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Fall 2014

Tisch Researcher Wins National Award

In late 2014, Tisch College Senior Researcher Felicia Sullivan received the prestigious Outstanding Achievement in Public Service Award for her dissertation on engaging youth in out-of-school time programs.

The recognition was bestowed by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration at its annual conference. Sullivan’s work, “Engaging Youth: Linking Design and Implementation Choices of Out-of-School Time Programs in Boston to the Development of Political Engagement Attitudes in Youth Age 14–18,” is a valuable contribution to the field of youth civic engagement and a natural extension of her work as a researcher at Tisch College and our Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE).

Read more from UMass Boston, where Sullivan completed her PhD work.


Successful Talloires Network Conference

Tisch College was well-represented at the recent Talloires Network Leadership Conference, “Live Engagement, Transform Lives,” which was held on December 2-4 in South Africa.

The Talloires Network, founded by Tufts professor Rob Hollister—also founding Dean of Tisch College—is a worldwide association of universities committed to a mission of civic engagement in higher education. The 2014 conference brought together leaders from more than 130 colleges and universities in 40 nations to discuss pressing challenges and growing opportunities in the field, with a particular focus on “perspectives from the global south.”

Miriam Nelson, Associate Dean of Tisch College, and AJ Fields, a junior Tisch Scholar, were key participants at the conference. Tufts President Anthony Monaco chaired the conference’s steering committee and spoke about Tisch College’s work promoting active citizenship at the University and beyond.

See photos from the conference on the Talloires Network’s Facebook page.

(Pictured: Miriam Nelson and AJ Fields)


Tisch Fund Awards more than $5,000 to Campus Groups

Six campus organizations have received a total of over $5,000 from the Tisch Fund for Civic Engagement, which provides support for events and programming that promote active citizenship at Tufts and in our host communities. The following have received funding so far:

  • Through the Health Impact Partnership, Tufts University School of Medicine students work with a group of English High School (EHS) students to develop a better understanding of common health problems in their community and develop strategies to address them.
  • Ideas in Medicine is a student-run organization at the Tufts University School of Medicine that helps local students improve their math and science literacy, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving ability, while also introducing them to careers in the health sciences.
  • Jumbo’s Kitchen, a program of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, partners with Red Oak Afterschool Program and Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center to provide elementary school students with cooking skills and nutrition education.
  • The Rally for the Right to Health, hosted on October 28 by three Tufts organizations (GlobeMed, Public Health at Tufts, and PIH Engaged-Tufts), advocated for single-payer healthcare in Massachusetts and a strong U.S. commitment to global health development.
  • The Tufts University Refugee Assistance Program creates a social support network of volunteers and mentors for recently resettled refugees in the greater Boston area, working with them on a case-by-case basis to navigate life in the United States.
  • Winning Hearts and Minds: Anti-Racism, Feminism, and the New Economy, was a workshop organized by Tufts New Economy that explored how we can create a more just and sustainable economy through multiracial, cross-class, feminist movement building.

Applications for the Tisch Fund for Civic Engagement are still open. Learn more.


Tisch College Dean Represents Tufts at Hong Kong Conference

Last month, Tisch College Dean Alan D. Solomont was a featured panelist at The Second Summit on University Social Responsibility cum Inaugural International Conference on Service Learning hosted by Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Dean Solomont represented Tufts, one of about 20 universities from the United States invited to participate, which included UPenn, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Minnesota.

Dean Solomont gave a presentation about Tisch College and Tufts University’s commitment and strategies for civic engagement at a plenary session, titled “Nurturing Students to be Socially Responsible Citizens.” He also participated in a panel on Service Learning and exchanged ideas with experts, leaders, and practitioners from across the globe, and shared the belief in a strong democratic and civic mission for higher education that animates the work of Tisch College.

The conference also provided an invaluable opportunity to learn about different models and strategies for service learning and student engagement being employed at peer institutions around the world, and to explore potential partnerships that will further our mission of providing transformational experiences to students.


State Senator Stan Rosenberg Visits Tisch College

Massachusetts State Senator Stan Rosenberg participated in an informal roundtable discussion with Tufts students, faculty, and staff during his visit to Tisch College on November 25.

Rosenberg, the current Majority Leader and incoming President of the Massachusetts Senator, spoke about his experience in nearly a quarter century at the State House, first as a Representative from the Amherst and Pelham district from 1986 to 1991, and since then as State Senator ffrom the Hampshire, Franklin, and Worcester district. He shared some of his insights from working in bipartisan fashion with previous governors—something the State Senate will have to do again with Republican Governor-elect Charlie Baker.

The Senator also talked about the challenges of connecting with young people and getting Millennials more involved in local politics, which often lack the media attention of national campaigns but have a tremendous impact on the lives of residents. Rosenberg shared that it is especially a priority for him, as he has several institutions of higher learning in his district.

Read more from The Tufts Daily.


Dean Solomont on HuffPost: Higher Education’s Democratic Mission

In a piece published this month on The Huffington Post, Tisch College Dean Alan D. Solomont writes about the importance of renewing higher education’s mission of democracy.

“Preparation for democracy is a powerful tradition of American higher education,” he writes. “At a time when democracy itself is under threat at home and abroad, we must reclaim higher education’s legacy by having colleges and universities serve democracy in their teaching, research and outreach.”

Dean Solomont’s op-ed comes on the heels of a National Summit on Civic Learning and National Service organized by Tisch College in conjunction with officials from the White House and the U.S. Department of Education. The summit brought together university leaders, higher education experts, researchers, organizers, and practitioners for fruitful discussions about how to better promote, implement, and measure civic learning.

“Let’s begin by rekindling a public appreciation for democratic education, and let’s make education for democracy central to the function of a 21st century college or university, not just an option for especially enthusiastic students,” writes Dean Solomont.

Read the full HuffPost op-ed here.


Tisch College Sponsors Political Art Exhibition

The Slater Concourse Gallery at Tufts University’s Aidekman Arts Center is currently home to more than a dozen compelling works of politically themed art as part of an exhibition titled”The Personal is Political is Personal,” which is sponsored by Tisch College and curated by Tisch Scholars Program Administrator Sara Allred.

In the exhibition, 13 artists illustrate how personal truths are played out in political/public contexts, and how laws and policy affect their personal lives and the lives of others. Through this work, they hope to draw attention to issues they are passionate about by engaging the viewer in a visual exploration of social justice issues.

Among the artists are members of the Tufts community like Tisch Scholar Antonia George, A17; student (and former Tisch Summer Fellow) Tenzin Chokki, A17; alumnus (and former Tisch Scholar) Ramzi Babouder-Matta, A14; Tisch College Senior Programs Director, Mindy Nierenberg; and Community Service Learning and Outreach Coordinator at the Tufts dental school, Nancy Marks.

“The Personal is Political is Personal” is on display until December 15, 2014. There will be a reception on December 4, 5:30-7:30 p.m.


Community Based Research Receives NIH Funding

The Tufts Community Research Center (TCRC) and Tisch College provided key support that catalyzed the start of the Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health study.  CAFEH has launched a new study, which just received $450,000 in NIH funding, on the role of computer visualizations in promoting health literacy about the toxic effects of highway pollution.

The work, spearheaded by professor Carolyn Wong of UMass-Boston’s Institute for Asian American Studies, builds on the Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health (CAFEH) research led by Tufts professor Doug Brugge at the TCRC, and Dr. Brugge will guide the environmental health sciences component of this new study.

CAFEH, which has itself received more than $5 million in NIH funding, has already shown how ultra-fine particulate matter pollution from highway exposure leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The study created a unique store of scientific data on this type of pollution in Dorchester, Somerville, and Chinatown, and the new study’s visualizations will be derived from CAFEH’s data.

Susan Koch-Weser, Assistant Professor of public health and community medicine at Tufts, will also contribute her expertise in health communication as a co-investigator.

Read more from UMass-Boston.

(Pictured: Carolyn Wong)


Tisch College Hosts White House Roundtable on Civic Learning

On October 16, Tisch College welcomed officials from the Obama administration, the Department of education, other federal and state agencies, and practitioners from across higher education and civil society for a White House Roundtable on Civic Learning and National Service.

The gathering attracted nearly 75 leaders and experts who discussed issues like the role of higher education in fostering active citizenship, the most effective ways to measure civic learning and engagement, and other pressing challenges and key opportunities.

Tisch College Dean Alan D. Solomont offered opening remarks at the event. “I believe our nation stands at a critical moment when civic engagement is needed badly but is also sorely lacking,” he said. “Our democracy is ailing, and higher education, including this University, must do better, and we must do more.”

Among the attendees were Tufts alumnus Jonathan Greenblatt, Special Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation; Jamienne Studley, Deputy Undersecretary  at the Department of Education; and Carol Schneider, President of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

(Pictured: Roger Nozaki, Senior Policy Advisor, Department of Education; Nancy Thomas, Director of the Initiative for the Study of Higher Education and Public Life, Tisch College; Dean Alan Solomont; Jamienne Studley; Peter Levine, Associate Dean for Research, Tisch College; Jonathan Greenblatt)


Tisch College Names Senior Fellow for the Humanities

Diane O’Donoghue, who was among the 2013-2014 Tisch College Faculty Fellows and has been a faculty member and former chair of the Department of Visual and Critical Studies, has been named Senior Fellow for the Humanities. It this capacity, she will develop initiatives at Tisch College that will expand upon the presence of the humanities in its programs and partnerships. This appointment will facilitate new opportunities for Tisch to build connections both within the Tufts community and among other academic institutions and civic organizations.

“Meaningful civic engagement requires the capacity to appreciate the complexities of cultural values, both as a self-awareness of what shapes us individually and what informs the communities in which we participate,” says O’Donoghue. “The various disciplines of the humanities have much  to offer in that regard, and I look forward to introducing and leading some of those discussions through this new position.”

Dr. O’Donoghue is an art historian whose scholarship includes topics located at the intersection of visual culture and psychoanalysis in Vienna. Read a fuller account of her work here.

Another dimension was added to these inquiries when she became involved there, as a descendant, in the restoration of a badly damaged Jewish cemetery. Read more about that project here.


Tisch College VISTA Works on Stem Partnerships

Kelly Nguyen, the 2014-2015 AmeriCorps*VISTA at Tisch College, is working on connecting community partners to Tufts University resources in order to increase and improve STEM education opportunities in our host ccommunitiesof Medford, Somerville, and Boston’s Chinatown.

A particular focus will be the Tufts Center for STEM Diversity’s recently launched STEM Ambassadors program, which will allow Tufts undergraduates to engage local 9th and 10th graders in discussions and workshops about topics within Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The Tufts students will help these high schoolers explore some of the pathways available to them within the
STEM fields.

In a recent blog post for the Massachusetts Campus Compact website, Nguyen explains that STEM education is a topic near and dear to her heart. As a low-income, first-generation college student, she did not initially realize all the opportunities available through STEM fields, and wants to make sure that young people in similar situations understand and enjoy all of the possibilities.

Read more about Kelly’s work.


Former Members of Congress Visit Tisch College

On September 29-30, Tisch College hosted two former members of Congress as they visited Tufts University as part of the Congress to Campus program, an initiative of the United States Association of Former Members of Congress in partnership with the Stennis Center for Public Service Leadership.

Congressman Bob Carr, a Democract from Michigan who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1975-1981 and again from 1983-1995; and Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle, a Republican from New York who was in office from 2011-2013, visited campus. They met with Tisch College leadership to discuss the connections between public service and higher education; spoke at several Tufts political science classes; and visited schools in Medford and Chinatown.

As they spoke with both high school and college students, both Carr and Buerkle said they hoped to convey a more nuanced view of the United States Congress based on their first-hand experience.

“Just casually seeing on television … commentary about the Congress — when I see that, I don’t see the institution that I knew,” Carr said. “We’re trying to convey the more human side of the institution as opposed to what you read in the media,” said Carr to the Tufts Daily.

Read more from the Tufts Daily.

(Pictured: Former Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle)


Tisch College Hosts AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary Celebration

On September 12, Tisch College and Tufts University hosted the Massachusetts swearing-in ceremony and 20th anniversary celebration of AmeriCorps, the country’s premier national service program.

More than a thousand students, leaders, and volunteers, many from AmeriCorps partner organizations like City Year, JumpStart, and Playworks, gathered at Tufts for the celebration. Tisch College Dean Alan D. Solomont, former chair of the bipartisan Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps, offered introdcutory remarks. He recalled being on the White House Lawn when President Clinton signed the legislation that created AmeriCorps, and placed national service in its larger context of meaningful civic engagement by young people in America.

“Tisch College is proud to host this anniversary celebration, and to celebrate our shared belief in the potential of this generation,” he said.

A simulcast from the White House allowed the assembled crowd to hear from President Clinton and from President Obama as they celebrated the AmeriCorps anniversary in Washington, D.C.

Read more about the event. Check out our Facebook photo album. Read Dean Solomont’s op-ed in the Boston Globe about AmeriCorps and national service.


Tisch College Helps Launch Alumni Social Impact Network

On September 9, Tisch College co-hosted “So You Wanna Be a Social Entrepreneur?” an evening of alumni networking that officially launched the Tufts Social Impact Network. This new group, founded by recent Tufts graduates, looks to bring together young alumni who are interested in civic engagement, public service, and social entrepreneurship.

Tisch College Dean Alan Solomont offered welcome remarks at the event: “We are very excited about the launch of the Social Impact Network. Its mission could not be better aligned with that of Tisch College, and I am certain that it will become a strong vehicle for civic engagement by Tufts alumni,” he said.

Dean Solomont moderated a conversation with the event’s featured speakers, Alan Khazei and Vanessa Kirsch, J87.  Khazei and Kirsch, recently selected as one of nine leading “dynamic duos” by Fortune Magazine, are two of the most respected social entrepreneurs in the country. Khazei co-founded City Year and currently heads Be The Change, Inc., while Kirsch is the founder and CEO of New Profit, a venture philanthropy fund, and a member of the Tisch College Board of Advisors. The couple offered more than 100 young alumni valuable insight from their decades of experience as social entrepreneurs.

Check out our Facebook photo album of the event.


Tisch College Hosts Panel on Gun Violence with U.S. Congresswoman

On September 3, Tisch College partnered with U.S. Congresswoman Katherine Clark to host a policy panel on gun violence.

Clark, who has represented Massachusetts 5th district since December 2013, moderated the event. She characterized gun violence as a critical issues that especially concerns her as a mother of three and as a former prosecutor. A series of experienced panelists, which included Malden Police Chief Kevin Molis; John Rosenthal, founder of Stop Handgun Violence; Ann Krantz, of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America; and Mary Gianakis, director of Voices Against Violence, shared their valuable and diverse perspectives with the assembled audience.

“Massachusetts does stand tall compared to some of our counterparts around the country,” said Molis. “We can support the Second Amendment and still do so much more,” said Krantz.

Tisch College Dean Alan D. Solomont offered welcome remarks at the event, who connected the event to Tisch and Tufts’ mission of preparing students to be active citizens. “An important part of civic engagement is political engagement, which includes interacting with public officials and participating in the local and national conversations about important public issues.”

Read more from The Tufts Daily.


Tisch College Board Member joins Department of Health

Kevin Thurm, a longtime member of the Tisch College Board of Advisors, has been named a Senior Counselor at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where he will work to strengthen the HHS management team and help the agency fulfill its mission to better serve the American people.

As Senior Counselor, Thurm will work closely with the Department’s senior staff on a wide range of cross-cutting strategic initiatives, key policy challenges, and engagement with external partners. He will report directly to HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell, who praised Thurm’s ability as a committed leader. “Kevin’s decades of broad experience spans business and government with the focus necessary to advance our goals.  He brings to the Department not only his proven abilities as a leader, but also a deeply-held commitment to our mission,” she said.

Thurm previously served as the Deputy Secretary for Health and Human Services during the Clinton Administration before moving to the private sector, where he was most recently the Chief Compliance Officer of Citigroup. A former Rhodes Scholar, received a B.A. from Tufts University in 1983, B.A./M.A. from Oxford University in 1986, and J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1989.

The move to HHS signals the end Thurm’s service to the Tisch College Board of Advisors, where his insights and passion for active citizenship will be missed.


Summer 2014

Tisch College Dean Attends International Gathering of University Leaders

In late July, Tisch College Dean Alan D. Solomont was one of more than a thousand higher education leaders from universities in 33 countries who attended Santander Universities’ III Universia International Presidents Meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

More than 1,100 universities were represented at the conference. This year’s theme was The University of the 21st century: an insight from Ibero-America. “Ibero-America is a young region, with outstanding talent and potential, and the time is right to build a sustainable social and economic development model; the necessary condition for having solid foundations on which to build a promising future is quality education accessible to all citizens and meeting the requirements of an emerging digital society,” said Emilio Botín, President of Universia and Santander Bank.

As a leader who is committed to the role that universities can play in shaping our future societies, Dean Solomont shared with many of the attendees the values that animate Tisch College and Tufts University. He also learned about many of the promising higher-education initiatives throughout Latin America with an eye toward potential future partnerships.


Tisch Summer Fellows Wrap Up Transformational Internships

More than 40 Tufts student are wrapping up their 10-week internships this week in Massachusetts, New York, and Washington, D.C. through the Tisch Summer Fellows program, and celebrated their fruitful summers alongside their mentors and Tufts alumni at closing receptions in each city.

The Tisch Summer Fellows worked at some of the nation’s top government agencies and nonprofits organizations. In Massachusetts, our Fellows worked for organizations like Somerville Public Schools, the Chinese Progressive Association, and the Office of Congresswoman Katherine Clark. In New York, they worked at places like the Madison Square Boys & Girls Clubs, the Fiver Children’s Foundation, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.  In Washington, D.C. we sponsored Fellows at the League of Women Voters, the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, and the Pentagon, among other placements. Through two-and-a-half months of full-time work, the mentorship of committed supervisors, and networking with Tufts alumni, the Tisch Summer Fellows acquired important skills and made career-building connections while making valuable contributions to their organizations.

Read more about the Tisch Summer Fellows program.

(Pictured: New York Tisch Summer Fellows at their closing reception.)


Tufts Alumna Writes about Downed Planes and Peacebuilding

Tufts alumna Tara D. Sonenshine, J81, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and now a Distinguished Fellow in the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, wrote recently on The Hill about how incidents like the downed plane over Ukraine underscore the need for conflict resolution and diplomacy.

“Conflict resolution can sound insubstantial. It’s not. It involves early education about conflict—and how to prevent it. It involves training in peacebuilding. It involves cross-cultural exchanges and contact between countries. It involves everything from the Peace Corps to the Marine Corps. It means believing in the power of communities to create positive change through social, political and economic structures. It involves faith in rule of law, individual achievement, and yes—democracy,” she writes.

Sonenshine previously served as Executive Vice President of the United States Institute of Peace, and has served as strategic advisor to organizations like the International Crisis Group and The American Academy of Diplomacy. She is also the winner of 10 News Emmy Awards for coverage of international affairs.

Read Sonenshine’s full column: “The search for flights — and peace.”


Tisch College Hosts Civic Studies Seminar and Conference

In July, we hosted our annual Summer Institute of Civic Studies, an intensive two-week seminar on the theories and philosophies of citizenship. The seminar, co-taught by Tisch College professor Peter Levine and University of Maryland professor Karol Soltan, attracts scholars and practitioners from all around the world; this year, participants came from India, Iran, Ukraine, Italy, Mexico, Peru, and elsewhere, as well as from the United States.

The Summer Institute was followed by our sixth annual Frontiers of Democracy conference. More than 150 civic leaders from across the United States and across the globe gathered in Boston for a series of “short take” speeches by leading scholars and practitioners in the civic field, and interactive sessions on topics like dialogue, community engagement, democratic work, free speech, and civic education.

Learn more about the conference and watch the recorded speeches here.

(Pictured: Peter Levine)


Tisch College and Fletcher Host Talk with Secretary of the Navy

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus recently came to Tufts University to speak about the modern, global navy and the important energy issues that the military grapples with every day.

The event was co-hosted by Tisch College, and our Dean Alan D. Solomont introduced Secretary Mabus, who he described as “a dedicated public servant, an American patriot, and a good human being.”

Secretary Mabus spoke about how the Navy’s global presence gives the United States, not just power, but options. He also devoted much of his remarks to the role energy plays in the Navy’s operations, and in military matters more generally. “Energy is and can be a military vulnerability. It can be a geostrategic weapon,” he said. “At the height of the fighting in Afghanistan, for every 50 convoys of fuel we lost a marine, killed or wounded. That’s too high a price to pay.”

The Secretary also answered questions from the assembled students, faculty, and guests of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Read more and watch a video of the Secretary’s remarks here.


Washington Post Highlights Tisch Summer Fellow Project

A recent feature on the Washington Post’s Food section highlighted the Arcadia Mobile Market, where Tufts student Anna Hymanson, A16, is working as a Tisch Summer Fellow in Washington, D.C.

The market, which the newspaper dubs “Washington’s Farm Stand on Wheels,” is a bus that operates in “food deserts” where low-income, D.C.-area residents have limited access to fresh, affordable food options. The aim is to help create a more equitable and sustainable local food system that will improve the health of the community, the viability of local farmers, and preserve the environment for future generations.

Hymanson, who is also a Tisch Scholar, is assisting in the operation of the mobile farmers’ market, doing outreach in low-income neighborhoods, and participating in educational school visits.

Read the Washington Post article here.


Tisch College Dean Awarded Honorary Doctorate

On June 1, Tisch College Dean Alan D. Solomont was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters during the 2014 Commencement ceremony of Hebrew College.

The college, based in Newton, Massachusetts, honored Dean Solomont for his extraordinary career in public service, which included stints as chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service and as U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra. A Prozdor alumnus, Solomont has also had a lifetime commitment to the Jewish people, a democratic Israel, and peace in the Middle East. He has chaired the boards of CJP of Greater Boston and Hebrew SeniorLife in Boston, and has had involvement with the Jewish Fund for Justice, the Israel Policy Forum, the New Israel Fund, and Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly.

Ruth Calderon, a member of the Israeli Knesset, and Rabbi Zalman M. Schacter-Shalomi, a pioneer in the Jewish Renewal movement, joined Dean Solomont as honorary degree recipients.


Three Cummings Professors Join Tisch Faculty

Lisa Freeman, Deborah Linder, and Megan Mueller, all professors at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, have joined the Tisch College community as affiliated faculty members.

Freeman and Linder are leaders in the Tufts Paws for People program, a successful volunteer animal visitation (pet therapy) group. The highly trained teams of therapy animals and their owners visit hospitals, elder care facilities, at-risk youth homes, and library reading programs throughout New England; this year, they even visited Tufts’ library as stressed undergraduates studied for their finals. The program also researchers the benefits of animal visitation.

Megan Mueller (pictured), whose research position at the veterinary school is partially sponsored by Tisch College, is also focused on human-animal interaction, particularly in promoting the health of children and families. Her current research includes a study involving the children of military families, and a study on the effectiveness of equine-assisted therapy on mitigating post-traumatic stress symptoms in adolescent boys.

Tisch College has 46 affiliated faculty from throughout the university who are deeply committed to promoting active citizenship and civic engagement through their teaching and research.


Common Book Selected for Class of 2018

This summer, all incoming first-year undergraduates at Tufts will receive a copy of The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates as part of the Common Reading Program developed by Tisch College.

From the book’s Amazon page: “Two kids named Wes Moore were born blocks apart within a year of each other. Both grew up fatherless in similar Baltimore neighborhoods and had difficult childhoods; both hung out on street corners with their crews; both ran into trouble with the police. How, then, did one grow up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader, while the other ended up a convicted murderer serving a life sentence? Wes Moore, the author of this fascinating book, sets out to answer this profound question.”

The common book program looks to serve as a community-building experience while introducing incoming students to important social issues and to the values of Tisch College and Tufts University. There will be programming based on the book in the fall semester, including a lecture by author Wes Moore on September 9.

Learn more about the Common Reading Program.


Dean Solomont Honors Massachusetts Statesmen

On May 28, Tisch College Dean Alan D. Solomont served as master of ceremonies for the 2014 Massachusetts State House Tribute to Massachusetts Statesmen & Diplomats, an event celebrating the outstanding ambassadors and foreign service officers who have hailed from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for more than 200 years.

Organized by the The Franklin-Rogers MA Public Commission on American Diplomacy & The US Foreign Service, the event marked the 90th anniversary of the Foreign Service Act of 1924, authored by then MA congressman John Jacob Rogers, which established the modern foreign service.

Throughout the event, which included a taped video message from Secretary of State John Kerry, Dean Solomont helped honor Massachusetts statesmen from Ben Franklin to the late Paul Cellucci who have shaped American diplomacy across the centuries.

“We have ample reason to celebrate the importance of Massachusetts to American diplomacy, and the crucial role that the men and women of this Commonwealth have played, and continue to play, in representing America’s interests around the world,” said Solomont at the event.


Three New Members Join Board of Advisors

Tisch College is happy to welcome three new members to our Board of Advisors: Lisa Lebovitz, Tina Surh, and Betsy Busch.

Lisa Lebovitz J84, has been an active volunteer with Reach Out and Read since 1999, providing strategic and marketing counsel to the organization, co-chairing fundraising events, and helping to create the annual Read Romp + Rock Event in 2006.  Ms. Lebovitz is currently a member of the Board of Trustees at the Meadowbrook School in Weston, Massachusetts, and an active volunteer with Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda. The Lebovitz family founded Safe at Home to help families caring for loved ones inflicted with Alzheimer’s.

Tina Surh is the Chief Investment Officer of New York University, where she is responsible for the design and implementation of investment policy and strategy for the University’s $3 billion Endowment. She has been a member of the Tufts University Board of Trustees since 2010 and serves on the Investment Committee for the Salvation Army.  Ms. Surh graduated cum laude from Tufts University where she majored in Drama and studied Economics; she was an active costume designer for Arena Theater stage productions, vocalist with the Jackson Jills, and campus tour guide.

Betsy Busch is is a pediatrician and subspecialist in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics and an Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM). She completed her M.D. degree at TUSM in 1975. In 1989, Dr. Busch was appointed the founding Clinical Director of the Center for Children with Special Needs at Tufts Medical Center. She has been active on the Executive Council of the Tufts Medical Alumni Association (TMAA) and the Alumni Council of the Tufts University Alumni Association, and she is a member of the Tufts University Board of Trustees.

With these additions, the Tisch College Board of Advisors now includes 29 outstanding professionals from a range of fields and disciplines who share a commitment to our mission of promoting active citizenship.

(Pictured: Tina Surh and Betsy Busch)


Spring 2014

Congresswoman Katherine Clark Visits Tufts

U.S. Congresswoman Katherine Clark, who represents the 5th district of Massachusetts, recently came to campus to meet with students, faculty, and administrators, and to get a taste of cutting-edge research and initiatives across the university.

Clark began her visit with a tour of first and second grade classrooms in the Eliot-Pearson Children’s School, the demonstration school of the Tufts Child Development department, and a discussion with the school’s director Hanna Gebretensae.

The congresswoman was then joined by Tufts President Anthony Monaco, Provost David Harris and other university officials at a demonstration of the VisWall, a groundbreaking 3-D technology housed at the Tufts Center for Scientific Visualization that has myriad applications across scientific and non-scientific disciplines.

Her visit ended with a round table discussion with students and faculty. Tisch College Dean Alan Solomont led a conversation on politics, civic engagement, and public service, and Congresswoman Clark shared some insights from life on the Hill.

(Pictured: Dean Alan Solomont speaks with Congresswoman Katherine Clark)


Boston Magazine Features Dean Solomont

Tisch College Dean Alan Solomont is featured in the latest issue of Boston Magazine, in which he is named as one of Boston’s top thought leaders.

In a feature called “The Power of Ideas,” the magazine lists and celebrates people who are transforming the way we live, work, and learn. Dean Solomont is included in the Leaders & Idealists category, among other Bostonians like Secretary of State John Kerry, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, and Somerville mayor Joe Curatone.

The magazine highlights Solomont’s leadership of Tufts’ new 1+4 program, which will allow select incoming undergraduates to perform a year of service at home or abroad. The initiative is part of Tufts’ and Tisch College’s commitment to ensuring that every student graduates with the skills necessary for a lifetime of active citizenship.

Other notable names on the list are Boston mayor Marty Walsh, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Read more here.


Susan Ostrander Retires

Susan Ostrander,  a Tufts sociology professor well-known for her deep involvement with Tisch College and her commitment to active citizenship, is retiring at the end of this academic year.

A Tufts faculty member since 1980, Ostrander’s teaching and research specialized in civic and political engagement. Her most recent book, published last year, is Citizenship and Governance in a Changing City: Somerville, MA. In the book, Ostrander explores the strong civic life in Somerville, where diverse groups of people are involved in the city’s affairs and have a stake and a voice in community-wide decisions. Some of her other books include: Acting Civically: From Local Neighborhoods to Higher Education, and Money for Change: Social Movement Philanthropy at Haymarket People’s Fund, among others.

Ostrander was a valued part of Tisch College for many years. She held a secondary appointment as a member of the Tisch College faculty, was a Faculty Fellow in 2006, and most recently served on the steering committee of the Tufts Community Research Center.


Tufts Now Highlights Tisch College Professors

Two members of the Tisch College affiliated faculty have been in the news lately, both recognized for their work in starkly different fields, but united by their commitment to civic engagement.

In an article entitled “Tablets Computers for Global Literacy,” Tufts Now highlights the groundbreaking work of Maryanne Wolf, a professor in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development and Director of the Center for Reading and Language Research. Wolf has been working with colleagues at MIT to study how tablets can potentially teach reading to children without access to school or any formal learning environment.

Last year, Wolf traveled to remote villages in rural Ethiopia and saw first-hand how quickly the children learned through the videos, e-books, and other apps available to them in each tablet. “The children learned to be so facile so quickly—it was breathtaking. They have no electricity, had never seen paper and pencil, but in one week, they were able to turn each application on,” she said.

Last month, Tufts also announced that David Walt, Robinson Professor of Chemistry and longtime member of the Tisch College Faculty, had been named a University Professor.

Walt has been at Tufts for more than 30 years, and leads a world-class laboratory that does pioneering work in microarray technology. Along with his innumerable professional achievements, he has a long history of science education outreach to local students, particularly in underserved schools. In particular, he founded the Chemistry Organized Outreach Partnership (CO-OP), which aims to revitalize science classrooms by bringing experiments, modern techniques, and equipment to urban high schools.

Read more about the Tisch College Faculty.


Tisch College and School of Medicine Celebrate Civic Partnership

Last month, Tisch College Dean Alan D. Solomont spoke at the Tufts School of Medicine’s third annual Community Service Learning (CSL) reception. The event featured a student panel and presentations on this year’s CSL projects, many of which we have supported through the Tisch Fund for Civic Engagement and other means. These include the IDEAS in Medicine program, Health Impact Partnership, the Sharewood Project, and the alternative Spring Break trip to work at the Crews’n Healthmobile in Phoenix, Arizona.

Dean Solomont spoke eloquently about the School of Medicine’s tradition of civic engagement and its long-standing partnership with Tisch College. To celebrate this partnership, CSL faculty co-chair Dr. Mark Pealmutter announced that the CSL program would be officially rechristened the Tisch College and Tufts University School of Medicine Community Service Learning Program.

(Pictured: CSL Coordinator Jennifer Greer-Morrisey, at center, with students during a recent IDEAS in Medicine event)


School of Medicine Holds Campus Visit for Local Students

Students at the Tufts University School of Medicine recently hosted a group of 7th graders from the Eugene Wright Science and Technology Academy,  in Chelsea for a day of fun and learning as part of the IDEAS in Medicine program. This initiative, supported in part by the Tisch Fund for Civic Engagement, engages students, many from minority backgrounds, to help improve their math and science literacy, critical thinking skills, and problem solving ability, while also introducing them to careers in the health sciences.

The day-long symposium on the Tufts campus served as the culmination of the year-long tutoring and mentoring. With stethoscopes in hand, the middle schoolers tried their hand at finding their patellar relfexes, taking blood pressure, and even wore scrubs and mask while learning to make teeth impressions.

The program will continue next year with another crop of students.


Tisch Scholars Organize College Fair in Shiprock, NM

A group of sophomore Tisch Scholars recently returned from an alternative Spring Break trip to Shiprock, New Mexico, where they helped lead a college fair and other activities for youth in the Navajo Nation.

Led by Senior Programs Administrator Mindy Nierenberg and Scholars Program Administrator Sara Allred, the Tufts students organized the event with representatives from more than 15 colleges and universities from across the United States. The fair was a collaboration between GEAR UP, the Navajo Nation Office of Diné YOUTH, and Tufts University.

The Tisch Scholars also spent time with youth and other community members, and worked on an anti-bullying video.

(Pictured: The Tisch Scholars in Shiprock, New Mexico)


Lawrence Lessig Talks about Power and Corruption

Last month, Harvard Law professor and activist Lawrence Lessig delivered a thought-provoking lecture entitled “Just Standing Far Enough Outside” about leadership, power, and political corruption.

Lessig is director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and is well-known for his political activism around issues like campaign finance and net neutrality.

The event was co-sponsored by Tisch College, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundation, the Leadership Studies Minor, the Department of Political Science, the Department of Philosophy, and the Communications and Media Studies Program.

Watch a recording of the full lecture here.


Alumni Talk to Students about Public Interest Careers

In March, Tisch College and the Tufts Career Center co-hosted Careers in the Common Good. The event brought together alumni who work in public service, nonprofits, social enterprise, and other public interest fields to talk to current students who may be interested in pursuing similar careers.

The participating alumni included currently employees of organizations like the Camcridge Health Alliance, BUILD, the Peace Corps, United Way, the National Lawyers Guild, New Profit, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Tisch College Dean Alan D. Solomont spoke to the assembled students and alumni about the importance of values-driven careers, including his own experiences as a businessman and entrepreneur motivated by the public good.

(Pictured: Dean Alan D. Solomont chats with students and alumni.)


Medical Students Participate in Alternative Spring Break Trip to Phoenix, AZ

Over spring break, Jennifer MacDowell, Jasmine Mikami, Taieri McKenzie, and Johanna Salay, all M17, traveled to Phoenix, AZ to work on Dr. Randy Christensen’s, M95, medical outreach van. The 35-foot Mobile Medical Unit brings free, comprehensive medical help directly to the thousands of youth live who on the streets of Phoenix.

This trip was inspired by the Common Book Ask Me Why I Hurt: The Kids Nobody Wants and the Physician Who Heals Them, and the student initiative received co-sponsorship support from the Tisch Fund for Civic Engagement.

(Pictured left-right: Dr. Randy Christensen, Jennifer MacDowell, Jasmine Mikami, Taieri McKenzie, and Johanna Salay. Photo by Patrick Breen for Tufts University.)


Tisch Board Member on “World’s Greatest Leaders” List

Vanessa Kirsch, a member of the Tisch College Board of Advisors, and her husband Alan Khazei were recently selected as a “dynamic duo” in a Fortune Magazine/CNN Money feature on the “World’s Greatest Leaders.”

Kirsch is the Founder and Managing Director of New Profit Inc., a nonprofit venture philanthropy fund that provides financial and strategic support to a portfolio of innovative social entrepreneurs and their organizations. She has long been recognized as a leader and innovator in the field of social entrepreneurship. Khazei was co-founder of City Year and currently co-chairs The Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project, an advocate for national service.

“Vanessa’s work in nonprofit venture philanthropy embodies the values promoted by Tisch College. Social entrepreneurs like Vanessa and Alan are making an important difference in our world today, and we are so proud to see their hard work and dedication recognized among this list of influential figures,” said Alan D. Solomont, Dean of Tisch College.

Other power couples recognized by Fortune Magazine include Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Bill and Melinda Gates.

Read more here.


Presidential Symposium Brings Together Community Partners

Over 150 students, faculty, and leaders from our various host communities came together on March 12 for our annual Presidential Symposium on Community Partnerships. Hosted by Tufts President Anthony Monaco, this gathering is an opportunity to reflect on and strengthen civic engagement efforts and campus-community partnerships throughout Boston’s Chinatown, Medford, and Somerville.

Tisch College Dean Alan D. Solomont delivered the event’s keynote address, which centered on the importance of civic renewal. “By sharing resources, strategies and goals, we can have a lasting, transformative effect on our communities and the world around us,” said Solomont. “Effective collaboration is essential to advance civic renewal today and tomorrow.”

Participants then had the opportunity to engage in frank table discussions about the recipe for successful partnerships, ways to overcome barriers, and how Tufts and Tisch College can continue to strengthen communities locally and around the country.


U.S. Navy Honors Dean Alan Solomont

On February 21, Tisch College Dean Alan Solomont received the U.S. Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award, its highest honor awarded to a civilian. Solomont, former U.S. ambassador to Spain and Andorra, was lauded for his partnership-building efforts in Spain and support of the Navy and all of the nation’s men and women in uniform.

The award was presented at a Pentagon ceremony presided over by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. Also present were James G. Stavridis, dean of Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe during Solomont’s tour in Spain; and Peter Levine, Tisch College professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs and director of CIRCLE.

Read more here.

(Pictured: Dean Solomont, Secretary Mabus, and Susan Lewis Solomont)


The Process Behind Civic Seed

In the latest issue of Diversity & Democracy, a publication of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, Tisch College’s Senior Programs Manager Mindy Nierenberg writes about the development of Civic Seed, our innovative video game to train students for civic engagement. Created in conjunction with the Engagement Game Lab at Emerson College, Civic Seed aims to be a valuable tool for preparing students to perform thoughtful, effective community service.

In the article, Nierenberg writes about the process behind creating the game, including the challenging but ultimately productive creative tensions about Civic Seed’s serious content and the playful environment in which it is presented. “A series of constructive conflicts have resulted in a better product than either group could have built independently,” says Nierenberg.

She also discusses the future of Civic Seed, which will hopefully be adopted and adapted to train students beyond the boundaries of Tufts’ host communities and become a powerful tool of civic education and engagement.

Read the full article here.


ACT Boston Holds Successful Gala

On February 8, Active Citizens of Tufts Alumni – Boston (ACT Boston) held its third annual gala at Workbar, Cambridge. Recent alumni, current students, Tisch College staff, and many others got together for an evening of food, drinks, and fun in celebration of active citizenship at Tufts University.

The event also featured a silent auction with coveted prizes like Red Sox tickets, ski passes, and a trip to Cancun, Mexico. Proceeds from the gala are to benefit Tisch College’s Active Citizenship Summer program, which places Tufts students in career-building internships that also benefit communities in New York, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., and around the world.

Check out more pictures from the gala on the ACT Boston Facebook page.

(Photo by Matthew Modoono for Tufts University)


Tisch Scholars and Staff Visit Spelman College

This week, four Tisch Scholars had the opportunity to visit Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, where they attended a speech by Kimberlé W. Crenshaw as part of the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Distinguished Lecture Series.

Tisch College’s Senior Program Manager, Mindy Nierenberg, and Program Administrator Danica Fisher, a Spelman alumna, accompanied the students to the event. Crenshaw, Distinguished Professor of Law at UCLA and a leading voice in the field of critical race theory, lectured on the topic “Black (W)holes and Geometry: The Politics of Black Women’s Bodies.”

The Tisch Scholars and staff also met Spelman College President, Dr. Beverly Tatum, along with students from Spelman’s Social Justice Fellows program. Another Tisch Scholar, Emani Holyfield, A15, recently finished her domestic semester ‘abroad’ at Spelman and worked as an Associate Fellow in that program.

Overall, Nierenberg characterized the experience at Spelman as “inspirational.”

(Pictured: Chi-Chi Osuagwu, A16; Dr. Tatum; Soerny Cruz, A16; Verónica Rosario, A15)


Fall 2013

Tufts Neighborhood Service Fund Donates to 29 Organizations

The Tufts Neighborhood Service Fund (TNSF) committee recently awarded grants totaling nearly $20,000 to 29 organizations in Tufts’ host communities of Medford, Somerville, Boston’s Chinatown, and Grafton. TNSF collects donations from university employees throughout the year and then awards grants to community-based, charitable organizations that serve these communities and actively engage Tufts volunteers in their work.

“This was the largest grant applicant pool the TNSF committee has seen since the fund’s inception in 1995, with nearly 70 grant applications,” said Barbara Rubel, director of community relations. “The decisions are never easy and are contested within the committee, but the group made it a point to allocate the grants where the most need was demonstrated.”

View the full list of 2013 grant recipients.


Tisch College Releases 2012-2013 Annual Report

As the champion, catalyst, and center of excellence for active citizenship at Tufts, we work alongside students, faculty, and staff throughout the university to promote thoughtful civic participation. Tisch College serves as a catalyst for new ways to engage students and faculty, provides resources to ensure programs have a very high level of impact, and infuses the notion of civic engagement into every aspect of a Tufts education.

Last month, we released our 2012-2013 Annual Report, which highlights some of the ways Tisch College has achieved those goals in the past year through programs like the Tisch Scholars, Active Citizenship Summer, Faculty Fellows, Corporate Citizen Fellow, and many others.

Read the full Annual Report.


Tufts Community Research Center Funds Two Projects

After reviewing its highest number of applications to date, last month the Tufts Community Research Center (TCRC) selected two university-community partnerships to be the recipients of seed grant funding for implementing their proposals.

The first, titled “Mitigating the stress effects of racism on health through healing, education, and empowerment,” is a partnership between Tufts and the Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center. Building on past collaborative work, this pilot program will recruit adolescents of color for an 8-10 week intervention. Participants will be taught critical race theory and cognitive behavioral techniques for self-care before using their knowledge to develop messages for their peers and the broader community.

The second project is a cooperative effort between Tufts and the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) to address pollution in Alewife Brook. Also based on a history of collaboration, this proposal seeks to accurately assess pollution levels and sources of phosphorus loads in the Alewife Brook. The results of this project will inform future research and action, and the TCRC looks forward to the united effort of Tufts and the community around a broader environmental issue.

(Pictured: Alewife Brook, courtesy MyRWA)


Tisch and Tufts Pay Tribute to Nancy Wilson

This past week, both Tisch College and the broader Tufts University community took a moment to thank and celebrate Nancy Wilson, outgoing dean ad interim of Tisch College, for her years of work in the service of active citizenship and civic engagement on campus and beyond.

Wilson worked at Tisch College for 10 years, the last two as interim dean. Under her leadership, the college established, promoted, or expanded many of its signature programs and initiatives, such as Honos Civicus. She also championed an emphasis on diversity and inclusion, and will continue to do so as she moves to the Provost’s Office and heads the search for the university’s Chief Diversity Officer.

Above all, Wilson has been a thoughtful and inspiring leader, mentor, and friend to all those who have had the pleasure of working with her. We wish her the best in her future endeavors.

Alan Solomont, former ambassador to Spain and Andorra, will succeed Wilson this January.

(Pictured: Tisch College Staff)


Leonard Carmichael Society Donates Fundraiser Proceeds to Two Charities

The Leonard Carmichael Society (LCS) recently presented checks of $3,255 each to two local organizations focused on helping the homeless population in and around Tufts’ host communities.

During a brief ceremony at the Campus Center, LCS co-presidents Keri Golembeski and Alli Jorgensen officially made the donations to Ruth Aaron, interim executive director of CASPAR, and Cheryl Jordan, board president of the Homeless Empowerment Project, which produces Spare Change News. The funds were proceeds from this year’s LCS: Vegas fundraiser, which in its 18th year drew over 600 students and raised more than $6,500 — over $1,500 than last year.

CASPAR, founded in 1970, offers  prevention, shelter, residential, educational, and other services to individuals with substance-abuse problems, many of them indigent.  Spare Change News is a street newspaper published in Cambridge with content produced by homeless or otherwise low-income people, and sold by vendors from that population.

“I want to thank Tufts for helping us,” said Jordan. “Anything that people do for us, we are so grateful.”

(Pictured: Aaron, Jorgensen, Golembeski, and Jordan)


Tisch Board Member Matt Bai Named National Political Columnist

Matt Bai, A90, a member of the Tisch College Board of Advisors, was recently named the newest national political columnist for Yahoo News.

Bai, who cut his teeth as a journalist writing for the Tufts Observer as an undergraduate, had been the chief political correspondent at The New York Times Magazine and, before that, a national correspondent for Newsweek. He covered the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections, and wrote The Argument: Inside the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics. 

Read more about how Bai considers his work an extension of a lifetime commitment to active citizenship and public service.


Meredith Minkler Awarded Tisch Research Prize

On November 7, we awarded the Tisch Research Prize to Meredith Minkler, a professor of health and social behavior at the University of California, Berkeley. Minkler, a distinguished public health researcher, has been a leading proponent of community-based participatory research (CBPR) whose work has directly improved the lives of community members—particularly in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

Tufts President Anthony Monaco personally presented Minkler the award. Past winners have included MacArthur Fellow John Gaventa and the late Elinor, who would go on to become the only woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics.

Read more courtesy of The Tufts Daily.

(Pictured: Peter Levine, President Monaco, Minkler, and Doug Brugge)


Tisch College Active Citizenship Summer Fellows featured on Blueprint magazine

The latest issue of Blueprint, Tufts’ magazine of “Giving, Growth, and Gratitude,” featured profiles of two 2013 Active Citizenship Summer (ACS) Fellows: Will Freeman, A16, and Julie Margolies, A15. Will worked at Fiver Children’s Foundation in New York, while Julie was an intern at the Summer Program for English Language Learners in Somerville, MA. Their transformative experiences, like that of dozens of other ACS Fellows, were made possible by the generous gift of $1 million from the James and Judith K. Dimon Foundation.

Read more about Will’s summer and Julie’s summer.