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Duren Professorship Program

Overview

The William L. Duren '26 Professorship Program was established and endowed with a generous gift from Professor William L. Duren '26, M.A. '28, Ph.D., LL.D. honoris causa '59, professor emeritus of mathematics and former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia.

The objective of the William L. Duren Jr. ‘26 Professorship Program is to support faculty activities that enrich the scope of undergraduate education in Newcomb-Tulane College. The program facilitates intellectually rewarding interactions between faculty and students, both in and out of the classroom.

Duren Professors are selected from the faculty on the basis of their commitment to undergraduate teaching and their innovative proposals. While the Duren Program allows professors the freedom and resources to explore their personal research interests in greater depth, it is primarily concerned with providing the maximum educational benefit for the students.

Duren Professors may:

  • Arrange for supplemental experiences beyond the classroom that extend and enrich the formal classroom experience: field work, concert series, lecture series, travel to local archival collections or museums to consult primary materials, etc.
  • Adopt a multidisciplinary approach, which may or may not involve team teaching
  • Offer courses of a generalist rather than a highly discipline-specific type: for example, a general “modes of inquiry” approach or an approach that addresses fundamental, global questions across a range of disciplines
  • Offer courses that demonstrate the applications and extensions of their previous research to new intellectual problems
  • Offer courses that involve an unusual and distinctive pedagogy or an experiential component for which additional resources might be required

Duren Professors also serve on the Newcomb-Tulane College Grant Committee and participate in student engagement activities run by the College; additional details and dates will be provided in the appointment letter.

 

How to Apply

The Duren Professorship Program is administered by Newcomb-Tulane College. Prospective Duren professors may submit a proposal via email to NTC’s Director of Academic Programs. 

The proposal should include: 

  • Your department, email address, mailing address, and telephone number
  • A brief but precise description as to what activities you intend to undertake as a Duren Professor and how the proposed activities fulfill special objectives
  • A budget explaining how the $5,000 in program funds will be used,emphasizing how the expenditures fulfill the objectives of the program and facilitate worthwhile educational activity that would not otherwise be possible.

The prospective Duren Professor’s department chair is required to approve your participation in the program, to ensure that it is consistent with regular departmental activity.

Please contact Allison Cruz, NTC’s Director of Academic Programs, at acruz5@tulane.edu or 504-314-2801 with any questions.

Terms and Conditions of Appointment

Each year, three members of the faculty may serve as Duren Professors. The term of service is normally one year but it may be renewed. Duren Professors are selected by a committee consisting of the dean of Newcomb-Tulane College and other members of the college community. Each Duren Professor is provided with a $5,000 stipend plus up to $5,000 in funding.

Over the course of their term, Duren Professors teach at least one course that utilizes the resources provided by the Duren Program. 

Duren courses may be offered in the fall and/or spring semester. A Duren course may be a regular course offering that offers supplemental programming, or a special topics course that falls outside the regular curriculum. In order to permit the latter option, Duren Professors may use some of their funding to secure partial release from departmental teaching duties, if they so choose. Duren Professors are encouraged to offer courses that can be incorporated into regular departmental offerings so that they may fulfill major requirements.

 

Duren Professors 2020-2021

Professor Dorothy J. Cheruiyot, Ph.D. - Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Professor Dorothy Cheruiyot's course, Urban Agroecology and Sustainability in New Orleans, will be project and service learning centered. It will provide a socio-ecological approach to the study of urban food production, by evaluating the pressures driving biodiversity, energy cycling conservation, job creation, human health and well-being. The core of this course will be on vegetable and fruit production in urban landscape. Along with classroom learning related to these topics, students will maintain a community garden, interact with the community around the site of the garden, grow produce and practice problem solving.

Professor Felipe Fernandes Cruz, Ph.D. - History

In summer 2018, Professor Cruz launched an experimental digital humanities course. In this course, titled “DIY history,” students conducted hands‐on research at a historical archive to build an interactive mixed physical/digital museum exhibit. In the course, students worked at both the Latin American Library archives and the school of engineering’s makerspace. There, they learned to use technologies such as 3D printers and laser cutters, which they employed in building their museum exhibit. Professor Cruz believes that engagement with fields outside of the liberal arts can foster innovation in teaching and research. He plans to use the Duren professorship to develop this curriculum to be subject agnostic, and available for other faculty to use. The goal is to make an open‐source pedagogical toolkit, with detailed instructional materials that can be adopted by other professors even if they do not have the particular technical skills to execute it. The resulting materials would also be modular, allowing professors to take lesson plans for just a particular tech or research skill, and apply it to their class.  

Professor Scott M. Grayson, Ph.D. - Chemistry

Professor Grayson will use the Duren professorship to help make traditionally difficult courses, like Organic Chemistry, more relatable for non-chemists. Many students learn about chemistry via memorization, rather than understanding each relevant concept. However, most students would appreciate something other than the lecture-hall format. They would like a “reactivity-based” approach that helps them see how chemistry is used in everyday life. Professor Grayson plans to achieve this through optimization of in-class demonstrations, an emphasis on the number of reactions that highlight the past work of Tulane chemists and adding guest speakers to his curriculum.

Duren Professors 2019-2020

Professor Guadalupe García, Ph.D. - History

Professor García's Duren-supported course, The Latinx South: Historical Antecedents and Contemporary Issues of U.S. Immigration, is a survey of modern-era immigration policies. The course moves from the mid nineteenth-century forward to focus on the contemporary U.S. South, from Hurricane Katrina through present-day transformations ushered in by the rise of private detention facilities and ICE policing. The class will examine debates around Latinx immigration specifically, including how immigration should be regulated, who has the right to migrate and move, and how immigrants participate in local and national economies. Guest lectures and on-site visits to detention facilities will supplement classroom discussions.

Professor Tiffany Lin, AIA - Architecture

In fall 2018, Professor Lin created the inaugural Intro to Design and Creative Thinking course for non-architecture majors who are interested in design. The course, a lecture/studio hybrid, will continue to offer a broad introduction to the fundamental principles of design, visual communication, and creative problem-solving. Duren funds will allow for expanded, hands-on enrichment activities, including design workshops, field trips, and guest lectures featuring local artists, designers, and professors from allied departments.

Professor Ian K. Townley, Ph.D. - Cell and Molecular Biology

Duren funds will support the creation of an introductory bioinformatics course, the first of its kind at Tulane. Professor Townley says, "(It) will be an immersive inquiry and project-based course where students learn both how to manipulate and ask questions of biological data using cutting edge methods." Introductory Bioinformatics will be taught as a special topics course in spring 2020, and he will work to align his course with the future bioinformatics major that Dr. Laurie Earls, 2018-2019 Duren Professor, is developing a curriculum for. 

 

Past Duren Professors