Jackson College for Women

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The School of Arts and Sciences (A&S) is the largest of the eight schools and colleges that comprise Tufts University. Together with the School of Engineering, it offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the liberal arts, sciences, and engineering. The two schools occupy the university's main campus in Medford and Somerville, Massachusetts and share many administrative functions including undergraduate admissions, student affairs, library, and information technology services. The two schools form the Faculty of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering (AS&E), a deliberative body under the chairmanship of the president of the university. Currently, the School of Arts and Sciences employs approximately 540 faculty members (of whom 330 are full-time). There are 4,000 full-time undergraduates and 1700 graduate and professional students.

Organization and Degree Programs

The School of Arts and Sciences is under the supervision of a dean, appointed by the president and the provost, with the approval of the Trustees of Tufts College (the university's governing board). The dean of arts and sciences oversees undergraduate and graduate education in 24 academic departments, more than 10 interdisciplinary programs, and 20 masters and Ph.D. programs. The School of Arts and Sciences consists of three degree granting units and the Summer Session:

The College of Liberal Arts & Jackson College (LA&J) 
The College of Liberal Arts awards the degrees of bachelor of arts and bachelor of science after the completion of 34 credit hours (normally eight semesters of full-time study). Students may select a major from among 30 academic departments or interdisciplinary programs, or chose to pursue a double major, or "plan of study" which allows students to design their own majors. Currently, the most popular undergraduate majors are international relations, economics, political science, psychology, biology, child development, and English. Until 2002, male undergraduates received their degrees from the College of Liberal Arts and female undergraduates received their degrees from Jackson College for Women. However, the two colleges have always shared the same faculty, curriculum, and facilities. Jackson College is a college in name only.
The College of Special Studies 
This college awards the degree of bachelor of fine arts through a cooperative arrangement with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. The College of Special Studies also offers a variety of continuing education programs and courses through its Divisions of Graduate and Professional Studies.
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) 
GSAS awards the degrees of master of arts, master of science, master of fine arts, master of arts in teaching, master of public policy, and certificate of advanced graduate study, and doctor of philosophy. Twelve departments in Arts and Sciences have doctoral programs. Several other departments have academic and professional masters programs. GSAS maintains formal dual degree programs with the School of Engineering, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.
Tufts University Summer Session 
The Summer Session offers about 250 undergraduate and graduate courses on the Medford/Somerville campus during two six-week sessions and one twelve-week session each summer. Approximately, 2000 students enroll in Summer Session classes each summer. More than 90% of summer courses are taught by Tufts faculty. In contrast to the other units, the Summer Session awards no degrees. The division has open enrollment and tuition on a per course basis. This enables part-time undergraduate and graduate students, undergraduates at other colleges and universities and adults in the Boston area access to Tufts' faculty, laboratories, library system, and facilities.

The Experimental College (or ExCollege) is also part of the School of Arts and Sciences. This college is not a degree-granting entity. Instead, it serves as a locus for "educational innovation, expansion of the undergraduate curriculum, and faculty/student collaboration within the Arts and Sciences."

History of the School

While instruction in the liberal arts and sciences dates to the founding of Tufts College in 1852, the formal organization of the school came almost fifty years later. In 1903, the Trustees of Tufts College adopted a "new plan" of organization that divided the college into several schools: Liberal Arts (formerly Letters), Engineering, Divinity (or Religion), Graduate Arts and Sciences, as well as the schools of medicine and dental medicine. The first four, all located on the Medford/Somerville campus, were grouped together as the "Department of Arts and Sciences" (later the Faculty of Arts and Sciences). This organization required any policy that affected the schools in the Department (the "Associated Schools") to be considered first by the constituent faculty and then by parent body. (This pattern of organization continues to the present day). The medical and dental school, located in Boston, remained outside this overlapping pattern of organization, as did the Fletcher School (established in 1933).

As Tufts developed, new units were incorporated into this dual organization. The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, formally named as such in 1909, and Jackson College for Women, created by the Trustees and chartered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1910, and the Division of University Extension, established in 1939-40, became Associated Schools. Each of the associated schools had its own dean and faculty, with the exception of Jackson College, which always shared the same faculty as the School of Liberal Arts. In 1939, following the retirement of the long-time dean of the School of Liberal Arts, the separate posts of dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and dean of admissions were created. The Division of University Extension was renamed the Division of Special Studies in 1949. Except for the 1962-1965 period, the School of Religion (formally renamed the Crane Theological School in 1955) was one of the Associated Schools of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences from 1903 until the school's closing in 1967. When Tufts College formally became Tufts University in 1952, the undergraduate divisions were renamed "colleges" and the graduate and professional divisions were renamed "schools."

In 1989, the Board of Trustees directed then-Tufts University president Jean Mayer to initiate a search for a new leader of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (which at the time included the College of Engineering) with a vice presidential title. According to the second volume of Tufts official history, the then-chair of the Board of Trustees, Nelson Gifford, allegedly saw the person hired to fill the new post of academic vice president for arts, sciences, and technology (redesignated vice president for arts, sciences, and technology in 1991 and then vice president for arts, sciences, and engineering in 1999) as a potential successor to Meyer. Two men held the vice presidency: Robert I. Rotberg, formerly professor of political science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1989 - 1990) and I. Melvin Bernstein, formerly professor of mechanical engineering and provost at the Illinois Institute of Technology (1990 - 2001). In 1999, the College of Engineering was renamed the School of Engineering and took responsibility for all graduate engineering programs from the Graduate School. As part of the same reorganization, the Trustees redesignated the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as the Faculty of Arts, Sciences, & Engineering and formally created a School of Arts and Sciences (encompassing the College of Liberal Arts and Jackson College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences). After the retirement of President John A. DiBiaggio and Bernstein's appointment as provost of Brandeis University in 2001, Tufts new president Lawrence S. Bacow abolished the vice presidency for arts, sciences, and engineering and created the post of dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. Developmental biologist Susan G. Ernst held the position of dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, from September 2001 until she returned to full-time teaching and research in the Biology Department in September 2005. She was succeeded as dean by psychologist Robert J. Sternberg, formerly the IBM Professor of Psychology and Management at Yale University. Sternberg remained in that position until 2010, when he departed to become Provost at Oklahoma State University. He was succeeded by neuroscientist Joanne Berger-Sweeney, formerly the Associate Dean of Wellesley College.


  1. Richard M. Freeland, Academia's Golden Age: Universities in Massachusetts, 1945-1970 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).
  2. Sol Gittleman, An Entrepreneurial University: The Transformation of Tufts, 1976-2002 (Medford, Mass.: Tufts University Press, 2004).
  3. Russell Miller, A Light on the Hill: A History of Tufts College, 1852-1952 (Boston: Beacon Press, 1986).

External links

  • Official website of Tufts University Arts and Sciences

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