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Thread: "Flagship"?

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    "Flagship"?

    [Disclaimer: I was hesitant to put this thread in the Pit, because I would like for people who truly believe in the "flagship system" to explain how it is helping the state. But, because of the lsu content, and a desire to not have to hear JAB whine about another lsu thread, I put it in the pit.]

    So, how is it that the "flagship system" that Louisiana has married itself to is helping the state? I would argue that it is outdated, inefficient, an example of gross cronyism, and is actually holding higher education in Louisiana back.

    For about 80 years LSU has received the lion's share of state resources for higher education and has enjoyed special protection from the legislature to keep other state programs from competing with its programs in any way. In athletics LSU was propped up by a corrupt exploitation of loopholes in state and Federal law to catapult the Tigers to the top of the heap in the state. (And then, once all that special favor turned into success on the field and revenues, they arrogantly rewrote the rules so that other schools would be limited in the amount of institutional support they can receive for athletics, while hypocritically boasting that LSU athletics is now "self-supporting." Even recently, however, state funds have been used for such narrow-interest projects as building a new habitat for the school's mascot, while Tech's mascots are dying of heat stroke without even a shelter for game day.)

    On the academic side, LSU has received extra funding, but more importantly, special protection for its programs. When another state school wants to introduce a new doctoral program, for example, even when a clear regional need for the program can be demonstrated, that school cannot offer the degree if LSU offers a similar degree. When a program is introduced that LSU does not offer, the Board of Regents essentially gives LSU right of first refusal to offer the program itself (though this is done unofficially, not officially).

    The biggest problem I see with LSU's special treatment, aside from the fact that it holds back other schools in the state (and I have an obvious bias to want to see Tech excel without having to defer to a school 5 hours away), is that Louisiana arguably has NOTHING to show for it. Despite 80 years of legislative and gubernatorial protection, LSU has not been able to produce a single nationally-prominent doctoral program. Furthermore, LSU languishes in the bottom half of all national universities (based on US News' rankings--obviously all rankings are open to criticism, but this is one that many potential students and potential business partners weigh heavily).

    Meanwhile, the state continues to languish in the bottom 2-3 states in almost every measure of economic and educational development.

    Meanwhile, other deep-south states have abandoned or modified their flagship systems, and the states are benefitting from this. For example, Alabama, while allowing UA to continue to refer to themselves as the "flagship" school, has opened up a more competitive environment, and now has two universities with decent national reputations. More importantly, they have developed their higher education around their economic bases, with UA anchoring the northern part of the state, Auburn the middle, and USA rising in the south. And both Auburn and UA are ranked in US News' top 100.

    Georgia has organized their competition around areas of expertise, with UGA serving as the nominal flagship and emphasizing non-technological academic areas and Ga Tech obviously serving engineering and other hi-tech fields. The system is further broken down with each region served by a hierarchy of doctoral, masters, 4-year, and 2-year schools, each offering programs relevant to that region's economic center. Both Georgia and Georgia Tech are ranked in the top 60 on the US News list.

    Similarly, in South Carolina, both the "flagship" and an "engineering school" (USC and Clemson) are ranked in the top half of the US News list. Texas has both UT and aTm ranked in the top 62.

    Of these, probably the Alabama and South Carolina comparisons are most relevant, as both states are similar in size and nearly identical in population. Both states have scrapped or greatly modified their "flagship" systems, and have arguably excelled as a result.
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    Re: "Flagship"?

    This is where an affiliation with the LSU system could be beneficial to Tech vs being a part of the U of L. With our engineering, micro manufacturing, and bio medical fields if we had the research dollars available, we could make real progress. A recent article here in Texas spoke of how 7 schools in this state are vying to become the 4th 'flagship' program in order to take advantage of federal funds available for such designations and research opportunities. The article spoke of how Texas is lagging behind California in federal dollars received due to the lack of schools with the research designations.
    Your new governor would be the perfect 'leader' to make real progress in the state for higher education reform. By eliminating repetitive programs and functions, he could save the state thousands of dollars and also create a much more efficient system. A big 'for instance' is the three campuses in North Louisiana located approximately 35 miles apart. Each campus has a president, an administrative department, a business school, an athletic department, buildings & grounds, etc.... In other words, there are two too many schools within that geographic area for the U of L system to support.
    If Tech was to switch to the LSU system, combine with LSU-S and affiliate its medical based programs with the medical school in Shreveport (all while keeping the Louisiana Tech name and brand), we could 1) increase our enrollment 2) capture the Shreveport market & 3) gain access to research dollars that will allow our programs to become meaningful on a national basis. It would be a 'hold your nose' situation initially, but it could/should open the door for us to move into the position of a strong #2 university in the state, help secure the leadership position in the northern half of the state, disassociate ourselves from the Sunbelt schools, grow available opportunities for marketing dollars to improve athletics, etc. and also provide for a new funding system for athletics (not having to follow the antiquated U of L rules). Let USL and Monroe fight over the U of L scraps while we work with our new big sister on how to divide up the real dollars. Believe me, LSU is not worried about us becoming a threat to their world and if they can help us push USL down a peg, they will do it.
    One further step that we should take is to have Dooley sit down with the LSU and Tulane AD's to develop a plan where we play at LSU every other year, while Tech and Tulane play each other every year. The school who plays at BR gets the home game with the other one that season and visits the other the next. This will allow LSU to eliminate an out of state OOC game and provides Tulane and Tech with a big money game and an instate rivalry. It is still extremely confusing to me why we are not scheduling and playing Tulane every year, especially after 2005.

    DFiH
    Last edited by DawgFaninHous; 07-28-2008 at 11:30 AM. Reason: poor English

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    Re: "Flagship"?

    Personally, I don't want to play LSU again until we can be competitive. Getting smoked by them does nothing to help us other than the paycheck. I do think we should be playing Tulane regularly, but maybe not every year.

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    Re: "Flagship"?

    Great Post! You should send that to the newspapers.
    Jordan Mills on choosing Tech:
    “It’s a great experience seeing them play. It was a good atmosphere. The fans stood up the whole game and never sat down. They have a great fan base.”

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    Re: "Flagship"?

    Quote Originally Posted by DawgFaninHous View Post
    This is where an affiliation with the LSU system could be beneficial to Tech vs being a part of the U of L. With our engineering, micro manufacturing, and bio medical fields if we had the research dollars available, we could really make real progress. A recent article here in Texas spoke of how 7 schools in this state are vying to become the 4th 'flagship' program in order to take advantage of federal funds available for such designations and research opportunities. The article spoke of how Texas is lagging behind California in federal dollars received due to the lack of schools with the research designations.
    Your new governor would be the perfect 'leader' to make real progress in the state for higher education reform. By eliminating repetitive programs and functions, he could save the state thousands of dollars and also create a much more efficient system. A big 'for instance' is the three campuses in North Louisiana located approximately 35 miles apart. Each campus has a president, an administrative department, a business school, an athletic department, buildings & grounds, etc.... In other words, there are two too many schools within that geographic area for the U of L system to support.
    If Tech was to switch to the LSU system, combine with LSU-S and affiliate its medical based programs with the medical school in Shreveport (all while keeping the Louisiana Tech name and brand), we could 1) increase our enrollment 2) capture the Shreveport market & 3) gain access to research dollars that will allow our programs to become meaningful on a national basis. It would be a 'hold your nose' situation initially, but it could/should open the door for us to move into the position of a strong #2 university in the state, help secure the leadership position in the northern half of the state, disassociate ourselves from the Sunbelt schools, grow available opportunities for marketing dollars to improve athletics, etc. and also provide for a new funding system for athletics (not having to follow the antiquated U of L rules). Let USL and Monroe fight over the U of L scraps while we work with our new big sister on how to divide up the real dollars. Believe me, LSU is not worried about us becoming a threat to their world and if they can help us push USL down a peg, they will do it.
    One further step that we should take is to have Dooley sit down with the LSU and Tulane AD's to develop a plan where we play at LSU every other year, while Tech and Tulane play each other every year. The school who plays a BR gets the home game with the other one that season and visits the other the next. This will allow LSU to eliminate an out of state OOC game and provides Tulane and Tech with a big money game and an instate rivalry. It is still extremely confusing to me why we are not scheduling and playing Tulane every year, especially after 2005.

    DFiH
    I agree that it makes sense for Louisiana for Tech to be added to the LSU system and administer the programs in the northern part of the state. LSUS would benefit greatly from being under the Tech umbrella, as it would give them access to more research resources. Obviously, Tech would benefit greatly from such an arrangement as well, as it would give us a meaningful presence in S'port.

    The drawbacks are that 1) we would have to be invited and LSU officials have made it clear they are not interested in such an arrangement (as evidenced by their Board's hiring a consulting firm to tell them how to improve but telling them up front not to consider any realignment options); and 2) getting LSU to let us use the Tech name and brand with the Shreveport campus. (Plus the fact that this proposal just makes too much sense for Louisiana politicians to make it a reality.)

    This is why I believe that our best option is to start running Tech like a private school in every way possible--primarily by AGGRESSIVELY pursuing external funding, including endowments and grants. (Reneau and co are ahead of the game with regard to licensing patented technologies, but that is just one small piece of the available pie.)



    Can anyone offer any arguments in favor of the flagship model? I'd really be interested in hearing that perspective.
    Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way… you become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions. –Aristotle


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    Re: "Flagship"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guisslapp View Post
    Great Post! You should send that to the newspapers.
    Thanks. Wouldn't that start quite an interesting discussion!

    I am hoping people will check behind some of my facts (I looked up as much as I could), and if things seem to check out then I just may send it to the Times.
    Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way… you become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions. –Aristotle


    Freedom, Security, Convenience -- Choose Two. –Dan Geer

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    Re: "Flagship"?

    Why you calling me out on the "whining" about an lsu thread?
    I would rather read the ones about lsu then the "why don't we play ulm?" and "look what happened in Monroe now" threads.
    Either way, I ain't the one calling for the removal of the "non Tech" threads! Don't blame me mister!

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    Re: "Flagship"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian96 View Post
    So, how is it that the "flagship system" that Louisiana has married itself to is helping the state? I would argue that it is outdated, inefficient, an example of gross cronyism, and is actually holding higher education in Louisiana back.
    Oh, and to give you my answer, it's not. It' is one of the many things holding this state down. But I truthfully can't see ANYONE ever doing something about it because of the politicle suicide that would occur. Even the whole merge with lsuMC will never happen unless lsuMC becomes a huge economic expense to the lsu system. And a merger with lsuS won't happen especially with the powers that be pushing to make it the "University of Shreveport" like UNO.

    All that said, Shreveport/Bossier is up for grabs. And I think the Cyber Command will help Louisiana Tech grab that market. I just hope we can do it faster because I can't stand the sight of the ulm billboard on Youree Dr.

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    Re: "Flagship"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian96 View Post
    I agree that it makes sense for Louisiana for Tech to be added to the LSU system and administer the programs in the northern part of the state. LSUS would benefit greatly from being under the Tech umbrella, as it would give them access to more research resources. Obviously, Tech would benefit greatly from such an arrangement as well, as it would give us a meaningful presence in S'port.

    The drawbacks are that 1) we would have to be invited and LSU officials have made it clear they are not interested in such an arrangement (as evidenced by their Board's hiring a consulting firm to tell them how to improve but telling them up front not to consider any realignment options); and 2) getting LSU to let us use the Tech name and brand with the Shreveport campus. (Plus the fact that this proposal just makes too much sense for Louisiana politicians to make it a reality.)

    This is why I believe that our best option is to start running Tech like a private school in every way possible--primarily by AGGRESSIVELY pursuing external funding, including endowments and grants. (Reneau and co are ahead of the game with regard to licensing patented technologies, but that is just one small piece of the available pie.)



    Can anyone offer any arguments in favor of the flagship model? I'd really be interested in hearing that perspective.
    On the point about being asked, I was privy to a conversation where there has been discussions between the schools in the recent past.

    I humbly disagree about the private school option, as it is not realistic, simply because we do not have the money to do without state funds. If we could have done that, it would have happened before now. Besides, the school with the largest endowment portfolio in the nation is also the largest public university in the country, UT - Austin.
    I think that when all the research facilities become available and we start to show some real progress, we may be surprised how well we would be received by he folks in BR. At least I hope so.....

    DFiH

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    Re: "Flagship"?

    Quote Originally Posted by DawgFaninHous View Post
    On the point about being asked, I was privy to a conversation where there has been discussions between the schools in the recent past.

    I humbly disagree about the private school option, as it is not realistic, simply because we do not have the money to do without state funds. If we could have done that, it would have happened before now. Besides, the school with the largest endowment portfolio in the nation is also the largest public university in the country, UT - Austin.
    I think that when all the research facilities become available and we start to show some real progress, we may be surprised how well we would be received by he folks in BR. At least I hope so.....

    DFiH
    I agree about the private thing. My suggestion is to pursue private funding the fervor that private schools do--AS THOUGH it were your sole source of funding. But even if I had meant going private, the Tulane experience suggests that we would not do without state funds if we went private.

    And the UT system would have to have more than doubled its endowments since 2007 to approach the level of Harvard. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...s_by_endowment
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    Re: "Flagship"?

    Quote Originally Posted by JAB View Post
    Oh, and to give you my answer, it's not. It' is one of the many things holding this state down. But I truthfully can't see ANYONE ever doing something about it because of the politicle suicide that would occur. Even the whole merge with lsuMC will never happen unless lsuMC becomes a huge economic expense to the lsu system. And a merger with lsuS won't happen especially with the powers that be pushing to make it the "University of Shreveport" like UNO.

    All that said, Shreveport/Bossier is up for grabs. And I think the Cyber Command will help Louisiana Tech grab that market. I just hope we can do it faster because I can't stand the sight of the ulm billboard on Youree Dr.
    I don't see the HSC ever coming under Tech's umbrella, even if we do join the LSU system, just as there is really no relationship between LSUS and the HSC (beyond the obvious name, university system, and geography). We already technically offer a dual degree program with the HSC, but it doesn't seem to have any takers.
    Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way… you become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions. –Aristotle


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    Re: "Flagship"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian96 View Post
    I agree about the private thing. My suggestion is to pursue private funding the fervor that private schools do--AS THOUGH it were your sole source of funding. But even if I had meant going private, the Tulane experience suggests that we would not do without state funds if we went private.

    And the UT system would have to have more than doubled its endowments since 2007 to approach the level of Harvard. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...s_by_endowment
    WOW, I was given bad information by a local investment banking firm interested in buying our company. They work with the UT fund. It looks like all of the big private schools have larger endowments : Yale, Stanford, Princeton included. If Tech had access to close to that type of money, life would be very good. Maybe we can become Yale - Ruston??????

    DFiH

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    Re: "Flagship"?

    Quote Originally Posted by DawgFaninHous View Post
    WOW, I was given bad information by a local investment banking firm interested in buying our company. They work with the UT fund. It looks like all of the big private schools have larger endowments : Yale, Stanford, Princeton included. If Tech had access to close to that type of money, life would be very good. Maybe we can become Yale - Ruston??????

    DFiH
    Yeah, it kind of makes the "Harvard of the South" thing seem a little moronic. They have almost 100 times the endowment that we have.

    I believe that we need to be at about $200 million right now just to keep up with other regional universities for the per-student endowment dollar. We have at most ~$70 mil, depending on how things have gone this year. If we could get to $500 mil by 2020 I think we would be in a position to compete against some of the lower-tier engineering schools in the south (e.g., Auburn). Ga Tech has over $1 billion. And they are also a state school who, until recently, capped enrollment at 15k. (Up to ~18k now.)
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    Re: "Flagship"?

    Come on. There has got to be SOMEONE who visits this forum who can explain the benefits of the flagship system!
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    Re: "Flagship"?

    There is none, and yes, Tech would greatly benefit by being part of the LSU system.

    That would be different if the UL System actually gave a damn about their best school. They don't protect our interests at all, evidenced by aviation programs at Nwstern and ULM. They also underfund us and reward other schools for mediocrity.

    Logically, we would bring value to the LSU system but the idiots in this state probably wouldn't realize that, and all idiots get a vote.

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