Louisiana Tech University welcomed students, faculty, and staff back onto campus this week, and The Journal decided to check in with Tech President Les Guice to get a sense of how the year is looking.
How does it feel to start a new academic year?
The beginning of a new school year is the most exciting time on a college campus. It’s a time full of promise for our students, faculty and staff, and it’s a time when we’re all reminded of the purpose of working in higher education – serving our students. Seeing our students on campus after the last year’s challenges with COVID-19 is so rewarding for all of us.
What changes on campus will the Tech community see this year?
On top of the new athletics facilities, which we opened in Spring 2021, we have opened two new residential life facilities – the new Cottingham and Richardson Halls. The old versions of those halls, plus Mitchell, have been torn down to provide space for intramural fields and student recreation space. We’ll open a new Mitchell next fall.
We’re also preparing for the installation of Aspire, a new work by Portland, Ore., artist Curtis Pittman. This inspiring new piece of art that will be nestled among a new grove of noble trees in front of Keeny Hall will honor the spirit of transformation and innovation that is a core part of Louisiana Tech University.
Visitors will also see wider, more accessible sidewalks on campus.
What challenges with COVID-19 do you see students, faculty, and staff facing?
Many people seem to have fatigue in relation to COVID-19.
How are you ensuring safety on campus with COVID-19?
Our university is requiring masks in accordance with the State of Louisiana’s mask mandate. The state does not currently have distancing requirements, but we are encouraging students, faculty and staff to engage in the following behaviors to help ensure the health and safety of our campus community:
- Wearing masks indoors
- Washing hands regularly
- Using proper sneeze and cough practices
- Helping maintain clean academic and office areas
- Monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19
How does this year look different from last year, as far as COVID-19 is concerned? How is it similar?
We have a vaccine available for the virus, and that’s the primary difference. We have another tool in our tool belt for fighting COVID-19.
We continue to learn more almost everyday about the virus and its impacts. Like last year, we will continue to offer classes in face-to-face, hybrid and online formats depending on the size and type of class. If a student wishes to take only online classes, they simply have to register for online courses. However, all courses will not be offered in an online format so students will need to be aware of the differences and pay attention to which ones they register for.
What can you tell us about this year’s freshman class?
I always feel our first-year students are the brightest, most qualified and most exceptional students. This year’s class is no exception, and I look forward to seeing what they will achieve in the classroom and beyond.
What are you most looking forward to this fall?
Seeing more members of the Tech Family in person!
We have also launched our Tech 2030 strategic framework, and I look forward to seeing how our faculty and staff begin to implement the framework to influence their approach to this and future academic years.
Has Hurricane Ida impacted your campus community?
We’ve been hosting several Nicholls State students since the initial impact of the hurricane, and we’re providing support through the Hurricane Ida Relief Efforts with other ULS institutions.
For more recent news about Louisiana Tech, check out:
Bearcat alum Kelly earns full scholarship at Louisiana Tech
Tech unveils 2030 guide during fall convocation
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