From the President: Reading, Writing and Reflecting

September 5, 2001

Scott Cowen

Welcome to the beginning of a new academic year. This past weekend we had the opportunity to welcome the most academically qualified class of undergraduates in the history of the university and also had the distinction of being named one of the Hottest Schools in America by Kaplan/Newsweek. Not a bad way to start the new year!

I had a wonderful summer and I truly hope you all did as well. As I mentioned in one of my summer Tulane Talks, I spent a good part of July and August reading, writing and reflecting, in addition to the regular duties of the office. There was no particular theme to my reading list other than my strong preference for non-fiction books.

Most of this year's reading was devoted to history and growing up in the Deep South or Northeast (for example, for people familiar with Jersey, I recommend the book The Legends of New Jersey). If I had to cull one or two themes from the list they would include the power of ideas to change our world and how much change we have seen in the United States and world since the end of World War II. I will not bore you any further with a summary of each book, but they did wonders to refresh my mind, heart and soul.

I hope you had an equally powerful experience this summer to refresh you. I continued to work on my book (Winnebagos on Wednesday) and spent a great deal of time reflecting on the past year and the year ahead.

During the summer months, members of the President's Cabinet and I spend time reviewing the successes and mishaps of the year just completed as well as establishing objectives for the new year. We just finished this process at a summer retreat in late August. Each of us discussed our goals for the year and how they interrelate and correspond to the university's strategic plan.

For the first time during my three years as president, I now have a full team of permanent President's Cabinet members in place, and everyone is ready to continue efforts to implement all parts of the strategic plan. As has been my custom in recent years, I will spend a lot of time this fall with various internal and external constituencies to discuss last year's accomplishments and this year's priorities.

As always, I welcome your feedback and input. For your information, the following is a tentative schedule of briefing and discussion sessions:

Sept. 9 Business school faculty meeting
Sept. 11 Administrative council
Sept. 11 Law school faculty meeting
Sept. 11 Medical school faculty meeting
Sept. 12 Louisiana Hometown Tour Houma/Thibodaux alumni functions
Sept. 20 Tulane Board
Sept. 21 Presidents Council
Sept. 26 Engineering faculty meeting
Oct. 1 Public health and tropical medicine faculty meeting
Oct. 1 University Senate
Oct. 11 Staff Advisory Council
Oct. 12 Parents Council
Oct. 24 Town hall meeting/Uptown
Oct. 25 Town hall meeting/ Downtown
Nov. 3 Louisiana Council
Nov. 3 Tulane Associates Board
Nov. 7 Architecture faculty meeting
Dec. 10 Social work faculty meeting
Dec. 11 Liberal arts and sciences faculty meeting

I hope you will be attending one of these sessions. I will continue to update you with news through Tulane Talk and in other written forms. I am excited about this year and look forward to working with all of you again to continue our progress and to build on our legacy as a major research university.

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