Tisch College Faculty

As a unique interdisciplinary convener, Tisch College works with faculty across all Tufts schools in engaged teaching and research. Through their work in and out of the laboratory and the classroom, these professors exemplify what it means to be an active citizen; each one is making valuable contributions in his or her field while working toward addressing the needs of communities large and small, here or halfway around the world.

The Tisch College faculty is an extremely diverse and passionate group that includes Tufts’ Jewish chaplain; a composer who has written pieces about electric cars and public transportation; a former economist for the U.S. Treasury Department; and experts in fields as varied as education and child development, nutrition, and particle physics.

A total of 44 faculty and staff from seven Tufts schools now hold secondary appointments at Tisch College, including these nine most recent appointments from the 2013-2014 academic year:

Jeffrey Berry, Political Science
Kathryn Dolan, School of Dental Medicine
Michael Klein, School of Law & Diplomacy
Penn Loh, Urban & Environmental Policy and Planning
Gilbert Metcalf, Economics
Kent Portney, Political Science
Chris Rogers, School of Engineering
Jeffrey Summit, German, Russian & Asian Languages & Literature
Sabina Vaught, Education

The full list of Tisch College faculty, by primary appointment:

Faculty Executive Committee

Chairperson, Miriam Nelson, Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy
Co-chairperson, Barbara Wallace Grossman, Professor, School of Arts & Sciences
Hugh Gallagher, Associate Professor, School of Arts & Sciences
David Gute, Associate Professor, School of Engineering
Wanda Wright, Assistant Professor, School of Dental Medicine

School of Arts & Sciences

Linda Beardsley, Lecturer, Education
Jeffrey Berry, Professor, Political Science
Marina Bers, Associate Professor, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development
Dale Bryan, Assistant Director, Peace and Justice Studies
Kathleen Camara, Associate Professor, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development
Steve Cohen, Senior Lecturer, Education
Heather Curtis, Associate Professor, Religion
Kelly Greenhill, Associate Professor, Political Science
Charles Inouye, Professor, Japanese, German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literature
Jonathan Kenny, Professor, Chemistry
Penn Loh, Lecturer, Urban & Environmental Policy and Planning
John McDonald, Professor and Chair, Music
Christine McWayne, Associate Professor, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development
Gilbert Metcalf, Professor, Economics
Susan Ostrander, Professor, Sociology
Deb Pacini, Professor, Anthropology
Peter Probst, Professor and Chair of Art History, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, Art and Art History
Kent Portney, Professor, Political Science
Jeffrey Summit, Rabbi and Research Professor, German, Russian & Asian Languages and Literatures
Arthur Utz, Associate Professor and Chair, Chemistry
Sabina Vaught, Associate Professor, Education
David Walt, Robinson Professor of Chemistry, Chemistry
Maryanne Wolfe, Professor, Child Development

School of Engineering

John Durant, Associate Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering
David Gute, Associate Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Doug Matson, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Chris Rogers, Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Chris Swan, Associate Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering

Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

Joann Lindenmayer, Associate Professor, Environmental & Population Health
Emily McCobb, Director, Shelter Medicine Program; Assistant Director, Center for Animals and Public Policy, Clinical Science

Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy

Christina Economos, Associate Director, John Hancock Research Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention
Jennifer Sacheck, Assistant Professor, John Hancock Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity Prevention
Peter Walker, Professor, Feinstein International Center (also Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy)

The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy

Michael Klein, William L. Clayton Professor of International Economic Affairs

School of Dental Medicine

Kathryn Dolan, Assistant Professor, Public Health & Community Service
John Morgan, Associate Professor, Public Health & Community Service

School of Medicine

Doug Brugge, Professor, Public Health & Community Medicine
Scott Gilbert, Associate Professor, Medicine
Aviva Must, Professor, Public Health & Community Medicine
Anthony Schlaff, Professor, Public Health & Community Medicine

Below, a brief description of each faculty member’s civic engagement through their teaching and research:

Linda Beardsley, Lecturer, Education
Beardsley’s involvement with Tisch College has strengthened her commitment to education for social justice, and to fold community engagement into the curriculum, school partnerships, and policies of the Master of Arts in Teaching program in the Education Department. For the past three years, her sense of civic engagement in education has been heightened by her work in Rwanda with the Maranyudo School for Girls and the National Teacher Training Program known as KIE. The rebuilding of Rwanda’s social and civic systems after the genocide has focused on building strong educational programs that promote civic engagement and leadership training, especially for young woman and girls.

Jeffrey Berry, Professor, Political Science
Berry’s scholarship has long focused on nonprofits, citizen participation, grassroots advocacy, and interest group behavior (especially citizen lobbies). Through his work, he tries to understand how the preferences of ordinary citizens are communicated to those in government; how people are heard and how their voice might be enhanced. This focus is reflected on two of his seminars: “Politics in the City” and “Nonprofits and Civil Society.”

Marina Bers, Associate Professor, Child Development
Bers’ research explores one big interdisciplinary question: how can we leverage the potential of new technologies to promote positive youth development? To that end, she directs the Developmental Technologies Research Group at the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development. Her recent book, “Designing Digital Experience for Positive Youth Development: From Playpen to Playground” describes her research framework and several case studies throughout the developmental span that Bers has studied using different technologies.

Dale Bryan, Assistant Director, Peace and Justice Studies
Bryan oversees several important aspects of Peace and Justice Studies, the oldest credential-conferring academic unit in the University with students in a leadership role and voice in the administration, programming, and curricular developments. His integration of internships with a rigorous curriculum was expanded to a long-running summer institute; its effectiveness at serving local communities and educating students from Tufts and beyond was awarded with recognition by the National Society for Experiential Education in 2003.

Kathleen Camara, Associate Professor, Child Development
Camara’s research is focused on the role of the arts, particularly music, on the development of youth. She is principal investigator of the longitudinal study YouthBEAT Research & Evaluation Project on Music and Youth Development, and director of research and evaluation for the Berklee College of Music City Music Program. In addition, she has directed a research-based theater project, Diversity Dialogues, to explore the role of micro-aggressions on the Tufts University campus and to develop a theater experience to raise awareness of issues relating to cultural diversity and social justice.

Steve Cohen, Senior Lecturer, Education
Cohen works with graduate students who are working toward a Master of Arts in Teaching degree with a specialty in history, political science, or social studies. Through that work, he is often involved with initiatives in local public schools. In nearly 20 years at Tufts, he has also taught courses through which Tufts students visit and work with local educators in order to have a better understanding of educational institutions. His work has also attempted to demonstrate the power of social studies education and the importance of teaching students to think historically and use their knowledge of the past to face the problems of the present.

Heather Curtis, Associate Professor, Religion
During her career at Tufts, Curtis has worked to integrate an emphasis on thinking critically about citizenship and public service into her courses on American religious history. Also, as a Tisch Faculty Fellow, she developed “Race, Religion, and Nation,” an upper-level undergraduate research seminar that explores how race, religion, nation, and citizenship have been imagined in light of each other throughout American history. Her current project, “Holy Humanitarians: American Evangelicals & the Dilemmas of Transnational Engagement in a Globalizing Age,” considers the complexities and that have accompanied American evangelical encounters with attitudes about and responses to suffering in global contexts.

Kelly Greenhill, Associate Professor, Political Science
Greenhill’s current research project focuses on the influence of unverified and unverifiable information—such as rumors, conspiracy theories, religious beliefs, and myths—in international politics. She has served on the Advisory Board of the Boston Network for International Development and on the Academic Advisory Council for America Abroad Media, a national, non-profit organization, dedicated to the production of international affairs programs for broadcast on public radio and television, and for use in the classroom.

Charles Inouye, Professor, Japanese, German, Russian, and Asian Languages and Literature
Inouye focuses on the idea of questioning one’s values as a vital component of a liberal education—and a part of engagement. He teaches a number of classes, such as “East-West Perspectives on Fascism: Germany and Japan” and “The End of the World, Plan B,” which directly address the question of whether the values we hold dear are harmful or helpful to others. He is otherwise engaged in many other realms: as a part of a religious community, as a politically active citizen, and as a scoutmaster.

Jonathan Kenny, Professor, Chemistry
Kenny has made environmental and interdisciplinary teaching and research a central part of his three decades at Tufts. He helped organize the Tufts Environmental Literacy Institute, a summer workshop for faculty from all disciplines, designed to prepare them to cover environmental themes. He developed and teaches “Environmental Chemistry,” the only Chemistry course at Tufts for non-scientists, which includes a section on climate change and an Environmental Justice module. He also helped organize the ad hoc Committe on Climate Change and Climate Justice at Tufts, and participates in several local educational and environmental outreach programs.

Penn Loh, Lecturer, Urban & Environmental Policy and Planning
Community-engaged learning is an intergral facet of Loh’s teaching through courses like “Environmental Justice,” “Foundations of Public Policy and Planning,” and the “Practical Visionaries Workshop.” He has also been active on the steering committee of the Tufts Community Research Center. Loh plans to continue developing his community-based research partnerships and is participating as a 2013-2014 Tisch Faculty Fellow in order to learn more about how others think about and conduct community-engaged research and teaching.

John McDonald, Professor and Chair, Music
McDonald has worked to broaden the idea of what a “university composer” can and should be. Along with the engaged work through the Community Music Program at the Granoff Center, McDonald has composed occasional pieces celebrating programs at Tufts that promote active citizenship or encapsulate issues of importance: the Experimental College’s 30th anniversary, the 25th Anniversary of Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship, and a musical “transport” project undertaken with undergraduate and graduate composition students, culminating in performances of works written on and about public transportation.

Christine McWayne, Associate Professor, Child Development
McWayne is a psychologist and community-based educational researcher whose work has centered on understanding the individual and contextual factors associated with low-income, urban-residing children’s early school success. She currently leads the Readiness through Integrative Science and Engineering (RISE) program with the ABCD Head Start program in Boston. With partners in the City of Somerville, McWayne also heads an ongoing collaboration to co-construct and institutionalize an integrated, child-focused data system for partnership research, policy analysis, and evaluation.

Gilbert Metcalf, Professor, Economics
Through his teaching, Metcalf has tried to model how high quality research can contribute to policy debates, and encouraged students to contribute to shaping policy design through internships in think tanks as well as government service. He previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment and Energy at the US Department of the Treasury, following years of research on climate policy design as an academic and engagement in Washington, D.C. through testimony to Congress and participation in various think tank panels.

Susan Ostrander, Professor, Sociology
Ostrander teaches two courses relevant to the mission of the Tisch College: “Wealth, Poverty and Inequality,” and “ Making Social Changes Happen: Community Organizing and Grassroots Activism.” Her recent book, Citizenship and Governance in a Changing City: Somerville, MA, details a four-year study of civic engagement in a city twice awarded the National Civic League’s All-American City Award. Ostrander has also served as a board member of the Welcome Project and the Boston Women’s Fund, as well as a member of the Cambridge Human Rights Commission.

Deb Pacini, Professor, Anthropology
Since she arrived at Tufts a decade ago, Pacini has taught an innovative community-based seminar, “Urban Borderlands.” In its first years, the students conducted oral histories documenting Cambridge and Somerville’s Latino communities in collaboration with community-based organizations. More recent class projects have entailed more issue-oriented interviews. The first, in collaboration with Somerville Community Corporation, focused on the potential impacts of the planned Green Line Extension on Somerville’s immigrant community; last year, students working in collaboration with the Welcome Project analyzed the economic challenges faced by Somerville’s immigrant-owned restaurants and other food-related businesses.

Peter Probst, Professor and Chair, Art and Art History
Probst focuses on issues of heritage, memory, and the politics of representation. Based on fieldwork in Africa (Nigeria, Malawi) and Europe (Germany), he has studied how people perceive, use, and depict their heritage and how these images of heritage inform and affect social relations and cultural practices. In his classes, he regularly encourages students to work in this field and has had students work in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Rwanda on issues ranging from public monuments and genocide memorials to the politics of the UNESCO World Heritage program.

Kent Portney, Professor, Political Science
Civic and political engagement has been one of my Portney’s research areas for more than two decades. He co-authored the book The Rebirth of Urban Democracy and has focused on local institutions and mechanisms for enhancing participation. Over the last ten years, he has been active at Tisch College, serving in the first cohort of Faculty Fellows and on several different boards and committees. For five years, Portney ran (with Susan Ostrander) the Civic Engagement Research Colloquium sponsored by Tisch College, and he currently serves on the Advisory Board for CIRCLE.

Jeffrey Summit, Rabbi and Research Professor, German, Russian & Asian Languages and Literatures
As Neubauer Executive Director of Tufts Hillel, Summit has been involved in developing and supervising a range of social justice initiatives on campus and in the local community. Additionally, he has recently been doing more writing on the role of advocacy connected to research; his article “Advocacy and the Ethnomusicologist: Assessing Capacity, Setting Limits and Making Sustainable Contributions” has been accepted to appear in the Oxford Handbook of Applied Ethnomusicology. A second article, “The Participant Observer: Research in Jewish Setting,” will appear in Musica Judica: The Journal of the Jewish Music Association. Summit has also don research on music and Fair Trade in Africa.

Arthur Utz, Associate Professor and Chair, Chemistry
Utz has helped the Chemistry department identify an ability to participate in public discourse on science as one of the learning objectives for an undergraduate Chemistry major at Tufts. Over the past several years, he has worked with departmental colleagues and Tisch College to institutionalize the Chemistry Organized Outreach Partnership (CO-OP). Utz is also interested in finding ways to further incorporate civic engagement into the curriculum with an eye toward interdisciplinary overlaps between the sciences and the ways these cross-cutting topics impact society.

Sabina Vaught, Associate Professor, Education
Since becoming director of the Educational Studies program, Vaught has developed multiple initiatives aimed at connecting student scholarship with community and public engagement. Her own research as an institutional ethnographer examines educational law, policy, and practice as it relates to sociocultural productions of race, class, and gender power dynamics. Additionally, Vaught’s service to the university, particularly through the Women’s Studies and Africana Studies faculty committees, is aimed at expanding and supporting scholarly diversity across campus.

David Walt, Robinson Professor of Chemistry, Chemistry
Walt has been engaged in outreach activities for nearly 25 years. He established a program through which Tufts undergraduates enrolled in Organic Chemistry give science demonstrations to local schools. Other outreach efforts have included working with K-12 teachers in four local, urban districts: Malden, Medford, Somerville, and the Chinatown neighborhood in Boston. In conjunction with researchers in Walt’s laboratory, they develop cutting-edge science experiments and provide both technical and classroom support for them to assist in carrying out the experiments. They have also established a lending library for equipment that high schools cannot afford to purchase themselves.

Maryanne Wolfe, Professor, Child Development
Wolf’s work in the cognitive neurosciences, linguistics, child development, and education has been focused on the unique role that literacy plays in human development. In the last few years, she has worked with a range of advocates, policymakers, and educators across the country to improve the level of literacy in children, particularly in urban, inner-city schools and in rural, impoverished areas. Through the Center for Reading and Language Research, which she directs, Wolf is collaborating with colleagues at the MIT Media Lab and Georgia State University to develop a tablet that can teach children in remote regions of the world how to read, despite the absence of any teacher or school.

John Durant, Associate Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Through an International Communities Partnership award, Durant and colleague David Gute developed an initiative to take several groups of Tufts undergraduates to rural Ghana to work on public health engineering projects. Durant is also involved with the Tufts student chapter of Engineers Without Borders and has been a faculty mentor to the El Salvador group since 2006. He was on the board of the Tufts Community Research Center (TCRC) for one year, and I worked with former Tisch College Dean Rob Hollister for several years to support the Mystic Watershed Collaborative at Tufts.

Doug Matson, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Matson has initiated a project to bring service learning into the mainstream of his research activities through collaboration with the Somerville Public School System in an outreach involving his NASA sponsored graduate students. He places particular emphasis on giving students an “out-of-class” real-world experience while promoting the development of their project engineering skills and providing leadership opportunities.

Chris Rogers, Professor, Mechanical Engineering
As co-director of the Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach, Rogers works with schools around the world to build learning communities around the science of learning, rather than “how it has always been done.” He believes that changing the learning environment has far-reaching consequences, from helping the next generation define their place in society, to teaching students how to think skeptically and look for evidence when it comes to making policy decisions at the community or federal level. His research at the Center in engineering education searches for answers about how kids learn and what catalyzes that learning.

Chris Swan, Associate Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Engineering education, with respect to the impacts of service, is one of Swan’s primary research efforts. He was the initial signatory adviser of the Tufts student chapter of Engineers Without Borders, which puts active citizenship principles to work in developing communities. His involvement with that group includes travel with student teams to Ecuador and Uganda. Swan has also been a member of the American Society of Engineering Education; and has publish and presented on his service-based educational and research efforts at that organization’s annual conference.

Joann Lindenmayer, Associate Professor, Environmental & Population Health
Following a nearly four-year term of service as a Peace Corps volunteer in southeast Asia, Lindenmayer has built a professional career in service to the health of people, animals, and the environment. Her research, usually in collaboration with veterinary medical students, has included supporting adoption of an electronic veterinary medical record that could be used for animal and human health among veterinary medical practices. As a private citizen, she supports community programs to build and sustain a primary and secondary school in Mbujimaye, in the Democractic Republic of the Congo, and other projects in that country.

Emily McCobb, Director, Shelter Medicine Program, Clinical Science
At the Center for Animals and Public Policy, and through the Signature Opportunity for Animal Welfare, Ethics, and Policy, McCobb teaches graduate students and veterinary students about aspects of public policy that affect animals. Additionally, as the track leader for the Animals and Community Program, she oversees several initiatives that provide service learning opportunities for students, such as the Pet Loss Hotline, Paws for People, and the Shelter Medicine Program, which offers many services for underserved animals in the veterinary school’s host community of Greater Worcester. McCobb’s research also focuses on companion animal management and policy.

Christina Economos, Associate Director, Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention
Economos has dedicated her career to combining nutrition science with applied physiology to study and serve disadvantaged populations in the U.S., with a goal of helping them live healthier, more equitable lives. A great deal of her efforts are concentrated on her role as director and vice-chair of ChildObesity180, an organization dedicated to reversing the trend of childhood obesity through a strategic, coordinated, and evidence-based approach. ChildObesity180 has brought together a group of senior-level national leaders from multiple sectors that are committed to working collaboratively to develop a portfolio of initiatives to prevent childhood obesity on a national scale.

Jennifer Sacheck, Assistant Professor, Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity Prevention
Since her arrival at Tufts, Sacheck has taught courses on General Nutrition, Nutritional Biochemistry, and Nutrition and Physical Activity, and has worked closely with many graduate students on projects that directly relate to physical activity and health in at-risk children and youth. Sacheck has also authored reports for the Massachusetts Health Policy Forum, which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving the health care system in the Commonwealth. She has been actively engaged in research that examines the impact of physical fitness and nutrition on obesity and cardiovascular risk factors in at-risk youth, work that bridges specific science-based questions, community-based research, and outcomes that could influence policies on the national level.

Peter Walker, Professor, Feinstein International Center
Walker’s research focuses on the evolution of humanitarian institutions, primarily NGOs, and their role in civil society. Through this work, he engages with these institutions as an advisor, a board member, or a collaborator in change processes; he also makes use of student assistance, primarily from the Fletcher school, and has encouraged students to form their own humanitarian studies and action association. Walker also serves on the board of two philanthropic foundations, one humanitarian training institution and a number of humanitarian NGO advisory groups.

Michael Klein, William L. Clayton Professor of International Economic Affairs
A former chief economist in the Office of International Affairs at the US Department of the Treasury, Klein’s teaching focuses on educating students so they can make well-informed choices and, in this way, be active participants in the democratic process. He also aims to provide students with frameworks for analysis and tools for understanding data, so that they can use economic analysis in their professional lives. These goals are reflected in his course “International Economic Policy Analysis.”

Kathryn Dolan, Assistant Professor, Public Health & Community Service
As Course Director for the Oral Health Promotion, Dolan exposes 1st year dental students to civic engagement and community service activities. In this course, they learn about oral health promotion directed at the individual, community, and public policy levels. Going forward, ten hours of oral health related community service with a reflection paper on the experiences will be a requirement for the Oral Health Promotion course. Dolan believes this exposure to the community and public policy side of dentistry will inspire some of the students to become more involved and ultimately become future leaders in public health dentistry.

John Morgan, Associate Professor, Public Health & Community Service
Morgan has extensive experience in civic engagement through several initiatives. As advisor to Tufts programs providing dental care for children at the Boston Public Schools, experience as director of a statewide system of 7 Tufts clinics for the developmentally disabled, and ongoing coordination efforts for student and faculty oral health outreach programs in rural Zambia, he participates in domestic and global synergies for collaborations addressing citizenship and community development. Morgan also mentors medical and dental students in developing an oral health component to the health care services provided to indigent patients at the Medical School’s Sharewood Clinic.

Doug Brugge, Professor, Public Health & Community Medicine
Brugge chairs the Tufts Community Research Center. His work has primarily focused on real problems in the fields of occupational and environmental health, and takes an approach that encourages critical thinking about how to influence policy and practice. He partners with affected communities, engages in research that helps define or address environmental or occupational health problems that they face. Brugge is the principal investigator of the Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure & Health (CAFEH) project, an important community-based participatory research study. He recently presented about the dangers of uranium mining at conferences in Tanzania.

Scott Gilbert, Associate Professor, Medicine
As director of the umbrella second year medical school course “From Health to Disease,” group leader in Introduction to Clinical Reasoning, and chair of the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) Committee, Gilbert has demonstrated to his students social responsibility and societal impact in medical care, and highlighted the broader context of medicine in society and how societal awareness affects the provision of medical care. He was the inaugural mentor of the Harvey Learning Community, which took a group of students in each medical school class off campus to participate in a variety of community health screenings. Gilbert has also been involved in the development of Community Service Learning (CSL) at the School of Medicine, a requirement that all medical students participate in 50 hours of community service before graduation.

Aviva Must, Professor and Chair, Public Health & Community Medicine
Must’s research has a strong active citizenship component, much of it focused on preventing obesity in population groups who experience health disparities. She is developing a community-based intervention to improve the food environment at a residential school that serves children with developmental disabilities; this work will engage a nutrition doctoral student and several master students in both nutrition and public health, and will provide rich learning opportunities for public development and advocacy within the school setting and the non-profit agency that serves 766-approved schools in the Commonwealth.

Anthony Schlaff, Professor, Public Health & Community Medicine
Schlaff directs the Tufts University Masters in Public Health Program, which stresses that public health is a form of applied social justice, and that students must be prepared as change agents in order to create healthy conditions. It is a program whose core philosophy is that of engaged action in the public and community spheres. Schlaff is also one of the key architects of the Applied Learning Experience, the capstone experience by which students demonstrate their competency to practice public health. He also teaches the MD/MPH Public Health Field Experience, which gives students an opportunity to work for a summer in an agency that practices public health.

Last updated December 2013