Reneau: No furloughs, layoffs at Tech at this time

Sep 7, 2010 | General News

At Louisiana Tech’s fall faculty meeting, President Dan Reneau assured faculty and staff that while the state and the country is going through a rough economic climate, Tech is standing strong.
“In hard times, we have to remember that there can be a great future if we commit to academic excellence,” Reneau said. “I’m pleased with the budget we put together. It’s solid. We did it without layoffs or furloughs.”
While Reneau said he had been told the worst was yet to come, including probable mid-year cuts and more cuts next year, he said that a few things that had come to pass recently were benefiting Tech – the GRAD Act and performance-based funding. The GRAD Act allows schools that meet certain criteria to raise tuition, which Tech did this fall by raising tuition 9.12 percent. This brought in an extra $3.5 million in funding. However, most incoming freshmen from Louisiana, 80 percent, have tuition covered through TOPS, Reneau said. In addition, performance-based funding brought Tech $1.25 million instead of a budget cut.
“Louisiana Tech rated higher than any other public institution in the state,” Reneau said regarding performance-based funding. 
Reneau commented on some of the factors that allowed Tech to fair well in the performance-based funding review. Tech is No. 7 in the nation in graduating seniors with the least amount of debt. Tech is the only Doctoral II research university in north Louisiana. Also, the average amount of time it takes to receive a bachelor’s degree at Tech is 4.6 years, tied for the least amount of time in the state with LSU.
“That’s a notable accomplishment,” Reneau said. “That reflects what you do in that classroom, in advising, and in culture.”
Multiple programs within the university were also accredited with no recommendations for improvement, including all of the programs within the College of Engineering and Science, the teacher education program, the accounting program and the College of Business. In addition, multiple financial audits that were conducted returned with no findings.
“It’s a culture of character at Louisiana Tech that leads to that,” Reneau said.
Outside academic, the University Foundation raised a record amount of donations, a new state-of-the art athletic training facility is in the works, and head football coach Sonny Dykes and athletics director Bruce Van De Velde were hired. Also, the first building of Tech’s Research Park, Tech Pointe, is already at 100 percent capacity with tenants before completion of construction.
“We can’t let negativity weigh us down,” Reneau said. “Our philosophy is that our most precious asset is our people. I’ve done everything I can to protect our people. What’s coming down the road? There will be more pain, and we will suffer. We have $13 million in stimulus money that will go away June 2011. Will there be reductions? Yes. Will Tech survive? Absolutely yes. We will not only survive but thrive. We know where we’re going and how to get there. There will be better times in the future.”