The mission of the Tulane University School of Science and Engineering is to provide outstanding opportunities for learning and discovery in science and engineering and to foster an environment that is student focused, research intensive, interdisciplinary, entrepreneurial, and responsive to the needs of the community.
The School of Science and Engineering combines the very best of a top tier research university with a strong commitment to high quality undergraduate education. Our faculty, who conduct research at the forefront of their disciplines, offer outstanding degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
The School is supported by 13 endowed chair positions, 11 endowed professorships and 7 endowed early career professorships.
The SSE faculty attract over $20 million dollars in sponsored research, generate over 500 articles in refereed journals, and file for over 15 new patents each year. The School generates millions in research dollars for the University, champions undergraduate research opportunities, and annually graduates the largest number of doctoral students at Tulane.
The mission of Tulane University’s School of Science and Engineering is to provide outstanding opportunities for learning and discovery in science and engineering and to foster an environment that is student focused, research intensive, interdisciplinary, entrepreneurial, and responsive to the needs of the community. Our mission aligns with that of KEEN, and KEEN’s emphasis on entrepreneurial activity will help us further our mission and vision. Tulane takes great pride in its ability to redefine itself and sees great value in the new initiatives the KEEN partnership will provide.
Unlike other networks, KEEN offers a strong community of individuals and institutions committed to curricular modification through an active-learning framework. Our inclusion in the Network will provide us with a position to both learn from and contribute to KEEN institutions in the development of EML best practices. Because of our mission’s strong alignment with the KEEN mission, our faculty have responded positively to integrating EML, as it reflects values that already exist in all three engineering departments with the added benefit of structuring methods for ensuring this value is communicated and instilled reliably in all engineering students. Tulane’s leadership in service learning offers a model for institutionalizing the links between classroom activity and real-world impact at the undergraduate level. It also provides a potential mechanism for tracking that impact across campus and in the community.
This program strikes me as an important and forward-looking approach to engineering education, one that makes great sense for both the challenges and the students of today...
--R. Forman, Senior VP for Academic Affairs, Provost
& 21 others
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This card outlines the initial offering of a design +
service learning component added to the first-year chemical engineering course
at Tulane University. After attending the FIRe workshop during Summer 2019, I
developed a partnership with Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans. Presented here is
an outline for the full semester design project, preliminary feedback for
engaging a client, and future plans.
First-year Course Description
first-year course Global Impacts and Opportunities in Chemical Engineering,
connects core chemical engineering concepts to real-world
applications—showcasing the global impact that chemical engineers have on our
planet and the grand challenges that they are working to address. Topics
include energy generation and renewability, advances in medicine, large-scale
food production, revolutionary materials, and pollution prevention and
sustainability. Students learn through relevant readings, discussions, tours of
local businesses, hands-on projects, and guest lectures from faculty members.
The class meets once per week for 50 minutes throughout the semester.
Learning at Tulane
In 2006, following hurricane Katrina, Tulane University
added a service learning requirement to the core curriculum to provide students
with an educational experience based upon a collaborative partnership between
the university and the New Orleans community. Tulane requires students to
complete two service learning courses, a lower tier 20-hour course and an upper
tier 40-hour course. Any faculty member can offer a service learning component
with their course, and the tier level is based on the course offering level.
Design + Service Learning
For the service learning course described here,
students applied the design process and critical thinking skills to meet the
needs of our community partner, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. Since the
course was first offered during Spring 2020, we were unable to complete the in
person design component and present a final deliverable to the community
The service learning class met each week for two hours.
Most sessions were held on campus where students could work in teams to
brainstorm in lab and visit the Makerspace to prototype. During the second
session, we visited the Audubon Aquarium, where our clients (the animal
keepers) presented on animal husbandry and the importance of enrichment. The
clients selected four animals for our teams to work with (sea otters, electric
eel, parrots, and penguins). Teams then broke out into small groups where each
animal's keeper discussed animal specific guidelines and ideas. Each team was
presented with an Enrichment Guideline sheet which included Risk Assessment,
Approved Materials, and Enrichment Goals specific to each animal. These
documents are confidential and cannot be included here.
After the initial
meeting with the clients, our main community partner attended each Friday
session on campus to help answer questions and work through ideas with
students. Once a design was selected, teams were required to generate a concept
board, and presented to the animal keepers during the second trip to the
aquarium. During this trip, students were able to receive feedback from their
client, and a final design was selected and materials were approved.
provided the instructor with a shopping list ($100 budget). Supplies arrived
the following week and students began prototyping in the Makerspace. Unfortunately,
Tulane transitioned to remote instruction the following week. The original plan
was to present the keepers with a prototype during the third aquarium meeting,
then present final deliverables during the last class session. Tulane's Center
for Public Service released a set of options for instructors to implement so
students could still satisfy their service learning requirement for the
semester. I opted to expand on the current project through a series of readings
and online discussions on Canvas, and a weekly class meeting through Zoom, see
the Service Learning Assignments Folder.
Looking forward, I would
like to expand upon the service learning offering in two ways.
Additional partners: The Audubon Institute consists of the Audubon Zoo, Audubon
Aquarium of the Americas, Audubon Insectarium, and Audubon Louisiana Nature
Center, and is respected for their conservation efforts and environmental
education. Moving forward, I would like to engage additional clients at other
Audubon facilities to expand the list of possible projects that students have
the opportunity to work on.
2) Connect upper and lower-level students:
Currently, our upper and lower-level students rarely interact with each other,
and I see this as an opportunity to establish mentor-type relationships. I plan
to work with our current community partner to develop a design project for our
senior students that can also tie into the first-year student projects. Moving
forward, I would attach an upper-level service learning component to senior
design and have both student groups work together. This can then be expanded to
include additional community partners.