A message about the plans for Fall 2020 from President Monaco to the entire Tufts University community was just released and I encourage you to read his announcement in full for all of the reopening details at the University level.
When the world felt like it changed overnight this spring, our Friedman School community came together to make the semester work in inspiring and creative ways. We met the moment then, and now I want to ensure that your academic progress and incredible scholarship continue with the greatest of care taken for your safety, and with the least possible disruption.
A Flexible and Hybrid Approach to Fall
I know that many of you want to return to campus. I also know that many students won’t be able to travel to campus or may be uncomfortable being on campus. In order to meet the needs of all students and maximize accessibility, this fall the Friedman School will offer courses and other activities using a flexible, hybrid approach that allows students the option to participate online, on campus, or a combination of both.
How will the flexible and hybrid system work?
While the School is still reworking the Fall 2020 course logistics, I can give you a broad outline of what “flexible and hybrid” means in practice.
- All courses will be accessible online by livestreaming and recording
- Some courses will also include in-classroom components, with participation by students who are not in the classroom facilitated by livestreaming and recording
- In some courses, lectures will be pre-recorded so that students can view these at times convenient to them (i.e. asynchronously)
- In some courses lectures will be delivered in real-time (synchronously) and recorded for viewing by students who are in distant time zones or unable to attend in person.
- In many courses, activities beyond lectures such as discussions, debates, and reviews will be delivered both synchronously and asynchronously.
- Almost all of our usual other activities, such as seminars, advising, and career events will be provided. All will be provided online, and many will be provided on campus with livestreaming or recording for students who are not on campus.
The full list of courses and their delivery methods are now posted on our website.
Accessibility and Academic Excellence: Meeting Your Expectations
Our fall curricular and co-curricular offerings represent input from students, faculty, and educational experts. We offered all new and returning students the chance to tell us their thoughts and preferences for the fall, and much of our fall plan is based on the feedback from the remarkable 75% who responded. A University-wide committee on academics and the Friedman School Steering Committee have worked to recommend what we believe are the best solutions for providing a safe and excellent educational experience despite the challenges we face.
Course design and pedagogical assistance is being provided through workshops, roundtable discussions, consultations and other resources by Tufts University’s Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching. In addition, expert technical guidance regarding recording and delivery of courses is being provided by the University’s Educational Technology Services. Our own Friedman School resources include close consultations with program directors and instructors from our well-established and long-running blended Master of Nutrition Science and Policy degree and our online Certificate programs. Additional teaching assistants are being deployed to assist with preparation of courses this summer and delivery of courses this fall.
Our Guiding Principles
Connections and Guidance
As always, all students will have academic advisors to help chart their plan for the fall and beyond. Online advising sessions with faculty advisors and Division Chairs will begin earlier than normal, starting in July. We ask that you please watch for emails about this accelerated advisor program. In addition to connecting with advisors early, our new students will be assigned returning students as buddies who can informally act as guides through the Friedman School. As we all make our way through our new learning environment, we will need a plan to stick together and not lose touch with our core community.
Our Academic Dean, Ed Saltzman, will be holding Q&A events this week for all students. Please watch your email for invitations to these Zoom events.
Rising to the Challenge
As you consider all of your options for this fall, I need you to know very plainly that the world needs your knowledge and leadership right now. Fixing the food system can’t wait. The skills you learn and the commitment you bring to the disciplines of nutrition science and policy will be crucial as we build a more sustainable and just food system. Near or far, we are woven together as a community by the ideals we champion, the positive impact we make, and the food we eat.