In 1998 under the leadership of President Scott Cowen Tulane University initiated a comprehensive strategic planning process in support of a "Renaissance of Thought and Action." As a result of the strategic planning process, the university more than doubled its undergraduate applications, experienced all-time highs in student enrollment and quality, doubled the level of total private giving and received a record level of research awards from 1998 through August 2005. During that time, the university also implemented a number of innovative academic and research program initiatives and significantly increased its community outreach. Tulane launched the Promise and Distinction Campaign to raise $700 million for endowment, capital, and other programmatic purposes, the largest fund-raising effort in the university’s history. In recognition of these and other efforts, Newsweek magazine listed Tulane University as one of the "hottest" schools in the U.S.
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans, flooding Tulane’s uptown and downtown campuses, and dispersing its students, faculty, and staff around the country. Despite incurring more than $500 million in losses and damages, the university, under Cowen’s leadership, was repaired and a remarkable 87 percent of its full-time students returned for classes in January of 2006. In order to ensure the university’s financial stability and secure its continuation as one of the nation’s leading universities, the Tulane Board approved and Cowen implemented a Renewal Plan. The Plan represents the most sweeping reorganization of an American university in more than a century. It strengthens and focuses the university’s academic mission and builds on Tulane’s vision and core values, while strategically addressing its current and future operations in the post-Katrina era.
The Renewal Plan defines Tulane University by four characteristics:
Background information and a summary of the major elements of the plan can be found on the Renewal Plan website. The university’s strategic planning documents and President Cowen’s annual reports, speeches, and letters chart the university’s progress and development before and after the Renewal Plan.
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