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Save Tulane Engineering's Letter to Board of Administrators

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 7:39 pm    Post subject: Save Tulane Engineering's Letter to Board of Administrators Reply with quote

Attatched is the letter we (Justin and Myself) sent to the Board of Administrators via snail mail and via e-mail. The actual letter is below, and the entire pdf document is at the bottom of this post.

Here you are:
William Clarkson
Justin Mikowski
2421 Nashville Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70115
March 7, 2006

RE: Facts to support reinstating School of Engineering

Dear Tulane Board of Administrators,

We know you are busy, so we’ll get right to the point: There are some facts you need to know before the next Tulane Board meeting, so you can better evaluate information presented by university officials.

The rationale President Cowen gave for closing the School of Engineering is erroneous and misleading. On behalf of many Engineering students and faculty, We are writing to recommend that the board reinstate the School of Engineering.

Here are the facts:

Closing the School of Engineering will NOT save Tulane money:
1. The School of Engineering is profitable and supports other schools within the university.
a. When Engineering students take classes outside the school, a portion of their tuition is paid to that school. For example, Engineering freshmen take five classes – only one in engineering. The School of Engineering pays the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for the other four classes. The School of Engineering gets to retain only the funding for 20% of the freshman’s classes. The distributed management and accounting system that was in place before Hurricane Katrina forced the School of Engineering to pay other colleges when engineering students took classes outside of their engineering requirements.
b. Under the new management and accounting structure, the School of Science and Engineering would retain most, if not all, tuition it receives from students because almost all programs are now within the school. In the School of Science and Engineering, each engineering department would be profitable.
c. Each department in the School of Engineering is profitable prior to paying allocation costs. Allocation costs per department are a consequence of the old decentralized management structure. These costs, associated with operating buildings such as Stanley Thomas and Richardson, still remain. But the burden has been shifted to the remaining departments. The net result is a financial loss for Tulane University. The School of Engineering makes a significant profit prior to paying allocation costs and a small deficit afterwards. It is in the financial best interest of Tulane to keep the School of Engineering’s programs.
2. The so-called Renewal Plan only saves 1 percent of the 2007 budget by cutting the School of Engineering -- making no impact on the duration and magnitude of the current financial situation. It is not in the short-term or long-term interest of Tulane to eliminate the School of Engineering’s core programs.
3. The plan saves virtually no money until 2008 – well after the current crunch is resolved and more students could be recruited. (See Attached Savings Outline)

A strong School of Engineering is essential to a world-class university.
1. Tulane’s School of Engineering is well respected.
a. Tulane students placed fourth in the Department of Defense research program (DARPA Grand Challenge). Even when competing against teams with much larger budgets, timetables, and reputations, Tulane Engineering students, sponsored by Gray Insurance, exhibited the resilience and innovation we have known for decades. Tulane students have stood shoulder to shoulder with the best the United States has to offer and we continue to do so under these extraordinary circumstances.
b. 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering was won by Calvin Mackie, an associate professor in Mechanical Engineering. Tulane and Mackie are part of a highly select group that includes only 62 institutions and 78 people.
2. The major engineering firms in the greater New Orleans area hire a third of their employees directly from Tulane University Engineering Graduates. If the current incarnation of the Renewal Plan continues, these local companies may soon look outside the city to fulfill their need for talented engineers, or they may leave New Orleans entirely. This is not good news for the city of New Orleans and its businesses.
3. Computer Science is a hidden casualty of the cuts in the School of Engineering. Computers are the future. Tulane will not offer even a single course in Computer Science if the so-called Renewal Plan is enacted. Of the top 60 Liberal Arts Schools in the United States, 84% offer at least a minor in Computer Science. Why doesn’t Tulane? (See Attachment)
4. Boston University, Rice University, Vanderbilt, Washington University and all schools with which Tulane directly competes have strong engineering programs.

The separation of faculty resulting from the Renewal Plan was done in a manner that is inconsistent with the AAUP Guidelines (See attached letters). The administration’s handling of the Renewal Plan has lost the trust and respect of many faculty, students and alumni, including our own.
Tulane has come back in a way that was almost unthinkable 6 months ago. We hope you will reinstate our trust in your leadership by reinstating the eliminated engineering programs.
We leave you with Tulane’s motto: Non Sibi Sed Suis, “Not for one’s self, but for one’s own.” We know you will do what is best for our Tulane family: Reinstate the Eliminated Engineering Programs.


William Clarkson Justin Mikowski
Tulane University Tulane University
Computer Engineering, 2007 Computer Engineering, 2007
Co-Founder, Save Tulane Engineering Co-Founder, Save Tulane Engineering


1) Tulane Renewal Plan Savings Outline – CFO Tony Lorino
2) Mechanical Engineering Research Dollars Breakdown - ASEE
3) Computer Science at the top 60 Liberal Arts Schools
4) Analysis of AAUP Letter Exchange
5) Letter from AAUP to President Cowen
6) Response to AAUP from President Cowen
7) Renewal Plan Outline from Renewal.Tulane.Edu This is the entire PDF ~2.1MB and 18 pages long.
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Joined: 10 Dec 2005
Posts: 355
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2006 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So we now have the appeal to the heart (my letter) and the appeal to the brain ('s letter). Let's see what happens. Hopefully, you get real responses like I'm getting and not a stock letter. If they take the time to go through the attachments, then they really do care about Tulane and I'm sure whatever ends up happening will be good for the *long term* survival of Tulane.
Clay Kirby
11th generation New Orleanian
4th generation Tulanian
Mechanical Engineering Class of '06
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done!

Charles Wendling, Jr., M.D. (A&S 1990)
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2006 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You really should have had someone read this letter before you sent it out. It's filled with typos. Yes, you are engineers but at least one of you has to know an English major!
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