OLOL College

Institutional Profile

                                                                                    The Search for a President
                                                                                    Our Lady of the Lake College
                                                                                       Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Presidential Search

The Board of Trustees of Our Lady of the Lake College (OLOL College), a Catholic institution with a strong health sciences focus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, invites expressions of interest and nominations in this opportunity to lead an institution in the midst of exciting advancement and transformation.  Dr. Sandra Harper, after 7½ years of successful leadership as President, was recruited to the presidency of an institution where she earlier served on the faculty and in senior administrative roles in her native state of Texas.  The next President will build on the successes of the past and lead the institution as it adds doctoral programs and augments current programs.  The College seeks a President with demonstrated leadership skills, the vision, energy, and enthusiasm to advance the mission of the College, and a deep belief in and commitment to the mission of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady (FMOL).

Our Lady of the Lake College is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center (OLOLRMC) and is sponsored by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady, North American Province.  OLOLRMC is an academic medical center and serves as the primary clinical site for 17 residency programs including pediatrics, internal medicine, psychiatry, and emergency medicine.   The College is an integral component of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System.


In 1911, six fearless Sisters from Calais, France boarded a ship, The Rochambeau, for an arduous journey across the ocean to answer a call to bring healthcare to Louisiana.  Today, both the major state-wide health system that the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady built and the school they created, which is now Our Lady of the Lake College, are a testament to the Sisters’ faith, hard work, and vision.  The College has a rich history, and that history and mission are told below.

A School of Nursing is Created to Serve Louisiana

Established in 1923 by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady, the Our Lady of the Lake School of Nursing began in conjunction with the establishment of Our Lady of the Lake Sanitarium in the Capitol Lake area of downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The School was an integral part of the new hospital’s program of service to the community.

Five students from the St. Francis Sanitarium in Monroe, Louisiana, formed the nucleus of the first class of nine students. The students lived, attended classes and cared for patients in the hospital overlooking Capitol Lake. Upon completion of three calendar years of education, the students were awarded a diploma in nursing.

The School Initiates Innovations in Healthcare Education 

The curriculum was revised over the years to incorporate advances in medical science, nursing science, nursing practice, and nursing education. In 1960, in response to the changing health needs of the community and the prevailing nursing shortage, the School of Nursing was the first school in the South to revise its curriculum by shortening its program from three calendar years to 27 consecutive months. Recruitment to the diploma program was intensified, enrollment increased, and the School continued to grow and maintain its reputation for excellence.

The Modern College Begins to Take Shape  
During the 1970s, major changes began to occur in the student population. Along with a decline in residential students, there was a gradual but persistent increase in the number of non-traditional students (23 years of age and older) seeking admission to the nursing program. By the close of the decade, the School of Nursing became a commuter school and no longer offered on-campus housing. This coincided with the relocation of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center to its present site on Essen Lane.

In response to trends in nursing education and licensure, the faculty began exploring options in the 1980s to position nursing education within the collegiate setting. In 1989, the process culminated with the decision of the Franciscan Sisters and the medical center administration to transition to a degree-granting institution of higher education. In May of that year, Our Lady of the Lake College of Nursing and Allied Health was registered with the state. Within the next few years, the College began offering Associate of Science degrees in Radiologic Technology and general studies, in addition to nursing. Regional accreditation of the College was initially received from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in June 1994. In July of 1995, the College was officially renamed Our Lady of the Lake College.

New Programs are Developed
The late 1990s and early years of the new millennium were a time of expansion for the College, and several new associate degree programs were added to the curriculum. In 1998, the College was approved as a Level II institution to offer baccalaureate degrees, and by the turn of the century had added seven bachelor’s programs. Additional programs were established during the summer of 2000 to offer dynamic training opportunities including practical nursing and phlebotomy as well as continuing education for healthcare professionals.

In response to the regional devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the College ramped up outreach programs on three campuses in the New Orleans metropolitan area, ultimately graduating over 450 associate degree nurses who contributed significantly to a healthcare system in need. Another noteworthy point in the College’s history occurred in 2005, when SACS granted approval for master’s level programs in nurse anesthesia, nursing and physician assistant studies, making available for area professionals a new level of academic achievement.

Our Lady of the Lake College Today
 In 2009, the College received a full ten-year re-accreditation from SACS. This process was extremely valuable, leading to some reorganization of undergraduate programs and the development of a stronger core curriculum.  Additionally, the College went through a reorganization of its undergraduate and graduate academic programs resulting in two comprehensive academic schools: the School of Arts, Sciences and Health Professions and the School of Nursing.  Today the College offers 4 master’s degrees, 6 bachelor’s degrees and 5 associate degrees – in addition to 2 certificate programs.  Today, the College has over 1,700 students and a full-time faculty of 85.

In addition to an emphasis on academic excellence, Our Lady of the Lake College has continued the commitment to service begun by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady.  During the 2012-2013 academic year, OLOL College students provided 20,213 hours of service to the community.  This commitment to serve ensures graduates will possess a wide range of knowledge and skills which will allow them to continue to fulfill the College’s mission of service to God's people.

College Mission Statement

Inspired by the vision of St. Francis of Assisi and in the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, we extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to God's people, especially those most in need.

We call forth all who serve in this healthcare ministry, to share their gifts and talents to create a spirit of healing—with reverence and love for all of life, with joyfulness of spirit, and with humility and justice for all those entrusted to our care.

We are, with God's help, a healing and spiritual presence for each other and for the communities we are privileged to serve.

Seeking to be faithful to the ideals of its heritage and its sponsors, Our Lady of the Lake College is committed to meeting the educational needs of the people of God.

Our Identity

Our Lady of the Lake College of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is an independent, private Catholic College founded by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady. The College is a student-centered academic community guided by Franciscan values, faithful to the commitment to the truth and common good found in Ex corde Ecclesiae and devoted to excellence in learning.

Our Purpose

The College engages students in an educational experience that cultivates the spirit of scholarly inquiry, ongoing reflection, and a commitment to life-long learning and service. The College seeks to promote a learning environment informed by the concepts of collegiality, community, democracy, social justice, and the culture of life that encourages individual and collective responsibility.  Committing to and accomplishing the institutional purpose and goals requires empowering students to exceed standards, expand their vision, and come to the full measure of their humanity.

Institutional Goals

  1. Incorporating the Franciscan values of service, reverence and love for all life, joyfulness of spirit, humility, and justice and the spirit of Ex corde Ecclesiae into all facets of the educational process and functions of the College.
  2. Providing programs of study that contribute to the authentic good of individuals and human society as a whole.
  3. Emphasizing academic excellence in a student-centered environment to enhance knowledge and inquiry in the pursuit of life-long learning.
  4. Cultivating a student-centered environment which promotes a holistic approach to student growth and development in the search of vocation or calling.
  5. Fostering an engaged community of civic-minded scholars that encourages a culture of social responsibility and service.
  6. Cultivating, among all campus constituents, a desire to understand, a capacity for tolerance, and an ability to embrace diversity while demonstrating ethical and moral behavior in all endeavors.
  7. Practicing good stewardship of College resources while minimizing the carbon footprint of the College.
  8. Expanding the scale and scope of programs and communities the College serves.

Aspiring Vision
Our Lady of the Lake College aspires to be a premier Catholic College in the Gulf Coast region.  By 2023, the College will be a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Level V (doctoral granting) institution and will serve an enrollment of 2,500 students, with a majority of degree conferrals at the baccalaureate level.  The College will be known for excellence in academics, civic engagement, and student and faculty achievement.  This will be accomplished by maintaining relevant, rigorous program offerings, superior facilities, community engagement, and excellent student support all within a culture of Catholic faith identity consecrated to the cause of truth which embraces diversity and lifelong learning.

The Spirit of Ex corde Ecclesiae at OLOL College

On August 15, 1990, Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic constitution on Catholic higher education entitled Ex corde Ecclesiae. The Apostolic Constitution described the identity and mission of Catholic colleges and universities and provided General Norms to help fulfill its vision. Subsequently, the United States Bishops issued The Application of Ex corde Ecclesiae for the United States. Ex corde Ecclesiae highlights four distinctive characteristics of Catholic colleges and universities that are essential for Catholic identity:

  1. Christian inspiration not only of individuals but of the college community as such;
  2. A continuing reflection in light of the Catholic faith upon the growing treasury of human knowledge, to which the College seeks to contribute by its own research;
  3. Fidelity to the Christian message as it comes to us through the Roman Catholic Church;
  4. An institutional commitment to the service of the people of God and of the human family in their pilgrimage to the transcendent goal which gives meaning to life.

In addition to committing the College to demonstrate the above four characteristics and in accordance with the principles of Ex corde Ecclesiae, OLOL College will strive to become "an academic community which, in a rigorous and critical fashion, assists in the protection and advancement of human dignity and of a cultural heritage through research, teaching and various services offered to the local, national and international communities. It possesses that institutional autonomy necessary to perform its functions effectively and guarantees its members academic freedom, so long as the rights of the individual person and of the community are preserved within the confines of truth and the common good."

 Academic Programs and Offerings

The College has 85 full time faculty, 36% of whom hold a Ph.D. or a terminal degree in their field. The faculty work closely with students in the areas of critical thinking, communication and problem-solving skills, which help them navigate a rapidly changing environment. The faculty is committed to the expectations and commitments included in the Academic Plan and proceed from a "students first" orientation.

Devoted to excellence in teaching and learning, OLOL College is a student-centered academic community guided by its institutional Mission and Academic Plan.  Student to full-time instructional faculty ratio is 20:1 with a student enrollment of over 1,700.  Accredited to offer master’s, bachelor’s, and associate degrees, the College’s 17 academic degree programs are organized within two schools:  the School of Arts, Sciences and Health Professions and the School of Nursing.

The School of Arts, Sciences and Health Professions (ASHP)
The School of Arts, Sciences and Health Professions at Our Lady of the Lake College (OLOL College) provides foundational general education and prerequisite courses for both pre-clinical and non-clinical students as well as a variety of associate, baccalaureate and master level degree programs. Associate of Science (A.S.) degree programs include Arts and Sciences (with concentrations chosen from Biology, Chemistry and Liberal Arts); Physical Therapist Assisting; Radiologic Technology; Respiratory Therapy; and Surgical Technology. Baccalaureate (B.A., B.S.) degrees offered include Biology (with concentrations chosen from General Biology and Pre-professional Human Medicine), Clinical Laboratory Science, Health Sciences completion, and Liberal Studies (with concentrations chosen from English, Psychology, Sociology and Religious Studies). The School also offers a Master of Medical Science degree in Physician Assistant Studies and a Master of Health Administration degree in Health Administration. The content of all courses in the School of Arts, Sciences, and Health Professions is organized and presented in a manner that facilitates continued academic growth and progression through the college experience to prepare students for academic and professional challenges.

School of Nursing
Students in the School of Nursing are provided with clinical and laboratory experiences that enable them to develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to begin careers as either registered nurses (BSN program) or certified registered nurse anesthetists (MSNA program). Clinical sites include acute care hospitals, clinics, community care centers, and schools. Our skills laboratories employ high fidelity human simulation manikins and static manikins in a realistic setting designed to mirror the actual clinical arena.

The School of Nursing offers the following programs: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (traditional and accelerated BSN, LPN-BSN, RN-BSN/MSN); Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia; and Master of Science in Nursing, with two tracks – educator or administrator.

Accreditation / Membership
Our Lady of the Lake College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award associate, baccalaureate, and master's degrees. In addition to the institution-wide accreditation awarded by SACS, programs at Our Lady of the Lake College earn accreditation through academic discipline-specific accrediting bodies.

Program Specific Accreditation
Academic programs at OLOL College have the discipline-specific accreditation appropriate to each program.  In addition, to these program accreditations, the Physician Assistant Program has gained provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, and the Master of Health Administration is structured according to the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education requirements and will seek accreditation after its second class has graduated.

Student Profile

Student enrollment is 1,700 with approximately 84% female and 16% male.  Approximately 69% of students are enrolled in nursing programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, 24% in other health professions at the undergraduate and graduate levels, 5% in arts and sciences at the undergraduate level, and 2% in certificate programs.

The average age of students at OLOL College is 27.  Seventy-six percent of the student body is under 30 years of age, and 8% is over 40.  Thirty-two percent of those attending OLOL College self-identify as U.S. Student of Color:  26% Black or African American; 3% Asian; 2% Hispanic; 0.3% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and 1% American Indian/Alaska Native.  In terms of geographical distribution, 77% of the student body lists their parish of residence as East Baton Rouge (46%) or a parish within a 75-mile radius.  Out-of-state student enrollment continues to gradually increase with only 2% from states other than Louisiana.

Board of Trustees and Governance

Our Lady of the Lake College, Inc. (OLOL College) is an affiliate of Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, Inc. (OLOL), which is an affiliate of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady (FMOL) Health System, Inc., which is owned and operated by the Congregation of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady, North American Province. As such, Our Lady of the Lake College, Inc. is managed and operated in accordance with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, mission and values of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady, and the Ethical and Religious Directives of Catholic Health Care Facilities promulgated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the provisions of Ex corde Ecclesiae.

The College Board of Trustees consists of no less than seven (7) and no more than thirty (30) persons including ex-officio members, with the exact number of Board members to be fixed from time to time, within the limits specified, by the Member.  Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, Inc., a non-profit Louisiana corporation, is the Member of the College. The Board has five committees, including Executive, Academic and Student Services, Strategic Planning and Mission Effectiveness, Finance and Facilities, and Development and one sub-committee, Investment.

The Board of Trustees is the governing body of OLOL College. It is an active policy-making body for the College and is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the financial resources of the College are adequate to provide a sound educational program.


Our Lady of the Lake College has an operating budget of approximately $23 million. Student tuition and fees currently make up about 89% of the operating budget, while a subsidy provided by OLOLRMC, the College’s owner, makes up about 11% of the operating budget. Tuition varies by school and program, but costs to students are in the lower ranges of tuition for peer institutions. Student loans are a burden for many of the students, and the College desires to provide greater financial assistance to students in order to be competitive with other private not-for-profit colleges and universities in Louisiana. The current tuition discount rate is approximately 3% of tuition and fee revenue. Despite the current economic situation, OLOL College ended Fiscal Year 2013 with an operating margin of 6.7%, which will be re-invested in the capital needs of the College, specifically the Master Plan. The College has worked expeditiously to control costs by reducing operating costs through cost control measures and streamlining operations as well as eliminating unsustainable programs. These pressures have increased the desire to enhance revenues with additional revenue streams from within our health system, additional online courses, additional grant funding and more aggressive fundraising.

Our Lady of the Lake College is the only four-year private college in Baton Rouge in a region and state where approximately 1/3 of the population is Catholic.  The College’s location in the capital city of Louisiana, one hour west of New Orleans on Interstate 10, offers distinct advantages.  Baton Rouge’s urban environment (approaching 1M in the metropolitan area) provides faculty, staff, and students with theatre, music, dance, art, festivals, sports, and the region’s world-renowned Cajun cuisine – as well as a variety of multi-ethnic cuisines and restaurants.  When darkness falls, Baton Rouge nightlife comes alive, filled with a musical heritage that includes jazz, blues, rock, and Cajun music. 

In September, Business Facilities magazine ranked Baton Rouge #1 in the U.S. for economic growth potential - citing the dynamic new riverfront development on the Mississippi River, a new cutting-edge IBM technology center, and some of the “hippest digital media studios in the nation.”  The magazine further states, “Louisiana’s capital has had great success in executing its strategy of bringing together business and higher education in innovative public-private partnerships that spur initiatives in new high-growth sectors.”  Obviously, health care is among those sectors. 

In August, Entrepreneur magazine name Baton Rouge among the top “emerging entrepreneurial hubs” in the U.S.  $50 billion is the minimum that national and international firms are expected to spend in the next 3-4 years along the Mississippi’s corridor from Baton Rouge to New Orleans and in the surrounding region.  Tens of thousands of new jobs and people will benefit from this boom.  OLOL College is well poised to participate in this growth.

Opportunities for the Next President

Implementation of the Strategic Plan, Centennial Compass 2.0. 
In 2007, the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady (FMOL) requested that the College embark on a long-term vision and strategic plan in preparation for the College’s centennial in 2023.  The College leadership launched a planning process involving faculty, staff, students, members of the Board of Trustees, and representatives from the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, the FMOL Health System, and members of the broader community.  That plan was named the 2007 Centennial Compass.
In 2012, a five-year strategic plan, Centennial Compass 2.0, was approved by the Board of Trustees encompassing an updated institutional identity, purpose, goals, and new aspiring vision.  To achieve this aspiring vision, an overarching imperative for the College during the next five years will be to create a distinctive College identity that has three prominent foci:

  • Its Catholic and Franciscan character;
  • Its focus on active learning and civic engagement across the curriculum;
  • Its curriculum niche of health in all its dimensions.

In establishing this distinctive identity, Our Lady of the Lake College will concentrate its energies on fulfilling commitments to the students, the broader community, and the health of the population.  These Centennial Commitments will be the primary strategic initiatives during the next five year period (2012-2017):

  • Build and Sustain a Culture of Academic Excellence;
  • Create an Opportunity for Spiritual Exploration, Analysis, and Growth;
  • Recruit, Retain and Graduate a Diverse and Highly Qualified Student Body;
  • Recruit, Mentor, Reward, and Retain a Diverse, Highly Qualified and Engaged Faculty and Staff; 
  • Move Toward a Unified Physical Campus;
  • Link Learning and Service with Catholic Social Justice Teaching throughout the Communities the College Serves;
  • Enhance the Health of the Population in Collaboration with the Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, and the State of Louisiana; and,
  • Establish a Culture of Investment, Stewardship, Fiscal Accountability, and Operational Autonomy to Ensure the Financial and Operational Sustainability of the College. 

Centennial Compass 2.0 details key activities that will be accomplished to achieve these commitments.  It includes an Academic Plan, a Technology Plan, timelines for achieving each activity, and metrics of success which delineate the baseline metric in 2011 and the target that the College is aiming for in 2017.  The Centennial Compass 2.0 is approved and embraced by the Board, campus, and campus constituencies and stakeholders, and the next President will have this as a guiding plan.

Attributes of the Next President

  • Consistent with the Catholic nature of Our Lady of the Lake College, it is desired that the successful candidate be Catholic, have an appreciation for Catholic higher education, and have a calling to the College’s mission;
  • The next President will have an earned terminal degree with experience in higher education administration at a senior level or comparable experience with health care education;
  • The next President will have experience in program development and assessment, including a significant appreciation for online education;
  • The next President will have experience in program and institutional accreditation;
  • Within the interdependent Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System in Louisiana, the President will support the Mission and needs of the entire system;
  • The next President will work cooperatively with the Trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors, community stakeholders, and the FMOL Health System to advance the institution;
  • The next President will provide academic, administrative, fundraising, and financial leadership and stewardship; and,
  • The College seeks a person, not only with vision for the College’s future, but also with the skill set to implement that vision;
  • The next President will possess the integrity, moral compass, compassion, commitment, and wisdom to lead by example in the true demonstration of servant leadership.

Application and Nomination Process

The College is being assisted by Academic Search, Inc., and a complete search prospectus can be found at http://www.academic-search.com/data/files/ololcollegeinstitutionalprofile.pdf.  Additional information, including a link to the presidential search website, can be found on  the institution’s website at www.ololcollege.edu. Applications should include a letter of interest, a curriculum vitae, and names of five professional references with full contact information including email addresses and telephone numbers.  Nominations and  applications can be submitted electronically in confidence at ololcollegepresident@academic-search.com.    

Ann Die Hasselmo (Ann.Hasselmo@academic-search.com), Maya Kirkhope (Maya.Kirkhope@academic-search.com), Senior Consultants, or Andrea Cowsert (Andrea.Cowsert@academic-search.com), Associate Consultant, may be contacted directly for more information regarding the search.  Review of applicant materials will begin November 15, 2013, and the search is expected to conclude early in the spring semester.

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