Northwestern State University President Dr. Chris Maggio spoke to the Natchitoches Lions Club May 14. He said the university had a wonderful graduation May 11 with 932 graduates walking across stage in two ceremonies. A group of 1968 graduates were recognized and presented with their second diplomas, which included Lions Club member Sophie Packard.
The university also experienced its largest enrollment this year with 10,571 students.
This year marks the first time in 25 years NSU has offered a doctorate of education.
“We’re always upgrading our academic program, said Maggio. “We’re focusing on workforce development and community and technical college leadership.”
There were 20 students in the first cohort and there are 20 more accepted (around 65 applied) for the coming year.
Maggio said they’ve also ramped up their computer information systems program, which has grown from 180 to 300 majors. This fall they’re starting a cyber security concentration. There’s also plans in the works to offer a master’s degree in computer information systems, which would make NSU the first university in the state to offer this particular degree.
Since there’s no money coming in through capital outlay, NSU’s deferred maintenance is coming out of its operating budget for roads and other things.
“We budgeted wisely this year,” said Maggio. “Last summer we overlaid Sam Sibley drive, which was a $450,000 project. We plan on overlaying Caspari Drive and the parking lot outside Turpin Stadium, which will be a $400,000 project. Other projects on our list include adding an elevator at the NSU Middle Lab School ($400,000) and upgrading the classrooms as well.”
Maggio said they initiated strategic budgeting on campus this year. Instructors were asked to voice their needs, and present administration with a project they’d like to see in their department. Approximately $2.1 million in requests were submitted. Ac committee of peers worked its way from the bottom up, ranking projects from small ones, to larger ones like redoing the tv studio in Kyzar Hall ($150,000). The committee was able to budget for $1 million of the requested projects.
“This is an internal change we’ve made so that we have a lot of transparency and people buying into the process and that’s helping with moral on campus,” said Maggio.
Maggio also said the university can’t worry about the state of Louisiana’s budget. This means becoming less reliant on the state. In the old days, 75% of NSU’s budget came from the state and 25% came from student tuition. Now 25% or less comes from the state. Tuition and fees for local students is currently over $10,000 a year. Ou of state students who live on campus pay around $19,000.
“We have to worry about what we can control, which is recruiting and retaining students while offering quality academics and an overall quality student experience,” he said.