Covering Louisiana

Aug 19, 2012 9:43 PM by AP

LSU Board considers consolidating jobs, system

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Consultants helping Louisiana State University find a new system president have presented three possible ways to develop the system, including two that would consolidate the jobs of system president and chancellor of the flagship Baton Rouge campus.

One would gradually merge facilities such as the Pennington Biomedical Research Center into the Baton Rouge university while other campuses and hospitals stay on their own. Another would put off choosing a new system head until the Board of Supervisors can consolidate the system. The third scenario outlined by consultants from the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges would leave things as they are.

William Jenkins, who had served as both president and chancellor before he retired in 2007, is interim president and chancellor since the board fired John Lombardi in late April and chancellor Michael Martin left to become head of the Colorado State University System.

There was little agreement Saturday on the key issue: Whether LSU should remain as a system managing 10 separate entities or move to consolidate them, The Times-Picayune reported.

Consolidating the top jobs would be unlikely to end existing problems and rivalries, particularly since the Legislature oversees the system, board member John Georges said.

But member Stephen Perry said moving toward consolidation, could provide "some opportunity to be creative and re-energize and find that bright man or woman who can take things to the next level."

The consultants' report was not meant as a recommendation. The consultants said they found little support for consolidation or proposals to spin off the schools in Alexandria, Eunice and Shreveport into their own system.

The Advocate (http://bit.ly/NPIx6A) says the consultants also found that LSU has greatly improved its planning and health care system in the past six years.

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