Nicholls Professor to Present at NCTE Conference

This month a professor from Nicholls State University will be presenting during the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) annual convention, as reported by a Nicholls press release.

The Nicholls Professor, Dr. Anthony Kunkel, will be speaking on the power of poetry during the national educator’s conference by way of a roundtable discussion when the annual convention meets in Baltimore in late November. The discussion is titled, “The Power of Poetry to Enhance Inquiry in the ELA Classroom.”

When speaking to the Nicholls press, the Nicholls Professor stated that “students today process their world at a fast pace. Sometimes phrasing can get lost in text-speak and memes,” Dr. Kunkel said. “Kids appreciate poetry and lyrics even more today. But they are often ignored as a means to help students write to express themselves. With all the tech available today, we want to give future teachers a way to engage students on a very creative and relevant level.”

Dr. Kunkel is no stranger to the NCTE, as he presented on utilizing the medium of “visual poetry” in the classroom at the previous year’s gathering. His discussion touched on outlining the benefits of visual poetry, which challenges students to use phrasing, visual effects, and technology in addition to the traditional poetic forms. This informative talk invited other interested parties as the English Language Arts Teacher Educators organization invited him to join their talk.

Dr. Anthony Kunkel is a professor at Nicholls State University in the Nicholls College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, a college that produces approximately 80 percent of the teachers for the Bayou Region, which is made up of cities like Thibodeaux, Houma, and Morgan City. Many alumni from the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences are award-winners in the educational field, holding such titles as teachers, principals, administrators, and legislators.

In addition to producing impressive graduates and faculty, the college also oversees some of Nicholls State’s most impactful campus programs, including but not limited to their pre-K program, the Louisiana Center for Dyslexia and Related Learning Disorders, Little Colonels Academy, and the Bridge to Independence Program. The later is a transformative program for students with autism and other intellectual disabilities to engage in the full college experience while also gaining valuable leadership and social skills needed for independent living and future employment.

When Nicholls Professor, Dr. Kunkel presents at the roundtable discussion, it will be at the first virtual NCTE Annual Convention. Each year the convention hosts thousands of educators to come together to collaborate and discuss a wide variety of learning strategies, curriculum planning, and research that informs their teaching, and despite being held virtually, the convention’s remote location allows for the organizers to offer approximately 400 sessions for attendees to engage in, and all attendees will have access to the sessions for up to 60 days following the convention.

For the past century, the National Council of Teachers of English has been seen as a great friend to educators, as the organization offers and provides teachers with in-class materials to support their professional success as well as publishing journals and other publications to advance the voices of educators nationwide at both the local and federal levels.

Their mission statement, which was adopted in 1990, perfectly encapsulates their supportive goal-orientated, objective which is stated as: “promot[ing] the development of literacy, the use of language to construct personal and public worlds and to achieve full participation in society, through the learning and teaching of English and the related arts and sciences of language.”

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Nicholls Financial Analysis Team Heads to Regional Finals

The Chartered Financial Analysis competitive team at Nicholls State University competed in the Southwest U.S. Research Challenge at Rice University on February 22.

The competitive team for Nicholls included:

  • Breanne Cazenave, a senior accounting and finance double major from Luling
  • Megan White, a senior accounting and finance double major from Pierre Part
  • Preston Thibodeaux, a senior accounting and finance double major from Baton Rouge
  • Carlos Calderone, a senior finance major from Morgan City
  • Terry Dupre, an MBA graduate student from Houma

The other teams in the finals were Baylor University, Rice University, St. Mary’s University, Texas A&M University, Texas Christian University, the University of Dallas and West Texas A&M University. Among the teams that made it into the finals, Nicholls is the only school from Louisiana, as well as the only team that wasn’t located in Texas.

This year’s Chartered Financial Analyst competitive team was advised and sponsored by Dr. John Lajuanie and Dr. Shari Lawrence, who are both professors of finance.

“Our students are consistently able to compete against major universities. To be this successful, really speaks highly of our students and their abilities,” Dr. Lawrence said. “As a small teaching university, we have dedicated faculty who give our students a lot of 1-on-1 attention. This is not just myself and Dr. Lajaunie. It’s all of the teachers they have had at Nicholls to bring them to this point.”

The Chartered Financial Analyst Institute Research Challenge is an yearly international competition that provides students at various universities with hands on mentoring and training in financial analysis. Students are expected to work in teams to research and analyze a company, even going so far as to meet with company management.

Each team is then responsible for writing a research report on their company with buy, sell, or hold recommendations. Then, the teams are asked to present and defend their analysis to a panel of professionals.

In the first round, teams are judged based on their written work. In the finals, teams are further tested on their analysis and ability to effectively communicate their research.

Teams are given twenty minutes to discuss their results, then ten minutes to present, followed by a ten minute question session. The team who comes in first place will advance to the nationals in New York City and April 20-21 for the opportunity to compete globally.

This year makes the fifth time since 2011 that Nicholls State University Financial Analysis has made the regional finals, including making it into nationals in 2015.

“This is yet another great group of students. This is a very, very intense, comprehensive exercise and our students have done an amazing job,” Dr. LaJaunie said. “We’re one of the smallest public schools that compete. We’re one of those schools that’s not supposed to make it. But I tell my team that they can beat any school we’re matched up against because we have a history of doing just that.”

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Nicholls Educator Participates in new World Class Professor Program

Nicholls State University biology professor Dr. Raj Boopathy was chosen to visit Indonesia as a part of the Indonesian government’s relatively new World Class Professor program. Nicholls news gives us more information, check out the article here. The World Class Professor program, also known as WCP, is a program that is funded by the Indonesian government. This research project aims to help institutions cooperate together by strengthening and promoting research on a global level. The Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education wanted to promote a global satellite research center.

Only ten World Class Professorships are awarded each year. The Indonesian government bases its program recipient decisions in publication and research output in addition to a strong, consistent publication record. Dr. Boopathy’s works have been cited over 7000 times internationally.

Dr. Boopathy will travel to Indonesia to visit the Institute of Technology, Bandung for two weeks. He will discuss his research in environmental biotechnology on the presence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the environment, biodegradation and bioremediation of hazardous chemicals, biofuel production and biological treatment of wastewater.

He will also talk to students on how to write and publish scientific papers.

Not only will Dr. Boopathy travel to Indonesia to discuss his research, a professor from the Institute of Technology, Bandung will travel to Louisiana in October to shadow Dr. Boopathy. The professor from the Institute of Technology, Bandung will study Dr. Boopathy’s process in collecting data and publishing research in the most notable scientific journals in the world.

This is not the first award or honor Dr. Boopathy has received. He is also a Fulbright Specialist. The Fulbright Specialist Program sends faculty and professionals from the United States to academic institutions worldwide to consult on curriculum, faculty development, and institutional planning. Dr. Boopathy has been the recipient of three Fulbright awards since 2007. The last place to request his services was Malaysia- who was aiming to curb the country’s pollution. Malaysia has been struggling from air pollution for close to twenty years. Dr. Boopathy visited the country right before Nicholls’ Spring 2019 semester began.

Last year Dr. Boopathy was the keynote speaker at the 13th Asian Biohydrogen and Biorefinery Symposium in Zhengzhou, China. It was here that he gave a speech on his research in the area of bioethanol production from sugarcane waste for energy use. The research is based on the idea of extracting sugar from agricultural waste that would typically be burned during a given season. The symposium had approximately 400 attendees from 28 countries share their research into bioenergy.

Dr. Raj Boopathy is a 2008 recipient of the Nicholls State University Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence. He is also considered an Alcee Fortier Distinguished Professor at Nicholls- an honorary title given to showcase academic excellence. He has published 167 papers in various peer-reviewed journals, 17 book chapters, and has edited a book.

“It is a big honor to be selected as a World Class Professor,” he said. “This says that Nicholls accommodates professors with high research output, and Nicholls always encourages the scholarly work of its professors.”

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Nicholls State Education Degree Ranks High

Nicholls State University is one of the top schools in the nation for those looking to make an impact in the classroom by pursuing a degree in education by online educational resource listed Thibodaux’s Nicholls State University at number 45 on their list. They took into account statistics from the United States Department of Education, evaluated reviews by students. The list takes into account accessibility, affordability, and the quality of education. They did this by looking at each individual school’s tuition cost, financial aid, admittance rates, educational support and resources, retention rates, graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, career resources and job placement.

Nicholls was the only college in Louisiana to make the list.

The website emphasized the faculty in the Nicholls Department of Education and Behavioral Science and their desire to not only inspire their students but also encourage student engagement. The professors are not only committed to teaching their students, but also emphasizing community service, professional service, and student research. also shone a spotlight on the many extracurricular activities for education majors, shining a spotlight on NEAT- the Nicholls Education Association of Teachers. NEAT describes itself as “a university organization that provides opportunities for candidates in the College of Education to serve the university as well as the community.”

Education majors at Nicholls are also often recipients of various scholarships, most notably the Camille Hebert Memorial Scholarship In Education and the Braxton Hebert Memorial Scholarship In Education. Those are only two of the fifteen scholarships offered for students pursuing teacher education.

In addition to students having the opportunity to grow professionally through organizations and offering numerous ways to increase affordability, Nicholls also offers numerous undergraduate programs and certifications including Art Education, Elementary Education (grades 1-5), Music Education, and more. The college also has graduate programs including Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Educational Leadership. was founded in 2004 with a mission of offering a quality education that is as accessible as possible. They reach approximately 15 million students a month and is self-funded. They offer a video-based curriculum that consists of over 10,000 lessons.

Nicholls alumni comprise approximately 80 percent of the teachers in the Bayou Region and 90 percent of teachers names Lafourche Parish Teacher of the Year within the last five years.

The Nicholls College of Education and Behavioral Sciences operates under the phrase “Responsible Leaders Engaging in Professional Practice”. They are accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation for Teacher Education, the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, and the Nation Association of School Psychologists.

The College of Education and Behavioral Science states their mission as follows:

The College of Education and Behavioral Sciences is dedicated to preparing high quality teachers, educational leaders, school and psychological counselors, school psychologists and human service professionals who effectively meet the diverse needs of Louisiana and the global community.

With the amount of alumni that go back into the community and not only teach, but also direct after school programs, work for the school district, and work for local community centers, it is safe to say that they not only succeed but exceed and shine in their fields.

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Nicholls In Top 25 Affordable Online Programs

Nicholls State University was recently listed as on of the top 25 affordable online programs.  Online education has radically changed the landscape of education. We’re learning in a new and more efficient environment, one with endless opportunities for students of every kind. The virtual learning environment (VLE) is innovation that is replacing an office-building’s worth of administrators, teaching assistants, file cabinets, and paperwork. VLE such as Blackboard, Canvas, and Renweb extend both the classroom and the administrator’s office. Automatically handling teaching and administrative duties such as gradebooks, auto-scoring, attendance sheets, enrollment, updating class lists, auto-sending emails for absent students, notifying people of unpaid bills, and tracking payroll and accounting information.

Along with the convenience and efficiency, online learning is moving more toward heavy use of mastery learning which requires students to master a concept or skill before moving ahead. Instead of treating a 60 or 70 as a “passing grade,” students have to demonstrate mastery in that topic by answering all or almost all of the questions correctly.

Our own Nicholls State University has been ranked one of the top 25 Most Affordable Online Business Bachelor’s Degrees by College Choice ( which is an online resource that aims to help students and their families as they research and compare colleges to find one that fits their interests and needs based on its research and analysis.

Nicholls earned the 25th spot out of 30 and is one of four to make the list from Louisiana. College Choice analyzes several factors to come up with their list including the cost of the degree, the value of the degree and the convenience of the degree.  Nicholls charges no out-of-state fees to distance learners and  “there are no set login times for online classes; it’s important for students to be independent and self-motivated.”

Nicholls has been ranked among the nation’s Top Public Schools  and Best Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and Worlds Report.

Students say that Nicholls does a great job of incorporating Project Based Learning (PBL) despite the challenges that online education present.  Online PBL programs cover all the main learning outcomes while also training students to share and organize responsibilities.  Students would be responsible for tasks such as: giving peer review, working in teams, engaging in self-directed learning, breaking down projects into smaller parts, and solving complex problems. To be successful, online ed students must stay plugged in to the process and will need to learn how to communicate with peers and be a good team player. A great deal of your online education success in a PBL setting depends on your ability to work with other students.

PBL helps to avoid the isolation that many online ed students face in poorly-designed programs.  It’s easy for online ed students to drift through their studies as strangers who never truly engage one another. Fortunately, Nicholls has made great strides to implement collaborative online learning strategies to confront this challenge.

In online education, collaborative learning is carried out by various programs and platforms to allow for video conferencing, texting, email, teleconferencing, and workflow programs. Chances are, you will use these programs and skills later on in your professional life as well.  Students claim feeling much more prepared for their careers after being trained in an online degree.

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