This fall’s Dean’s letter is an open letter to our alumni, as I was struck by the myriad ways they positively impact our programs. I hope faculty, staff, students and other readers will “listen in.”
It is late afternoon on a crisp fall day in Boston, closing in the Thanksgiving break. A tentative knock at the door of the office. “Hello? Come in.” Wide smiles on both faculty and alumnus’ faces. A hug, perhaps. Then animated exchanges– of career developments, education updates, co-worker challenges, weddings, babies. The unannounced visit of a former student, one of many gifts our alumni bestow upon us as Tufts faculty.
The personal part is satisfying and gratifying— knowing we’ve made enough of difference to warrant a visit, a request for advice, and the like. We are your supporters, counselors, cheerleaders and letters of reference writers.
As program faculty, our opportunity for direct impact on you as students varies with the length our programs: it is as short as one year for many— or as long as 4 or 5 for our MD/MPH, MD/MBA or DrPH students. Some of you are early in your careers, others are mid-career— some of you come to our programs to re-invent yourselves professionally.
Your opportunity to impact us is deep and wide. As alumni you are vital to applied programs like ours. You represent an important links to the public health and health care world. We want to know: What courses do you rely on? Which textbooks or assigned readings do you go back to? What skills acquired in your program are fundamental to your continued growth and success? What do you wish you’d learned or learned more of? You are our eyes and ears on how best to stay relevant, how we should evolve, in what areas we should grow.
So many contributions. You participate as preceptors for our students, and are among our most sought after, because you share Tufts values, our passion to advance health and create change. You serve as unparalleled nodes in career networks for other public health and professional degree programs’ grads.
As Admissions Ambassadors, you meet with prospective students— they often prefer to speak with you over our program faculty to understand what the program is really like. You are also our informal ambassadors as you go about your professional work and service activities. Because in holding a Tufts degree, your many accomplishments post-Tufts reflect well upon us as an institution.
And, of course, the classic way to be involved as an alumnus is to participate as an officer of the Tufts Public Health and Professional Degree Programs Alumni Association or as an attendee at their events. Earlier this fall, their Student/Alumni Networking Event was led by alumni Lisa Paradis, MPH ‘09 and Lisa Schmerling, MPH ‘14—by all reports one of the most successful such events to date.
If you’re reading this missive and thinking you’d like to get more involved— please contact us. In fact, contact me! (email@example.com)— I’d love to help you find ways to be more involved.
Good wishes and good health!
Dean Aviva Must