has enriched the undergraduate experience
In the nearly three years since the Task Force on the Undergraduate Experience issued a list of recommendations for improving the intellectual and social climate at Tufts, the majority of those suggestions have come to fruition—and some have quickly become valued parts of life on the Medford/Somerville campus.
“Tufts has made remarkable progress in carrying out the recommendations in the task force report,” said Gilbert Metcalf, professor of economics and the task force chair. “Perhaps more important than the specific accomplishments—and there have been many—is the way the Tufts community has embraced the ideals and vision of a Tufts education that the task force put forth.
“The strategic planning exercises in Arts & Sciences as well as in Engineering were deeply infused with ideas from the report,” he said.
Some of the recommendations were enacted immediately after the task force issued its final report in May 2003. Other innovations are more recent. Some, including a series of public service internships, have received funding through the $100 million gift to Tufts last November from eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, A88, and his wife, Pam, J89.
While many of the recommendations are now off the ground, “there are still quite a number in the works, and there are some that are not going to happen,” said James Glaser, dean of undergraduate education, who is facilitating implementation of the project.
Among those recommendations that will most likely not be enacted are the creation of a “college system”—a system of four colleges within which academic, social and cultural programming can take place—because of limitations presented by the infrastructure and geography of the Medford/Somerville campus.
In addition, the institution of a “need-blind” undergraduate admissions policy, while a high priority for the administration, is dependent on future fund-raising.
“While the task force’s mandate was to look at undergraduate life, it is clear that improvements in undergraduate life also depend critically on improvements in resources for our graduate programs and faculty,” Metcalf said. “While the upcoming capital campaign will need to aggressively attract support for important task force recommendations, such as need-blind admissions, it will also need to fund more endowed chairs for faculty, endowed research funds and other faculty support.”
Among the task force’s achievements:
Helene Ragovin is a senior writer in Tufts’ Office of Publications. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.