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Appendix III.   Background and Outreach

The work of this current Task Force reflects Tufts' long-standing commitment to self-assessment and improvement.  During the course of Tufts' history, the institution has embarked upon a number of self-studies which have varied widely in scope and focus.  Since 1955, when Tufts College officially became Tufts University, there have been three major self-assessment initiatives as comprehensive and ambitious as the Task Force on the Undergraduate Experience: the Tufts-Carnegie Self-Study (1956-1958), the University Steering Committee's self-study (1971-1973), and most recently, the Higher Education Initiative or HEI (1997-1999).  Additionally, there have been several, more specifically focused committees whose work has had a significant impact on this current effort, including the Ad Hoc Committee on Curriculum Review and the resulting "Maxwell Report" (1982-1983), the Task Force on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Issues (1992-1993), the Task Force on Race (1996-1997), and the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Retention (2001).  We briefly discuss a few of the issues from these efforts that bear on our work. 

 

Shortly after Tufts officially became a University in 1955, the Tufts-Carnegie Self-Study was initiated by then President Wessell to determine the role and purpose of the University as well as the "most suitable philosophy" for Tufts' second century.  Supported by the Carnegie Corporation, the Self-Study Executive Committee spent over two years investigating the institution's curriculum, facilities, operations, quality of the faculty and student bodies, and optimal size.  According to one observer, "No significant corner of the house of Tufts escaped examination." [i]  The study resulted in a 4,422 page final report and over 130 recommendations.  The spirit of most of the recommendations included, according to the study's Director, "a general acceptance of the notion that better attention and performance could be rendered if we tried to improve in the areas of our present educational commitments rather than take on more students, functions and objectives."  In sum, the Self-Study Executive Committee chose to enhance Tufts' existing strengths in favor of aspiring toward additional, new goals; former President Wessell was quoted as telling the Alumni Council in 1958, "It is our intention to do a few carefully selected things well and not try to be all things to all men."  A decade later, a significant number of the recommendations, such as curricular revisions and operational modifications, had either been implemented or were in the process of implementation.

 

            In December of 1971, then President Hallowell initiated the second comprehensive self-study and charged the "University Steering Committee" with examining all aspects of the university, defining Tufts' goals for the next decade, and preparing a comprehensive set of recommendations and its projected budgetary impact.  Anticipating greater competition among universities for excellent students, the committee felt it was "the right moment" for the study as society had undergone significant changes since the last self-study to which Tufts would need to respond to remain competitive.  In January 1973, after a year of information gathering through surveys and focus groups, the group published a 130-page report, Tufts: the Total University in Changing Times, which contained 55 recommendations concerning the University's curriculum, facilities, personnel, the student body, and organizational structure. 

 

In the nearly thirty years since the report's publication in 1973, the committee's thoughtful distillation and critical analysis of what it means to be educated that remains the committee's most useful contribution to the current work of the Task Force on the Undergraduate Experience.  With technological advances rapidly changing the face of the future their graduates would confront, the University Steering Committee concluded that Tufts should give its students the intellectual and personal tools that would enable them to navigate whatever situation they might find themselves in, either now or in the distant future.  They distilled the educational goals of the university into three categories:  rationality (a students capacity for collection, analysis and synthesis of data, construction of an argument, maintenance of an open and curious mind, and sufficient acquisition of the methodology of his field), moral sensitivity (self-knowledge, empathy, and the ability to consider the ethical implications of human actions), and creativity (developing the ability to communicate well both orally and in writing in several capacities: verbal, mathematical, or artistic).

 

Like the 1973 study, the work of the Ad Hoc Committee on Curriculum Review of 1982-1983 bears particular relevance to the Task Force with regard to its meticulous analysis of the education Tufts should impart to its students.  Specifically, in the 1983 "Report of the Tufts University Team," the committee outlined 11 educational goals for Tufts students which encompassed "broad intellectual and social abilities" and "values that cannot be limited by the narrowly-defined specialties of the professions and of the university."  In many ways, the goals echoed the sentiments of the University Steering Committee of 1973 and foreshadowed the Task Force on the Undergraduate Experience's articulation of a Tufts education that we describe below.

 

Tufts' third comprehensive self-evaluation, the Higher Education Initiative (HEI), was initiated by former Vice President Mel Bernstein in 1997, when he asked each department to "reflect upon the threats and opportunities facing liberal education at Tufts and to translate this into department specific issues and concerns." [ii]  The scope of the project was immense: to "address pressures of affordability, relevance of curricula, the impact of IT; examine our short-term goals and long-range directions; ask, analyze and answer in Tufts terms, pivotal academic and structural questions; reinforce planning activities of faculty committees and of departments and programs."  In its review of the HEI, the Executive Committee of the AS&E faculty, whose formation was a direct result of the project, noted the vast amount of information collected during that process and encouraged the Task Force to read the various reports carefully as part of its process of information gathering.  The Task Force found the Executive Committee's analysis of the HEI effort extremely helpful, and it has studied the HEI committee reports at length.  Many of the ideas developed as a part of the HEI planning effort have been incorporated into our work.

 

Over the last decade, there have been several other committees whose work in addressing issues of concern to various minority constituencies at Tufts has given us a solid foundation of understanding upon which to build our own work.  Though the Task Force on Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Issues (1992-1993), the Task Force on Race (1996-1997), and the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Retention (2001) had distinct concerns and agendas, they have articulated a common set of persistent and pervasive concerns that have informed our efforts throughout the project.  Simply put, these committees have forcefully articulated how important it is that Tufts fosters a climate, both inside and outside the classroom, which is safe, welcoming, and encouraging for all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, physical ability, or cultural or socio-economic background.  Moreover, Tufts profits from the tremendous and multi-faceted diversity of its population, and it would be to our benefit to enhance the education we receive from one another.

 

We have found these previous reports extremely helpful for providing an historical context for our work.  We note with pride the thoughtful analyses and imaginative ideas that previous members of the Tufts community have contributed to the institution and have drawn on this work wherever possible to complement the many ideas and suggestions that we gathered in our outreach efforts over the past ten months. 

 

            After the Task Force was created by President Bacow in early fall 2001, the committee spent several months gathering data and conducting outreach meetings within the Tufts community.  We held numerous meetings with the various constituencies of the Tufts community: students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and trustees.  In addition to our outreach meetings, we reviewed numerous planning documents made available to us by various departments, programs, and administrative offices, and we analyzed dozens of surveys conducted by the Office of Institutional Research.  In addition, the Office of Institutional Research also helped us construct and administer our own survey of full and part-time faculty garnering data that proved to be invaluable to the Task Force. 

 

On the basis of this first round of outreach, the Task Force released an Interim Report in two parts: the first in December 2002 and the second in January 2003.  Those reports along with other information about our outreach efforts are available here on the Task Force web site, http://ugtaskforce.tufts.edu

 

            At the same time that the Task Force was engaged in the activities described above, the student members of the Task Force established a Student Advisory Committee comprised entirely of undergraduates.  In addition to meeting numerous times amongst themselves, this committee conducted informal research and outreach in the student body and reported back its findings to the Task Force.  Suggestions from the Student Advisory Committee appear in various forms throughout this report, and the students provided valuable input to the process over the course of the project. 

 

Below is a list of the community outreach meetings that the Task Force has held since its inception; additionally, the group met as a full committee 33 times, and the Chair, Co-Chairs and Project Coordinator met weekly.

 

Task Force Community Outreach

                            

  1. Trustees (2/8-9/02)
  2. TCU Senate (3/3/02)
  3. Senior Leadership Corps I (3/8/02)
  4. Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (3/13/02)
  5. Class Deans and Academic Standing (3/15/02)
  6. Executive Committee (3/25/02)
  7. A&S Chairs (3/25/02)
  8. Dean of Students Senior Staff (3/26/02)
  9. Student Advisory Committee (3/26/02)
  10. Curricula Committee (3/27/02)
  11. University Committee on Teaching and Faculty Development (3/29/02)
  12. Senior Leadership Corps II (3/29/02)
  13. Policy Council (4/2/02)
  14. Young Alumni Group (4/2/02)
  15. Computer Facilities and Usage Committee (4/4/02)
  16. Educational Policy Committee (4/5/02)
  17. Equal Educational Opportunity Committee (4/5/02)
  18. Committee on Learning Disabilities (4/10/02)
  19. Career Services, Religious Services, Athletics, Student Activities (4/22/02)
  20. Open Student Forum (4/23/02)
  21. Budget and University Priorities Committee (4/24/02)
  22. Library Committee (4/24/02)
  23. Junior Faculty Luncheon (4/26/02)
  24. Center for Academic Excellence, Honors and Student Awards (4/29/02)
  25. Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Committee (4/29/02)
  26. UCCPS (5/1/02)
  27. EPIIC, Study Abroad, Foreign Programs Committee, et al (5/6/02)
  28. Meeting on International Relations (5/7/02)
  29. Student Advisory Committee (5/7/02)
  30. Greek Life (5/9/02)
  31. Engineering Chairs (5/13/02)
  32. A & S Board of Overseers (5/16/02)
  33. Trustees (5/18/02)
  34. AS&E Faculty Meeting (9/18/02)
  35. Dean of Students Senior Staff (9/24/02)
  36. Nadia Medina of the Writing Center (10/7/02)
  37. A & S Board of Overseers (10/8/02)
  38. Open Student Forum (10/9/02)
  39. Open Student Forum on Cultural Climate at Tufts I (10/10/02)
  40. Open Student Forum on Cultural Climate at Tufts II (10/11/02)
  41. Open Student Forum on Living at Tufts: Outside the Classroom (10/23/02)
  42. Dining Services (10/24/02)
  43. Trustees (Academic Affairs Division) 11/2/02)
  44. Tufts University Alumni Association (11/4/02)
  45. Directors of English 1 and 2 (12/5/02)
  46. Educational Policy Committee (12/11/02)
  47. Meeting on the Undergraduate Research Symposium (12/11/02)
  48. Class Deans (12/13/02)
  49. Meeting on the "World Day" Proposal (12/23/02)
  50. President Bacow and Senior Leadership (1/15/03)
  51. A&S Chairs (1/22/03)
  52. Writing Group (1/28/03)
  53. Task Force Faculty Dinner I (1/28/03)
  54. Task Force Faculty Dinner II (2/3/03)
  55. Trustees (2/7/03)
  56. TCU Senate (2/9/03)
  57. Open Student Forum I (2/10/03)
  58. Task Force Faculty Dinner III (2/12/03)
  59. Educational Policy Committee (2/12/03)
  60. Graduate Student Council (2/14/03)
  61. Open Student Forum II (2/19/03)
  62. Sandra Baer on Students with Disabilities (2/20/03)
  63. Committee on Student Life (2/21/03)
  64. Task Force Coffee for Faculty & Staff (2/21/03)
  65. Meeting on Diversity Issues with Jean Wu (2/28/03)
  66. Student Advisory Committee Open Meeting (3/3/03)
  67. Writing Group (3/4/03)
  68. Ex College's "Opening Up the Classroom" (3/5/03)
  69. Accreditation Team (3/10/|: Y'Ր9zQjc +;ٍ.̪ ,oȴlHç ;/΢-Qb5NrC'd44N&OX.V~ +U,=ȃLjc bتsڌj~~(<1Ԛ=쮛4tWq07iA njf\Z_ S1 ,JfwH%&L-Nۤ^u+(ȅ[| ʦO0Rz>Ҟي~RߥDGٍR!uz.$hj 'A0)wijy򰦨7Y}FʚE=pVuxcᕍPNHg3['"68#}Iv ﮐxXmn^(?9Cv0–IYArX۔OdBJ#2.a5[fpivF1>^)8\}ѤCf{G.9ڲ* xjwswaq^fspan>
  70. Educational Policy Committee (3/28/03)
  71. Student Advisory Committee Open Meeting (3/30/03)
  72. Meeting with Tim Brooks on Alumni Community Network (4/2/03)
  73. AS&E Faculty Meeting (4/9/03)
  74. Educational Policy Committee and the Writing Group (4/11/03)
  75. Open Student Forum (4/14/03)
  76. A&S Chairs (4/16/03)
  77. Carol Baffi-Dugan (4/22/03)
  78. President Bacow (5/5/03)
  79. A&S Board of Overseers (5/13/03)
  80. AS&E Faculty Meeting (5/14/03)

 

[i] All quotes about the 1955 Tufts-Carnegie Self-Study were taken from a retrospective essay which covered the project: "From College to University: Some Perspectives on Long-Range Planning," Russell E. Miller, Professor of History, Appendix J in Tufts: The Total University in Changing Times, 1973.

[ii] The quotes in this paragraph are taken from the 2001-2002 Executive Committee's November 2001 memo to President Bacow assessing the HEI.

 

 

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