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New academic affairs leader eager to learn more

December 12, 2016 8:45 AM
 | 
Mary Ann Travis mtravis@tulane.edu
  

Robin Forman, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, says that his first semester at Tulane has been one of positive surprises. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

 

As his first semester at Tulane University winds down, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost Robin Forman said, “It’s been great fun immersing myself in, and learning about, one of the world’s great research universities.”

President Mike Fitts’ “passionate and forceful commitment to making sure that Tulane reaffirms its stature as one of the nation’s leading research universities” drew Forman to take on the role of Tulane provost after stints at Emory and Rice universities.

Early in his career, Forman performed as a standup comedian. While he’s long quit the nightclub circuit, he said the skills he acquired as a comic come in handy. He enjoys using humor to emphasize messages, and he’s learned how to read a room.

“It’s been great fun immersing myself in, and learning about, one of the world’s great research universities.”

Robin Forman, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost

When speaking about Tulane, “It’s not enough for me to tell stories about what we at Tulane find exciting and the work we’re proud of, I have to find ways to tell those stories in ways that resonate with our many external audiences. Folks who care deeply about higher education, but often do not have the context shared by those of us fortunate enough to work here,” he said.

He’s discovered great work taking place across the university, and he’s still learning more.

Research is key, said Forman. And it’s “not disjoint from the undergraduate education, but rather we are at our best when those pieces of the university all come together.”

Students attend Tulane because of their “ability to study with, learn from and work alongside faculty who are changing the way that we understand the world,” said Forman.

He said he is passionate about working to improve the diversity of students and faculty at Tulane. “It’s not simply a matter of recruitment of students or hiring of faculty. We also need to do better at making this a campus where everyone is welcomed, supported, valued, celebrated and can thrive in whatever ways that are most meaningful for them.”

He added, “When you’re recruiting students who are as talented and as ambitious as our students are, then we have a responsibility to do our best to offer them an education that prepares them to reach their full, remarkable potential.”