Student Recruitment and Retention

The Student Recruiting and Retention committee worked with the Office of Academic Affairs to identify barriers to recruiting and financial aid issues related to diversity and inclusion.

A proposal has been developed for a test-optional admissions policy. While we maintain flexibility in requiring the ACT or SAT for admissions, discussions continue with the Board of Regents regarding the use of standardized test scores for placement.

LSU has created a proposal to recommend the use of senior year high school English performance as a college English Composition placement mechanism. This proposal is currently under review by the Board of Regents and other Louisiana campuses.

The Graduate School is in the penultimate stage of its Strategic Planning process, and several items relate to the creation of an inclusive environment. In particular, the plan calls for a curriculum in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion available to all graduate students, particularly those intending to become future faculty. This brief curriculum will leverage the growth of LSU’s undergraduate student body from under-represented groups to provide advanced graduate students the “clinical” experiences of demonstrating facility at teaching and managing diverse classrooms, labs, and other academic collaborative environments. Successful completion of this curriculum will provide a comparative advantage to LSU doctoral graduates in the job market.

LSU’s Graduate School has begun working with six academic departments across the university to develop a standard framework for holistic graduate admissions to be used in conjunction with current departmental practices. This test-pilot group will implement the new procedures for the F22 admissions cycle, and the new procedures develop a quantitative index of information provided in application materials weighted according to departmental faculty priorities. This index mirrors the ETS’s new product line of “Personal Potential Index,” but tailored to discipline-specific priorities. With a goal of increasing the ratio of underrepresented professionals in every academic area, a main point of interest is encouraging top scholars, particularly those from historically underrepresented groups, to seek out employment and mentorship within SEC institutions.

The SEC Emerging Scholars Career Development Workshop is an annual event designed to provide professional development and networking opportunities for current doctoral students and post docs who are considering careers in higher education. This workshop will occur every fall with financial support from the Southeastern Conference and its 14 member universities. The hosting institution will be charged with planning the agenda, format, topics, and presenters in consultation with the other SEC institutions. In fall of 2021 it will be hosted by LSU and held virtually.

The committee continues to collaborate with the Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI), Graduate School, and Honors College on ways to develop a stronger pipeline to recruit students of color into academic careers and expand academic mentorship and retention. The committee plans to dig deeper, in partnership with OSI, to continue this work. There are additional conversations that will further intentionally connect historically underrepresented students to the graduate world. In general, strengthening this relationship between the graduate and undergraduate experience at LSU defines a unique position for LSU as a national comprehensive public university: meeting the undergraduate accessibility needs of an increasingly diverse population, and using this undergraduate diversity as the platform for academic excellence in the terminal degrees of graduate education."

This past year has been a new beginning of our work to foster an inclusive campus community welcoming to all.  

Major advances include:

  • A fourth consecutive year of record-setting enrollment of African American and Latinx freshman coupled with similar retention records for these two groups.
  • The renaming of the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (ODEI) to better reflect its role.
  • The addition of (ODEI) staff, programming, and funding to better assist the populations served.
  • A new Diversity Leadership Committee was formed and expanded (it now includes diversity professionals from Enrollment Management, Athletics, LSU PD and more) out of a similar group that was relegated to diversity leaders in academic departments.
  • The creation of the Asian Asian American / Pacific Islander (AAA/PI) Faculty and Staff Caucus.
  • And the appointment of Dr. William Tate IV as the first African American President of an SEC University. 

We have made incredible strides to increase and promote diversity at LSU, but we recognize there is a lot more work to be done. The actions of this past year will further our efforts, but they will not be the end of them. Together we will take actions to eliminate inequality, racism, and other barriers that any members of our LSU community face. Diversity and inclusion are fundamental to LSU's mission, and our university is committed to creating and maintaining a living and learning environment that not only embraces individual difference, but thrives because of it.

Committee Members

  • Jose Aviles
  • Jim Spencer
  • Emily Hatfield
  • Ashley Arceneaux
  • Jessica Aslin
  • Cam Crier
  • Jonathan Earle
  • Kelvin Jones
  • Alyssa Kimmel
  • Julia Ledet
  • John Lewis
  • Sharon Lewis
  • Unique Luna
  • Erin McKinley
  • Renee Boutte Myer
  • Taylor Scott
  • Evante Topp
  • Scott Woodward