The spring semester is always an especially busy time on campus, as students, faculty, and staff work hard on the fulfillment of initiatives launched in the fall and move toward the completion of the academic year. The current semester has gotten off to a particularly fast start.
A great deal of activity across our community has been directed toward important university-wide planning initiatives. In keeping with Tufts’ values, community input and consultation are a key aspect of these processes and will become even more evident as the spring progresses.
At the heart of our coordinated initiatives is the comprehensive T10 strategic planning process, which will chart a course for the next ten years of the university’s development. There has been intense activity on T10 over the last three months as teams of faculty, staff, and students have given serious attention to our mission, challenges, and opportunities. In addition to groups convened as part of T10, the process is also benefiting from input from the university-wide Diversity Council launched a year ago. We will be asking for community input on T10 in March, and will issue a call for comments on recommendations with respect to diversity and inclusion specifically later in the semester.
In parallel with strategic planning, we are implementing in close partnership with the Schools a new approach to capital planning to ensure that investments in our physical plant are optimally aligned with our academic, cocurricular, and administrative priorities. As we look to the next phase in the development of our campus facilities, we will be drawing on the excellent work of the Council on Sustainability, which will soon issue a report on its work to the community.
The work of the university is moving ahead smoothly even as we look to the long term and dedicate significant energy to our planning initiatives. Professor Diane Souvaine is already making important contributions in her new role as Vice Provost for Research. Search processes are actively underway for a successor to Dean Stephen Bosworth, who is stepping down at the end of the academic year after an exceptionally productive tenure at The Fletcher School, and for the next Dean of Tisch College.
As we work to set our institutional priorities, we are also focused on ensuring that we have the systems and structures in place to support them, and to do so as efficiently as possible. This is the fundamental goal of the TEAM initiative—Tufts Effectiveness in Administrative Management—announced by Executive Vice President Patricia Campbell last semester. Following an intensive initial assessment phase, we are now working with our consultants from Deloitte to identify potential high-impact opportunities for further investigation to improve effectiveness and efficiency.
While many of our students are preparing to complete their studies here in May, our Schools and departments are already looking ahead to the arrival of new students in the fall. Record-high applications for undergraduate admission mean that the Class of 2017 will be the most selective in Tufts’ history. The university is committed to leveraging its resources to promote access and inclusion. We have been gratified by the positive response of generous donors to our new university-wide financial aid fundraising initiative, which incorporates use of existing university resources to amplify the impact of donations.
As ever, we aim to support our community in many ways. I personally believe that the health and wellness of our community make great contributions to our academic excellence. I have been enjoying runs this winter with members of the Tufts Marathon Team and some friendly competition with colleagues in the annual Trek to Talloires personal fitness challenge. I am especially pleased that we will be launching new facilities and services to support staff and faculty wellness on all three campuses later this semester. These investments in the health of the community will benefit all of us.
Looking ahead, I am energized by the prospects for Tufts and hope you are too. Thank you, as always, for your support and enthusiasm.