Friday, December 09, 2005


Tulane University is eliminating its undergraduate programs in CS and EE, and laying off about 230 faculty members. I understand that it must have been a really difficult decision, but this quote makes me wonder:
"This is the most significant reinvention of a university in the United States in over a century," declared Scott Cowen, the university's president.
Reinvention? I thought that was a positive word.

Anyone who has been involved in recruiting at academic/research institutions will appreciate the pain of having, at some point, to find 230 highly-talented academics and convince them to join an institution.

Aren't there other solutions? Creative ones? It seems reasonable to believe that much of Tulane's budget comes from tuition and alumni donations, and I don't understand why that should suddenly vanish once the school is back in business. And students are inherently a floating population -- I don't know what fraction of Tulane's student body is heavily rooted to New Orleans.

Somehow this drastic step seems just wrong. In times of tragedy, art and science and craft and philosophy need to go on, and in fact, go on more vigorously.


Anonymous said...

It seems that the cuts are for all of engineering except for the two departments that align with the medical school.

The fact that Civil Engineering is being eliminated is ironic.

cc said...

I went to Tulane, and my sister fled New Orleans (now her family has relocated to Memphis). I too would have thought that the Engineering School would have done better through all of this, but the city and Tulane are in the midst of a tremendous amount of uncertainty. As a private institution with no government funding, Tulane is at significant risk.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about "no government funding" CC.. What about NSF funding?