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Faculty Reflections

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Cristina Lawson

Like any good thing, a successful transition to college takes effort. For a while, everything at Tulane might feel new and overwhelming. Friendships will seem inauthentic, faculty intimidating, classes insurmountable. This experience is normal (truly!) but will pass quickly if you are proactive. Learn from the stories of your peer leaders. Use your campus resources. Invite classmates to the Commons for a meal. Don’t be a bystander to your four years at Tulane.

There is so much depth to our people. It feels like everyone on campus has a rich life outside of their work which contributes to a more vibrant academic community. Your faculty might discuss the parade they are riding in, the nonprofit they are supporting, or the festival they are attending. All of this manifests into a dynamic learning experience, one that is uniquely Tulane.

Through programs such as TIDES, Residential Faculty Mentors, and Wall Societies, my office supports students in connecting with faculty both in and outside of the classroom. We also work to connect you with the resources you need to be academically successful. Find my team in the most beautiful building on campus, Mussafer Hall.

 Cristina Lawson
Director, First-Year Experience



Allison Cruz

Welcome to Tulane! We are so excited to welcome you to the Green Wave family, even in our current unusual circumstances. My name is Allison Cruz, and I am the Assistant Dean for Academic Enrichment in Newcomb-Tulane College. I have a really fun job! In my position I oversee co-curricular academic engagement for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. What the heck does that mean? In my office, we run a grant program to fund undergraduate research, travel, and unpaid internships; we run many sophomore, junior, and senior programs, including retreats, social events, and the Sophomore Declaration Celebration, where you will receive your first piece of graduation regalia. The Class of 2024 will be the first class to experience the brand new Office of Undergraduate Research, offering pathways to on-campus undergraduate research opportunities, as well as research resources and skill building. You will also receive information from my office soon about the College Scholars program, open to all students with a 3.6 and above GPA. As a College Scholar, you will join a community of students interested in similar academic topics, and be connected with Tulane’s world-class faculty in your area of interest. Keep an eye out for information. 

My favorite thing about Tulane are the unending opportunities for academic and intellectual engagement. Through the ability to double or even TRIPLE major across schools within Newcomb-Tulane College, on campus research opportunities, and the many programs in which you can interact with faculty outside of the classroom, at Tulane you have so many avenues to explore your academic interests. Tulane also has a packed calendar of talks, lectures, concerts, plays, and beyond to fill your time out of class. Even during our current reality of social distancing, many of these programs are going virtual. I always say this, and it still holds true, college is the only time in your life where you will have such close access to intellectuals, writers, lecturers, etc…for free, and essentially in your living room (this semester!). Take advantage! Ask questions. Get engaged and stay engaged, and it will make all the difference. 

My best advice to you as become a Tulanian is to make relationships with the faculty and staff of Newcomb-Tulane College. Faculty office hours are there for you. Even if you think you have nothing to say, just drop by (even virtually!) to say hello. Faculty are people, too! The staff of Newcomb-Tulane College is wholly focused on your success. Get to know your academic advisor, your success coach, or any of the advisors and mentors within other NTC offices. We can all direct you to the best person to answer your questions. While this semester may be a bit different than we all expected, we are all still here to assist you to find your success at Tulane.

 Allison Cruz
Assistant Dean for Academic Enrichment



Edward Cruz

I know I am not the first to say this to you, but Welcome to Tulane! We are excited you chose our community to be a part of over the next four years. My name is Edward Cruz, and I serve as the Assistant Dean and Executive Director for Newcomb-Tulane College (NTC) Career Services. Our team’s focus is to empower and assist you in your unique career journey. We strongly encourage you to engage with us in your first year in the following ways:

  1. Activate your Handshake account
    Handshake is your virtual connection point to Fortune 500 companies, startups, nonprofits, and more. This platform is your one-stop for managing your career from identifying and applying to on-campus and off-campus internships and jobs to staying on top of upcoming career events and programs with career staff and employer recruiters to launch your career. Activate your account today!
  2. Attend Career Events and Career Education Program
    Register for CRDV 1090: Majors, Internships and Jobs
    CRDV 1090 is a 1-hour credit course that guides students through the career development process. Class participants develop the necessary tools, skills, and resources to become career-ready, learning what they have to offer and what it takes to be an excellent candidate in a competitive job market

    Join us for an NTC Career Chat
    How to Use Your Handshake Account
    August 26, 2020, 11:00AM CST (Online Session)
    You’ve heard about the online job and internship database, Handshake, but you aren’t sure how to start using it. This webinar will guide you through completing your profile, show you how to search for positions effectively, and highlight additional job and internship search resources available through the system!

    Attend TU’s first-ever Virtual Career Fair!
    Virtual Career Fair

    Friday, October 9, 11:00AM – 2:00PM CST (Online Event)
    This event will provide opportunities to engage with employer recruiters interested in connecting with you. This fair is a great way for you to begin enhancing your professional network and possibly meet your future employer!  

  3. Meet with a Career Coach and Peer Mentor
    Meet with one of our career coaches by scheduling an appointment within your first semester. The team is available to discuss your career pathways that align with your values, interests, and personality. Additionally, you can meet with one of our highly trained Peer Mentors to get the support you need when you need it!

The next four years will go quickly, and we are here to support you as you navigate you’re your academics and make connections to the many career paths a Tulane degree will afford you. Please reach out to us at HireTulaneGrads.com. Lastly, I urge you to take advantage of every opportunity presented to you at Tulane. Be sure to connect with your faculty outside of the classroom, get involved on campus, and become a part of both the Tulane and New Orleans communities. This institution and city have a lot to offer each you!

 —Edward Cruz
Assistant Dean & Executive Director, Career Services



My name is Penny Wyatt and I serve as the Director of Parent Programs and External Relations for the Division of Student Affairs. One of the things I appreciate most about Tulane is its perfect size. It is large enough to have many interesting academic resources and helpful student services, yet small enough to facilitate a meaningful sense of community. I have also appreciated the many bright, motivated, and caring students I have worked with over the years. I have worked at Tulane for over 20 years in various aspects of Academic and Student Affairs, including Housing and Residence Life, Student Activities, First Year Programs and Orientation. In my current role, I enjoy connecting parents to the university community that supports their students' education and personal growth at Tulane. 

The goal of the Office of Parent Programs is to help parents feel informed about and connected with their student’s experience at Tulane. Parent Programs offers communication through e-newsletters, webinars, and tutorials; events to connect with the university community; and opportunities to support Tulane.

My best advice to new students is to use every opportunity to cultivate new connections and relationships. Be persistent about introducing yourself to new people. Be intentional about seeking out new experiences. Remember that everyone feels awkward about that, they just don’t want to show it! You will not replace your high school and home friends overnight, but with patience and effort, you can build a network of connections that will become your new Tulane community for the next several years and beyond.

My best advice to parents is to anticipate that the amount, type, or frequency of communication with your student may change as they get involved in and adjusted to their new college life. Be understanding and flexible. Find a new communication pattern that works for both you and your student. Even though you can call, text, Zoom and Skype, don’t forget that a handwritten letter or homemade care package can be a welcomed gesture of support.

 Penny Wyatt
Director of Parent Programs and External Relations