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Collegian THE

N E W C O M B -T U L A N E C O L L E G E


A Fond Farewell

Th is will be my last Collegian letter as the dean of Newcomb-Tulane College. After 28 years at Tulane University and 12 as dean, I am leaving to take on the role of provost at Saint Xavier University in Chicago. Th is is a bittersweet moment as I look back on so many fond memories, while looking ahead with excitement to new challenges. I will not completely lose my Tulane connections: the president of Saint Xavier, Laurie Joyner, did her doctoral work in the sociology department here at Tulane. In looking back at my time at Tulane I see two distinct parts, separated by the cataclysmic events of August 29, 2005. I started at Tulane in 1990 as an assistant professor in the physics department, and spent my first ten years as a faculty member active in teaching, research, and service. The work of my research group, with active involvement of postdoctoral fellows, undergraduate and graduate students, and wonderful coworkers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, led to an understanding of how electrons travel though thin magnetic layered structures in ways that are both unexpected and useful. Modern-day high density disk drives take advantage of these quantum phenomena to achieve large storage capacities. Soon after Scott Cowen became president I had the opportunity to serve as an associate provost. I found great satisfaction in that work and in thinking about issues and challenges at the university level. One of the issues we worried about– and still do– was our graduation and retention rates. These impact Tulane’s finances as well as our national rankings. One initiative developed to address this was a new fi rst year seminar class, the Tulane Interdisciplinary Experience Seminar (TIDES), which is now an integral part of the freshman year. In August 2005, I was on campus helping students move in when it became clear that Hurricane Katrina would likely strike New Orleans. Like our new students, we evacuated the city, and my family and I joined Tulane’s administration in Houston, Texas. While the challenges of the recovery often seemed daunting, the friendships, community and camaraderie I found under Scott Cowen’s leadership are something I will never forget. The return to campus in late fall and the reopening of Tulane that following spring are some of the most memorable and emotional moments of my time at Tulane. Hard decisions were made in the aftermath of the storm, and one of those decisions resulted in the creation of a single undergraduate college. I have had the honor and privilege to serve as its founding dean for the last twelve years. Our successes on every front are remarkable. These successes are not mine, but the direct result of the efforts of dedicated faculty and staff within the college and university. As I look at the incoming class of 2022 with its record number of matriculating students and the highest academic profi le of any incoming fi rst year class at Tulane, I remember back to those days in Houston when the future of Tulane was not certain. The hard work of so many at the university has laid the groundwork for this success. I feel confident in handing the reins to interim dean Kelly Grant, Professor of Practice in the A. B. Freeman School of Business and Associate Dean of Retention and Strategic Initiatives in NewcombTulane College, who will lead the college during the national search for my permanent replacement. As associate dean, she has developed several new data-driven initiatives that are already having a positive impact on student retention. Dean Grant inherits a remarkable staff and dedicated faculty who work tirelessly in support of undergraduate education. I bid a fond farewell to a place I love, and to the alumni, parents, students, faculty, administrators and staff that I have formed deep friendships with over the last 28 years. Roll Wave,

James M. MacLaren, Ph.D. 2

N E W C O M B -T U L A N E COLLEGE DEAN’S A DV I S O RY C O U N C I L J. Yasmin Alexander, M.D. Dr. Michael L. Alexander Suzanne Harris Alexander (NC ’83) Randall L. Broz (TC ’99) A. J. Cass, III (A&S ’88) Brodie L. Cobb (A&S ’84) Edana Heller Desatnick (NC ’83) Douglas R. Ellin (A&S ’90) Aaron Feldman (B ’02) Gregory Giangrande Jeffrey R. Godsick (A&S ’83) Russell L. Grossman (A&S ’91) Brendan V. Hayes (TC ’99) B. Daniel Hazel (A&S ’96) Nathan J. Hole (TC ’01) Scott G. Intagliata (A&S ’83) Cadambi Janardhan Shashi Janardhan Lisa Kalin Joseph S. Kaplan Jody Kasten Scott A. Katzmann (A&S ’77) Daniel Aaron Kaufman (TC ’99) Gerald F. Keefe (A&S ’93) Robert Kitchenoff Roberta Lucker Kitchenoff Stuart R. Klabin (A&S ’53) Andrew M. Klein (A&S ’91) Lucy L. Klingenstein Jini Koh (NC ’01) Mariam Salari Korangy (NC ’96) Drew Kugler Steven D. Kushnick, M.D. (A&S ’83, M *87) Chad R. Ludwig (TC ’98) Molly Wiemann Ludwig (NC ’98) Howard J. Margolis (B ’87) Steven R. Moffitt (TC ’99) Ali Nabavi (TC ’99) Amy Rudnick Pasquariello (NC ’98) Brian F. Pence (TC ’99) Jeremy S. Perelman (TC ’00) Lisa Ehrlich Rapkin Nancy Goldstein Rebold (NC ’88) Michelle Rosenbaum John T. Rossi (G *78) Donald E. Rothman (A&S ’79) Dawn Zimmerman Saunders (B ’92) Joseph Schwartz, D.D.S. Lori Rhodes Seigal (NC ’91) Scott A. Seigal (A&S ’89) Lawrence S. Sibley (A&S ’80) Karen Sisselman Steven Sisselman J. Michael Smith Rebecca K. Smith Karen Roskind Sobel (NC ’89) Jack Sussman Richard S. Thal (B ’80) David A. Titlebaum (A&S ’87) Jeffrey L. Turner (A&S ’77) Alan W. Weakland Donna Weakland Elyse Luray Weshler (NC ’89) Kate Yulman Williamson (NC ’05) William Z. Wyatt (TC ’06) John A. Zotos



5 Only the Audacious

Newcomb-Tulane College embodies the four campaign priorities

6 Hidden History

Jacob Morrow-Spitzer ’18 delves deep into southern Jewish history

9 The Power of Storytelling

Praveena Fernes ’18 combines research and activism

10 Picking Up the Baton Dylan Koester ’18 charts a course in conducting

13 A Transformative Teacher Professor Geoff Dancy develops critical thinkers

14 Opportunity and Diversity

17 Celebrating Academic Achievement

Sophomore Declaration Celebration creates a new tradition

18 Leading the Charge Dean’s Advisory Council commits to improving the undergraduate experience

The Center for Academic Equity opens doors


Trina J. Beck, Paula Burch-Celentano, Lisa Chmiola, Allison Cruz, Cheryl Gerber, Charissa Lau, Mary-Elizabeth Lough, Amy Morvant, Ryan Rivet, Mary Sparacello, Jake Ward, Melissa A. Weber PUBLICATIONS COORDINATORS Anthony Armstrong, Alicia Hawkes TULANE.EDU/COLLEGE






The four pillars of Tulane’s Only the Audacious capital campaign are already tightly woven into the fabric of Newcomb-Tulane College. The campaign is ensuring that the college will build on its existing strengths to become a model for undergraduate education in each of these areas. The 2018 Collegian explores some of the current NTC initiatives that connect to these themes, illustrating the promise and potential that are already being realized thanks to generous donors. 




Exploring the Hidden Corners of History JACOB MORROW-SPITZER ’18 first decided that he wanted to major in history while he was in high school. But it was a “Disasters in History” course that he took as a firstyear student at Tulane that made him delve into his major choice even more enthusiastically.

His love of history and Jewish Studies, his second major, has resulted in his senior honors thesis, The Appointee, the Democrat, and the Redeemer: Three Jewish Mayors in Post-Civil War Louisiana and Mississippi and Their Roles in the Shifting Politics of Reconstruction. In it, Morrow-Spitzer examines post-Civil War municipal politics from the 1870s through the early 1880s. Specifically, he case-studied Jewish communities and the political careers of Jewish mayors in Alexandria, Louisiana; Shreveport, Louisiana; and Natchez, Mississippi. “In the twenty-five years after Reconstruction, at least thirty Jews– many of whom had emigrated from Germany and France before the war– served as mayors of towns and cities across the former Confederate states. Astonishingly, at least thirteen Jewish mayors governed towns in Louisiana and Mississippi alone, states which likely had a Jewish population of less than two percent in the postbellum years,” says Morrow-Spitzer. “My senior honors thesis aims to study the reasoning behind this unlikely political trend, and reveal that municipal Reconstruction and power dynamics can better be understood by studying a non-black minority group in the racially turbulent and economically distressed era.” During his senior year, Morrow-Spitzer received a Liberal Arts Research Award, which allowed him to perform archival research in Jackson, Mississippi. “I spent a week in the capital city, splitting my time between the public Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Institute of Southern Jewish Life,” he says. “I was also able to meet with historians and experts who study in similar fields, as well as visit the recently opened and nationally acclaimed Civil Rights Museum.” The grant funds also covered a subscription to a historical newspaper database, which he used to recreate the previously unstudied Reconstruction-era elections. 6

Morrow-Spitzer’s work inspired him to dig deeper, but he found there was scant previous research on municipalities during Reconstruction. “For my project, I was able to begin work on an entirely new realm of southern Jewish history. No historian has seriously delved into the topic to get at the core reason for the generally surprising (at least for the modern reader) Jewish municipal representation in a region known for its outward hostilities toward minority populations,” he says. “While there is still much work to be done on the topic, I was able to contribute important themes including religious transformations, race and identity, community/Jewish networks, and economic changes as factors to this unexplored topic. More broadly, however, learning that Jews were deeply involved in government on both sides of the political spectrum during Reconstruction was a fascinating discovery and one that I am excited to continue to study in the future.” His senior honors thesis work earned him three NewcombTulane College Senior Awards, including the Dr. Bernard Kaufman Essay Contest Award; the Montgomery History Award; and the S. Walter Stern 1905 Memorial Medal from the political science department, who noted that “it is rare for a history major to win . . . but Jacob earned it.” He has accepted an offer to work the summer after graduation at the Institute of Southern Jewish Life, where he conducted his research. Additionally, he plans to apply to graduate schools to earn a Ph.D. in history. He is thankful to Newcomb-Tulane College for the support he received through the Liberal Arts Research Award program. “Allowing me to engage in archival research truly enhanced my desire to continue to perform historical research after college,” he says. 


PIONEERING RESEARCH at Tulane is not only done by our world-class faculty—it’s often done by our students. With the support of faculty mentors, undergraduates in Newcomb-Tulane College are honing their scholarly skills in fields ranging from music to architecture, from finance to public health, and from biomedical engineering to history.


Connecting Research and Activism Through Storytelling PRAVEENA FERNES ’18 is a proud public health major whose areas of interest include chronic disease prevention, environmental health and human rights, and gender-based violence prevention. She’s also the recipient of various Tulane honors, including two senior awards from the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, the NewcombTulane College Dean's Service Award, membership in the prestigious William Wallace Peery Society, and multiple NTC grants.

Her most recent NTC grant award, made possible by the Sisselman Family Career Services Endowed Fund, allowed her to complete a summer internship at The Rogosin Institute, which serves over 20,000 patients with chronic kidney disease through eight treatment centers throughout New York City. “I served as an integral part of a team tasked with analyzing chronic kidney disease prevention strategies in Brooklyn and Shanghai, with special emphasis on the social determinants through high-quality data collection and analysis,” she says. Part of her work at the institute required her to use her brand of “storytelling as a public health tool,” while “serving disenfranchised populations with diverse cultural backgrounds.” “I spearheaded a storytelling project for dialysis and kidney transplant patients that required me to work across language barriers, and concurrently create a curriculum for middle school health classes,” she explains. “Voices of Kidney Disease is a collection of narratives that illuminates the stories of Rogosin’s dialysis and transplant patients. In their own words, six narrators recount their experiences inside and outside hospital walls— ranging from mental health tribulations to life in East New York, to being an advocate for change and better health. Together, these testimonies illustrate the reality of kidney disease and care.”

Stanford University's Our Voice model and a digital citizen science tool to examine assets and barriers to healthy living in Orleans Parish. While applying for universities as a high school student, Fernes recalled targeting schools that offered an undergraduate public health major. “I declared the first month (as a first-year student), and have not looked back since,” she says. During her career as an NTC student, she has become an advocate of the importance of health promotion outreach and literacy. “As part of my public health upbringing, I understand that to most effectively design an intervention, different components of the communication process must be adapted to best fit the needs of the target population,” she says. “The responsive nature of health communication interventions and rapidly changing technology tools fascinates me, perhaps because they align with my adaptive and dynamic nature as well. Within health communication I have been inspired to research, develop, and evaluate tailored messaging for specific communities via different storytelling platforms: in-person workshops and presentations, photo-journalism reporting for a news source, and through website development.” As a public health scholar, Fernes' work relies on a combination of research and activism. During her senior year, she conducted community-based participatory research in Orleans Parish, using a digital citizen science tool to examine assets and barriers to healthy living. After graduation, she plans to advance her progress as a researcher to serve the community. “I hope to continue finding ways to marry my passion for public health with my training and deep belief in the power of storytelling.”

Fernes’ “belief in the power of storytelling” has grown and been inspired by her research projects at Tulane. As a junior, she researched indigenous injustices and anti-mining grassroots organizations in Thailand. As a senior, she conducted community-based participatory research using




Charting a Course in Conducting As a high school student in Portland, Oregon, DYLAN KOESTER ’18 was passionate about politics. When he learned that famed political strategist James Carville was on the faculty at Tulane, Koester decided Tulane was his top choice school. He enrolled planning to major in political science, but it wasn’t long before another passion took priority over politics: music.

Koester quickly made his mark as a trumpet player, joining the Tulane orchestra and becoming trumpet section leader of the marching band during his freshman year. In his sophomore year, he joined the Tulane/New Orleans delegation that traveled to Stratford-upon-Avon for a jazz funeral commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, performing alongside acclaimed trumpeter Wendell Brunious in what he calls the “biggest musical moment” of his life. Koester also began to explore conducting, studying one-on-one with orchestra director Maxim Samarov and marching band director Barry Spanier, and soon realized that he had found his musical niche. In his junior year, Koester looked into summer opportunities in conducting that would complement his Tulane coursework. He received a Liberal Arts Research Award from Newcomb-Tulane College to attend a workshop at UCLA, and a grant from the Center for Engaged Learning & Teaching to attend a workshop at Colorado University - Boulder. Without funding, he would not have been able to attend these workshops, which he found to be invaluable experiences that cemented his career goal of becoming a band director at the university level.

bring the music to life. It was daunting and certainly nervewracking, but a great experience.” In addition to completing an honors thesis and marching in Mardi Gras parades as drum major of the Tulane University Marching Band, Koester found time to help the Center for Academic Equity build the community of first generation college students at Tulane. Koester didn’t meet any other first gen students during his first year at Tulane, so as soon as he learned about CAE’s “Proud TU Be First” initiative, he wanted to get involved. He believes the initiative will create a strong community to help ease the transition to college for first gen students, who often face a more difficult transition than their peers. If he had known back in high school that he would pursue conducting rather than political science, would he have chosen a different school, perhaps with a conservatory program? Not a chance, says Koester. At Tulane, he’s worked closely with faculty to build his own music education curriculum, developing stronger and more meaningful relationships with his professors. Paradoxically, he says, he feels that his friends at larger music schools actually have fewer opportunities because there are so many of them doing the same thing. The opportunities NewcombTulane College has given him to travel, attend workshops, and work with professional musicians are opportunities he can’t imagine he’d have had anywhere else. “It’s been pretty special,” he says.

These summer workshops also allowed Koester to lay the foundation for his honors thesis, as he began working on pieces that he would ultimately conduct in his thesis concert this past February. For this performance, he received a Newcomb-Tulane College Dean’s Grant to hire professional musicians from the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. The opportunity to work with professional musicians was “incredible,” says Koester. “Working with pros, they already know everything about their instrument, so it’s more about shaping the music through your vision — I show them how I want the music to sound through my conducting, and they



Newcomb-Tulane College offers several programs designed to facilitate TRANSFORMATIVE TEACHING. The TIDES seminar courses and Honors colloquia allow faculty to explore favorite topics with small groups of students, creating connections around shared passions for songwriting, Shakespeare, or New Orleans cemeteries. The Duren Professorship program provides faculty with resources to support field trips, guest speakers, and other engaged learning activities.


Developing Scholars with Skepticism Assistant Professor of Political Science GEOFF DANCY has enjoyed the symbiotic relationship that comes from working with Honors students. In his experiences co-teaching an Honors Colloquium on conspiracy theories and directing Honors Summer Research projects, Professor Dancy has learned from—and alongside—his students. COLQ-1020: “Political Conspiracy Theories” was a first semester Honors Colloquium co-taught in fall 2017 by Professor Dancy and Associate Professor of Political Science Mirya Holman. The course covered a wide range of theories throughout time, exposing students to those surrounding JFK’s assassination, Hurricane Katrina, and recent mass shootings. Despite the grim topics, Professor Dancy describes the course as “fun”—a great opportunity to engage with students on a much smaller scale than in a typical course. Both Professor Dancy and Professor Holman drew on their personal experiences to teach the course, which also helped to guide their joint research project on the same subject. Dancy was raised in Shreveport, Louisiana, while Professor Holman grew up in rural Oregon, so both had exposure to theories during childhood—on the left and the right. Over the years, Dancy transitioned from a casual believer to a skeptical researcher, and is now working on a publication with Holman on where conspiracies come from and how they spread. The Colloquium, he says, often functioned almost like a “focus group,” where discussions of theoretical ideas helped the professors to develop or discard concepts, as needed. Professor Dancy theorizes that the conspiracy theory “economy” looks much like the music industry: a handful of massive distributors and massive acts make a lot of money, while the rest struggle to get by. Alex Jones, the prominent conspiracy theorist at the helm of the website Info Wars, “is the Taylor Swift of the conspiracy industry.” Everyone else is fighting over the prize of creating a viral video or two— much like lesser-known music artists. A viral video will lead TH E CO LLEG IA N 2018

viewers back to the theorists’ websites, where they can sell t-shirts or books, or other, zanier items. The broad purpose of the course was to teach students to approach all supposed knowledge with skepticism. Many people, Dancy says—including those who don’t buy into conspiracy theories—go through life searching for certainty, and refuse to let go once they have found it. A scholar must be able to think more critically, and avoid “certitude” even in well-developed theories. The students in the Colloquium focused the same skepticism on Dancy and Holman’s theoretical ideas, with everyone learning from the experience. Professor Dancy has enjoyed this symbiotic relationship with Honors students in his research in other areas, too. Tulane junior Tess Martin conducted research for him last summer, funded by the Honors Summer Research Grant. She has now trained four other undergraduate research assistants for the project. For their part, Martin and the other assistants have learned how the research process works, which will likely play a role in Honors theses and, potentially, in their broader academic and professional careers. Professor Dancy, meanwhile, benefited from the insights and persistence of the students, without whom he couldn’t have completed his project. Martin spent her time combing through legal and news reports for mentions of domestic state prosecutions of human rights cases. She followed up on mentions, and gathered as much information as possible about each case. The aim was to discover whether a given state would prosecute more human rights cases themselves after the International Criminal Court intervened there. The results indicated an answer in the affirmative, and will be published in the American Journal of International Law. Whether inside the classroom or outside of it, Professor Dancy values working with Tulane Honors students because of the contributions they make, and the two-way academic exchange they can forge with professors. 13


Opening Doors, Making Connections Recognizing that a rich and robust academic environment is one that brings many voices to the conversation, Tulane President Michael A. Fitts has defined “Opportunity and Diversity” as an essential area of growth for the university. It is one of four pillars that make up Tulane’s historic $1.3 billion Only the Audacious campaign.

With this increased focus, Newcomb-Tulane College’s Center for Academic Equity will be more and more in demand: last year, Tulane’s admission office saw a jump from 18 percent students of color to 21 percent and an increase from 3 percent enrolled international students to 5 percent. Created to provide guidance and support for a wide-ranging cohort of students, the Center for Academic Equity has made great strides this year, connecting students with farflung opportunities and building resources on the uptown campus that empower students to flourish and thrive in their lives and academic careers. As CAE Founding Director Dr. Rebecca Mark says, “We have been opening doors wherever we can—that’s the true nature of the Center for Academic Equity.” And the range of doors opened has been impressive. This January brought Tulane Takeover to Miami for the first time. Held in cities across the country, the program connects students with the far-reaching network of Tulane alumni and parents. Tulane parents Douglas and Maureen Webster were excited about the opportunities Tulane Takeover creates for students and made a generous gift to enable more students to access the events. “As a panelist for Tulane Takeover in New York, I was very impressed with all the students I met,” Doug Webster said. “Maureen and I see the value of students networking with alumni and parents who can help them with their career decisions and job search. We want to ensure that the door is open for every Tulane student to attend these events across the country. In this case, the personal access they gain can be critical to putting them on the path to success in their careers.” Dr. Paula Booke, the center’s associate director, noted that the Websters’ gift could be used for travel, lodging, meals 14

and anything else students might need to present themselves in a professional manner. She added, “We were really excited about this opportunity to share with our students the ability to access Tulane Takeover in a real way.” In another new role, the center also directed the innovative Guest Semester Program, which welcomed students from Puerto Rico and St. Martin into the Tulane community. The center was a ready fit to administer the program, according to Booke. “Having the guest students made perfect sense because our focus is on academic equity and really making sure that all students have access to high-quality educational resources.” The Guest Semester Program was a resounding success, one which elevated the entire Tulane community, according to Mark. “These students brought a voice and a compassion to our student body that was truly remarkable.” Julianna Canabal Rodriguez, who attended Tulane as part of the program, spoke glowingly of her time in New Orleans. “I loved New Orleans cuisine, its people, my professors and the ever-welcoming staff … as well as the budding community of Puerto Ricans that I made with the group of people who shared this post-María experience with me. After having endured my last semester shell-shocked and traumatized from a hurricane and being all too aware of how terrible things were, it was incredible how Tulane helped me find my footing and motivation to keep going forward.” And that’s not all. The Center for Academic Equity has begun a resource lending program that allows students to check out books and equipment for semester-long exclusive use. Recognizing that resources are needed year-round, the center has also established a Summer Fellowship Program that awards summer fellowships for undergraduate research, provides need-based scholarship support for summer coursework, and provides funding to cover students’ living expenses so they can take advantage of unpaid internships. Advancing opportunity and inclusion works to the advantage of Newcomb-Tulane College as a whole. As Mark says, “The more diversity of thinking we have, the more intellectually sophisticated we are.” N E WCO M B -T U L A N E CO L L EG E

Through the Center for Academic Equity, Newcomb-Tulane College promotes OPPORTUNITY AND DIVERSITY on campus by ensuring equal access for students from underrepresented and marginalized communities. With the help of generous donors, CAE provides support for students to study abroad, do internships, conduct research, and attend career events. This year, CAE also served as a support center for visiting students from Puerto Rico after Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Mussafer Hall is BUILDING AN ENVIRONMENT FOR EXCELLENCE by bringing together advising, career, and success services under one roof. But Newcomb-Tulane College’s commitment to this campaign pillar goes beyond infrastructure. Through programming initiatives that celebrate student successes and lay out a path toward graduation and beyond, the college is building a culture of academic excellence that enables students to thrive.


Convocation, Declaration, Graduation. This spring Newcomb-Tulane College hosted the second annual Sophomore Declaration Celebration, a new tradition that celebrates the academic achievements of the sophomore class and their halfway point in their undergraduate studies. The Sophomore Declaration Celebration is the signature event of Sophomore Week, a week of events dedicated to building affinity amongst the sophomore class and encouraging academic engagement inside and outside the classroom. Students do not actually declare their majors at the Sophomore Declaration Celebration; for most students, this happens long before the actual celebration. The event celebrates the symbolism of declaring a major: the crystallization of students’ intellectual interests and career goals into a clear academic path towards graduation.

The idea for the event grew from recommendations from President Fitts’ Task Force on the Undergraduate Experience, as well as student leaders from the Undergraduate Student Government (USG). Students voiced a desire for more academically-focused traditions on campus between convocation at the start of the first year and graduation at the end of college. Newcomb-Tulane College partnered with USG and Tower & Crescent (a student organization dedicated to connecting students with alumni) as co-sponsors to bridge academics with student leadership, and to help sophomores envision their future life as Tulane graduates. The Sophomore Declaration Celebration plans to achieve several outcomes as it embeds into the culture of undergraduate students at Tulane. The foundations of the event are based in research and best practice about college students’ intellectual development. The event highlights Tulane’s commitment to each student’s academic success, to celebrate the effort necessary to be a successful college student, and to mark the turn in a student’s development from a period of exploration into more deliberative decisionmaking about their academic choices. “We are so privileged to work with such talented students,” says Allison Cruz, director of Newcomb-Tulane College Academic Programs, TH E CO LLEG IA N 2018

who spearheaded the development of this new program. She adds: “It has been very gratifying to create a new campus tradition that is changing Tulane’s academic culture to celebrate students’ excitement about learning.” At the event, students were asked to post their academic achievements on the “achievement wall,” sharing successes from acing organic chemistry to securing a top internship. Students mingled with faculty, academic advisors, campus leaders, alumni, and members of the Newcomb-Tulane College Parents Council, and the students were toasted by Dean James MacLaren and Provost Robin Forman. Dean MacLaren discussed the importance of faculty-student relationships and opening doors to research opportunities. Provost Forman hailed students’ commitment to learning. Upon being toasted, students also received their first piece of graduation regalia, a class pin emblazoned with their class year, to be worn on their gowns at commencement in 2020. Rising junior Matthew Wu ’20, who helped plan the event as an intern with NTC Academic Programs, says the Declaration Celebration “provided a valuable opportunity to stop and reflect on what I had accomplished to that point, and what I still wanted to do while at Tulane—and I think it is really cool that there is now an academic celebration to prompt that reflection. As the event keeps growing I hope it continues to have that effect on sophomores because that inward reflection helped me refocus going into my junior year.” This tradition will continue with the Class of 2021 and each year beyond, celebrating the contributions and achievements of each sophomore class as they roll with the wave towards commencement in the Superdome. 



Council Members Volunteer Time and Talents The Newcomb-Tulane College Dean’s Advisory Council (DAC) is a deeply committed group of alumni, parents and friends who are dedicated to ensuring that Tulane’s undergraduate experience is second to none. “All of our council members come from various backgrounds and bring such a strength of experience and knowledge to the school. We’re all ambassadors for Newcomb-Tulane College,” says Karen Roskind Sobel (NC ’89), DAC chairman. There are nearly 70 members of the DAC who hail from all over the globe, representing a variety of careers and backgrounds. Composed of both alumni and parents, DAC members are united by their deep affinity for Tulane and desire to improve the undergraduate experience. The DAC meets twice a year, in the fall and spring. Members discuss topics of mutual interest, give feedback on Newcomb-Tulane College’s progress, interview students for admissions, serve as mentors, and provide philanthropic support to carry out programming. The Dean’s Advisory Council has been instrumental in some of Newcomb-Tulane College’s major initiatives. The seed of the idea for one of the most impactful NewcombTulane College programs, Career Wave, was planted in fall 2011 when parent Lisa Rapkin and several other members of the Newcomb-Tulane College Dean’s Advisory Council were discussing how Tulane could better prepare students for the career search. The Rapkins underwrote the first Career Wave, and fellow DAC member Edana Heller Desatnick (NC ’83) helped drive much of the programming. Today, Career Wave’s Signature Event is a day-long career development conference that attracts over 1000 undergraduate students and 75+ national alumni and parent industry professionals each year. In addition, DAC members supported the ever-evolving career curriculum, which now includes a career development course that is geared to Tulane undergraduates at different 18

times of their college career. This course, completed by nearly 3,200 students to date, provides an opportunity for students to combine their specific individual strengths, academic achievements, and internship experiences to carve out a unique career path. The DAC also founded the Executive-in-Residence program, which allows undergraduates to meet and learn from a variety of executive mentors and leaders who travel to Tulane’s campus. The program is funded through the generosity of DAC member Howard Margolis (B ’87). During the 2017-18 academic year, the DAC created four smaller committees of the full board that members could join based on their talents and affinity. The committees— faculty/student engagement, career, equity and a nominating committee—allow members to focus on specific areas to move Newcomb-Tulane College forward. For example, the nominating committee considers the DAC’s membership while the faculty/student engagement committee focuses on student retention. Sobel, from Purchase, New York, has served on the Dean’s Advisory Council since 2011. She said the experience has given her firsthand knowledge of how committed NewcombTulane College staff members are to helping Tulane students and faculty reach their full potential. “I have a tremendous love for Tulane and I just wanted to give back,” says Sobel, who said her involvement on the DAC has engaged her more fully with Tulane. “I loved Tulane before, but now I am heavily invested in Tulane and its future and what’s happening on campus.”

To learn more about the DAC, its work, and additional volunteer opportunities, contact Lisa Chmiola at To learn more about the career programs highlighted here, contact Byron Kantrow Slosar at N E WCO M B -T U L A N E CO L L EG E

It is hard to overstate the impact of Newcomb-Tulane College’s founding dean, JAMES MACLAREN, as he moves on to his new role as Provost of St. Xavier University in Chicago. Here are just a few examples from some of his students and colleagues, who uniformly agree: he will be sorely missed.

In my view, Dean MacLaren is a Tulane hero who will leave the university with a remarkable legacy. James was the ideal person to be the founding dean of NewcombTulane College. He genuinely cares for students, is highly respected by the faculty, and is one of the most personable individuals I have ever encountered. During his tenure as dean he unified the undergraduate experience and worked with others to dramatically increase student retention and graduation rates, while being a tireless ambassador and fundraiser for Tulane. – Scott S. Cowen, President Emeritus Dean MacLaren has been the most influential person to me at Tulane University. He has constantly supported me from the day I got admitted to Tulane. He has been there for me through difficult times when I have struggled. He also has celebrated the great times with me, as I have come a long way since I started here. I am so appreciative of all he has done for me. – Samantha Rosenbaum ’18 Dr. MacLaren is the ultimate scholar, but more importantly is the ultimate teacher. He can be relied on as a friend, a mentor, and an educator not only in your four years at Tulane, but in your lifetime after. – Stephen Ahron ’06

Dean MacLaren and his wife have been like a second family to me and I can’t thank him enough for all of the support he has given me. Dean MacLaren is a charismatic, funny, and brilliant man. He cares so much about his students and about this university. He makes me laugh and inspires me at the same time, and is truly an incredible role model. Looking back at how positive my first-year experience was at Tulane, I can say confidently that it was largely because of him. – EMMA ABRAMSON ’21

Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID New Orleans, LA Permit No. 25 ROBERT C. CUDD HALL TUL ANE UNIVERSIT Y 6 8 2 3 S T. C H A R L E S AV E N U E N E W O R L E A N S , L A 70118

Workers on the scaff olding in front of Mussafer Hall. The building is expected to open to the Tulane community in Fall 2018.

Profile for Tulane University

Newcomb-Tulane College: The Collegian 2018  

Annual Review 2018

Newcomb-Tulane College: The Collegian 2018  

Annual Review 2018