UL Lafayette specializes in applied research that solves real-world problems. That’s why some of our faculty and students developed CajunBot, a driver-less robotic vehicle capable of finding its own way in dangerous places. And, it’s why another group of faculty and students designed and built BeauSoleil, an award-winning solar home that is affordable, appealing, and strong enough to withstand a hurricane. In short: we make research relevant. With our wealth of expertise and top-notch resources, we offer everything it takes to awaken the change agent in anyone.
By any measure, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is thriving. Our freshmen are more prepared for college-level work than ever before. More exceptional students are making UL Lafayette their first university of choice. And we have devoted unprecedented energy and resources to student success. The
payoff so far: one of the highest graduation rates in Louisiana. Our faculty members are earning national and international recognition. And, they are drawing record amounts of external research monies. In 2009, the University attracted the third highest amount of National Science Foundation research funding among Louisiana’s 16 public, four-year universities. Construction projects totaling $143 million will soon expand student housing and the Student Union. Louisiana's Ragin’ Cajuns® are poised to lead the Sun Belt Conference in every major sport. And, our alumni can be proud of the fact that their degrees have more value and respect than ever before. Buoyed by the accomplishments of its students, faculty and alumni, UL Lafayette has pledged to take advantage of every opportunity to achieve greater prominence among public institutions of higher learning.
For four centuries, south Louisiana has embraced diversity. So it’s not surprising that we have a natural talent for leaping over disciplinary borders and forging new collaborations. The Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development and Lifelong Learning embodies this inclusive spirit. It has experts in many fields, such as education, public health, business and communicative disorders. And, it partners with community organizations ranging from school districts to Junior League to United Way. Our students learn an important lesson from these initiatives: some of the best opportunities emerge from the crossroads of knowledge.
Our research extends beyond the classroom. Our marketing students developed an online sales plan for a nearby shrimping community devastated by Hurricane Rita in 2005. Shrimpers can now connect with customers before their boats dock at the end of the day. Students and faculty in our Community Design Workshop help cities and neighborhoods revitalize their communities. This mobile design studio has completed 70 funded projects since its inception. And our engineering students and faculty in the Industrial Assessment Center helped mid-size manufacturers become more productive and energy efficient. They conducted free, on-site evaluations of energy use, waste management and productivity. Their work has earned the center national recognition. We work tirelessly to improve our communities by applying what we’re learning.
We prepare students to do more than earn a living. The lessons we offer about life transcend any textbook. Joie de vivre means living life fully, deeply. So we teach with the same passion that defines Cajun and Creole cultures. And we nurture students’ ability to listen, reflect, articulate and savor because these are tools for a lifetime of thoughtful citizenship. For our students, joie de vivre means much more than being good company. It also means being a lively and discerning thinker.
We’re passionate about the possibilities for a better world. But we also know good intentions aren’t enough. That’s why we’ve embraced serving others. In the 2009-10 academic year, 4,226 students performed about 540,000 service hours in the community. And it’s why our Communicative Disorders Department doesn’t limit its clinical practice to the school year but instead devotes summer months to helping at-risk children gain the literacy skills they need to succeed. Our students and faculty are invigorated by problems that call upon our deepest reserves of humanity—and we’re applying our best thinking to solve them.