Magic combination

Tufts has the best of both worlds, new provost says

Tufts has a "magic combination" that will ensure its success in the years to come, the university's new provost and senior vice president told the faculty of Arts, Sciences and Engineering at their first meeting of the 2002-03 academic year.

Jamshed Bharucha, left, Tufts' new provost, chats with faculty during a reception after the Arts, Sciences and Engineering faculty meeting. © Mark Morelli

"I think Tufts is really positioned perfectly as an institution," Jamshed Bharucha said at the AS&E faculty meeting August 28 at the Marston Balch Arena Theater. The meeting was preceded by matriculation and followed by a reception Bharucha hosted in the Remis Sculpture Court in the Aidekman Arts Center.

The key, Bharucha said, is Tufts' role as a research institution with a commitment to undergraduate education.

"The larger research universities are trying to move toward paying more attention to students," he said. Likewise, large state universities are also facing pressure to devote more attention to the undergraduate experience. And small liberal arts colleges, which have always valued teaching, don't necessarily have the infrastructure to allow for extensive research.

"At Tufts, we have the best of both worlds," he said. And while the university could use more resources to carry out its dual role, this "magic combination" will ensure excellence and help attract top faculty. He pledged to work hard to raise resources to "allow faculty to realize their fullest potential as scholars, researchers and teachers."

Along with academic excellence, Bharucha said his other emphasis will be on cultivating diversity among faculty. As the student body becomes increasingly diverse, he said, it's important for students to see that diversity reflected among faculty.

"What makes an excellent institution?" he asked. "Excellent students and excellent faculty. We steward the intellectual growth of the students who come through here."

Bharucha, who has been in his new position just since August, came to Tufts from Dartmouth College, where he was dean of faculty. He is a specialist in the field of cognitive neuroscience and is known for his work on how music is perceived.

Along with his administrative duties, Bharucha has an appointment as a professor in the psychology department. He anticipates establishing a lab in the psychology building, although he stressed that his research work would be part time.

Bharucha's predecessor, University Professor Sol Gittleman, stepped down as provost after 21 years. Gittleman was greeted with warm applause by the faculty at the meeting. Bharucha said he'd been learning a great deal from Gittleman—and, then, referring to Gittleman's well-known love of baseball and his recent appearance throwing out the first ball at Fenway Park—Bharucha demonstrated that he, too, was getting his pitching arm in shape.

"This institution seems to have extraordinary spirit," Bharucha said.