Southeastern NEWS
                    Southeastern Louisiana University
                    Public Information Office
                    SLU 10880, Hammond, LA 70402
                    504-549-2341/fax 504-549-2061
        Date:  12/7/01
                    Contact:       Rene Abadie or Christina Chapple  (1)   


     HAMMOND - Southeastern Louisiana University has been described as a university in
transition, and newly appointed President Randy Moffett knows well the work he faces in
leading the institution forward.
     A veteran of 25 years at Southeastern holding a number of positions - including
professor, dean, chief academic officer and, most recently, interim president - Moffett was
appointed to the university's top position on Friday (December 7) in Baton Rouge by the
University of Louisiana System (ULS) Board of Supervisors, the governing body of Southeastern
and seven other state universities.
     "The Board is pleased to announce Randy Moffett's appointment as president of
Southeastern," said ULS Board Chairman Andre Coudrain. "Dr. Moffett has a demonstrated
record of experience, leadership and integrity that we considered essential qualities for the new
     ULS President Sally Clausen echoed the support for Moffett. "Having worked closely
with Dr. Moffett for several years, I can personally attest to his qualifications," she said. "He
brings years of experience in higher education to this position. His strong sense of history at
Southeastern and his knowledge of the region will keep the university moving forward."
     "I truly appreciate the confidence the Board has expressed in me and intend to work
diligently to justify that confidence," Moffett said.
     "Southeastern had excellent leadership under President Sally Clausen (now president of
the University of Louisiana System) and the administrative team she built," Moffett said.
"During this period we instituted our first long-range strategic plan and clarified our mission to
lead the educational, cultural and economic development of southeast Louisiana."
He said the university's new strategic plan, "Vision 2005," builds on the previous plan and
provides the university with specific priorities and direction over the next several years.
     Beginning in the mid-1990s, Southeastern experienced explosive growth, earning it the
reputation as the "fastest growing university in the nation." Last year the university instituted
quality admission standards with the expectation that student growth would be curtailed and
possibly reduced. 
     Now, with enrollment stabilized at 14,500, Moffett said the focus has shifted to attracting
and retaining better prepared students, challenging them with innovative academic programs, and
boosting graduation rates. Recently built buildings and others now under construction - the result
of a $65 million building boom in recent years - are providing modern facilities for classroom
teaching, research, and student activities. 
     "We need to take steps to help reverse the 'brain drain' that afflicts Louisiana," Moffett
said. "That starts with keeping our best students in the state for their higher education. And a
better educated workforce will contribute to stronger economic development in the Louisiana."
     To attract qualified students, Southeastern is developing honors components in all degree
programs. Moffett said an honors program that actively engages the university's creative faculty
would provide students with stimulating challenges and learning opportunities that are relevant
for the world of work, graduate studies, or professional schools such as law and medicine. 
     "All of Southeastern's academic programs are undergoing significant review to ensure
that they are relevant," the new president said. "We've used area employers and other advisors to
help us design three new graduate programs, and we are using this model to aid us in evaluating
all of our programs." 
     He said the university would focus its energy on elevating some of its strongest programs
to higher levels with a goal of achieving national recognition for excellence in various areas.
Examples of some programs that are rapidly gaining recognition are music, digital arts,
accounting, biology, nursing, and teacher preparation.
     "We will work with our deans and faculty to further identify academic areas that have
demonstrated excellence," he said. "We have the technology in place, we've recruited the faculty,
and we're building the facilities that provide these programs with the infrastructure they need to
attract top notch students from anywhere in the world," he added.
     Moffett said the university is working to expand its partnerships with area school systems
and its teacher preparation program, already one of the largest in the state, by enhancing its
alternative teacher certification program. The program, which provides education courses via the
Internet, is financed in large part through a $1.8 million federal allocation awarded last year.
     "Over the next 10 years, Louisiana and most other states are facing severe shortages in
qualified teachers in our elementary and secondary school classrooms," Moffett said. "But it's not
enough to simply train more teachers. Too many of our teachers are leaving the profession within
the first few years of teaching. We are challenging our faculty to work with area school systems
to develop a recognized model of mentoring and professional development services that new
teachers need to survive the rigors of entering the profession."
     Moffett said cultural activities sponsored by Southeastern are also expected to expand,
when the university takes possession next year of the renovated Columbia Theatre for the
Performing Arts in downtown Hammond. Built in 1928, the once-abandoned 900-seat theater has
undergone a total $5.5 million renovation and will be the premier performing arts facility of its
type on the north shore.
     He said the Columbia fills a real void in the region and provides Southeastern with a
valuable venue for Fanfare, the university's month long celebration of the arts held every fall. "In
addition, through an agreement between Southeastern and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra,
the Columbia will serve as the north shore home for the LPO," he said. "The facility will also
host a wide range of musical, theatrical, dance and other cultural events."
     Moffett said Southeastern - which has an estimated economic impact on the region of
more than $270 million per year - plays a significant role in economic development, a role he
anticipates will expand even more in the next several years. The university operates a Small
Business Development Center, handles an increasing number of incumbent worker training
programs in cooperation with the State Department of Labor, and is planning to implement a
Center for Workforce and Economic Development.
     "The talent at Southeastern must be shared with area businesses and entrepreneurs to
further the appropriate development of the north shore and Florida Parishes," Moffett said.
"Southeastern is located in the heart of the fastest growing area of the state, and it's our role to
play a major part in that growth.
     A native of Jonesboro, La., Moffett began his career in education in 1969 as a teacher in
Jackson Parish following his graduation that year from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. He
earned a master's degree in education from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, a
doctoral degree from Louisiana State University, and completed studies at Harvard University's
Institute for Educational Management.
     Moffett is a former member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of
University Administrators and the Board of Examiners of the National Council for Accreditation
of Teacher Education, the nation's foremost accrediting organization of teacher preparation
programs. He served on the Louisiana Blue Ribbon Commission on Teacher Quality and the
Louisiana Board of Regents Electronic Learning Committee. Active in the Hammond Chamber
of Commerce, Moffett is a member of the City of Hammond's 2020 Commission and has served
the Tangipahoa Area United Way as campaign chairman and board member.