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Beyond Economic Impact

University of Louisiana System

Board of Supervisors Mr. D. Wayne Parker, Chair

Mr. Louis Lambert

Mr. Russell L. Mosely, Vice Chair

Ms. Renee A. Lapeyrolerie

Mr. Paul G. Aucoin, Parliamentarian

Mr. John O. LeTard

Mr. Andre G. Coudrain

Mr. John Lombardo, Student

Mr. Edward J. Crawford, III

Mr. Jimmy D. Long, Sr.

Mr. Jimmy R. Faircloth, Jr.

Mr. Jimmie “Beau� Martin, Jr.

Mr. David Guidry

Mr. Carl G. Shetler

Mr. E. Gerald Hebert

Mr. Winfred F. Sibille

About the UL System

The University of Louisiana System is the largest higher education system in Louisiana enrolling about 94,000 students at Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and the University of New Orleans. It is governed by a 16-member Board of Supervisors with 15 members appointed for sixyear terms by the Governor of Louisiana and one student member elected annually.

A Message from University of Louisiana System President Randy Moffett


few years ago, we released a report on the Economic Impact of our (then) eight universities, which have since grown to nine with the addition of the University of New Orleans. With a $3.5 billion annual impact and an $8 return on every $1 the state invests in University of Louisiana System schools, the independent study demonstrated that institutions of higher learning have a direct impact on the economic success of a state and region. This publication extends that work by spotlighting the power behind that economic impact: our committed and talented faculty and staff. As you turn the pages you will see how our campuses are implementing experiential learning experiences such as Dr. Geoff Gjertson at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette whose architecture students are designing “green” homes to revitalize neglected neighborhoods or Dr. David Norwood, a Southeastern Louisiana University physicist, who serves as a faculty mentor for the Student Entrepreneurs as Active Leaders (SEAL) organization. Perhaps you will be interested in the profiles of faculty members like Dr. Balaji Ramanchandran at Nicholls State University who oversees the state’s only undergraduate geomatics program or Grambling State University’s Dr. Frances Staten who studies social influences on lifespan. No doubt, as you look at A Day in the Life of our faculty members, you will be struck by the number of activities they do outside of the classroom to enrich the learning experiences of their students and support their universities and communities. As well, our personnel are instrumental in helping outside organizations stage important events on our campuses, many of which are profiled in this publication. In the University of Louisiana System, we value the work of our people and know that they are the driving force behind the economic and quality of life impacts on the state of Louisiana.

Contents 3 Academic Summit

14 University of Louisiana at Monroe

5 Journal of Service-Learning in Higher Education

20 University of Louisiana at Lafayette

6 Students Strong in Service

26 Southeastern Louisiana University

8 University of New Orleans

38 Nicholls State Unviersity 44 McNeese State University 50 Louisiana Tech University 56 Grambling State University

32 Northwestern State University

University of Louisiana System – Nine Universities Strong


Academic Summit: Celebrating Excellence in Teaching By Jackie Tisdell

Photo courtesy of ULM

Students get hands-on training at the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s atmospheric science lab. Onethird of National Weather Service forecasters in Louisiana are graduates of ULM.


he University of Louisiana System has a long history of commitment to excellence in teaching and collaboration across its institutions. This spring those tenets culminated in the UL System’s first Academic Summit, a twoday conference that focused on undergraduate research, juried student art, and service-learning. “We have 94,000 students and over 9,000 faculty and staff at our institutions. This event was about showcasing the high caliber of work taking place, in many instances, outside of the classroom. It also afforded opportunities for our campuses to forge stronger working relationships with a system-wide approach to collaboration,” said UL System President Randy Moffett. Last year, Northwestern State University hosted the first UL System Undergraduate Research Day and Grambling State University hosted the sixth annual UL System Service-Learning Conference. Those two independent activities were combined into one Academic Summit to provide a richer experience for all involved.


The National Council of Undergraduate Research defines undergraduate research as “An inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline.” While the word undergraduate research may typically bring to mind the sciences, it is actually practiced across all major academic disciplines, as


University of Louisiana System – Nine Universities Strong

evidenced in the 22 diverse academic majors of the 77 student presentations at this year’s Academic Summit. Each of the 38 student oral presentations and 39 student poster presentations was selected in a competitive process at the individual’s home institution, typically at a university research showcase event. From the culinary arts to government, history, and mass communication, using applied research to further classroom knowledge is a prevalent practice at UL System institutions.


Art, although not structured in terms like quantitative and qualitative analyses, falls within the definition of undergraduate research. All nine universities in the UL System maintain thriving arts departments, which provide creative outlets for many talented students. For the Academic Summit juried art exhibition, student artwork from the nine universities was submitted to and reviewed by an independent juror. In the case of the recent Academic Summit, Xenia Fedorchenko, assistant professor of printmaking and drawing at Lamar University, juried the exhibition. Over 400 pieces were submitted but only 32 were accepted for the showcase event. Out of those 32 pieces, a best of show award was conferred, as well as best in category awards for painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, 3-D (ceramics and sculpture), design/ Photo by Anne McKisson illustration, and mixed media. Best in Show piece at the 2012 Juried Art Show,


“The Hand That Feeds, Bites” by UL Lafayette student Jill Roy sits in the foreground while the audience congratulates McNeese student Tiffany Pruitt (far right) for winning Best in Photography.

Service-learning has been a collaborative activity in the UL System for over seven years. While undergraduate research presentations at the Academic Summit were given by students, service-learning presentations were predominantly presented by faculty and staff.

This year, there were 44 service-learning presenters showcasing community impact projects in diverse areas such as robotics, pharmacy, computer information systems, music education, and disaster preparedness. The servicelearning activities culminated in a discussion of the UL System’s new online Journal of Service-Learning in Higher Education, which encourages scholarly publication.


The keynote speakers this year were National Council of Undergraduate Research representative Katherine Whatley, who is the Provost and Vice University of Louisiana System – Nine Universities Strong


Photo by Anne Cobb

McNeese biochemistry professor Mark Merchant’s guest stole the show at the 2012 Academic Summit. Merchant’s research on Alligator mississippienis immunology is followed internationally.

President of Academic Affairs at Berry College; President/CEO of Leading to Change Eric Rowles; and McNeese’s own internationally-known biochemistry researcher Mark Merchant. “With national keynote speakers and bringing together our faculty, staff, and students to highlight excellence in creativity, service, and scholarship, this event captured what the UL System is really all about,” said UL System Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Brad O’Hara. McNeese State University hosted the inaugural event, which will continue each spring on a UL System campus. In 2013 the University of Louisiana at Monroe will host followed by Nicholls State University in 2014. The University of New Orleans has established an online conference archive of Academic Summit proceedings through its ScholarWorks@UNO open access digital repository. Those wishing to review the two-day schedule, view presenters, abstracts, presentations, photographs, and even video of Academic Summit can go to


University of Louisiana System – Nine Universities Strong


even years ago the University of Louisiana System established a ServiceLearning Council with representatives from each of the UL System schools to increase their commitment to providing well-rounded educational opportunities to its students through service-learning. Over the course of the seven years, the council has facilitated a $1.2 million grant from the Corporation for National Community Service, established an annual survey instrument for the nine universities, and conducted annual service-learning conferences. Prevalent throughout the council’s work has been a desire to not only grow service-learning programs on each campus, but also to make service-learning more attractive to faculty. The council decided to create a vehicle for service-learning practitioners and researchers to publish their scholarly work and established the Journal of Service-Learning in Higher Education, an online, peer-reviewed academic journal. University of Louisiana at Lafayette Dean of Community Service and Associate Professor of Child and Family Students, David Yarbrough, serves as the journal’s Executive Editor. “Faculty productivity is measured in three ways: contributions to the knowledge of our students through teaching, contributions to the general knowledgebase through research, and contributions directly to the community through service. This journal brings all three together, creating a research outlet for supporting excellence in teaching through service,” said Yarbrough. UL System Service-Learning Council members, who represent a diverse group of academic disciplines, serve in a variety of leadership positions for the journal. Section editors are Morris Coats, Professor of Economics at Nicholls State University; Steven Gruesbeck, Director of Service-Learning and Instructor of Psychology at Northwestern State University; Sandra Hill, Head of the Department of English at the University of Louisiana at Monroe; and Jackie Tisdell, Assistant Vice President of Communications for the University of Louisiana System. A mix of council members and invited peers with service-learning experience from across the country comprise the JSLHE review board. They are: • Rory Bedford, Director of Service-Learning

University of Louisiana System – Nine Universities Strong

By Jackie Tisdell

• • • • • • • • •

at Grambling State University; Michael Buckles, Head of the Department of Performing Arts and Associate Professor of Music at McNeese State University; Nancy Darland, Professor of Nursing at Louisiana Tech University; Tena Golding, Director of the Center for Faculty Excellence and Professor of Mathematics at Southeastern Louisiana University; Marybeth Lima, Director of the Center for Community Engagement, Learning, and Leadership at Louisiana State University; Mike McCullough, Director of the Institute for Civic Engagement at the University of Tennessee at Martin; Kenneth Reardon, Director of the Graduate Program in City and Regional Planning at the University of Memphis; Stuart Stewart, Executive Director of Louisiana Campus Compact; Shirley Theriot, Director of the Center for Community Service Learning at the University of Texas at Arlington; and Shannon O’Brien Wilder, Director of the Office of Service-Learning at the University of Georgia.

“Many people confuse service-learning with volunteerism, but in reality there is a strong academic component involved with servicelearning. College and university students are taking what they learn in the classroom and applying it in real-world situations while impacting their communities. This new journal is a way for practitioners and scholars to share successful methodologies and pedagogical approaches not just in our system but throughout academia,” said UL System President Randy Moffett. To date, scholars throughout the nation have submitted over 20 manuscripts for the journal’s inaugural edition. Academic journals of this nature typically publish an average of five manuscripts per edition. “The interest we have received from across the country since the launch of the journal has been overwhelming. There is certainly a need for more academic publishing outlets that showcase the value and rigor of servicelearning,” said Yarbrough. “In fact, due to the volume of quality submissions, JSLHE will publish an edition twice annually.” JSLHE is being housed online by Simon Fraser University through the Public Knowledge Project’s Open Journal Systems and can be accessed at


Students Strong in Service Aaron Anthon trudges out of the water during the Warhawk Dash, one of several fundraisers organized by UL System students for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Photo by Terrance Armstard


By Jackie Tisdell

n a warm fall day as the sun was setting over the piney woods of North Louisiana, scores of students, faculty, and staff assembled under a giant arch ready to tackle a myriad of obstacles in their way to the finish line. Some dressed in superhero costumes and masks, others in running attire, they all took off at the sound of a horn jumping over hurdles, crawling through the mud, climbing over hay bales, and navigating through a stream to complete the Warhawk Dash. For the race participants, this was about more than an

experience or bragging rights, it was one of 30 fundraisers organized by student leaders in the University of Louisiana System to help children stricken with cancer. Over the course of two weeks, Student Government Association (SGA) leaders at Photo by Anne Cobb Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Collection jars set up in front of the student union at McNeese State Nicholls State University, Northwestern University State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and the University of Louisiana at Monroe organized events on their campuses to raise awareness and $12,532 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The UL System’s Student Advisory Council (SAC), made up of SGA Presidents, has a long history of student-driven service projects from voter registration drives to college preparation campaigns and Habitat for Humanity projects. This year, SAC selected St. Jude as the recipient of their Students Strong in Service program because of the number of Louisiana citizens served by the organization. The Bayou State sends more children to be treated at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital than any other state except Tennessee and also houses two of the six St. Jude affiliate clinics around the United States. In addition to the Warhawk Dash, campuses organized supply drives, athletic tournaments, letter writing campaigns, programs with local K-12 schools, and partnerships with local businesses who donated a percentage of sales proceeds including Johnston Street Java in Lafayette, Bing Cherry Frozen Yogurt and The Foundry on the Bayou in Thibodaux. “As student leaders we believe higher education is not only about getting an education but also about molding ourselves to be the best well-rounded citizens we can be. It is our hope that all students, faculty, administrators and staff who participated came away feeling we have made a positive impact on the state of Louisiana,” said ULM SGA President and SAC Chair Brooke Dugas. Other members of SAC are Grambling SGA President Channing Gaulden, who also serves as the SAC Service-Learning Coordinator, Louisiana Tech SGA President Clint Carlisle, McNeese SGA President John Tarasiewicz who also serves as SAC Vice Chair, Nicholls SGA President John Lombardo who also serves as the UL System Student Board Member, Northwestern SGA President Tara Luck, Southeastern SGA President Luke Holloway, UL Lafayette SGA President Kylie Templet, and University of New Orleans SGA President John Mineo whose university became part of the UL System in December of 2011. “I am extremely proud of our student leaders. They conceptualized, planned, and executed these events to help an organization that gives hope to so many children. In higher education, we are in the business of educating students but sometimes they teach us, such as the value of service and philanthropy,” said UL System President Randy Moffett.

University of Louisiana System – Nine Universities Strong



UNO’s Golden Richard is a Digital Detective

By Adam Norris


r. Golden Richard likes to destroy and create. His position as a professor of computer science at the University of New Orleans allows him to do the former, while his hobby as a concert photographer allows him to do to the latter. In sum, the two activities create harmony for a man who always wants to tinker.

“In 2001 digital forensics was just starting to become an academic field. I met a small group of people at a fledgling conference that was starting to do this and had actually given it a name—digital forensics. Basically it’s recovering data to find digital evidence. For me it just naturally clicked,” says Dr. Golden Richard.

Richard is the director of the Greater New Orleans Center for Information Assurance at UNO, where he teaches and researches computer security including digital forensics, reverse engineering and malicious software. “I break things and take stuff apart,” Richard says of his work as a digital detective. Richard, who has taught computer science at UNO since 1994, has been on the cutting edge of computer security. “In 2001 digital forensics was just starting to become an academic field,” Richard says. “I met a small group of people at a fledgling conference that was starting to do this and had actually given it a name—digital forensics. Basically it’s recovering data to find digital evidence. For me it just naturally clicked.” In his research on malicious software, he figures out how a computer virus works through reverse engineering or as Richard puts it, “taking it apart from the bottom up.” The work of Richard and his colleagues is in such high demand that he was recently invited to speak to the National Security Agency. “They are totally gung-ho about the forensics stuff,” Richard says. “They love it.” When Richard is not obsessing over lines of computer code, he can be found in any number of music venues around New Orleans taking pictures. “There’s a correlation that comes up a lot,” Richard says. “Brilliant musicians are also brilliant computer scientists. I can’t do music at all, but I have a good ear for music and a good eye for capturing musicians in their element.” Richard, who owns more than 4,000 CDs, says his concert photography hobby has taken off in recent years. He started a website that showcases a wide array of musicians in an authentic and visceral way. His images are so vibrant, the music almost seems to bleed through the pictures. He also

University of New Orleans – Nine Universities Strong


provides the photos to the performers for free. It’s his small gift to the musicians who have inspired him to destroy and create. “You can listen to pounding music while breaking down code, but it’s better just to go listen to the pounding music,” Richard says.

Dr. Golden Richard Photo by Joseph Solis

A 5:45 a.m.

Day in the Life

Showered and put on field clothes. Got the paper and ate breakfast before my wife (also a fish biologist at UNO) and son woke up. Walked to UNO and checked emails from the night before.


6:45 a.m.

I prepared for Estuarine Environmental Science class field trip to Pointe aux Herbes. Got truck from parking lot and drove to loading dock. I then loaded truck with buckets, cast nets, jars, and other supplies for field trip. I also made copies of student field trip permission forms.

8 a.m.

Met with students to discuss field trip, and we drove to Pointe aux Herbes at the southern end of the Highway 11 Bridge over Lake Pontchartrain.

8:50 a.m.

Short lecture on the beach about the history of Pointe aux Herbes, the formation of shell beaches, and why sometimes more dead dolphins are found inshore during disasters. Students collected fishes, invertebrates and microinvertebrates, both along the beach and in a nearby lagoon.

10:30 a.m.

of Dr. Martin T. O’Connell,

Short identification lecture where I identified all the organisms collected and gave a brief description of their biology, behavior, and ecological connections. I ended with another short lecture about Intermittently Closed and Opened Lagoons and Lakes (ICOLLs) and a comparison of the Louisiana oyster fishery with the oyster fisheries on the East Coast.

11:05 a.m.

Cleaned equipment and loaded it into the truck. We drove back to UNO.

12:30 p.m.

I ate lunch at the faculty meeting. Faculty discussed mid-term grades of undergraduate students and possible methods for assisting undergraduate students who might be having problems with classes. The chair asked me to present an update on my work with the Dean’s Graduate Student Retention Committee.

University of New Orleans – Nine Universities Strong

Habitat For Humanity Project

By Adam Norris

On a postcard-perfect fall afternoon in New Orleans, dazzling sunshine and a cool breeze beckoned many people to parks and playgrounds. It was also the first day of mid-semester break for the University of New Orleans. And in spite of the alluring weather and their abundant free time, 20 UNO students spent the day in the Carrollton neighborhood wielding hammers, paint brushes and circular saws. The students participated in a Habitat For Humanity volunteer project, which, as the small sign outside the one-story house indicated, will be the future home for a mother and her two children. This was no mere photo opportunity. The students, along with a couple of UNO staff and two other Habitat For Humanity home recipients, donned hard hats and worked a full eight-hour day, with an hour break for lunch. Derwin Wilright Jr., an international studies major, says it’s a small sacrifice that he was happy to make. “We’re very fortunate,” says the senior from St. Rose. “Like myself, even as a broke college student, we have some privilege and we have some time to do something better for our community.” The Habitat For Humanity project was organized by UNO’s Office of Student Involvement and Leadership. Dale O’Neill, coordinator of leadership and service initiatives, says students derive a special satisfaction from working to improve their own communities. UNO draws the vast majority of its student

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Director of the Nekton Research Laboratory (NRL) at the University of New Orleans 3 p.m.

I acted as the moderator and grader for the class debate in my Environmental Science and Policy course. The debate was on whether bio fuels provided energy security to the United States.

4:50 p.m.

I walked with my wife to pick up our 3-year-old son at daycare. Then we all walked home.

5:45 p.m.

With my wife and son, I drove Uptown for dinner and drinks with a former UNO colleague and his wife, who were in town visiting from North Carolina.

8:30 p.m.

Arrived back home where we played with our son and then read books with him until he fell asleep. Watched a little television news and then went to bed.

University of New Orleans earth and environmental sciences professor Martin O’Connell lectures about a fish collected during a class field trip at the southern end of Lake Pontchartain. Photo by

University of New Orleans – Nine Universities Strong


body from the metropolitan New Orleans area, so for many of the student volunteers, the impact is powerful. “What impresses me the most about UNO students who volunteer in such service projects is their ability to truly empathize with individuals in need and their dedication to the city of New Orleans,” O’Neill says. “We’ve been devastated by Katrina and Gustav,” says Calvin Captville, a senior engineering major from Baton Rouge. “And the fact that I can contribute to the community where I live makes it even more meaningful.” UNO’s Division of Student Affairs makes it a priority to offer ample opportunities for student volunteerism beyond the borders of campus, such as feeding the homeless or doing tutoring. Photo by Adam Norris

University of New Orleans students volunteer during their mid-semester break in the city’s Carrollton neighborhood to build a home with Habitat For Humanity.


“By participating in the service initiatives offered by UNO, students will be able to become active members of the community while gaining new skills, contributing to the betterment of the city, and building connections with other students and community members,” O’Neill says. “Through such activities, students’ civic engagement is enriched, allowing them to become responsible, ethical citizens.”

University of New Orleans – Nine Universities Strong

Big Easy Rollergirls New Orleans is a city with a seemingly limitless number of entertainment options. So it should come as no surprise that among the restaurants, nightclubs, festivals, art galleries and pro sports teams jockeying for attention, there is still enough elbow room for roller derby. The colorful, full-contact, four-wheeled sport that rose to prominence in the 1970s is enjoying a national renaissance. And in New Orleans, the city’s all-female flat-track roller derby league is the Big Easy Rollergirls. Now in its sixth year, the league has relied on a community-focused, fanfriendly approach to cultivate a loyal following. The most noticeable thing about the Big Easy Rollergirls’ home bouts at the University of New Orleans Human Performance Center (HPC) isn’t just the amount of people crowding into the bleachers, it’s the number of different people in attendance. Tattooed hipsters and college students sit side-by-side with grandmothers and middleaged men in golf shirts. There’s even a guy dressed up like Elvis. While most events

By Adam Norris

seem to be marketed to a specific demographic, the Big Easy Rollergirls appear to appeal to, well, everyone. A summertime bout between the Crescent Wenches and the Cajuns Rollergirls brought out hundreds of fans and featured a festival-like atmosphere with music, vendors and costumed announcers. The main event followed with two teams of five women, with names like Emerald LaGhastly and Olive Chaos, crashing and clashing

on the track. “The HPC is perfect,” says Aja Aguilar who goes by the name D’Aja Voo (Dat). “It’s small enough to make the experience intimate and personable. The stands allow for perfect track visibility; the acoustics greatly complement our sound system. The feel and layout really align with what we are doing here with roller derby—a local community sports organization with a fan base that motivates us to grow.”

Members of the Crescent Wenches and Cajuns Rollergirls jockey for position on the track. Photo by Adam Norris


In the past 30 years, more than 5,000 of the state’s public school teachers and school administrators received degrees from UNO.

Graduates of UNO’s Creative Writing Workshop have published more than 65 books.

ecent Film, Theatre and Communication Arts graduates have started five new R theatre companies in the past five years.

00% of the Kabacoff School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration 1 master’s degree graduates are placed in an industry-specific job.

There are more than 33,000 UNO alumni living in metropolitan New Orleans.

There are more than 41,000 UNO alumni living in Louisiana.

University of New Orleans – Nine Universities Strong



Eclectic Museum Venue Perfect for Celebration of Retired Geologist’s 90th Birthday By Keli Jacobi


etired geology professor John H. McCarter declared to well-wishers at his 90th birthday that the event was a celebration, not a “swan song.”

Photo by Terrance Armstard

Retired ULM geology professor John H. McCarter blows out all 90 candles on his birthday cake during a celebration at the university’s Museum of Natural History.

Hundreds of friends and admirers had packed the Museum of Natural History at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, one of the university’s most eclectic venues, to commemorate his lifetime of achievement. McCarter’s eccentric tastes, as well as his passion for teaching and learning, made the museum the perfect backdrop for the celebration, just as it has been the backdrop for numerous other learning experiences provided to the community throughout the years. For example, biologists, geologists, and numerous experts from across the U.S. deliver a wide range of free public lectures every year at the museum, thanks to the Friends of the Natural History Museum group. Last spring, grant funding provided free science enrichment to all Monroe middle school students through “Saturday Academies” at the museum and elementary students participated in science projects at the museum while attending Bayou Discovery Science Camp over the summer. The museum is open to school groups and drop-in visitors, and researchers from all over the world come and study the world-class collection of plant and animal specimens through exchange and visitation programs. The museum houses the world’s third largest university-based fish collection, the largest herbarium in the state, and one of the largest collections of Indian artifacts from archaic mound builders. It’s also home to a full size cast of a

University of Louisiana at Monroe – Nine Universities Strong


Columbian mammoth and a full size cast of the skull of “Sue,” the best preserved and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex specimen ever found. Sue’s full 42-footlong, 7-ton skeleton resides at the Chicago Field Museum. Representing 28 states and nine foreign countries, thousands of museum visitors in recent years have not only enjoyed “Sue” free of charge, but also a new 240-gallon saltwater reef tank and a full-size Bengal tiger mount. The museum, which Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler recently described as “impressive,” has recently completed the American Association of Museum’s Assessment Program, a positive first step toward national accreditation. Students participate in Bayou Discovery Science Camp, one of many events hosted at ULM’s Museum of Natural History. Photo by Terrance Armstard

A 5:30 am

Get up and shower. Read my Bible and have coffee.


Day in the Life

7:10 a.m.

Leave for work at the clinic on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On Mondays and Thursdays my day begins at the office. Over 25 percent of the overall education of pharmacy students includes pharmacy practice experiences designed to allow students to apply classroom learning to real-life situations. At the clinic students work under the direct supervison of licensed pharmacists to learn key aspects of the profession of

7:35 a.m.

Arrive at the clinic; get my computer going; print patient profiles; discuss patients with rotation students, nurse practitioner, and the physician, when needed

8 a.m.

See patients, perform medication therapy management and tobacco cessation; answer drug information requests; discuss disease states and management with students; and schedule patient appointments

11:30 a.m.

Have lunch; usually off campus but sometimes in my office

Dr. Laurel Andrews,

12:30 p.m.

Meet with rotation students to review Journal Club article, “Adjunctive Risperidone Treatment for Anti-depressantResistant Symptoms of Chronic Military Service-Related PTSD,” after they have finished preparing for the patients scheduled at clinic for the next day

1 p.m.

Give lecture on pituitary disorders for the Endocrinology Module. Other focuses this semester will include thyroid disorders and adrenal gland disorders.

University of Louisiana at Monroe – Nine Universities Strong

Half a Million Awarded to ULM Toxicology for Their Efforts in Measuring Water Quality

By Laura Woodard

State and federal agencies have awarded over half a million dollars to the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s Department of Toxicology to monitor water quality and measure biological diversity in the Bayou Lafourche and Turkey Creek tributaries. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $564,496 to ULM because these watersheds are listed as priorities by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed’s Initiative The goal is to aid agricultural producers in selected watersheds to implement conservation practices and systems that avoid, control and trap nutrient runoff, improve wildlife habitat, and maintain agricultural productivity. Nutrient loading contributes to both local water quality problems and the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico, according to Toxicology Department Head Kevin Baer. “These grants add to ongoing work near Start, Delhi, Tallulah, and in Bayou DeSiard for a total of almost $900,000 in funding for the next few years,” said Baer.

Assistant Professor of Pharmacy at the University of Louisiana at Monroe 2 p.m.

Attend Journal Club with other faculty and fourth year rotation students. Journal Club is held during every rotation block. Clinical faculty members that choose to participate, meet toward the end of each six week rotation block and have their students critically evaluate a current medication/disease related primary journal article. The students normally give a 15-30 minute presentation regarding the article they chose and then the other students and faculty members have discussion time after each presentation.

3:30 – 5 p.m.

Grade service learning assignments for first year pharmacy students in the My First Patient project, where students are their own first patient and are required to complete medication histories, a behavior change, and action plan assignment as well as a reflective essay. Catch up on email and review schedule for next day

Dr. Laurel Andrews, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy at the University of Louisiana at Monroe also serves as Coordinator of the Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience Program, which includes all service learning projects in the College of Pharmacy. Photo by Terrance Armstard

University of Louisiana at Monroe – Nine Universities Strong


Baer, Shannon Banks, John Herrock, and toxicology students at ULM will collect the data that will be critical in determining the success of conservation practices for improving water quality in these local watersheds. The Toxicology Department will partner with the ULM Plant-Soil Analysis Laboratory, the Northeast Delta Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry to complete the project.

Photo by Terrance Armstard

ULM’s Toxicology students collect water samples from Bayou DeSiard.

“Students will have the opportunity to gain tremendous experience in water quality monitoring, hydrologic techniques, and biological sampling and make significant contributions in improving water quality in this area,” said Baer, the grant’s principal investigator. “Participation in these projects is essential for training the next generation of environmental toxicologists and scientists.” ULM’s Toxicology Club, Tau Omicron Chi, has already been busy educating the community about non-point source pollution alongside Bayou DeSiard. Students have been disseminating educational brochures, bookmarks, door hangers and posters to 17 businesses adjacent to Bayou DeSiard, two public libraries, and approximately 600 homes in 12 neighborhoods adjacent to Bayou DeSiard. These educational materials contain information regarding ways to reduce non-point source pollution. Also part of the outreach efforts, students created and installed 10 signs that read, “Bayou DeSiard Drinking Water Protection Area No Dumping.”


University of Louisiana at Monroe – Nine Universities Strong


Anne T. Case Hanks, Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, chose to teach at the University of Louisiana at Monroe because ULM offers Louisiana’s only atmospheric science program. She is glad she did. Not only is ULM’s program unique, but its students are some of the best in the nation. In fact, one-third of National Weather Service forecasters in Louisiana are graduates of ULM’s atmospheric science program. “ULM atmospheric science students continue to amaze me. They are dedicated, smart, well-rounded individuals who are excited to learn about weather,” Hanks said. “It is very rewarding to see their knowledge about atmospheric sciences grow.” Hanks and her students work on research projects that directly impact Louisiana, such as case studies of severe weather outbreaks in the Northeast Louisiana area, computer modeling and code development, and hurricanerelated projects. “Our research excites and motivates me to investigate

and explore the atmosphere to participate in my first field and its chemical composition. experiment ‘The Central I am pleased with this body of California Ozone Study’ in work and the fact that I can which I helped measure incorporate undergraduate atmospheric formaldehyde. students. My research at ULM I have been hooked ever since.” has allowed me to participate Hanks teaches her students in field campaigns in Spain, the power of science. Canada and Greenland.” “If students leave my Originally from Ohio, Hanks classroom knowing only one earned her PhD at The Georgia thing, I would hope that it is the Institute of Technology and idea that science is a dialogue began working at ULM in 2008. and every day there is new Her favorite place on ULM’s information being explored. campus is her lab. Students must be open to new “My lab may be loud and evidence and willing to change messy, but I feel at home their minds.” designing experiments, implementing plans, and reducing data. I am usually there during the week and on the weekends. I am also partial to ULM’s Starbucks—it is a perfect place to grab an afternoon pick-me-up!” It was during her summer internship with the Department of Energy that she was first exposed to the field of atmospheric chemistry. “Atmospheric chemistry is an application of physical chemistry with an element of engineering and fieldwork. Photo by Terrance Armstard This internship allowed me


t a 96.74 percent passage rate, the scores of ULM nursing students are well above A the 80 percent cutoff deemed “passing” by the Louisiana State Board of Nursing.

May 2011 graduates of the University of Louisiana at Monroe Medical Laboratory Science program earned a pass rate of 100 percent among first-time test takers of the American Society of Clinical Pathology Board of Certification exam for Medical Laboratory Scientists.

The Department of Dental Hygiene operates three clinics: the ULM Dental Hygiene Clinic on campus, which treats 2000 patients per year, Riser Middle School Clinic, which treats 200 children per year, and the Ouachita Parish Health Unit Dental Hygiene Clinic, which treats 200 children and adults per year.

The Kitty DeGree Speech and Hearing Center provides hundreds of screenings and evaluations annually, as well as approximately 4,000 hours of therapy to clients of all ages throughout the region.

University of Louisiana at Monroe – Nine Universities Strong



LAGCOE, UL Lafayette Have Long-StandingTies

By Sarah Spell


very two years, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette welcomes the Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition to its campus. The expo is one of the largest petroleum industry conferences in the United States. “LAGCOE has earned a reputation as an invaluable opportunity for education and commerce for oil and gas operators as well as equipment manufacturers and service companies,” said Lawrence Svendson, operations manager for Marlin Energy Offshore LLC. Svendson was chairman of the most recent expo, which was held in October. The expo has been held on the UL Lafayette campus since it began in 1955.

Photo courtesy of LAGCOE

The Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition is held at the Cajundome each year.

Svendson said LAGCOE is a distinctive event because of its size, geographic scope and venue. It draws about 15,000 visitors, including exhibitors, from across the United States and abroad. Exhibitors share technological advances and guest speakers offer lectures on critical industry issues. The event also provides opportunities for those in the industry to build business relationships. UL Lafayette students had a presence at the 2011 expo, as well. The Department of Petroleum Engineering staffed a booth where students shared their résumés with potential employers. Dr. Fathi Boukadi is an associate professor of petroleum engineering and the LAGCOE/Board of Regents Support Fund endowed professor of petroleum engineering. He is also head of the department. “Day in and day out, we maintain a close relationship with the oil and gas industry, especially along the Gulf Coast,” said Boukadi. “And

University of Louisiana at Lafayette – Nine Universities Strong


the expo gives our students the opportunity to network with industry professionals.” During LAGCOE, students invited company representatives to attend UL Lafayette’s 2012 Engineering and Technology Expo Day, which was held on campus on March 28. “We want give our students the best education possible, while keeping pace with technology, testing and best practices that are being used in the industry today. We want to keep the conversation going,” Boukadi said.

Photo courtesy of UL Lafayette

The Louisiana Cajundome

A 5 a.m.

Day in the Life

6 a.m.

Wake up. Check Get ready for work. overnight email messages and news. Get on the bike for a ride around the block.


7:30 a.m.

8:30 a.m.

Drop kids at school Meet with graduate and arrive at and undergraduate Abdalla Hall. students enrolled in my Computer Science Special Projects course to discuss their work with the staff from the Center for Business & Information Technologies. Students were involved with the development a software system that provides reports, forecasts and simulations of Louisiana’s workforce supply and demand, to help the State of Louisiana with strategic and policy decisions related to education, workforce development and economic development.

9:15 a.m.

Receive the Deputy Commissioner of the Louisiana Division of Administration who arrives at Abdalla Hall for demonstration of a software tool developed by the NIMSAT Institute. The software system collects data and provides analytics that will assist the State of Louisiana on claims related to the Gulf Oil Spill.

Dr. Ramesh Kolluru, 10:15 a.m.

Leave for Wharton Hall to attend an interview/meeting with one of the candidates for the position of the university provost.


Return to Abdalla Hall to join the Louisiana Workforce Commission team and finalize details for transfer of Workforce Supply and Demand Forecast Simulator for use in their offices. Join graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Topics in Computer Information Systems course for lunch and a conversation on the progress of their projects.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette – Nine Universities Strong

Architecture Students Revitalizing Neighborhoods By Christine Payton

Some UL Lafayette architecture students are designing “green” homes as a way to revitalize some of Lafayette’s neglected neighborhoods. The first home, named “Event House,” was built at 500 Madison St., near downtown Lafayette. It is powered by solar energy and has an energy-efficient cooling and heating system. It was constructed with sustainable and renewable materials. “This is the first new house to be built in this area in almost 50 years,” said Geoff Gjertson, associate professor of architecture and design at UL Lafayette. He is the lead faculty member for the project. The Event House is financed by the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority. It’s part of a neighborhood infill initiative, which is intended to fill vacant or underutilized property between existing buildings. Proceeds from the sale of the house will be used to construct the next home. A team of 11 architecture students began designing the multi-functional home during the Fall 2010 semester. It was asked to devise a construction method that would reduce building material waste, on-site construction time and

Assistant Vice President for Research at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette 1 p.m.

Travel to Baton Rouge for a meeting with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

2:30 p.m.

Meet with the chief technology officer and the director for analytics at the Louisiana Department ofHealthandHospitals to develop details of a strategic partnership between DHH and UL Lafayette.

4:30 p.m.

Meet with the VP for FirstCall Technologies to discuss details of a seminar presentation at the UL Lafayette Center for Advanced Computer Studies. FirstCall is one of the members of the NSF Center for Visual and Decision Informatics (CVDI) Industry Advisory Board under development.

5:15 p.m.

Travel back to Lafayette.

6:15 p.m.

Have dinner with the provost candidate and other members of the search committee.

9:30 p.m.

Go home. Kids are already asleep! Spend some time with wife before crashing.

Dr. Kolluru is the director of the Center for Business and Information Technologies (CBIT) and executive director of the National Incident Management Systems and Advanced Technologies (NIMSAT) Institute. He established CBIT at UL Lafayette in 2003 to support the university’s economic development agenda through research, development, and technology transfer. He was instrumental in the university’s response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita, working with the leadership of Louisiana Economic Development. Established basedonthelessonslearnedfromHurricanesKatrinaandRitain2005, theNIMSATInstitute seeks to develop public-private partnerships to enhance national resiliency to a full range of potential disasters by conducting research leading to cutting edge tools and applications that empower the homeland security and emergency management community through education,training,andoperationalsupport.Pleasevisitnimsat.orgorcbit.louisiana.edufor more information. Photo by Blane Faul

University of Louisiana at Lafayette – Nine Universities Strong


the need for subcontractors. The team was also challenged to maximize energy efficiency and rely on a renewable energy source, such as solar power. “This project gives our architecture students some actual hands-on experience in building design and construction. But, it also helps revitalize this area and encourage new building in the neighborhood,” Gjertson said. The Event House is intended to appeal to young professionals looking for an energyefficient, contemporary home within walking distance of downtown.

Photo courtesy of UL Lafayette

UL Lafayette’s School of Architecture’s Event House

The two-bedroom, two-bath house has 1,250 square feet of living space, with an additional 500 square feet of covered porches. It has two main sections – an entertainment area and a bedroom area – that are connected by a flexible transitional space. The central space could be used as an office, for example. Gjertson said the goal of the program is to build a new home each year. A group of seven graduate architecture students designed the NEXThouse during the Fall 2011.


University of Louisiana at Lafayette – Nine Universities Strong

SWEET SOUNDS OF CAJUN, CREOLE MUSIC Walk through the hallways of UL Lafayette’s music building and listen. You may hear hear the distinctive sound of a Cajun waltz. Dr. Mark DeWitt, a professor of music, is shaping traditional music studies on campus. An ethnomusicologist who specializes in Cajun and Creole music, he joined the faculty in July 2010. He has created performancebased courses — ensemble, fiddle and accordion classes — where students learn from noted musicians. Michael Doucet and Wilson Savoy have served as instructors. “Traditional music is demonstration, imitation and critique. You’re in the presence of musicians who are more accomplished than you are. They demonstrate to you, you play or sing the music back to them. It’s that interaction, that live contact with traditional artists, that’s important,” said DeWitt. He is the first to hold the Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Music. Comeaux was a medical doctor and a gifted musician. When he was killed in a traffic crash in 1997, his friends began holding annual fundraising concerts. Over the past 14 years, they have helped raise more than $1 million to honor Comeaux and establish traditional music studies at the

university. DeWitt earned a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — an unlikely foundation for a career in music. But music was his passion and he pursued it. While he was earning his master’s degree at the New England Conservatory of Music, he discovered Louisiana music — in Cambridge, Mass. There he saw Queen Ida, who was at the height of her zydeco career.. “I’d never heard anything like it before — not even a recording. I was hooked,” he said. DeWitt completed master’s and doctoral degrees in ethnomusicology at the University

By Sarah Spell

of California, Berkeley. His doctoral thesis became a book about Cajun and zydeco dance music in Northern California. DeWitt’s long-range goals include the creation of a research center for traditional music and the development of a degree program. In Spring 2012, he will invite local artists as songwriters in residence to help him teach a songwriting class. “There will be a lot of emphasis on Cajun and Creole music but we’re not looking exclusively at those genres. We’re looking at the transmission of traditional music — whether it’s Cajun or bluegrass — as a process,” he said.

Dr. Mark DeWitt, professor of music, is the first to hold the Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Music at UL Lafayette. Photo by Jim Block


Jobs created and retained by Louisiana businesses served by UL Lafayette’s economic development centers: 22,790.

More than 7,000 non-university jobs are created by university spending. Also, UL Lafayette is the third largest employer in Lafayette Parish, with about 1,900 employees.

Every dollar of state funding invested in UL Lafayette generates an $8.62 return.

The university’s economic development centers are responsible for about $1.2 billion in increased revenues for their clients.

UL Lafayette is among the top 200 universities in the nation in research and development funding. It attracted $69.4 million in external research funds in 2010.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette – Nine Universities Strong



Special Olympics Brings Visitors to Campus Annually By Rene Abadie


very May following the end of the spring semester at Southeastern Louisiana University, the Hammond campus comes alive again with the influx of a group of special athletes, their family members and coaches.

Photo by Randy Bergeron

Patricia Carpenter Bourgeois, CEO and president of Special Olympics Louisiana, and Southeastern Director of Purchasing Ed Gautier, who serves as volunteer chair of the organization’s State Summer Games held annually at Southeastern, pose in the lobby of Special Olympics Louisiana.

At the annual state summer games for Special Olympics Louisiana, more than 700 athletes of all ages and 300 coaches move into the university’s residence halls for a weekend of friendly competition in Olympictype sports. Geared for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, the games provide participants opportunities to improve their physical fitness while enhancing their self-esteem and confidence. But with only 15 paid staff people, the nonprofit organization depends heavily on a strong workforce of dedicated volunteers; more than 14,000 individuals throughout the state work in approximately 100 regional and state competitions. The summer games alone use hundreds of volunteers, doing everything from handling games management, refereeing events, working in health screenings, and arranging the Saturday evening dance, a highlight of the weekend’s activities. The university has been home for the summer games for the past 11 years, said Southeastern Director of Purchasing Ed Gautier, who has voluntarily headed the event since it returned to Hammond. A member of the Special Olympics Louisiana Board of Directors, Gautier ensures adequate volunteers are employed all over the campus to keep the operation running smoothly. “We get a good number of volunteers from faculty and staff, as well as from our student

Southeastern Louisiana University – Nine Universities Strong


organizations,” said Gautier. “The Lady Lions basketball team is always there at opening ceremonies, cheering on the athletes. “ He said the Greek organizations are also heavily involved in Olympic Town, a fair-like experience the athletes enjoy between competitions. Special Olympics CEO and President Pat Carpenter Bourgeois said Southeastern has been a valuable partner, and not just in hosting the summer games. “We depend greatly on Southeastern,” she said. “We use students from a number of areas who intern here or work as volunteers, such as accounting and marketing students to help manage the operation. We use the sports management students in helping to run the games. We give the students lots of opportunities, so they’re not just doing mundane tasks but are involved in meaningful ways. It works well: they gain the experience needed to find jobs, we get the benefits of their work and expertise. “The athletes and coaches love Southeastern,” she added. “It has a nice community atmosphere and home environment, and Southeastern bends over backwards to accommodate us in every way.”

A 5 a.m.

Day in the Life

Begin day with a run with my Great Dane Oberon, followed by a healthy breakfast of organic cereal. “All those endorphins coursing through my body prepare me for a great day.” Prepares for work and begins her short commute from Mandeville to Southeastern in her Prius.

7:30 a.m.

Arrives at D Vickers Hall on the Southeastern campus. Starts up her computer and tackles the myriad of e-mails received overnight from students and others, prioritizing them according to urgency. “I check the ones from my Romantic Relationships telecourse, since I don’t actually see those students; their emergency questions may need to be answered immediately.” Reviews lecture notes for morning class.


8 a.m.

Teach class in Organizational Communication Theory. “The favorite part of my day. The students are so interesting and fun.”

9:15 a.m.

Brief discussions with individual class members regarding assignments, etc.

9:30 a.m.

Dr. Suzette Plaisance Bryan,

Teach class in Communication Theories and Research

10:45 a.m.

Brief discussions with individual class members regarding assignments, etc.

11 a.m.

Office hours. Meet with students who have appointments or drop in. Respond to inquiries from organizations that have requested her for presentations. On the schedule are presentations for the East St. Tammany Business Women’s Network, the Positive Action Group, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. “Some of these may involve a PowerPoint presentation, development of handouts and other materials.” Class prep begins and includes reviewing and revising lecture notes, determining how to supplement lectures, and working on ancillary materials such as handouts or PowerPoint presentations.

Southeastern Louisiana University – Nine Universities Strong

Southeastern Earns Spot on National Honor Roll for Service By Rene Abadie

When Southeastern was named to the President’s Higher Education Honor Roll for community service this past spring, not many people on campus were surprised. The university has a well recognized history of community service. In fact, “service” has been an official core value of Southeastern since the institution of its formal strategic planning process in 1990s. “Service is a value we try to instill in the Southeastern family, either as part of service-learning integrated with an academic course or as self-generated activities by our students, faculty and staff that demonstrate the university’s commitment to the area” said President John L. Crain. “Service is an important element in our students’ overall education.”

Photo courtesy of Southeastern

Associate Professor of Communication at Southeastern Louisiana University Noon

Take a brief lunch break, then back to the office

12:45 p.m.

Office hours. Continue with class preparation, gradingassignments, responding to e-mails.Othercourses taught during the week include her Monday night class on Communication Training,Assessment and Development, a classonspecialtopics, and the Romantic Relationships telecourse

3 p.m.

Review materials for a University of Louisiana System committee to develop an online degree program in leadership.

4 p.m.

Meet with students regarding planned spring “Earth Day Celebration,” which is coordinated by students in the Public Relations Campaigns course or with other faculty to coordinate conference presentations

Meet with undergraduate and graduate students who may have questions on assignments or request advising on course work or on students’ capstone projects. Post materials online for Romantic Relationships telecourse.

Southeastern Louisiana University – Nine Universities Strong

5 p.m.

Wrap up day answering e-mails, reviewing schedule for next day.

5:30 p.m.

Leave campus and return home; takes class and lecture notes to review in the evening and assignments to review and grade.

Southeastern’s Suzette Bryan demonstrates for students how worms work in developing compost at last spring’s Earth Day celebration. Bryan’s class in Public Relations Campaigns spearheads the annual project. Photo by Randy Bergeron


Tena Golding, director of the Center for Faculty Excellence which oversees service-learning projects, said Southeastern earned its position by showing that nearly 3,300 students provided more than 110,000 hours of volunteer service in 200910. She estimated the activity equates to a value of more than $2.3 million. In addition, Greek organizations documented 10,465 service hours and a total of more than $34,200 in direct contributions to non-profit organizations. Last spring, the Southeastern Student Government Association marshaled the forces of more than 325 students to spend a Saturday volunteering their services to area non-profit agencies and businesses in an effort dubbed “The Big Event.”

Photo by Randy Bergeron

As part of their servicelearning course, Southeastern teacher candidates spend afternoons tutoring elementary school students in Hammond who need assistance with math in the After School Achievement Program. ASAP is conducted with the sponsorship of the Tangipahoa Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council and JC Penney.

William Takewell, SGA Chief Justice and director of The Big Event, said 327 student participants worked at 26 different job sites. Among the agencies assisted that day were CASA, Head Start facilities, the St. Vincent de Paul store, and TARC, a disability service center in Hammond. “I was blown away by the support and willingness of every student to participate,” he said. “In the future, I would love to see this grow to include thousands of students,” he added. “ He may get that opportunity. This year Southeastern is participating in the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. Takewell’s goal is to more than double the number of volunteers and job sites assisted. “We want to show that college students do care, and that when people of different beliefs and backgrounds work together, outstanding things can happen,” he said. Southeastern was one of two institutions in the University of Louisiana System to be placed on the President’s Higher Education Honor Roll. The recognition program is conducted in collaboration with the several U.S. departments, Campus Compact and the American Council on Education.


Southeastern Louisiana University – Nine Universities Strong


Southeastern physicist David Norwood studies polymer characterization - a fuzzy area of science where physics overlaps with chemistry. However, his focus on students is laser sharp. As one of the principle faculty mentors for the student-run SEAL (“Student Entrepreneurs as Active Leaders”) program, he has witnessed several recent graduates of Southeastern’s physics program land desirable positions at companies such as Dow Chemical, River Bend and Waterford 3 nuclear power plants. “Through SEAL, area businesspeople see first-hand the abilities of our students; they’re already asking when our SEAL students will graduate so they can hire them,” he said. Norwood played a major role in securing a $425,000 grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents to set up SEAL. The program – which has been featured in the national newsletter Chemical & Engineering News – links students with area plants and industries that are looking for cost-effective answers to puzzling problems. Through SEAL, students have worked on research projects for companies such as Gaylord Chemical of Bogalusa, U.S. Composite Pipe South in Zachary, V-Labs of Covington, and Bercen of Denham Springs.

“Students in SEAL get the benefits that come with any research – hands-on, experiential learning in a pure form,” he said. “Their work provides a direct connection between classwork and concrete application of the science they are studying. In addition, students gain a view of the unique character of research in a business environment, allowing them to interact with business people.” The preparation and experience offered in a relatively small program such as that offered at Southeastern proves to be invaluable for students as they move into graduate school or industry, Norwood explained. “Faculty here believe and live the creed that our presence is for the students, with the goal of helping them make a better life for themselves … financially and in every other way,” Norwood says. “We’re here because we want to be here.” Norwood explains that the Southeastern Chemistry and Physics Department is relatively small in terms of student numbers. It is an environment, however, that allows significant faculty-student interaction and involvement in research and other projects that undergraduates at larger institutions don’t usually enjoy.

“Research at Southeastern is considered an extension and part of our teaching,” he said. “As opposed to a large researchoriented institution, the students here are motivated to make the most of the opportunity they are given and benefit by the close association they have with the faculty.” Southeastern, he explains, takes collaboration beyond the lab. Many students get the opportunity to travel to regional and national scientific conferences where they not only attend sessions but actually make presentations. This opportunity, Norwood said, would be highly unlikely at a research institution.

Photo by Randy Bergeron


• According to recent surveys, 75 percent of employers responded that hires from Southeastern were better prepared for employment than other employees.

• Of the approximately 2,600 public school teachers in Livingston and Tangipahoa parishes, 82 percent are Southeastern graduates. • Since 2004, the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southeastern has served more than 4,000 clients, consulted with more than 2,500 entrepreneurs, has helped create more than 2,200 new jobs and has assisted with more than 470 successful business startups. • Southeastern’s Supply Chain Management Program combines the disciplines of marketing, operations management and information systems. With two Interstate systems, railway and port capabilities in the region, the program is fulfilling a regional workforce need. • The music program in Southeastern’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts is the second largest in the state. The vigorous performance schedule of its various orchestras and ensembles is seen as a primary cultural force in the region. Southeastern Louisiana University – Nine Universities Strong



Louisiana’s Poet Laureate is Northwestern’s Julie Kane By David West


hen Julie Kane announces to her freshman literature class they will be focusing on poetry, she is used to seeing students roll their eyes and making faces. But after a semester learning from Kane, a professor of English at Northwestern State University, many students become poetry fans.

Photo by Gary Hardaman

Northwestern State University professor of English Julie Kane goes over an assignment with two of her students. Kane was appointed Louisiana poet laureate by Governor Bobby Jindal.

“When I announce in class that the course will focus on poetry, many of the students are horrified,” said Kane. “They are afraid of poetry, but that is usually because they don’t understand it. I am my happiest when I read a student evaluation and I see a comment that says ‘I thought I didn’t like poetry and I am surprised to discover that I do like it.” Kane teaches classes in literature, poetry, creative writing and non-fiction writing and is advisor for Argus, the award-winning campus literary magazine. In early 2012, she was appointed as Louisiana poet laureate by Gov. Bobby Jindal for a two-year term. As poet laureate, she gives poetry readings around the state and promotes the work of Louisiana poets. Teaching wasn’t Kane’s first career. She worked as a technical writer for several years before deciding teaching was her calling. “I liked technical writing a lot. It was challenging and interesting, like putting a crossword puzzle together, but I didn’t have a passion for it,” she said. “I would do workshops and readings in the New Orleans area whenever I could. Teaching is in my blood. My mother, aunt and great aunt were teachers. I decided in the 90s I would focus on teaching.” Kane won the Donald Justice Poetry Prize for her book “Jazz Funeral.” A former Fulbright Scholar, Kane was a winner of the National Poetry Series Open Competition for her book “Rhythm & Booze.” She was a finalist for one of the major prizes in American poetry, The Poets’ Prize for the Best Collection of American Poetry, and a judge for the 2005 National Book Award in Poetry. Her poem “Particle Physics” was featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac.

Northwestern State University – Nine Universities Strong


“Writing poetry and teaching have some things in common,” said Kane. “They require energy and spontaneity and imagination.” Kane works to break down barriers that keep many students from appreciating poetry. “I tell them they can understand poetry as well as anyone,” she said. “They just need to read it carefully and look up words they don’t understand. I tell them not liking poetry is the same as not liking music. You may not like rap or country and western, but you like rock. A student may not like a poet who wrote a couple of centuries ago, but they may like modern poets like Charles Bukowski or Anne Sexton. They can all find someone they can relate to, but have to give it a chance.” According to Kane, American poetry can help students better understand other subjects. “American poetry gives insight into American history and culture you don’t get anywhere else,” said Kane. “Students have expressed that poems written during the Civil Rights era express such emotional feeling that they understand what took place in a way they were not able to in history class.”

A 6 a.m.

Wake up. Shower, shave, bowl of oatmeal and a cup of coffee. Water and feed the pets. Scan through five newspapers for interesting items, save them to read later.


Day in the Life 7 a.m.

Arrive at Kyser Hall, check email. Three students need help, articles from the Economic Policy Institute and Institute of Peace Studies to read. Deal with two faculty issues and computer problems. Fix one myself, put in a work order for the other. Grab a second cup of coffee and head for class..

8 a.m.

Meet with my Introduction to Social Sciences freshman seminar class. Discuss critical thinking and its importance to them as students and as professionals when they graduate. Answer three student questions after class.

9 a.m.

Help a student from Freshman Seminar straighten out schedule problems. Make a note to talk to her advisor, should have caught that earlier. Answer two emails from the Department Chair with one issue handled on the spot and make a note to handle the other before noon deadline. Begin working on the Spring schedule.

10 a.m.

Continue working on the Spring schedule, making sure everyone has an appropriate teaching load and that necessary courses are being offered. Check room availability chart for space. Contact adjuncts about planned courses for them in the Spring.

of Dr. William Housel, 11:30 a.m.

Check online graduate class (Peace Studies, Conflict Transformation and Global Security). Answer discussion board entries. Look up information necessary to answer one of the student’s entries. Post additional readings for the class.

1 p.m.

Work on National Endowment for the Humanities grant writeup. Consult with co-principal investigator on content specifics.

Northwestern State University – Nine Universities Strong

Service-Learning Project Flowers in School Garden

By Leah Jackson

Michelle Morris has combined two things she greatly enjoys – working with children and gardening – into a service project to benefit Natchitoches public schools. During the last school year, Morris, assistant professor in Northwestern State University’s College of Education and Human Development, implemented a garden project for Natchitoches first, third and seventh grades with components that offered hands-on instruction in science, social studies, language arts and other content areas. School gardens have flowered in popularity because they provide opportunities to combine academic instruction with life-long skills and healthy eating, Morris said. Assisted by three other professors and a handful of teacher candidates, students learned about the parts of plants, why water is important and how to grow plants from seeds. “The kids decided what to plant and they chose butterfly-attracting plants, which tied in with a previous lesson in which they hatched and released butterflies. They also released thousands of ladybugs,” Morris said. “The students respond better to this than to a passive style of instruction. They really like when we do something hands-on.” Second graders at Parks finished up the year by planting herbs and other plants in container gardens. Next year, Morris will work with the same group

Associate Professor of History at Northwestern State University 2 p.m.

2:30 p.m.

Prepare for Meeting for Constitution Day the Campus discussions in the Communicators library tonight. Program Prepare discussions for Immigration Laws, and Article One, Section 8 for my presentation. Be ready to participate in the discussions of the War Powers Act and Health Care Reform cases.

3:00 p.m.

Meet with a student about her Louisiana Scholars’ College thesis (I am a reader for her committee). Go over her chapter and offer advice on issues. Discuss plans for the layout of her thesis, how to focus her next chapters to accomplish her goals.

4 p.m.

Finish prep for the Constitution Day discussions. Get in a few more minutes on the grant write up before I go to the library.

5:30 p.m.

Go to Watson Library to prepare the space for the evening’s discussion. Program starts at 6 p.m., goes to 7:30.

7:30 p.m.

Go back to the office, prepare a schedule for next semester’s interdisciplinary course that has to be coordinated with faculty from Language and Communication (2) and Creative and Performing Arts (3). Email it off to the others for their approval.

8:30 p.m.

Home at last.

Dr. William Housel, Associate Professor of History at Northwestern State University teaches the Introductory Freshman Seminar and Social Sciences Capstone courses, as well as courses in History and Political Science. Photo by Gary Hardaman

Northwestern State University – Nine Universities Strong


of students to construct a new garden bed and transplant some of the potted plants into the bed. NSU’s College of Education and Human Development faculty are required to stay connected to the area’s K-12 schools, Morris said, and working with at-risk schools like Parks and Vaughn is rewarding when youngsters get excited about learning. The projects presented to the seventh graders at NSU Middle Lab were geared to advanced science and math instruction and incorporated technology into lessons. The seventh graders adopted several small flower beds around the school, adding soil, flowers, fertilizer and mulch to the beds. They learned how to create and maintain a watering schedule, pruned shrubs and constructed a new bed.

Photo by Gary Hardaman

First grade students Nicholas Moses, Haziel Castaneda and Dalasia Morrow helped Northwestern State professor Michelle Morris plant sprouts in their school garden where they grew potatoes, garlic and broccoli.


“Next year, I hope to work with the next group of seventh graders to install three flag poles in the bed to display the U.S., Louisiana, and NSU flags. They will also be replacing some of the plants in the new bed that died during their spring break,” Morris said. “Volunteering has always been important to me,” said the enthusiastic Morris. “I am always trying to find a way to work with children, but I have never dived into a project quite like this. Staying connected to the K-12 students makes me a better professor and I can take the experience back to my college classroom. All the students are learning the importance of hands-on learning,” Morris said. “This is the type of project that you have to keep going.”

Northwestern State University – Nine Universities Strong


Northwestern State University has since 2007 hosted the Louisiana Boys and Girls State program, a summer leadership and citizenship program sponsored by the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary for high school students between their junior and senior years. The 2011 programs engaged approximately 400 boys and 550 girls, bringing not only delegates, counselors, Legionnaires and Legion Auxiliary members to Natchitoches, but also support staff, parents, friends and area dignitaries who attended convocation activities. “It continues to be our privilege at Northwestern to serve as host for the Louisiana Boys and Girls State programs. These students possess enormous potential and we are happy to play a role in the development of their leadership abilities,” said NSU President Dr. Randall J. Webb.

According to American Legion statements, “the primary objective of the activities is to develop pride in American citizenship and an appreciation of justice, freedom and democracy.” Delegates, who are referred to as citizens, are selected based on leadership, character, scholarship, and patriotism. “As a program designed to prepare young men and women for leadership, the importance of Boys and Girls State is difficult to quantify, but its role in engaging young adults in learning the principles of government in order to become involved citizens is invaluable,” said Dr. Chris Maggio, Dean of Students and Assistant Provost for Student Life. Louisiana Boys State began in 1940, followed by Louisiana Girls

State in 1941. The program was held on the Louisiana State University campus until 2007 when NSU began hosting the event. Citizens and counselors utilize several buildings on the NSU campus, including residence halls, meeting spaces and dining facilities, as well as some Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts facilities. Weeks of preparation go into planning the logistics of Boys and Girls State. In years past when the July 4 holiday has fallen during Boys and Girls State, the City of Natchitoches cooperated with Legionnaires and counselors to allow citizens to attend the city’s patriotic celebration in downtown Natchitoches. The Natchitoches Rotary Club also offers financial assistance and invites local delegates to speak at Rotary meetings. Photo by Gary Hardaman

More than 1,000 outstanding young adults are selected to attend Louisiana Boys and Louisiana Girls State every summer to learn the principles of government and develop leadership skills. Northwestern State University has hosted the American Legionand American Legion Auxiliary-sponsored events since 2007.

Workforce Impacts NORTHWESTERN STATE UNIVERSITY • Over the past year, the Small Business Development Center at Northwestern State University helped entrepreneurs start 21 new businesses, creating 90 new jobs. Another 125 jobs were saved helping small businesses survive tough economic times. Nearly $1.5 million was invested in the business startups. • Northwestern State provides degree and course options that assist employees in high demand occupation areas such as education, business, and healthcare obtain college degrees to help them advance in their chosen profession. • Students and faculty in Northwestern’s Department of Engineering Technology and Computer Information Systems conducted motion and time studies with several industries in northwest Louisiana including Alliance Compressors, Boise Wood Products in Florien and Flatwoods, ArtCrete, United Parcel Services in Natchitoches and International Paper. They studied procedures at each company and gave a report on time saving and improvement ideals. • Seventy-five percent of the nurses in northwest Louisiana are Northwestern State University graduates. • Northwestern State is the state affiliate university for the Project Lead the Way Organization which helps middle schools and high schools implement pre-engineering and biomedical courses.

Northwestern State University – Nine Universities Strong



Manning Camp is an Annual Economic Boost

By Graham Harvey


ummer youth camps at Nicholls State University attract more than 16,000 campers annually, many of whom visit from far beyond the Bayou Region – and all of whom generate a local economic boom.

Photo by Misty Leigh McElroy

The Manning Passing Academy draws thousands of visitors to Nicholls annually. Especially popular is the academy’s “Air It Out” event that showcases the skills of Peyton and Eli Manning as well as other NFL and college standouts.

Nicholls camps focus on academics, performing arts, recreation and other specialties tailored to individual interests. The camp with the most dramatic economic impact is the annual Manning Passing Academy, conducted by Archie, Peyton, Eli and Cooper Manning – the first family of football. An intense, four-day training session for high school football players, the academy draws more than 1,000 of the nation’s most promising quarterbacks and receivers to Nicholls every summer – 1,249 in 2011. Moreover, since the academy’s inception, all 50 states have been represented among the campers. They don’t arrive in Thibodaux alone, however. The event also attracts more than 1,000 parents, hundreds of camp volunteers, more than 80 coaches and several national media outlets. They make the pilgrimage to Thibodaux each year to see the Mannings and the NFL and college standouts who participate. “The economic impact of hosting the annual Manning Passing Academy at Nicholls has a farreaching effect on the city and our entire region,” Thibodaux Mayor Tommy Eschete said. “Not only do we in the Thibodaux area receive the benefit of increased sale of retail goods, we also receive nationwide media exposure, which we can never really place a price tag on.” In a show of support and hospitality, many local business owners post university-generated, Manning Passing Academy welcome signs on their

Nicholls State University – Nine Universities Strong


storefronts each year. By the end of the camp in 2011, the influx of visitors had contributed $1.5 million to the Lafourche and Terrebonne parish economies – and with the Mannings planning to return to Thibodaux next year, the local economy will once again get a welcomed summertime boost. “For the seventh year, we’ve had a great time here,” Archie Manning said. “The people have been so great, and we appreciate the wonderful hospitality.” To learn more about the Manning Passing Academy, which is entering its eighth year at Nicholls, go to

Photo by Misty Leigh McElroy

NFL greats Eli, Archie and Peyton Manning (left to right) share a laugh during the 2011 Manning Passing Academy at Nicholls State University.

A 5 a.m.

Day in the Life

6:30 a.m.

Wake up. Drink a Arrive at the cup of coffee. Feed Department of the pets. Biological Sciences in Gouaux Hall. Return field equipment to storage after yesterday’s trip to the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, where alligator gar specimens were collected via airboat.


8 a.m.

Meet with graduate students who need assistance with their individual research projects, each of which is detailed at bayousphere.

9 a.m.

10 a.m.

Prepare Finalize lecture documentation for plans for upcoming upcoming marsh class. restoration project at Bay Jimmy in Plaquemines Parish – an initiative funded by Blue Planet Water Solutions.

of Dr. Allyse Ferrara, 10:30 a.m.

Conduct the lecture segment of a weekly lab/lecture course on the diversity of organisms, a required class for biology majors.

11:50 a.m.

Meet in the Bollinger Memorial Student Union with department colleague and husband for lunch. Discuss the progress of the Louisiana Native Plant Initiative, a multi-institution project at the Nicholls State University Farm tasked with collecting, preserving and increasing the abundance of native grasses, forbs and legumes from Louisiana’s ecosystems.

Nicholls State University – Nine Universities Strong

Nicholls Campaigns for Service

By Graham Harvey

Anne Frank said, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world.” Service-learning, at its core, is a teaching method that is driven by the desire to improve the world by marrying traditional classroom instruction with meaningful community service. At Nicholls State University, service learning is standard academic practice. The catalog offers 40 such classes in which to enroll. One such course, the campaigns class in the Department of Art, requires its senior-level students to put their graphic design skills to work helping area nonprofit organizations. The students work with the nonprofit clients to create logos, branding standards, brochures and other graphic design products. The client receives the designs, and the students build their portfolios. Trisha Dubina, assistant professor of art, has taught the semester-long course since 2006, and more than 30 nonprofit organizations have reaped the graphicdesign benefits. “It’s perfect as a service-learning component,” Dubina said. “It’s a versatile class where students increase their design skills while helping clients solve real-life problems.” Participating organizations have included the Bayou Country Children’s Museum, Thibodaux Main Street Inc., Habitat for Humanity, Casa of Terrebonne Inc. and the City of Thibodaux.

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Nicholls State University 1 p.m.

Work on a journal paper detailing the dune and beach restoration project at Elmer’s Island. Review science journals to determine which would be most likely to publish the paper.

4 p.m.

Participate in a conference call with fellow alligator gar experts from LSU to prepare for next year’s spawn.

6 p.m.

Teach Marine Conservation and Management, a graduatelevel class that discusses comprehension, evaluation and synthesis of marine conservation and management plans, as well as socio-economic factors, by-catch and habitat impacts. Case histories illustrating population assessment for conservation and management of marine species are studied.

9 p.m.

Meet husband and another department colleague for dinner and drinks at Spahr’s Seafood, the only restaurant in downtown Thibodaux with an alligator gar mounted on the wall. Discuss plans for the upcoming retreat at LUMCON, the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, a south Terrebonne Parish facility where graduate students and faculty will convene to share research and discuss the future of the Louisiana coast.

Dr. Allyse Ferrara, associate professor of biological sciences at Nicholls, injects hormones into an adult alligator gar at the LSU Aquaculture Research Station near Baton Rouge. Her goal is to induce spawning for larvae research. Collected by Nicholls, the gar are housed at the LSU research station, facilitating collaborative research efforts between the two institutions. For additional information, go to Photo by Misty Leigh

Nicholls State University – Nine Universities Strong


“Finding clients is not difficult,” she said. “Clients find the program.” Christy Naquin, executive director of the Bayou Country Children’s Museum, said the course has benefited the museum’s development in numerous ways, specifically by providing the logo, 31-page branding guidelines and several brochures and folders. “We could not be happier with the final product and outcome,” she said. Nicholls has become a leader in Louisiana for service-learning projects. Students, faculty and staff members perform an average annual total of 176,000 volunteer service hours, enhancing both the economy and culture of the Bayou Region. Photo by Misty Leigh McElroy

Trisha Dubina, assistant professor of art at Nicholls, displays design projects from the Department of Art’s servicelearning capstone course.

In addition to offering service-learning courses, the university also hosted a UL System service-learning mini-conference in spring 2010. Free and open to all Louisiana university faculty members interested in incorporating service learning into their classes – as well as community members interested in partnering with Nicholls to conduct servicelearning projects – the event allowed participants to exchange ideas and learn how service-learning can create a more effective learning environment and strengthen communities. Such commitment to service-learning has earned Nicholls the highest federal recognition a university can receive for its devotion to volunteerism, service learning and civic engagement – the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll – four times in the past five years.


Nicholls State University – Nine Universities Strong

‘SURVEYING ON STEROIDS’ With a passion for environmental issues, emerging technologies, mathematics and cross-discipline ventures, Dr. Balaji Ramanchandran finds himself in the right place, at the right time, with the right career. The Bangalore, India, native is interim head of the Department of Applied Sciences, coordinator of geomatics and Contractors Educational Trust Fund endowed professor at Nicholls State University. Helming the eight-yearold geomatics program, unique among Louisiana baccalaureate tracks, Ramanchandran prepares students for high-tech careers in gathering, storing, processing and delivering geospatial information. “In other words, it’s surveying on steroids,” he said, “and Nicholls is the perfect place to learn and train for the discipline.”

which requires advanced, threedimensional mapping capabilities, are all major concerns on the Louisiana coast. Also, with the increasing number of retirees among Louisiana’s surveyors, the demand for new professionals is skyrocketing. Jobs are quite plentiful for Nicholls geomatics graduates. Geomatics enjoyed a substantial boost in early 2011, when the program received $100,000 to establish the Jules Oreste Chustz Memorial Student Endowed Scholarship, named in memory of the late child of Jimmy Chustz, president of Chustz Surveying Inc. (Contributions included $50,000 from Chustz Surveying Inc., $25,000 from the Louisiana Society of Professional Surveyors and $25,000 from

By Graham Harvey

the Contractors Educational Trust Fund.) Ramachandran said the ultimate goal is a $250,000 endowed scholarship, offering 20 annual awards of $1,000 each to Nicholls geomatics students. “We are most grateful for our strong industry support because that’s part of what prospective students look for in choosing a geomatics program,” Ramachandran said. “Basically, students who enjoy working outdoors and indoors and have a proficiency for mathematics and science need to take a serious look at what we’re doing here. They should also take note of the business relationships we’ve forged. Our graduates can earn annual salaries of $40,000-55,000, right after commencement.”

For additional information

Aside from its uniqueness, the program has generated around $2.2 million in competitive grants to build a state-of-theart geomatics laboratory and facilities, Ramachandran said. The laboratory features mapping software and field-surveying equipment, including terrestriallaser scanners and an unmanned aerial mapping vehicle. Acoustic scanners for underwater mapping will be added in the near future. The program is also well suited geographically, Ramachadran said. Property rights and boundary control, coastal restoration, offshore industries, homeland security, emergency preparedness and disaster management, each of

Dr. Balaji Ramachandran, interim head of the Department of Applied Sciences, coordinator of geomaticsandContractorsEducationalTrustFundendowedprofessoratNichollsStateUniversity, displays an unmanned aerial mapping vehicle – one of the features of the geomatics program’s Geospatial Technology Center. Photo by Misty Leigh McElroy

Workforce Impacts NICHOLLS STATE UNIVERSITY • 8 out of 10 nurses in the Bayou Region are Nicholls graduates. • 4 out of 5 teachers in the Bayou Region are Nicholls graduates. • 9 out of 10 Nicholls graduates choose to live and work in Louisiana. • The Department of Biological Sciences at Nicholls currently boasts 100 percent career placement of its graduates. • Nicholls was the first public university in the country to offer a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts, and 78 percent of John Folse Culinary Institute graduates live and work in Louisiana. Nicholls State University – Nine Universities Strong



Calcasieu Community Clinic

Photo by Anne Cobb

Brianna Brown, left, a McNeese nursing major, volunteers at the Calcasieu Community Clinic. Here she takes the blood pressure of Shawnee Gerrets of Lake Charles. The clinic, located at McNeese, offers valuable clinical experiences for both faculty and students in the College of Nursing.

By Renee LeLeux

The Calcasieu Community Clinic in Lake Charles is a nonprofit health care clinic that has provided free medical, dental and diagnostic visits for low-income, uninsured residents in a five-parish area since February 2001. The weekly clinic is staffed by volunteer physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, McNeese State University College of Nursing faculty and nursing students, and non-medical staff. It is housed at McNeese - the only community clinic located on a Louisiana university campus. “We are fortunate to be the guests of McNeese and to utilize its state-of-the-art facilities for the treatment of our patients,” said Kayla Rigney, CCC executive director. “This location not only provides excellent clinic facilities, but also is in a central area in a secure environment for those patients seeking our services.” In 1999, the Calcasieu Parish Medical Society was concerned about the availability of adequate health services for the uninsured and formed a clinic steering committee. The steering committee approached McNeese about including the clinic in Hardtner Hall, the new building designed to house the College of Nursing. Each Thursday from 6-9 p.m. a maximum of 30 patients are treated at the clinic on a first-come, first-served basis, according to Rigney. In the first 10 years of operation, CCC has held 613 clinics and provided 17,500 medical, dental and diagnostic visits to over 2,450 persons. “We have also filled 24,755 prescriptions through our state licensed pharmacy for a total value of $3.9 million in medical ($2 million) and pharmaceutical ($1.9 million) services to our five-parish area,” Rigney said. “Generally, we see an unduplicated patient base of about 250 persons per year, many establishing themselves with us for repeated visits.

McNeese State University – Nine Universities Strong


We average between 1,600-1,800 visits and fill an average of 2,000 prescriptions from our pharmacy each year.” She said the current volunteer database is well over 200 persons strong. “This list continues to grow as we expand our programs. Clinic expansions have included a mammogram screening program, dental program, medically supervised weight loss and nutrition program, vision program and most recently diabetes management/ education program,” said Rigney. By providing access to free health care and medications, these individuals are more productive in the work force and in the community, she added. Photo by Anne Cobb

For 10 years, the Calcasieu Community Clinic in Lake Charles has provided almost $4 million in free medical and dental visits and medications for low-income, uninsured residents in a five-parish area and has well over 200 volunteers. Standing in front of the clinic are CCC Executive Director Kayla Rigney, left, and volunteer Bobbie Young.

A 6:45 a.m.

Arrive at FullerMcNeese Farm outside of Kinder.


This partnership between McNeese and the Calcasieu Parish Medical Society not only provides health care to those who truly need it throughout Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jeff Davis parishes, but by locating this clinic at McNeese, it also offers valuable clinical experiences for both faculty and students in the College of Nursing.

Day in the Life 7 a.m.

Begin feeding cattle in the McNeese Heifer Development Program (260 head from 30 different producers in Southwest Louisiana).

8 a.m.

Begin assessment of cattle and provide appropriate medical treatment. Faculty and students collect data on average daily gain, temperament and carcass characteristics in response to diet, breed type, and examine the heifers for reproductive tract soundness.

9 a.m.

Observe students as they conduct visual inspection of field test plots used to study giant forage soybeans for cattle feed and sorghum and switchgrass for energy production.

10 a.m.

Review work assignments with student employees for the day that include mowing field roads, plowing pastures, mending fences and preparing fields for test plots and spring corn planting.

Dr. Bill Storer, 11 a.m.

Drive 40 miles to McNeese campus to teach Animal Science 303 Horse Nutrition; eat lunch on the way.


Teach class in Gayle Hall.

McNeese State University – Nine Universities Strong

Horse Tales Literacy Project

By Renee LeLeux

Dr. Linda Hurst, assistant professor of education professions at McNeese State University, has always loved horses, books and teaching. Writing stories about horses is one of her pastimes - she just published a children’s book, “The Adventures of Red Feather: Wild Horse of Corolla” – and she volunteers with the local Steeds of Acceptance and Renewal Therapeutic Riding Center of Southwest Louisiana. Her horse-loving friends from SOAR informed her about the Horse Tales Literacy Project (formerly known as the Black Stallion Literacy Project), a national program developed to improve reading, writing and language skills in children through the wonders of live horses and the Black Stallion books by author Walter Farley. This literacy project was the perfect blend of Hurst’s interests so in 2009 she began working with school officials at Henry Heights Elementary School to incorporate the program into the school’s reading curriculum. “Faculty and students in the McNeese Department of Education Professions partnered with Henry Heights, an at-risk school, to introduce first grade teachers and students to Farley’s books,” said Hurst. “That first year, we worked with 60 first graders,” she said. “The goal was to help children discover the joys of reading while improving their reading skills, and the students did show a significant improvement in their national Iowa Test of Basic Skills scores in reading.” Today, the project has expanded to include T.H. Watkins Elementary, bringing the total to 160 first graders immersed in the literacy project. Hurst used a portion of a $5,000 stipend she received as a 2010-11 Pinnacle Excellence Award recipient to include both schools.

Assistant Professor of Agricultural Sciences and Research Scientist at McNeese State University 1 p.m.

Office time to prepare tests, grade papers, answer student questions, confer with department head, advise students, prepare and submit research articles to agricultural publications and professional journals.

2 p.m.

Drive 40 miles to FullerMcNeese Farm.

3 p.m.

Receive new cattle from the Fuller-McNeese Farm for inclusion in the Heifer Development Program. Weigh, ear-tag and group cattle with help from McNeese students and other agricultural sciences faculty members.

4 p.m.

Assess cattle and provide appropriate medical treatment, and prepare feed for the following day.

7 p.m.

Drive 15 minutes to home.

Dr. Bill Storer, assistant professor of agricultural sciences at McNeese, calls out the exit velocity measurements on cattle moved through the squeeze chute for agricultural sciences major Jason Thomas to record for the McNeese Heifer Development Program. Storer supervises the 700-acre Fuller-McNeese Farm operations and programs conducted in Kinder as well as teaches classes on the McNeese campus. Photo by Anne Cobb.

McNeese State University – Nine Universities Strong


“The focus of the Pinnacle Award projects was service-learning, so I wrote my proposal to continue the Horse Tales Literacy Project and to cover two schools.” The project begins by introducing the children to the main characters in the book, “Little Black, a Pony” at the “First Touch” event. Horses named for the characters in the books, Little Black and Big Red, come to school, where each child is presented with a copy of the book and has a photo taken with the live horses. Teachers and McNeese students work together in the classroom to implement a theme unit curriculum centering on this book and on horses in general. At the end of the unit, there is a huge celebration field trip. “This field trip takes place at the Stables of Le Bocage,” said Hurst. “There, the children participate in many fun activities that include reading a selection from their book to one of the horses, stick horse racing and watching demonstrations featuring professional horsemen and rodeo cowboys.” Finally, as the children climb aboard their buses to leave, they are presented with the sequel to this book, “Little Black Goes to the Circus.” Photo by Anne Cobb

Chelsea Laughlin, left, a McNeese early childhood education major, listens as a first grader reads her book about horses to a real horse during a field trip to a local stable. McNeese’s Department of Education Professions partnered with Henry Heights and T.H. Watkins elementary schools to implement the Horse Tales Literacy Project into the curriculum. This project not only encouraged 160 first graders to read but also allowed McNeese education students to gain an appreciation for service-learning by volunteering their time and efforts toward making this project a success.

According to Hurst, the highlight of the day - and the project - is witnessing the excitement on the faces of the children as they open their new books and begin to read. “Mission accomplished!” “This entire project would not be possible without the collaboration of McNeese students and Calcasieu Parish school personnel,” said Hurst. “In the process, McNeese students gain an appreciation for service-learning by volunteering their time and efforts toward making this project a success and the community is blessed by having their children fall in love with literacy at an early age—all because of a little black horse!” This partnership also includes volunteers from the Southwest Louisiana Childrens’ Book Writers and Illustrators Guild, SOAR, the parents and employees of the Stable at Le Bocage. “More than 100 community volunteers work together in an effort to encourage first grade children to develop a love of literacy,” said Hurst. “It’s a win-win situation for everyone,” added Hurst. “Children learn to read, schools receive help with one of their most important assignments and McNeese students learn how important a community is in the education of children.” “This service-learning project has made a tremendous contribution to our Horse Tales Literacy Project with our first graders,” said Henry Heights first grade teacher Nathalie Praile Miller. Miller said it takes a great number of volunteers for this project both in and out of the classroom. “Simply put, the field trip aspect to a barn where the first graders read to real horses could not be implemented without the help of all these McNeese education majors. This is a unique way to give future teachers the opportunity to interact with children in a meaningful engaged learning experience outside of the classroom.”


McNeese State University – Nine Universities Strong

EDUCATION THROUGH IMMERSION AND ENGAGEMENT By Renee LeLeux Engaging students in the classroom is the first step in education, according to Dr. William H. Dees, associate professor of biological science at McNeese State University. “Teaching should reflect a practical, real-world perspective, strengthened by a strong academic foundation.” This passion he has for teaching earned Dees the 2010 Distinguished Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching from the McNeese Alumni Association. Dees believes real teaching also takes place outside the boundaries of the classroom and his approach to teaching involves immersion and engagement. Dees strives to expose students to real-world issues in order to help them understand the intricacies of a complex society. “I involve them in programs that stress intellectual challenges, while introducing them to the rigorous requirements faced by those in today’s professional workforce,” he explained. Dees has ensured that his students receive hands-on experiences such as “shadowing” health professionals and participating in internships and student research. His students also receive exposure to premier science laboratories and to professional conferences. He developed a course where students work with medical residents from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Family Medicine Residency Program at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital. He also developed a formal extracurricular program that allows students to “shadow” physicians at LCMH for 8-10 hours per week. As health sciences initiative chair for the College of Science, Dees works hard to place students into programs where they are able to explore career opportunities and apply what they have learned in the classroom. For the past eight years, he has coordinated summer medical research

internships at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., placing 11 students in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the Department of Surgery. “These positions provide valuable hands-on training and orientation to professional health science education.” This past summer, two McNeese biological science majors were accepted as interns into the Louisiana Biomedical Research Network program coordinated by Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. One student conducted research at LSU in Baton Rouge, while the other carried out research at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. “Only 23 undergraduate interns from across Louisiana were selected for this highly competitive summer program,” he pointed out. “Integration of teaching and research is a key component to the success of student education,” said Dees. He has authored or co-authored over 140 presentations, with more than 100 of these with students, and he continues to have a leadership role in the McNeese Alumni Association Undergraduate Scholar Program,

which promotes research and scholarly activity by undergraduate students, with the support and guidance of faculty mentors. “Research projects are a way of providing students experiences that can help them in choosing their career paths,” added Dees. Students have benefited from their research experiences under Dees’ supervision and several of them have been accepted into research programs as graduate students, while many have gone on to medical or other professional schools. Over the last 10 years, McNeese graduates have had an acceptance rate into U.S. medical schools almost double that of the national percentage rate. “McNeese State University is in the business of changing students’ lives for the better in ways that they cannot know. With this change comes a sense of growth and maturity on the part of the student. My job is to support and be with students as they question and explore their world as well as to inspire them to plan and set goals for themselves. My duty is not for the moment, but to forever serve as a resource for student learning even long after a student graduates,” Dees stated.

Dr. William H. Dees, left, McNeese associate professor of biological science, discusses a lab assignment with chemistry major Jamie Thibodeaux. As health sciences initiative chair for the College of Science, Dees works hard to place students into programs that provide valuable handson training for careers in the health sciences. Photo by Anne Cobb

Workforce Impacts MCNEESE STATE UNIVERSITY McNeese awards nearly 70% of the public four-year college degrees earned by residents of Southwest Louisiana.

McNeese offers four online, accelerated, baccalaureate degree programs. Over 240 students are enrolled in these programs.

Approximately 80% of the nurses working in Lake Charles and the five-parish area are McNeese graduates.

Approximately one-third of the engineers working in the local chemical and petrochemical industry in Southwest Louisiana are McNeese graduates. Preparing a high quality work force to be industry ready for the Lake Area’s petrochemical industry is a high priority at McNeese.

McNeese is one of just a few four-year universities to have a state-of-the-art meat processing and production facility. The university’s exisiting farm and feedstock operations will support the Center’s research objectives in animal science, harvesting and production.

McNeese State University – Nine Universities Strong



“Jam at the Joe” at Louisiana Tech is First Step for Several High School Football Teams By Dave Guerin


or ten high school teams from north Louisiana, “Jam at the Joe” at Louisiana Tech University’s Joe Aillet Stadium marks the beginning of their quest for football championships and gridiron glory.

The annual event, held on the campus of Louisiana Tech and hosted by the RustonLincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau, brings together teams and fans of ten high school programs from around northern Louisiana to complete in a day-long jamboree football fest. The 2011 participants included Calvary Baptist, Minden, Jonesboro-Hodge, Haynesville, Cedar Creek, Homer, Farmerville, Evangel Academy, Ruston, and Loyola Prep. “It’s a unique opportunity for these high school players, some of which may never get to play bigtime college football, to compete in a Division One college football stadium, in front of thousands of fans,” said Kyle Edmiston, president and CEO of the Ruston-Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau. Over the past few years, “Jam at the Joe” has even begun to garner national recognition. It has been ranked as one of the Top 25 such events in the country by Prep Sports Focus, a publication devoted to high school sports. The ranking is largely based on attendance figures, game action and promotions. Louisiana Tech’s support of “Jam at the Joe” and the opportunities it provides for economic and community development-minded organizations like the Ruston-Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau creates synergies that benefit the entire region. The University also understands the value of its facilities and service-oriented infrastructure, Louisiana Tech University – Nine Universities Strong


making these assets available for the betterment of the community and the future opulence of north Louisiana. According to its mission, the RustonLincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau and events like “Jam at the Joe” seek to enhance quality visitor experiences through the promotion and development of the tourism in Lincoln Parish. It also works to provide business opportunities for its partners through the higher awareness of visitor experiences and ongoing professional assistance.

Photo courtesy of Louisiana Tech

Each year, 10 North Louisiana high school teams converge on Tech’s Joe Aillet Stadium for a day-long jamboree that showcases local talent.

A 6:30 a.m.

Wake up. Drink a couple cups of coffee.


Day in the Life

8 a.m.

Arrive at my office in Hale Hall. Begin returning emails and voicemails.

9 a.m.

Meet with my two University Design Assistance Center (UDAC) students to review drawings of the proposed master plan for Garland Gregory Hide-Away Park on Louisiana Tech’s campus. UDAC is the only program in the nation in which architecture students get the opportunity to design projects for their college campus that will be built in the future.

10 a.m.

Site visit for the HabiTECH12 project to review student progress. HabiTECH is a partnership with the local Habitat for Humanity chapter in which 4th year architecture students design and build a sustainable home for a deserving family in Ruston.

11 a.m.

Back in the office. Meet with students to discuss their upcoming community design client presentation.

Kevin J. Singh,


Lunch on campus.

1 p.m.

Log receipts for the HabiTECH project. Prepare for tomorrow’s class.

Louisiana Tech University – Nine Universities Strong

“Kicking In” – Louisiana Tech’s Soccer Team’s Culture of Caring By Teddy Allen

The Lady Techster soccer team from Louisiana Tech University knows what it means to “kick in” and make a positive impact in the community. Since March of 2010, the team has mentored young and aspiring footballers in the community, up to three times a week, by conducting free soccer coaching clinics. If the team’s in town, the clinics are on as soon as Lady Techsters practice is over. “Giving of yourself is part of the formula for success, especially in a sport as teamoriented as soccer,” said Lady Techster coach Kevin Sherry. “’Giving of yourself for the betterment of others’ is what we keep saying. That helps create the kind of player you need on the field to give your team its best chance of winning.” But giving back is not limited to mentorship on the pitch. The team has long supported DART (Domestic Abuse Resistance Team) and Habitat for Humanity locally. During and around a Dallas-area tournament, the Lady Techsters helped with separate events involving the homeless, Special Olympics and an amputee soccer team. During Christmas, players bought toys for needy children, wrapped and delivered them. This past spring, more than 250 fans participated in the inaugural Fun Fair Soccer Fest, a free event of games and instruction – even sumo wrestling – at the Lady Techster Soccer Complex.

2 p.m.

Assistant Professor of Architecture at Louisiana Tech University

Community Design Activism Center (CDAC) class. CDAC is an elective class in which students get the opportunity to work with real clients and do initial design and planning for local communities and non-profit groups. Students present their final design for the Union Parish Humane Society. Photos taken for coverage in the local newspaper..

4 p.m

Back to the HabiTECH site to meet with students, address issues, and talk about the upcoming work.

5:30 p.m.

Head home for dinner with my wife, discuss our days, and relax.

Kevin J. Singh, assistant professor of architecture at Louisiana Tech University, reviews drawings on the site of the HabiTECH12 project. HabiTECH is a partnership with the local Habitat for Humanity chapter in which 4th year architecture students design and build a sustainable home for a deserving family in Ruston. For additional information and to follow the progress, go to Photo courtesy of Kevin Singh

Louisiana Tech University – Nine Universities Strong


“Only half our goal is development as soccer players; the other half is development as people,” said Sherry. “In 10 or 15 years when we see each other, we might not remember how many games we won, but we’ll see what kinds of people we’ve helped produce. It’s important for our players to understand that selfless playing and selfless giving is something you don’t do for recognition, but something you do for the ‘team,’ and that’s important no matter what. “It’s part of our philosophy in the Tech soccer program, something we tell recruits, something that will continue to be a part of our program.”

Photo courtesy of Louisiana Tech

Lady Techster soccer team provides instruction, mentorship to aspiring young players during a free community soccer clinic.


The Lady Techsters’ success off the field has translated to success on the field as well. 2010 saw the team sport a schoolbest 15-6 record and a tie for the most wins by any college soccer program in the state. That, and the support of more fans than ever before, is just some of what the Lady Techster soccer accomplished last season. Rising in popularity because of its work ethic and its infusion of the “Tech spirit” into the area’s youth programs, the Lady Techsters are hoping for more breakthroughs and success during the 2011 season.

Louisiana Tech University – Nine Universities Strong

‘DUEL’ ENROLLMENT: GUINN SHOWS LOUISIANA TECH STUDENTS THE ROPES OF STAGE COMBAT By Dave Guerin For Mark Guinn and his theatre and stage combat students, the pen is not mightier than the sword. Since joining the faculty in 1991, Guinn, a professor of lighting design, scene design, and stage combat in Louisiana Tech’s School of Performing Arts, has been developing a nationally-renowned theatre movement program which is preparing students to perform and direct stage combat at the highest levels. His experience as a director, designer, and fight director spans thirty years and has brought him into theaters and venues all over the world. “I love that I am a member of a richly supportive community that creates opportunities for the growth and development of artists and ideas,” said Guinn. In addition to his teaching and mentorship of aspiring stage artists, Guinn is also responsible for establishing one of the nation’s most respected and well-attended stage combat workshops. “Stage Combat Workshop@Louisiana Tech” has trained over 1,000 students from across the U.S., Canada, England, Germany, and France. It has also provided a venue for over 250 teachers from the U.S., Japan, Canada, England, and Australia. “The workshop started as a small regional gathering held in Louisiana Tech’s Howard Auditorium over a

weekend, twenty years ago,” recalls Guinn. “I had small, but enthusiastic classes filled with students hungry to be swashbucklers. Since that first workshop, interest and attendance has grown exponentially.” Stage Combat Workshop@ Louisiana Tech celebrated its 20th anniversary last year and featured 23 master teachers sharing their knowledge and stage combat expertise in single sword, broadsword, rapier and dagger, sword and shield, small sword, knife, quarterstaff, bullwhips, and falls and rolls. Guinn received a Bachelor of Arts from Centre College of Kentucky and a Master of Fine Arts from Memphis State University. He is a Fight Master with the Society of American Fight Directors and a Certified Teacher with the British Academy of Stage and

Screen Combat. This past fall, Guinn received Louisiana Tech’s University Senate Chair Award, which is awarded annually to a full-time tenured faculty member whose research, teaching and service are seen as significant contributions to the mission and purpose of the university. In his nomination packet, Guinn talked about his service to the community through his area of expertise. “As an active artist in the theater, I strive to provide a professional model of the theater artist that incorporates these ideals,” he said. “From the elucidation of principles in the classroom to the challenge of choices in the design studios and rehearsals, I find the teacher-mentor life a richly rewarding experience that exists within and beyond the classroom.”

Photo courtesy of Louisiana Tech


Louisiana Tech was ranked as the top university in the state and among the top 30 of all universities in the southern United States in mid-career median pay for graduates (2011-12 College Salary Report from

Over the past five years, Louisiana Tech has averaged between 12 and 23 Reports of Invention (ROI) per $10 million in research expenditures – well above the national average of 4 ROIs.

Over the past ten years, Louisiana Tech graduates have had a collective, statewide earning impact of nearly $1 billion.

Louisiana Tech recently ranked #2 in the nation amongst academic institutions in terms of innovation productivity and rate of generating new start-up companies (when normalized based upon institutional research expenditures.)

Louisiana Tech is one of only two public Tier One “National Universities” in Louisiana, according to US News & World Report’s 2012 Best Colleges Report.

Louisiana Tech University – Nine Universities Strong



The Longevity Project

By Dr. Connie Walton


n 1988 Dr. Frances Staten co-founded the Social Research Club on the campus of Grambling State University. The objectives of the club include enhancing the research capabilities of students, the investigation of prevailing social and psychological issues, maintaining a data bank of important research findings, and sharing the results with the public. One long standing research project of the Social Research Club is the Longevity Project.

In the mid 1980’s Dr. Staten worked on a project with the Lincoln Parish Council on Aging that focused on assessing the energy Photo courtesy of Grambling needs of senior citizens in Lincoln Parish. In an effort to Grambling State University gain access to senior citizens in their homes, Dr. Staten Professor of Sociology, Dr. secured the help of a well known community person, Mr. Frances Staten, and her Lugene Davis Jr. During the visits with senior citizens students stand in front of GSU Dr. Staten noticed that quite a few individuals were over ninety years of age. This observation resulted in Founder Charles P. Adams Dr. Staten initiating the Longevity Project in 1993. Mr. gravesite. Lugene Davis, Jr. continued working with Dr. Staten and assisted in the identification of individuals who had reached the age of ninety and above in Lincoln Parish and neighboring parishes. Dr. Staten involves undergraduate students in the Longevity project. Nearly twenty years later, this project is still going strong. The Longevity Project targets precentenarians, centenarians, and super centenarians. Nearly one hundred senior citizens have been interviewed. The program’s first super centenarian was Mr. Bo Carter who lived to be 113 years of age. Dr. Staten’s research looks at the influence of religion, physical activity, marital status, family support, folk medicine, and genetics on longevity. This research has been featured locally, nationally, and on the international level. Essence Magazine featured an article on this work. In 2005 Dr. Staten presented the results of this project in Kerala India at the International Conference on Family Empowerment. Recently Dr. Staten presented at the University of Kentucky as a part of the Summer Series on Aging. The Longevity Project also attempts to identify special social and health needs of senior citizens. Dr. Staten and student researchers make an effort to identify resources that will address a need. She is an advocate for senior citizens. The research team has been able to obtain a hearing aid for a super centenarian and has held a diabetic Grambling State University – Nine Universities Strong


sock drive. As a result of a grant that was received by Dr. Staten from the Let’s Raise a Million Energy Coalition Campaign, energy efficient light bulbs have been distributed to Senior Citizens. She is now working on a partnership with a local fire department that focuses on training the elderly on fire prevention and hazards in the home. The Longevity Project celebrates the life of the centenarian on his/her birthday.

Photo courtesy of Grambling

In 2006, Staten expanded the Longevity Project to include a service-learning project called “Adopt-A-Burial Site.” The students locate the gravesites of deceased family members of their interviewees, clean up the cemetery and place seasonal flowers and crosses on the graves. Students also identify the centenarians that were laid to rest in the cemetery. Staten indicates that many do not know the wealth of social and culture history that cemeteries holds, but thanks to the work of students in the Longevity Project, this history will be publicized. Dr. Staten believes that God has left centenarians here for a purpose and one purpose is to transmit their wisdom and knowledge to the younger generation in an effort to improve the world. The Longevity Project is assisting in the sharing of this knowledge and the improvement of our communities.

A 7:30 a.m.

Arrives at his office in the Frederick C. Hobdy (FCH) Assembly Center to print out a copy of the attendance roster for the Techniques of Team & Lifetime Sports course that will be meeting shortly in the IntramuralRecreational Sports Building that is on the opposite side of campus. Prior to leaving the office, he checks his email for departmental updates along with messages from graduate students enrolled in the web-enhanced (Blackboard) Introduction to SportsAdministration course.

Day in the Life

8 a.m.

Dr. Simmons calls the roll and provides directions/ instructions for today’s lesson involving the module on Aerobic Dance. The class ends around 9:20 am.


10 a.m.

Upon returning to the FCH Assembly Center, Dr. Simmons proceeds to Conference Room 155 where he’s scheduled to meet with Officials from Rivers of Joy Ministries, Inc. (Jackson Parish, LA) about a potential partnership with GSU through Continuing Education & Lifelong Learning. This session lasts until shortly after 11:50 am. [Note: Dr. Simmons also coordinates Continuing Education & Lifelong Learning at GSU]. Dr. Simmons reviews the evaluations of the Continuing Education Workshop titled Lights, Camera, Action!, that was held on earlier in the semester on Grambling’s campus.

12:25 p.m.

After a brief lunch, Dr. Simmons returns to his office to check emails and prepares a recommendation letter for a Grambling alumnae and a current assistant coach at the university for acceptance into a doctoral program. Upon completing the letter, Dr. Simmons prints-out the attendance roster for the Foundations of Kinesiology & Sport class that meets from 1:00 pm – 2:20 pm. Just before heading to the classroom, he stops by the department office to pick-up media equipment designed for use with the SmartBoard in the classroom.

1 p.m.

After the equipment is connected to the SmartBoard, the roll is called and Dr. Simmons proceeds with today’s lesson via a PowerPoint Presentation. Class ends around 2:15 pm.

Dr. Obadiah J.K. Simmons, Jr.,

2:25 p.m.

In addition to returning media equipment to the KSLS Department Office, Dr. Simmons needs to secure the signature of the department head on a Budget Adjustment-Transfer of Funds form for one of two grants that he directs. [Dr.Simmons directs the Emerald Grant that focuses on developing African American and Minority Entrepreneurs and the Choices Grant that focuses on the identification of a model that will lead to the successful transition of ExOffenders back into the community and their families]

2:45 p.m.

Dr. Simmons heads across campus to drop-off a completed Drop/ Add form for a graduate student who resides off-campus and delivers a Consultant Services Contract related to a grant that he directs to the Purchasing Department. Dr. Simmons also provides a “brief tour” to a student of the BPCC@ GSU Office located in the Old President’s Home on the campus of Grambling State University.

3 p.m.

Upon returning to the Fred C. Hobdy Assembly Center to his office, Dr. Simmons sends an e-mail message reminder to all students in the graduate class (SPA 505) reminding them about the guest speaker scheduled for 5:30 p.m. that evening.

Grambling State University – Nine Universities Strong

Service-Learning Plays a Key Role during Bayou Classic Weekend By Dr. Rory Bedford

The annual gridiron clash between Grambling State University and Southern University, the Bayou Classic, is about more than a football and marching band contest. It is an opportunity to celebrate Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and promote the value of service. During the 2011 Bayou Classic weekend, 30 Grambling State University students joined forces with State Farm, the non-profit agency KaBOOM, and other community volunteers to build a playground at Andrew H. Wilson Charter School in the Broadmoor community in New Orleans, Louisiana. Andrew H. Wilson Charter School was established in 2007 after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Over 500 students attend the school, yet the school has never had a playground. “Being a good neighbor is all about being involved and helping the communities in which we work and live,” said Pam El, State Farm marketing vice president. “By providing Andrew H. Wilson Charter School a playground where students and surrounding children can play and grow, we’re giving the community a new place to join together and create lasting memories.” Children from the school produced drawings in September during a Design Day event. They were asked to create a draft of their model playground. The concepts were tweaked to create a format for the new playground. In approximately six hours, an empty grassy muddy plot of land had been transformed into the ideal playground. As a result of the concerted efforts of these volunteers, students and

Associate Professor of Health and Physical Education at Grambling State University 3:15 p.m.

An undergraduate student stops by his office for advisement for the 2012 Spring Semester. Once completed, Dr. Simmons followsup on an e-mail with officials from the 2011 Advocare Independence Bowl (Shreveport, LA) in an effort to identify the role the GSU student volunteers will play in preparing for the Bowl and their role during game day. [Note: GSU students will be engaged in all facets of pre-/postgame operations to include pre-game ticket sales; stadium signage; media and team(s) hospitality suite preparation; and, post-game field breakdown.]

4 p.m.

Dr. Simmons reviews emails and advises a graduate student who has stopped by to see what courses Dr. Simmons is tentatively scheduled to teach in the Spring Session along with the Summer Sessions I & II. The student is accepting an internship and needs to register for the appropriate classes.

4:30 p.m.

Dr. Simmons goes to the GSU-Barnes & Noble Bookstore to pick-up a gift for the guest speaker. He then checks with faculty colleagues about this evening’s presentation and room setup in the Fred C. Hobdy Assembly Center. A final stop by the Office of Academic Affairs is made by Dr. Simmons to meet with office staff members to secure the appropriate signatures of GSU Officials on the Certificate of Appreciation for the Guest Speaker

5:30 p.m.

Dr. Simmons begins class by introducing guest speakers from the Boomtown Casino Hotel (Bossier City, LA). Their presentation gave a general overview of Boomtown’s operations worldwide, and focused on the Gaming & Resort Industry as a segment of the sport industry.

6:45 p.m.

Dr. Simmons shares information about the upcoming final exam and takes questions. He spends the remainder of the class speaking individually with students that have questions about the upcoming final exam and also utilizes this time for advisement of those students who reside distances from campus.

Dr. Obadiah Simmons, Jr. (center) advises undergraduate students in the department of Kinesiology, Sports & Leisure Studies (KSLS) along with graduate students enrolled in the Sports Administration (SPA) Program graduate class Introduction to Sport Administration. Simmons, a graduate of Grambling State University, holds the Eddie G. Robinson Endowed Professorship in Sports Administration. Photo courtesy of Grambling.

Grambling State University – Nine Universities Strong


children from the surrounding neighborhood now have a safe place to play. “Playgrounds have a special meaning for children, but this one will have even more of a significant meaning for the children and families of Broadmoor,” said Logan Crowe, Principal of Andrew H. Wilson Charter School. “Our new playground is not only derived right from our students’ creativity, but it is also a symbol of how far we’ve come since the damage of Hurricane Katrina.” Grambling State University’s Director of Service-Learning, Dr. Rory L. Bedford, expressed appreciation to State Farm and KaBOOM for their continued effort to build playgrounds in the various communities. He added that it is very important that young people have a safe haven where they can play, create memories, and enjoy the outdoors. Grambling State University is happy to be a part of this effort.

Photo courtesy of Grambling

Grambling State University students work with State Farm and KaBOOM to build a playground for Andrew H. Wilson Charter School during the Bayou Classic in New Orleans. Grambling is the only university in the UL System to make servicelearning participation a requirement of graduation.

In addition to helping build the playground, Grambling State’s students attended a Neighborhood of Knowledge workshop with children from the neighborhood. The workshop was sponsored by State Farm on-site at the Andrew H. Wilson Charter School. Grambling students added valuable insight to the conversations with the community students and State Farm representatives regarding driver safety and being alert while on the road. Dr. Frank G. Pogue, President of Grambling State University addressed the students and explained the importance of continuing their education past high school. He urged them to select a university and further their career goals. State Farm and KaBOOM! have built playgrounds in the New Orleans area for the past six years and Grambling has made service projects a part of the annual Bayou Classic festivities, instilling the values of service in their students, alumni, and fans.


Grambling State University – Nine Universities Strong

A DAY OF FREEDOM Juneteenth is a special day celebrated by Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and cities nationwide. It represents the day the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. But it wasn’t until June 19, 1865, that the slaves of Galveston, TX found out they were free. “It’s a day of freedom for African-Americans in this country,” said Mayor Jones of the City of Grambling. The city collaborated with Grambling State University for the first time this year in order to heighten awareness on the Juneteenth Celebrations and its importance to history as a whole. “This year it was a collaborative effort between GSU and the City of Grambling and all the activities were coordinated between the two entities…50 percent the city and 50 percent the university,” said Mayor Jones. Juneteenth is recognized in the City of Grambling because “Grambling is the first incorporated municipality in the state of Louisiana…99.9 percent African-Americans,” said Mayor Jones, “And if any city should recognize

Juneteenth the City of Grambling should.” The partnership produced a much larger event and greater participation this year, according to Grambling City officials. The celebration kicked-off on Wednesday, June 15th with a Flag Raising Ceremony and Watermelon Eating in Grambling City Park. A Community Health Fair at Grambling Community Center and the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. 12th annual Juneteenth Pageant in T.H. Harris Auditorium took place

By Debra Johnson

on Thursday, June 16th. Friday, June 17th included a Fish Fry at Grambling’s Community Center and a 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament located in the Intramural Center. Saturday, June 18th consisted of a Juneteenth Parade/Kids World, Antique Car Show, and Festival in the Park/Barbeque cook-off in Grambling Park. Celebrations concluded on Sunday, June 19th in the Black and Gold Room with an Ecumenical Luncheon.

City of Grambling Mayor Edward Jones speaks during one of the many Juneteenth events held collaboratively by the city and Grambling State University. Photo by Glenn Lewis


rambling State University has graduated 113 nurse practitioners, 30 nurse educators with G master’s degrees and over 1,000 registered nurses since the inception of the program in 1993.

Grambling’s Computer Information Systems program has produced more graduates over the past decade than any university in the state.

rambling’s Mass Communications Department has been nationally accredited since 1993. It G houses an extensive student media center including a student newspaper, a radio station and a broadcast television channel.

SU students in the College of Business are trained and certified by the IRS to offer free income G tax return preparation services to low-income taxpayers in the community

rambling’s Project EMERALD (Expanding Minority Entrepreneurship Regionally Across the G Louisiana Delta) assists African-American business owners in North Louisiana’s rural parishes.

Grambling State University – Nine Universities Strong



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Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Beyond Economic Impact  

A follow-up to the UL System's economic and community impact report, this publication highlights the force behind our economic impact: our p...

Beyond Economic Impact  

A follow-up to the UL System's economic and community impact report, this publication highlights the force behind our economic impact: our p...