Having spent the first several weeks of my job as dean in meetings within a one-mile radius, it was time to embark on my first SLA road trip!
A few days ago, I traveled to Chicago to speak at a Tulane admissions event. The event took place in an enormous ballroom at the Marriott near O’Hare International Airport, and was filled with more than 800 engaged high school students and their parents. I joined two Tulane students and a professor from the business school and spoke about SLA’s vision for the liberal arts, the way we teach complex thinking and creativity, and how we value interdisciplinarity and a global education. The questions these hopeful students asked ranged from details about the dance program to study abroad programs, and how my kids—who moved in August from the Chicago suburb of Evanston—were adjusting to New Orleans’ public schools. Flying back to Tulane that evening, I reflected on how important it is to get off campus from time to time and how crucial maintaining an outside perspective is as we go about our work.
A few days later, shuttling between meetings, I welcomed a group of Iraqi archeologists visiting our campus guided by Professor Marcello Canuto. In a meeting that alternated between Arabic and English, we discussed everything from American attitudes toward the Arab world, to our collections in the Middle American Research Institute, and the differences and similarities between the heat and humidity in Baghdad and New Orleans in the summer. Frequently at a global university such as Tulane, you don’t need to leave campus to gain an alternative viewpoint.
Our newsletter this week illustrates how these varying perspectives are present across SLA. Whether this means studying discrimination against Muslims in New Orleans as undergraduate researcher Rory Davis describes, working to transform state government as our alumna Octavia Abell is doing, or sharing an abstract vision of Palatine Hill in Rome as painter and professor Aaron Collier is doing masterfully, the perspective is ever changing.
As the late summer slowly softens and October makes its way into our vision, I hope you’ll join us to learn more from these three SLA perspectives, and also reach out and share your own with us!
Read more from the SLA September 26, 2018 Newsletter.