Tuesday November 1, 2011
by Dean Carole Haber
If you have not seen the notice in the New Wave, I am delighted to share with you the extraordinary news that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has just awarded the School of Liberal Arts a grant in the sum of $1,050,000. Over the next three years, these funds will allow us to bring to SLA up to nine post-doctoral fellows. Each fellow will come to Tulane to teach, conduct research, and be part of the academic community.
This is the second such grant we have received from the Mellon foundation – a rare achievement in itself. The first, in 2008, reflected our post-Katrina status. Having temporarily suspended several PhD programs in the School, and having lost some faculty who took positions at other universities, we applied to the Mellon Foundation to assist us in the rebuilding process. Directed at supporting teaching and research in the humanities, the program focused on six departments: English, History, Philosophy, Communication, Spanish and Portuguese, and French and Italian, as well as our numerous interdisciplinary programs.
The interest and excitement in this program was evident from the start. We received literally hundreds of applications from newly minted PhDs who wished to be part of the Tulane experience. They came to the university with subjects as far ranging as Asian-American literature to the historical development of the American economy. SLA’s commitment to the study of the region and the rich resources of the area led some of them to focus their scholarship on issues such as the New Orleans East Vietnamese community, the city’s developing film industry, and the history of communities engaged in oil exploration. These young scholars then entered the classroom as superior teachers whose courses fascinated and engaged our students. In addition, all of the fellows were assigned senior faculty mentors who served as guides in in their professional development. As the fellows were assisting us in our rebuilding, we were committed to helping them forge successful academic careers.
Our next wave of post-doctoral fellows will undoubtedly continue in the footsteps of their predecessors. The new group will find a school that has been restored in faculty numbers and has regained many of the PhD programs. They will join in our commitment to be a national leader in liberal arts education.
Informed of the award, President Scott Cowen stated, "The Mellon Foundation supports institutions that are either leaders or promising newcomers. With the post-Katrina reorganization of Tulane that created the School of Liberal Arts, we like to feel Tulane fits both of these categories. .. .” From our vantage point in the midst of all the incredible activity taking place in SLA, we couldn’t agree more!
All my best,
Tulane University, School of Liberal Arts, 102 Newcomb Hall, New Orleans, LA 70118, (504) 865-5225, firstname.lastname@example.org