by Norm Miller
Louisiana College received a $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help expand online education capacity and quality.
A Sept. 27 press release from Representative Ralph Abraham’s office said, “The education of our nation’s youth is among my highest priorities and I’m glad to see these federal dollars coming home to Louisiana.”
Abraham said the grant will “better serve the students of Central Louisiana as they seek to broaden their academic horizons.”
“We celebrate this single largest grant ever achieved in the history of Louisiana College,” said Dr. Rick Brewer, president of Louisiana College. “We spent nine months researching the needs of our community and how best to enhance technology to solve higher education access issues. We are beyond elated for what will become a transformational advancement in our curricular offerings and general overall enhancement.”
Divided into installments of just under $450,000 over five years, the grant underwrites a project called IDEA — Investing in Developing Expanded Access — with three main objectives: expanding access through online courses, improving faculty capacity in online education, and creating flexible online student services.
Elements of these objectives include upgrades to General Education and Business; two fully online programs, BS in Business Administration and a Project Management certificate; strengthening the creation and delivery of online courses, effective use of technological advancement; developing online student support services; and improving the information technology infrastructure for increased online instruction and new online service delivery systems, as well as additional personnel to facilitate and maintain these advancements.
“These developments will increase enrollment, and the college will sustain the improvements beyond the five years of the grant,” Brewer said. “The grant also aids our commitment to STEM becoming STEAM at LC.”
“Online support services will ensure that all students have 24/7 access to the support they need to be successful,” Brewer noted. “But perhaps the most popular advancement will be the complete transformation of online access that will be upgraded ten-fold.”
Louisiana College will join Louisiana Optical Network Infrastructure (LONI), which will bring a 10 Gpbs Internet access point to the campus.
“There are several on our team who did the heavy lifting in the lengthy process of research and writing for this grant proposal,” Brewer said. “I want to thank Dr. Cheryl Clark, Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dr. Henry Robertson, Associate Professor of History/Coordinator of Institutional Effectiveness and Sponsored Programs; Dr. Adena LeJeune, Chair, Division of Business/Associate professor of Business; Mr. Randall Hargis, Executive Vice President for Business Affairs/CFO; Mr. Mark Shoemaker, Vice President for Information Technology/CIO; as well as numerous personnel in our Registrar’s Office, Financial Aid Office, and others of our extended family who contributed through external consultations.”
“Our Vision of Preparing Graduates and Transforming Lives just took a giant leap forward,” Brewer said. “While we are deeply grateful to many people, our ultimate gratitude is to the God we serve.”