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Social Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship
(504) 247-1963

Center for Engaged Learning & Teaching (CELT)
310 Richardson Building
6823 St Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA 70118
Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship at Tulane University

Professors in Social Entrepreneurship

Building upon our strengths in civic engagement and service learning, we are proud to introduce a cohort of Social Entrepreneurship Professors at Tulane University. The establishment of these endowed Social Entrepreneurship Professorships provides a critical mass of faculty support for university-wide, interdisciplinary endeavors in social innovation & social entrepreneurship. The Social Entrepreneurship Professors teach, develop a research or practice agenda, and inform programming and initiatives in social innovation & social entrepreneurship. They represent a range of academic disciplines spanning the natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences.

Each one of these colleagues has been appointed to separately endowed professorships named after their core benefactors. These named positions thus remind us of the crucial importance played by our generous supporters in making possible social innovation & social entrepreneurship initiatives across the university itself.


Louise and Leonard Riggio Professorship and Carnegie Fellow

Vicki Mayer

Vicki Mayer, Ph.D.
Professor, Communication
School of Liberal Arts

Vicki Mayer is Professor of Communication at Tulane, where she researches media production and consumption in relation to economic and political transformations in media and creative industries. Her students act as co-researchers of cultural labor and creative expression in a variety of community-based settings. She also directs the MediaNOLA project, which aims to provide public access to locally-based research via a website and internet database. This project serves and stores the research and class projects generated by over 100 Tulane students yearly. Her collaborative research is available on MediaNOLA and has been distributed through in international publications such as Jump Cut, The Columbia Journalism Review, and Public Culture. Her goal as an SE professor is to continue to develop ways of bringing student and community voices into the public sphere through collaborative research, digital preservation, and open access.


NewDay Professorship and Carnegie Fellow

Lars Gilbertson

Lars Gilbertson, Ph.D.
Professor of Practice
Biomedical Engineering
School of Science & Engineering

Lars Gilbertson is instructor of “Biomedical Engineering Team Design,” a capstone upper-tier service learning course with community partners St. Margaret's and Team Gleason. His academic interests are centered on design and service and their interrelationships, and he is committed to bolstering design to better serve the dynamic New Orleans innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. Dr. Gilbertson was recruited to Tulane in 2011 after a 15-year career in academic medical research. He recently co-led a Tulane Biomedical Engineering student team in a human-centered design & venture capital pitch competition sponsored by the Coulter Foundation, and he recently completed introductory training and certification in TRIZ Russian design methodology. As an SE Professor, Lars will be actively involved in connecting and combining design-related sectors in NOLA to develop innovative solutions in assistive devices and medical technology.


Carnegie Corporation of New York Professorship and Carnegie Fellow


Laura Murphy, Ph.D.

Clinical Associate Professor

Global Health Systems and Development

School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine

Laura Murphy, PhD (City and Regional Planning) is clinical associate professor in the Department of Global Health Systems and Development at Tulane University, as well as adjunct associate professor at the Payson Center for International Development and an affiliated faculty member at the Stone Center for Latin American Studies. Her current research focuses on technology and social change, with work spanning strategies for mitigating deforestation in the Amazon to community-based responses to the impacts of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Her work has been funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the National Science Foundation. She currently teaches on themes that span development, population, environment; as well as on practical field research methods. Prof. Murphy earned the President's Award for Excellence in Professional and Graduate Teaching in 2008. For the SISE program, Murphy teaches the semester-long design-thinking course for undergraduates (SISE 3010) and integrates design thinking and social innovation approaches into graduate workshops and courses.


Paul Tudor Jones II Professorship and Cole Fellow


Carol Whelan, Ph.D.

Professor of Practice

Teacher Preparation and Certification

Newcomb Tulane College


Carol Whelan is a professor of practice in the Tulane Teacher Preparation and Certification Program in Newcomb-Tulane College. With support from the Center for Public Service and the staff at Banneker Elementary and Middle School, Carol redesigned the Education in a Diverse Society class to include the teaching of social innovation strategies and co-designed the first course in Social Innovation Social Entrepreneurship at Tulane. Many of her students have received funding for their innovative ideas through the support of Tulane's initiatives in social innovation & social entrepreneurship and the Ashoka/Youth Venture program.

In collaboration with Tulane students, Carol has presented at the Ashoka U International Exchange Conferences in San Diego and Tempe Arizona and most recently led an academy session at the Impact Forum '13 in Singapore. Visit Carol's blog at for information about these projects and her work in social innovation and education.

Jill H. and Avram A. Glazer Professorship and Carnegie Fellow


Elizabeth Townsend Gard, Ph.D., J.D.

Associate Professor

School of Law









Professor Elizabeth Townsend Gard joined the SISE faculty in 2013, as an extension of her real-world experiences working an a academic project with social implications. Together, with her husband, Dr. Ron Gard, they formed a Tulane spin-out company, Limited Times, a research service focused on copyright law, and home to the Durationator® software tool.   In moving the project to product, the Gards found needed resources along the way, and Dr. Townsend Gard’s award of the Glazer Professorship supports the work both of her primary research as well as thinking of ways to continue to support lean academic start ups, such their own.
The Durationator® is a software tool developed at Tulane Law School over the last six years, which seeks to make the past usable one query at a time by providing legal information regarding the copyright term of any given cultural work in any jurisdiction around the world.  This knowledge will facilitate the efforts of mass digitization of cultural works around the world, further support the reuse of culture, and allow copyright holders to have better reporting on the copyright status of their works.  For the first time in the new century, copyright law will be accessible to anyone and everyone. 

As part of her Glazer professorship, Dr. Townsend Gard will continue to develop the Durationator®, with its research arm still housed at Tulane, and she will also explore the larger question of how to support social innovation, both from the legal and cultural context.  She and Dr. Gard are planning to begin a SISE Law and Culture Information Initiative in January 2014.


Kylene and Brad Beers Professorship II and Cole Fellow


Barbara Hayley, MFA


Theatre and Dance

School of Liberal Arts








Barbara Hayley is Professor of Dance in the Department of Theatre and Dance and holds the Kylene and Brad Beers Professorship II in Social Entrepreneurship (SE) at Tulane University, New Orleans, LA.  She is the founding artistic director of New Orleans Dance (1987), a project-based company comprised of local professional dance artists.  She is a modern dance choreographer of site-specific, community based, and concert projects.  Professor Hayley is helping expand Tulane’s vision of Social Innovation to more deeply incorporate the humanities and the arts as critical tools of effecting positive social change.

She has recently performed with Artspot Theatre Productions Rumours of War, as a build team member of How to Build a Forest, an 8-hour theatre installation piece, premiered at the Kitchen in NYC and directed by OBIE winning playwright Lisa D’Amour, and in the Southern Repertory Theatre production of Taylor Mac’s The Lily’s Revenge. Ms. Hayley received a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award in 1997/1998 for teaching and choreography in Russia. She received the Louisiana Division of the Arts Choreography Fellowship, the New Orleans Mayor’s Arts Award and numerous awards with New Orleans Dance for production and choreography.   Ms. Hayley holds an MFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts and worked in NYC for 10 years before moving to New Orleans.  Her community cultural development projects include “Home, New Orleans?”, the ongoing community-based class, “Building Community Through the Arts” with Xavier University Professor Ron Bechet, and Team NOLA member of the Urban Bush Women Summer Leadership Institute since 2008.


Kylene and Brad Beers Professorship I and Cole Fellow


Jordan Karubian, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

School of Science and Engineering

Jordan Karubian recently received the Lynton Award for Engaged Scholarship in recognition of his ”community engagement, teaching, and research focused on understanding and reversing human-caused environmental degradation and associated loss of biodiversity.”  Dr. Karubian combines work in the classroom and lab at Tulane with research and capacity building in biodiversity hotspots, such as Ecuador and Papua New Guinea. His basic approach is to blend research, engaged teaching, and local community engagement to improve the quality of his research while achieving real world conservation gains. His work is supported by the National Science Foundation, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and others; for more information visit Professor Karubian has helped extend the geographic range of our social innovation work and has strengthened ties between the Tulane community of scholars and students and indigenous residents of ecologically sensitive locations.


Greenberg Family Professorship and Cole Fellow

Rebecca Mark

Rebecca Mark, Ph.D.
School of Liberal Arts

Rebecca Mark is a professor in the English Department at Tulane University Her books include: The Dragon's Blood: Feminist Intertextuality in Eudora Welty's Fiction (University of Mississippi Press, 1994) and Ersatz America: Hidden Traces, Graphic Texts and the Mending of Democracy (University of Virginia Press, 2014). She was the founding Director of the Newcomb College Institute in 2006, a founding member of the Deep South Regional Humanities Center, a recipient of the Mississippi Public Humanities Award, a Posse Mentor, a CELT Distinguished Faculty Mentor, and the faculty advisor for the Community Engagement Advocates at the Tulane CPS. She is currently working on a second book on Eudora Welty entitled A Private Address: The Radical Welty and a book of original poetry and artwork entitled Owl Eyes.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000