Debate Surrounding LSUS's Future Must Not Default to Status Quo (Opinion)

Tim Goral's picture
Friday, March 16, 2012

Charting the best course toward a stronger higher education framework in northwest Louisiana centers for now on the best strategy for invigorating LSUS.

The good news for the agents of change — which should be anyone who cares about access to a wider range of undergraduate and graduate programs — is that the advent of two opposing solutions should set the stage for one of those win-win scenarios. Whether you embrace or recoil at the conclusions of the higher ed report presented by consultant Eva Klein, it has created a launch pad for change.

A coalition of business and education advocates has seized on a recommendation to pull LSUS out of the LSU system and merge it with Ruston-based Louisiana Tech University. Legislation for the merger has been filed in the legislative session that begins Monday.

That prompted a counter-proposal from the LSU System: Tech should leave the University of Louisiana system for the LSU system facilitating the expansion of course and degree programs, such as engineering, at LSUS.

The optimist would say that even if the Tech-LSUS merger is stymied in the Legislature, the LSU System and Board of Regents must now address the forces of frustration in Shreveport-Bossier to strengthen LSUS.

The realist, of course, understands that the sentries of the status quo never sleep. For instance, if the LSUS-Tech merger dies in the Capitol, what follow-through guarantees are there from the LSU System?

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