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McNeese to host first annual Academic Summit

McNeese to host first annual Academic Summit

Faculty, staff and students from the University of Louisiana System's nine universities will come together Thursday and Friday, April 19 and 20, on the McNeese State University campus for the system's first Academic Summit.

The two-day event will include an entire day focused on service-learning and a reception featuring a juried student art exhibition, and a second day focused on undergraduate research.

"We are very excited about this premier event for the University of Louisiana System as it exemplifies the important work going on at our institutions. Regional, comprehensive universities are all about experiential student learning, civic engagement and applying knowledge and manpower for the benefits of the communities we serve. I see no better way to celebrate the faculty, staff and students at our universities who go above and beyond to achieve exceptional ends," said UL System President Randy Moffett.   "

This year, there are 44 service-learning presenters showcasing community impact projects in diverse areas such as robotics, pharmacy, computer information systems, music education and disaster preparedness. Twenty-two academic disciplines are represented by the 77 student undergraduate research presentations both in oral and poster formats. And not to be outdone, our student artists submitted over 400 pieces for the juried art exhibition ensuring the highest quality pieces made it into the 32 slots available for the show," added Moffett. "Students and faculty from the nine ULS campuses are here to share information and their enthusiasm for community service, creative expression and the investigative process," said McNeese President Philip Williams. "We are excited and honored to host the first University of Louisiana System Academic Summit."

General sessions for the Academic Summit will include the following keynote presenters:

  • Mark Merchant, professor of biochemistry at McNeese, is recognized internationally for his work in the field of alligator immunology. Merchant will share his research on how alligators resist infection and how they might hold the key to a new class of antibiotics for human use.
  • Eric Rowles, president and CEO of Leading to Change, is a nationally recognized trainer, speaker and consultant. Characterized as one part motivational speaker, one part DJ and two parts community organizer, Rowles will focus on Generational Crossroads for the UL System Academic Summit.
  • Katherine Whatley, provost at Berry College in Rome, Ga., will represent the national Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) of which she has been an active participant since the 1980s. A nuclear physicist, Whatley will lead a faculty development session on how to create powerful learning environments through undergraduate research.
The University of Louisiana System is the largest higher education system in Louisiana enrolling about 94,000 students at Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and the University of New Orleans.