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We have constructed this proposal to indicate what a college system might entail. We note that such a shift would require significant resources, though it is not as costly as would be a plan that requires new residence halls or reconfiguring the layout of the campus in any way. We see the following as important elements of a college system:
College Centers: We propose the creation of four colleges, each with one residence hall designated as its "college center" to serve as the hub of college life— the locus for college activities and traditions, the home-base for members of the college, and the location for college offices, lounges, and advising. All four residence halls would house only first year students, and all entering students would become members of a college whether they decide to live in the college center or in a mixed-class hall. All students, regardless of where they live, will be members of a college for their entire four years at Tufts, enabling their active participation in the activities, programs, and traditions of that college and lending greater coherence to their Tufts experience. Responding to student feedback, the Task Force encourages any future planners of a college system to ensure students' continuing freedom of choice with regard to where and with whom to live. It is important to allow students to pursue friendships and affiliate with campus groups and organizations without hindrance by the college system because these connections contribute to an important sense of belonging to the Tufts community as a whole.
Advising: The college system could be a natural environment in which to embed the restructured advising system, as described in Section III above, to give students added continuity of support. If each college had its own advising team, consisting of a Dean of Advising and faculty members from a variety of disciplines, students could reap the benefits of being known in significant ways by a group of senior members of the college over their entire four years at Tufts. Such an approach to advising would also ease the burden on pre-major advisors and make it less critical when a student is matched with a pre-major advisor with whom he or she shares no common intellectual interests.
Faculty Participation: Each college, in addition to its student, or junior, members, would have several senior members, consisting of various members of the faculty and staff. One such faculty member would serve as the college director and have a residential appointment in the college, living in an apartment either in or near the college. We envision the colleges as a natural place for students and faculty to establish relationships with one another, and the college director's goal would be to provide the overall vision for the college, a vision in which faculty-student interaction is central. We envision as well a series of college liaisons to make connections between students and Alumni Relations, Career Services, Health Services, Athletics, UCCPS, and the culture centers. Such changes would bring faculty, staff, and visiting scholars back into residential life, without returning to the days when the university positioned surrogate parents in its residences.
Facilities: The facilities of each college would serve as a "home away from home" for student members throughout their four years at Tufts: a college lounge or "living room" for members of the college as well as a central college office for the college director, advisors, and other staff, possibly including student tutors or writing fellows. Other facilities— an exercise room, a multi-function space, a snack center, a laundry center, and an enhanced drop-in lounge with comfortable chairs, good lighting, high-speed internet access, and food and beverages— are additional ideas to provide places to strengthen the college community across all class years.
Integration of Social and Intellectual Life: Students' experiences at Tufts are the foundation for their relationship with the institution. The college system offers a powerful opportunity to improve those experiences by integrating intellectual and social life in a coherent and exciting way. The college center would serve as the hub of college activities, events, and programs for student members of that college but would be open to students across Tufts. Activities to enhance the intellectual climate and improve school spirit could be planned through and hosted by the colleges. Currently, departments host many activities, but few students participate; the college system provides an opportunity to bring students together for programs which integrate intellectual and social life in a natural setting. The colleges could serve as the vehicle for a variety of functions— campus competitions, debates, intramurals, talent shows, ice cream socials— all of which aim to provide fun, intellectually stimulating opportunities to develop a sense of community within the college and— through the inevitable rivalry between colleges— within the Tufts community as a whole.
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