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NEW GSU NURSING PROGRAM GETS REGENTS SUPPORT

Louisiana Board of Regents board endorses letter of intent to move undergraduate nursing program forward; next stop: LA State Board of Nursing in June

By WILL SUTTON
GSU Media Bureau


Dr. Brown Interview at ULS Meeting on GSU Nursing ProgramBATON ROUGE
— Grambling State University’s effort to start a new undergraduate nursing program got a boost Wednesday when the Louisiana Board of Regents endorsed a letter of intent in support of a smaller, focused, more demanding academic curriculum, classroom training and support so students will be successful.

“We’re happy that the Board of Regents has supported our efforts today, and this is just the second of three key steps as we work toward getting this program in place,” GSU President Rick Gallot said shortly after the vote in the Claiborne Building. “Now it’s on to the state board of nursing. We’re hopeful because the nursing board sent the Regents a letter encouraging support because they like what they see.”

The Board of Regents vote in favor of the letter of intent was unanimous. If the process continues as planned, the first cohort of 30 students can start with the new GSU nursing program in fall 2018.

GSU started the program in 1984 and built a strong regional and national reputation. But the program fell on hard times as some students were not successfully passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) required state boards of nursing to be licensed to practice after graduation. The Louisiana board ordered GSU to pursue closing the program in June 2015, the Board of Regents closed the program in August 2015 and the program was officially closed December 31, 2015. Gallot decided to ramp up an effort to develop a new nursing program, making it one of his key first-year priorities.

Board member Robert W. Levy acknowledged that he was one of the chief critics of the university’s previous program, but he said though he has had lots of concerns and criticisms he supports the new program because it is well designed, well thought out and designed to better ensure student success. In addition, he said, he was not prepared “until he became president,” pointing at Gallot sitting at a table in front of the board.

According to a Regents staff summary provided to inform the board, “Recognizing a longstanding need for more BSN graduates as well as a parallel need for the nursing community to better represent the diversity of the population that it serves, Grambling has been working to reestablish a BSN on campus by reviewing and revising every element from core leadership in the School of Nursing, to faculty orientation and evaluation, course and curriculum design, and lab and support resources.”

Meg Brown, the school’s nursing head, said she was happy with the Board of Regents’ support and she and her team will work with GSU Provost Ellen Smiley and others to best prepare to anticipate and answer all state board of nursing questions. The university plans to appear before the state nursing board in early June.

“While we are pleased with what happened today, we have more work to do and we’re ready to get it done,” said Brown. “It’s important that we pay special attention to everything we’re doing to make sure that we start strong and stay strong.”


GSU Nursing Program - Board of Regents Meeting Photos
Photos/Video credit to GLENN LEWIS/GSU Media Bureau.

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GSU, OTHERS REPRESENT UL SYSTEM IN BATON ROUGE

Cheer, SGA, SLI and World Famed help Grambling State be heard, seen, understood during ULS Day

By MINIYA SHABAZZ
GSU Media Bureau

The 2016 HBCU national championship football team is recognized by Gov. Edwards, state representatives and state senators during a special Baton Rouge visitGrambling State University, Louisiana Tech University and the University of Loiuisiana at Monroe all were represented at the University of Louisiana System day at the Capitol.

The goal of the day was to highlight the opportunity for legislators to change the pattern of draconian cuts to higher education to one of investment in our state’s future.

GSU brought the largest contingent, with the HBCU national championship football team congratulated by Gov. John Bel Edwards at the Governor’s Mansion and the GSU World Famed Tiger Marching Band performing a concert on the Capitol steps. The GSU leadership team, including Student Government Association leadership and the President’s Student Leadership Initiative, also was present.

“It was a good day for the UL system and a great day for Grambling State,” said GSU President Rick Gallot. “The system has been quite supportive and we know that will continue. I know my former colleagues in the house and the debate are good people and good leaders, and we trust that they will see the faces of our students and understand that they and the institutions they attend deserve support.”

Henderson echoed Gallot’s comments.

 “Our system serves over 90,000 students from every parish in the state of Louisiana,” ULS President Jim Henderson said. “It’s a $3.9-billion-dollar direct economic impact; our graduates have earned $6.5 billion  in increased salaries after they graduate.

“We think it’s important that legislators understand that higher education investments in UL Systems are not a cost, they are not an expense to the state they are an investment in our future,” Henderson said.

 “We want to showcase the return on investment that the state gets in higher education by showing them the faces of about 800 students at the university of Louisiana systems universities,” said Henderson.

Louisiana Tech President Les Guide also touched on the importance of networking with state officials.

Because everyone is not from the same part of the state, they may miss key information on what is going on in another part of the state like Grambling or Tech.

 “I just met a representative from the west bank of New Orleans and so we get to tell about a little bit about what we do up in north Louisiana. Hopefully it helps them understand how to make good decisions,” said Guice.

He has been at Louisiana Tech for 39 years and has been president since 2013.

Guice enjoyed watching the different students interact with each other, showing off their school pride and networking with one another. This made him reflect on how a lot of Louisiana graduates stay in Louisiana, which creates an impact to the state’s workforce and gives back to the state.

“Higher ed is not a cost. Higher ed is an investment. It’s an investment for our future. Without this investment our students may not have the opportunity to compete for the best jobs in the country,” said Guice.

Although the University of Louisiana at Monroe is on spring break, they still felt the need to make their presence known.

“The most important thing is to develop network and communication lines so you can avoid some potentially harmful legislation passing that may impair the universities,” said ULM President Nick Bruno.

The capital is no strange place to Michael Meadows, the SGA president of Grambling State University. He visits the capital every month with other SGA presidents to advocate for higher education. 

“The Council of Student Body Presidents meet the actual system’s board members making sure that they understand the actual students concerns the actual student issues that the universities are facing,” said Meadows.

Grambling brought more than their SGA president, one of them being Elizabeth Eddy, the SGA Chief justice.

“We are trying to promote GSU as a whole, support the GSU football team because they are getting honored today and to get some more money in the ULS system,” said Eddy.

GSU’s HBCU national championship football team was honored in both the Louisiana House and Senate chambers as both bodies went into session for the day.

“GSU represented well. Our band, football team, student leaders, faculty and staff showed up in force from campus and our Baton Rouge chapter alums came out strong,” added Gallot. “It’s important that we all realize that Gov. Edwards and the state legislature have a lot of significant issues to consider. We just want them to see GSU and the other higher education institutions as good investments worthy of support.”

ULS Day in Baton Rouge
Photos credit to GLENN LEWIS/GSU Media Bureau.

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MIGOS CONCERT THRILLS GSU STUDENTS, ATTRACTS STUDENTS FROM ELSEWHERE

Highly anticipated concert excites Grambling State, other students

By SARAH-RENEE GARNER
GSU Media Bureau

Migos is scheduled to perform Thursday at the Fredrick D. Hobdy Assembly Center

Migos is scheduled to perform Thursday at the Fredrick D. Hobdy Assembly Center.

After months of anticipation, Grambling State University students found out a few days ago one of the nation’s most popular singing rap groups would be performing at their school  — and soon college students across the nation found out, too.

GSU students are excited that Migos is scheduled to perform Thursday at the Fredrick D. Hobdy Assembly Center, and it seems students from other parts of Louisiana – and other states — are planning to attend the 7 p.m. show.

Migos concert tickets can run $60 to $100 and more, so the $35 GSU ticket price is cheap, making a trip to Grambling worth the money and time. GSU annually has spring concerts with big name acts, but no recent performances have attracted this kind of attention.

Dillard University student Margeret Acuaye plans to be there, coming in from New Orleans. Melanie Graves is traveling to Louisiana from the University of Missouri.

“Migos is one of the hottest rap acts touring, and we expect a large crowd,” said David “Rusty” Ponton, interim vice president for student affairs. “However, the response has been unbelievable. We issued almost one thousand tickets the first day…. All of this commotion for Migos.”

Ponton and the Favrot Student Union Board worked hard to secure the Migos’ performance, delaying an announcement about Tiger Fest week events until late last week when the agreement with the group was official.

Migos, a group of three young men — Quavo, Offset and Takeoff – have an adoring, demanding audience of fans. The group has been mainstream since 2009, gaining popularity each year. One of the first songs that put them on the map was “Versace,” a 2013 song they did with Drake. More recently, they became more universally known with “Bad and Boujee,” they popularized the dab and just this week they recorded a television segment with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots on NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” They got a shout out from actor Donald Glover when he accepted a Golden Globe award.

Missouri’s Graves, 18, from Houston, Texas, is traveling Thursday to GSU solely because she wants to see Migos. “When my friend called me and told me that Migos was coming to perform at her school and that the tickets were so cheap, I knew right then and there that I would have to go,” she said.

Acuaye, 19, from Dallas, Texas, said she and a friend have tried to see Migos without success, until now. “My best friend and I have been dying to see Migos,” she said. “Each time we try and see Migos, it never works out, and now it has finally worked out.”

Expecting a larger than normal turnout, Ponton said the university has safety in mind, so additional police officers will be added to enhance security and GSU students are being asked to walk to Hobdy to alleviate parking and traffic congestion. “Parking will be handled just like a home football game, but there will not be pre-assigned parking spots,” said Ponton. “It will be first come, first served.”

Ponton, who has worked at Grambling State for nearly 30 years, said he has seen a lot of concerts. Comparing the response to previous GSU concerts, he said, “This could be one of the biggest.”

Tickets are being sold on the second floor of the Favrot Student Union on the GSU campus.

 

Migos, a group of three young men -- Quavo, Offset and Takeoff

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GSU SEARCHES FOR MEN’S BASKETBALL COACH

Grambling State AD says new coach must have strong foundation, area recruiting emphasis
and a balanced approach

By GSU Media Bureau

GSU Athletic Director, Paul BryantGrambling State University has struggled to build a successful men’s basketball program for the last several years, and GSU Athletics Director Paul Bryant is ready for a change. He wants a winner on and off the court.

“The thing is, winning is defined in different ways,” said Bryant, who started as AD in January.
“Wins and losses is one way to look at winning. Another is to look at student-athlete academic
success. Another is to look at how much of a program is built as a team and alumni engagement. And then there’s the life blood of all sports programs: recruiting.”

The basketball G-Men finished the 2016-17 season with a 16-17 overall record and a 10-8 record in the Southwestern Athletics Conference. Last year’s season records were 7-19 overall and 4-10 in the SWAC. The G-Men had a 2-17 overall record and a 0-18 record in the 2014-15 season. It has been several years since the team has had a strong winning season.

Bryant said he wants a coach willing to recruit locally, regionally and nationally. He said he wants a coach that Louisiana high school coaches would know because the head coach and his coaching staff have been in their gyms and at their practices. He said he wants someone who knows basketball strategy, someone who can identify players to fit a specific system but also identify players who can grow into the coach’s system. “This is what I tell all of our coaches,” added Bryant. “I expect and want each coach and coaching staff to handle the basics, from recruiting and staffing to budget and games.”

“In the end, we need a well-rounded, aggressive, challenging and competitive men’s basketball coach who the players can appreciate, understand and respond to as a leader,” said Bryant.

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C-SPAN BUS VISITS GSU ON HBCU CAMPUS TOUR

More than 200 experience multimedia vehicle during national tour stop in Grambling

By YA’LISHA GATEWOOD
GSU Media Bureau

Over 200 students toured a $1.2 million virtual media bus during a stop in Grambling recently. The students learned how C-Span shares its cable-television coverage during the final week of a C-SPAN HBCU tour at Grambling State University.

GSU students listen during a recent C-SPAN bus visit on campus during the HBCU Campus Tour

GSU students listen during a recent C-SPAN bus visit on campus during the HBCU Campus Tour.

“I have never experienced a bus like that before. I knew it was a cable company and I liked the fact that a spokesperson for the company explained to me what the company was about,” said Tevyn Wade, a mass communication major.

Wade and other students looked around the large bus, interacting with touch screens and learning about the network’s video media library and its 220,000 hours of programming dating back to 1987. Several GSU faculty members and some Grambling community members also took the tour.

“College students are perfect for the tour because they’re our next leaders, congressmen and presidents. We want people to make informed decisions,” said La’Shawna Saint-Preux, a marketing representative for C-SPAN.

Saint-Preux said C-SPAN is a public affairs network that extensively covers the U.S. Congress, the president, the White House and the executive branch of the federal government with uninterrupted start-to-finish broadcasts. Unlike traditional television networks, C-Span provides viewers with gavel-to-gavel coverage of briefings and meetings as well as news conference. She said the network includes Book TV and American History TV shows on weekends.

“C-SPAN is a non-profit organization which is not funded through the government, taxes or a political party. It is paid for through your cable bill. Every month six cents out of your cable bill is how C-SPAN is funded,” said Saint-Preux.

In the Association of Cable Communicators’ multicultural public relations category, C-SPAN won a Beacon Award for its HBCU tour in 2015. ACC’s Beacon Award honors excellence in cable communications and public affairs. Grambling State University hosted the C-SPAN bus tour in front of the Favrot Student Union building for a couple of hours on March 2. Commonly referred to as C-SPAN, the company has been known more formally as the Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network.

During the tour, students tried their hand at interactive displays, asked questions, learned more about a variety of social media platforms and discussed the value of branding. GSU mass communication department head Robbie Morganfield encouraged the students to visit the C-SPAN bus to be exposed to shifting priorities in the global communications field and to learn more about a company with internship and job opportunities.

Some students did one-minute interviews about what they want to see happen during President Trump’s early days in office, and C-SPAN bus representatives posted the interviews on Twitter, tagging the students to make their comments heard nationwide with the hashtag #CSPANbus.

Wade, 19, who visited as a member of the GSU National Association of Black Journalists chapter, said the experience was a good one.

“I’m glad now being a new member of NABJ opened my eyes to this experience, before I arrived at GSU I didn’t know anything about the mass- communication department,” he said.

GSU C-Span Bus Tour

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GSU STUDENTS AWARDED NAACP SCHOLARSHIPS

Grambling State students recognized for scholarship, community involvement

By MATA DRAIN
GSU Media Bureau

GSU NAACP Scholars - Keely Heggar  and Jessica Clinton Jessica Clinton and Keely Heggar were ecstatic on stage as they accepted scholarship awards.

Clinton and Heggar, Grambling State University students, each received $500 from the NAACP Lincoln Parish Chapter. They were among six area college students receiving scholarships during a mid-January (Jan. 14) event at the Ruston Civic Center.

Neither Clinton nor Heggar took the scholarships for granted, each saying the awards helped teach them the importance of setting goals.

Clinton, 18, a visual and performing arts major, plans to earn her degree and give back to her Ruston family and the Ruston community. She has learned that setting goals are important to success. “Stay focused and do not let anyone detour you,” she said.

Heggar, 18, a social work major also from Ruston, aspires to work with abandoned children, providing them with love while helping the children discover their purposes in life.

NAACP member Brenda Williams, the gift info processing coordinator for Grambling State University, helped choose the 2017 scholarship recipients. “The students submitted applications and completed all criteria required of them, which is the most important step,” said Williams. The applicants were required to provide church, community and school recommendation letters; have some evidence of community involvement and indicate how they promote diversity.

The two young women applied for the scholarships through church mentors who told them about the scholarship opportunity. Karen Lewis, a Sunday school teacher at St. David Baptist Church, notified Clinton. Jack Houston, a deacon at Zion Hill Baptist Church, informed Heggar.

Heggar encourages other students to consider applying for the NAACP scholarships, adding  “…you have to apply yourself, they will not be given to you without hard work and dedication.”

To find out more information about the NAACP scholarships, visit http://naacplincolnbranch.org/

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GSU JUNIOR SELECTED FOR PRESTIGIOUS ESPN FELLOWSHIP

Shabazz, of Maryland, works with prize-winning New York Times columnist Rhoden and The Undefeated

By GSU Media Bureau

Miniya Shabazz Newspaper PhotoMiniya Shabazz has been a Grambling State University student less than 24 months and she’s already an editor with the campus newspaper, a reporter with the university media bureau and she’s been published in area publications. Now she’s become a part of the ESPN family.

Shabazz, 20, has joined The Undefeated’s Rhoden Fellowship program. The sports journalism program focuses on identifying and training aspiring African American journalists from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Shabazz, a native of Silver Spring, Maryland, is one of only six college journalists chosen for the prestigious opportunity. The Undefeated is ESPN’s multiplatform initiative for sports, race and culture.

As a Rhoden Fellow, Miniya will report, write and record for The Undefeated. The program includes regular conference calls discussing story ideas, reporting, writing, producing podcasts and advising with William C. Rhoden. This award-winning sports columnist recently retired from The New York Times then joined The Undefeated as a columnist, editor-at-large and director of the fellowship program. The fellows were announced Wednesday, March 8.

Miniya Shabazz, GSU Student, selected for ESPN fellowshipShabazz, raised in Laurel, Maryland, started her college journalism career as a freshman, contributing to the campus newspaper, The Gramblinite, then quickly became its news editor. She is a student member of the National Association of Black Journalists and an active member of the Alpha Theta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. When she learned she had been selected, she found it hard to believe.

“I was filled with excitement and disbelief to be selected…because of the well-known and reputable brand of ESPN,” said Shabazz. “I knew instantly that when I got this opportunity that it would be beneficial to my career because of the nuance of gaining experience with writing and reporting on a national level.”

Rhoden was encouraged to develop the initiative by ESPN president John Skipper and has worked closely with Kevin Merida, senior vice president and editor-in-chief of The Undefeated, to make the Fellows a reality. They approached several HBCUs to be fellowship partners and discussed specific students with journalism and media professors and professionals at those schools. Will Sutton, GSU’s director of communications, suggested Shabazz because “she is committed to her craft, dedicated to being one of the best and because she signs up to get assignments done rather than sign in to get credit.” He said she is an up-and-coming journalist who will blossom with the ESPN experience.

“I am very eager to learn as much as I can, to apply it to my own craft, from the award-winning Bill Rhoden and other affiliates because of their years of experience in the journalism business. Now that I have begun to work at The Undefeated I have already started to serve as a liaison from my university to The Undefeated through podcasting and writing stories. I am very thrilled to be working with other young journalists from various HBCU institutions and look forward to the great content I know we will produce together.”

In addition to Shabazz, other college journalists selected include Kyla Wright, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia; Paul A. Holston, Howard University, Washington, D.C.; C. Isaiah Smalls II, Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia; Simone Benson, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland, and Donovan Dooley, North Carolina A&T University, Greensboro, North Carolina.

With support from ESPN, the Rhoden Fellowship is a two-year program established as part of The Undefeated’s mission to develop new voices and serve as an incubator for future multicultural journalists. The fellowship is open to outstanding undergraduate students at HBCUs.

During the academic year, the fellows will report news stories from their respective universities and cover the varied facets of HBCU life, serving as on-campus correspondents for The Undefeated’s HBCU vertical. They will produce daily, weekly and monthly multimedia content, as well as serve as on-site beat writers covering sports teams – college or professional – in their respective markets. During the summer, students will work 40-hour weeks at ESPN for 10 weeks, gaining a first-hand education and experience in sports journalism.

The Undefeated is ESPN’s multiplatform content initiative exploring the intersections of sports, race and culture. The digital hub, TheUndefeated.com which launched in May 2016, combines innovative long-form and short-form storytelling, investigation, original reporting and provocative commentary to enlighten and entertain African Americans, as well as sports fans seeking a deeper understanding of black athletes, culture and related issues.

In addition to its cutting-edge content, The Undefeated seeks to be a thought-leader on race, sports and culture in the country – convening insightful forums to discuss and debate topical issues affecting sports and race in America.

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GALLOT CONGRATULATES U.S. ATTORNEY ON RETIREMENT

GSU alumna Finley steps down from federal post after 25 years of service

Stephanie Finley, Retiring U.S. Attorney and GSU AlumGrambling State University President Rick Gallot has congratulated GSU alumna and U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley on her recently announced retirement after 25 years.

“U.S. Attorney Finley has been an exemplary judicial leader and an impeccable Grambling State University example, and I congratulate her on her retirement and I wish her good luck with her future endeavors,” said Gallot, who has known Finley for more than three decades.

In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed Finley as U.S. Attorney for the western districts of Louisiana. The district covers 42 of the 64 Louisiana parishes. Prior to that appointment, she was an assistant U.S. attorney, deputy criminal chief and senior litigation counsel for the U.S. attorney’s office in Lafayette office.

Finley, a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, thanked the people of the western district as well as other federal agencies and local partners in the area, adding that her future is bright. “I am excited about what the future holds, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as the United States Attorney,” she said, noting that she plans to serve the country in a “private capacity.”

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GALLOT TAPS SMILEY AS GSU PROVOST

Longtime Grambling State educator knows the university, faculty, staff

By GRETA CARTER
GSU Media Bureau

Dr. Ellen SmileyGrambling, LA – A number of universities sought to recruit Ellen Smiley as an undergraduate student. Her parents encouraged her to attend Grambling State University; both her parents and her sister are/were alumni. Now she’s the institution’s provost and vice president for academic affairs.

GSU President Rick Gallot quickly recognized Smiley’s attributes, contributions and deep love for Grambling State, and he chose her as his interim provost in August. Still, that meant that she would have to compete for the permanent job. There was a national search, a strong pool of finalists and Smiley was the unanimous choice of the search committee. Gallot accepted the recommendation.

“I chose Smiley not only for her strong academic background, but because she has a GSU commitment and heart,” he said.

Smiley completed her undergraduate education at GSU, earning a bachelor’s degree in radio and television communication, now known as mass communication, and she earned a master’s in teaching social science, with a concentration in sociology at Grambling State. She earned her doctorate in higher education administration at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

The University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors recently (Feb. 23) confirmed Gallot’s selection at its February board meeting in Baton Rouge.

“I am confident that my longstanding history with Grambling State University, vast experience and extensive knowledge will permit me to make an immediate contribution to the overall operational and educational goals of the university, specifically within the Division of Academic Affairs,” said Smiley, a native of Homer, Louisiana. “The Grambling State University family impacts the world in a powerful way.  To serve as the provost and vice president for academic affairs of this prominent institution is a humbling honor.

“I love being a part of President Gallot’s fast-paced, energized team.  His leadership motivates us to pursue excellence in all that we do.”

Smiley was recruited to Grambling State University to assist with the development of the Honors College in 1990. During her career, Smiley has continued her work with the honors program in a number of positions and she has served in other academic and administrative capacities. She has served as the assistant dean of the Honors College, assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and executive assistant to the president.  She is a member of the president’s cabinet, the university’s budget and priorities committee and several other university committees. Smiley is quite accustomed to faculty desires and needs, too; she served as president of the Grambling State University Faculty Senate for several years.

Gallot said Smiley’s years of service are a symbol of her commitment and willingness to strive for sustainability and longevity at Grambling State University. “Dr. Smiley has been here and she has a better feel for talented people within a certain area because she is familiar with the employees,” said Gallot. “This advantage allows Smiley to quickly notice, suggest or make improvements because she has analyzed skill sets of faculty, staff and students and will be able to match people in the most beneficial areas to increase effectiveness and efficiency in departments where employees are being underutilized.”

Smiley said she is excited to continue her work at GSU, and to continue in the job she started in late summer, more permanently pursuing goals to improve academics at the school overall and helping faculty provide students with encouraging and substantive learning opportunities.

“Not only does it provide an opportunity to give back to my alma mater, but it is an honor to be a part of President Gallot’s team,” she added. “I plan to cultivate leading strategies to build, manage and recognize a high-functioning, performance-driven team of faculty and staff.   I plan to inspire the faculty, staff and students in a manner that encourages them to release those energies and passion that boost academic excellence.”

Smiley said she plans to pursue new programs and new concentrations as Grambling State “continues to meet workforce demands, ensuring that our learners are prepared to work and serve.”

Smiley is married to Dr. Rory L. Bedford, director of GSU’s Service-Learning and Continuing Education programs and a professor of philosophy, sociology and psychology. They have three children: Joi Bedford-Williams, an alumnus of Alabama A&M University; Samantha Bedford, a senior at Alabama State University, and Prentiss Smiley, a senior at Grambling State University.

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GALLOT ENVISIONS A STATE-OF-THE-ART LIBRARY FOR GSU STUDENTS, FACULTY

GSU president is moving swiftly to transition library from academic eyesore to academic example

By WILL SUTTON
GSU Media Bureau

President Gallot speaks with attendees at Library Meeting.Grambling State University’s library was built in 1962 and an addition was added in 1986. With decades of use, and limited maintenance, the building is not what it used to be. GSU President Rick Gallot intends to change that – and as soon as possible.

A nationally known library design consultant met with Gallot; faculty, staff and student representatives and Louisiana Board of Regents and University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors members to start the process of replacing the A.C. Lewis Library with a 21st Century library with a much stronger focus on digital resources and technology services.

“I’ve told anyone who will listen that our students deserve better and more when it comes to a library,” said Gallot. “We can no longer accept that what we have is reasonable and good enough. Our students must have the best, and we can do this with reasonable financial costs if we do it right.”

Gallot is pursuing a library project that would downsize the size of the existing library while making it much more inviting and useful to students with more up-to-date resources and technology. The Lewis building is about 87,000 square feet. A significant upgrade with all of the current hardback, old periodicals and other content and databases might take as much as square footage in a new building with a traditional approach. But Gallot said he’s seen better used libraries with fewer books and periodicals housed on site and he’s convinced that today’s GSU students would more frequently use the right kind of library.

Atendees at the meeting discuss the future of the library at GSU.A group of more than 15 listened intently as Denelle C. Wrightson, a library planning and design consultant, shared the latest ideas among nationally recognized library facilities, including small libraries and mega libraries the size of a football field. During her 30 years of experience, Wrightson has assisted with the design of 1,000-square-foot library additions and new libraries of 160,000 square feet. She talked about the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University, often referenced as the “library of the future” because it includes cutting-edge tools, hands-on interactive stations and large-scale technology, including simulated submarines, destroyers and aircraft carriers.

As a part of a transition plan, Gallot said the library books, resources and staff will move to the second floor of Adams Hall to start the process of moving toward a new library. The existing library has had a series of environmental issues, and the president said it is better, and safer, to close the building rather than to continue to invest money in a building that no longer serves students well. He said the library will be relocated for an undetermined period of time as the university pursues the type of facility needed.

The library operates on a limited schedule, closing at 10 p.m. most weekdays, closing at 12:30 p.m. on Fridays and it is open for four hours on Saturdays and six hours on Sundays. Meeting participants said they want to see a 24-hour library, one that online students can use from home or work no matter the hour, and a library that students want to visit regularly. Gallot wants to fast-track the process, aiming to get the project on the April 20 ULS board agenda for consideration.

Such a major project would require support from the UL system board and the state’s board of regents. Board leaders participating in the meeting said they are encouraged, and they want to find a way to make this idea reality.

Shawn Murphy, a ULS board member, liked what he heard during the presentation and the meeting, adding that this type of project is the right thing for Grambling State. “I’m just glad to be a part of this effort, and I look forward to getting this done as soon as possible,” he said. “Kind of like the commercial that says, ‘Let’s get this one done.’”

Longtime ULS board member Winfred Sibille has supported higher education during the decades he has served on the system board, carefully balancing financial requests with justifiable needs. “This project has been a long time coming, and we need to make this a shining effort and an example for other universities that need library facilities.”

Gallot said though Monday’s meeting was successful, next steps include a follow up visit by Wrightson to include more campus stakeholders and a draft proposal with a suggested financial cost and timetable. “This is just the beginning,” he said, “but no really good idea gets anywhere without involving the key players, getting the best reactions and suggestions and moving the concept forward.”

Library Meeting March 2017

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