Frequently Asked Questions

What is Tisch College?

The Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service is a national leader whose model and research are setting the standard for higher education’s role in civic engagement education. Serving every school of Tufts University, Tisch College creates an enduring culture that prepares students to be lifelong active citizens. Back to top

What does Tisch College do?

Tisch College offers and supports extensive programming for every member of the Tufts community. Curricular and co-curricular opportunities develop the knowledge and skills of active citizenship among students from every school at Tufts. Additionally, Tisch College supports faculty research in the area of civic engagement, builds capacity to meet community-identified needs among local non-profits, and supports other institutions of higher education around the world in strengthening their active citizenship offerings. Back to top

How does Tisch College add value?

Tisch College provides leadership on issues of civic engagement, and transforms short term interest in events – such as the recent presidential elections – into long-term civic participation. Voter turnout rose dramatically in 2008, yet recent research from CIRCLE indicates that even among those highly involved in the 2008 election, less than 10 percent would contact a local official about an issue and just 14 percent would try to change local policies in their school, workplaces, and communities. Back to top

Tisch College address this problem through research on effective civic engagement strategies, by teaching students how to integrate active citizenship with their personal academic and professional goals, and by expanding the capacity of local organizations to meet community identified needs. Furthermore, Tisch College “leads and leverages” – piloting new programs then expanding them with other Tufts departments. Through this strategy Tisch has increased active citizenship in Office of Alumni Relations, Tufts Residential Life, and has provided seed money to faculty research which has gone on to obtain multi-year federal funding. Back to top

Does Tisch College offer a degree program or enroll students?

No. Rather than offering its own degree, Tisch College works with every school at Tufts to provide active citizenship opportunities for every student. Since civic engagement crosses all boundaries and is not limited to any field of study, Tisch College is university-wide, supplementing the education of students pursuing degrees or certificates from any of Tuft’s seven schools and teaching students to integrate active citizenship with their academic and professional interests. Back to top

How can a college be university-wide?

The term “college” reflects Tufts high level of commitment to educating all its students to be active citizens. Furthermore, Tisch College invokes the older definition of “a group of colleagues,” and believes that active citizens from all backgrounds and experiences can work together to address the need of their communities. Back to top

How does Tisch College measure and track its success?

Tisch College tracks its activity in three ways:

  1. Engaging in a multi-year research study, to measure the degree to which Tufts students evolve in their civic and political activities. This includes their time at Tufts and several years after graduation.
  2. Assessing outcomes from student projects supported by Tisch College.
  3. Fostering faculty research and participation in programs aimed at building civic engagement. Back to top

Why is civic education important?

Civic education gives students the knowledge, skills, and experience to identify and implement solutions to complex social problems. Back to top

What is active citizenship?

Active citizenship means building stronger, healthier, and safer communities. Active citizens are in every sector and field of study. There are citizen engineers, citizen bankers, citizen artists, and citizen mathematicians, to name a few. They come from all backgrounds and experiences, but share a commitment to actively engaging in their communities. Back to top

Where does active citizenship occur?

Active citizenship occurs in communities of every description – including residential, professional, and faith-based communities. Active citizenship occurs whenever and wherever individuals take responsibility for building stronger, healthier, and safer communities. Back to top

Is active citizenship the same thing as volunteering?

Volunteering is a tangible and well known example of active citizenship, but is not the only way to be an active citizen. Back to top

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to be an active citizen?

No. Active citizenship not a legal definition and is not tied to any place or country. Anyone who takes responsibility for building stronger, healthier, and safer communities is an active citizen. Back to top

How can students get engaged?

From orientation to graduation, every student that goes to one of Tufts’ seven schools will engage with Tisch College at least once. Many of these students will engage with Tisch through their every-day experiences. Tisch College supports active citizenship in Tufts’ classrooms, residence halls, and student groups. Tisch College also provides financial and advisory support to individual students and student groups interested in a more in-depth experience. Additionally, students can develop leadership skills through the multi-year Citizenship and Public Service Scholars Program. Back to top

How can faculty get engaged?

Through CIRCLE and the Tufts Community Research Center, Tisch College helps faculty identify and pursue research opportunities. Many of these research opportunities which received seed funding from Tisch College have gone on to get multi-year federal grants. Additionally, Tisch College provides resources and services that integrate active citizenship into classroom experiences, which improves students’ understanding and retention of material from any field. Back to top

How can alumni get engaged?

Tisch College works closely with the Office of Alumni Relations and with Alumni Chapters to provide alumni programs focused on local community involvement, alumni networking, and civic engagement. Back to top

How can community partners get engaged?

Tisch College is a resource for community partner organizations in Tufts’ host communities. With the help of Tisch College, organizations can involve the students, faculty and resources of Tufts, ultimately helping organizations improve their capacity to fulfill their mission. Back to top