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UL Lafayette-LSUE partnership opens degree path for informatics majors

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It’s now easier for LSU at Eunice graduates to pursue a bachelor’s degree in informatics at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The two institutions signed an agreement Tuesday that enables LSUE graduates to apply course credits earned at the two-year institution toward a bachelor’s degree in informatics from UL Lafayette. The 2+2 agreement will take effect in the Fall 2019 semester.

LSU at Eunice graduates can apply course credits earned there toward completing a bachelor’s degree in informatics at UL Lafayette. Administrators from both institutions signed a transfer agreement Thursday that will be in effect for the Fall 2019 semester.

Informatics is applied computer science. It examines how individuals interact with and share information. Informatics students learn to design and adapt information systems to solve problems that arise in the workplace and in everyday life.

Under the 2+2 plan, students complete 60 credit hours in two years at LSUE to earn an associate degree. Those credits then transfer to UL Lafayette, where the student accrues another 60 hours over two years to earn a bachelor’s degree from its School of Computing and Informatics. Undergraduate degrees require at least 120 credit hours to complete.

LSUE and UL Lafayette have existing transfer agreements in biology and elementary education. Dr. Joseph Savoie, the University’s president, said the latest pact “strengthens an already strong collaboration with LSUE. It also underscores that the University is serious about its role in supporting Louisiana’s emergence as a technology hub.”

“Top tech companies regularly recruit graduates from our informatics and computer science programs because the University has a record of providing exceptionally educated professionals with the agility to navigate this rapidly changing field,” Savoie said.

Dr. William Crowe, LSUE’s interim chancellor, said the agreement “is exactly the kind of transfer relationship our students are looking for and what they deserve.” He added the “clear, affordable path toward a bachelor’s degree” strengthens graduates’ long-term earning potentials.

“By enabling LSUE graduates to continue their educations at UL Lafayette, we enhance their ability to provide a good living for themselves and their families,” Crowe said.

College of Sciences dean Azmy S. Ackleh noted the University offers Louisiana’s only master’s degree in the discipline in addition to an undergraduate degree in informatics.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for LSUE graduates to join our informatics program and complete an undergraduate degree in a timely manner. With diplomas in hand, they then can pursue a master’s in informatics here or enter the workforce,” Ackleh said.

The transfer agreement’s signing comes less than two weeks after the state announced a $1.25 million economic development grant to the School of Computing and Informatics. The funds will support a pipeline of talent between the University and tech companies such as Waitr, CGI, Perficient and Enquero. Each has offices in Lafayette.

Dr. Michael W. Totaro, an associate professor who coordinates the informatics master’s degree program, said LSUE students who transfer to UL Lafayette will benefit from the state grant, which will be used to enhance academic programs and create certification options.

“Individuals trained in applied computing fields such as informatics are essential to the health of Louisiana’s tech sector. This agreement with LSUE will also help increase the number of STEM graduates, whose skills and training touch so many facets of everyday life,” Totaro said.

Dr. Renee Robichaux, LSUE’s vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, noted that growth in the state’s tech economy mirrors an increase in computing jobs nationally. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment opportunities in the field will grow at an above-average rate over the next decade.

“The development of the transfer agreement between LSUE and UL Lafayette took the vision and dedication of faculty and administrators from both institutions. This agreement will be vital in providing needed expertise for tomorrow’s workforce,” Robichaux said.

At LSUE, students will take courses in computer information technology, natural sciences, mathematics, and general education courses in English, history and literature. Once enrolled at UL Lafayette, students will take advanced courses in informatics, computer science, mathematics and statistics.

Photo: From left are Dorothy McDonald, dean of LSUE's Division of Health Sciences and Business Technology; Dr. Azmy S. Ackleh, dean of UL Lafayette's Ray P. Authement College of Sciences; Dr. William Crowe, LSUE interim chancellor; Dr. Joseph Savoie, UL Lafayette president; and Dr. Jaimie Hebert, University provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. (Photo credit: Doug Dugas / University of Louisiana at Lafayette)