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ih8scottcowen



Joined: 09 Jan 2006
Posts: 36
Location: New Orleans, LA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2006 11:32 am    Post subject: Tulane Engineering Saved? Reply with quote

According to the Hullabaloo, Deal Altiero has begun making plans to bring back Computer Science and other Engineering programs to the new Science & Engineering School.

To me, this sounds like a victory. Long live Tulane Engineering!!!
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wckirby



Joined: 10 Dec 2005
Posts: 355
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2006 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://media.www.thehullabaloo.com/media/storage/paper958/news/2006/10/20/News/New-Engineering.Programs-2380813.shtml?sourcedomain=www.thehullabaloo.com&MIIHost=media.collegepublisher.com

There is no specific talk about bringing back the engineering programs cut (except for Computer Science). From the article, the emphasis is on programs 'that would mesh well with the pure sciences.'

No self respecting university can do without a computer science program. That's clear. What I don't like is he specifically put down Civil Engineering:

"We're looking at the possibility of adding programs that are engineering-oriented," Altiero said. "Materials science and engineering, computer science and something related to environmental or geological engineering have all been discussed. Whatever we ultimately come up with will have to work academically and financially. Any new engineering programs will have to be strongly tied to the sciences."

"We asked, 'what are the disciplines of the future?" Altiero said.

"I think the goal of the new science and engineering school is to bring back the engineering programs that will strengthen the science and engineering majors currently offered," he said. "Adding computer science would have a large effect on the math, biology and engineering departments, but civil engineering wouldn't have that far-reaching type of effect."
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TheCzar35



Joined: 11 Jan 2006
Posts: 53
Location: New Orleans, La

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:28 am    Post subject: Alterio is Out of Touch Reply with quote

Dean Alterio said in that Hullabaloo article. "We are involving a lot of advisers from industry, government and academia in our planning. We want to hear multiple views on what the disciplines of the future are. At the end of the day, these programs must also be appealing to students." Well what about one of the biggest local industrial stakeholders, Entergy? Entergy sunk a lot of money into developing and upgrading "Power Engineering" at Tulane. Dr. Parviz Rastgoufard gets very high marks from Wayne Leonard (Entergy CEO) and other top management there. How do I know this, I work for Entergy. Alterio is not listening to industry or even the government. What about the government, Tulane's Civil Engineering helped develop the Southern Command of the US Army Corps of Engineers after the 1927 flood. Where is the academic engineering oversight and independent review of the Corps coming from now? Cal State Berkley and not a local engineering school like Tulane with a vested interest in protecting NOLA. No, Alterio is in left field, he is trying to create a "theoretical engineering science" curriculum. We need to speak up now and show him what industry and government really needs. I am an EE with masters in ME, and I take great offense as to how Dr. Alterio framed the Civil Engineering as if it is a non-relevant and out of date field. If anyone is not relevant it is Alterio, but my hope is now that something is moving off of top dead center maybe we can influence him. But this will take strong input from the Engineering Advisory Boards and other outside alumni organization that are connected to industry and government.

Last edited by TheCzar35 on Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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ih8scottcowen



Joined: 09 Jan 2006
Posts: 36
Location: New Orleans, LA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

right, well civil engineering may not be the 1st to come back, but the road sure looks like it's being paved for civil engineering to return. Altiero is probably favoring Computer Science because of Yahoo's donation, but he does bring up a valid point: CS may initially mesh with more programs than Civil Engineering could.

I know very little about Civil Engineering (sorry), so I asked google:

includes the planning, designing, construction, and maintenance of structures and altering geography to suit human needs. Some of the numerous subdivisions are transportation (eg, railroad facilities and highways); hydraulics (eg, river control, irrigation, swamp draining, water supply, and sewage disposal); and structures (eg, buildings, bridges, and tunnels).

The "something related to environmental or geological engineering" that Altiero speaks of seems to go hand in hand with Civil Engineering, just by interpreting the above definition. So, Civil Engineering may just be a 2nd priority program to return.

Perhaps Altiero is waiting (much like the rest of southeast Louisiana) on the Army Corps of Engineers to finish their "emergency work" on protecting the city, before he initates any sort of Tulane programs that would study their projects and behaviors. The timing may be better in a year or two. A school like Tulane located in a city like New Orleans will always have a Civil Engineering program.

Just my $.02...take it or leave it.
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TheCzar35



Joined: 11 Jan 2006
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Location: New Orleans, La

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:06 am    Post subject: Why wait, get into the GAME Reply with quote

ih8scottcowen said,
"Perhaps Altiero is waiting (much like the rest of southeast Louisiana) on the Army Corps of Engineers to finish their "emergency work" on protecting the city, before he initates any sort of Tulane programs that would study their projects and behaviors. The timing may be better in a year or two. A school like Tulane located in a city like New Orleans will always have a Civil Engineering program."


Why wait for the Corps, why didn't Alterio and Cowen volunteer the Engineering School (with CE as the lead) to be a review platform for the recovery of NOLA and restoration of the levees. Cowen and Alterio put Tulane on the sidelines. By jumping into the game early Tulane could have gotten national recognition and maybe a lot of federal money.
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lob



Joined: 10 Dec 2005
Posts: 17
Location: New Orleans, LA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The statements in the Hullabaloo implied that the Tulane's palette of engineering departments was out of sync with the world of higher education.

That might be credible if such a trend was discernable at institutions such as MIT, Stanford, CMU, Purdue, and so forth. Major institutions have added specialized departments (nuclear, textile, aeronautics), but none have seen fit to eliminate their core departments. For example, schools offering Materials Science almost always have Mechanical Engineering.

Esoteric new disciplines with "engineering" ("Hey, when I make the bed, I"m a 'domestic engineer!") in the title may appeal to some prospective students, but I imagine Tulane will lose the students who seek a specific degree with direct counterparts at competing institutions. We engineers are a practical lot; if we had wanted a liberal arts degree with a science major, we probably would not have applied to the School of Engineering. Professional engineers must come from an accredited institution. THe Hullabaloo makes no mention of ABET. The President's office may not care about that, but prospective students and employers do.

The "advisers from industry, government and academia" did not seem to have any input into the decision last fall. The critical financial issues cited back then are now absent, much like those "weapons of mass destruction" cited by another administration. Could this have been a plan hatched well before Katrina, whose aftermath forced the Board to accede to a "war plan"? Might it be more accurate to say that "new engineering programs will have to be strongly tied" to Tulane's existing fiefdom of science *departments*", rather than sciences in general?

For 25 years, I have been laboring under the assumption that fluid mechanics and field theory were, indeed, sciences.

While Tulane mulls over its boutique of potential new engineering majors, the surrounding region continues to endure what has been called "the greatest engineering failure in American history". The root cause has been directly traced to faulty civil engineering. The recovery offers a rare opportunity to rebuild a regional infrastructure from the ground up, using mechanical, electrical, and civil engineers hired into that effort.

Tulane has chosen to miss out having its own populate this historic recovery team.
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TheCzar35



Joined: 11 Jan 2006
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Location: New Orleans, La

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 5:03 pm    Post subject: You are SO Right Reply with quote

Stuart,
Please copy and paste this posting and post it on the Hullabaloo web site. It is easy to register on their site and to post comments on articles. Your comments are right on.
TheCzar35
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wckirby



Joined: 10 Dec 2005
Posts: 355
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've talked to a few people I know who attended the meeting. There's one thing that I thought was especially unusual: a lot of the talk was about Petroleum Engineering. It's not in the Hullabaloo article, though.

Petroleum Engineering is a very application-oriented field. Most schools stopped offering it in the late 90's when the oil industry crashed. At the time, most firms prefered to hire mechanical engineers who could get a little extra training in whatever they needed, but could be transfered to other projects. This was even the case with Big Oil (Shell, Exxon-Mobil, etc.).

Saying that you want to add 'engineering majors that mesh well with the pure sciences' and then saying you want to add Petroleum Engineering is like saying you want to buy a fuel-efficient vehicle and then going out and buying a Hummer.

That being said, I think it would be an interesting addition. I have yet to see anything to convince me this country's thirst for oil will be quenched within my lifetime.
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wckirby



Joined: 10 Dec 2005
Posts: 355
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

Tulane has chosen to miss out having its own populate this historic recovery team.


Actually, there are a few of us down here making a diffence. For example, my company took in 3 graduates from the May 2006 engineering class (1 Civil, 2 Mechanicals). One is working on the pumping stations, I'm working on a wetlands restoration project, and the last one is doing something (?) useful.
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Clay Kirby
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lob



Joined: 10 Dec 2005
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Location: New Orleans, LA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In our current "stay the course" culture, acknowledgment of error has become anathema.

The administration eliminated computer science, then landed a supercomputer, and now seem to have realized there needs to be formal program to support it. As for the "paradigm shift", that's been going on since the Von Neumann and UNIVAC days.

Civil Engineering was eliminated, but less than a year later they're making noises about creating "something related to environmental or geological engineering"--the latter being most commonly defined as a combination of geology and (you guessed it) civil engineering.

Tulane did have a Petroleum engineering graduate degree program in the late 70's through mid-80's (and possibly longer). It was the most application specific degree offered. To now be discussing its return while dismissing the broader, more basic programs seems absurd.

Whatever budgetary or internal political mechanations precipitated last fall's "renewal plan", the fact remains that talented applicants who might have looked at coming to Tulane to study in one of the eliminated departments must now go elsewhere. Those departments were in an ideal position to attract one of today's high school kids who might have developed a novel flood control system or helped figure out how to restore a billion-dollar electrical grid. Those talents will come to New Orleans, but not via Tulane.

In the administration's own words, it will take "three to five years" to reestablish what they already had.

Apologies to those who already have their Tulane Engineering degree and who *are* making a difference. When I said "Tulane has chosen to miss out [on]...", I was referring to what will be missing in the future: quite simply, more of us.
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ih8scottcowen



Joined: 09 Jan 2006
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Location: New Orleans, LA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tulane screwed up royally by scrapping Engineering yes. But maybe what they can do is come in with a better program, better educators, and turn out better professionals. That is my hope.

I think we all agree on the GIGANTIC BLUNDER made, and I'm not talking about the world's greatest engineering failure.

Christ, to think we all could have taken part in the SOLUTION to the world's greatest blunder. It makes my blood boil and me want to wring a certain person's neck. I'm even more pissed at myself for attending one of those meetings, not standing up and telling that person he was the biggest piece of garbage in the world for selling my school & degree short.
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ggreen



Joined: 11 Dec 2005
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: tying Computer Science to the Math Dept. is a bad idea. And I'm majoring in both. Paradigm shift my ass. If anything, I'd like to see the Computer Science department go the other way, closer to Software Engineering. The fact that Computer Science was lumped with engineering was one of the things that attracted me to Tulane.

Lumping it with math is a step backwards, in my opinion. While engineers should be versed in theory, making the engineering more theoretical makes the engineers less hirable (expect possibly in academia). That goes for computer science, too. Companies hire people to write programs, not prove things about programs with lambda calculus.

I just did google search for "eecs" (electrical engineering and computer science). Here are the top few results: UC Berkeley, MIT, Michigan, Harvard, Vanderbilt.

I rest my case.
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Dr. Ash



Joined: 12 Dec 2005
Posts: 45
Location: New F'n Orleans

PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone honestly think that any prospective faculty resembling "the best and brightest" would come here now...in any discipline?
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rwaldron



Joined: 16 Dec 2005
Posts: 11
Location: Baton Rouge (for now), LA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm working on my Masters in Civil Engineering (water resources) up here at LSU right now, and half (geotech and water resources) of Civil is very related to geology/environmental engineering and science. Heck, I wish there were a couple more classes offered in that realm. I was supposed to take a River morphology/Sediment transport class next semester, but it waasn't in our dept.'s budget to teach. It was deemed that near shore hydrodynamics was important.

But anyway, back to the topic. sure transportation and structures wll be cut out, but what Louisiana truely needs right now aren't shopping malls and bigger intersections. Sure those things are important, but if we can't keep the area dry, what use are those. I support a Geological Engineering program so long as it is pertinant (based on geotechnical and hydraulic engineering)
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