Cowen continues to receive compensation during two-year sabbatical

Franny Hocking, Associate News Editor

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Former Tulane University President Scott Cowen is currently on sabbatical, which began formally in July 2014 and extends through the 2016 academic year. Though he is on leave, Cowen continues to play an active role in the local community and receive compensation.

“I remain actively engaged at Tulane, including teaching individual classes this year and next, working on projects at the Cowen Institute for Public Education and assisting the university administration as needed and requested,” Cowen said.

University administration declined to provide direct information about Cowen’s compensation while on sabbatical because Tulane is a private institution. As a matter of university policy, faculty and staff compensations are not public information.

Executive Director of Public Relations Michael Strecker said faculty members typically receive the same salary during their sabbatical as they do when they are active faculty members. In the 2011-12 school year, Cowen received a salary of $940,000, according to data in The Chronicle of Higher Education. 

When Cowen returns from his sabbatical, he will serve as a distinguished university professor and be recognized as a president emeritus. 

Faculty typically receive the same salary upon return unless prior contractual commitments specify otherwise. When Cowen returns from his leave, however, he will be assuming a new position and role within the Tulane community. Therefore, his salary upon return cannot be confirmed.

Normally, faculty members are eligible for a sabbatical every seven years. This is Cowen’s first sabbatical in over 40 years of academia.

In addition to his work with Tulane, he is using his time to write another book, write opinion pieces for various publications such as The Huffington Post and Wall Street Journal, and prepare for and give lectures. Cowen is also getting more involved in non-profits such as the Posse Foundation, which is a leadership scholarship program for students with high academic and leadership achievements.

He is continuing to finish up his national tour for his most recent book, “The Inevitable City: The Resurgence of New Orleans and the Future of America.” Cowen said he is donating a portion of the sales proceeds to Tulane.

Provost Michael Bernstein said the administration continues to benefit from Cowen’s advice and counsel during his sabbatical.

“The administration fully supports Dr. Cowen’s sabbatical, just as it supports sabbatical leave of other faculty,” Bernstein said.