Dean Eileen Kennedy to Step Down
By News Staff
Her leadership brought financial and academic strength to the Friedman School
Eileen T. Kennedy, dean of the Friedman School, has announced that she will step down from her position at the end of the academic year next June. After a sabbatical year spent working on research and an important global nutrition effort, she will return to the faculty at the Friedman School.
“Dean Kennedy has taken the Friedman School to new heights of excellence—it is stronger than when she assumed her deanship in 2004, and is now positioned for a brilliant future,” says Provost and Senior Vice President Jamshed Bharucha. “She has created a stable financial foundation for the school, secured new resources and elevated its international reputation.”
Under Kennedy’s leadership, the Friedman School collaborated with the government of Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, to establish a one-year master’s degree focused on nutrition and public health challenges in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. With the support of her faculty and Board of Overseers, she began the Friedman Symposium, an annual forum bringing together academics, policy experts, industry leaders and others interested in nutritional well-being to share ideas and gain knowledge that will direct policy, advance scientific understanding and improve the quality of nutrition for people worldwide.
She has also led important internal efforts to add organizational strength to the Friedman School. Two departments—Nutrition Science and Food and Nutrition Policy—were formed to focus research and curricular activities while facilitating the important interface of science and policy. In addition, a new Office of Academic Initiatives was created to support faculty development and pedagogical innovation.
Academic excellence at the Friedman School was recently recognized by the National Research Council’s 2010 graduate program assessment, which found the school’s doctoral program in nutrition to be among the very best of its kind in the country, and one of the best doctoral programs at Tufts.
Kennedy has also strengthened the Friedman School financially by prudently managing its budget during the recent economic crisis, and leading the school’s successful efforts to exceed its $50 million fundraising goal for Tufts University’s Beyond Boundaries campaign, with a total so far of $61 million. During her tenure, research dollars have grown by 91 percent to close to $4.5 million annually.
“It has been a privilege to work with Eileen Kennedy to strengthen nutrition at Tufts,” says President Lawrence S. Bacow. “Whether collaborating to establish an innovative distance learning program abroad or on using the Boston Marathon to generate resources to support scholarship on hunger, famine and obesity, I have always found her to be a smart, thoughtful and strategic academic leader. These same qualities have made her a terrific member of Tufts’ Academic Council, helping us frame and address a full range of issues of university-wide importance. She has also become a good friend as well as a great colleague.”
“I will be convening a committee to advise me on the future challenges and opportunities for nutrition science and policy studies at Tufts,” says Bharucha, “how we can further strengthen synergies around the university, and the leadership that we should seek.”
Last month, the Friedman School announced that it was the recipient of two awards totaling $15 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement a Global Nutrition Collaborative Research Support Program focused on multidisciplinary research and action in Asia and Africa. Kennedy, who is co-principal investigator on the project, says she will devote a substantial part of her sabbatical year to working on this effort. She will also continue to interact with United Nations agencies and others who helped launch the Scaling Up Nutrition effort, specifically focusing on capacity building in food and nutrition in developing countries. In addition, she will be co-authoring a book titled Fundamentals of Nutrition Policy before she returns to the school in 2012.
“I am proud to be dean of such an outstanding community of talented and passionate individuals,” Kennedy said in a statement to the Friedman School community. “We have accomplished much together. I look forward to completing my final year, working with you to continue to fulfill our critical mission of improving the nutrition and health of people worldwide.”