Letter: Report points the way for LSU

By Cal Thomas

Tribune Media Services

As a member of the Board of Regents, I would like to compliment the LSU Board of Supervisors on their move to consolidate the top leadership position of President-Chancellor and to sponsor the AGB consultant’s report. This report considers other organizational structures that might make the university more fiscally and academically responsible.

I applaud the Board of Supervisors’ efforts to review making the LSU System more efficient and effective, producing the types of graduates that industry wants to hire, and that our society needs. Too often, university systems do not put enough emphasis on the current job market when making funding and curriculum decisions.

The GRAD Act has helped put measures on the outcome of university efforts, especially LSU, and has been beneficial during this time of declining state revenues to prioritize funding and eliminate duplication of effort in LSU’s system.

The end result is that LSU has graduated more students for less state money. Additionally, the qualifications of incoming, freshmen have never been better.

The current economics of higher education in this country demand exactly the kind of oversight the Board is currently undertaking. I believe this board will commit more available resources to hiring professors where needed and reducing management layers that are no longer required. I believe it will adjust the number of professors on campuses that have less student demand in particular subjects.

We have a shortage of four-year-degreed nurses, accountants, finance professionals, engineers, and information-technology graduates. We also have a shortage of high school math and science teachers. I believe this board will emphasize these degree programs to qualified freshmen.

Currently, we do not have a shortage of qualified students. Many of these students have concluded that LSU is the best educational bargain in the South, providing an excellent, relatively low-cost diploma. Those who graduate with degrees that industry and society need will have no trouble finding a great job with excellent pay and benefits.

The AGB consulting report, which recommends changes to the system, is currently just a consulting report. I personally do not agree with each recommendation, but I wholeheartedly agree with the direction of the report to streamline the oversight of the entire LSU System, make it work together, purchase goods and services together, and educate students together. The AGB report is a first idea, not a final organizational design, because parts are flawed in my opinion.

I hope that parochial interests do not defeat this effort and that the LSU Board of Supervisors takes decisive action to implement structural changes to the entire LSU System to consolidate research efforts, teaching efforts, and management.

Forever LSU!

Roy Martin

Board of RegentsAlexandria