Looking back on this past academic year calls to mind my favorite Dickensian quote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” It was the worst of times because it was a year dominated by talk of unprecedented budget cuts to higher education and the fears and anxieties that come with such discussions.
But it was also the best of times because we, as a college, celebrated continued successes by our faculty and students, while working to plan for the future. To shape those plans, I worked with community leaders, members of the Dean’s Advisory Council, alumni, faculty, staff, and students to create a document called A Working Strategy, 2015-2020. This strategic plan outlines four initiatives that will help the E. J. Ourso College of Business remain at the forefront of business education and ensure success for years to come. Those initiatives are:
• Build Corporate Partnerships
– Corporate partnerships help build the financial resources and intellectual capital that allow the college to offer top educational and research programs, while providing the corporate partner a substantial return on its investment in the graduates they hire.
• Energize Business
– In Louisiana, energy is the lifeblood of the economy. This initiative will provide unique and expanded programs designed to support the energy and petrochemical sectors, as well as make our business graduates more competitive for employment in energy-related careers.
• Foster Economic Development and Entrepreneurship
– We serve as the gateway to LSU in assisting outside organizations with fostering industrial growth, creating new investments, and building a robust workforce. The college offers a minor in entrepreneurship and it is available to any LSU student. We have re-engineered our Department of Information Systems & Decision Sciences into the new Stephenson Department of Entrepreneurship & Information Systems, increasing our research and teaching capacities in business analytics, entrepreneurship, economic development, and emerging business technologies. In addition, beginning in fall 2017, we will offer a bachelor of science in entrepreneurship as a paired-degree with another BS degree from any college on campus.
I am enthusiastic about the future of the college, but I also want to acknowledge and recognize some of our recent achievements over the last year.
On March 6, 2015, we inducted three new members into the E. J. Ourso College of Business Hall of Distinction. The accomplishments and contributions to the college by Dale Redman, Matt McCarroll, and Richard Sturlese are beyond measure and they have set a high standard for future inductees.
Those future inductees may come from our Spring 2015 graduation class, the largest ever at 706 students. Included in that group was the first-ever graduate of the LSU Online Flores MBA Program, Austin Hatch. The program itself, only two years old, is already ranked 28th nationally among public institutions with similar programs.
Our overall Flores MBA Program continues to be ranked as one of the top 50 in the country, as does our Master of Science in Finance and Master of Public Administration programs.
Several of our students have garnered national awards in the last year, including achieving the No. 1 score worldwide on the Bloomberg Institute’s Aptitude Test and being named finalist for the 2015 Presidential Management Fellows program. We’ve also had a number of faculty have their research featured, published, or accepted for publication in leading journals and news outlets.
Finally, this year marks the 30th anniversary of internal audit education at the E. J. Ourso College. We have seen it grow from a pilot program in 1985 to its status as the worldwide leader and benchmark for similar programs. I know that it will continue to thrive into its 40th and 50th anniversaries.
Thanks to everyone for another great year and Geaux Tigers!