On Tuesday, the Advocate reported on the LSU Transition Advisory Team’s effort called LSU2015, whose stated goal is to transform LSU into an elite academic university. Although it sounds admirable, is such an effort really in the best interests of our State and its young citizens?
Today’s college students are accumulating record levels of debt to finance their education, and graduation rates are barely 50 percent. In addition, a recent study indicated that 37 percent of all graduates are employed in jobs that don’t require a degree, and that only 27 percent of all graduates are actually employed in jobs related to their major. These are the problems that ought to be addressed instead of attempting to “attain national and international prominence.”
If LSU wishes to gain national recognition and become a model for other universities to emulate, then the goal should be to transform into an institution that offers affordable degrees, with students graduating at high rates into jobs that match their educational choice. It would require massive changes such as consolidations, eliminating programs that don’t lead to real jobs, partnering with businesses and other educational resources to create new programs that meet real Louisiana job needs, creative changes in teaching, and more.
These are the issues that most LSU students would voice as their primary concerns. I doubt if many are worried about national academic rankings.
If those in charge of LSU2015 are truly interested in creating a university for the future that serves our state and its youth, then it should re-examine its goals instead of pursuing an old model that is obviously broken.