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School of Continuing Studies on Top of Game

August 2, 2006

Mary Ann Travis

Finally, the name fits the undertaking. Tulane's University College officially became the School of Continuing Studies on July 1. The School of Continuing Studies is for part-time students who are degree-seeking, certificate-seeking or simply want to enroll in a specific course.


Alan Silver is the academic director of the casino resort studies program that offers many of its courses at the Biloxi, Miss., campus, of the Tulane University School of Continuing Studies, formerly University College.

"This is our mission," said Richard Marksbury, dean of the school formerly known as University College. With the cumbersome phrasing--Tulane University's University College--gone, the new descriptive designation ties the continuing education academic unit more easily into the university's infrastructure of schools.

"By changing the name of the school, it makes our students feel more a part of the university," said Marksbury, who made the suggestion for the name change in the Renewal Plan, Tulane's financial and strategic response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina last fall.

The School of Continuing Studies offers courses for part-time students leading to post-baccalaureate certificates and associate degrees in business studies, paralegal studies, media arts, social science, computer systems and casino resort studies as well as bachelor's degrees in all these fields except business studies.

The bachelor's degree in casino resort studies is the newest offering of the school. The program blends applied learning with the liberal arts and sciences. On the applied side, students take classes in marketing, accounting, financial controls, legal, regulatory and security issues, leadership and group dynamics, customer service, statistical analysis and casino math. They also complete a final internship.

To give students a broader educational perspective, the school also offers courses on the social and economic impact of casinos on neighborhoods and towns and on ethical and treatment issues surrounding addictive behavior and gambling. Casino employees wishing to get ahead in the management ranks of the gaming industry need education and credentials to advance.

Marksbury said, "This degree is geared toward people working in the casino industry who want to move up."

And with the casino industry in the Gulf South struggling to bounce back after Hurricane Katrina's blow, Tulane courses provide the needed expertise in an industry where financial controls and customer service are primary concerns.

Alan Silver is the academic director of the casino resort studies program that offers many of its courses at Tulane's Biloxi, Miss., campus. Silver said the Mississippi casinos are pleased that Tulane is offering opportunities for gaming workers to learn more about the casino industry.

In September, Tulane continued to offer courses onsite for workers at the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians' Pearl River Resort, even while the rest of Tulane was shut down due to the hurricane. Harrah's, one of the largest casino companies worldwide, gave $250,000 for an endowment for minority-student scholarships in the Tulane casino resort studies program.

Tulane has awarded 10 scholarships of $1,500 so far, according to Silver. The gaming industry is a growth industry. Consultant PricewaterhouseCoopers predicted in a June issue of Global Gaming Business Weekly that it will grow to $125 billion by 2010.

And Tulane casino resort studies graduates will be ready. Silver tells the story of one former student who earned a post-baccalaureate certificate and relocated to Las Vegas to work after Katrina.

"When they found out he went to Tulane, doors opened. He had four job offers to select from and now he is working at his dream job at the Venetian Casino Resort," said Silver.

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000