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PAR Says Continue Drive to Elevate LSU

PDF version of PAR’s White Paper on Higher Education

LSU’s departing chancellor has been tenacious and outspoken in his efforts to promote the development of the state’s flagship university as a nationally prominent research institution. His departure should not be viewed as a set back in this regard, but as an opportunity to focus on economic development potential of this institution. Seeking a replacement who can provide strong leadership and national recognition is essential.

A recent, in-depth PAR analysis examined the relationship of higher education to economic development. The report concluded that elevating LSU to national prominence as a research institution would be one of the most significant steps the state could take in shaping its economic future. A premier university would attract top research faculty, more research funding and an elite student body. It could better support the state’s industry clusters and generate new economic activity based on advances in technology.

Raising the flagship will require major changes in funding and enrollment policies, coupled with an increased emphasis on graduate programs. Some of the necessary changes will be politically unpopular, requiring a forceful and persuasive leader who can see beyond immediate political concerns to the larger objective.

The virtues of a creative economy, built on youthful entrepreneurship, were extolled at the governor’s economic development summit this week. A top-notch research university is the heart and soul of such an economy.

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