Last Wednesday, Bill Buckles, a Tulane University engineering professor, had an endowed chair. He had a federal grant that had been approved, but not yet delivered, for a project to study watersheds around New Orleans, and perhaps to learn how they might function during a hurricane.
Fred Petry, also a tenured Tulane engineering prof, had been in his department longer than anyone else. Last summer he was honored by “our dear president,” he said, for his 25 years of service. “I was hoping for 30,” he added.
It's far from clear, at this relatively early stage, whether the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education will go the legislative route to pursue whatever changes its members desire. But if the panel chooses to do so, it will almost certainly need the help of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the former U.S. education secretary and University of Tennessee president who heads the Senate's education subcommittee.