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Professional Activities Report

Ray P. Authement College of Sciences

January 1, 2011 – December 31, 2016

Azmy S. Ackleh, Dean

Unit Reports

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. In the 2017-18 academic year, the College will offer 8 B.S. degrees (Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Geology, Informatics, Mathematics, and Physics), 7 M.S. degrees (Biology, Computer Science, Environmental Resource Science (beginning in the fall semester of 2017), Geology, Informatics (beginning in the spring semester of 2018), 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 and oversees the program in Military Science.

Activities: 2011 – 2016

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, externallyfunded grants, and graduate placements. The three doctoral departments in the College of Sciences are nationally ranked by the National Science Foundation (Herd Data Report 2015) as 53rd Computer Science, 80th Mathematics and 111th Biology. What makes the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences so strong? We believe that the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences is outstanding primarily because it brings together world-class research and teaching faculty, dedicated staff and highly-motivated students all of whom possess a passion to understand the workings of the world and the universe. This report details accomplishments by the academic/research units of the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences from 2011 through 2016. In 2010, elements within the College shifted rather dramatically, resulting in a dynamic mix both of new challenges and exciting opportunities.

Significant budget cuts to higher education motivated the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to closely examine all of its colleges, departments, and programs. As a result, beginning in 2010 and continuing through 2011, 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 the development of new synergies and higher efficiencies. This restructuring 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 resulted in approximately a 6% decrease in the total number of faculty members in the College. Despite a reduction in the number of faculty members, the overall professional and academic productivity of the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences remained at very high levels, indicating 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 demonstrated the dedication and commitment of our faculty to the College’s teaching and research mission.

Faculty

As shown in the bar chart and pie chart in Figure 1, the total number of faculty members in the College currently stands at 128 (as of August 31, 2016), indicating that the College has, in the last year, nearly recovered to its pre-2010 size. This encouraging trend will enhance the ability of our College to continue to make significant contributions to the university’s mission of research, teaching, mentoring of students, and public outreach.

The stacked bar chart in Figure 2 (top) 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 comprise only 20% of the total UL Faculty, on average, the research publications, grant awards, and graduate student graduation are substantial.

figure1 (Full-Time Continuing College Faculty) Figure 1. (Full-Time Continuing College Faculty)

figure2 Figure 2.

Our remarkable faculty advance along two career tracks: the Instructor track which emphasizes classroom, laboratory and field instruction and mentoring of students; and the Professorial track which emphasizes teaching, research, publishing and mentoring of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Those faculty members who excel in the Instructor track progress from Instructors to become Senior Instructors and eventually may become Master Instructors. Those faculty members who excel in the Professorial track progress from Assistant Professors to become Associate Professors and eventually may become Full Professors. The lower bar chart in Figure 2 shows that faculty members of the College are well represented at each rank.

Student Enrollments

The chart in Figure 3 shows the total number of students taught in lecture, laboratory, and field classes in the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences for the Academic Years 2011-2012 through 2015-2016. Currently, our faculty are teaching classrooms and laboratories, and field courses 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.

figure3 (Student Enrollment in COS courses) figure 3 (Student Enrollment in COS courses)

The two charts in Figure 4 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, 2011 through December 31, 2016. Current trends suggest a continued increase in undergraduate students majoring in a science with the five-year growth rate at 2.25%. The data suggest an even faster growth rate occurred since 2014. Over this period, 303 students, on average, were enrolled in graduate programs within the College of Sciences. Because we are launching new graduate programs, we anticipate considerable growth in graduate enrollment once the new degree programs are implemented.

figure4 (College Enrollment trends) Figure 4. (College Enrollment trends)

Degrees Awarded

The line chart in Figure 5 shows the number of undergraduate degrees awarded for the academic years 2011 through 2016, inclusive. During this period, we awarded an average of 196 Bachelor of Science diplomas each year.

figure5 (Bachelor of Science Degrees Awarded) Figure 5. (Bachelor of Science Degrees Awarded)

In terms of total degrees awarded (i.e., B.S. and graduate), we awarded an average of 292 diplomas each year (Figure 6).

figure6 (Total Degrees Awarded) Figure 6. (Total Degrees Awarded)

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 new graduate degree programs 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 charts in Figure 7 illustrate that our faculty publish on a consistent basis in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings.

figure7a (Publications) -

figure7b (Publications) Figure 7. (Publications)

Funded Grants and Contracts

The bar chart in Figure 8 illustrates the level of success of our faculty to obtain externally funded grants and contracts. During the period spanning the academic years, 2011-12 through 2016-17, faculty of the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences were engaged in externally funding research as Principal Investigators or as Co-Investigators totaling $50,131,914 (averaging over $8.3M per Academic Year).

figure8 (New External Research Funding) Figure 8. New External Research Funding Data source: Sponsored Programs Finance Administration and Compliance (SPFAC)

College Contributions to Graduate Student Production

As illustrated in Figure 9, contributions by the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences to graduate student production are indicative of the commitment of the faculty to mentoring students.

In the previous five academic years, an average of 74 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 23 doctoral students advised or co-advised by faculty of College of Science earned their doctorate degree, representing approximately 40% of the doctorate degrees conferred by the university. Clearly, the College of Sciences is a major contributor of the university to graduate education.

figure9a (Graduate Student Production) -

figure9b (Graduate Student Production) Figure 9. (Graduate Student Production)

Significant Awards

Faculty and students of the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences are a distinguished group of scholars, 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 (2011, 2013)
  • 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 (2015)
  • UL Lafayette Eminent Scholars Teaching: Patricia Mire (2016)
  • R.P.A. College of Sciences Distinguished Professors: Marke Hester, Nabendu Pal (2016)
  • R.P.A. College of Sciences Excellence in Teaching: Febee Louka, Patricia Mire (2016)
  • East Tennessee State University Basler Chair of Excellence 2016, Karl Hasenstein
  • LA DIA Fellow, 2016-2017, Beth Stauffer
  • Post Secondary Educator of the Year , 2016, Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators, Christoph Borst