In an address to the Baton Rouge Press Club, Dr. Jim Henderson emphasized the work of the University of Louisiana System and its nine member institutions. He opened with appreciation to the governor and Louisiana legislature for their historic reinvestment in higher education during the last legislative session. 

“Not only was this the largest reinvestment in higher education in the past 15 years, but the budget and capital outlay investment along with significant policy advances made it the most successful legislative session we have experienced since our System was established in 1974,” President Henderson said.  

He went on to discuss a few major initiatives from the System designed to move the entire state forward.  

The Reginald F. Lewis Scholars is a curated educational experience designed to address barriers to success in the System’s black male population. In addition to a full tuition scholarship, cohorts participate in the community experience which includes service projects throughout the state; the social experience which includes an annual focused retreat and academic, social and professional mentorship from business, community and university leaders; and the academic experience which includes research projects and a study abroad opportunity in their junior year. Cohort one is traveling to France in April 2023.  The System introduced the second cohort of scholars in June during its annual Black Male Summit. The Reginald F. Lewis Scholars program is at no cost to the student participant and made possible through generous support from individuals and community partners. 

Compete LA is the System’s adult completion program designed to meet the needs of the 653,000 Louisianians with some college credit but no degree. Adults are matched with a free coach who evaluates their goals and credits to guide them to a pathway for success. Students are offered discounted flat-rate tuition, $275 per credit hour, to make their return to college more affordable.  

The RFL Scholars and Compete LA are designed to ensure Louisianians reap the benefit of completing a bachelor’s degree, a credential long associated with life and career success. In order to articulate the capabilities developed through bachelor degree attainment, the System, in concert with a selection of faculty from throughout its member institutions, unveiled Core Competencies Preparing Graduates for Life and Career Success.  

Core Competencies ensures students and future employers understand the skills—communication competence, critical and creative problem solving, adaptable resilience, cultural competence, and self-reflective awareness—required to earn a bachelor’s degree. 

“Defining these skills will enable graduates to better communicate their value to future employers; improve employer recognition of the readiness of UL System graduates; and educate our government leaders about the true value of a bachelor’s degree,” President Henderson said. “More importantly, we will add clarity to our work in developing learners, global citizens empowered to control their individual destines while contributing to our collective humanity.” 

Read more about these UL System initiatives at the following sites: 

Reginald F. Lewis Scholars—www.ulsystem.edu/rflCompete LA—www.competela.orgCore Competencies—www.ulsystem.edu/faculty-staff/core-competencies