Tulane University President Scott Cowen has been elected chairman of the Association of American Universities, the country's foremost organization of research-oriented institutions of higher education. His year-long term began Tuesday, as soon as he was chosen.
Cowen's ascent was not unexpected. As vice chairman for the past year, he followed the tradition of moving to the top spot.
As the association's leader, Cowen said his responsibility is to be an advocate of higher education wherever possible -- no small chore, he said, because of the budget cuts that governments are making in that area.
In Louisiana, for instance, state-run colleges and university systems received nearly $66 million less from the state's general fund in the fiscal year that began July 1.