ULM thriving amidst budget crisis

courtesy: ULM
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MONROE, La (ULM Release) - ULM has put out a news release detailing its growth in a time of uncertainty where the state's budget is concerned.

There is no doubt that drastic measures will have to be made if something is not done to address the current budget deficit. But there is an irony in the fact that, while all of these discussions are taking place, ULM is continuing to grow in almost every area, including enrollment.

This should come as good news to prospective students. Despite the doom and gloom of the financial crisis, this is a great time to be a Warhawk.

Here are several categories in which ULM has recently seen growth and recognition.

Enrollment

The university has seen an increase in spring enrollment. Compared to spring 2015, total enrollment is up 477. Moreover, dual enrollment population increased by 134 students and eULM population increased by 108 students. ULM’s persistence rate—how many students came back from fall to spring—remained at 90%.

Rankings and Recognitions

Just this week, GoGrad.org released its third annual ranking for the 2015-2016 best doctoral education programs in the nation, and ULM’s online Ed.D. program came in at #7. Ranked schools were evaluated based on the number of online graduate degrees available in related subject areas; graduate tuition; availability of academic and career counseling services; availability of job placement services.

Last month, ULM reached a major milestone by being recognized as one of the state’s six doctoral-granting institutions of higher education. The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education (CCIHE), “the leading framework for recognizing and describing institutional diversity in U.S. higher education for the past four and a half decades,” classified ULM as an “R3” doctoral university; the university joins the ranks of only 109 other universities across the U.S. and only 5 other universities within the state.

In December 2015, graduates from the ULM Kitty DeGree School of Nursing had a 100% first-time pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). That is, 28/28 passed the exam on the first testing. According to the 2015 NCLEX pass rates published by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), from October to December, 6,188 candidates with a bachelor’s degree took the exam, with a pass rate of 81.77%. Thus, graduates from the Kitty DeGree School of Nursing exceeded both the national and state averages on the NCLEX exam.

Athletics

ULM men's basketball (17-12, 13-5) will play in the semifinals of the SBC Tournament on Saturday, March 12 at 3:30 p.m. The team enters this week as the hottest team in the league having won seven straight games and 11 of its last 12. The Warhawks’ last loss was on Feb. 2 at rival UL Lafayette in overtime. The team switched its starting lineup just prior to the streak to an experienced lineup of seniors Majok Deng, DeMondre Harvey, Justin Roberson, Jamaal Samuel and junior Nick Coppola. The switch prior to the Jan. 21 game against Troy sparked a four-game winning streak and the Warhawks haven't looked back since.

Last month, Isaac Grieder, who finished his career as one of the most decorated track and field student-athletes in school history after four seasons, won the heptathlon at the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) Indoor Championships. Grieder totaled 5,273 points after seven events to earn the gold medal.

Back in November, Adam Sedlmajer (ULM 13’), a native of the Czech Republic, won the 2015 Waterski World Championship, which took place on Nov. 16–22, 2015 in Chapala, Mexico. He was one of hundreds of athletes from thirty countries who participated in the professional tournament, which is held every two years.

On March 11, the ULM football team will kick off their spring training with a completely new coaching staff and 19 total commitments. The recruitment efforts of Coach Matt Viator and his coaching staff were a success and the program looks forward to showing off its talent on April 16 in the spring football game at Malone Stadium.

Academics

The Ouachita Police Jury and ULM are entering into a memorandum of understanding to use the former LSU AgCenter Calhoun Research Station for clean water technology research and as a site for environmental education of K-12 students. Clean water is critical for the wellbeing of our community, personally and economically; the upcoming research will seek to provide a sustainable supply of clean water for the region.

ULM’s Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) program will sponsor an international conference on “Systemic Therapy” in Brussels, Belgium in Sept. of 2017. The sponsorship attests to ULM’s international reach as well as the continued success of our faculty and students in the MFT program.

NASA recently awarded a 3-year grant totaling $62,000 to Dr. Ken Leppert II, Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Sciences in the College of Arts, Education, and Sciences. This grant will go toward Leppert’s research project, “Better Understanding GPM Radiometer Measurements using Ground Based Radar,” which seeks to improve measurements of rainfall using satellites.

ULM has just opened a new Autism Center (AC-ULM) thanks to a grant from the Living Well Foundation. The AC-ULM is a cooperative program between the Speech-Language Pathology and Occupational Therapy Programs at ULM, both of which have been part of the College of Health and Pharmaceutical Sciences for over 40 years. The Center, directed by Dr. David Irwin, Professor and Director of the Speech-Language Pathology and the AC-ULM programs at ULM, seeks to serve as a comprehensive resource that will enhance the quality of life for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Time of Opportunity

With all this growth, ULM still faces significant challenges. According to ULM president Dr. Nick J. Bruno, now is the time to act.

“This is not the time for ideology and party affiliation to get in the way of collaboration in solving these financial challenges,” said Bruno, who remains hopeful that a permanent solution to the lingering budget short falls will be found. “I would encourage you to reach out to your local legislators during this crucial time, and express your disapproval of further cuts to higher education.”

As it stands, House and Senate members need to add $75 million in funding to higher education to prevent yet another cut to Louisiana’s colleges and universities. And time is running out, as the special legislative sessions come to end on March 9.

“Even though we continue to face challenging times, we must continue to educate our students who have chosen this great university,” said Bruno. “I encourage you to stay engaged, stay positive, and together let’s look for new ideas and solutions to preserve higher education for ourselves and for the many generations to come. I thank you for your support, and as always, Go Warhawks."