Sally Clausen: “New Dollars for Universities Will Be Tied to Quality Programs, Performance”

Sally Clausen: “New Dollars for Universities Will Be Tied to Quality Programs, Performance” – Jun 28, 2002

ULS Schools Could Get $20 Million for Costs, Programs and Equipment

Dr. Sally Clausen, president of the University of Louisiana System (ULS), said new money for higher education will mean better technology for classrooms and labs, more research opportunities, and support as universities prepare more teachers and nurses to address critical state and national shortages.

Exact figures are not available yet, as the Board of Regents is calculating the funding, but early estimates indicate about $20 million going to ULS schools. About $13 million is earmarked to cover higher state-mandated costs for employee insurance and civil service merit raises. Another $7 million will be used to enhance enrollment management, information technology, biotechnology, library and scientific equipment, teacher preparation and health care, particularly nursing.

Dr. Clausen said about $5 million of the new funds will be awarded to the universities based on their performance. She said the UL-System will emphasize statewide needs and priorities such as quality teacher preparation, recruitment and training of more nurses, and economic development.

“Our universities will set their benchmarks to meet state and institutional goals. We will look for quality measures and public accountability as the universities prepare their plans to compete for and use these new dollars,” said Dr. Clausen.

Performance funding is a continuing emphasis in the UL-System, Dr. Clausen said. In April, the System awarded about $439,000 to its universities for their performance in several areas, including program accreditation, student retention and graduation, reduction of remedial costs and hours taught, accomplishments in Unique Areas of Excellence, and financial and compliance audits.

Dr. Clausen said the System will continue to emphasize program excellence and will work closely with the universities as they prepare their budgets, which will be considered for final approval in August by the ULS Board and the Regents.

“Excellence is based on four major components, primarily setting clear goals, establishing benchmarks, measuring the work, and reporting the results publicly. We plan to do it all,” Dr. Clausen said.

Dr. Clausen commended the Governor and Legislature for continuing to fund education as a priority. “Thanks to the commitment of Governor Foster and the Legislature to invest in education as a priority, our universities are on track to continue their academic and technological progress. Granted, there is more investment needed, as Louisiana’s funding still ranks low in the South, but these new dollars will help us improve programs and technology to provide access to college anytime, anywhere.”

Dr. Clausen also praised Dr. E. Joseph Savoie, Louisiana’s commissioner of higher education, for making a strong case with the Legislature to secure the new dollars for higher education.

“For so long, Louisiana has been at the bottom of national measures for education quality. But thanks to the work of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Blue Ribbon Commission and the Board of Regents, that picture has changed significantly,” said Dr. Clausen.

The UL-System is the largest in Louisiana, enrolling nearly 80,000 students at eight universities and leading the state in the number of graduates in education, nursing, business and pharmacy.

The ULS universities are Grambling, Louisiana Tech, McNeese, Nicholls, Northwestern, Southeastern, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Dr. Clausen said the universities especially will benefit from extra money as they recruit, prepare and retain more teachers. The Blue Ribbon Commission has mandated new criteria for the colleges of education, and university presidents, administrators and faculty are required to do more to ensure the certification of more, high quality teachers.

“Universities today share the responsibility for higher student achievement in Pre-K-12 schools and are redesigning their colleges of education to produce more certified, qualified teachers for Louisiana’s classrooms, Dr. Clausen said.

Dr. Clausen, a former classroom teacher, pioneered the teacher guarantee program when she was president of Southeastern and has made teacher preparation and teacher quality a priority for the UL-System.

Today, every ULS university guarantees its teachers, and the colleges of education are redesigning their programs to ensure that all new teachers are certified and ready for the classroom. The UL-System also is requiring that its teacher graduates pass the teacher certification exam, PRAXIS, before they can graduate.

“Every student in Louisiana has a right to a qualified, certified teacher,” Dr. Clausen said. “The education of a child and the health of a child should not depend on the wealth of a child.”

Dr. Clausen said the need for teachers is reaching critical proportions:
•Today in Louisiana, about 100,000 elementary and secondary students
are taught by unqualified or uncertified teachers
•Nationally, at least two million more teachers will be needed in six years
•Shortages exist especially in the areas of science, math, special education and foreign languages


For More Information Contact:
Catherine Heitman