Southeastern College of Education Dean Paula Summers Calderon was recently selected by Deans for Impact for a 2019 Impact Academy fellowship, a yearlong program for leaders of educator-preparation programs. A resident of Baton Rouge, Calderon, the only dean chosen from Louisiana, was one of 19 fellows selected nationwide.
“The 19 fellows in the cohort hail from 12 states ranging from Alaska down to New Mexico, Mississippi up to Massachusetts, and collectively prepare more than 7,600 teachers each year,” said Deans for Impact Senior Program Director John Roberts. “We’re excited to work alongside the fellows this year as they learn from one another and lead improvements in their own programs.”
Deans for Impact is an organization committed to transforming educator preparation so all teachers graduate ready for the classroom on day one, Roberts explained. The Impact Academy combines intensive in-person learning experiences with ongoing coaching and mentorship from veteran members of Deans for Impact, creating a network of fellows focused on improving how their programs prepare future teachers.
“Our mission is to improve student-learning outcomes by changing the way this country prepares teachers,” he said. “Our members are united behind a shared vision for a transformed educator-preparation system that graduates teachers prepared to measurably improve student learning.”
Through the academy, Calderon will connect with other educator preparation leaders who are committed to preparing effective teachers, learn the skills and strategies to solve complicated problems, and build the foundation to lead transformative change. Her fellowship began in July, when the fellows held their first meeting in Austin, Tex.
Dr. Nan Adams, professor of educational leadership, and her leadership policy class attended the joint Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and Board of Regents (BoR) meeting in Baton Rouge this past June.
This trip provided students with the opportunity to attend either the BESE or BoR meeting depending on their career interests. Students with a focus on school leadership attended the meeting for BESE, the administrative body for all Louisiana public elementary and secondary schools, while those with a focus on higher education administration attended the meeting for BoR, whose mission is to serve “as the state’s leading force for talent development through quality, affordable post-secondary education for all.”
Through this opportunity, the student attendees were able to gain a better understanding and first-hand experience of the working of these two important educational governing bodies.
Louisiana is a state known for many great things—amazing food being one of them. Unfortunately, a prevalence of sedentary lifestyles is another. This inactivity can lead to significant consequences. Through studying the effects of activity on children while working with and encouraging local youth, Southeastern researchers are striving to help create a healthier way of life for everyone.
In United Health Foundation’s widely-publicized 2018 report, Louisiana ranked 45 out of 50 for obesity—36.2 percent for adults. Overall, when including other health factors, Louisiana was determined to be the least healthy state in the nation.
According to Pennington Biomedical Research Center, childhood obesity is an epidemic in Louisiana, with approximately one in three now falling into the obese category. Yet the problem spans beyond our state as well. The National Center for Health Statistics found in their 2015-2016 survey on the “Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults and Youth” that childhood obesity rates have more than tripled since their 1976-1980 survey.
These trends create a serious negative impact. The Mayo Clinic states that “childhood obesity is particularly troubling because the extra pounds often start children on the path to health problems that were once considered adult problems—diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Many obese children become obese adults, especially if one or both parents are obese. Childhood obesity can also lead to poor self-esteem and depression.”
Aside from the physical toll, obesity also creates an economic drain. United Health Foundation continues by saying that “the costs associated with obesity and obesity-related health problems are staggering. A 2017 study estimated the medical costs of obesity to be $342.2 billion (in 2013 dollars). Adults with obesity spend on average $3,429 more per person annually on medical care, compared with healthy weight adults.”
In 2015, Associate Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences Holly Kihm was awarded a Board of Regents Enhancement Grant to develop IPAL, an interactive physical activity lab for youth. IPAL was implemented to address these larger concerns and increase Southeastern student research opportunities and real-world skills in working with youth and their families to build healthy lifestyles. The children who have been participants in the program are all volunteers from the Southeastern Lab School.
Before each semester a theme and research questions are determined. In the Fall 2018 semester, physical activity intensity and enjoyment were compared between exergaming (a combination of exercising and video games) and real-life activities. “Data points were collected while the children participated in an exergame version of soccer, and the same
data points were collected while the children participated in soccer with the assistance of the SLU Women’s soccer team,” said Kihm. “Over the semester, the children had the opportunity to participate in several sports with many different SLU athletic teams.”
For Spring 2019 semester, a new project was chosen in collaboration with Assistant Professor of Kinesiology and Health Studies Ryan Green, who is also a certified athletic trainer. Kihm and Green, both endurance sports enthusiasts, were excited to work together with IPAL—bringing together their two different departments within the College of Nursing and Health Sciences to help advance the health and well-being of surrounding communities.
They decided to focus on a girls’ progressive running program, which they titled Lionettes on the Move. “Lionettes on the Move is an initiative to understand children’s behaviors and attitudes towards physical activity and nutrition in an effort to design environments that promote health and wellness,” Green explained.
The importance of and potential positive impact from this study is substantial. “Much of today’s society is designed to encourage a sedentary lifestyle (order ahead service, drive-thru windows, food / product delivery service to your door, etc),” Green said. “It is a challenge to reverse that. Decades ago you were an outlier if you were sedentary. Today, you are an outlier if you are constantly moving. We would like to help reverse that thinking.
“By scientifically understanding what obstacles there may be to children moving more and by moving more of them, we can help public and private entities design environments (physical, emotional, and psychological) for health and wellness throughout the lifespan. We must make a positive impact on the health of the next generation. It is our responsibility.”
With participants selected and Kihm and Green setting the pace, assisted by graduate assistant Emilee Hickman and research assistant Callie Lambert, the study was carried out throughout the semester and culminated with a race around the perimeter of Southeastern’s campus on May 7, 2019.
Kihm discussed the process. “At the beginning of the study, the girls participated in baseline assessments, including how much distance they could cover in 20 minutes. Based on those results, a progressive running plan was developed to help the girls reach the end of semester goal of completing the two-mile fun run. Distance was measured using activity trackers, and heart rates were collected using wrist-based heart rate monitors. Each week during the semester, the girls completed their prescribed running activity and were asked to complete additional activities throughout the week at home. The girls also learned about proper running form, stretching, and pacing with the assistance of the SLU track team. At the end of the semester, final data was collected.” This data was submitted for publication during the summer.
For the girls who participated, the benefits were not only physical but mental as well. According to both Kihm and Green, the girls’ boost in confidence was evident. “I feel the project gave the girls an extra boost of confidence in that they were capable of making a goal, working toward the goal over the course of a semester, and then meeting that goal,” Kihm said. “Most of the girls thought running the perimeter of the entire campus was not doable for them. To see each one cross the finish line was very exciting for them and for us!”
The girls’ confidence, enthusiasm, and high energy was evident when watching them take off on their big race around campus at the end of the semester-long program. The first-place winner, 8-year-old Jasmine Dejean, completed the two-mile course in only 23:36. This even beats out the average 5k running speed for a 16- to 19-year-old female by 21 seconds a mile.
Southeastern track student-athletes were buddied up with the girls for this run, motivating them throughout the course—and throughout the program prior to it. They served as mentors and spoke to the girls about the lifelong benefits of strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular wellness. “Sometimes getting this important information from a college athlete is more exciting than getting the same information from a parent or teacher,” Green noted.
“It was so nice to see our students encouraging their running partner in a positive way during the event,” said Kihm. “I really believe our girls hold our student-athletes in high regard, and I know there will be girls from the IPAL program on SLU sports teams in the future.”
Seeing the glowing look of accomplishment on not only the face of the first-place finisher but all of the participants, the true personal impact that such a program can have—in addition to its potential influence on a larger cultural shift towards better health through increased evidence and knowledge—was apparent. “The girls were able to complete the fun run with smiles on their faces! It is our hope they will continue to participate in running activities, and it will become a lifelong healthy habit,” said Kihm.
Lambert said that being a part of helping facilitate this type of personal enrichment was what she loved most about the project. “My favorite part of working in the lab is getting to witness the progress and growth of each participant. Each semester every participant shows intellectual growth regarding nutrition, proper exercise habits, and how to maintain a balanced lifestyle, along with increased physical activity levels and enjoyment while performing exercise.”
The impact of IPAL and research projects like this that use it has indeed been profound on both undergraduate and graduate Southeastern students as well. Lambert discussed her own experience, saying that “being involved in IPAL the past two years has opened my eyes to research. I never considered the possibility of conducting my own experiments or realized the true value of everything that could be accomplished and discovered in a lab setting. I now have a deeper appreciation for research and have developed a desire to investigate traits, characteristics, and variables regarding nutrition and physical activity in children that could one day impact the lives of many children.”
As a result, Lambert now has goals of earning a doctorate in physical therapy and becoming a pediatric physical therapist, eventually opening her own pediatric clinic near her hometown. She is currently in the next step on her path to achieving this by attending physical therapy school.
Southeastern students who participate in the program receive more than just hands-on experience. They receive encouragement to use their experience and research to help make a positive difference in the world. “Students need to understand that taking research and applying it to the benefit of real people is the most important part of the scholarly process,” Green said. “Though this program took place through calculated prescription so that the results would be valid, it is critical to take these results and figure out the most useful way for them to be applied to the community. Research does no good if it is kept in a research journal and the general public cannot make sense of it. I think that this study has a tremendous amount of real-world applicability.”
Dependent on IPAL grant funding and undergraduate student participation, both Kihm and Green hope to continue Lionettes on the Move every spring semester.
“With a new, impressionable group of girls involved and the success of the program, Lionettes on the Move has a chance to make significant differences in our youth,” said Green. “It is programs like this one that can make a health difference in the next generation . . . and the next . . . and the next. And that is something that will benefit us all.”
Southeastern has received a $2.45 million Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Awarded to the College of Nursing and Health Sciences’ Rural Nurses Career Advancement Program, in coordination with the Delta Regional Authority, the grant is part of an investment to expand the impact of workforce development efforts across the Mississippi River Delta.
“Nurse shortages are devastating to a community’s effort to provide quality health care,” said Senator Bill Cassidy, a doctor who sits on the U.S. Senate Committee of Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. “This grant supports Southeastern as they train the next generation of nurses that will improve the health of our state.”
In announcing Southeastern as one of only eight WORC grant recipients, Governor John Bel Edwards said, “The state of Louisiana is maximizing opportunity for our residents through these important Department of Labor grants. Southeastern will reach residents and train workers in a five-parish area with its Rural Nurses Career Advancement Pathway program.”
Southeastern’s RN-CAP program is designed to enhance community-based primary care in the rural, underserved Delta region of southeastern Louisiana that includes Livingston, St. Helena, St. James, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes.
“A healthy workforce is a productive workforce,” Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said. “With thousands of primary care providers needed to meet the current medical needs of rural America, this nursing initiative by Southeastern will provide a pathway to better health care for our workers and for their children and older relatives who deserve the best care we can provide. We appreciate the support of DRA and the Department of Labor in accelerating technology and training solutions for this critical priority.”
The program also creates and provides innovative workforce development credentialing in telehealth and data in healthcare, two critical areas in rural healthcare workforce development needs.
“We are working with our community partners to address the nursing shortage,” said Associate Professor of Nursing and RN-CAP Project Director Eileen Creel. “This project facilitates the reverse transfer of Southeastern’s students to allow for graduation from an accelerated Licensed Practical Nurse program, returning to Southeastern for their bachelor of science in nursing, while working as an LPN. It will also establish a telehealth center to address the training needs to allow innovative health delivery in our area.”
Southeastern is collaborating with North Oaks Health System and Northshore Technical Community College in this endeavor.
To help fill the workforce demands in the region and provide residents with viable career training, Southeastern and NTCC have partnered on an innovative reverse transfer program wherein four-year students may enter an accelerated LPN program at NTCC and then immediately enter into a fast-track BSN pathway at Southeastern.
“The RN-CAP program will provide training and support services for up to 61 individuals who are enrolled in the NTCC/Southeastern accelerated PN and BSN programs,” Creel said. “As part of the program, these students will receive stipends to assist them with financial barriers including costs associated with tuition, supplies, and licensure testing. The Rural Health Telehealth Training Center at Southeastern will provide direct training on the use of telehealth, as well as support to local health care providers on effective telehealth practices.”
North Oaks Health System Chief Nursing Officer Diane Thompson is serving as a liaison with Southeastern to work closely with master of science nursing students, to manage research on recruiting and retention, to provide support for telehealth training for employees, and to provide employer orientation and residency programs to newly hired LPN/BSN graduates.
In the health profession and related fields, Southeastern conferred 2,325 baccalaureate degrees, 39 doctoral degrees, and 613 masters degrees, and awarded 22 post-masters certificates over the past 10 years.
“With over 3,000 students currently enrolled, the College of Nursing and Health Sciences strives to provide excellence in education in health, nursing, speech language pathology, health systems management, counseling and wellness and fitness, while meeting the workforce needs of the region and state,” Creel said.
The Society of Louisiana Certified Public Accountants’ (LCPA) Northshore Chapter recently reached the milestone $100,000 level in its scholarship endowment, creating a legacy that will have a significant impact on future accounting students.
Bryan Ehricht, CPA, a current LCPA Member At-Large and past Northshore Chapter President, explained how the endowment was established. “Several years ago, our chapter decided we needed to ‘make a difference’ in the lives of accounting students—future CPAs—and looked for a way to raise the necessary funds to do just that,” said Ehricht. “A likely source was revenue collected from the continuing education programs our chapter hosted for regional accountants. We realized that this type of ongoing education was an ideal means of meeting the immediate needs of our CPA members, and an opportunity to fund accounting scholarships.”
Ehricht credits other past Northshore Chapter board members, including Rick Simpson, Stella Helluin, Paul Riggs, Stephen Toups, and Brian Gallagher, for laying the groundwork for the scholarship plan and making the essential connection with the Southeastern Foundation in 2014.
The plan’s initial goal was to reach the $25,000 mark for the endowment. However, within a short time that initial goal was met and soon surpassed. “We saw attendance at our continuing education events increase, at least in part because members knew we were donating the profits to the endowment,” added Ehricht. “To ensure that the scholarship awards kept pace with tuition costs in the future, the new goal was raised to $100,000. We’ve met that goal and are pleased at how the endowment has grown.”
Additionally, some members have made personal donations to the endowment, which shows the commitment level of both the organization and its members. “We’ve all heard about college students’ mounting debt and the stresses that come along with it. By helping accounting majors deal with education-related expenses, we’re letting them know we’re investing in their future. For Southeastern students, for CPAs, for our profession—it’s a win for us all,” said Ehricht.
The scholarship has now been received by nine students over the past four years.
Over 20 business leaders shared their experiences and professional advice with students during Southeastern’s College of Business annual Business Week, held concurrently with Homecoming Week during October 7-10.
Sponsored by First Guaranty Bank, the event featured presentations that introduced students to first-hand information about careers and occupations related to the speakers’ business experience. A wide range of industries and topics were represented, with speakers scheduled throughout the week. All presentations were held in Garrett Hall and open to faculty, staff, students and the public.
A highlight of the week was the annual Marketing Breakfast. This year Steven Ballard, whose firm Ballard Brands, LLC, operates more than 100 restaurants / food businesses in the southern US, served as the guest speaker. The Marketing Breakfast was sponsored by the Southeastern Marketing Association; the marketing faculty; the College of Business; and G. Dean Brunson, CPA, of Richmond, Va.
“We are very excited to present an entrepreneur and marketer that has so many successful businesses making a positive impact throughout the region,” said Professor of Marketing Mike Budden.
Michele Sutton, a 1984 and 1988 Southeastern graduate and the president and chief executive officer of North Oaks Health System, has been selected as the Alumni Association’s 2019 Alumna of the Year.
Sutton earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and master’s degree in business administration from Southeastern. She began at North Oaks Health System in 1988 as community resources officer and was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2006. In 2012, she took on the additional responsibility of administrator and chief executive officer for North Oaks Medical Center. The North Oaks Board of Commissioners appointed her president and chief executive officer of the health system in January 2017.
She is a previous president and vice president of the American College of Healthcare Executives’ Southeast Louisiana chapter and led the merger of both state chapters. She also serves on the American Hospital Association’s Foster G. McGaw Committee and is a longstanding member of the Louisiana Hospital Association, where she is currently a member-at-large for the association’s board of trustees and its political action committee board of directors, as well as its trust fund’s board of directors.
Sutton gives back to her alma mater through the Alumni Association, for which she is a lifetime member; the Lions Athletic Association, for which she is a board member; and Southeastern’s FeLions, of which she has been a member since 2003.
Through its Annie Awards endeavor, the Greater Hammond Chamber of Commerce bestowed upon Sutton both an Outstanding Woman in Business Annie Award (1999) and a Legacy Annie Award (2018). Other honors include recognition in 2007 as a Woman of the Year by New Orleans CityBusiness and as one of the Most Influential Women in Tangipahoa Parish by The Daily Star. She was also the recipient of the 2007 Golden Pelican Marketer of the Year Award from the Louisiana Society for Hospital Public Relations and Marketing.
The saying “there’s no place like home” rang true this summer for several Southeastern Theatre alumni as they returned to their alma mater for a collaborative theatre production of Moon Over Buffalo.
Associate Professor of Acting and Directing Jim Winter directed the comedy play written by American playwright Ken Ludwig. Well-known for slapsticks and comedic innuendos, Moon Over Buffalo is also famous for being the one play that successfully tempted Carol Burnett back to the live stage after a 30-year absence from Broadway. It seems she was not the only one lured back to the stage through this production.
Winter applied for his second Endowed Professorship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) two years ago to get funding to produce the show, and he was successful. His staff then reached out to 100 Southeastern alumni, and over 80 replied with an interest in working on or supporting the endeavor.
“Our first effort featured the talents of over 20 of those graduates. Nine appeared on stage, and the rest served as designers and crew members for the production,” he said. “Our ultimate goal is to make this an annual event the entire community can look forward to, with each new show featuring the talents of different alumni.”
Winter explained that although the NEH Endowment funded this first production, ticket sales and community support are the only way to guarantee funding for future alumni productions.
With a span of 25 years of Southeastern theatre alumni coming together to celebrate their time at Southeastern, Winter described this particular production as a special and unique event.
“Not only was this project two years in the making, but the entire cast and crew of Moon Over Buffalo happily agreed to participate in the unprecedented production for free,” Winter said. “The whole production was spawned from the close ties we maintain with our alumni. They always come back and support new generations in theatre. How amazing is it for a student who graduated in the ’90s to act alongside a student who graduated in 2015?”
Theatre alumni cast in lead roles were Shane Stewart of Greensburg as George and Kace Parker of Covington as Charlotte. Additional alumni cast members included Olivia Waguespack and Ben Norman of Covington, Lindsey Ehricht of Hammond, Chelsea Krause of Gonzales, Trey Lagan of Ponchatoula, Karista Filopoulous of Mandeville, and Jeff Polito of Lake Charles.
A 2014 Southeastern graduate, Krause was excited to be one of the first to have the opportunity to work on a production with theatre alumni across decades. “What I enjoyed the most was returning to the Vonnie Borden stage to act on a more professional level with former peers and other alumni from both before and after my time,” she said. “The first few rehearsals we were just playing and discovering the world, but it was so much more seamless because of the experience everyone brought to the table. I was incredibly thankful for the opportunity because it allowed me to work on my craft with old friends and put on, what I believe, was a really hilarious show for the department that I called home for four years.”
Ehricht, a 2008 and 2011 Southeastern graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in counseling, respectively, was also delighted to return to the stage that brought her so many pleasant memories as an undergraduate and to reconnect with fellow students.
“I was really excited to work with this particular cast and crew,” she said. “Some people I am so close to that they are practically my family, and some people I met for the very first time.”
A 2001 graduate, Stewart said he became very nostalgic while working on the play and thoroughly enjoyed his return to the stage for Moon Over Buffalo, his walk down memory lane, and catching up with former classmates and teachers.
“Working on the production certainly reminded me of how much Hammond and Southeastern meant to me and helped me as a theatre professional when I was young and just learning,” he said. “It’s amazing the amount of talent that has passed across the stage of Vonnie Borden, and it is a rare occurrence to have that much talent in one place at one time.
“Having attended graduate school with Jim Winter and learning under Professor of Theatre Design and Technical Directing Steve Schepker, it is nice to know that the theatre I loved so much in my youth is in such good hands,” Stewart continued. “There is no theatre community like Southeastern’s in the state of Louisiana.”
Owen Hyman, a 2007 and 2012 Department of History and Political Science graduate, recently received the highly prestigious C. Vann Woodward Prize for the Best Doctoral Dissertation in Southern History from the Southern Historical Association.
The purpose of the Southern Historical Association is to promote “interest and research in southern history; the collection and preservation of the South’s historical records; the encouragement of state and local historical societies in the South; and the support and promotion of history education at all levels throughout the region.”
Since his days at Southeastern, Hyman has received many honors, including the History of Science Society’s inaugural Rainger Prize for Early-Career Scholars in 2018; the Center for Ethical Business Cultures’ Halloran Prize in the History of Corporate Responsibility in 2015; and the William S. Coker Award for the Best Graduate Paper on Gulf South History in 2011, while attending Southeastern. Hyman openly credits the strong foundation he received within the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences for contributing to his success.