From the monthly archives: August 2011

It’s a beautiful day today!  Clear blue skies and cool dry air.  Quite the contrast from yesterday’s wet and windy weather, when Hurricane Irene blew through.  The campus seems to have escaped with not much more than downed tree branches.  With clean-up already underway, the storm will soon be just a memory.

The timing for the storm was definitely sub-optimal for Fletcher, but despite canceled flights and suspended train service, a remarkable number of new students managed to make their way into town.  Info packets in hand, they streamed into ASEAN Auditorium at 9:00, and are now midway through their first morning of Orientation.  I’ve heard that about 40 would-be-Orientees have contacted the Registrar’s Office to say they’ll arrive late because of storm delays.  I hope that most will be at Fletcher within the next day or so — Orientation is a time to gather nuts-and-bolts information about the School, but it’s also a great opportunity to meet classmates and start the academic year feeling like part of a community.

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One last thought before the weekend.  If you’re on the East Coast of the U.S., you already know we’re due to receive a visit from Hurricane Irene.  Though the exact path and impact of the storm are still unclear, travel on Sunday will almost surely be disrupted, and some students will arrive later than they originally planned.

Based on this morning’s weather forecast, the storm will have passed before Monday, and Orientation will go on.  Of course, the program will make all needed adjustments if a significant number of students weren’t able to reach Boston over the weekend.

Meanwhile, if there’s any question whether the University will be closed on Monday, you can check the Tufts web page for emergency closings, or call 617/627-4636 for information.  Most important, please be careful in planning your travel — we want you to arrive safely!

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Near the end of August each year, I pick a day to shut down the computer a little early, get out my cleaning supplies, and go to work.  Today’s that day.  I’ve already cleared some things off my desk (noticing, along the way, that my file drawers could also benefit from a thinning), and I’m set to give it a 4:00 dusting.

Why this little tradition?  The new students will be here on Monday!  It’s nice to greet them in a clean work space, of course; but, more to the point, the control-paced days of summer are coming to an end.  Once the newbies and all their questions arrive, it’s one phase of the admissions process after another, until it slows down again next May.  That’s the nature of our cyclical work.  Best to dust before it all begins.

I admit that there are a few things I’ll be scrambling to finish this afternoon (somehow the to-do list is never completely to-done), but I feel ready for the students.  As Kristen said the other day, it’s great to finally meet people we already feel we know.


For those who may not have been able to keep up with Fletcher alumni intrepid travelers profiled in the blog here and here, I’m ready to provide an update.  First, the latest on our team in Iceland, Charlie Scott and family.  I caught up with Charlie when I was in New York last weekend and heard more about the trip than I had read on his blog.  It sounds like a great adventure, and I was relieved to hear that, though his blog photos don’t show it, they did indeed see both the hay bales and rainbows that were a constant on my own trip to Iceland a few years ago.  Planning has begun for next summer’s adventure.  If (as Charlie is currently thinking) it includes the Alps, I’ll certainly let you know via the blog.

Still on the road are Alex and Colin, aka TeamFletchLooks like they’re close to the Mongolian border, despite a fuel shortage that they describe in their blog, and a need for duct tape that they describe in their twitter feed.

Should you find yourself with spare funds, consider a donation to TeamFletch’s charities.


Though all of us in Admissions work with all programs, Kristen works the most directly with the MIB (Master’s in International Business) students.  I asked her to share her thoughts on the start of the 2011-2012 MIB year.

Last Monday marked one of the best days of the year for me:  after a year (sometimes two, sometimes three) of working with applicants to the MIB program, the new students arrived here on campus.  It’s very gratifying to see in person the people you have come to know through their applications and emails, and maybe, if you are lucky, a brief visit or two.

The students in the MIB program start a bit earlier than those in Fletcher’s other on-campus programs.  They are required to take a two-week pre-session course on Strategic Management that precedes a fun week of Orientation activities.  Not that the pre-session isn’t fun (we make sure to build that in), but it’s also quite intense. With three hours of case-based class lecture and discussion each day, the students stay very busy from the moment they arrive on campus.  The class sessions are interspersed with a few social events and luncheon lectures by Fletcher faculty, to create a break in the day.

This year we welcomed 38 students to the pre-session:  32 new MIBs, and eight students from other programs.  It’s nice to have these LLMs, MALDs, and PhDs in the class to add a different perspective.  That is, after all, the great advantage of a Fletcher education.

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I can feel the fall semester coming, and with it the buzz of students in the Hall of Flags.  Even this week, there has been a little HoF activity, with MIB students in the building for their pre-session, along with Tavitian Scholars from Armenia, and a group of judges from Mexico here for a special program.  But the sound this limited group creates outside the window from my office to the HoF is more of a bzt than a buzz.  I hear a few voices, but then they’re gone, off to class or another activity.  It won’t be long, though!  And the Orientation week buzz is the year’s loudest.  I’m looking forward to it!

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Itching to start your application to Fletcher?  Now’s your moment!  The application for 2012 enrollment (both January and September) is ready.  Before you start, be sure to read the application instructions for the program to which you’ll apply.

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Dinner tonight will be quiet for Paul, Kayla, and me.  This morning, we delivered the exchange students from Iraq who have been staying with us to their meeting place, before they flew off to Washington, DC.  This is the second year that my family has hosted participants in the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program, and my daughter Kayla had an IYLEP internship.  The Boston contingent was big this year, and we agreed to take on three students — a high schooler from Sulaymaniyah in the north, a 24-year-old mentor to the group, from Baghdad, and a 16-year-old U.S. participant from San Diego.  Ten days, four jars of Nutella, and a bazillion pitas and Lebanese and Afghan breads later, we sadly sent them on their way.

The program came to Fletcher last night for a panel presentation and an Iftar dinner.  Most of the kids who might have wanted to fast for Ramadan will do so when they’re back home, but the Iftar still gave them a chance to share a little of their culture with their host families.  A few Fletcher students joined us, but my real hope is that the organizations running IYLEP will think of Fletcher students when it comes time to do some hiring!

For our family, hosting IYLEP students is certainly a chance to learn about Iraq, but I think the greater value for me is in the opportunity to contribute to future leaders.  I like the idea that they have this time in the U.S. to develop their leadership and communication skills, and to think about their own society and how they can add to it.  Meanwhile, their host parents buzz around them and ensure they’re safe, rested, and properly fed.  I believe in these kids — whether on the local or a higher level, they’re going to do something great!

But, for now, I feel sad about the quiet left in Soma, Worood, and Breanna’s wake, even as I know the wonders of modern connectivity will keep us in contact.  Plus, the world, if anything, is growing smaller, and we’ll see each other again some time — maybe even when they (or their IYLEP peers) enroll at Fletcher.


If you’ve noticed that the Fletcher website seems slow or confused lately, please don’t worry.  We’re in the process of transitioning to a new content management system that will give departments (such as Admissions) greater control over the content of their pages.  That’s still in the future, though, and right now we are sometimes surprised to find the medical school popping up where Fletcher should be.  All will soon be corrected and (fingers crossed) the site will be back to normal speed in just a few weeks.


We’re so happy with our coffee hour experiment!  Kristen and Liz created and implemented this multifaceted summer project.  Here’s Kristen’s report:

It has been a hectic couple of weeks, organizing about 25 gatherings across the globe, but we’re pleased to see that both current and prospective students have enjoyed the chance to chat about Fletcher. We still have more events coming up this weekend, so if you are in Houston, Istanbul, or Bangkok, feel free to RSVP and join in!  Student coffee hosts have reported back on their experience.

From Kathleen and Will in Paris:
French rock n’ roll played in the background, as we welcomed three prospective students to an informal Fletcher informational meeting in a bar in the 8th arrondissement of Paris.  The three prospective students came armed with questions, inquiring about the Fletcher curriculum, access to professors, career services, and life in Boston.  Two of the three participants were French citizens, and they appeared excited and nervous about the application process, as well as about studying in the U.S for the first time.  We tried to inject our responses with personal anecdotes that conveyed the vibrancy of the Fletcher experience.

From Laurence in Montreal:
Yesterday I had the pleasure to meet in Montreal with a small group of potential students from different parts of Canada.  We met at Caffè Art Java on Mont-Royal, a hospitable and open place that allowed us to enjoy the beautiful evening weather.  Not three years ago, I remember being in their shoes and going through the painful, yet rewarding, process of graduate school applications.  Questions ranged from the background of the student body, to internships and scholarship funding.  I sincerely hope that I was able to convey my appreciation of the friendships I have made, the knowledge I have gained, and the new opportunities that have been opened to me through the Fletcher family.  Good luck with your applications!

From Min and Sean in Cairo:
Two prospective students attended the event and asked about Fletcher’s MALD, MIB, and LLM programs. The discussion ranged from campus life to how Fletcher prepares students for the career of their choice.  We also talked about life in Egypt, and the two students were generous in offering their advice on how we could make the most of our time in Cairo.  We shared contact details for meeting up in the future.  After the event, we connected the prospective students with current Fletcher students and with alumni with experience in their areas of interest.

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