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Tulane Honors Program

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Survival to Renewal: Tulane University

I am still reading over the material and will receive a briefing this afternoon. Honors will continue and be central to the new Undergraduate College. Read carefully and know that we will continue to support you at Tulane!

I will offer a few key points for the time being:

  • The short of all of this is that nothing will change for next semester. You will continue to be advised through Newcomb and/or Tulane College (or through Engineering or Architecture).

  • For the majority of you there will be little impact at all. Since you are already students your graduation requirements will not change. UPDATE: I have been rightly corrected. By "little impact" I refer to the academic aspect of your Tulane career. The loss of Newcomb and Tulane Colleges will have an impact on our lives and we will have to all work together to make it a positive change.

  • Those of you who are in Engineering programs that have been eliminated note the following paragraph:
    Students in affected programs will have the opportunity to continue their studies at Tulane if they can finish degree requirements by May 2007. Otherwise, they can be reassigned to another program or they will be offered assistance in transferring to another institution.

  • Finally, the Honors Program will continue to exist and will be fully integrated into all undergraduate schools.

    • what about the traditions newcomb and tulane colleges have?

      is tulane just going to throw all of that away?

      i feel that the integration of tulane + newcomb will get rid of a lot of the traditions and history that attracted me to the university in the first place.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:03 PM  

    • No, Newcomb and Tulane College traditions and legacies will not be thrown away. There is a committee of alumni, students, etc. that will be formed and meeting over the spring to determine how best to preserve these traditions.

      By Blogger Cb, at 6:24 PM  

    • I think it sounds good. I'm a little dissappointed we dropped our tennis teams; they were so good! I like the idea that the University will be more "campus focused."

      By Anonymous Stephen Richer, at 10:42 PM  

    • Dr. Brady,

      I resent the sentiment that "there will be little impact at all" for current students. There will be a huge impact for Newcomb students. We will no longer have our own dean who lives on campus and invites us into her home for numerous events. We will no longer have our own office of student programs which provides a home for many of the activities to which we are most committed. We won't have the small, tight-knit staff to support us.

      Tulane marketed Newcomb as a small women's liberal arts school inside of a major research university. A lot of women benefitted greatly from that structure. In a larger university which could at times seem overwhelming and a bit anonymous, Newcomb College gave women an identity and a home. Many of my friends were heartbroken at the announcement yesterday and spent a better part of their afternoons in tears and trying to figure out what we can do to preserve our institution.

      Yes, there will be an effort to preserve Newcomb's traditions and legacy, but the great loss of the first women's college within a larger university needs to be acknowledged. The vision of Josephine Louise Newcomb needs to be honored. And we can't let this pass like it's just a restructuring of Tulane University because it is the dismantling of Newcomb College, which is its own prestigious institution.


      Jenni Daniel
      Newcomb '06

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:34 AM  

    • Dear Jenni,

      Thank you. You are correct, my comments sound insensitive and were not directed to the impact the removal of Newcomb College will have on her students. I was referring specifically to the academic impact upon our Honors students, most of whom are not engineering students. I will make a change in my post to reflect that.

      Your present very real concerns that I, and many in the administration and faculty, share. There have been Newcomb alumnae as part of this planning process from Day One and there is much of the uniqueness of Newcomb College, that I often promoted to prospective students, that we will have to work very hard to preserve. And we will. You have a right to have a voice in the process, as I am sure you will.

      Others, in emails to me, have expressed concerns about research about and for women are understandable but I was assured yesterday that in fact it was one of the areas that will be emphasized rather than diminished. As you have said, the vision of Josephine Louise Newcomb needs to be honored, but more than that it needs to continue to be fulfilled and I am convinced that we can do that in the model.



      By Blogger Cb, at 7:09 AM  

    • I agree with Jenni's words, which are far more eloquent than my highly distraught brain can produce right now. When she said that her friends were heartbroken, she wasn't kidding. I spent all day yesterday crying (and no, I am not exaggerating). Newcomb is too important to its students for the administration to unilaterally decide to chuck out. No one had input on this decision. The deans were not even allowed in on the planning meetings.

      With that, I did a quick calculation. Out of the 19 Tulane undergraduates who have won prestigious national fellowships since 2000, TEN are Newcomb women. Last year, a full 75% were Newcomb women. This is no coincidence. Newcomb women succeed because of the unparalleled support and opportunities afforded to us by our college. I know I would be going nowhere fast today were it not for Newcomb College. Not only has Newcomb funded my research for three semesters and provided money for me to present my work at a large national conference, but it has also given me the strength and the confidence to achieve my goals. Newcomb makes women into leaders. And yes, it was almost certainly unfair that Newcomb students had far, far more than anyone in the rest of the university got. However, taking everything away from us is not the answer. If I thought that this plan would ensure that all Tulane University students received the level of support and opportunities granted to Newcomb students, I would maybe be a little more okay with it. Of course, this is not the case.

      The administration's blatant disregard for the students and university history is appalling.

      Erin M. Bowers
      Newcomb College '06

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:18 AM  

    • What do they mean when they say that students can continue in engineering if they can "finish the degree requirements by May 2007?" What about the Music Technology major? That has most of the same requirements as electrical/computer engineering.

      I'm a transfer student, but I'm still not sure that I could finish my degree in just four semesters. Can I stay until spring '07 or do I have to leave now?

      Will I have to transfer again after all I've gone through to get to Tulane in the first place?

      Laura Christensen

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:28 AM  

    • Laura - The Music Tech major continues. A listing of all Majors and their School can be found here: http://renewal.tulane.edu/students_undergraduate_majors.html

      By Blogger Cb, at 7:57 AM  

    • Sorry Laura, my reply was a bit quick earlier. I also wanted to reassure you that, if Music Tech is your major, you do NOT need to leave. That major will continue at Tulane.

      By Blogger Cb, at 8:18 AM  

    • Dear Erin and All,

      I want to reassure you concerning the research grants and support of Tulane's undergraduate women. This WILL continue! JL Newcomb's endowment will continue to be used to support the women of Tulane and specifically to fund research by and for women.

      There are many details to be worked out but that is what the task force will be doing. This task force will be made up of alumnae, faculty, and current students (the same is true for Tulane College) and will consider all of these concerns. I strongly encourage you to be a part of this process!

      Finally, the material on the TU website is perhaps not as clear as it should be but this was not a hasty decision made without input from Newcomb alumnae. There are almunae on the board, who voted unanimously for these changes, and the advising panel that helped to craft the proposal. But again, this is not the end of JL Newcomb's legacy, it is a new chapter and you have every right and opportunity to be a part of it.

      By Blogger Cb, at 8:24 AM  

    • I do not feel the need to comment to the same effect as Jenni and Erin have so eloquently put the Newcomb issue. However, I do have to point out a few other aspects of Cowen's announcement that seem particularly devious to me.

      First of all, there has been, to mine or to anybody I have spoken to's knowledge, no hint about the magnitude of the scaling back that was announced yesterday. Hundreds of students in engineering will be affected by this decision, and while they may not be part of the honors program, I know that they work harder than most students do, and have a very tight-knit prestigious community. The Electrical Engineering Department just got its national accrediation, I believe, last year, and for that to just be thrown away is disgusting. Furthermore, many of the engineering students in the classes of 2008 and 2009 do not have the money to pay for additional years of school at other universities, or to match the scholarships that Tulane was going to give them, as there will be discrepancies in credit transfers. These students should not have to change what they want to study because of this.

      It also disturbs me that the business school suffered no significant cutbacks. There have been rumblings about the blatant favoritism of the university of the business school over the liberal arts and sciences, but this is just beyond the pale. In the same vein, the women's swimming and diving team, which costs significantly less to run than the football team and has more successes to its name, is being cut, whereas the football team is staying. Attendance at football games is lackluster, and their students are statistically not as of high a caliber as either the women's swimming and diving team or the school of engineering.

      Lastly, I find it particularly heinous of Scott Cowen to announce these radical changes after universities around the country have refused transfers to students from Tulane out of respect for our institution's student body integrity. Many students are now left without options. Furthermore, to announce them at a time when students at other universities are taking final examinations is detrimental to our success. I know that I personally cannot focus as well as I could have if this hadn't been announced. And to announce these faculty layoffs before Christmas is also in poor form.

      I would like to hear more on this subject from the actual administration, and I'd like the media to focus on what is actually happening to the students, rather than providing an inspiriational pep rally for Scott Cowen and his "Campaign for Promise and Distinction."

      Shylie Armon
      Class of 2006

      By Anonymous Shylie, at 9:17 AM  

    • To say that women's swimming and diving is more important than football simply based on their records in the past few years is absurd. Football draws national attention to Tulane, Swimming and Diving does not. Many people were probably introduced to Tulane University for the first time because of Tulane's appearance in the 98 Liberty Bowl and the 2 appearances in the Hawaii Bowl in the following years. Also, many alumni who give money to the athletic program continue to give because of the football team. One, football is vastly more popular and also because they enjoy the prominence which football gives to the University. It is also crucial to remember that Conference USA no longer has any schools that do not have a football team. If we were to get rid of ours, we would probably have to drop down to a conference with UL Lafayette and similar schools. This would be devastating for Tulane sports across the board.
      Lastly, the above author spoke of the lackluster attendance at football games. While I agree with this, I think it is safe to say that Swimming and Diving would faint if they ever had the attendance a football game had.

      My question is why did we keep women's track and field? As the previous writer noted, we have had growing success in swimming and diving, success we have not had in track and field. I can't imagine the costs of these two sports being much different... I would like to hear the explanation behind this.

      Concerning some of the other comments made above: it is a harsh reality that Tulane does not have infinite money. This prompted the cutting of many graduate programs and also some of the engineering majors. These were not cut because President Cowen dislikes these programs. By this same token, the business school and law school did not suffer cuts, not because they are unduly favored, but because they are profitable.

      As to the Newcomb women above. I am sorry if you feel you are losing your community. I never felt the same closeness or togetherness in Tulane College, so I was suprised when I read how much you felt you are losing. I hope the new system can preserve much of the community feeling of Newcomb College.

      Roll Wave!

      Stephen Richer

      By Anonymous Stephen Richer, at 1:17 PM  

    • The school of engineering had two alumni donate $60 million to the school approximately one and a half years ago. That's not profitable?

      By Anonymous shylie, at 3:43 PM  

    • It makes me mad when Scott Cowen says things like "for the vast majority of you they will either have no impact, or they will make your experience
      at Tulane an even more profound and valuable one." as though the decision weren't adversely affecting 900 engineering students. What I resent even more is the statement that these engineering programs cannot achieve national recognition. I've got your national recognition right here and here. That's just a sample of the national recognition we have received in 2005 alone.

      Maybe they'll never be ranked number 1 in US News or Peterson's, but that's not everything. These are good, strong programs with capable, loyal faculty, some of whom have already pledged very generous donations if the university keeps these programs alive. The students have an average SAT of 1350, and I am frequently surprised by their cleverness and ingenuity. Only hours after hearing the announcement, they had a website up dedicated to saving their school. To try to paint sunshine and flowers on this announcement is an insult to them.

      Gerard Green
      Computer Science Junior

      P. S. The AAUP report on Financial Exigency is worth a read. Although "Reduce or close academic programs or departments" is listed as a cost-cutting option (the last cost-cutting option), for the most part it seems to recommend against the sort of thing Tulane is doing now.

      By Anonymous Gerard Green, at 11:46 AM  

    • An article in USA Today concerning Tulane's recent decisions said that only 3 percent of Tulane students will be directly impacted by the cutting of these select engineering majors. Does this hold with what you stated Gerard?

      By Anonymous Stephen Richer, at 12:59 PM  

    • Hi everyone. Sorry I'm using this as a bit of a place to plug Newcomb's efforts to save our college, but...

      We've set up a website too... www.renewcomb.org

      It's got a forum, contact info, a petition, etc.-- yeah I know, we copied the engineers. Which just goes to show how on top of things they are and what an asset that they are to our university. We've placed a link to their page on ours and we will definitely support them in any way we can.

      -Jenni Daniel

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:28 PM  

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