Providing a New Online MBA Degree

Southeastern now offers the Master of Business Administration – MITech (Managing Innovation and Technology) degree, a new 100 percent online degree offered through a partnership between the College of Business and the College of Science and Technology.

Dean of the College of Business Tara’ Lopez said the faculty from both colleges brought together their expertise to build a program that prepares its students to be at the forefront of innovation.

“This program addresses a critical skills gap among organizational leaders today,” she said. “Modern leaders must not only have business and interpersonal skills, but they must also have technology literacy to successfully help their companies navigate the future.”

In addition to traditional MBA courses in accounting, marketing, management, finance, economics and statistics, students will take courses such as cybersecurity policy and infrastructure and managing the software project life cycle.

The courses are taught by the same faculty who teach in the University’s other programs, which means they share Southeastern’s values of excellence and caring, Lopez explained.

“Students can expect smaller class sizes than many online MBA programs and a highly engaged faculty,” she said. “Coursework can be completed in as little as one year, and courses are offered in an accelerated eight-week format with multiple start times—August, October, January, March and June—to make it convenient for students to start without having to wait on traditional semesters.”

The program will equip students with the skills to add value to their organization’s digital transformation strategy, Lopez added.

For more information about the program, email, call 985-549-2146, or visit the MBA program’s webpage.

Registration is available here.

Bringing Home the Emmys

Students at the Southeastern Channel have been honored with a college division Student Production Award given by the Emmy Awards’ Suncoast Region of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

John Austin Williams of Denham Springs, Ross Chauvin of Houma and Jenna-Francis Duvic of Loranger received the Student Production Award in the Commercial category.

In addition to the winning commercial, the Southeastern Channel had three other Student Production Award nominations. They were in the Fiction: Short Film, Editor, and Newscast categories.

The students and their productions were honored in the Emmy Suncoast Region, comprised of television stations and production companies in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Puerto Rico. Students at the Southeastern Channel have now been named Emmy winners 23 times with 73 nominations.

“Being recognized by the Emmys is the highest honor you can receive in television,” said Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon. “These student awards are measured against the Emmy standard of excellence. If no productions in a category achieve that standard, then no award is given. Since so few are given, we’re absolutely thrilled that John, Ross and Jenna are joining such elite company.”

“I feel honored and grateful to be a student Emmy winner,” said Duvic. “I am proud I helped create something meaningful enough to be honored by the Emmys. It shows that hard work really does pay off.”

The winning commercial was produced for the Salad Station, the salad restaurant chain that offers fresh local produce daily. The Salad Station opened its first restaurant in downtown Hammond in 2012 and in the past 10 years has grown to 30 locations throughout the South, including seven on the Northshore.

The commercial titled The Salad Station: Lettuce Bring Fresh to You, focuses on catering services provided by the restaurant. It was produced by Duvic, while Williams was the cinematographer and Chauvin the video editor. The production was a class assignment for Comm 424: Television Advertising Production, taught by Southeastern Channel Operations Manager Steve Zaffuto.

“Working and collaborating with a team for a project like this was a great experience in preparing me for work in the real world,” Williams said. “After graduating I quickly adapted to the workforce, as I had already experienced much of what it would be like while still in college. In the television and film industry, working with a team is the nature of the business. I got a good taste of what to expect after graduation… right here at Southeastern.”

In the college Newscast category, the June 28, 2021, episode of the Southeastern Channel newscast Northshore News was nominated. Lauren Hawkins of Ponchatoula produced and co-anchored the show with Trinity Brown of Baton Rouge. Reporters contributing stories to the newscast were Hawkins, Taylor Nettle of Lacombe, Jordan Kliebert of Mandeville, Anaclaire McKneely of Amite, Kaylor Yates of Baton Rouge, and Joliette Vincent of Luling.

In the Fiction: Long Form category, Williams’s short film, Pit Stop, was nominated. The 15-minute suspense film follows Lydia, a young lady played by Nettle, who finds herself lost in a desolate location trying to meet up with her friends. After being captured and held hostage by an apocalyptic conspiracy theorist, played by Jordan Alfred of Lacombe, Lydia must find her escape.

Williams produced, directed, shot, edited and co-wrote the film with Nettle. For his editing of the film, Williams was nominated in the Editor category for the Emmy Student Production Award. He produced Pit Stop for his senior portfolio project in Comm 498 taught by James O’Connor, head of the Department of Communication and Media Studies.

Winning in the Commercial category marked the third time that Williams has been honored for a Student Production Award by the Suncoast Emmys, the most by any Southeastern student. In previous years he won for Director with his short film The Overthinker and for News Feature with July 4th in Baton Rouge, on the student newscast Northshore News.

Williams has worked as a marketing producer for WGMB-TV Ch. 44/WVLA-TV Ch. 33 in Baton Rouge and a cinematographer-editor for Anntoine Marketing and Design in Hammond since graduating, and now as a cinematographer-editor for Louisiana Public Broadcasting in Baton Rouge.

“The Southeastern Channel was the best collegiate experience I could’ve asked for as an introduction to the film and television industry,” Williams said. “I got hands-on experience with state-of-the-art technology, brilliant professors and instructors, and well-designed, detailed courses. Anyone interested in television and film-related professions should check out The Southeastern Channel.”

“The Southeastern Channel has prepared me for a career in television and film,” Duvic said. “I learned many things about directing, editing, producing, writing, and more from them.”

In its 20 years of existence, the Southeastern Channel has won over 500 national, international and regional awards. The channel can be seen on Spectrum Cable 199 in Tangipahoa, Livingston, St. Tammany and St. Helena parishes and on for viewers in Washington Parish. In addition, the live 24-7 broadcast can be seen on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, the Spectrum App, and the channel’s website at, which also offers programs via video on demand. The Southeastern Channel is available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Above image: Three Southeastern students were recently honored by the Suncoast Emmys of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences with an Emmy Student Production Award for a television commercial they produced for the Salad Station. The winners were (from left) John Williams of Denham Springs, cinematographer; Jenna-Francis Duvic of Loranger, producer; and Ross Chauvin of Houma, video editor.

Nationally Recognized Contemporary Dance Program

Southeastern’s Contemporary Dance Program received national recognition at the American College Dance Association with faculty choreography selected for the prestigious ACDA’s 50th Anniversary Gala.

This was a very special year since it was ACDA’s 50 anniversary conference. Southeastern’s Contemporary Dance Program has been in attendance at this conference for over 30 years.

There were 21 universities attending the conference from Texas, New Mexico, Illinois, and Louisiana showcasing 39 dances that were choreographed by faculty, students, and guest artists.

Each university performed one faculty work (Keith Costa) and one student work (Trinity Brown) in a concert formal, which was adjudicated in front of a panel of established dance professionals in the field from all over the country. The panel gave feedback and selected the top 12 dances for the prestigious gala. Southeastern also showed one student work (Elizabeth Birkel) in the informal concert as well.

Costa’s faculty choreography “Mercy and Grace” was selected for ACDA’s 50th Anniversary Gala and was performed by Birkel and Brown. Costa also taught a masterclass at the conference.

“I was so humbled by the honor, especially seeing that several of the other universities had two dances in the gala which put Southeastern within the top seven universities selected,” said Costa. “Another thing to note is that a lot of the other universities offer a BA, BFA, MA, or MFA in Dance. We only have a dance minor or concentration within the general studies degree, yet our students performed so professionally and beautifully.”

For more information on Southeastern’s Contemporary Dance Program, contact

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Above: Elizabeth Birkel (General Studies-Dance Concentration major from Destrehan, LA), Trinity Brown (General Studies-Dance Concentration major from New Orleans, LA), Kairah Senegal (Dance and Contemporary Choreography minor from Lafayette, LA), and Keith Skip Costa (Director of Dance at Southeastern). All attended the ACDA, American College Dance Association, South Central Region Conference in March 2023 hosted by Sam Houston State University.  

Creating More Than $1 Billion in Economic Impact

Southeastern’s economic impact across the region is more than $1 billion annually, according to a new study conducted by Lightcast, a company that provides colleges and universities with labor market data that help create better outcomes for students, businesses, and communities.

Lightcast measured the economic impacts created by Southeastern on the business community and the benefits the University generates in return for the investments made by its key stakeholder groups—students, taxpayers, and society. The results reflect employee, student, and financial data from Southeastern for fiscal year 2021-22, industry and employment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau, outputs of Lightcast’s Multi-Regional Social Accounting Matrix model, and a variety of studies and surveys relating education to social behavior.

The study showed that the University’s impact supports more than 15,500 jobs, and spending by the University’s more than 13,000 students accounted for an approximate $19.6 million impact. In addition, the study analyzed non-economic factors such as cultural, education, and business-related outreach projects.

“This report on the economic and community impacts of Southeastern highlights our multi-faceted role in serving the people who live throughout our region,” said Southeastern President John L. Crain.

For Southeastern, spending includes a $144.2 million impact of University operating expenditures, $2.3 million from construction projects, $2.2 million in research spending, $29.6 million in spin-off company impact from the Southeastern Business Center and its collaboration with entrepreneurs and small business, $2.5 million in visitor spending, $1 million volunteerism impact, and an alumni impact of $815.3 million.

In terms of investment analysis from the student perspective, Southeastern served 16,478 students who paid for tuition, fees, books and supplies. They also took out loans and will incur interest on those loans, as well as forfeited earnings they could have made instead of attending school. The total investment made by Southeastern’s students was $144.6 million, equal to $74.9 million in out-of-pocket expenses and $69.7 million in forgone time and money.

In return for their investment, Southeastern students will receive a stream of higher future earnings that will continue to grow throughout their working lives. The average Southeastern graduate will see annual earnings that are $22,500 higher than a person with a high school diploma or equivalent working in Louisiana. The study found that over a working lifetime, the benefits of the bachelor’s degree over a high school diploma will amount to an undiscounted value of $1 million in higher earnings per graduate.

The students’ benefit-cost ratio is 5.3. For every dollar students invest in Southeastern in the form of out-of-pocket expenses and forgone time and money, they receive a cumulative value of $5.30 in higher future earnings. Annually, the students’ investment in Southeastern has an average annual internal rate of return of 15.6 percent, which is greater than the U.S. stock market’s 30-year average rate of return of 10.5 percent.

The study found, from the taxpayer perspective, that Southeastern generates more in tax revenue than it takes. The benefits to taxpayers consist primarily of taxes that the state and local government collect from the added revenue created in the state.

Education is statistically correlated with a variety of improved lifestyle changes. The educations that Southeastern students receive generate savings in three main categories—healthcare, justice system, and income assistance. Altogether, the present value of the benefits associated with an education from Southeastern generates $15.2 million in savings to state and local taxpayers.

Total taxpayer benefits amount to $88.6 million, the present value sum of the added taxes and public sector savings. Louisiana taxpayers provided $29.5 million, equal to the amount of state and local government funding Southeastern received. The benefits and costs yield a benefit-cost ratio of 3.0. For every dollar of public money invested in Southeastern, taxpayers received a cumulative present value of $3 over the course of the student’s working lives. The average annual internal rate of return for taxpayers is 7.6 percent, which compares favorably to other long-term investments in the public and private sectors.

From the social perspective, the study found that society as a whole in Louisiana benefits from the presence of Southeastern in two major ways. Primarily, society benefits from an increased economic base in the state. This is attributed to added income from students’ increased lifetime earnings (added student income) and increased business output (added business income), which raise economic prosperity in Louisiana.

Altogether, the social benefits of Southeastern equal a present value of $2.8 billion. The benefits include $1.9 billion in added student income; $600.5 million in added business income; $164.2 million in added income from University activities; and $169.8 million in social savings related to health, crime, and income assistance in Louisiana. People in Louisiana invested a present value total of $260.4 million in Southeastern, which includes all University and student costs.

The benefit-cost ratio for society is 10.9, equal to the $2.8 billion in benefits divided by the $260.4 million in costs. In other words, for every dollar invested in Southeastern, people in Louisiana will receive a cumulative value of $10.90 in benefits.

As one of the area’s largest employers, Southeastern’s economic contributions are obviously very visible, Crain said.

“Beyond that,” he said, “are the fundamental contributions Southeastern makes to develop an educated citizenry, a workforce prepared for today’s knowledge-based economy, and numerous cultural, creative, and other resources that contribute to our quality of life and the wellbeing of our region. No price tag can be placed on these contributions.”

Explore the full report online at

Achieving the Highest Level of Tutoring Certification

The Tinsley Learning Center (TLC) achieved Level III certification last week from the College Reading and Learning Association. Level III is the highest level of tutoring center certification available.

The new certification was years in the making under the leadership of TLC Assistant Director Marie Bernard.

“Level III certification ensures our tutors are adhering to the highest standards and most effective methods of learning support available,” Bernard said. “It allows the TLC to train the tutors and peer educators who support our students to the highest standards of skill.”

“Southeastern’s TLC has built a training system as part of the certification that ensures our tutors and peer educators are not only using the best practices and learning strategies available to support student learning, but they are learning transferable skills of their own,” said Interim Dean of the College of Honors and Excellence Claire Procopio. “I am very proud of this achievement. I know it represents a lot of hard work by our TLC leadership and tutors alike.”

Students Win Top Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists

Southeastern students at the Southeastern Channel won eight Mark of Excellence Awards, including three first-place honors, at the Society of Professional Journalists’ annual Region 12 conference recently.

The Mark of Excellence Awards honor the best of collegiate journalism from a calendar year. The Society of Professional Journalists Region 12 includes all universities in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee.

Southeastern Channel students received the most combined television and broadcast videography honors out of all universities in the competition. Other universities competing included the University of Arkansas, Louisiana State University, the University of Mississippi, and the University of Tennessee.

Mark of Excellence Awards were judged by SPJ industry professionals who were directed to choose entries they felt were the best in student journalism. If no entry rose to the level of excellence, no award was given.

“The Society of Professional Journalists has long been one of the most respected journalism organizations, so it’s outstanding recognition for our students to have once again been honored above those at much larger universities,” said Rick Settoon, general manager of the Southeastern Channel. “We are so proud of them for applying their talents and hard work to maintain the Southeastern Channel’s high-quality standards for excellence in student journalism and production.”

First-place winners included Taylor Nettle of Lacombe, who won first place in “Broadcast News Videography” for her videography in the “Medline Groundbreaking” story for the Southeastern Channel’s student newscast Northshore News. The package covered groundbreaking ceremonies near the Hammond airport for a new $45 million, 650,000 square foot distribution center for the medical supply giant.

“It feels great to receive an honor like this,” Nettle said. “I enjoyed covering the Medline groundbreaking and made different creative decisions about how I covered the story, so it’s exciting to see that some of the creative decisions I made were recognized.”

As both an anchor and reporter for Northshore News, Nettle not only writes, conducts interviews, narrates, and does on-camera reporting for her stories, she shoots and edits them as well.

Also winning a first-place Mark of Excellence award was Alexis Genovese of Husser in the “Broadcast Feature Videography” category for videography in her Northshore News story, “Southeastern Vertebrate Museum.”

“Winning this award from such a prestigious organization is a great honor,” Genovese said. “It helps me feel confident in my work and assures me I have the skills and the talent to make it in this industry. This is what I’m passionate about, and I could not be more thankful for this recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists.”

Genovese is also both an anchor and reporter for Northshore News. Her winning story spotlights the biology department’s research facility for the study of ecology, evolution, and natural history of vertebrate animals.

In addition to Nettle and Genovese, Jermaine Kelly of Shreveport also placed first, winning in “Broadcast Sports Videography” for camera work in his “Southeastern vs. Northwestern State Football” story for the student sportscast The Big Game.

“It feels great to have my work recognized,” Kelly said. “This award is important to me because it means that I’m doing something right and gives me the motivation to continue what I’m doing.”

Although Kelly has also shot news, he said that shooting live game action like that in his winning football story requires a different strategy. The approach he took was to stay ahead of every play and follow the trend of the game.

Winning second-place or finalist recognition was Jordan Kliebert of Mandeville in “Broadcast News Videography” for videography in his “Causeway Improvements” story for Northshore News. The story covered new guard rail safety enhancements for drivers on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.

Other Mark of Excellence finalists included Lauren Hawkins of Ponchatoula in “Television Feature Reporting” and Brian Williams of Baton Rouge in “Broadcast Feature Videography” for their work in the Northshore News story “Litter Gitter” about a device developed by local Don Bates to clean up Tangipahoa Parish waterways. Hawkins is currently a news reporter-anchor for WBRZ-TV Ch. 2 (ABC) in Baton Rouge.

Carson Fryou of Ponchatoula also won second place in “Television Sports Reporting” for his Big Game feature story on Lady Lion basketball player Morgan Carriere.

The June 28, 2021 episode of Northshore News won second-place finalist recognition in the “Best All Around Television Newscast” category. Hawkins produced and co-anchored the show with Trinity Brown of Baton Rouge. Reporters contributing stories to the newscast were Hawkins, Nettle, Kliebert, Anaclaire McKneely of Amite, Kaylor Yates of Baton Rouge, and Joliette Vincent of Luling.

In its 20 years of existence, the Southeastern Channel has won over 500 national, international, and regional awards, including 23 awards from the Emmys.

The Southeastern Channel can be seen on Spectrum Cable 199 in Tangipahoa, Livingston, St. Tammany, and St. Helena parishes and on for viewers in Washington Parish. In addition, the live 24-7 broadcast can be seen on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, the Spectrum App, and the channel’s website at, which also offers programs via video on demand. The Southeastern Channel is available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Top image: Southeastern Channel student news reporter Alexis Genovese of Husser holds a cow skull to exhibit one of thousands of vertebrate specimens on display and made available for research at the Southeastern Louisiana University Biology Department’s Vertebrate Museum. A reporter for the channel’s national award-winning newscast Northshore News, Genovese produced a television news feature story on the museum, which was honored with a first-place Mark of Excellence award for “Broadcast Feature Videography” given by the Society of Professional Journalists. Genovese was one of three students winning first-place honors among the eight total awards won by the channel in the Region 12 SPJ competition.

Presidential Search Candidates Selected and Visiting Campus

The Southeastern Presidential Search Committee recently selected five semifinalists to interview for the school’s top post.

“The search committee has fulfilled the first part of its mission by narrowing the field to a group of semifinalists with specific qualifications to lead Southeastern Louisiana University,” Committee Chair and System President Jim Henderson said. “We look forward to meeting the candidates next week and recommending finalists to the UL System Board.”

The semifinalists are:

  • Joseph Odenwald, President, Southwestern Michigan College
  • Mary Parker, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Associate Provost, University of Florida
  • Eric Summers, Vice President for Student Affairs, Southeastern Louisiana University
  • Sebastian van Delden, Dean, School of Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering, The College of Charleston
  • William Wainwright, Chancellor, Northshore Technical Community College

These semifinalists will visit campus for interviews with various constituent groups April 17-18. This is an opportunity for stakeholders to interact with candidates and provide feedback to the Search Committee.

The Search Committee will interview each of the semifinalists and meet to select finalists April 18 at 5 p.m. Candidates will be available to media following their Search Committee interviews. A full schedule of on-campus interviews can be found here.

All information regarding the search is posted at

A Patent for Innovation

Southeastern recently received its second U.S. patent in its 97-year history.


The patent was awarded to Southeastern in conjunction with Fort Hays State University, located in Hays, Kan., for use of pnictogenium compounds in carbon-carbon bond formation. A pnictogen is any of the chemical elements nitrogen, phosphorus, arsenic, antimony, and bismuth, belonging to group 5A of the periodic table.

The patent is the collaborative work of Benjamin F. Wicker, formerly of Southeastern, and Bruce A. Atwater, formerly of Fort Hays State University. Also working on the project was Skyler A. Markham, then an undergraduate student with Atwater and now a graduate student at Colorado State University.

The project began as an outgrowth of research into the applications of phosphonium compounds—compounds that incorporate a phosphorous atom that holds a formal positive charge. The initial attempt was to utilize the phosphonium compounds to 9069958522_3f7dc88167_ocreate “coordination complexes” that incorporate a metal center. Similar coordination complexes are used as catalysts for polymer manufacturing, medical treatments and imaging, and solar cell developments.

This research led to the development of phosphonium compounds known as “bipyridines.”

“You can imagine these compounds as two rings connected by a line, much like frames of eyeglasses, but without the part that goes over the ear. This was an exciting discovery for several reasons,” Wicker said. “First, the reaction involved carbon-carbon bond formation without the metal being directly involved, which is interesting to the academic sector. Second, bipyridines are used in the formation of many industrially relevant coordination complexes, which is interesting to the industrial sector. Third, the reaction takes place at low temperatures, for example, room temperature and lower, which is of great interest to the industrial sector. And finally, the bipyridines can be created asymmetrically, which is of very great interest to academic and industrial sectors.”

The last point is where the invention has the greatest potential, and since this reaction involved organic transformations, Atwater was enlisted for help in developing the technology further.

“As mentioned before, bipyridines are used throughout the chemical industry to create coordination complexes. However, one of their specialties is in generating complexes that are good at absorbing light and transmitting the energy via electron transfer, critical for solar cell applications for renewable energy sources,” Wicker explained. “Different bipyridines allow chemists to ‘tune’ complexes to absorb different wavelengths of light, making them more efficient and cost-effective for solar cells.”

Attempting to modify bipyridines asymmetrically—that is only changing one ring—to effect finer tuning or broader range of wavelengths is currently an expensive and challenging process.


“The lack of readily accessible asymmetric bipyridines means that there are no ‘bifocals’ for bipyridine complexes that are cost-effective for use on an industrial scale. With our invention, we install the pyridine rings onto the phosphonium individually, so the generation of asymmetric bipyridines are essentially as easy as making symmetric ones,” he said. “Combine this with the low temperature of the transformation, and this invention could become a source of asymmetric bipyridines for a whole host of industrial and medical applications.”


Sales Team Places in Top 2 in Bayou Sales Challenge

Southeastern’s Professional Sales Program held its Internal Role-Play Competition this semester on Friday, Feb. 3. Representatives from Northwestern Mutual, United Rentals, Cintas, Fastenal, Sherwin-Williams, Louisiana CAT, Republic Finance, Farm Bureau, Black Diamond, and other companies volunteered their time to assist in judging and playing the buyer roles for the competition. 

The sales team, including Colette Boudreaux, Zachary Delaunais, Isabella Distefano, Reed Godbery, Emily Stark, and Emily Wilson, moved on to compete at the regional competition, the Bayou Sales Challenge, Feb. 16 and 17 at Nicholls State University. Godbery, Stark, and Wilson made it to the semi-finals, and Stark was the competition’s winner. Southeastern placed 2nd overall to Florida State. 

The Professional Sales Program is run by marketing faculty member Dr. April Kemp and Dr. Tim Butler. For more information about the Sales Program, go to or email

Above: Pictured front row, from left, are Isabella Distefano, Emily Stark, Emily Wilson, Colette Boudreaux, and April Kemp. On the back row, from left, are Gabe Pevey, Tim Butler, Reed Godbery, and Zachary Delaunais.