Payson Center Reorganization

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A message from Executive Director Colin Crawford

The Payson Center is being reorganized. As of July 1, 2015, the Payson Center for International Development, as we now know it, will cease to exist. Instead, going ahead there will be two academic international development programs at Tulane. The undergraduate coordinate major will be run out of the School for Liberal Arts. The graduate program, including both the MS and PhD programs, will continue to be run out of the Law School, as they are now, and will continue to bear the Payson name. Senior Program Administrator, Sheila Favalora and I will continue to staff both programs.

Why this change?

The Payson Center has been extremely successful in attracting extramural funding in its nearly 20 years of operation, largely through the success of the Payson Center’s founders, Drs. Eamon Kelly and William E. Bertrand, and aided by able and imaginative researchers like Drs. Nancy Mock, Julie Hernandez, Elke de Buhr and many others. The numbers tell the story: nearly $90 million in grant- and contract-funded activities have been funded since 1996 – impressively, of that, nearly half was generated by Dr. Bertrand alone. However, as many readers will also know, funding has been seriously cut back in recent years – some previously generous funding sources have cut back as much as 40%.

This basic economic fact necessitated a change in Payson’s model. The toughest part of this is that as a result we will lose valued members of our Payson community, most especially most of the staff. Some faculty and staff may move to other units in the university (we are not the only grant-dependent unit that is undergoing reorganization.) As of this writing, however, I do not anticipate that any permanent faculty will leave Tulane.

No disruption to academic experience

This should not mean major, if any, disruptions, in the academic experience Payson offers in International Development. In fact, at the undergraduate level, a new faculty member will be hired to teach core and elective courses – probably sometime in the Fall 2015 semester. Faculty at the graduate and undergraduate levels will continue to occupy many of the offices on the third floor of Hebert, which will continue to be International Development’s physical home at Tulane. Furthermore, faculty will continue to seek grant funding.

Over the weeks to come, I will continue to update you on any important changes or developments as this reorganization proceeds. But be assured that we remain committed to provide a rigorous, challenging academic program in international development.

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