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On Saturday, November 12th, faculty, alumni, parents and friends gathered on a quintessential, crisp Fall in New England morning from all over the country to meet for an inaugural gathering of the Tufts President’s Council which took place on Tufts’ Medford/Somerville Campus.

The President’s Council is a newly formed volunteer leadership board, which provides insights and advice to President Monaco on issues of importance to Tufts and the higher education community in general. The Council is a university-wide body with members representing 4 Tufts schools (A&S, Engineering, Medical, and Dental).

The program revolved around the theme: Tufts: A Student-Centered Research Institution. President’s Council Co-Chairs, Lori (J’81) and Ted Samuels along with James (A’87) and Rebecca Neary (J’87) kicked-off the Meeting by welcoming a distinguished group along with President Monaco who gave his Strategic Update. A Faculty Panel on Leaders in Training and Research moderated by Provost David Harris was up next and featured renowned faculty members Dr. Chris Rogers, Department Chair and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Marie-Claire Beaulieu, Associate Professor of Classics, and Dr. Bree Aldridge, Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology and Microbiology. After compelling Faculty presentations, Tufts’ 13th President, Dr. Anthony Monaco, M.D., Ph.D., moderated a Student Research Panel featuring Thomas Williams (Ph.D. in Engineering Candidate, ’17), Miranda Siler and Jasper Du (Bachelor in A&S Candidates, ’17), and Sangita Murali (DMD Candidate, ’18). President Monaco proposed inquiries on “student-centered” learning and the scholarly experience including:

• What do you think sets Tufts apart from peer institutions when it comes to student research?

• How is research integrated into the student experience at Tufts? How do students balance research with other commitments?

• Have you been able to collaborate across disciplines with your research, and how has that affected the outcome?

• What role has faculty played in your research experience? What is the most important thing your faculty advisor has done to support or encourage you?

• How has your experience at Tufts encouraged your own development as a mentor? Are there any specific resources or people that have impacted you?

• How has the co-learning environment, with graduate students working alongside undergraduate students, impacted your research experience?

• How can access to undergraduate research opportunities be improved?

• What are your goals for your career after Tufts, and how have your research experiences informed this vision?

Presentations helped differentiate Tufts from other research universities because of the opportunities students have to learn and collaborate with professors and practitioners at the cutting-edge of their disciplines, and in a nurturing learning community.

The Carnegie Foundation ranks Tufts University as an institution with “very high research activity” — highest classification for degree-granting colleges and universities. But Tufts’ commitment to research is about much more than prestige. It is about an academic community coming together around ideas in creative and compelling ways, pushing boundaries, asking the questions that will advance knowledge and discovery to new levels and leave an impact on a community we love so much.

Thank you to everyone who made this event so successful and especially President Anthony Monaco, Provost David Harris, all of the President’s Council Board members, the Faculty and Student speakers and their dynamic mentors and open-minded mentees, the supportive Deans across all 4 schools, and of course Tufts University Advancement’s Jeff Winey, Maddy Conway, Meaghan Judge, and Tamar Kanarian.

Written by: Sangita Murali (D18 )

Categories: Reflections