Regents reinstates two degree programs at LSU, add three at BRCC

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Board of Regents has authorized the return of two degree programs to LSU and three new programs at Baton Rouge Community College.

At LSU, degree programs in comparative literature and women’s and gender studies was given new life Wednesday. The programs were terminated in January.

At BRCC, new programs in engineering, veterinary technology and diagnostic medical sonography–a specialized form of medical imaging, were authorized by the board.

When LSU cut their two degree programs due to having too few graduates in January, it was part of 20 programs cut statewide.

Former LSU Provost Astrid Merget had argued that the comparative literature doctoral program is a small, low-cost program that serves as a critical part of the humanities research in Louisiana and other multicultural states. It is the only such program in the region.

Comparative literature is an interdisciplinary program that combines literature with foreign languages, philosophy, art and history. It is made up of the English, French studies and foreign language departments.

While the comparative literature degree program returned, the master’s degree will not be reinstated at LSU. Regents officials decided the program met the threshold for graduating enough students. They were also the ones to reject the master’s degree reinstallation appeal.

And even with few students gathering in women’s and gender studies, the board decided that the program was one of proper prestige for a state flagship university like LSU, and the bachelor’s degree program was reinstalled.

Regent Charlotte Bollinger of Lockport, said she had reservations but did not oppose the appeals.

“I’m hoping this is not going to become a trend of things that have been thoughtfully dismissed coming before our board again,” she said.

The new BRCC programs can go into effect immediately and contribute to the young college’s continued growth.

BRCC will partner with LSU and Southern University for the school’s new associate of science in engineering degree. The universities will be used to help bridge the students into their respective engineering programs.

The veterinarian technology program is for an associate of applied science degree, and the diagnostic medical sonography deal is for a shorter certificate of applied science program.

The Regents Academic and Student Affairs Committee made the approvals and the final board is expected to approve all the measures without discussion today.

The Regents also signed off on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette moving forward with their plans to build a new $50 million student union.

No one voted against the ULL project, but Regents Vice Chairman Bob Levy of Ruston did question the wisdom of moving forward with construction during times of budget cuts and layoffs. He also advised it might be best to wait “until we catch our breath.”

“It will still be (publically) attacked,” added Regents Bubba Rasberry of Shreveport. “It has to be done properly for all of our sakes.”

The University of Louisiana System vice president for business and finance, Nick Bruno, argued the time is right now to build the new union because interest rates and construction costs are at record low levels.

Bruno said student fees have been collected for nearly eight years to build the new union. With approval, construction could begin at the end of the year, he said. The project includes new construction and renovating parts of the existing union.

“It’s the front door of the university,” Bruno said. “The project, in our opinion, is overdue. ...In times of declining sales, we have to work much harder to sell our product.”

One more approval is needed for the ULL project to move forward, the Bond Commission will need to approve it as well.

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