Building Robust & Inclusive Democracy

Community Partners

Tisch College facilitates strong, meaningful, and sustainable relationships between Tufts and its host communities. We support and encourage students and faculty members to work with partner communities in addressing community-identified needs. These partnerships can take many forms, including academic research, curriculum development, forums and conferences, coursework, internships, volunteer work, and more.

Our partnerships are guided by several foundational principles:

  • To focus primarily, though not exclusively, on communities where Tufts University’s campuses are located, especially Medford, Somerville, and Boston’s Chinatown—as well as the Greater Boston area.
  • To plan, conduct, and manage teaching, service, and research activities in full collaboration with community partners, taking into consideration the assets of local communities as well as the challenges that they face
  • To fully orient and prepare Tufts students to work in local communities, and to elevate the knowledge of community members about Tufts in order to maximize the contributions to the education of Tufts students, to faculty research, and the benefits to communities.

Special Programs

The Tisch College Office of Community Partnerships also supports two specific initiatives aimed at improving educational equity and college access in out host communities:

College Access is a national movement to increase access to higher education, particularly among students from underrepresented backgrounds. Our College Access Initiative, led by a steering committee of Tufts undergraduates, partners with youth-serving organizations on college access and success through campus tours and workshops among Tufts host communities. Through the program, high school students are exposed to college life and encouraged to begin the college application process.

FOCUS (First-Year Orientation Community Service) is a five day pre-orientation program for incoming students at Tufts University that aims to engage first-year students through service opportunities with organizations in the greater Boston area. FOCUS partners with local organizations where participants work alongside community members and learn about the community that they will call home for the next four years. First-years are supported by FOCUS staff, dedicated Tufts students who are committed to active and responsible community engagement that support needs identified by the community and its representatives. Throughout the program, incoming students have the opportunity to explore campus and the greater Boston area, meet other first-years and upperclassmen, and build the foundation for a college career of community service and civic engagement.

STEM Ambassadors are student representatives from Tufts University’s School of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering who share their passion and excitement for the sciences and engineering with local middle and high school students in Medford, Somerville, and Boston. STEM Ambassadors share the opportunities for growth, knowledge, and social impact to a diverse population, with a special focus on underrepresented groups in the STEM fields such as girls, youth of color, and first-generation college-bound students.

For more information, contact Shirley Mark, Tisch College’s Director of Community Partnerships.