrooms and university offices. Additionally, the initiative will include a more personalized communication approach when targeting prospective students.


The start of each fall and spring semester is marked by Faculty Institute, a daylong event consisting of updates from admininstrators and other university personnel, awards presentations, keynote speakers, professional development breakout sessions and college-level meetings. Nicholls will continue to enhance Faculty Institutes and will develop a similar institute for staff. Further augmenting these events are workshops held in the Center for Advancing Faculty Engagement (CAFĂ&#x2030;). Since its start in 2006, the CAFĂ&#x2030; has expanded its services to include wide-ranging sessions on educational software, advising and leadership. During the 2010â&#x20AC;&#x201C;2011 academic year, the CAFĂ&#x2030; hosted 94 presentations with 1,042 participants. By bringing speakers to campus and hosting on-site workshops, Nicholls can continue to provide cost-efficient development opportunities during tight budget times when traveling to conferences is often not feasible.

At the Spring 2012 Faculty Institute, Dr. Ronald Berk, professor emeritus of Johns Hopkins University, presented â&#x20AC;&#x153;A Tribute to Teaching: Humor & Multimedia to Engage the Net Generation.â&#x20AC;? 25

THE NEED FOR NICHOLLS :K\IRXU\HDUGHJUHHVDUHLPSRUWDQW By 2018, 60 percent of U.S. jobs and 50 percent of Louisiana jobs will require a postsecondary credential. Currently, the state’s workforce is less than half of what will be needed. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, less than 15 percent of Lafourche and Terrebonne parish residents had a bachelor’s degree or higher. Studies have shown that citizens with a bachelor’s degree or higher are more likely to: t Volunteer in their community, t Donate blood, t Own their own home, and t Earn a higher average family income.

:K\1LFKROOVGHJUHHVDUHLPSRUWDQW About 90 percent of Nicholls graduates choose to live and work in Louisiana. Eight out of 10 nurses and four out of five teachers in the Bayou Region are Nicholls graduates.

From the day Nicholls opened its doors in 1948 to the present, this institution has played a major role in raising the educational levels of students in this region. As a result, thousands of our alumni now serve as accountants, nurses, teachers, entrepreneurs and other types of professionals, while others have advanced to graduate school and returned as dentists, physicians, attorneys and physical therapists. A large number of these successful people were first-generation students who could not or would not have gone elsewhere to college. After 64 years, we continue to serve a student body with 60 percent first-generation students. — University President Stephen T. Hulbert


t A bachelor’s degree in geomatics, t A bachelor’s degree in culinary arts, t A bachelor’s degree in petroleum services designed to meet the needs of offshore employees who work seven-on/seven-off or 14-on/14-off schedules, t Comprehensive services for students with dyslexia, and t An early acceptance program with Tulane University School of Medicine.

NICHOLLS ACCOLADES BY THE NUMBERS 176,000 Average annual total of Nicholls volunteer hours

89th Ranking among southern schools

Students, faculty and staff perform an average annual total of 176,000 volunteer service hours, enhancing both the economy and culture of the Bayou Region. As a leader in service-learning projects, Nicholls has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll four times. The Colonel baseball team, for example, visits the Thibodaux Regional Cancer Center as part of its community outreach.

For the first time, U.S. News & World Report magazine ranked Nicholls among the best regional universities in the southern United States in 2011. Rated 89th, Nicholls is the second-highest ranked school among Louisiana’s public regional institutions.

5 1XPEHURI\HDUVD1LFKROOVVWXGHQWKDVZRQWKH Almost Famous Chef regional title For five consecutive years (2008–2012), a Chef John Folse Culinary student has won the South Central Regional title in the San Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition. Winners advance to the national competition in Napa Valley, Calif., where Nicholls stacks up against the country’s leading culinary schools.

1,263 1XPEHURIGHJUHHVDZDUGHGLQ² Spring 2012 was the largest commencement in university history, with 599 degrees being awarded to students. That figure surpassed the previous record (spring 2011) by 17. The 2011–12 academic year also broke records, with 1,263 degrees — an increase of 23 over the previous record set in 2009–10.

21 1XPEHURI6WHLQZD\SLDQRVDW1LFKROOV The Nicholls Department of Music is the first public Louisiana program to exclusively feature Steinway & Sons pianos for performance and music education. From 2007 to 2011, Nicholls raised funds to purchase 21 of the world’s finest pianos. The university received official designation as an “All-Steinway School” in September 2011.

246 1XPEHURIVFKRODUVKLSVRIIHUHGWRKLJKDFKLHYLQJVWXGHQWV During 2012 Scholars Night, Nicholls offered incoming students 246 scholarships, valued at $5.6 million over their four years of college.

$1.5 million Economic impact of Manning Passing Academy at Nicholls Each July, the Manning Passing Academy, held at Nicholls since 2005, attracts more than 1,000 high school football players, more than 1,000 parents, hundreds of camp volunteers, more than 80 coaches and several national media outlets. In 2011, the influx of visitors contributed $1.5 million to the Lafourche and Terrebonne parish economies. 27


PEOPLE CREATING POSSIBILITIES t Call or write a letter to state legislators. Discuss your own personal experiences with Nicholls, explain why Nicholls is essential to the region and reinforce how much budget cuts affect students as well as the regional economy. t Become an active alumnus. Join the Nicholls Alumni Federation, which promotes the university, sponsors student scholarships and hosts various events, including Homecoming. Let Nicholls know where your degree has taken you by sending a career update to t Support the university’s fundraising initiatives. Throughout the year, Nicholls holds several fundraisers, including Sponsor A+ Scholar, Bite of the Arts, Women’s Night Out for Lady Colonels, etc. For information about donating to a specific initiative, scholarship or professorship, call 985-448-4134. t Help recruit students to Nicholls. You are the university’s best ambassadors as you talk with future college students in your community. Recommend that they take a campus tour and request more information about Nicholls by visiting t Promote Nicholls whenever you can. Hang a university spirit sign or pennant in your business window or office. Attend campus events, whether it’s athletic games, musical concerts or academic lectures. Sign your children up for Nicholls summer camps. t Let Nicholls know what you think of its strategic plan. Send your feedback to

people creating possibilities

900 E. First Street Thibodaux, LA 70301 985.448.4143

7KLVSXEOLFGRFXPHQWZDVSXEOLVKHGDWDWRWDOFRVWRI)RXUKXQGUHGFRSLHVRIWKLVSXEOLFGRFXPHQWZHUHSXEOLVKHGLQWKLVĂ&#x20AC;UVWSULQWLQJDWDFRVWRI 7KHWRWDOFRVWRIDOOSULQWLQJVRIWKLVGRFXPHQWLQFOXGLQJUHSULQWVLV7KLVGRFXPHQWZDVSXEOLVKHGE\1LFKROOV6WDWH8QLYHUVLW\2IĂ&#x20AC;FHRI3ULQWLQJ and Design Services, P.O. Box 2010, Thibodaux, LA 70310, to promote the institutional strategic plan for the provision of education and related activities under the authority of Revised Statute 17:3220 of the 2009 Louisiana legislative session. Printing of this material was purchased in accordance with the provisions of Title 43 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes.

2011-2016 Nicholls State University Strategic Plan  

This document outlines the strategic goals for Nicholls State University's future.

2011-2016 Nicholls State University Strategic Plan  

This document outlines the strategic goals for Nicholls State University's future.