Photo of light streaming through oak trees on the uptown campus
Survival to Renewal
Tulane University


University will be Academically Stronger,
More Focused and Financially Secure

NEW ORLEANS, December 8 – Tulane University's Board of Administrators today approved a sweeping plan that strengthens and focuses the university's academic mission while strategically addressing its current and future operations in the post-Katrina era.

The plan will achieve two major goals for the university at a pivotal moment in its history: strengthening its commitment to building a world-class educational and research institution, and implementing measures to ensure the university's financial stability.

“Tulane University, now more than ever, is a powerful and positive force as New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region begin the monumental task of recovery,” said Tulane President Scott S. Cowen. “We are determined to find opportunity in the face of adversity. Tulane will do more than just survive; we will thrive and continue our role as a beacon of learning and research for the region and nation, as well as a dynamic engine of growth and change for New Orleans and its citizens.”

Tulane's Board, led by its chair Catherine D. Pierson, pledged its unanimous support of the plan.

“As a board, as supporters of our great city and as stewards of the 172-year history of Tulane, we feel confident that our renewal plan will ensure Tulane's continued ascent into the top tier of American universities while addressing Tulane University's financial needs,” Pierson said.

The plan addresses the financial challenges created by Katrina, including $200 million in recovery costs this year and a significant projected budget shortfall for next year.

Under the plan, Tulane is making a strong commitment to enhance the value of the undergraduate collegiate experience by making it more campus- and student-centric. The undergraduate program will be at the core of the renewed Tulane; in recognition of this the university will establish a new Undergraduate College that will replace the current coordinate college system for arts and sciences. All incoming Tulane students, regardless of their field of interest, will enter the university through this unified Undergraduate College. This new college will serve as a coordinating mechanism for all aspects of the undergraduate experience. It will also help to simplify the undergraduate academic organization and consolidate administrative functions.

Other details of the plan:

•  Tulane will significantly increase its commitment to the growth and development of urban communities by creating The Partnership for the Transformation of Urban Communities.

•  The university will focus its undergraduate, professional and doctoral programs and research in areas where it has attained, or has the potential to achieve, world-class excellence. It will suspend admission to those programs that do not meet these criteria.

•  The School of Medicine's educational program will return to New Orleans in the fall of 2006. The university's medical enterprise will be refocused with added emphasis on the research and educational programs that will position it among the top NIH-funded institutions in the country. The size of the medical school's faculty will be reduced in response to the changing population and health care environment in New Orleans.

•  Tulane will continue to participate in Division I intercollegiate athletics, but with a reduced number of programs. Green Wave athletics will sponsor six programs that will compete in eight sports—football, baseball, men and women's basketball, volleyball, and women's indoor and outdoor track and cross country. The NCAA president and staff have assured the university that it will be able to secure the waivers needed to continue to compete as a Division I program.

The financial recovery aspects of the renewal plan address the budget shortfall the university anticipates in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and will result in the phased elimination of approximately 50 faculty positions in discontinued undergraduate and professional degree programs. Another 180 faculty positions will be eliminated at the medical school as a result of the decreased population and changing health care needs of New Orleans.

“I deeply regret that employee reductions were necessary to secure the university's future,” said Cowen. “We have tried to make the reductions as strategically and humanely as possible, recognizing the hardship it places on those whose positions have been terminated.”

The plan approved today was developed with input from a blue ribbon group of internal and external advisors and experts, including the Board of Tulane, the President's Faculty Advisory Committee and top administrators from several of the nation's top academic institutions and educational foundations.