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Southeastern's secondary education program ranked among best in nation by national
Southeastern's program in secondary education was ranked among the best in the nation in a report issued Tuesday (June 17) by the National Council on Teacher Education.
Southeastern's program was ranked 28th in the nation among secondary education programs, the best ranking in the state in that category with the next highest Louisiana institution at 127. The university was among the few institutions the report recommends to aspiring teachers as top-rated schools with low tuition.
The report, "2014 Teacher Prep Review," is an annual assessment of the nation's teacher preparation programs. In the report, NCTQ conferred Top Ranked status to 26 elementary and 81 secondary programs, accounting for only seven percent of all programs.
This is the second year Southeastern has been recognized for its secondary education program by NCTQ. Last year, in a different ranking system, Southeastern earned 3.5 stars on a 4.0 scale, placing the university on the NCTQ national honor roll.
"It is encouraging to be recognized by a national body for our efforts in recent years in redesigning our teacher preparation program," said Southeastern President John L. Crain. "Southeastern has always been recognized as one of the largest preparation centers for teachers in the state, but the quality of our graduates has always been first and foremost in our priorities."
Shirley Jacob, interim dean of the College of Education, said the NCTQ report gave Southeastern especially high marks in the areas of middle and high school content, student teaching, and outcomes. Southeastern was also recognized for its teaching of classroom management skills.
"We have to share credit with other academic programs at Southeastern, which teach the content the teachers need to grasp and which is essential in the ability to provide students with a high level of instruction," said Jacob. "We also recognize the important roles that our affiliated middle and high schools play in providing excellent teacher supervisors who mentor and oversee the work of our teacher candidates in their schools in the various districts in the region. Much of a new teacher's success depends upon the support they receive during their student teaching experience."
Southeastern is a member of the University of Louisiana System, along with eight other regional institutions.
"The UL System generates 74 percent of Louisiana's graduates in education at its nine universities, and this report reinforces the quality work taking place in those programs," said System President Sandra Woodley. "Special acknowledgement should be given to Dr. Jeanne Burns, associate commissioner for Teacher Leadership and Initiatives, and our deans of education for their efforts to put Louisiana on the cutting edge and also for working with NCTQ to ensure they had access to the information and data necessary to conduct a thorough analysis of our programs. While there will always be room for improvement, it is certainly nice to be recognized for what is working."
Southeastern Coaches' Caravans close out with three stops
The Southeastern Alumni Association and Southeastern Athletics will host their final three Coaches Caravans this week, giving fans and alumni the opportunity to interact with the coaches at different locations in the region.
Caravans are set for 6 p.m. Admission is $5 and free for all Alumni Association members. The first stop will be in Amite on Monday at the new event center at the Florida Parishes Arena (1301 NW Central Ave.). On Tuesday, the Red Stick Caravan will take place in Baton Rouge at Drusilla Seafood (3482 Drusilla Lane). The caravans will close out on Thursday at the Old Rail Brewing Company in Mandeville (639 Girod St.).
Slated to appear at Monday's event in Amite are head football coach Ron Roberts, head baseball coach Matt Riser, head men's basketball coach Jay Ladner, head women's basketball coach Yolanda Moore, head softball coach Pete Langlois and head tennis coach Jason Hayes.
On Tuesday, Roberts, Ladner and Riser will be joined in Baton Rouge by head volleyball coach Jim Smoot. Thursday's stop in Mandeville will include appearances by Roberts, Ladner and head track and field coach Sean Brady.
For more information, contact the Southeastern Alumni Association at 549-2150 or Southeastern Athletics at 549-2253.
Student Tech projects receive increased support from business
Students studying in one of Southeastern's engineering and technology programs usually complete a successful senior project to demonstrate their knowledge, competence and readiness to enter the workforce.
With limited funds available, however, the students typically seek out materials wherever they can find them, often recycling bits and pieces of equipment to cobble together their creations.
Sebastian van Delden, head of the Department of Computer Science and Industrial Technology, said an initial partnership formed last year with the Harahan-based manufacturing company Laitram, Inc. resulted in the company contributing $5,000 in seed funds to be used in the research, design and construction of required engineering projects.
The company, which operates a conveyor belt manufacturing facility in Hammond and three other facilities in Louisiana, was impressed with the students' work, explained van Delden. So much so, he said, Laitram will double its investment to $10,000 for the coming year.
"We are very pleased so far with the results we are seeing from our partnership with Southeastern," said Franck LaBiche, Laitram's director of human resources. "The engagement, passion and follow-through we have seen from the Southeastern faculty has been amazing, and the level of students participating in the program has been great. I look forward to the coming year and building on the good foundation we have created."
The partnership was forged between the university and Laitram thanks to the assistance of Greater New Orleans Inc., which brought both sides together last year, said Daniel McCarthy, dean of the College of Science and Technology.
"We're happy that Laitram sees the immediate mutual benefits of this partnership," McCarthy said. "Laitram understands the importance of investing in education. The relationship is proving to be a win-win opportunity for both parties."
"Laitram's confidence in the work of our students and faculty is rewarding, and their investment in our academic program is greatly appreciated," van Delden said. "With outside financial support such as this, our students have the means to stretch their imaginations in the development of working projects that help prepare them for growing employment opportunities in the technology sector."
Besides financially supporting engineering technology projects, Laitram also provides paid internships for Southeastern students, some leading to employment opportunities with the company. Four students earned internships last year at various Laitram plants in Louisiana, and others are expected to participate this year. The internships frequently result in full-time hires.
"In addition to the support of senior projects and internships, Laitram professionals participate in our industrial advisory board, work with us on collaborative research grant proposals, provide tours of their facilities for students, and donate equipment to the program," van Delden said. "Our relationship with Laitram is the most formal and holistic one we have."
Artist Linda Dautreuil on exhibit at Southeastern Contemporary Art Gallery
A wide range of paintings by award-winning artist Linda Trappey Dautreuil is currently on exhibit through August 26 at Southeastern's Contemporary Art Gallery.
The exhibit, "Convergent States," represents Dautreil's paintings from 2004 to 2014. Her works generally cover observations of the relationship between culture and environment and are influenced by local mythology and native landscapes.
The gallery is open on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
She is a native of New Iberia and resident of southwest Louisiana for most of her life. Dautreuil began painting while pursuing a master's degree in creative writing. In 1984, she completed studies in visual arts at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and mover her studio to Covington in 1996. Dautreuil has been awarded a Visual Arts Fellowship from the Louisiana State Arts Council, the President's Award for Visual Arts in St. Tammany Parish and numerous other recognitions. Her work is in the permanent collections of the New Orleans Museum of Art, the New Orleans Public Art Collection, the Hilliard University Art Museum in Lafayette and the St. Tammany Public Art Collection.
For more information, contact the gallery at 549-5080.
Professor outlines problems, solutions regarding information technology procurement
by government agencies
Remember the disastrous introduction of Healthcare.gov? The fatally flawed website was intended to provide an easy venue for individuals looking to sign up for the federal Affordable Care Act.
Running more than $600 million in initial costs, the website for the government-sponsored health insurance plan also known as "Obamacare" failed to meet performance expectations when launched in October. The site had to be overhauled while individuals were expected to be enrolling in health care exchanges.
That's not so unusual for large scale information technology (IT) projects, especially those launched by government agencies, says David Wyld, professor of management at Southeastern.
Wyld recently co-authored with Raj Sharma, chief executive officer of the Censeo Consulting Group, the report "Billions in the Balance: Removing Barriers to Competition and Driving Innovation in the Public Sector IT Market." Based in Washington, D.C., the Censeo Group works with clients to reduce operational efficiencies and improve program and supply chain performance.
The 38-page report was based on interviews with experts both within and outside the government and a thorough review of the literature and industry-specific best practices. According to research, only about six percent of large federal IT programs succeed, while the rest wallow in cost overruns, scope expansion and schedule delays," said Wyld. "The federal government alone spends more than $80 billion each year on information technology. Our study raises questions about how IT programs are managed, how leadership and better governance can head off problems, and how we can create more meaningful competition that naturally drives innovation."
What's wrong with government IT? According to Wyld and Sharma, five main factors are to blame, including:
• No alignment on the problem or desired outcomes. "Without agreement up front, subsequent phases of a program are set up for failure," Wyld explained.
• Weak leadership or governance. Lack of consensus on the problem or on a successful outcome is often the result of senior leaders not being involved in a project from beginning to end or lacking authority to make tough decisions.
• "Check the box" culture. Wyld said government agencies are focused on compliance and fear of failure, a risk-adverse mindset that leads to lengthy delays due to multiple layers of reviews and approvals.
• Prescriptive requirements. Layers of requirements or excessive terms and conditions cause vendors not to complete the job or take a "check the box" approach simply to cover themselves instead of providing real solutions.
• Slow procurement process and closed markets. Government agencies notoriously use overly cumbersome and cautious procurement processes. Multi-year contracting processes create closed markets that act as a barrier to innovation.
"As a result," Wyld explained, "large-scale IT projects can sometimes take half a decade or more to roll out."
The authors offer several recommendations based on examples of proven successes and actions by other government agencies and business and industry.
Wyld said an initial suggestion is to establish clear lines of authority by appointing an executive in charge and a program executive with appropriate authority and expertise to make key decisions. "These two individuals must be able to engage and build trust with stakeholders and should ultimately be held accountable for results," he said.
Developing a simple needs and outcomes statement instead of generating voluminous proposals would also be helpful, he said. "More is not always better when it comes to requirements," he stated. "Proposals should clearly define need and success measures or desired outcomes."
Other recommendations include engaging the vendor market from the start so the agency can be ready for new and innovative solutions and developing a strategy allows for flexibility and doesn't lock out smaller vendors.
"We also believe some smart risk-taking is advisable," he said, "such as prioritizing the most basic needs and then evolving, even possibly using 'beta test' sites that allow for feedback from citizens and the market that can then be used to improve the site. Pilot projects allow agencies to buy small and engage in the development of prototypes where multiple solutions can be tried against each other."
Finally, the report recommends that burdensome requirements typical of government requests for proposals be significantly reduced and instead prioritize critical needs rather than listing prescriptive requirements. This would not only allow for more innovative solutions and meaningful competition, but would also speed up a traditionally slow procurement process.
"The public sector does not necessarily have to wait years for cumbersome and complex legislation to be enacted," Wyld said, "because no bill will totally solve the problems with IT program development. What is required is strong leadership, talent and a reversal of the government's natural inclination of avoiding failure at any cost. Obviously this doesn't work and has cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. It's past time to take a different approach."
The complete report can be downloaded from the following site: http://publicspendforum.org/download-billions-balance/.
Southeastern, St. Charles Parish schools receive grant to prepare next generation
Southeastern's Department of Teaching and Learning, in a partnership with the St. Charles Parish Public School System, has been awarded a $120,000 grant from the Louisiana Department of Education to help redesign teacher preparation programs to give teacher candidates more time in the classroom.
One of only seven awarded this year by the Louisiana Department of Education, the pilot program called Believe and Prepare will give teacher candidates more opportunities to learn from seasoned educators in St. Charles Parish schools. The project will help guide future approaches the state can take in teacher preparation and development prior to education graduates entering the classroom as full-time employees.
"Aspiring educators need more time in schools teaching our kids, learning the craft through extensive practice and mentoring," said State Superintendent John White. "What's more, graduates should be able to demonstrate a positive impact on student achievement before entering the classroom as professional educators."
Cynthia Elliott, interim head of the Southeastern Department of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education, said the grant will be used to create full-year apprenticeships or residencies for teacher candidates who are interested in the option. Candidates who have met the rigorous selection criteria will begin working in July when St. Charles teachers return for professional development sessions and new teacher orientations.
Elliott said Southeastern is well-known for providing extensive field experiences during methods coursework and clinical experiences that make graduates among the most recruited teachers by area school districts.
"This is an additional option to prepare our graduates for the workforce as all of our teacher education graduates are real-world ready," Elliott said. "This option provides another opportunity for connecting theory-based academic coursework with school-based, authentic learning opportunities in the workforce.
"This collaborative effort has great potential to impact teaching and learning. We look forward to teaming with Southeastern to positively impact the student teaching experience through this full year apprenticeship model, said St. Charles Parish Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Tresa Weber.
"We are excited to be collaborating with St. Charles Parish School District through the Believe and Prepare Grant. This represents another opportunity to collaborate with outstanding educators in some of the state's best schools," Elliott said. "Our pilot program will also draw on the expertise of some of Louisiana's best mentor teachers to ensure future educators develop the skills they need to be successful in the workforce."
Believe and Prepare grant recipients began work on their programs in April and will continue through the 2014-15 school year.
Southeastern in the news
Southeastern's secondary education program ranked among best in nation
Southeastern graduate to receive 2014 Cronkite Award
University offers small business seminar
Grant will fund teacher training partnership, school system in St. Charles
Education leadership graduates recognized
Facebook for Business presentation set
Southeastern names Domiano administration, finance VP
Fulbright Funding Folly (op-ed piece)
Information Week Government
Government IT 'fundamentally flawed' researchers say
N.O. Times Picayune
Kelly Brady of Reserve receives awards presented by Southeastern
St. Charles Parish School System and Southeastern partner for teacher preparation
The Bay Citizen (Bay Area, Tex.)
Southeastern Louisiana releases honors list
"Connecting Students and Farmers—Still Trying" by David Burley and Kellen Gilbert (Sociology and Criminal Justice) and Bonnie May (2012 Southeastern graduate) appeared in FoodAnthropology, the blog of the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (http://foodanthro.com/2014/05/14/connecting-students-and-farmers-still-trying/).
Dr. Rick Simpson (Accounting and Finance) attended the annual meeting of the Society of Louisiana CPAs (LCPA) in Point Clear, Ala. on June 16. As the incoming President of the North Shore Chapter of the LCPA, he also attended the LCPA's annual leadership conference June 17 and 18, which was also held in Point Clear. At the annual meeting of the LCPA, Simpson was presented as the 2014 recipient of the LCPA's Lifetime Achievement in Accounting Education Award.
Dr. Debra Jo Hailey (Teaching and Learning) co-presented with Patricia Alexander of Natchitoches Parish Schools at the International Reading Association Conference in New Orleans on May 12. Their presentation, "Andy the Duck Goes Digital," explored the use of digital photography and computer editing programs as tools for increasing the development of young children's vocabulary, sentence complexity, and small group cooperation, as the children created a class book about their experiences in hatching and raising a duck at school. During the conference, Hailey, along with colleague Dr. Michelle Fazio-Brunson of Northwestern State University, accepted positions as co-editors of the IRA Language Experience Forum Journal.
Charles Elliott (History and Political Science) presented "'A Wee Man' Hidden in Plain Sight: (Re)Considering Henry Watkins Allen" at the 14th Annual American Studies Lecture Series sponsored by the American Studies Foundation and the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana (A+PEL) in Baton Rouge on June 20.
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