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Executive Summary

 

The Task Force on the Undergraduate Experience has found that Tufts, already a world-class university with extraordinary strengths, is uniquely positioned to achieve the next level of academic excellence.  It has a distinctive identity as a university that offers its students the world in a college community that gives them a home.  Our faculty are exceptional teacher-scholars, and our students first-rate.  Undergraduate education at Tufts is well poised to move forward with the rest of the university.  This report documents what steps we might take to enhance our already excellent undergraduate program.

 

            We feel that Tufts can best improve the educational experience we offer our undergraduates by looking at the intellectual climate in which our students learn, the nature of the campus and scholarly community in which they learn, and the coherence of the education in which they are engaged.  While our recommendations are organized around these themes of climate, community, and coherence, we wish to stress that most of our recommendations speak to two and sometimes all three of these themes. 

 

In essence, we seek to bring members of our community together both inside and outside of the classroom, and to do this in ways that foster the learning and development of the whole student.  By making this our focus, we will raise teaching and research to new levels of excellence; catalyze new interdisciplinary initiatives among our faculty; provide innovative research opportunities for our students; and provide a multi-faceted and substantive educational experience.

 

            Our recommendations include restructuring curricular requirements; providing additional support for undergraduate research; increasing programming that contributes to the intellectual climate on campus; creating closer links between the curriculum and co-curricular life; and providing facilities that create spaces for formal and informal intellectual interaction and discourse.

 

Larger, overarching recommendations include ensuring need-blind admissions; creating a "College System" that brings faculty, students and staff together in meaningful and sustained ways; making better use of our residential halls as instruments for education; creating intellectual coherence through an improved advising system; identifying and celebrating intellectual milestones in a Tufts education; and strengthening connections between our alumni and students, particularly in career services.

 

These recommendations have emerged after nearly two years of discussion and analysis within the Tufts community.  We call upon the Tufts community—upon our students, faculty, staff, administrators, trustees, and alumni together—to help us to realize the vision articulated in this report, a vision that honors and builds on the distinctive strengths of the University.

 

 

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