Louisiana Higher Ed: New teacher help, zoo education in Alexandria 

Your weekly update on the higher education news that didn’t make the front page 

By: - November 4, 2022 2:39 pm

Photo courtesy of Northwestern State University

New Teacher Experience

Louisiana Tech’s College of Education will lead the Louisiana Department of Education’s New Teacher Experience program. 

The program will focus on connecting new teachers with mentors and a support system in the early days of their teaching careers. 

“The New Teacher Experience is a comprehensive induction program that will offer multiple services designed to increase teacher effectiveness, enhance skills, and reduce attrition among beginning teachers,” said Laurie Carlton, an education department consultant who will lead the program.

The university has opened applications for affinity group leaders who will mentor the new teachers. The 20 selected leaders will be paid a stipend of $2,500. Applications close Tuesday. 

“While we cannot address all of the factors that contribute to the obstacles early career teachers experience, we can help create shared spaces for discourse and support and share best practices that can assist them in the classroom,” College of Education Associate Dean Lindsey Keith-Vincent said. 

Alexandria Zoo steps into education 

The Alexandria Zoo, the city of Alexandria, and LSU Alexandria’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics will partner to offer a zoo sciences concentration. 

The program is the first of its kind in Louisiana and one of just 10 in the nation. 

The program aims to give students practical experience which will help them gain entry into the zoo industry. Classes in the concentration will be offered both on campus and on-location at the zoo by experts employed by the zoo. 

“In a world where zoos are often the only place that people get to learn about and interact with wildlife, it is crucial that we help prepare future zoo management professionals that are properly trained and prepared to maximize the educational impact and quality experiences provided by well-maintained public zoos,” LSU-A Chancellor Paul Coreil said. 

Aid for low-income international students 

The AT&T Foundation made a $15,000 gift to the Northwestern State University Foundation to support scholarships for low-income international students majoring in a STEM field. 

“Many international students want to pursue paths in science, technology and math in the United States, but financial needs are often a significant challenge for them,” university President Marcus Jones said. “These scholarship funds will make a real difference in their ability to remain here and continue their studies.”

Timber innovation 

Martin Sustainable Resources, an Alexandria-based timber company, has gifted $2 million to Louisiana Tech University for its Forest Products Innovation Center.

 The university will soon begin construction on the center, which will aim to take a transdisciplinary approach to problems in the timber industry. 

“The Forest Products Innovation Center will become a hub for discovering new methods to capture, produce, and utilize our renewable and sustainable forests for generations to come,” said Scott Poole, President and Chief Operating Officer for RoyOMartin, a subsidiary of Martin Sustainable Resources. 

University president Les Guice said he anticipated research in new uses of Louisiana’s forests, as well as focusing on more efficient processing of forest products while still contributing to sustainability. 

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Piper Hutchinson
Piper Hutchinson

Piper Hutchinson is a reporter for the Louisiana Illuminator. She has covered the Legislature and state government extensively for the LSU Manship News Service and The Reveille, where she was named editor in chief for summer 2022.