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Department of River-Coastal Science and Engineering

Rivers, Deltas and Coasts are the Focus of New Academic Department at Tulane University

Department of River-Coastal Science and Engineering

In July 2017, the Tulane School of Science and Engineering announced the founding a new academic department - the Department of River-Coastal Science and Engineering (RCSE). The department is envisioned to be a unique educational enterprise that will focus on the world’s river, deltaic and coastal systems using the combined science and engineering approach pioneered by the School of Science and Engineering. By pulling together elements of the geosciences and ecological sciences with civil, environmental, and coastal ocean engineering disciplines, the goal is to educate a new generation and new breed of scientists, engineers, planners and decision-makers that can address the complex, interdisciplinary problems in river-coastal systems associated with changing climate, sea level rise, and the human overprints of the natural landscape. This focus recognizes there are close linkages between these settings, such as the effects of engineered structures like river dams, on the health of deltas and the adjacent coast. Unique undergraduate and graduate degree programs will be developed in the next few years that reflect this holistic approach to understanding these systems where a large portion of the global population lives, and are critical economically and as a natural resource. RSCE is committed to playing an important role in workforce and economic development in our region. The new department also helps to build a needed critical mass of scientists and engineers at Tulane, in Louisiana, and in the Gulf region conducting research into these issues, both basic and applied, to provide solutions that increase the resilience and sustainability of river-coastal ecosystems, communities, and infrastructure.

The initial home for RCSE prior to starting academic operations on Tulane’s Uptown campus will be in the Tulane River-Coastal Center housed in the ByWater Institute at Tulane University. Located on the Mississippi River in downtown New Orleans, the ByWater Institute at Tulane University offers state-of-the-art research, education and outreach facilities accented by the history and architecture of the Robin Street Wharf.

The department will begin offering classes in the spring semester of the 2017-18 academic year.  The first year will also be spent on strategic planning to define the department’s exact mission and what degree programs it will offer, and to formulate a faculty hiring plan.

Tulane Earth and Environmental Sciences Professor Mead Allison will chair the new Department of River-Coastal Science and Engineering. The faculty will also include Professor Ehab Meselhe, a renowned coastal engineer and technical leader in the development of Louisiana’s Master Plan for Coastal Protection and Restoration.

Both Allison and Meselhe will hold joint appointments with the Water Institute of the Gulf in Baton Rouge, marking the close relationship being developed between the two organizations.

The Department will also collaborate with the Tulane ByWater Institute, founded in 2016 to serve as a center for applied research and outreach in river-coastal issues across Tulane’s schools.

School of Science and Engineering, 201 Lindy Boggs Center, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5764 sse@tulane.edu