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Spark RLC

spark students study together on the josephine louise quad. quote reads "Comprised of talented and motivated women who  aspire to be leaders in the Tulane community, Spark  encourages its residents to excel academically while  engaged in a tight-knit community. Providing a  structured setting for residents to develop skills and  community connections, Spark serves as a pipeline to  leadership opportunities at Newcomb College Institute,  at Tulane, and across New Orleans.” Rachel Weber, Josephine Louise Resident Director

Drawing on the legacy of Newcomb College, Spark provides a place for first-year women to find their “spark” — their own Tulane pathway — as they forge connections with one another and with faculty, staff, and alumnae through the gender-focused programming and opportunities provided by Newcomb College Institute. 

Spark Residential Learning Community encourages first-year women to build and engage in creative, intellectual, and social justice communities at Tulane, in New Orleans, and beyond. Guided by faculty, staff, and students from Newcomb College Institute (NCI), you will engage in activities, events, and courses that focus on gender, leadership, and social change. Spark's special TIDES courses and monthly dinners with faculty from a variety of disciplines will facilitate your involvement in Tulane's academic community, local culture, and the arts.

Spark RLC students play musical instruments. Title states "enrich your community".


The Spark RLC is a collaboration between Housing and Residence Life and the Newcomb College Institute.


All first-year students at Tulane Universities are required to take a TIDES course. Members of Residential Learning Communities have the opportunity to enroll in a TIDES course that explores the concepts and values of their community in depth. For 2018-2019, the affiliated TIDES courses are:

  • TIDE 1981: Frames, Films, and Femmes Fatales - This course is a critical survey of cinematic works by and about women, with examples drawn from different modes of cinematic expression (mainstream fiction films as well as alternative film and video [including documentaries, experimental, & narrative]) and from different historical periods (from the 1930s to the present). The course deploys feminist approaches to film criticism and applies these approaches to cinematic representations of women. Films illustrating particular genres, as well as feminist and ''women's'' films, are discussed and critiqued. We will consider the role of film in our understandings of sex, gender, and sexuality, as well as race, class and disability. Through discussions and writing we will work to discern relevant social, political, ideological, and aesthetic concepts in the media we examine. We will look at contemporary Hollywood and independent cinema, US and some international films by both established and emerging filmmakers.
  • TIDE 1985: Women Leading New Orleans - From non-profit organizations to government, from social movements to Mardi Gras, from restaurants to boardrooms, women have led New Orleans. Using an intersectional feminist lens, this course will explore how the personal, the organizational, and the institutional intersect to shape how women practice leadership. Students will be introduced to theories and research that address gender and leadership while focusing on historical and contemporary examples of women practicing leadership in New Orleans. The course will begin with a brief introduction to a sociological perspective on gender and intersectionality - foundational concepts of the course - and move into discussions of how and why women lead, as well as barriers they encounter to leadership. Guest speakers, field trips, and writing assignments will ask students to think broadly, but also analytically, about what leadership means, as well as about how identities and institutions shape the experience of leadership.
  • TIDE 1982: Contemporary Women Writers - How might gender influence the way women see themselves and tell their life stories? In this course, we will analyze works of "life writing" by women in the 20th and 21st centuries: memoirs, personal essays, self-portraits, and other forms of self-representation in literature and visual culture. We will analyze these works through the lens of gender, examining the social and historical contexts that influence how women perceive and represent themselves. In addition to textual self-portrayals, we will view self-portraits on another kind of page: print photography. While studying the visual alongside the verbal, we will discuss such themes as gender and sexuality, family and community, and the cultural standards of beauty and taboo.


The Spark Residential Learning Community is in the Josephine Louise Residence Hall.


You may apply for the Spark RLC through the student housing application process. Your answers to some supplemental, RLC-specific questions will be evaluated by a committee. If you are accepted, you will be notified and be sent more information on the room selection and roommate process.

If you have questions about the programming and initiatives that take place in this RLC, please contact Lauren Wethers at If you have questions about RLC housing logistics, please contact Housing and Residence Life at