Summer Online

Southeastern’s summer semester tuition is being reduced as part of its new Summer Online effort.  A $300 credit will be given to all summer students, both undergraduate and graduate, and will be placed on fee bills.  This credit will significantly lower the overall cost of attendance this summer.  It also effectively makes the cost for most undergraduate students less than $325 per credit hour.

By extending this tuition reduction to graduate students, Southeastern hopes they will take advantage of the online semester offerings as well.

For those who are not currently students, Southeastern is providing another incentive to try Summer Online. Throughout the month of April, all application fees will be waived for students who apply to Southeastern during the summer or fall semesters.

Along with the financial cost reduction, the online instruction and wide availability of offerings allow students to more rapidly advance their degree progress while addressing COVID-19 concerns over in-person contact, helping students to better focus on their studies while helping ensure their health and safety.  Credits can be earned remotely in as little as one month.

By providing the flexibility that online courses offer, more students are able to take courses at Southeastern during the summer semester. When offered in the past, this format has been embraced by both traditional and non-traditional students alike. High school students and students from other universities, who may live too far away to easily commute, are likewise encouraged to take advantage of the program and rapidly advance toward their degree.

This innovative new Summer Online initiative is part of Southeastern’s ongoing commitment to remaining one of the best values among four-year colleges in the region—providing an affordable, high-quality, and supportive education centered around the needs of today’s students.

Priority registration for the summer term is now open, with regular registration beginning April 10 and classes kicking off on June 3.

For more information on Southeastern’s summer sessions, visit southeastern.edu/summeronline or contact the Office of Records and Registration at records@southeastern.edu

Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Success Through Remote Instruction and Learning

Southeastern’s spring 2020 in-person classes ended on Friday, March 13, due to COVID-19 precautions, but the academic progress of students continues.

On Wednesday, March 18, the university transitioned to online instruction. The process has been fluid and has seen great results, with both faculty and staff quickly adapting to the changes.

600600p436EDNmainimg-slu_bill_robison_home“Although I would much prefer to teach my classes in person, particularly because they were very good classes this semester, adapting to online instruction and work from home has gone smoothly,” said Professor of History and Department Head Dr. William B. Robison. “As Department Head of the Department of History and Political Science, I am very fortunate that most faculty in the department have taught online classes and that the few who have not done so were quick to seek assistance from the Center for Faculty Excellence or tech-savvy graduate students.”

Southeastern’s Center for Faculty Excellence began preparing for the move in advance of the first day of fully remote learning and continues to offer a variety of tools to aid Southeastern educators.

“When the transition was announced, the center’s goal was to create a basic set of resources to help those that needed it most,” said Dr. Mary Ballard, the center’s director. “Basic information was presented in on-campus workshops before the university closed and afterward using live streaming and recorded webinars.”

freelancer-1080x720The suite of resources the center has made available includes a revised webpage that guides faculty through a four-step process for transitioning to the online environment; one-on-one online assistance; live, live streaming, and recorded webinars as well as PDF guides focused on utilizing Google Meet, Moodle (Southeastern’s learning management system), PowerPoint, YouTube, and more; Faculty PRIDE Podcast that connects voices across campus on professional development topics; and a Care and Share Google Group that allows faculty to come together and share their experiences, facilitating assistance and advice from colleagues.

“You can’t just put a face-to-face class online,” said Ballard. “Learning objectives have to be re-examined, and new ways of achieving them are often needed. Activities that work well in the physical classroom may no longer work in the virtual one. Our workshops and one-on-one time helped those struggling with this concept. This is ongoing.”

“The COVID-19 crisis has been a challenging mixture of devastation and uncertainty, but faculty are doing their jobs,” said Robison. “We take a lot of pride in doing it right.”

“I have noticed students, faculty, and staff responding with grace, understanding, flexibility, and kindness. This is one of the many reasons I love Southeastern so much,” said Erin Rode-Fiorello, instructor and undergraduate coordinator for the General Studies Program. “I’ve witnessed amazing changes and growth that all universities experience, but at the heart of our university is the community and family that is Southeastern. The support and help that is given to each other through whatever may come our way, be it 9/11, a hurricane, a flood, or COVID-19, we get through it together.”

Bradley 2Bradley Miller, a computer science major from Paducah, Ky., said his instructors have been nothing but supportive, and that technology has helped in explaining concepts.

“My English teacher is really good at telling us what direction we should be heading and how we are doing on our assignments,” he said. “And my math teachers are either posting videos of practice problems or PowerPoint lecture slides.”

In addition to the Center for Faculty Excellence, Southeastern houses the Center for Student Excellence. The center works with first-year students, transfer students, and students that are uncertain about their major and / or career, as well as offering tutoring and supplemental instruction for all students at Southeastern. The Center for Student Excellence Director Dr. Lorett Swank said that spring is normally a bit slower pace for the center but, ironically, they have been focusing on professional development with weekly training in Leonet, Moodle, and Google programs like suite, meet, calendar, and sheets.

“We had no idea that we were actually preparing for something like this. A shared Moodle shell had already been developed for our classes with a week-by-week curriculum making the transition to on-line seamless,” Swank explained. “We were already using the Google drive to store and share important documents and all CSE staff were using the Google calendar to schedule student appointments.”

The biggest challenge, Swank said, was trying to figure out how to transition the tutoring and almost 3,000 advising appointments to an on-line format.

“Luckily, we have some really smart, creative, and dedicated people who are able to work under pressure and think outside of the box,” she said. “The days before we were sent home it was a bit of a scramble with multiple last-minute urgent meetings requiring us to change directions as new information became available.”

In the days leading up to March 18, Swank said she had all CSE staff inventory their home technology and encouraged them to get their home workspace in good working order.

“We made a quick order to get webcams, and they began selling out everywhere,” she said. “I also asked all CSE staff to be Google Meet proficient, and we were able to practice at the office before we all left. We even held a meeting in the office via Google Meet so everyone could get the hang of it.”

The Tutoring Center tutors also practiced sessions with Google Meet, and they were able to successfully navigate the software and establish a system that students can drop into tutoring sessions by subject via the website, Swank explained. Students are currently meeting live with tutors in select subjects.

slu_brooke“This is a great opportunity for students to stay connected with Southeastern, and it is available for all undergraduate students,” said Brooke Giaratano, a Communication Sciences and Disorders graduate student and Tutoring Center graduate assistant. “Students can access many resources for remote learning during this time.”

The center also perfected on-line advising in Google Meet, where students can view an advisor’s schedule and make an appointment. Since remote work began, Swank said, the center has successfully advised over 800 students to date with the new system.

In addition to changes with advising and tutoring, the center is also launching a new chat feature on their website. During normal business hours, anyone can chat with CSE staff via a link on the website.

The center is also using Instagram Live, where two staff members are featured on Mondays with an “ask me anything” format to help students with whatever is happening in their academic life, and creating videos for commonly asked questions pertaining to advising, registration, and other topics related to student success. They even have their own YouTube channel.

According to faculty, students have been adapting well to the transition and demonstrating commitment to their studies. Robison commented that his “students all have taken the situation in stride. Of course they are not thrilled at the threat COVID-19 poses, and most of my students have told me they miss the face-to-face contact, but they have not complained or neglected their work.”

“Overall, although this is not an ideal situation, I feel that I have adapted well to the changes that COVID-19 has brought,” said Giaratano. “I plan to continue to work hard in my classes and make the best of this situation.”

“I know that this is a challenging time for everyone, but the silver lining here is that it has forced us to create new student-friendly systems, giving our students real-time information and easy access,” Swank explained. “It is something that we have struggled with for a while in higher education and this is the perfect opportunity to evolve. While we are apart trying to flatten the COVID-19 curve, we are increasing our learning curve to help our students be successful.”

Southeastern Channel Provides Resource for Northshore COVID-19 News

In order to provide timely information on COVID-19 specifically for Northshore residents, the Southeastern Channel has begun airing a new weekly segment titled Northshore News Update: Coronavirus on the North Shore.

The new 15-minute update debuts each week on Friday at 4 p.m. and airs throughout the day every day of the week on the Southeastern Channel, which can be seen on Spectrum 199 cable throughout the Northshore for a potential viewing audience of 250,000 in Tangipahoa, St. Tammany, Livingston, and St. Helena parishes.

Live streaming of the 24-7 Southeastern Channel broadcast can also be seen on Roku and Apple TV along with thesoutheasternchannel.com, which offers video on demand of all episodes. The coronavirus update can also be accessed through Southeastern Channel accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

“With all of the broad and rapidly-changing news everywhere on the coronavirus, we wanted to provide Northshore viewers with a resource of timely and vital information specific to individual parishes that will address the most urgent needs,” said Rick Settoon, general manager of the Southeastern Channel. “This is a condensed segment spotlighting critical services for those in Tangipahoa, St. Tammany, Livingston, and Washington parishes provided by their specific parish governments, school systems, hospitals, law enforcement, and business organizations.”

Information provided spans everything from COVID-19 testing and school food distribution to small business disaster loans. Also included are phone interviews with parish officials conducted by student reporters from the Southeastern Channel’s national award-winning newscast, Northshore News. Student reporters include Gabby Cox of Hammond, Lorraine Weiskopf of Covington, and Kaylee Normand and Chris Rosato of Mandeville.

Settoon said that since the student reporters are forced to work from home during the pandemic, and are thus unable to shoot interviews and footage to avoid face-to-face contact, their reports lean on phone interviews and graphics with timely information in the form of websites, phone numbers, URLs, and times and locations of the vital services provided in each parish.
“Our award-winning students are eager to tackle the challenge even while having to spend most of their time with online courses,” Settoon said. “They see this as a unique, real-world opportunity at a time of crisis using new technology and formats where they can really serve their community and viewers with critical news and information.”

In its 17 years of existence, the Southeastern Channel has won over 400 national, international, and regional awards, including 17 awards from the Emmys.

Ranked a Top Military Friendly School for the Eighth Year in a Row

For the eighth consecutive year, Southeastern has been named a Military Friendly® School for 2020-2021.

Viqtory Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs, states the listing honors the top colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace the nation’s military service members, veterans, and spouses as students and to ensure their success on campus.

“Southeastern’s consistent listing shows our continued commitment to serve active military, veterans, and their families,” said President John L. Crain. “As always, we are proud to receive this recognition, as it places us among some of the top universities in the nation, but more importantly we know it means we are doing our best to serve those who have made many sacrifices in service to our nation.”

Southeastern enrolls over 528 veteran and military service members. The University maintains a Veterans Upward Bound program; has an Office of Veterans Affairs that assists students in obtaining benefits and with other issues; provides academic and other counseling services; offers scholarships specifically for military students and veterans; and maintains a wide range of online and distance learning programs that provide students with flexibility in scheduling.

Southeastern’s ROTC program, which is a sub-unit of the Southern University Army ROTC program, returned to Hammond in 2016 after more than a 20-year hiatus. Fifty-five students now participate in the program.

Southeastern now serves as a resource center for thousands of Louisiana veterans in an effort to help active-duty military servicemen and servicewomen successfully transition to college through a new program called LaVetCorps.

Additionally, Southeastern recently launched the Office of Military and Veteran Success. The new office includes two college employees, a LAVetCorps employee and six veteran ambassadors. The center offers help with academic advising related to VA education benefits, processing VA education benefits, counseling on VA education benefits, programs, events, and priority registration.

“Southeastern has made a concerted effort in the past several years to focus on military service members, veterans, and their families,” said Director of Military and Veteran Success Matt Watkins, a U.S. Air Force Veteran. “Southeastern has created innovative programming, services, events, and resources for our veterans, dependents, and military population. All of our staff members feel there is no greater calling than serving those who have served us.”

Another recent addition to campus is the Southeastern Student Veterans and Military Interest Association, a group open to veterans, reservists, spouses, dependents, and ROTC participants attending both Southeastern and Northshore Technical Community College. The association was founded to help the school administration better understand and meet the needs of veterans; offer advice from experienced to incoming veterans; help civilians better understand the military experience; and provide opportunities for veterans to meet one another and connect.

Institutions competed for inclusion on the Military Friendly Schools list based on such categories as military support on campus, graduation and employment outcomes, and career and job counseling services. The firm Ernst and Young independently tested the data provided by schools.

The 2020 list of Military Friendly Schools shows the commitment of those institutions in providing a supportive environment for military students, the company said in announcing the list.

Viqtory Media is a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business founded in 2001. In addition to G.I. Jobs, the company also publishes the magazine Military Spouse.

KSLU Named Best College Radio Station

Southeastern’s KSLU took home top honors in the Best College Radio Station and Radio News Reporting categories at this year’s Southeast Journalism Conference competition.

slu_adam_cortezcr
Adam Cortez at the Southeast Journalism Conference

KSLU sportscaster and Half Time Adjustments host Adam Cortez of El Paso, Texas, represented KSLU during the on-site competition, placing first in Radio News Reporting. A junior communication major and Southeastern track athlete, Cortez took home first place honors for his news package covering the African American History Museum.

Recent Southeastern graduate Connor Ferrill of Mandeville helped KSLU earn the Best College Radio Station title for the second year in a row. His daily newscasts featured exclusive stories with in-depth interviews from newsmakers.

“Connor Ferrill’s high level of professionalism and ability to convey complex information in an easy to understand manner set him apart from other competitors in the field,” said KSLU General Manager Todd Delaney.

The Southeast Journalism Conference celebrates student journalism and offers an opportunity for participants to develop relationships with students from schools across the Southeast United States.

“KSLU regularly participates and places in conference events, taking home Best College Radio Station and Best Radio Journalist in the 2019 competition,” Delaney explained.

Available on terrestrial radio, online, and through digital streaming apps, KSLU opens the door for student broadcasters to pioneer their own programs, creating something uniquely their own, and uniquely Southeastern, Delaney said. Programming includes music, live broadcasts of sporting events, and community-oriented talk shows.

“KSLU provides Southeastern students with the real-world experience necessary to be successful in their chosen fields,” Delaney said.

For more information about KSLU, visit kslu.org.

New Partnership Provides Scholarly Research and Awards Opportunities

The Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies at Southeastern has announced a new partnership with the Young Sanders Center. The partnership combines the resources of the two centers to advance scholarly research on Louisiana and surrounding regions of the South.

The merger includes the creation of two scholarly awards—the J.Y. Sanders Research Scholar Award, designed to advance the research of an established scholar, and the Young Sanders Center Graduate Assistantship, which will support student research. Both awards will be based in the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies at Southeastern.

Director of the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies Samuel Hyde said he was extremely pleased to be approached by members of the board of directors of the Young Sanders Center a couple of years ago.

“The mission of our two entities perfectly support one another, and we are delighted to have the infusion of resources and research materials the partnership will eventually provide,” Hyde said. “The Young Sanders Center is currently based in Franklin, La., but the Sanders family maintained a home in Hammond, and Congressman Sanders represented a portion of the Florida Parishes during his tenure in Congress. The partnership represents a good fit for research collaboration and collections acquisitions.”

Supported by a bequeath from Mary Elizabeth Sanders, the partnership and the accompanying awards program begin this spring. Hyde said the Research Scholar award carries a $10,000 stipend and the Graduate Assistantship includes full tuition at Southeastern, along with a $13,000 stipend to facilitate research and cover services provided to facilitate the partnership. May 1, 2020, is the application deadline for both awards.

For more information about the awards and the application process, visit the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies’ web page.

Creating Student Opportunities Through New Criminal Justice Program Partnership with BRCC

Officials from Southeastern Louisiana University and Baton Rouge Community College recently signed an articulation agreement to officially align resources that will provide successful BRCC students with the opportunity to progress directly into Southeastern’s bachelor of arts program in criminal justice.

An articulation agreement is a cooperative endeavor between a two-year community college program that offers associate degrees and a four-year institution that provides students with an easy transition through the sharing of application and admissions information, transcripts and other records.

The agreement will facilitate transfer to Southeastern’s bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice upon the student’s completion of the Associate of Arts Louisiana Transfer, Criminal Justice concentration at BRCC.

Participating in the signing ceremony on behalf of Southeastern were Southeastern President John L. Crain, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Tena L. Golding and Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Karen Fontenot; signing for BRCC were BRCC Interim Chancellor Willie E. Smith, Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Laura Younger and Dean of Business, Social Sciences and History Todd Dozier. Also participating in the signing event were Ken Bolton, head of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Southeastern, and Chandra Joseph, chair of the Department of Social Sciences and History at BRCC.

“This agreement represents another sign of cooperation between Louisiana institutions intended to advance the success of higher education students at both the community college and university levels,” said Southeastern President John L. Crain.

“Baton Rouge Community College is deeply committed to helping our students succeed. This includes strengthening our transfer pathways and forging new agreements with four-year institutions,” said BRCC Interim Chancellor Willie E. Smith. “This agreement with Southeastern will not only allow a seamless transfer for our students, but will create a clear pathway for success.”

BRCC students will take 60 credit hours, which include all of their general education coursework and introductory coursework in criminal justice. The remaining 60 hours at Southeastern will focus specifically on criminal justice topics.

#columbiafamous

Although Southeastern’s Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts is not currently open, it is still finding creative ways to entertain the public. The theater recently announced its first-ever #columbiafamous talent contest through Facebook.

Columbia Theatre Artistic Director Jim Winter said the contest began Monday, April 6, and will span several weeks. Interested contestants can submit a short video clip, approximately 60 seconds or less, in a variety of categories. The categories included are singing, dancing, acting, instrumental music, comedy, and visual art. Winter said submissions for the visual art category will be digital photographs rather than videos.

sign“The Columbia Theatre exists to entertain the public,” Winter said. “I wanted to do something that kept Columbia entertaining the wonderful people in our community at a time when we cannot come together in our beautiful theatre. The #columbiafamous contest is our way of getting some creative and positive energy out into a community that truly needs that right now.”

Each week will focus on preliminary contests in two of the talent categories. Contestants will have four days to submit videos. The Columbia staff will narrow the submissions down to three finalists in each category. The finalists’ videos will be posted for 24 hours, during which time the public can vote for their favorites.

The winners in each category receive two tickets to one of next season’s shows at the Columbia Theatre; automatic entry into the grand prize contest for a pair of season tickets to Columbia Theatre’s 2020-2021 season; and an invitation to perform their winning act at Columbia Theatre on Hot August Night.

The contest is open to all ages; however, children 12 and under can submit to all categories for a chance to win the children’s grand prize, which is a pair of tickets to next season’s world premiere of “Alice’s Christmas in Wonderland” and an invitation to perform their winning act at the Columbia Theatre on Hot August Night.

Interested in competing? Visit Columbia Theatre’s Facebook page for full submission and prize details.

For more information or to submit an entry, email columbiafamouscontest@gmail.com.

Adapting to Change: Bradley Miller

Students are adapting to change in many ways, and for some that includes traveling back to their homes in another state. Bradley Miller is a freshman student at Southeastern from Paducah, Kentucky, majoring in computer science. Bradley lives on campus in Ascension Hall.

In efforts to keep COVID-19 from spreading, students have been encouraged to return to their home for the remainder of the semester. Bradley left campus and went back home to be with his family in Kentucky during this time. His move has made it more of a challenge, “not being able to interact and talk to my friends as much.”

However, Bradley’s professors have adapted to remote classes and have become a source of support. “My English teacher, for example, is really good at telling us what direction we should be heading and how we are doing on our assignments,” Bradly said.

Additionally, professors are using technology to explain concepts. Bradley said, “My math teachers are either posting videos of practice problems or [PowerPoint lecture] slides.”

Many professors are also using Google Meet, which gives students an opportunity to continue to have open discussions during classes and ask questions. Bradley’s computer science and history professors are both using this platform.

BradleyBradley has continued to work hard despite these challenges and plans to continue to maintain his schedule “to still perform well in my classes.” Although online classes may be a new experience for some students, Bradley has a positive outlook on them. He said he knows it may “require more self-discipline in order to accomplish my work and study, but I feel that I will adapt to that rather quickly. ”

Bradley is using this time to continue to work on his studies. In his spare time at home, he is keeping busy by practicing the organ and the piano.

Adapting to Change: Kalendra Khadka

Students at Southeastern are adjusting to remote classes in response to COVID-19 to protect the health and safety of students and the community.

Kalendra Khadka is an international student from Nepal majoring in both math and finance.

He has experienced some challenges due to the changes COVID-19 has brought to his routine at Southeastern. Kalendra said, “I love being on campus. I work there on campus, and the nature of my work has been changed now.”

For many Southeastern students, the University is a special community with faculty that work hard to help the students achieve many educational experiences, and learning goes beyond the classroom. They are adapting to not being on campus in coherence with restrictions brought from COVID-19.

Kalendra said that the campus closure of the library has been challenging. He said, “The library is a nice place to go study. I can’t check out any physical books anymore.”  Additionally, he is adapting to the changes in dining services. Despite the challenges that this may bring, he is working to adjust to the changes.

Kalendra 2The transition to online classes, while taking his upper-level math and finance courses, is another obstacle Kalendra has been overcoming. In response to the challenges, professors have provided instruction and guidance. He said, “It is very necessary to understand the concepts. The interaction with my professors matters a lot while in my math classes and in my finance classes.”

The professors have used Google Meet, presentations with audio recordings, and Zoom during this time to continue to provide a quality education. Additionally, his math and finance professors have provided extra resources online related to the material in specific classes. Some of his online classes are also recording the presentations, which can allow students to “watch the videos back and forth to try to grasp the ideas.”

Additionally, Kalendra is a student worker in the Mathematics Tutoring Lab on campus at Sims Memorial Library. He is now remotely helping students as they are transitioning to online learning.

The math lab is a place that any student who is enrolled in a math class can seek extra help. With the changes to remote learning, the math lab tutors have responded by providing videos online. Kalendra is spending time helping to create these videos to continue to help students enhance their education through the resources Southeastern provides to their students.

Although the COVID-19 virus has impacted this semester, Kalendra is enjoying the flexibility. He stated, “There are some books I have already checked out from the library on topics I am interested in, so I am also using this time to do other work that I feel is important to me.”

Kalendra is appreciative of the University taking action due to COVID-19, saying “I totally understand the severity of the situation. I appreciate the action that was taken.”