Save Tulane Engineering Forum Index Save Tulane Engineering
The Weblog of Tulane Students and Alumni Concerned about Engineering’s Future at Tulane University
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Eliminating Educational Programs is "Expansive"?

Post new topic   Reply to topic    Save Tulane Engineering Forum Index -> Voice YOUR Opinon
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message

Joined: 16 Dec 2005
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 9:06 pm    Post subject: Eliminating Educational Programs is "Expansive"? Reply with quote

Scott Cowen wrote today (12/16/05):

"Tulane decided to take a visionary, focused and expansive approach to reinvention to meet the dual objectives of maintaining our commitment to academic excellence, which has been the university’s focus for 172 years, and resolving our financial challenges."

It may be true that their "visionary" approach is expansive, but apparently that is all a matter of perspective. For eliminating educational programs has never been considered "expansive" in my mind. It is now obvious that all of this is due to a business decision, a decision that was not very well thought out or made with fairness as a goal. Watch, next the board is going to vote on incorporating "Intelligent Design" into the curriculum. It is obvious that our Board is indeed, full of forward thinkers! (In case y'all didn’t catch that - that was sarcasm!)

To be fair to your faculty students and to the future of the University, you and the board should not have decided to take a "visionary" approach to repairing the University after the disaster. They should have decided to take a rebuilding/repairing approach to get Tulane back on their feet in the least possible amount of time and for the cheapest possible amount of money. THEN you should have focused on expanding. We obviously weren't financially qualified to take such a luxurious approach to rebuilding after the disaster.

Thank goodness we kept the Football team going this last season - I'm sure that was cheap - and worth it!!!

All engineering programs are expensive, I can't argue against that, but expensive programs have the most potential to bring more money back to the University. Look at all the wonderful things David Filo has done for the University in the last couple of years (you know, the Yahoo guy). I wonder what he thinks about all of this. (I can't resist... ) All of the yahoo's on Tulane's Board had better start thinking a little harder about the consequences their actions will bring.

In my opinion, you are also thinking more from your wallet than brain. You can't run a university as you would a business because a university does not respond the same way a business does to the same stimulus (or input). It's a completely different beast. Try putting your head into these decisions and think about the long term effects of your decisions.

I believe that I heard the reason or justification used by Scott and the Board in their decision to eliminate the EECS and ME programs was so that they could focus on making the Chemical and Biomedical Programs better. I for one would NEVER consider going to a University that had massive holes in their Engineering department and I know I am not alone. In fact, I started out at Tulane in the BME program and transferred to EE after having discovering that the EE department was going to provide me with a better engineering education than BME.

While keeping only the BME and ChemE programs might look like a feasible plan on paper, this plan has one massive problem. Eventually the students that will enroll in these programs will overwhelmingly be pre-med students. While that doesn't sound bad, it isn't good for engineering and if it’s not already obvious, let me tell you why. Most of the people that I knew in the BME program were there because they thought it would make their applications stand out in the vast pool of med-school applicants. I can safely say that a lot of the BME students I knew were not genuinely interested in engineering. If the University is aiming at producing rich alumni, then keeping the BME and ChemE programs is the way to go for most of the “engineers” that Tulane will produce will become doctors. But if Tulane is truly interested in molding some of the finest minds in America into some of the greatest Engineers in America then eliminating the other Engineering programs is absolutely counter productive. So, Dr. Cowen what are your intentions for the University, rich alum or good engineers?

Maybe our President and the Board don't understand Engineering very well. Imagine having a Physics department without ever discussing Relativity or even Newton? Maybe that's still too technical... How about this, imagine having an American History Major but no classes on the Civil Rights Movement or on the Cold War; A Film Major, with no Hitchcock; Music, without Classical, Romantic or Jazz music? See, it just doesn’t work! Engineering is not comprised of exclusive independent disciplines.

What you are doing is setting up the BME and ChemE programs up for failure! They can't exist without the others. They will thrive for a while but soon after they will starve b/c soon you will only have Pre-Med students enrolling in these programs and engineering will cease to exist at Tulane. Have you even looked at the growing Engineering field lately? For example in the field of Neuroscience, do you know that research labs across America that are searching for cures to blindness and deafness are starving for Electrical Engineers? And honestly, what BME devices don't involve computers to some extent? Who’s going to design, build and program these computer-aided devices? And I’ll tell you one more thing, if I ever need a prosthetic limb implanted in my body I’d never consider one that wasn’t partially designed by a Mechanical Engineer. You can’t eliminate some without eliminating them all.

I believe Scott Cowen is looking too short term. We all know that the disaster brought on by Katrina was absolutely horrific and rebuilding will be expensive and time consuming, but think before you leap. It's a big boat you are steering so you had better think about where you want to go before you turn the ship! The consequences of your actions will have great consequences in the long term.

Can you imagine how much it would cost the University to reinstate the EECS and ME departments (eventually it will want to b/c ultimately this decision affects the ChemE and BME departments negatively as well)? Cowen and the Board are going to regret this decision for a very, very long time. And I don't mean regret like, "Shucks that was unfortunate" I mean they are going to realize that this decision single handedly ruined an incredible educational institution by permanently stunting its own growth in an attempt at “resolving our financial challenges”. But like you said Scott, you are trying to meet “dual objectives”, so why the hell are you playing your two objectives against each other? This decision does not play in favor to both of your objectives. It angers me that you even wrote that. Admit it this is purely a financial decision.

Why is it that other Universities affected by the Hurricanes have accepted that their growth will be stunted and are doing all they can to minimize the fore coming financial troubles while Tulane not only acknowledges the approaching financial troubles but is also proposing to permanently stunt its growth by drastically cutting educational programs? This seems to be a very "Civil War" method of healing. Tulane's been shot in the calf, therefore we better amputate the entire leg.

Progress is not made by taking steps backwards. This is a poor decision and I am absolutely shocked that this asinine idea is even being considered as a solution to the schools financial problems. Furthermore, I’m appalled that the President of the University is even supporting this idea. I believe a University President’s first and foremost responsibility should be to promote the expansion of his institute’s educational capacity – not to stunt it.

As an Electrical Engineering alumnus of Tulane University and as a senior level engineer at a respectable company I strongly disagree with this decision and implore you to reconsider.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Scott Kensell

Joined: 11 Dec 2005
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 9:56 pm    Post subject: well written Reply with quote

well written man.... and welcome to the forums... this is how alot of people's first posts look, since we're all so frustrated and outraged.... my first post was huge, like 2 pages... a genuine prize winning essay...
but this...
this is worthy of the Pulitzer.

Keep posting, because my life right now needs people like you to make a difference in this campaign... I am a mere Freshman, eagerly awaiting the moment when our efforts either succeed or surrender... for this is my last hope...
Scott Kensell
Freshman EE major
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address

Joined: 10 Dec 2005
Posts: 41

PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 11:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Eliminating Educational Programs is "Expansive" Reply with quote

I think the most obvious explination for Cowen's behavior is that he doesnt have the same dictionary as the rest of us. Perhaps we should buy him one...

On a more serious note, that was a very well written post. Its great having your support.
-Elizabeth Threlkeld
Computer Engineering '06
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address

Joined: 12 Dec 2005
Posts: 136

PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is now obvious from both the live chat and the message by cowen that the idea to cut ENGR was one that he had wanted to accomplish for a long time. My friend who knows a provost from another University said that the ENGR cuts will not save the school that much money, and the decision seems to be very premeditated. It would be nice if Cowen would stop with all the B.S. and be an honest official. But then again, I know that will be a tough accomplishment.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
Dr. H.

Joined: 10 Dec 2005
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 10:43 am    Post subject: Engineering at Tulane Reply with quote

I suggest you look at the dean's initial letter, either to the faculty or students.

Dr. H.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Site Admin

Joined: 09 Dec 2005
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well said, well said. You have echoed many of the feelings that I have felt over the past week and a half. Cowen told us to 'stand shoulder to shoulder' with our neighbors. He has since slapped us in the face and slumped down. It is the engineers who have stood tall. That speaks volumes.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Save Tulane Engineering Forum Index -> Voice YOUR Opinon All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group