Stephen Wagosbach believes it is time to end the waking era of higher education.
Wagosback, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, isn’t the only candidate expressing such a view.
His GOP rival, Jeff Landry, hasn’t been shy about speaking out about malaise on college campuses, at times expressing concern that conservative voices are being silenced.
Similarly, Hunter Lundy, an independent conservative candidate, raised concerns about “vicious indoctrination” in schools.
Democratic candidate Sean Wilson has condemned such claims, likening the term “wake up” to a dog whistle used to speak negatively about minorities in a sly way.
“The stifling of this Enlightenment worries me because you are now controlling and limiting the ability to understand history in context,” Wilson said. “If you haven’t studied it, you are bound to repeat it.”
Although bragging about getting up has become expected in campaigns, it’s far from the only higher education topic to come up before Louisiana’s gubernatorial election this fall.
Here’s how the candidates fall into the cases.
Landry and State Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R. Slidell, did not respond to multiple interview requests for this article.
What do you think is the role of a state university?
“Universities must offer some visibility into our workforce and economy as part of not only the curriculum but the academic excellence they attract must be cutting edge,” said Wilson, the recently retired state transportation secretary. “Obviously, universities are designed to contribute to the local economy because they attract new residents. They attract companies to take advantage of their research potential, and you can’t discount the cultural influence they also play in terms of bringing in art, entertainment and athletics.”
“The role of the public university should be to equip the young men of our nation, first, to deal with the issues of the world, the issues of life,” said Lundy, “to educate them, train them, equip them, and get them ready for the profession to which they are called.”
Rep. Richard Nelson, R-Mandeville, defined the role of higher education differently.
“I think it’s to educate the population and give way to people to provide for their families, to provide a trained workforce to the companies that are in the area,” said Nelson. “Unfortunately… we create a trained workforce, [and] I suspect Mostly it gets out of the way.”
Treasurer John Schroeder and Waguespack gave more general answers to the question.
“Louisiana’s higher education systems and universities will play an important role in Keeping Louisiana’s best and brightest in the state,” Schroeder said.
“I think all of our higher education institutions are there to help “Transforming our youth into productive workers and citizens of this state,” said Wagosback, former CEO and President of the Louisiana Federation of Business and Industry.
How do you feel about the tenure of faculty members in higher education?
Nelson said he believes awarding the position is a widely accepted practice in higher education, and the process should be free of political influence.
“I think that’s just kind of Standard practice, I guess [faculty] They must be able to express their opinions. I don’t always agree with them, but they should be able to say what they want. ”
Wilson described the tenure as essential to the long-term retention of qualified professors
When you tell an academic, “I expect you to come and do research,” when you look at long-term research, it may take six to eight to ten years before the research is fully fleshed out into something practical. Thus, without a term, you risk losing talent and making investments in other communities and other states rather than growing what you have here in the university systems of Louisiana.”
The tenure award process needs fine tuning, according to Waguespack, in order to ensure that universities use it effectively.
“I understand that there is a role that ensures you can attract outstanding faculty across the country. I understand the concept behind that,” he said. “But the way it’s applied can sometimes get in the way of some proper analysis that an employee would need. And so I think that’s the way universities apply tenure… I’d like to see every university have a great deal of strategy in how it’s awarded and applied.” And making sure it provides us with a way to protect our intrepid, high-performing faculty compared to protecting those who might need them to be rehired or retrained.”
Lundy would like to see the acquisition process evaluated but would not say whether he is for or against its existence.
“Until I see all the stats, until I see the agendas, I’ll have an answer,” said Lundy.
Schroeder refused to answer this question
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What qualifications will you look for in higher education recruits?
Schroeder said higher education leaders in his administration will need the ability to stem the state’s decline in enrollment. He said more students would eventually lead to lower tuition fees
“We have a declining student population, and today technology is changing the way students learn. “My appointments to members of the Council on Higher Education will always be centered around what is in the best interests of the students and the campus.”
Waguespack wants university system board members to bring their expertise to the negotiating table.
“You also want people who have an understanding of the goals and objectives of the institution and the needs of the students at that institution,” he said. “So The qualifications for the board of a leading university may be different and will be different than those who are going to join the board of a community college system.”
Higher education leaders, Wilson said, must have a “national vision and a national or international role.”
“That appreciation of what academics are today and what they’ll become,” he said, “You want a commissioner and/or systems leaders who are going to see what the future looks like and take the steps today to be in a position to compete in the future. You obviously want people with a level of academic qualifications competence, as well as purposeful experience.
Academic leaders nationwide must have quality training in addition to character, according to Lundy.
He said, “A God-fearing person, someone who understands that in order to be a leader, you have to be a servant.” So when you take this position, you understand that you are a servant of the state of Louisiana. You are a servant of higher education, and you are a servant of the young people who, after having their education, find their way to life.”
Nelson will specifically look for the backgrounds of academic leaders in science and technology research.
“I think this is really the avenue I’m going to be looking to bring in the jobs of the future,” he said.
What needs to be done to improve the quality of higher education in Louisiana?
Waguespack wants to focus primarily on the needs of the students
“If you look at the high-performing states in the South…it is perfectly acceptable for students to go straight to two years [college] after [high school] And either use those skills to go into the workforce, or use that education they’re getting and then move on to a four-year institution…
“I think we need to do a much better job of identifying these kids and showing the value of starting a two-year program to either build careers or their continuing education pathways.”
Schroeder wants Louisiana colleges and universities to create business incubators on campus in order to spur innovation. He said students can get grants to support viable business ideas if they find them in the state.
Lundy opposes lowering standards to boost enrollment, and said partnerships between technical colleges and private industry should be emphasized.
“We should not lower our standards to accommodate the numbers. We must keep our standards high, and we must ensure that there is an equal opportunity for everyone,” said Lundy. But our goal should be excellence…”
Wilson believes that Louisiana has good academic institutions as well as some “cutting-edge” programs.
“I think sustainable funding is the most important thing we can do to really build the quality of our universities… There are programs at every institution that are unique to those institutions, and that delivers value.”
Nelson said that Louisiana can build a healthier ecosystem of higher education by providing state funds to attract “first-class, world-class faculty.”
“If you are able to Building advanced lab facilities and things like that, which will attract them and allow them to do the best research that’s been seen around the world, and will attract graduate students who have been working in these kinds of areas. … She’s spending the money the right way.”
Should Louisiana Colleges and Boards Be Restructured or Reorganized?
Nelson said that there are ways in which the state can eliminate bureaucracy in the administration of higher education
“Some of that runs counter to the political realities of these things that have been here for a really long time,” he said. “I think anywhere you have people who don’t make the final product, like people who do research, people who educate kids, who make a final product. When you have these many levels of bureaucracy that don’t do anything for people, I think that’s where You can look for some fat in it.”
Wilson was a student board member of the University of Louisiana System before public schools were mixed between the LSU and UL systems.
We take member and witnessed some restructuring And create a reorganization of the system, I don’t know I’m ready today to tell you that yes, we need to restructure our education.”
Countries’ leaders should be open to more efficient approaches to higher education, Wagosback said, adding that oversight should stop micromanaging.
“I’m always open to finding out what this best-in-class model is, but I don’t get into this with a preconceived notion,” he said. “I want to sit down with the local leaders, define the roles of each organization, what their goals are. And then, at this point, once you know what the strategic plans are for each organization, you figure out what is the best control model to help them achieve that.”
Lundy and Schroder refuse to answer this question.