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Tents remain in place around campus, but Fletcher and the rest of Tufts have the yearly post-Commencement underpopulated look. By all accounts, Sunday’s ceremony was lovely, and the weather kindly cooperated — sunny all morning, but not too hot. The main Tufts website has photos and a short video to give you a sense of how everything looked.
Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend Sunday’s ceremony (more on that later this week), but I was at Saturday’s Class Day event where a wonderful alumni address was given by Paulo Bilyk F’92. Awards were then distributed, following which we heard from Dean Bosworth, who shared tales from his long career as a diplomat. Dean Bosworth was also honored on Sunday, when he was named Dean Emeritus of the School. Earlier in the day, Fletcher students cheered him when he conferred their degrees at the All-University phase of Commencement.
I ran into a few students this morning, but I think it’s fair to say that they have mostly moved on. When the tents come down this week, even Commencement, never mind the spring semester, will seem like a distant memory. Good luck and best wishes, Class of 2013!
(Thank you to University photographers, Kevin Ma and Emily Zilm, whose photos I borrowed.)
Tagged with: Commencement
For Fletcher students, the graduation ceremony is merely the (almost) final event in a weekend of togetherness. With the soon-to-be graduates only barely recovered from dawn to post-dusk Dis-Orientation activities, Commencement weekend kicks off on Friday (i.e. tomorrow) with breakfast and a graduation rehearsal at 8:00 a.m. The afternoon is unprogrammed (time to take visiting family around town for some sightseeing), but many will meet up again at 6:00 p.m. for a New England clambake, which is also the kick-off event for the Fletcher alumni reunion that runs in parallel this weekend.
Fletcher decided years ago to keep the focus on students during Sunday’s graduation ceremony, and a Class Day event was created on the Saturday of Commencement weekend for speeches, presentation of prizes, etc. The speaker for this year’s Class Day program will be our own Dean Stephen Bosworth, who is stepping down after more than a decade as dean. I’m sure it will be a bittersweet moment. Lunch will follow.
And then, finally, Sunday arrives. Students will kick off the day with a champagne breakfast, featuring toasts by the students selected by a vote of their peers. Champagne imbibed, students head off to the all-University ceremony (where Fletcher students are well known for their extra loud cheers when their degrees are awarded as a group), followed by the Fletcher ceremony, where each graduating student is handed a diploma by the dean (photos will be taken — smile!). Speeches will be delivered by peer-selected students and the recipient of the Paddock Prize for excellence in teaching, which went this year to Carolyn Gideon.
When the ceremony concludes, everyone works their way over to lunch via many hugs and well-wishes. All in all, a lovely event.
Tagged with: Commencement
As much as I love to see students at Fletcher — hanging out in the Hall of Flags, sitting in the library, wandering into a classroom — there’s also something nice about seeing them outside their usual habitat. That would be one reason I enjoy the annual “where is Fletcher” video. The other reason is the sheer joyfulness of it. So, blog friends, pull on your dancing shoes, and join Fletcher students (as well as our outgoing and incoming academic deans) as they dance their way around the world.
The announcement of the appointment of James Savridis as Fletcher’s new dean hit my inbox today. Read below the letter to the community from Tufts Provost David Harris, and you can also refer to the press release on the Fletcher website:
Dear Members of the Tufts Community,
I write today with good news. Following an extensive search that considered candidates from around the world, we have selected Admiral James Stavridis as the next Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Admiral Stavridis graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, and later earned a Masters degree and a Ph.D. from Fletcher. He serves currently as Commander of the U.S. European Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander. Previously Admiral Stavridis led the U.S. Southern Command, was charged with leading a critical revision of Navy strategies and tactics after 9/11, and commanded a number of Navy ships and groups.
Admiral Stavridis thoroughly impressed our search committee with his tremendous enthusiasm for Fletcher, his keen understanding of his own strengths and limitations, his track record of building teams and organizations, his eagerness to engage internal and external audiences in support of Fletcher and Tufts, his extraordinary leadership skills, his demonstrated commitment to diversity, and his depth of knowledge and experiences across several areas that are key to the Fletcher mission—diplomacy, security studies, international organizations, and politics.
Admiral Stavridis has the rare combination of intellectual curiosity, social intelligence, humility, leadership skills, and respect from others that have made him one of the great military and political leaders of his generation, and that will make him a spectacular Fletcher Dean and a key member of the university leadership team.
Admiral Stavridis will begin his term on July 1, 2013. He succeeds Dean Stephen Bosworth, who has served with distinction since 2001.
David R. Harris
Provost and Senior Vice President
Through this past Monday, Fletcher looked like it did at any other moment in the semester. Then classes ended and study days began. Exams began yesterday and will continue until next Wednesday, but students have already started to peel away, and many fewer first-year students will be around next Monday than were here earlier this week. It’s only a matter of a week or two before staff are looking like this deer, wondering, “Where is everybody?”
That doesn’t mean that students, faculty, and staff are letting go of the semester easily. Fletcher Follies, a night of fun, closed out the last day of classes. Last night our incredibly talented students (and even some professors) arranged and performed the Fletcher Spring Recital. PhD students will hold a “come lunch with us” event today. The Extreme Inclusion Conference was held yesterday, with meetings today among practitioners. Tomorrow, Fletcher will be the site of an alumni event that happens to include our graduate, Farah Pandith, in addition to former Tufts undergraduates. Overall, the Fletcher calendar doesn’t make it clear that the academic year is coming to an end.
I’ll be honest, staff members enjoy the first quiet weeks of the summer. Suddenly, we’ll find ourselves completing projects that were perpetually on the to-do list throughout the semester. But productivity only goes so far in keeping us happy, and we’ll miss having the rest of the community here with us each day. All the more reason to enjoy next week when students are still around.
Returning to the questions blog readers asked me to cover this spring, Mirza is going to describe options for cross-registration. The opportunity to cross-register for up to a quarter of the classes a student takes toward a Fletcher degree is one of the factors that makes us say that no two students graduate with exactly the same curriculum.
One of the many great options at Fletcher is cross-registering at other graduate units of Tufts or Harvard University, or even beyond. (Keep in mind that MALD or MIB students are allowed to cross-register for four classes total during the two years at Fletcher.) With so many great higher education institutions in Boston, such cooperation and sharing of resources among different schools makes sense and you should by all means take full advantage.
Currently, in my second semester at Fletcher, I am taking two classes at Harvard — one at Harvard Kennedy School (Values, Interests and the Crafting of U.S. Foreign Policy) and one at Harvard Law School (Political Economy After the Crisis). They have both been challenging but intellectually rewarding, and have offered a slightly different perspective and learning environment from Fletcher. Combining such outside academic experience with the Fletcher experience has been, at least for me, extremely valuable.
Not everyone, however, will find cross-registering beneficial to their academic and professional path. For some, Fletcher offers exactly what they need, and this is perfectly fine. It can also be overwhelming to browse through hundreds of captivating courses at other schools, in addition to over a hundred amazing courses at Fletcher. Still, it is an option well worth keeping in mind as you think about the courses and fields that you’d like to pursue while in graduate school. One piece of advice is that you should not cross-register during your first semester at Fletcher. The incipient relationships that you form with your classmates are quite important, and you don’t want to hinder that vital component of the graduate school experience. As you settle in, however, venturing outside of Fletcher and Tufts will not be a problem, and will likely add considerable value to your academic growth.
Like almost everything in life, there are pros and cons to cross-registering. Here are a few tips, based on my experience, to keep in mind should you wish to cross-register:
- A different perspective (Always a good thing.)
- A new network (Also always a good thing.)
- A better awareness of the many free events, lectures, and seminars in the area. (These are the activities from which you will learn a whole lot — really worth exploring, and Harvard offers a great deal of them, all throughout the academic year.)
- Harvard Square (It’s quite lovely, but bring waterproof boots in the winter.)
- Access to the beautiful Harvard libraries (They are, indeed, quite nice.)
- Time spent traveling to Harvard Square (Not so bad, but in the rain and during midterms/finals… it can become a drag.)
- Group work taking place outside of Fletcher (So even more time spent traveling.)
- Conflicting class schedules between Fletcher and Harvard (Not usually a problem, but HBS especially can be tricky.)
- Nostalgia for Fletcher (It’s true — we’re all at Fletcher because we love it for one reason or another, so it’s possible to start missing your “real” home even if you’re away for just a short while.)
Overall, cross-registration is not a biggie, and there are so many great courses that it’s worth at least a quick look to see if something strikes you. The rest is just logistics — a bit annoying, but not enough to prevent you from taking a great class. A quick note regarding MIT, Boston University, and other Boston-area schools: they do not participate in the official cross-registration process with Fletcher, but it’s possible to take classes there with the instructor’s permission and a couple of logistical “tricks.” Feel free to talk to me about it if you wish to find out more — I’ll be taking classes at both MIT and BU next year.
Going to be in town this summer, and thinking of getting a jump on your Fletcher studies? You may be interested in our summer school. Open to those who have completed their undergraduate education, as well as rising seniors, here are the details:
My thanks to Roxanne for her comprehensive description of the process. Take it away, Roxanne!
First of all, it was so wonderful to meet many of the prospective members of the incoming class last week! We are sad to part with our second-year students soon, and getting to hear the stories of the incoming class gave many of us a lot to look forward to! One of the questions that emerged through these conversations was about the Fletcher summer internship search process. While it is very challenging to speak about a universal Fletcher experience, given that interests vary widely in this diverse community, I would like to shed some light on how some Fletcher students begin to think about their summer internships. Feel free to also browse the post I wrote about this topic in February, right before the DC Career Trip.
Setting goals for the summer: The first, and perhaps hardest, step in the internship search process is defining the summer experience we each wish to have. Some Fletcher students consider themselves “career changers,” shifting away from the professional field in which they worked prior to Fletcher and towards new endeavors. Other Fletcher students wish to use the summer to build their international or field experience, so they are explicitly looking for opportunities outside the United States. Yet other students wish to conduct research that will culminate in a capstone project, thesis, PhD proposal, or other document — either in parallel to an internship or instead of one. Some classmates wish to obtain or apply particular skills, such as quantitative analysis, crisis mapping, or practicing a language. Yet others want to remain in the same sector they were in prior to Fletcher, but wish to diversify the organizations and partners with which they have worked by building new institutional relationships over the summer. As you can see, there is no pattern that defines every Fletcher summer experience: The locales that host us for the summer range from Boston to Japan, from the public to private sector, from paid consultancies to research initiatives, and from entirely new endeavors to a return to beloved projects.
The critical role of mentorship: Mentorship is a critical component of developing a clearer sense of our goals for the summer. Conversations with professors or guest speakers at Fletcher events, as well as informational interviews with alumni, help us clarify our vision for what we seek to accomplish over the summer. Prior to both the New York City and DC career trips, the Office of Career Services compiles a lengthy list of alumni, including their professional affiliations and contact information. Students arrange many chats with alumni both during the Career Trips and outside of them in order to better understand potential summer opportunities. Informational interviews continue through the spring and they often end with a clearer “next step” for the students or an introduction to someone who may be of further help.
The Fletcher network does not just consist of faculty, staff, and alumni; rather, students themselves are an invaluable resource to their peers. During the second semester, many emails are sent on the Social List (our beloved and informal email list) asking if fellow students have worked in X country or with Y organization or if they know a particular individual. Many coffee chats emerge from these emails and it is always a delight to put each other in touch with people we have met or places we have worked, in the hope that we can create more opportunities for our peers.
Applying to summer positions: The Office of Career Services plays an instrumental role in coaching students through the application process. Once we have identified the types of opportunities we wish to apply to, we can make appointments with Career Services staff to review our résumés and cover letters, conduct mock interviews, receive assistance in negotiating potential compensation — or even in proofreading our communications with potential employers! For students who wish to conduct research or work on a Fletcher-affiliated project, whether in the Boston area or beyond, conversations with professors and campus centers that are supervising these initiatives are an important part of building future relationships.
Funding the summer experience: The availability of funding differs greatly among the various sectors in which Fletcher students immerse themselves for the summer. There are many opportunities to fund the summer experience for those who have received an unpaid internship. The Office of Career Services has a simple application for summer funding, and these resources are supplemented by other research centers on campus that can provide financial support, such as the Tisch Active Citizenship Fellowship Program or the Feinstein International Center. Some professors and departments make grants available for language study or for internships in a specific sector or region of the world. Additionally, there are Boston-area resources, such as the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School Summer Fellowships, that are accessible to Fletcher students because of the partnerships between Fletcher and the funding institutions. Students in the private sector or those who have secured paid consultancies for the summer may follow a slightly different process.
Pre-departure preparations: There is never a dull moment at Fletcher, even with an internship and funding secured! The months prior to departing for the summer are filled with building skills that may be essential for our research or employment, from training ourselves in statistics or ethnographic interviewing to brushing up on language skills and conducting pre-thesis research. In the next month, I will also be offering a “blogging and social media” workshop for Fletcher students, so we can compile a document of our online presence, enabling us to follow each other’s summer journeys and learning. A classmate is in the process of compiling a Google Map with Fletcher summer internship locations, so we can find community wherever we go. The bottom line is that this is an exciting, exhilarating process, which — like most other processes at Fletcher — requires putting ourselves out there, being curious and open to learning, and leveraging the power of this community to create opportunities for all.
Though time is tight, students at local colleges might want to submit a pitch for a product in the Extreme Inclusion Competition.
Those without a product to pitch, as well as all other blog readers, may want to attend the Extreme Inclusion Conference on May 2, a conference exploring the role and impact of financial services in reducing poverty and generating well-being for marginalized populations. The conference will be hosted by Fletcher, in partnership with MasterCard Worldwide and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Here’s information from the conference organizers about the keynote speaker:
We are pleased to announce that Reverend James Lawson, Activist and Principal Strategist for the American Civil Rights Movement, will deliver the keynote address ”Demanding Inclusion.”
We are honored to have Reverend Lawson underscore the civic and economic power of systemically marginalized groups to catalyze change as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington. Reverend Lawson is one of the extraordinary individuals profiled in A Force More Powerful. The film, PBS Series, and book challenge the common misconception that violence is the ultimate form of power in times of conflict. Martin Luther King, Jr. called Reverend Lawson “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.”
Reverend Lawson will be introduced by David R. Harris, Provost and Senior Vice President, Tufts University and editor of The Colors of Poverty: Why Racial and Ethnic Disparities Persist.
You can register for the conference here.
Tagged with: Conferences
Wednesday’s survey yielded a bunch of useful questions and topics for the blog! Today, Ariel takes on the first of the questions I passed her way.
Dear Ariel: Now that I am admitted, and the more I read about Fletcher courses, I feel that I would like to take way more classes than I can fit into two years. Is it o.k. to use the first semester to look into several subjects and decide on Fields of Study in the second semester?
The number of interesting and intriguing classes at Fletcher can at times be overwhelming! In addition, it can be hard to narrow down Fletcher’s 23 Fields of Study into the two Fields needed to complete your depth requirement. There are just so many fascinating topics to pursue! Your options are really endless when you add in the option to self-design your own field of study. However, I would say it is definitely okay to use the first semester to narrow down your interests. Just make sure, if you are branching out into new areas you may not specialize in, that those courses also satisfy some of your breadth requirements.
It is definitely smart to start narrowing your options early, though, to make sure you are able to complete your course requirements within your two years at Fletcher. So start off your first semester with four possible Fields of Study, not nine. Because some courses are only offered in the spring and others are only offered in the fall, the earlier you make a plan for your two years, the better. Also, just because you don’t have room for a special topic in your course schedule doesn’t mean you can’t learn about it during your time at Fletcher. With all the speakers and events put on by student organizations, you’ll definitely have the opportunity to expand your knowledge and interests.
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