A very interesting interview with Scott Cowen on NPR (which can be found by clicking here) confirms my prediction that Tulane will become a stronger school both academically as well as physically. In the interview, Scott Cowen shows the broad range of thinking that the university administration has covered. He mentions the plans to build a large self-contained village with housing, schooling, and shops for students and faculty. My guess is that this village be located in Uptown Square, down Broadway closer to the river (where there was virtually no damage). Tulane purchased Uptown Square a few years ago as a potential secondary campus and secondary housing area. It will probably have shuttle service for the 4 minute ride from the center of campus. This is exciting for me, as I had forgot about Uptown Square until I heard this interview. On top of this, local retailers and especially supermarkets have come back online much faster than predicted. According to many reports, the community will be in very good condition by the time we get back. And if not, Tulane will have its own community for faculty, staff and students.
In this interview Scott Cowen also shows how he is thinking outside the box about the potential long-term affects of Hurricane Katrina. Cowen discusses the implications of getting an education in New Orleans. Plans to shrink the student body and RAISE academic standards will heavily increase Tulane’s attractiveness to students and faculty. It will allow Tulane to keep providing us with a quality education and potentially increase the quality. However, the “Tulane experience” will also be enhanced. New programs to focus on the Hurricane and efforts will give students an opportunity to experience a hands-on academic experience. Tulane will be able to provide students with one thing that NO OTHER UNIVERSITY (outside New Orleans) can. They will be able to teach, learn and study the Hurricane and its affects from a primary perspective- in a place that experienced it all.
Sadly, many staff and faculty have lost or will lose their jobs. My assumption is that this is a financial decision. I know Tulane will make up for this by continuing as leaders in the New Orleans economy. When there was a big government fight over the minimum wage a few years back, Tulane raised it on campus and demonstrated to the city their support- resulting in the new law. This is just one example of how Tulane is a leader in the New Orleans community.