Tech remembers top headlines of 2011

Dec 30, 2011 | General News

Louisiana Tech has marked 2011 with accomplishments and great strides academically and physically as new buildings are constructed, others are named, and the faculty, staff and students receive accolades that show Tech as a rising star on the national scene. Here is a list of the top 12 headlines regarding the university.
Louisiana Tech elevated to First Tier of U.S. News & World Report rankings
Louisiana Tech achieved a First Tier ranking among “National Universities,” according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2012 Best Colleges list released this September.
Tech was the only university in the state, classified as a “National University,” to be elevated to a higher tier, and is one of only two public universities in Louisiana to achieve a First Tier ranking – the other being LSU-Baton Rouge.
For the third consecutive year, Louisiana Tech was also ranked in the top ten nationally for graduating students with the least amount of debt.
In addition, Tech was ranked among the nation’s Top Public Universities, along with LSU-Baton Rouge, and saw its undergraduate engineering programs and undergraduate business programs ranked as well.  According to U.S. News & World Report, there are a total of 251 institutions in the country classified as “National Universities,” of which 172 are public.
Bulldog football invited to Poinsettia Bowl
After winning 44-0 against New Mexico State in November, the Louisiana Tech football team was invited to play against TCU at the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
Though the Bulldogs did not succeed at beating the Horned Frogs, the Bulldog faithful received a few early Christmas presents: head football coach Sonny Dykes agreed to a contract extension and punter Ryan Allen won the Ray Guy Award.
Tech, Murphy Oil strike educational partnership
Louisiana Tech and Murphy USA announced a groundbreaking educational and professional development partnership, “MurphyUSA@LaTech,” which provides Murphy USA managers and employees with focused educational programs, student and academic support services, and dedicated informational resources designed to meet the specialized needs of the MurphyUSA@LaTech student.
Regardless of location, MurphyUSA@LaTech students have access to the same student resources and services that are available to Tech’s traditional, campus based students.
The partnership offers Tech an opportunity to enrich its academic programs through close engagement with a Fortune 125 company and new learning and networking venues for its students and graduates. Conversely, Murphy USA is able to leverage the academic strengths and reputation of Tech to develop and retain a skilled workforce that can better serve the needs of its constituents and support the company in its corporate mission.
Carnegie Foundation elevates Tech to ‘high research’ classification
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching elevated Louisiana Tech University to its “Research University – high research activity” (RU/H) category, placing it among an exclusive group of approximately 100 research universities in the United States to earn this classification.
Tech joined such distinguished research universities as Auburn University, Mississippi State University, Baylor University, the University of Arkansas and Clemson University.
As a doctorate-granting university, Tech is grouped with similar institutions based on factors such as research funding, doctoral graduates and research staff.  These doctorate-granting universities are defined as institutions that award at least 20 doctoral degrees per year, excluding doctoral-level degrees that qualify recipients for entry into professional practice, such as the JD, MD and PharmD.
Team sets record, drives to victory at Shell Eco-marathon Americas
A team of engineering students from Tech set a new American fuel efficiency record on their way to a first-place finish in the Urban Concept class at the 2011 Shell Eco-marathon Americas.
Louisiana Tech’s Urban Concept vehicle, “Roadster,” won the Urban Concept title with a record run of 646.7 miles per gallon.  Tech also won one of three Shell Eco-marathon Safety Awards and the Design Award for the “Roadster” vehicle.
The two-day competition challenged students to design, build and test fuel-efficient vehicles in an attempt to travel the farthest distance possible using the least amount of energy.  High school and university teams from throughout Canada and the United States took part in the event.
In total, Tech took home $8,000 in prizes – more than any other U.S. university in the competition.  Tech bested traditional powerhouses such as Purdue, Penn State, UCLA and the University of California at Berkeley.
The Tech team also received recognition from National Geographic as one of their 2011 Most Hopeful Energy Developments.
Louisiana Tech receives $1.1 million EDA grant to support ‘green’ innovations
Louisiana Tech University as awarded a $1.1 million grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for establishing the Louisiana Tech LA_i6 Proof of Concept Center to support and expedite the introduction of new “green” technology innovations into markets throughout the region and the nation.
LA_i6, to be operated by Louisiana Tech’s Enterprise Center and housed in University Hall on the Tech campus, will partner with companies along the I-20 innovation corridor in north Louisiana, south Arkansas, west central Mississippi and northeast Texas. Other private sector partners will come from across the country to north Louisiana to participate in the LA_i6 activities.  LA_i6 will also work to amplify and promote the social, environmental and economic impacts of green technologies produced through the center and its partners.
Louisiana Tech’s proposal was one of only six in the country to be selected for the highly-competitive i6 Green Challenge grant.
Tech named to President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll
Louisiana Tech University was named to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and was recognized by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) for its leadership among institutions of higher education in Louisiana in supporting volunteerism, service-learning and civic engagement.
Tech was the only public university in north Louisiana and one of just three public institutions in the state to earn this national distinction.
Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors, including the scope and innovation of service projects, the extent to which service-learning is embedded in the curriculum, the school’s commitment to long-term campus-community partnerships, and measurable community outcomes as a result of the service.
Pioneering nanosystems engineering program receives accreditation
Tech’s bachelor of science in nanosystems engineering – the first program of its kind in the United States – became the nation’s first undergraduate degree program in the field of nanoengineering to receive accreditation from the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.
ABET is recognized as the world leader in assuring quality and stimulating innovation in applied science, computing, engineering and technology education. Tech’s undergraduate nanosystems engineering program was established in 2005 as an interdisciplinary degree program that provides students with the skills to work with functional systems at the molecular scale.
The bachelor’s program in nanosystems engineering program currently has an enrollment of about 70 students and has had roughly 25 graduates since its launch in 2005.
Tech breaks ground on new home for College of Business
The College of Business at Tech will soon have a new state-of-the-art building to call home. Groundbreaking was held in February for the construction of a 42,000 square-foot facility located on the east edge of the campus, which will serve as the centerpiece of the College’s business and entrepreneurship programs.  The new building was designed by Yeager, Watson and Associates of Alexandria, La.
Students and faculty will have access to new classrooms, offices, computer labs, two auditoriums, meeting rooms, research centers and student support and career resources.
Funding for the new facility comes from a $12.4 million capital outlay from the state as well as private contributions from some of the College’s most generous and active alumni.  These financial gifts and resources will afford the College opportunities for long-term growth and program development.
Several buildings renamed
Many of the buildings and areas on campus received name changes this year – the Enterprise Center was renamed the Robert H. Rawle Enterprise Center; the visual arts building was renamed the F. Jay Taylor Visual Arts Center; the bookstore atrium is now the Virgil Orr Bookstore Atrium; and Hide-Away Park is now the Garland Gregory Hide-Away Park.
Robert H. Rawle was Tech’s director for economic development and was named Alumnus of the Year in 2004. Virgil Orr was former vice president for academic affairs and Louisiana Tech Alumnus of the Year in 1996. F. Jay Taylor served as the university’s president from 1962 to 1987, and Garland Gregory was department of health and physical fitness faculty member and Louisiana Tech Athletics Hall of Famer.
Tech Express goes into the community
Tech students, faculty and staff now have the ability to use their Tech Express campus debit and ID cards to pay for goods and services provided by a number of merchants in and around Ruston.
The university partnered with “UGryd,” a division of the CBORD Group, Inc., to provide local retailers with the technology and support needed to accept the campus-issued cards as a secure form of payment.  Tech Express accounts are pre-paid accounts that can be accessed via the student or employee ID card for certain campus goods and services.
Since the 1990s, students and employees have used the Tech Express cards for on-campus services such as dining, textbooks and office supplies.  With increases in student enrollment and the expansion of the campus toward downtown Ruston, interest among the campus community in using their Tech Express cards at off-campus locations has grown significantly.
Kaczvinsky named new dean of College of Liberal Arts
Dr. Donald Kaczvinsky, director of Louisiana Tech’s School of Literature and Language, was named the new dean of the university’s College of Liberal Arts.
Kaczvinsky, who joined the Louisiana Tech faculty in 1990, officially assumed the College’s leadership role on Sept. 1.  He replaced Dr. Edward Jacobs, who retired after serving 14 years as dean.
Kaczvinsky earned a Ph.D. in English from Penn State University in 1989, a master’s degree in English from the University of Virginia in 1984 and a bachelor’s degree in English from Providence College in 1982.