Fletcher School reverses rebrand, focuses on path to create another brand

The sign in The Fletcher School is pictured on March 4, 2018. Asha Iyer / The Tufts Daily Archives

After backlash and controversy over The Fletcher School’s recent attempt at rebranding, Dean Rachel Kyte rolled back the changes and has committed to developing a new brand that involves student and alumni input. 

The new developments included the changing of the name from “The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy” to “Fletcher, The Graduate School of Global Affairs,” the creation of a Master of Global Affairs degree and a new seal and website. Fletcher students and alumni believe that there was a lack of transparency regarding the changes of the school.

“After listening to your feedback over the last two weeks, we have decided to revert to our old branding for a transitional period while we start down a new collaborative path. We will better hear your voices in the process of designing a new brand identity,” Kyte wrote in an email to the Fletcher community. 

Despite some reverted changes, the Master of Global Affairs degree will remain in order to increase the applicant pool and to create a focused and interdisciplinary degree. The Master of Global Affairs can be completed in an accelerated time frame that would allow graduates to return to the workforce in 16 months, according to Academic Dean Kelly Sims Gallagher.

“We will offer the Master in Global Affairs, following its approval by both the Fletcher faculty and the Tufts Board of Trustees and we are pleased that applications are already coming in,” Kyte said. 

Kyte mentioned that the student comment section on MyFletcher, the campus engagement platform, remains open and available for student feedback on how the rebranding process can be improved and implemented. 

According to Patrick Collins, executive director of media relations at Tufts, Fletcher has implemented strategies for increasing student engagement to create a new brand. 

“Student small group engagement sessions with faculty members began the week of 12/7 as well as engagement with the Student Council. More formal engagement with students and all stakeholders will begin in January and continue for several months to define the school’s forward purpose, out of which a new identity can be defined and designed,” Collins wrote in an email to the Daily. 

However, Fletcher alumna Aziza Mohammed (F’12) shared her concerns about the rollback in an email to the Daily, noting that despite reverting to the old brand, the “Law and Diplomacy” part remains omitted from the school’s website and other media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. 

“The new proposed misnomer and logo are scattered throughout the school’s online presence. It feels like the rollback was disingenuous,” Mohammed wrote in an email to the Daily. 

She also said that there has been almost no communication with the alumni on the new branding process, and that she authored a petition with hundreds of signatures but received no response when she wrote directly to the Tufts administration. 

“Although the school’s degree offerings have expanded over time, the words law and diplomacy are an important part of its name … A nebulous, generic marketing term like global affairs erases important parts of the Fletcher School of Law and [Diplomacy’s] past, present and future,” Mohammed said.