Arts for goodness’ sake

March 8, 2013 11:00 AM

Mary Sparacello

“I believe in the arts as a tool for social change,” says Barbara Hayley, dance professor and coordinator in the Tulane Department of Theatre and Dance. Hayley and two of her colleagues were recently appointed to social entrepreneurship endowed professorships in recognition of their unique approach to community service through scholarship.


Barbara Hayley

Barbara Hayley, one of the new social entrepreneurship professors, engages students in an array of arts-based projects with children and adults from New Orleans neighborhoods. (Photo by Ryan Rivet)

Joining her are Jordan Karubian, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and Elizabeth Townsend Gard, associate professor at Tulane Law School.

Hayley co-teaches the undergraduate course Building Community through the Arts with Xavier University art professor Ron Bechet. In collaboration with community partners and artists, the course engages students in an array of arts-based projects with children and adults from New Orleans neighborhoods.

Hayley says the universitywide emphasis on civic engagement has valuable applications for all students, and Rick Aubry agrees.

“No one specialty has a corner on the market for how to create social impact in the world,” says Aubry, assistant provost for civic engagement and social entrepreneurship in the Office of Academic Affairs.

Hayley, Karubian and Townsend Gard are contributing to a critical mass of seven social entrepreneurship scholars on the Tulane campus and enhancing the interdisciplinary minor in social innovation and social entrepreneurship that debuted in the fall. The first group of endowed professorships was named in fall 2011.

Each professor’s work deepens the approach to social entrepreneurship at Tulane, says Aubry. Hayley is interested in bringing to light social issues through the artistic lens. Karubian teaches indigenous communities in Ecuadorian rain forests ways to preserve their ecosystem. Hayley and Karubian are the inaugural Kylene and Brad Beers Professors of Social Entrepreneurship.

Townsend Gard is the Jill H. and Avram A. Glazer Professor of Social Entrepreneurship. “It’s exciting to be a part of this new vision of what education is,” she says.

Mary Sparacello is a writer in the Office of Development.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu