The Research & Discovery and Academic Sub-Committees of the LSU Transition Advisory Team held their first meetings Thursday, Feb. 28, at the LSU AgCenter. The sub-committees are part of the LSU2015 process for the reorganization of LSU.
The Research & Discovery Sub-Committee was welcomed by LSU Interim Chancellor and President William Jenkins and Sub-Committee Chair Jim Firnberg, chancellor emeritus of LSU-Alexandria, and heard presentations from James Duderstadt, president emeritus of the University of Michigan; Steven Heymsfield, executive director of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center; and Nicole Honorée, LSU System director of research and economic development initiatives.
Duderstadt, via teleconference, discussed current trends in research at American universities.
“The nation’s public research universities supply 65 percent of the research and 70 percent of the researchers that power this country,” he explained, detailing how Michigan’s shift to a research-based focus in recent decades has made it one of the nation’s top public universities, and a member of the Association of American Universities.
“I see all of the cards that are turned up that suggest that it’s time for an AAU-class institution in Louisiana and you are it,” said Duderstadt. “You have launched a process that is appropriate and I do not see a reason why you cannot achieve it.”
Heymsfield explained Pennington’s focus on issues that directly affect Louisiana and the surrounding region, such as obesity, while Honorée explained metrics on research and technology transfer within the LSU System, and how the figures relate to peer institutions. She stressed that one of the questions LSU’s Transition Advisory Team has to focus on is “what must be done to sustain and enhance the inputs into the LSU research and development pipeline to increase both the volume and variety of outputs, and thus expand LSU’s economic impact?”
The Academic Sub-Committee is co-chaired by Jenkins and Lester W. Johnson, professor and chief of surgery and director of Surgical Services at LSU Health Sciences Center.
Jenkins welcomed the sub-committee members, and issued the committee’s charge to make recommendations on: intra- and inter-campus innovation and collaboration, academic standards and the strategic deployment of academic programs and the leveraging of technology for learning.
The sub-committee discussed ways for LSU and the other campuses of the system to further develop processes to incorporate service-learning and life experience into coursework; the importance for uniform course numbering within the system; how to attract, retain and further promote the best and brightest students; the development of online courses and exploration of their role in education; and how to increase cooperation among the system’s nine campuses.
“We are campuses, not institutions,” said committee member Lee Engel, the associate program director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program at the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport.
Jenkins stressed that he wants the sub-committee to hear as many different voices and ideas as possible.
“I want you to think about what you heard today, and what we can do differently,” he said. “What can make us more efficient and more competitive, nationally and internationally.”
Agendas for all LSU2015 sub-committee and task force group meetings can be found at http://www.lsu.edu/LSU2015/subcommittees_meeting_schedule.shtml.
For more information about LSU’s re-organization process, visit www.lsu.edu/LSU2015.