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Professional Activities Report

Ray P. Authement College of Sciences

January 1, 2010 – December 31, 2015

Azmy S. Ackleh, Dean

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

General

Established in 1974, the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences is dedicated to the advancement of scientific knowledge through research and to the extension of the scientific heritage through teaching. The College offers 8 B.S. degrees (Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Geology, Informatics, Mathematics, and Physics), 5 M.S. degrees (Biology, Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics, and Physics), and 3 Ph.D. degrees (Biology, Computer Science, and Mathematics). Additionally, the College houses pre-professional programs in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, physical therapy, and pharmacy.

Activities: January 1, 2010 -- December 31, 2015

The Ray P. Authement College of Sciences is a top-notch research college that compares favorably with the best Colleges of Sciences among universities located throughout the Gulf States region as evidenced by the quality and number of peer-reviewed publications, externally-funded grants, and graduate placements. The three doctoral departments in the College of Sciences are nationally ranked by NSF (Herd Data Report 2014) as 44th Computer Science, 97th Mathematics and 103rd Biology. Moreover, because the College of Sciences consists of world-class research and teaching faculty, dedicated staff and highly-motivated students who possess a passion to understand the workings of the world and the universe, we believe that the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences is second to none. This report details accomplishments by the academic/research units of the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences from 2010 through 2015. During this time, elements within the College shifted rather dramatically, resulting in a dynamic mix both of new challenges and exciting opportunities.

Serious budget cuts to higher education motivated the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to closely examine all colleges, departments, and programs. As a result, beginning in 2010 and continuing through 2011, substantial restructuring of several units took place within the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences. The rationale of this restructuring was to leverage existing resources in such a way as to make possible new synergies and higher efficiencies. This led to gains and losses, including departments, degree programs, faculty, staff, and students. Specifically, the Ph.D. Program in Cognitive Science was slated for elimination, the Department of Health Information Management (HIM) was transferred from our College to the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, and two entirely new Schools were formed within our College, namely, the School of Computing and Informatics, and the School of Geosciences.

The impacts of budget cuts (which led to notable loss of active research faculty) and College restructuring are clearly evident in the charts that follow. Despite a reduction in the number of faculty, the overall productivity of the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences was maintained at very high levels, indicative of enhanced production and efficiency of our faculty on a per capita basis. To elaborate, even though scholarly activity and funding awards remained steady in absolute terms, individual faculty research production increased. This productivity demonstrates the dedication and commitment of our faculty to the College's teaching and research mission. In what follows, consideration of the impacts from budget cuts and program losses should be kept in mind.

Faculty

As shown in the following pie chart, the number of faculty members in the College stands at 124 (as of August 31, 2015), the ranks of which include Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Full Professor. Additionally, it should be noted that adjunct faculty members contribute to the overall teaching mission of the College, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. During the period January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2015, inclusive, the College experienced a reduction in the number of faculty members, as can be seen in the bar chart. Such a decline, of course, impacts the teaching and research potential of the College, on the whole. Since the College delivers most of the service courses in the University, such decline also has an impact on the University as a whole.

figure1 (number of faculty by unit) figure1 (number of faculty by unit)

figure2 (number of faculty by year) figure2 (number of faculty by year)

figure3 (number of faculty by year) figure3 (number of faculty by year)

figure4 (number of faculty by rank by year) ** As reported by department heads and school directors figure4 (number of faculty by rank by year) ** As reported by department heads and school directors

The stacked bar chart above shows the number of Ray P. Authement College of Sciences faculty, relative to the number of UL Lafayette faculty outside the College. It is worth noting that, despite the fact that the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences faculty comprises roughly 21% of the total UL Faculty, on average, the research, publications, and grant awards productivity are impressive.

Student Enrollments

The following chart shows the total number of students taught in lecture and laboratory classes in the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences for the Academic Years 2010-11 through 2014-2015. Currently, our faculty are teaching classrooms and laboratories containing more than 40,000 students each year, approximately one-fourth of the total number of students taught across the university. Notice that student enrollment in classes offered by the college is increasing.

figure5 (number of students by year) figure5 (number of students by year)

The two following charts illustrate enrollment of undergraduate majors and total enrollments (i.e., of undergraduate majors and graduate students), respectively, for fall semesters during the period January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2015. Current trends suggest a continued increase in undergraduate students majoring in a science with the five-year growth rate at 4.51%. Over this period, 310 students, on average, were enrolled in graduate programs within the College of Sciences. Because we are developing several new graduate programs, we anticipate considerable growth in graduate enrollment once the new degree programs are implemented.

 figure6 (undergraduate enrollment by year) figure6 (undergraduate enrollment by year)

figure7 (total enrollment by year) figure7 (total enrollment by year)

Degrees Awarded

The following line chart shows the number of undergraduate degrees awarded for the academic years 2010 through 2015, inclusive. During this period, we awarded an average of 196 diplomas each year.

figure8 (undergraduate degrees awarded by year) figure8 (undergraduate degrees awarded by year)

In terms of total degrees awarded (i.e., undergraduate and graduate), we awarded an average of 286 diplomas each year (Figure 9).

figure9 (all degrees awarded by year) figure9 (all degrees awarded by year)

The Ray P. Authement College of Sciences expects to grow in the next few years. Undergraduate enrollment is steadily increasing. Graduate enrollment will increase as we add several new graduate degree programs (currently in development) and add new faculty. In the workforce, demand for STEM graduates is expected to increase. This expectation is supported in part by a recent blog post in The New York Times, entitled “The Rising Value of a Science Degree,” by Motoko Rich, October 20, 2011 (see http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/20/the-rising-value-of-a-scien...). Specifically, the article cites a study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, indicating that professions that depend heavily on knowledge and training learned in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, are growing at a fast rate second only to that for professions in health-care.

Research

Faculty members of the College of Sciences engage in significant research among other scholarly activities. The following charts illustrate the volume and consistent production of peer-reviewed publications by College faculty.

figure10 (journal publications by year) figure10 (journal publications by year)

figure11 (proceedings and other publications by year) figure11 (proceedings and other publications by year)

Funded Grants and Contracts

The bar chart below illustrates the impressive level of success in terms of funded grants and contracts. During the period spanning the academic years, 2010-11 through 2015-16, faculty of the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences were engaged in externally funding research as Principal Investigators or as Co-Investigators totaling $53,236,770 (averaging over $8.8M per Academic Year).

figure12 (Funded grants by year bar graph) Data source: Sponsored Programs Finance Administration and Compliance (SPFAC)figure12 (Funded grants by year bar graph) Data source: Sponsored Programs Finance Administration and Compliance (SPFAC)

College Contributions to Graduate Student Production

College Contributions to Graduate Student Production

As can be seen from the next set of charts, contributions by the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences to graduate student production are substantial and are indicative of the commitment of the faculty to mentoring students.

In the previous five academic years, an average of 73 Master's students in the College of Sciences earned their degrees each year, representing approximately 18% of the total number of students receiving Master's degrees in the university. Thus, the College of Sciences produces a significant proportion of the Master's degrees conferred by the university as a whole. In the previous five academic years, an average of 21 doctoral students advised or co-advised by faculty of College of Science earned their doctorate degree, representing approximately 43% of the doctorate degrees conferred by the university. Clearly, the College of Sciences is a major contributor to graduate education.

figure13 (master's degrees (sciences/nonsciences) by year) figure13 (master's degrees (sciences/nonsciences) by year)

figure14 (doctoral degrees (sciences/nonsciences) by year) figure14 (doctoral degrees (sciences/nonsciences) by year)

Significant Awards

Faculty and students of the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences are a distinguished group, both within the United States and around the world, as highlighted by the following selected significant awards:

  • Office of Naval Research (ONR) Summer Research Fellow: Gabriela Petculescu (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013)
  • UL Lafayette Eminent Scholar Research: Suzanne Fredericq (2010)
  • Fellow of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE): Nian-Feng Tzeng (2010)
  • First Place winner of the Gordon I. Atwater Best Poster award. Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies Annual Meeting: Geosciences Student (2010)
  • UL Lafayette Eminent Scholar Research: Hongyi Wu (2011)
  • UL Lafayette Eminent Scholar Teaching: Toni Cade (2011)
  • R.P.A. College of Sciences Distinguished Professors: Keng Deng, Hongyi Wu (2011)
  • R.P.A. College of Sciences Excellence in Teaching: Toni Cade, Vic Schneider (2011)
  • Chosen by the National Academy of Sciences to attend the Chinese-American Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium in Shengzen, China: Dr. David Borrok (2011)
  • NSF CAREER Award: Miao Jin (2011)
  • Fellow of the American Statistical Association: Krishnamoorthy Kalimuthu (2011).
  • R.P.A. College of Sciences Distinguished Professors: Christov Christo, Dmitri Perkins (2012)
  • R.P.A. College of Sciences Excellence in Teaching: Frank Ducrest (2012)
  • The Crustacean Society Lifetime Excellence in Research Award:  Ray Bauer (2012)
  • Certificate of Commendation for Exemplary Service from the Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Task Force: Jenneke Visser (2012)
  • Winners of International Imperial Barrel Award competition of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists: Geosciences Graduate Students: (2012) and (2014)
  • UL Lafayette Eminent Scholar Research: Keng Deng (2013)
  • R.P.A. College of Sciences Distinguished Professors: Scott France, Radley Srivatava (2013)
  • R.P.A. College of Sciences Excellence in Teaching: Andrea Leonard (2013)
  • American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Distinguished Service Award: Brian Lock (2013)
  • Best University Research Award, Department of Energy, Basic Energy Sciences: Brian Schubert (2013)
  • Fellow of Acoustical Society of America: Natalia Sidorovskaia (2013)
  • UL Lafayette Eminent Scholar Research: Aghalaya Vatsala (2014)
  • R.P.A. College of Sciences Distinguished Professors: Paul Klerks, Aghalaya Vatsala (2014)
  • R.P.A. College of Sciences Excellence in Teaching: Ross Chiquet (2014)
  • Fulbright-Brazil Scientific Mobility Program Distinguished Chair Award: Ray Bauer, (2014)
  • UL Lafayette Eminent Scholar Research: Paul Klerks (2015)
  • UL Lafayette Eminent Scholars Teaching: Pegge Alciatore, Ross Chiquet (2015)
  • R.P.A. College of Sciences Distinguished Professors: Carl Richter, Kalimuthu Krishnamoorthy (2015)
  • R.P.A. College of Sciences Excellence in Teaching: Mary Lou Jumonville, Pegge Alciatore (2015)
  • KITP Scholar (Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics) at the University of California at Santa Barbara: James Dent (2015)
  • C.G. Khatri Memorial Lecturer, 2015 Rao Prize Conference, Penn State University: Vijay Raghavan (2015).
  • Professeur Invite' at University of Paris-Orsay: Magdy Bayoumi