They’ve never quite heard of it happening at any other university: four new deans at four of the nine academic schools.
It’s a rather unique infusion of new leadership at Tulane. “We’re always dreaming up new ways to work together, ” said Kimberly Foster, the new dean of the School of Science and Engineering.
Besides Foster, the new deans are Iñaki Alday of the School of Architecture, Thomas LaVeist of the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and Brian Edwards of the School of Liberal Arts.
They all come to Tulane with distinguished records as designers, innovators, scholars, teachers, mentors, writers, researchers, a patent holder — and even a documentary filmmaker. As they take the reins as the top administrators of their respective schools, they each said they are excited to lead Tulane in new, interdisciplinary directions — and to collaborate with each other.
“To be able to collaborate and think about collaborating together makes this truly an exciting moment,” Edwards said. “I think it’s why we are so enthusiastic.”
“Being part of a cohort has been great,” LaVeist said. “We learn from each other and commiserate with each other. I hope I’m speaking for the others. I think it’s making all of us a little bit better that we have each other.”
As for Alday, he said of Tulane, “I think this is the best place and the best moment and the most important, most relevant moment to take over.” The newcomers are also eager to collaborate with longer-serving deans including Ira Solomon of the A. B. Freeman School of Business, David Meyer of the School of Law, Lee Hamm of the School of Medicine, Patrick Bordnick of the School of Social Work, Suri Duitch of the School of Professional Advancement and Kelly Grant, interim dean of Newcomb-Tulane College.
Earlier this semester, we talked to each of the new deans about their ambitions and goals. What stands out is that they all are pleased to be part of Tulane and eager to contribute to the university’s research mission and tradition of educational excellence.