A Year of Firsts
Today, more than ever before, higher education must keep pace with evolving needs in the economy and society and explore the educational frontiers opened up by advances in technology. I am proud that in response Tufts is helping to redefine higher education, embracing its integration with the wider world.
Over the last year, we made significant investments that have already begun to leverage our strengths, create dynamic online learning models, and expand our reach into new communities of learners. This infusion of energy and resources will have a profound and far-reaching impact on how we approach teaching and learning.
We started by building on existing strengths in ways that meet strong demand from prospective students. At the School of Engineering, for instance, our new master’s degree in computer engineering is keeping pace with that rapidly evolving field and is designed to appeal to a broad range of students, including working engineers.
We also created programs that ready our students for myriad opportunities working with big data. At the School of Engineering, we’re launching both a master of science degree and a certificate in data science. At the School of Arts and Sciences, with its rigorous approach to the humanities and social sciences, faculty have come together to create a master’s in data analytics. And the School of Medicine is embarking on a thirty-six-credit online degree program in health informatics and analytics. The program, which offers both a master’s degree and a certificate option, will prepare students for positions spanning clinical, business, technical, application, and security sectors.
Then there’s the rapidly emerging field of robotics, in which the blistering pace of development is raising concerns about the effects artificial intelligence could have on humanity. Tufts is anticipating the technical and moral complexity of this issue with a new graduate program in human-robot interaction.
Our commitment to academic innovation means we’re also harnessing online learning technologies to bring the excellence of Tufts to new communities of students. One example is the Master of Global Business Administration, tailored to working professionals, that the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy will launch in 2019. Weekly live classes will be offered in tandem with online coursework that’s accessible on mobile devices, allowing students to complete assignments from around the world. The program will include two residential sessions, one at Fletcher and the second at an international location.
In addition, Tufts reached out over the summer to new groups of young students. Tufts has always had a popular non-residential Summer Session for High Schoolers, but now we offer a six-week residential program on the Medford/Somerville campus—the Tufts College Experience. The program features two college-credit classes as well as the new College Prep 101, which offers the chance to hear from Tufts University staff about the student experience. Another pre-college pilot program, Tufts College Intensive, offers two-week sessions focused on specific areas of interest, including international relations, the studio arts, and leadership for social change.
It was a busy year, and these new programs are just the beginning. It will remain important for us to measure our immediate success in both enrollment and student satisfaction. But there is no doubt that we must recognize and respond to both emerging technologies and changing ideas about what higher education can and must do. Most important, we are redoubling our commitment to providing Tufts students with the emerging knowledge and skills they need to take the lead in addressing the big challenges of our time.
Anthony P. Monaco
President, Tufts University