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Possible Initiatives For Discussion

 

IV.       Enhancing Our Intellectual Community

 

            As reflected in our co-curricular proposals, we envision a life-long intellectual community that begins before our entering students matriculate and continues after they graduate.  We aspire to construct a community that links our students across the class-years and knits together our strengths in internationalism and diversity with our commitment to public service and citizenship.  The following initiatives are milestone events that reinforce the idea of developmental learning.  That is, they are designed, first, to establish a “Tufts story” in which learning is continuous and, second, to reinforce that story at important junctures throughout our students’ years here and in the future beyond Tufts.  They share the common goals of enhancing community through intellectual pursuits and of providing visible coherence to the four years at Tufts. 

 

·        Pre-matriculation Summer Program:  Institute a summer program for those students whose preparation for college-level study needs augmentation prior to matriculation.  We deliberately select for admission students who come from diverse backgrounds and have differing degrees of academic preparation.  What we want to avoid is admitting students only to watch them fail.  Toward that end we should make a preparatory program available to any student who feels that he or she will need it to take full advantage of the intellectual experience Tufts will provide.

 

·        Summer Reading Program:  Establish a program whereby our alumni give newly admitted students a book as a welcoming gift, inviting them to membership in the Tufts intellectual community.  Different students might receive different books to provide varying perspectives on enduring issues.  An opportunity to discuss the reading should be provided, perhaps through the college system if implemented, or through the advising system if not.

 

·        Alumni Network:  Create a network for each department to allow alumni to receive information about the progress of the department and the achievement of the alumni.  Inherent in this organization is a sense of responsibility to both entering freshmen and graduating seniors. 

 

·        Majors Fair: Hold a Majors Fair which is combined with the existing, already popular Club/Organization Fair.

 

·        World Day:  Hold an event to welcome back those students who have been abroad.  Give them a collective opportunity to reflect on the diversity and richness of their experiences.  As a way to address the problem of reverse culture shock, and to counter their feelings of disorientation and dislocation from Tufts, we should provide the opportunity for returning seniors to reconnect with each other, and to integrate their experiences into the larger context of their lives as soon-to-be Tufts alumni.

 

·        An Adaptation of World Day:  Broaden the concept of World Day to welcome all seniors back to campus: those who have been abroad as well as those who may have moved off campus locally, gone to Washington DC or some other community within the United States.  The event would allow these returning seniors an opportunity to reflect on what they'd learned from their experiences, re-connect with Tufts community, and integrate their experiences into a larger context.

 

·        Commencement and Honors Award Night:  Offer a two-part commencement.  The first part would be an all-university ceremony as currently occurs.  The second part, with the awarding of diplomas, would then be done in a more intimate setting, perhaps through the departments or colleges.  We might also move some of the Honors Award Night presentations to these more intimate commencement ceremonies.

 

·        Internships and an Internship Clearinghouse:  Currently, there is significant variation across academic programs as to the availability of credit for internship opportunities.  Internships are an integral part of some programs while actively discouraged by other programs.  We encourage the Educational Policy Committee to discuss and consider the benefits (and costs) of developing guidelines for greater uniformity across majors.  We also urge consideration of the value of establishing an internship clearinghouse to assist students in finding and obtaining internships.  This would supplement but not replace those well established program and department internship program support structures.

 

·        Internship Scholarship Fund:  Create a scholarship for those students who would like to do an unpaid internship for the benefit of the experience it would provide but who could not forgo the income their federal work-study or other job would provide.

 

·        Tufts in Boston: Offer community service-based alternatives for those students who choose not to study abroad.  There are currently several implementations of community service learning that could serve as models for student engagement in communities and cultures in the metropolitan Boston area rather than abroad.  A Tufts course in Urban Citizenship, AMER 0192U, is an example of a course that asks students to engage in community work under supervision and provides them an academic context in which to learn about the community's background and to explore and discuss intellectual issues that arise in their work.  The range of community-based projects highlighted in the recent UCCPS poster session suggests such experience may provide many of the benefits of study abroad for some students. These might include working in a language other than English, working in a community whose norms differ from those of the Tufts Medford campus, learning how to engage in a community in which one is an outsider or new arrival. In addition, such work can benefit not only the students but also the communities in which they serve.

 

·        Fitness and the Curriculum:  We encourage a closer integration of fitness and the curriculum.  An example of such an initiative is the Tufts Personalized Performance Program.  This program seeks to address the deterioration of nutrition, sleep, and exercise habits among undergraduates through a comprehensive educational program run through the Athletics Department, Health Services, Dining Services, and the School of Nutrition.  

 

 

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