BATON ROUGE – Eighteen recommendations from an institutional review of the University of Louisiana at Monroe released today are to provide guidance to the university’s next president. The 52-page comprehensive report’s recommendations range from strategic planning to faculty workload to enhancing collaboration.
“This report will be valuable to the next ULM President as it can help in prioritizing issues and tackling important areas on which to improve the university,” said University of Louisiana System President and ULM Presidential Search Chair Randy Moffett.
A three-person review team spent the last three months reviewing campus materials, conducting phone interviews and meeting with various groups on campus to develop the report.
“Our team was greatly impressed by the energy and spirit at ULM among faculty, staff and students alike. Although the report contains some recommendations for further strengthening of the institution, it is clear that ULM has made great strides in the past several years and is a university of which the state of Louisiana can be proud,” said ULM Institutional Review Team Leader Gary Reichard.
Reichard, the former executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer for the California State University system, worked with Aubrey Lucas, president-emeritus of the University of Southern Mississippi, and Portia Shields, former president of Albany State University, to develop the report.
The full report is available online at www.ulsystem.edu/ULMReview. Below are the 18 recommendations:
1. ULM should develop a strategic plan that will define and articulate its mission for the next decade particularly in recognition of changes in the external (including budgetary) environment.
2. ULM should review the impact of increased faculty workload on its accredited programs to determine which, if any, accreditations may be at risk, as well as the steps necessary to maintain desired program accreditations.
3. ULM should review its strongest and/or unique academic programs to determine which should be designated as “Centers of Excellence,” and what might be needed to ensure their continued excellence.
4. ULM should review its three remaining two-year degree programs to determine which, if any, it can transfer to Louisiana Delta Community College in light of their competencies and capacity. An associated plan for implementation should be developed.
5. ULM should develop a strategic plan, policies, and processes to ensure that the delivery of online programs is consistent with institutional mission, standards, and workload policies.
6. ULM should clearly communicate to faculty, staff, and students in a timely manner all decisions concerning the development and staffing of online programs.
7. ULM should review its faculty workload and tenure and promotion policies and practices to ensure that they are consistent with the mission of the university.
8. ULM should ensure continuation of strong shared governance, which has helped to maintain a sense of community even in this difficult budgetary climate.
9. ULM should include staff representatives, including classified staff, on all committees and other policy-making groups so that the university can have the benefit of staff viewpoints.
10. ULM should communicate with all staff, including classified staff, regarding such matters as goals, achievements, issues, and the general welfare of the university.
11. ULM should intensify its efforts to offer seamless student services and advising using the wealth of programs already in place, so as to assist potential students from earlier ages through enrollment at ULM and beyond. These efforts must be complemented with tracking and evaluation systems to ensure their success and effectiveness.
12. ULM should give consideration to providing financial resources and other career enhancing measures which recognize and encourage student persistence and success beyond the first two academic years.
13. ULM should communicate decisions which directly affect students as soon as they are made.
14. ULM should develop a strategic plan for athletics that reflects commitment to successful participation at the current level and that takes into account institutional budget realities, as well as current and projected levels of community support.
15. ULM should move quickly to collaborate in as many ways as possible with Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, and Louisiana Delta Community College given the decreasing state financial support for public higher education and the continuing educational needs of the people in Northeast Louisiana. Regular meetings of the presidents will be helpful in building relationships which are essential for effective collaboration.
16. ULM should make a concerted effort to develop better relations with the media to increase public support; media relations staff should provide continuous coverage about the many ways the university serves and enhances the state and the surrounding area.
17. ULM should consider developing the areas of planned giving, major gifts, and eventually a comprehensive campaign to assist the advancement staff in meeting the university’s need for more external gifts.
18. ULM should review its policies and procedures to encourage proposals for contacts and grants to ensure expeditious processing of such proposals; provide adequate infrastructure; and as resources are available, fill the position of Director of the program.
“We had an ambitious goal of completing this review prior to presidential semi-finalist interviews on campus. I am pleased not only that our consultants made that deadline, but also that the report makes some astute observations and recommendations,” said Moffett.
Four semi-finalist candidates will interview for the ULM presidency starting Monday, Oct. 11.
Members of the public are encouraged to attend all four public interviews with the search committee as well as the final meeting of the search committee on Wednesday, Oct. 13. During the interviews, there will be an opportunity for the public to submit questions for each candidate. During the Wednesday meeting there will be a chance for the public to provide feedback to the committee before deliberations.
The search committee is charged with recommending at least two candidates to the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System. Plans call for the Board to interview finalists and select a new president in conjunction with its Oct. 22 meeting in Baton Rouge.
To learn more about the ULM Presidential Search including meeting agendas and candidate applications, visit www.ulsystem.edu/ULMSearch. To submit questions and comments to the committee, you can send an email to ULMPresidentialSearch@uls.state.la.us.