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Tenenbaum Sophomore Tutorials in Liberal Arts Faculty Overview

Tenenbaum Sophomore Tutorials in Liberal Arts,
Illustration Credit: Czarlyn Trinidad (NT '21)

Tulane’s School of Liberal Arts offers students the best of both worlds: the faculty of a world-class research university and the close faculty-student connections of a liberal arts college. The Tenenbaum Program in the Liberal Arts is an opportunity for students at Tulane to highlight and deepen this dual identity.

Description and Objectives

The Tenenbaum Program brings together faculty and students in small, team-taught seminars and individual tutorial discussions, creating the ideal conditions for intellectual exchange. 

The program began fall semester 2020 with a group of up to 12 students who will join two professors selected from our research faculty in a team-taught, interdisciplinary seminar on a special topic that brings approaches from the humanities and social sciences to bear on an issue of broad importance with local or regional resonances.

Students selected meet weekly throughout the fall or spring in a seminar, limited to 12 students, taught by a pair of faculty from different departments who have developed a unique course. They meet once per week through the first semester of the program taught by the pair, and also biweekly in one-on-one sessions with one of the professors in a 45-minute tutorial style discussion. (Six students are assigned to each professor, who guides tutorials.) Funding has been set aside for the seminar leaders to enhance learning through extracurricular engagement with relevant events or activities. The learning objective of the tutorials is to prepare sophomores for original inquiry and research in the humanities which they then carry into the next semester in independent tutorials with a faculty member of their choice.

The second semester of the program builds on the tutorial-style relationship and helps students strengthen written and oral communication skills while pursuing independent research projects. For the second semester, students work with a faculty mentor drawn from a roster of available, pre-approved Liberal Arts faculty to extend discoveries in a new direction. Tenenbaum independent study tutorials are 4-credit hour courses encompassing extensive instructor contact time, directed reading, and research. Each student will have up to a $1000 research budget to assist their inquiries. Students’ work with faculty may result in written papers or creative work. Late in the second semester, students share their projects to the group in a symposium attended by students, Tenenbaum faculty fellows, and invited guests.

While the independent studies would be arranged by the students in consultation with their faculty mentor, the School-selected themes for the Tenenbaum courses offer opportunities for students to consider broad topics across disciplines, underscoring their historical roots and continued relevance in contemporary culture, with particular resonances in New Orleans or the Gulf South region.

Application Procedure for Faculty

There are two ways faculty may participate in the program: 1) leading a team-taught seminar in the initial term, or 2) leading independent tutorials in the second term. These are not mutually exclusive. There will be a team-taught seminar in both fall and spring, so there will always also be a follow-up semester in the spring or fall respectively for the independent tutorials following the semester with the seminar.

Prospective seminar leaders may propose a course for the seminar semester along with a brief description, rationale, schematic list of suggested readings, and extra-curricular activities. Proposals should be limited to one, single-spaced page in the first round. Seminar courses will count toward your regular teaching load and will not be replaced by adjunct teaching, so faculty relied on to teach core or other gateway courses in home departments or programs should apply only if they can maintain these core teaching obligations.

Faculty may ideally apply in pairs but two intriguing proposals may be combined in effort to balance both interdisciplinarity and diversity of the fellows. Selections will be made by the Faculty Resources Committee within two weeks.

For consideration for independent study leaders, interested faculty should apply via an online form that asks for a short statement of interest, areas of teaching/research interest, past mentoring experiences and teaching highlights. This will include request for a 100-150-word statement to be included on a website from which Tenenbaum students will choose faculty mentors. We will select as many faculty mentors as meet the requirements, and will seek to achieve diversity across departments and interdisciplinary approaches.



Application Procedure for Students

On-line applications to the program will open in February and include a statement of interest, any preparatory coursework or experiences, and a signature from the students’ NTC advisor affirming the students’ academic standing. Students must commit to stay in the program and remain in good standing for the duration of the theme year. Students will be selected by a committee including the seminar leaders and members of the Dean’s Office. Prospective Tenenbaum students will have access to the selected seminar theme in March in advance of course selection. 

Program FAQs

Do faculty who teach the fall seminar lead the independent studies? May faculty opt-out of the spring independent studies?
Fall faculty are not obliged to oversee any students in spring, though we imagine students may want to continue their tutorials with you. As a faculty fellow, we would want you to guide students in the initial articulation of their independent study project and help them look for a potential Fellow mentor.

Which faculty are eligible to apply?
All full-time faculty in the School of Liberal Arts, both tenure-line and professors of practice, are eligible to apply for either the fall seminars and/or the spring tutorials. Faculty do not need to seek permission from their department chair to apply, but should not apply if both (or for PoPs, all) courses in the fall are core or required courses for the major.

Are faculty in the fine and performing arts eligible to apply for fall seminars?
Yes. However, the team-taught seminar format is geared more to the humanities and humanistic social sciences, from which we expect the majority of proposals will come. Faculty in the fine and performing arts joining in a team-taught seminar proposal should foreground the ways in which non-artist students may engage. 

May faculty apply to do an independent study without leading a seminar?
Faculty may apply to lead an independent study whether or not they are interested in or selected to teach a fall Tenenbaum seminar. Students will choose faculty mentors from a preapproved list.

What about the spring independent tutorial roster for arts faculty?
Faculty in the arts who want to join the roster of spring independent tutorial leaders should include in their statement how students may engage them in independent research. We do expect to include arts faculty on the spring independent tutorial roster.

Is there any additional stipend for participation in the program? Is there a limit on doing these independent studies? Is there teaching release for the independent study?

Fall seminar leaders will receive an additional $5,000 each for their work in developing the new course and the additional time required to lead the seminars and tutorials. The fall term course counts toward a regular teaching assignment. There will be an additional budget for each seminar for course enhancements.

Spring independent tutorial faculty will receive an additional $2000 for the extra effort and time. Faculty will not get course release for leading an independent tutorial. Faculty will be limited to two independent studies per semester.

What resources are available for extra-curricular course enhancements?
For the fall seminars, each pair of faculty will have up to $6,000 (or $500 per student) course enhancement funds. Eligible expenses are transportation, admission, travel, fees, and/or meals to attend local or regional events or activities related to the theme of the course. Faculty will work with the Dean’s Office to gain preapproval. Each student will have a $1000 research budget for spring term tutorials to support research travel and/or materials. 

How do I apply?
Online webforms for faculty are available on the Liberal Arts website under Tenenbaum Program in Box. Review of applications for seminars will begin January 6, 2020. Review of applications for the independent tutorial leader roster will be ongoing as we build the roster.