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Dean's Message – Winter 2011

Winter 2011 | Nicholas J. Altiero, Dean

Nicholas J. Altiero, Ph.D.Community engagement is an important element of the mission of any great university. At Tulane, community engagement has taken on particular significance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as that experience has transformed the relationship between the University and the New Orleans community. In the aftermath of Katrina, Tulane became the first national research university to integrate public service into the undergraduate core curriculum. And, more recently, the establishment of the Tulane Empowers initiative has placed high priority on a range of programs that engage the University in the betterment of the community. Two aspects of community engagement that align closely with the strengths of the School of Science and Engineering are pre-college science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and the role of technology transfer in economic development.

The School of Science and Engineering plays an active role in K-12 STEM education, seeking to inspire young people to pursue careers in science and engineering and participating in programs that help prepare them for future success in college. To this end, the School offers courses for high school students through the Tulane Science Scholars Program and partners in programs that provide training to high school and middle school science teachers, such as Core Element and NOLA SMILE. Additionally, the School is a major contributor to community programs that engage K-12 students in hands-on science and engineering activities such as the Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering Fair, FIRST Lego League for middle school students, and the FIRST Robotics Competition for high school students. School of Science and Engineering engagement in K-12 STEM education has expanded to the point that there is now an Assistant Dean overseeing this program and a newly-established endowed fund dedicated to supporting it.

The other rapidly expanding area of community engagement in the School of Science and Engineering is technology transfer and intellectual property development. In the past several years, patents issued for inventions by faculty and students in the School have increased at an astonishing rate and a number have lead to the establishment of local start-up companies based on these technologies. Among them are: NanoFex, a materials engineering company specializing in nanomaterials for environmental remediation; APMT, a company that provides customized online monitoring solutions for polymer producers seeking to optimize their processes and products; and NOvate Medical Technologies, a company focused on low-cost medical devices. Tulane innovation is playing a significant role in the emerging entrepreneurial environment in New Orleans.

Along with undergraduate education and research and graduate education, community engagement is the third component of the mission of the Tulane School of Science and Engineering.

School of Science and Engineering, 201 Lindy Boggs Center, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5764 sse@tulane.edu