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Our Mission


Our mission is to provide maximum value to our students, our community, and society through education and research focused on Energy and the Environment.

Value for our students

Our goal is maximizing the return on investment for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in our programs.  We strive to provide the strongest set of skills, experiences, and opportunities for students who aspire to careers (in industry or academics) within the fields of energy and/or the environment.  

Value for our community

Our educational and research focus areas reflect the strengths and address the challenges of our region. Louisiana is at the forefront of the petroleum exploration and production industry and also boasts more than 40% of the wetlands in the U.S. These coastal wetlands are highly-productive and represent an enormous biological and economic resource.  The state of Louisiana has identified “water management” and the “next wave of oil and gas production” as target areas for development. It is estimated that in Louisiana alone between 100,000 and 195,000 jobs will be created in these areas over the next 20 years. Our program will help provide the intellectual, research, and problem-solving capacity to address these needs. 

Value for society

The sustainability of energy and environmental resources are two of the biggest scientific challenges we face nationally and globally.  Our goal is to provide the next generation of scientists with the tools to work within these fields and a framework for addressing complex problem solving.

Relationship to the UL Lafayette mission

Our mission reflects the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s commitment to achieving excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, in research, and in public service.  Our focus on value for students, community, and society, mirrors UL’s broader commitment to promote regional economic and cultural development and to find solutions to national and world issues.

Relationship to FIRST Louisiana

The Fostering Innovation through Research in Science and Technology (FIRST) in Louisiana plan was adopted by the Board of Regents as the framework for research within their master plan for higher education. The plan identifies Earth Sciences (among the foundational sciences) as a target for expansion and growth.  Our focus areas and mission are directly aligned with the translational research domains of Energy, Environmental Sciences (and Coastal sciences) identified in FIRST Louisiana. 



We will become a preeminent institution in the Gulf Coast Region (and the U.S.) for training students in fundamental and applied research in the areas of Energy and the Environment. Our strategic plan includes goals and metrics in the areas of faculty productivity (teaching and research) and student success that are designed to evaluate our progress.


We will offer unique educational and research opportunities to support the success of our students.  These opportunities include internships, networking, research experiences, flexible degree plans, and original course content. Our strategic plan includes goals and metrics in the areas of student success (placement, time-to-degree, internship participation, research participation, etc.) that are designed to evaluate our progress.


We will serve the community through work in K-12 classrooms, teacher education programs, engagement with businesses, participation in philanthropic events, and local problem-solving. Our strategic plan includes goals and metrics involving employer surveys, recruiting activities, and enrollment numbers that are designed to evaluate our progress.


We also leverage our mission of “value” through strategic educational and research relationships and partnerships across the UL community, including the following:

  • U.S. Geological Survey National Wetlands Center
  • GIS Regional Application Center
  • Institute for Coastal and Water Research (ICaWR)
  • The Coastal Sustainability Studio (CSS)
  • Center for Ecology and Environmental Technology (CEET)
  • The College of Engineering’s Petroleum Engineering and Civil Engineering degree programs
  • The College of Engineering’s PhD program in Systems Engineering.
  • The College of Business Administration’s Professional Land and Resource Management major
  • Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise (LITE) center

5-year Strategic Plan

Our over-arching goals

Over the next 5 years we want to (1) become a top institution in the Gulf Coast region for awarding BS and MS degrees in the focus areas of Energy and the Environment, and (2) expand our program and capabilities through the development of a PhD program. 

How do we measure our progress?

We will measure our progress in a variety of ways (described below), but our comparisons to peer institutions in the Gulf Coast Region will focus on (1) enrollment and graduation numbers for BS and MS students and (2) student outcomes/placement. 

How do we get there?

We have developed a comprehensive set of internal objectives with measures and annual targets for success.  To do this we have translated our mission and vision into a 5-year development (strategic) plan. Our plan focuses on four areas that are necessary to achieve our vision of Excellence, Opportunity, and Community.  These include the following:

Faculty Development

Setting a foundation for excellence. Academic departments are based, almost in their entirety, on human intellectual capital. To achieve excellence in what we do, we must promote and nurture it in our faculty.  A strong and vibrant faculty is the foundation for providing opportunities for our students and ultimately interfacing with the community.  Our targets for excellence involve grant writing and publications, research production, networking, and teaching.

Departmental Processes

Gateways for opportunity.  Strategic investments in faculty development are rewarded by increased effectiveness in the areas of teaching/training, research, and recruiting which translate to more and better opportunities for our students.

Serving Stakeholders

Developing links to the community. Increased effectiveness of Departmental Processes leads to stronger and more positive relationships with internal and external stakeholders. Our internal stakeholders include our college and university. Our external stakeholders include our students, alumni, and community.  We strive to provide maximum value for all of our stakeholders.

Financial Perspective

Support for our students and faculty development. Our School budget is primarily derived from proceeds collected from internal and external stakeholders (i.e., university funds, alumni and corporate donors, student fees, etc).  We want to maximize this revenue and maximize the impact of our internal spending through re-investment in our students and for development activities that add to our mission.

Within each of these four target areas we have developed a set of objectives, strategies for achieving these objectives, and metrics for tracking our progress. The strategies and metrics are tied to specific tasks within our 5-year timeline. For specific details regarding our strategic plan please contact the Director of the School of Geosciences.