An enrollment increase, faculty recognition and the launch of Global_Campus headlined the Top 12 stories at Louisiana Tech during 2008, as compiled by the university’s News Bureau.

– Tech enrollment increases 3.23 percent

Tech President Dan Reneau said the university’s reputation and move to offer more distance learning classes had assisted with the student increase, which jumped 3.23 percent from last year. More than 100 online classes were offered in the fall.

Also, 2,315 graduate students enrolled for the fall, which was 21.1 percent of the total enrollment. Reneau said the university’s goal is to have graduate students represent 20 to 25 percent of the total enrollment.

The total enrollment for Tech’s fall quarter stood at 10,950 students, which is the largest university enrollment in north Louisiana.

– Tech faculty ranked second nationally on

The faculty at Tech distinguished itself in the eyes of its most important and valued constituents: its students., a student-generated Web site that rates college and university professors, ranks Tech at No. 2 in its 2008 Top University Faculty List.

Tech is one of only two institutions in the state to be ranked in the top 10. Southeastern Louisiana University, ranked No. 4, was the other. The University of South Alabama received the list’s highest ranking.

“Louisiana Tech has long enjoyed an outstanding teaching reputation,” said Dr. Kenneth Rea, vice president for academic affairs. “Quality teaching is critical to the academic success of students, and the university is committed to promoting teaching excellence. That reputation is certainly borne out by the students who expressed their opinions on”

– Tech launches Global_Campus

The mission of the Global_Campus is to position Tech as a world-class leader in electronic learning, offering new educational opportunities for a global community that meets the needs of undergraduate, graduate and non-traditional students.

Under the leadership of Dr. James Smith, Global_Campus is a highly interactive, electronic learning platform that will allow Tech to combine its academic and faculty strengths with the power and convenience of the Internet and other distance delivery methods. It will offer a variety of degree and certificate programs as well as general education courses to students all over the world.

“Global_Campus will focus on providing complete online and distance education services to military, international, dual enrollment, adult and continuing education students,” Smith said. “Traditional students will also be afforded more options and flexibility in their academic schedules.”

– Tech professor recognized as 2008 Distinguished Scientist

Dr. Vir Phoha, a professor of computer science, was selected as a 2008 Distinguished Scientist by the Association of Computing Machinery.

The award recognizes those ACM members with at least 15 years of professional experience and five years of continuous Professional Membership who have achieved significant accomplishments or have made a significant impact on the computing field.

– Gullatt is Man of the Year

Dr. David Gullatt, dean of Tech’s College of Education, was named Man of the Year by the International Association of Truancy and Dropout Prevention at a national convention in Las Vegas.

Gullatt received the service award for his work for training supervisors, principals, superintendents and others as hearing officers for truancy cases. He joined the association in the early ’90s when he was a principal in the school system and now works to train others on the rights of students.

The association honored Gullatt with the Man of the Year distinction because of his efforts to be a child advocate and because of his work with adults to help them understand student rights.

– Tech adds cyberspace tracks, I/O Ph.D. program

The university has been approved to establish two cyberspace tracks for two Ph.D. programs: the Ph.D. in engineering and the Ph.D. in computational analysis and modeling. Also, a new doctorate program in industrial and organizational psychology has been added.

“This fits in well with our economic development plans,” Reneau said. “I think this is a wonderful addition for the direction our university is moving. It enhances our doctoral and research capabilities and will provide opportunities for very bright students and future career successes.”

– Education professor receives national recognition

Dr. Lajeane Thomas, a professor of education, was ranked among the Top 10 people who have had a profound impact on educational technology in the last decade.

eSchool News’ editors and advisory board chose its “Ten Who’ve Made a Difference” in educational technology and calls those on the list “ed-tech movers and shakers.”

Thomas shares the Top 10 with people such as Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, One Laptop Per Child Chairman Nicholas Negroponte and Linda G. Roberts, former special White House adviser on educational technology.

– Plans for Research Park progress

The renovation for the first building of Research Park should be complete in 12-18 months after construction begins, and the construction for the first Research Park building should soon be under way. The first building of Research Park will house companies that have grown out of Tech’s two current business incubators, which are located in the Enterprise Center and the biomedical engineering building.

“We must have a research park so (high-tech companies) will stay here in north Louisiana,” Reneau said. “We hope to break ground on the first building in late spring. The results of this Enterprise Campus will be tremendous.”

– Tech leads state in student-athlete graduation rate

For the second consecutive year, Tech led the state in student-athlete graduation rate, according to the 2008 Federal Graduation Rate Report released by the NCAA.

The report is based on graduation rate figures from the freshman class of 2001-02.

In the NCAA’s report, Tech recorded a student-athlete graduation rate of 66 percent, higher than the national average of 64 percent and the highest in the state.

– Southern Early Childhood Association chooses Humphries as president-elect

Tech’s coordinator of early childhood and child development programs has been elected president-elect of the Southern Early Childhood Association.

Dr. Janie Humphries, a professor of family and child studies in the School of Human Ecology, will assume the post at the spring board of directors meeting that will be held in conjunction with the organization’s 60th annual conference in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

More than 18,000 people working in every aspect of child care and early childhood belong to SECA.

– Journalism students earn five awards in national contest

Five Louisiana Tech journalism students have won awards in a competition sponsored by the National Federation of Press Women, including a first place for feature writing and second for sports and news writing.

The awards were announced at the organization’s national convention in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

To be eligible for the national competition, students must win first place in their state contests. Ten Tech journalism students earned awards this year from the Louisiana Press Women, which includes both male and female members.

Students who received awards were Justin Phillips, a junior journalism major from Alexandria, and four who have since graduated: Mary Nash, Valerie Metrejean, Jessica Peregoy and Richard Sisson.

– Focus on Russia held

Louisiana Tech sponsored a series of events as part of its Shaping the 21st Century: Focus on Russia program, organized by the International Education Committee and the Division of Academic Affairs.

The Focus on Russia series enabled Tech to internationalize students’ experiences, exposed the public to other cultures and offered participants a perspective from which to appreciate other nations.

Tech has also hosted Focus on India and Focus on China series in previous years.

Written by Judith Roberts