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University College (UC) was established to facilitate the development of university-wide degree and non-degree programs and partnerships, to reach new student populations best served by collaborating across schools.

The process of envisioning UC has been predicated on a deep commitment to building these new capacities while preserving and strengthening the values, identity, and unique characteristics of Tufts University and its existing schools and academic departments.

Who does University College serve?

Critically, University College will serve Tufts University’s existing schools and units. Rather than operating as a silo, UC will provide strategic oversight, as well as administrative and operational infrastructure, that will support program development across all the university’s schools.

In doing so, UC will allow Tufts to reach new populations of learners who want to take advantage of what the university has to offer without matriculating. That’s everyone from pre-K-8 and high school students to English language learners, working professionals, and post-career adults. UC is excited to also provide the schools with the kinds of specific staff expertise that are often required for programs that serve such student populations.

Students who enroll in UC programs will be embraced as members of the Tufts University community. Expanding our base of traditional and non-traditional students will increase the number of alumni with a deep and broad affinity for Tufts—and amplify the positive impact that Tufts faculty, students, and alumni are able to make in the world.

Programmatic Initiatives

Today, University College oversees the Tufts Pre-College Programs—such as Tufts College Experience, a six-week residential program, and the Pre-College Intensives collection of short programs in subjects ranging from engineering design to studio art to international relations. Additionally, University College operates Tufts’ Summer Session, which offers more than 200 in-class and online courses to both students in Tufts’ degree programs and non-degree students.

UC will also provide academic oversight and administrative support for programs that span more than two schools—such as the Sustainable Water Management Master’s program, which is taught jointly by five of Tufts’ schools and led by the Tufts Institute for the Environment.

Going forward, UC will be facilitating the development of new programs drawing on existing expertise in market research, marketing, financial management, and other critical operating functions. New programming, to be developed in partnership with Tufts’ schools and the Program Development and Approval Committee (PDAC), will include:

  • New high school pre-college programs across the university
  • Expanding the current Summer Session programs and offering new open enrollment courses (open to degree and non-degree students) during the academic year
  • Programs tailored for corporate and international partnerships
  • Winter session programming, including short-term study abroad programs
  • Programs for career changes or post-career adults
  • New programs that serve K-8 students

Key Success Metrics

The success of University College is being measured in several key ways:

  1. New net revenue: achieving the net revenue targets outlined in the college’s five-year business plan is fundamental to its success.
  2. Number of UC students who enroll in Tufts degree and certificate programs: driving awareness for the university and its graduate programs is one of the most important benefits of engaging in this type of educational activity.
  3.  Number of UC students who participate in Tufts advancement initiatives: we intend for UC to create broad and deep affinities for Tufts among its students. Our ability to engage them in advancement will be a key mark of success.
  4. Student diversity in line with Tufts’ strategic goals: UC will be tracking its performance on access metrics with the medium-term goal being to ensure its student diversity is aligned with the goals of the university more broadly.
  5. Satisfaction of key constituencies: satisfaction with the unit’s performance will be measured across students, faculty and instructors, school-administrators, and shared services units, for the purposes of constant improvement and optimization.


What is University College?
The board of trustees approved the creation of University College (UC) in November 2018 through a revision of the bylaws of the College of Special Studies. Reporting to the Office of the Provost, UC’s mission has four central pillars: to oversee and facilitate the development of university-wide degree and non-degree programs; to enhance the university’s ability to attract new populations of students; to administer these programs in a way that leverages academic and administrative strengths across the university; and to generate substantial new revenue for the schools.
Where does University College fit within Tufts University’s existing schools?
Like all of the schools at Tufts University, University College (UC) and its leadership report to Provost ad interim Deborah Kochevar. Unlike other models of autonomous and peripheral extension schools and schools of continuing or professional education, UC will be fully collaborative with each of Tufts University’s schools. UC will not be an administrative “silo,” but rather will work collaboratively across the schools to facilitate the development, management, and operations of new and existing programs that will generate revenue for the schools.
Why is University College being launched now?
Today’s global challenges increasingly require interdisciplinary solutions that bring together teams from many fields in new ways to conduct research and to train the next generation of scholars, artists, scientists, and citizens. At the same time, Tufts, like many universities, is facing financial challenges due to the rising costs of delivering the high-quality education and path-breaking research for which it is known. University College (UC) is intended to help Tufts University address both its academic and financial goals by focusing on what society and non-traditional student populations need from today’s higher education institutions. UC is designed to work across the university to develop, manage, and operate programs and partnerships to help meet the evolving educational needs of students not well-served by our schools in isolation. By doing so, UC will help reach new markets and generate new revenue streams that will benefit all schools at the university.
What kinds of investment has the launch of University College required?
University College (UC) is being created through strategic incremental investments in existing staff and administrative resources, adding only when new expertise and capabilities are required to carry forward programs that have demonstrated positive outcomes. Additionally, UC will draw on the existing expertise in units across the university, including communications and marketing, admissions, finance, and facilities. Rather than having resources drawn into it, UC will be fully integrated into Tufts’ schools and function as a catalyst for developing new initiatives and expanding on existing ones in order to drive increased enrollment and revenue across the university. UC has a fully-developed business plan, with performance targets expected to drive substantial revenue to schools across the university. It is already generating substantial positive net revenue and plans to continue on a high growth trajectory.
How will University College be staffed?
University College (UC) and its leadership report to Provost ad interim Deborah Kochevar. The board of trustees named Joseph Auner as the inaugural dean of University College. Auner, dean for academic affairs in the School of Arts and Sciences and Austin Fletcher professor of music, will continue part-time in his Arts and Sciences roles while serving as dean of UC. Karen Mulder, will serve as UC’s executive associate dean (EAD) while continuing her duties as executive director of strategy and program development in the Office of the Executive Vice President. In addition to its dean and EAD, UC has a director of pre-college programs, Alethea Raybeck, and a director of non-matriculation programs, Ruth Ann Murray. Additionally, the unit includes program coordinator Megan McCormick and has an open position for a second program coordinator. The team is structured to be nimble and to work efficiently across the university. Staff will grow only as UC’s portfolio of successful, revenue generating programs increases.
What is the role of faculty governance with University College?
Fundamental to the success of University College (UC) and the full integration of its programs into the core mission of Tufts University is an effective faculty governance structure that ensures appropriate faculty approval of the university-wide degrees as well as oversight of its offerings for non-matriculated students. Vice Provost Kevin Dunn and the faculty senate were extensively involved in the creation of UC, and have developed bylaws and an academic oversight plan and policies for it. A governing body of 26 faculty members, representing all of the schools, will be nominated through elections facilitated by the Office of the Provost early in the spring semester.
How are new programs developed and marketed under University College?
University College (UC) will work closely with the deans and faculty at the schools along with the Program Development and Approval Committee (PDAC) to facilitate the development of new university-wide degree and non-degree programs. Standing committees of the governing Faculty of University College will have appropriate approval of university-wide degrees as well as oversight of programs geared to non-matriculated students. Ideas for programs can be sent directly to Joe Auner or Karen Mulder or can be proposed through your dean or EAD. Any proposals received by UC directly will be discussed with the relevant dean or EAD before any action is taken.
How can faculty and staff get involved in University College?
Everyone on the leadership team of University College (UC) welcomes your ideas and involvement in helping Tufts realize the potential of the new unit, whether that be through proposing a summer course, helping support a pre-college program, or spreading the word to potential students. Interested faculty members are encouraged to consider running for election to the UC governing body this spring.
Where will the revenue generated by University College go?
University College (UC) is based on a flexible and transparent budget model that facilitates collaboration with and across the schools in order to generate new revenue streams. Revenues from programs developed in direct collaboration with individual schools will stay in the school budgets, revenues from programs operated directly by UC will serve to reduce further increases in the central assessment and will thereby benefit all schools.
How will University College and its programs be marketed to external audiences?
The name “University College” will primarily be used for internal audiences within Tufts to identify the activities of the new unit. Because UC serves a broad range of prospective students with different educational needs, external marketing for it will continue to focus on the specific programs and types of offerings such as Summer at Tufts.