Currently viewing the tag: "Dean Stavridis"

DA-SC-92-09515My career has been unusual in that, though I’m employed by neither the military nor the Foreign Service, I have worked for two past NATO Supreme Allied Commanders and one former ambassador.  The second of the former NATO leaders is our current dean, James Stavridis, who made the community aware of the recent passing of his predecessor in both posts, Jack Galvin.  In an email, Dean Stavridis noted:

As The Fletcher School’s forward-looking and innovative leader from 1995-2000, Jack and his legacy are woven into the fabric of the school: he prompted Fletcher’s expanded focus on global business; he established a joint master’s degree in humanitarian assistance between Fletcher and the Friedman School of Nutrition; he oversaw the development of the school’s signature internet-mediated degree program for mid career professionals (GMAP); and he inspired the Institute for Human Security.

As our former Board of Overseers chair, Peter Ackerman, noted back in 2002 at a ceremony for the unveiling of the portrait of Dean Galvin that now hangs in the Ginn Library, “Jack was determined to make Fletcher a better place.  He restructured the school for a post-Cold War environment.  He put a new stamp on Fletcher and was up for any idea that was different, that would make Fletcher fly.”

While the Fletcher community mourns the passing of a great Dean, the rest of the world of course will remember General Galvin for his lifetime of service to the U.S. and its allies, capping a 44-year career in the Army with a 5-year term as Supreme Allied Commander at NATO.  As noted in the Washington Post, General Galvin was known widely as a “prototypical warrior-intellectual,” for his love of literature, commitment to academic scholarship, and mentorship to future leaders.

Many major publications, including The New York Times have run obituaries, and I will leave it to readers to learn more about his interesting career.  Instead I wanted to share a personal observation of his kindness.

Back in about 1997, well before I worked in the Admissions Office, a student working with me, Anthony, became very ill.  For a short but intensely worrisome time, his illness was a mystery.  When it was finally diagnosed — a severe case of encephalitis, contracted during his winter break in California — the information was not at all reassuring.  Fortunately, following an extended hospital stay, Anthony recovered and went on to graduate.

Where does Dean Galvin come into all this?  At the time, he was living in a Tufts-owned house with a small attached apartment.  Dean Galvin and his wife, Ginny, offered the apartment to Anthony’s father, who came to the area and stayed for many weeks until Anthony went from hospital, to rehabilitation facility, to the apartment, and finally back home.  I spent some time with Anthony’s dad, and he was incredibly grateful for the kindness and support that Dean Galvin and Ginny Galvin showed to him.  I remember thinking at the time that the extent of the dean’s support went beyond the requirements of his position, and reflected the type of care that a general might provide to the officers and soldiers under his command.

Jack Galvin was a very special individual and an interesting dean for The Fletcher School.  The School, in its current form, owes much to his leadership.

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FP sectionAround this time, blog readers tend to fall primarily into two groups — enrolling students and prospective students who are just getting going on their graduate school search.  For this latter group, I thought I’d share a special supplement to the December/January issue of Foreign Policy, entitled “Leaders in Higher Education.”  In addition to the advertisements from Fletcher and our peers, the article highlights the work of Dean Stavridis as an organizational leader and scholar.  Click on the photo to read more.

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I always prefer sharing a student perspective on Fletcher life, rather than writing myself.  Today I’m sharing a post Alex sent along last week about the new Strategic Plan.  When I say “new,” I mean newly completed.  It has been in the works for more than a year.  Let’s let Alex tell you about it.

Right now, Fletcher students are in a very short-term mindset.  Survive midterms.  Land an internship.  Make it to Spring Break.

Luckily, the administration is thinking a little bit more long-term, and has recently developed a new Strategic Plan for The Fletcher School: To Know the World.  The five-year plan’s vision is to go even further to make Fletcher the “premier institution for preparing a highly selective and diverse network of global leaders, whose influence is felt across the public, private and non-profit sectors.”

The plan includes four overarching, mutually reinforcing objectives:

  • Relevance: enhance professional and academic preparation of students as problem solvers, future leaders and agents of change;
  • Reputation: bolster the School’s reputation by increasing research productivity and impact on decision makers;
  • Resources: ensure a robust and more diversified revenue stream to support pursuit of School’s mission;
  • “Right Stuff”: maintain a sustainable, diverse and high-quality student body across all our degree programs.

These objectives are supported with myriad initiatives, from strengthening research centers and enabling professors to do more research, to upgrading facilities and leveraging technology to enhance learning.  I would highly recommend looking through the plan, to see where Fletcher will be going in the next couple of years.

Of course, I was most curious about what the immediate impacts of the plan will be for current, admitted, and prospective students.  How will Fletcher actually be different in the Fall of 2015?  So I went right to the source, and met with Dean Stavridis.

The Dean mentioned a number of exciting plans, but a couple stood out.  The administration is in the process of hiring a professor with expertise in cyber, to help keep Fletcher on the cutting edge of this growing field.  They are also building a television studio on site to help facilitate media appearances by the faculty (Dean Stavridis, alone, has done over 160 in the last 12 months!) and for use in classes such as The Arts of Communication (one of my favorite last semester).  Finally, one of the most exciting plans in the works is establishing a strategic partnership with a globally-focused think tank in Washington D.C.; this will provide an opportunity to collaborate on research, participate in exchange programs, obtain internships, and in general serve as a home base for Fletcher in the nation’s capital.

At a school known for producing exceptional strategic thinkers, it is fitting that Fletcher should have such a stellar Strategic Plan.  I look forward to seeing it in action.

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Orientation for new students starts today, meaning that Fletcher will not be occupied solely by staff members, as it has been for several weeks.  Classes start up on Monday, which is when we’ll see the returning students.

While everything is so quiet (and we’re waiting for the flood of applications that will pour in at the end of this week), I wanted to share two recent op-eds written by our PhD candidates.  First, David Knoll, who is in the final stages of dissertation writing, took a break to do some other writing, in this case for Time magazine online.  His opinion piece appeared in December, shortly after the release of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee’s report.

More recently, Shahla Al Kli and Torrey Taussig also published an opinion piece.  Theirs is on ISIS, and appeared on The National Interest website.

Finally, if you’re like me, you receive news about Fletcher from many sources — the website, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.  Despite these many prompts, it took me until today to watch the latest video from Dean Stavridis.  If you’re hoping to enroll in 2015-16, I encourage you to take a look.  He lays out many initiatives for the coming year, even as he describes the results of our work in 2014.

Oh, and of course, Dean Stavridis is a graduate of Fletcher’s PhD program.

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Remember how just last week I noted that I’m often visited (via NPR) by the voices of Fletcher community members?  Well, here are two more examples.  First, Dean Stavridis kept me informed when his interview was broadcast while I cooked dinner.

Somewhat more surprising, I heard a report from a correspondent with a name unique enough that I thought it had to be a Fletcher alum.  Karoun Demirjian graduated from Fletcher in 2006 and is a correspondent in Moscow for The Washington Post.  She also occasionally files a report for NPR, and writes for the NPR website.  I happened to hear one of her reports, but it was only while writing this post that I learned that her main gig is with The Post.

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Last Sunday, while I was doing a bit of cooking, I had good (and informative) company through the airwaves from Dean Stavridis, who was interviewed on NPR about the crisis in Ukraine.  In any week, the dean can be found in a number of different forums, starting with his own blog and Twitter feed.  He also has a new book coming out this fall.  But the real reason for this short post is to bring your attention to a column he wrote for about his transition to an academic life.  Among his other observations:  “I went from the crisp efficiency of the U.S. military to what feels like, in comparison, the free-wheeling academic carnival that is higher education.”  One year into his tenure as dean, Dean Stavridis seems to be thoroughly enjoying the “challenge of leading and mentoring young people, helping guide the trajectory of their lives in a positive direction,” despite the “startling shift” in his environment.

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deanDean Stavridis joined us here at Fletcher just last July, and we’ve all been enjoying getting to know him.  Lucky for us, our opportunities to learn what he thinks extend beyond meetings or occasional interactions in the Hall of Flags.  Here are some sources of info on the Dean:

•  An article in Tufts Magazine that was also featured on the Tufts Now site.
•  His own blog, “To Know the World,” which also includes videos created in October and September.
•  Op-Ed pieces in publications, such as The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading some of Dean Stavridis’s writing or viewing his videos.  For briefer, but more regular, updates, you can also visit his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter.

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I’ve just returned from about a week out of the office, so just a quick post today.  First, my thanks to Christine, who kept the blog humming last week with her staff introductions.  You’ll be hearing more from Christine in September, as we’ll be replacing the Dear Ariel feature with a new Q&A column, “Consult Christine.”  It will be fun for me to collaborate with Christine on the column, though we all miss the now-graduated Ariel.

Also new is a blog from Fletcher Dean James Stavridis.  While faculty, staff, students, and alumni are getting to know Dean Stavridis, his writing will also provide us with a window into his thoughts about the School.  Check out his first blog post and video.  Dean Stavridis is well connected through social media, and invites you to engage with him through your preferred platform including blog comments, Twitter or Facebook.

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