Incoming LSU President F. King Alexander will be taking office at the end of this month, and he’s been preparing to take on the position by monitoring University and state legislative actions.
Alexander said he’s been getting to know the issues that surround the University and Louisiana while simultaneously noting issues occurring in California, where he is the outgoing president of California State University, Long Beach.
Alexander said his first action as president will be to learn all emergency procedures for the University, taking special notice of emergencies like school shootings in light of the recent tragedy at Santa Monica College.
He also emphasized the importance of meeting with University faculty, staff and students to gain an understanding of the University’s strengths and weaknesses.
Alexander said his first year goals primarily focus on keeping the University invested in its students and engaging Louisiana citizens in the public education system.
“I think we’ve got to win the public back, and that’s going to take a while,” Alexander said. “But I’m confident and I’m optimistic that we need to do this, and do this not just from the state of Louisiana’s perspective but for the nation.”
Alexander stressed the importance of relaying benefits the University can offer to state citizens. He plans to do this by conveying the positives of the University like the small amount of brain drain, citing that 67 percent of its graduates stay in Louisiana. He also wants to highlight the positives of University research projects and the effects they can have on the state as a whole.
“The research that a land grant university addresses should be helping the state tackle its problems, and I’m sure there’s a great deal of research going on at LSU that does exactly that,” Alexander said. “The boundaries of the university should be the boundaries of the state, and the problems of the state should indeed be the problems of the university that they’re working on.”
He said he will create a viable communication strategy to advertise the University’s beneficial qualities to the rest of the state to potentially garner funds and alleviate budget issues.
Other issues Alexander said he wants to narrow in on are salary compression, recruitment, student retention and capital project initiatives, noting that he faced nearly all the same issues while at CSULB.
Alexander said he looks forward to working at the University because of its potential and people.
“It’s a great place. I’m from north Florida, so I’ve known LSU my whole life. There’s great people there,” Alexander said. “The university has tremendous capacity to not just lead the region, but be a national leader and redefining what a land grant university of this century means.”
Alexander will begin his position as University system president on June 24 or 25, depending on transportation.