In a Jan. 9 email to the Tufts community, Tufts’ Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President announced the official launch of Global Tufts, a website that provides online resources about global initiatives to the Tufts community.
According to Diana Chigas (F ’88), senior international officer and associate provost, who led the project, conversations inspired by the 2013 T10 Strategic Plan prompted Tufts to recognize the need for a central space for international information and resources. Chigas said her current role was created in 2016 as a result of the plan, with the goal of promoting Tufts’ global initiatives and coordinate efforts to engage and support students and faculty.
Chigas explained that shortly after, talks with the Office of Communications and Marketing about the creation of the Global Tufts website began, resulting in a soft launch of the website in late March of last year.
The idea for the webpage came from looking at the websites of other globally-minded universities and hearing requests from the Tufts community for more visibility and internal networking opportunities for global work, Chigas said.
“A lot of international alumni note that Tufts is doing a lot of great stuff, but it’s very modest and not as visible as other places,” she said. “I get a lot of requests from faculty members who … don’t know each other, or they don’t know what the process is for hiring people if they want to hire somebody abroad for their projects.”
Chigas hopes the site will alleviate these issues by providing a “one-stop shop” of international resources, such as access to the Travel Registry, international internships and Where’s Tufts, an interactive map that allows users to find people and activities by region.
Talloires Network Executive Director Lorlene Hoyt anticipates this tool being especially useful in her work to connect faculty across universities who are doing similar community-engaged work.
“Instead of having to rely on word of mouth and digging around on the Tufts website more generally, I can now go directly to a country and do a search there and make those connections,” she said.
Program Administrator Christine Hollenhorst singled out a globally-integrated events calendar included on the website.
“There are so many different calendars here at Tufts … so if someone is interested in international things, it’s right on our website,” she said. “You don’t have to be clicking around to every different school or miss out on things entirely because you never heard about it.”
Hollenhorst also mentioned the introduction of Global Tufts Week, which will take place from March 2 to March 9. She explained that the week will be an opportunity for organizations and individuals at Tufts to advertise their international initiatives through the Global Tufts website and self-organize events that promote their work.
“Our hope is that various schools, various students, faculty … everyone in the Tufts community will organize their own events to showcase international things and then they’ll enter them into our calendar and we can help promote them,” she said.
Student groups, academic departments and student-faculty collaborations can also apply for Global Tufts Week funding, which will help get new ideas off the ground or enhance existing events happening over the course of that week, Hollenhorst said.
Noshir Mehta, the associate dean of global relations at the Tufts School of Dental Medicine, is one of 20 faculty members and administrators who make up the Global Advisory Board, which, according to the Global Tufts website, advises Tufts on global strategy and priorities. The board is made up of a faculty member and an administrator from each school at Tufts.
According to Mehta, the board is vital in its work facilitating collaboration and connections between Tufts’ schools.
“It’s great to have the repository exist and have everybody with the same issues be able to talk to one another across the table and then come up with … solutions [that] are through the university rather than the individual schools,” Mehta said.
He also stated that he is looking forward to the site’s ability to advertise different global dental programs, such as the Global Service Learning Program, which sends dental students to seven sites in six countries to support oral health infrastructure, and student and faculty exchanges.
Hoyt, who also sits on the Global Advisory Board, is expecting Global Tufts to give researchers like her more opportunities to connect and collaborate with peers.
“It’s my hope that faculty, staff possibly, and other universities will be able to find out more readily where I’m doing research and then connect with me based on some common interests that we have,” she said. “This could be a really fruitful opportunity for future collaboration that I think is really exciting.”