Message from the Editors
August 2021: the stage is set for the beginning of in-person classes, events, and returning to university life as we know it. A year and a half into a global pandemic, we’ve become more adaptable, we’ve developed new skills, and we have a greater understanding of the interconnectedness of our lives. In August, we were ready to start the fall semester afresh.
Then, Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 storm, swept through South Louisiana. Hand in hand with a pandemic, the events of the past year continue to teach us new lessons and push us to think about adjusting to an uncharted, global future that promises to persist in its complexity.
We’ve been preparing for the future for a long time in the School of Liberal Arts and are excited to present this issue of our magazine, focused on “Futures” plural. In one sense, this issue supports the traditional understanding of how our faculty and students research the past to move forward. Studying disciplines like history, anthropology, and classics allow us to understand our present moment more deeply and prepare for the days, months, and decades ahead. But we are also grounded in the current moment across the school—our faculty are engaged with both our student body and the New Orleans community in ways that are shaping a more dynamic education, forging new paths to fulfilling careers, and creating a better understanding of the world we live in and the world we will live in. In the School itself, we’re responding to these calls by revitalizing key offerings, such as the Digital Media Practices program and the Strategy, Leadership and Analytics Minor (SLAM), to better equip our students for careers of the future.
While the approaches differ, what you’ll find reiterated throughout this issue is that the liberal arts disciplines excel in preparing students for the growth necessary to welcome what lies ahead—in fact, the word “future” has its roots in the Latin futurus and the stem fu-, meaning “to grow, to become.” As you’ll see in these articles, graduating with a degree in the liberal arts means leaving college with remarkable communication, research, and problem solving skills, as well as the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances—key abilities required for a workforce inclusive of careers we can’t yet envision. We hope you enjoy this issue of the Tulane School of Liberal Arts Magazine, and we look forward to traveling onward, into the unknown, together.
Dean Brian Edwards addresses one of his current research topics, examining how careers of the future are best supported by a Liberal Arts background.
Professor Adam McKeown and Executive Director Edward Cruz discuss how we provide unique skills that prepare students for professional success—and flexibility.
Our Mellon Graduate Program draws on the experience of Tulane’s many community-engaged faculty members to make this program in public humanities unlike any other.
Professor Ilana Horwitz shares research from her new book, which underscores that religion has a powerful but mixed impact on college students’ performance.
also in this issue
An interview with renowned jazz musician and Professor Courtney Bryan, exploring how improvisation helps one prepare for—and adapt to—the future.
Members of our Dean's Advisory Council share their experiences in how invaluable liberal arts graduates are to the workplace.
Four alumni share how their liberal arts skills fully laid the foundation for where they are now in their careers, both intentionally and unexpectedly.
How the newly rebranded Strategy, Leadership, Analytics & Management Minor is leveraging a unique liberal arts approach to innovation.
A sneak preview of a faculty book examining how Singapore's futuristic socioeconomic policies and cultural imaginary factor into its global positioning.
Thomas Pringle, new to the Environmental Studies Department, discusses his two courses that address how we see and understand changes in our environment.
Spotlighting a Creative Industries course taught by Professor Willian Taylor as part of our Summer Programs offerings.
An original fiction piece by student Jalon Young.
Following national recruitment searches, new faculty add subject matter expertise to our robust and in-demand Digital Media Practices Program.