Today I am pleased to announce a new program for incoming first-year Arts & Sciences undergraduates that will expand opportunities for global experiential learning as a foundation for the college experience. The Tufts Civic Semester is a fall semester program that combines work at a nonprofit organization, cultural immersion, and for-credit academic coursework to instill the skills and values of engagement in civic life that are central to our mission. By offering a new semester-long option for service abroad, this initiative builds on our successful Tufts 1+4 Bridge Year, which will continue to offer interested students a transformational year of full-time community service before beginning their academic studies.
The Tufts Civic Semester will launch in fall of 2019 with inaugural programs for the incoming Class of 2023 in Kunming, China, and Urubamba, Peru. Like Tufts 1+4, the Civic Semester will feature service opportunities in local nonprofits, where students will help to build organizational capacity while sharpening their professional and civic skills and acquiring valuable life experiences. Students will live with host families, allowing them to establish deep relationships in the communities where they serve and to further develop their language skills.
The Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, which administers Tufts 1+4 and creates meaningful civic engagement opportunities on campus and beyond, will spearhead this innovative new program. Participants in the Tufts Civic Semester will serve alongside other incoming first-year Tufts students and will be supported with coursework and advising before and during their service semester. As matriculated students, they will also be eligible for financial aid and will remain on track to graduate in four years if they successfully complete the program requirements.
At Tufts we believe that meaningful experiential learning, supported by integrated coursework and critical reflection, provides a valuable foundation for a civically engaged college experience. With the addition of the Tufts Civic Semester program, we hope that even more students will have the chance to start their Tufts education with a transformational learning experience, providing a touchstone for success in their academic, professional, personal, and civic lives.