LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander is getting a contract extension through 2020.
“Dr. Alexander is leading the university in the right direction,” LSU board member Ann Duplessis said Friday.
The contract extension is expected to be formally approved at next month’s LSU Board of Supervisors meeting, but Duplessis said the LSU board unanimously agreed to extend Alexander’s contract, following a performance evaluation. The extension will put Alexander’s contract as the longest allowed by law. Currently, his contract is set to expire in 2019, following a similar extension last year.
The move largely serves as a signal that the board is happy with Alexander’s tenure on campus. He first came to LSU in 2013 from California State University, Long Beach.
In that time, LSU has set several enrollment, graduation and fundraising records.
On Friday, the university announced that fall enrollment on the Baton Rouge campus is up 2 percent to 31,527. The 5,624-student freshman class is the fourth-largest in LSU history.
Reading a statement, Duplessis praised Alexander’s work — on campus and off at the State Capitol and in Washington — saying he has the “steadfast and overwhelming support” of the governor-appointed board.
As LSU’s leader, Alexander makes $600,000 a year. It’s unclear whether his contract extension will come with a raise.
After a legal battle with The Advocate, LSU earlier this year released the names of three other finalists who Alexander beat out for the job: Steven Ballard, chancellor of East Carolina University; Bowen Loftin, then president of Texas A&M University and now chancellor of the University of Missouri; and Malcolm Portera, retired chancellor of the University of Alabama.
Alexander emerged as a leading voice during this year’s legislative session as higher education faced potentially devastating cuts.
“We were the hostage this past session and it came down to the last 90 minutes,” Alexander said Friday.
Alexander has recently faced some backlash from faculty members, and the Faculty Senate is mulling a public censure over the recent firing of an elementary education professor. That doesn’t appear to have translated to much outcry from the general public, though.
Alexander traveled to Washington earlier this week to take part in an event that touted him as being one of “America’s Most Innovative College Presidents.”
That discussion focused on a newly released college “scorecard” from the federal government that Alexander has advocated. He has long argued that typical rankings released by publications are biased and offer little insight. The new federal website grades schools based on cost of attendance, graduation rates, post-graduation salaries and student debt loads.
“It will be, I think, quite stunning to parents and students,” Alexander said Friday.
In an interview with The Advocate this week, Alexander said that critics of the scorecard are concerned that it reveals the real value, or lack thereof, of some schools.
“Private higher education isn’t real happy with it. It measures value and it highlights the number of for-profits that are basically stealing money from students.”