SLU president touts dual enrollment program

Published 1:12 pm Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The guest speaker at an economic-focused event held Monday in Pine was Dr. John Crain, president of Southeastern, a university that sends many local graduates into the Washington Parish workforce.

Crain, a Franklinton native, was speaking at the annual installation banquet of the Franklinton Area Economic Foundation, Franklinton Chamber of Commerce and Washington Economic Development Foundation.

Master of Ceremonies Sheriff Randy Seal said he was proud and honored to introduce native son Crain.

“We’re proud of Southeastern. We’re proud of the direction it has taken with Dr. John Crain,” he said.

Crain said it was a pleasure to be at the event and speak about what is going on at Southeastern, the only four-year university based on the Northshore.

He began by presenting demographic information. While Southeastern has students from all over the world, the majority of student enrollment, about 85 percent, comes from southeast Louisiana.

Most of those students earn their degree or degrees at the university and then return to the workforce in the southeast region of the state, he said.

Crain said Southeastern is the second largest school in the University of Louisiana System and has enrollment of around 15,000 students. In the fall of 2012, 435 students were from Washington Parish.

One way the university serves the parish’s students is through its dual enrollment program, he said. As the state’s largest dual enrollment partnership program, it serves around 2,000 high school students across southeast Louisiana each year.

Crain said it is important to make this opportunity available to students, and the university has worked hard to maintain it even though state funding for the program has gone away.

He also spoke about Southeastern’s partnerships with local community colleges, particularly Northshore Technical Community College.

About 200 students are enrolled in the Connect to Success program, a partnership between Southeastern and Northshore. Crain said this program was created specifically for students in the region Northshore serves who are not admissible to Southeastern due to remedial requirements or other reasons.

“They can enroll with Northshore Technical Community College through this program and become admissible to the university,” he said. “If they don’t choose initially to become admitted to the university, they can continue their studies with Northshore.”

Crain said there is a facility for the program on Southeastern’s campus. He said it is a great opportunity for students and something he thinks will continue to grow in the future.

He thanked Northshore Chancellor William Wainwright, who has been “a great partner for Southeastern.”

“I think the fact that the university and local community technical college are working well together really bodes well for the future of our students, to make sure they have a seamless pipeline opportunity for postsecondary education,” Crain said.

Additionally, Crain presented information about recent and upcoming facilities improvement projects and new academic programs and discussed the budget challenges the university has faced in recent years.

He encouraged attendees to visit and tour Southeastern’s campus.