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December 6, 2004

ULM to Host Louisiana Governor

Louisiana Governor, Kathleen Blanco will be on the University of Louisiana at Monroe campus tomorrow, December 7th from 2- 3 p.m. in Biedenharn Hall room 134 for a presentation and tour.

Dr. James E. Cofer, President of ULM, will begin the presentation with an overview of the institution. His presentation will include a look at the accomplishments that have occurred in the last 2 _ years. When Dr. Cofer arrived at ULM in 2002, the university had serious problems: declining student enrollment, especially among first-time full-time freshmen; financial deficits; deteriorating buildings and residence halls; demoralized faculty and staff; and apathy from the community. Dr. Cofer's work has resulted in a total transformation of the institution.

Enrollment has been up for the last two years. The number of first-time full-time freshmen is increasing. The university is attracting better qualified and better prepared students. The average ACT scores for our incoming freshmen are at an all time high, especially among African American students.

Contributions to the institution are increasing both in amount and in number of donors. In addition, ULM is the leading provider of incumbent worker training programs in Northeast Louisiana. In collaboration with Louisiana Works and businesses throughout the state, over the last 4 years ULM has helped to train 6,345 employees.

The institution plays a major role in helping to improve the lives of citizens throughout Northeast Louisiana. Three of the most important contributions are in the field of education, health care and family counseling.

Dr. Luke Thomas, Dean of the College of Education and Human Development, and his faculty are involved in several initiatives that help to improve the quality of education for area students, especially those living in rural areas. ULM provides a number of outreach programs that assist educators who work in low performing schools, especially in the areas that improve reading, math and science. The quality of their work was reflected in a successful NCATE visit to ULM in October 2004.

ULM took the lead in writing a successful $2.5 million Transition to Teaching (La T2T) grant that is a partnership among 21 school districts and four universities: ULM, McNeese, Nichols State, and Northwest. The program will help expand alternative certification models that already exist in each university in order to increase the number of teachers in critical shortage areas, which are those with a high number of low income families and a large number of uncertified teachers and schools lacking qualified teachers to teach math and science.

The National Science Foundation provides several grants to the ULM College of Education. DAMSALS is designed for middle school and high school teachers and students. It provides training for teachers to learn how to use technology in agricultural community classrooms. It also provides funding for technology summer camps for students from rural communities.

DREAM is a program that provides four full time and two part-time master educators who are embedded in low performing schools in the region to help them in the area of math and science instruction. An extremely important NSF grant will fund the Children and Rural Education (CARE) conference, which will be held at ULM on April 3-5, 2005. This is a national conference that will attract educators from across the United States to discuss science, math and technology initiatives in rural classrooms.

Dr. Jenny Savage, Associate Professor of Social Work in the College of Arts and Sciences, works with numerous organizations to improve the lives of children and families in the Louisiana delta. Since 1996, two child welfare community service agencies sponsored by ULM through its Social Work Department that are wholly committed to serving the most needy populations in our12 parish Northeast Louisiana region are Family Connections/Family Matters (FC/FM) in Monroe and Family Ties (FT) in Delhi. FC/FM is linked with Little Flower Catholic Church and Academy and has vicariously enjoyed the benefits of the Inter faith Alliance, which serves as support.

Dr. Lamar Pritchard, Dean of the College of Health Sciences joined the ULM faculty four months ago. He heads up the largest college at ULM. It produces more health care workers than all of the other university system schools combined with the exception of LSU Medical School. ULM provides health care support for the region in many ways.

The university works with the Ouachita Parish School Board and Glenwood Regional Medical Center to provide an on site nursing staff at Riser Middle and Riser Elementary School. The staff at the Riser Clinic ensures that every student is immunized. They also ensure that every student not covered by private health care insurance is registered through the state program. They provide basic health care for students who might otherwise go untreated or who will wait until their illness requires an emergency room visit.

ULM was just awarded $150,000 in federal funding to begin to develop Delta Health Line, which will provide a direct line for indigent and low income individuals to call to learn more about how they can access low cost prescription drugs or how they can receive their medication at no charge.

ULM was awarded $165,000 from the Ouachita Workforce Investment Board to underwrite the training program for an accelerated nursing program. The grant will fund training for 16 future nurses starting in January 2005 and an additional 15 in May 2005.
These people have been displaced from their current employment due to business closings. This grant will retrain them so that they can remain active members of the workforce.

The College of Health Science has several clinics that provide assistance low income and indigent individuals. Each of these pairs students with faculty preceptors in a learning environment. The Occupational Therapy Clinic works with children and adults who have physical limitations and helps them learn how to perform daily activities. The Dental Hygiene Clinic provides preventive dental care for indigent individuals at no charge. The Speech Pathology Clinic provides speech and hearing therapy for people with speech and hearing disabilities. These may be children with Down Syndrome or adult stroke victims.

A tour of the Occupational Therapy Clinic, the Dental Hygiene Clinic and the Speech Pathology Clinic will follow the presentation.

All media is invited to cover this event.

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