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UL System Fuels
University of Louisiana System campuses are bolstering opportunities for new industry growth and enhancing established industries in Louisiana through innovative research and development and by providing strategic planning and professional services.
According to data collected for the study, UL System campuses have at least 28 economic development, 23 engineering and technology, 24 environment and life science, 27 cultural development, and 86 education, health and human services programs.
The research being performed at the eight universities of the University of Louisiana System keeps Louisiana competitive on a national level in key sectors such as engineering, medicine, computer technology, and environment and life sciences.
For example, the Louisiana Immersive Technology Center is a state-of-the-art facility on UL Lafayette’s campus. It was developed as an economic development tool by the university, the State of Louisiana and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority. Visualization environments there, supported by supercomputers, have many applications. For instance, LITE has shown oil and gas companies how immersive imaging can help minimize risk and reduce costs.
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Additionally, the Association of University Technology Managers recently ranked Louisiana Tech University second in the nation amongst academic institutions for innovation productivity as measured by the number of new inventions generated per research dollar expended.
Nicholls State University’s wide range of Coastal and Environmental Research improves the management and conservation of coastal wetlands and barrier islands, which will benefit Louisiana’s fisheries industry, the oil and gas industry and recreational activities. These efforts are not only economically and culturally important, they also reduce damage suffered by coastal communities from storms and hurricanes. Evaluation of restoration and management projects for coastal wetlands and barrier islands preserves a vital resource of south Louisiana and provides valuable direction for future effort and investment.
There are 28 documented economic development programs in the University of Louisiana System. Although the business support service formats and their specific focuses vary, they provide every region of Louisiana access to the training, support, insight and empowerment that is offered through today’s business incubator/accelerator model.
Perhaps most significantly, UL System’s campus-based services and centers further drive the state’s economy by extending necessary professional services, resources and support that would otherwise remain unavailable to even the most rural of areas throughout Louisiana. Southeastern’s Small Business Development Center provides assistance to starting or expanding businesses with increasing sales and profits and with marketing new products. Their Business Research Center helps business communities with the application of economic research and analysis, and the Southeast Louisiana Business Center Incubator assists start-up ventures by housing them in a business assistance rich environment complete with daily coaching.
Grambling State University’s community development projects include EMERALD, or Expanding Minority Entrepreneurship Regionally Across the Louisiana Delta, which is designed to increase the number and success of minority and rurally-located entrepreneurs. Grambling’s workforce development program assists with GED completion, job readiness training, placement, and post-secondary education.
Engineering and Technology
The UL System boasts 23 documented engineering and technology centers that support the creation of progressive ideas and technology, and offer professional quality business applications to entrepreneurial endeavors.
For example, the Louisiana Tech Enterprise Center houses the Louisiana Tech Enterprise Incubator, the Technology Business Development Center, and the Enterprise Center Art Gallery. These centers collaboratively offer administrative assistance and overhead facilities at the critical startup phase for technological entrepreneurs and artists. By offering knowledgeable and efficient resource management services, creative energy is concentrated on research, marketing and production to enable growth. The Innovative Venture Research Course engages business and engineering students from Louisiana Tech to identify promising products invented by Tech faculty. It then utilizes Venture Enhancement Teams to build prototypes and prepare marketing studies as a prelude to commercialization.
Environment and Life Sciences
There are at least 24 documented environmental and life sciences programs at UL System campuses. Southeastern’s Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station is a good example. Located on Pass Manchac between lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas, the facility serves as a field base for scientists conducting scholarly research on wetland ecology, cypress forest restoration, marine biology, and the chemistry and physics of the wetland environment. The facility, which is undergoing reconstruction following Hurricane Katrina with the use of FEMA funds, also serves as a valuable venue for wetland education of area teachers and their students and the general public.
Preserving Louisiana’s heritage and enhancing the culture of its citizens is evident in the 27 documented cultural development programs UL System schools offer.
For example, the Creole Heritage Resource Center at Northwestern State University promotes, fosters and engages in activities and endeavors that relate to Louisiana Creoles and their culture, which complements their Louisiana Folklife Center, the Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival, the Regional Archaeology Program and Southern Studies, An Interdisciplinary Journal of the South. The work of NSU’s National Center for Preservation Technology extends beyond Louisiana’s borders, by offering trainings at venues across the United States regarding the most current scientific and technological methods of historic preservation.
At Southeastern, the Columbia Theatre is an 850 seat performing arts venue which presents a season of cultural activities. Its anchor festival Fanfare encompasses the entire month of October. Their Visual Arts and Curatorial Research Center coordinates creation of visual arts exhibitions in the university art galleries and at other exhibition spaces in the state.
Education, Health and Human Services
Education, health and human services are areas where the University of Louisiana System excel, as evidenced by 86 documented outreach programs.
At the University of Louisiana at Monroe, dental hygiene students provide discounted services to the community, including the use of a mobile service unit to reach out to those who cannot come to the campus.
McNeese State University’s Community Health Services Projects include the Immunization clinic that is offered through their College of Nursing, the Kay Dore Counseling Center which provides affordable counseling services to the community, the McNeese Autism program, and a summer session reading clinic that offers each student a reading coach.
ULM currently serves as one of Louisiana’s two training centers in the state for educational leadership development initiatives funded by the Wallace Foundation.
UL Lafayette’s outreach efforts include providing digital storytelling programs to elementary school students. The programs provide opportunities for the university’s teacher candidates to practice their skills in facilitating technology-enhanced language instruction.
University of Louisiana System’s eight universities are dedicated to building a knowledge-based economy to ensure Louisiana’s future vitality.
UL System campus communities have vested stakeholders who have long recognized and pursued the potential of our institutions. Whether it is alumni who are determined to repay the dividends they have earned through their education, community leaders who see their university’s role as essential to progress, or businesses and industries that could not flourish without the consistent injection of our qualified graduates, all serve to cement the strong partnerships that have evolved between each UL System campus and the community to which it belongs.
These partnerships have generated cooperative opportunities for meaningful research and service that enhance the efforts of corporate, civic and governmental leaders alike by fostering networking, supporting the creation of new ideas and technology, and offering professional-quality business applications to entrepreneurial endeavors.
Every region of Louisiana has access to the training, support, insight and empowerment that is offered through the vast resources of intellectual capital at the eight UL System campuses. Although each campus is enormously different, the personal natures of our universities as well as the mutual commitment that each shares with their surrounding communities is inherently evident in the service and outreach efforts that are consistently offered to promote local success and achievement.
Through research and service, the UL System is an economic engine that sustains innovation and growth across our state. A wide range of entities exist at each UL System university to contribute directly and indirectly to the economic and social prosperity of their surrounding regions.