Tulane University Environmental Scan

Prepared by the Strategic Planning Framework Committee - August 1998


The Strategic Planning Framework Committee was created in May, 1998, and charged with performing an environmental scan to identify critical issues affecting higher education. This document is the result of that charge. Its purpose is to present factual and reported data. It is not our intention to interpret or assess the data or recommend what Tulane, or any university, should do in reaction to the data. Instead, we have tried to describe the overall environment of higher education. Some of these trends may not be applicable to Tulane, or may seem inapplicable at this time. We did not limit our scan to trends directly affecting elite private institutions, for we felt it would be premature and inappropriate for us to edit information that might be useful to the members of our community that will be involved in strategic planning efforts. We believe that a full exploration of trends will provide a richer context for planning for the future and lead to creative thinking and discussion during the planning process.

The environmental scan identifies eight topic areas and major trends in those areas. The topic areas are:

  • Increased sensitivity to economic and market forces,
  • Changing models of learning,
  • Changing role of faculty,
  • Implications/proper uses of information technology,
  • Increased hybrid structures and blurring of lines between universities and other entities,
  • Changing management, governance, and organizational systems,
  • Globalization, and
  • Accountability, responsibility and public scrutiny.

These are the issues the committee felt most important in understanding the context of higher education today. It is important to note that, since this context is constantly changing, the themes and their relative importance may also change. For that reason, we consider this document a draft, a living document open to reconsideration and revision as necessary. It is also worth noting that the topics and trends are not necessarily internally consistent and that they are highly interrelated. Some themes and concepts appear in several places in the document.

Committee Membership

The Strategic Planning Framework Committee membership includes:

  • Paul Barron, Professor of Law
  • Suzanne England, Dean of Social Work
  • Yvette Jones, Senior Vice President for Planning and Administration
  • Amy Koritz, Vice Chair of the University Senate
  • John McLachlan, Director, Tulane-Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research
  • Ray Newman, Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance
  • Jules Puschett, Professor of Medicine
  • Robin Stead, Representative of the Staff Advisory Council
  • Paul Whelton, Dean of the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
  • Dick Whiteside, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Institutional Research
  • Michael Zimmerman, Professor of Philosophy  


>> Increased Sensitivity to Economic and Market Forces

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