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The goal of the Bridging Differences initiative is to improve understanding and engagement across divergent perspectives at Tufts, through effective communication and programming. Our focus is on all members of our community—students, faculty, and staff, with an appreciation that lessons learned at Tufts can be applied in other contexts.

The Bridging Differences Grant program will support, develop and launch multiple new initiatives that support the Bridging Differences mission and vision. Recognizing the need for seed funding to support initiatives that can meet this need, we are soliciting requests from Tufts students, faculty and staff for funding of events, projects, and programs that can bridge differences across Tufts. Our plan is to enable our campus community to develop programming that will broadly support and develop structures, processes, and skills for students, faculty, and staff to engage constructively across differences.

If you have questions in anticipation of the funding deadline, please contact BridgingDifferences@Tufts.edu.

Program Overview

Eligibility

Any Tufts student, faculty, or staff member may apply for up to $2,000 in funding for projects that will be implemented during the current academic year. We also encourage submissions that represent projects between multiple participants (ie. collaborative projects between students, faculty and staff, cross-school projects).

All proposals are required to support the Bridging Differences MissionThe BDTF encourages applications that are proposed by members of multiple campuses or by a cross section of students, staff, and faculty.  Projects that aim to unify multiple campuses or cross sections of the Tufts community are highly encouraged.

Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure: All proposals will be deemed proprietary and confidential and will be protected against any unauthorized use and any unauthorized or uncontrolled disclosure beyond Tufts.

Selection Criteria

Relevance – ability to meet objectives and mission of the Bridging Differences initiative

  1. Does it develop effective programming that supports and improves understanding and constructive engagement across difference at Tufts? In light of Tufts’ focus on becoming an antiracist institution, does the project help advance Tufts as an antiracist University?
  2. Do the goals of the project clearly address an important problem?
  3. Does the proposed work have capacity to bridge diverse groups across the Tufts community (i.e. building bridges across schools, across faculty, staff and students etc.)?
  4. Does the event focus on one group (i.e. students) or multiple groups (i.e. students and staff)?
  5. Does the program promote cross school or cross campus collaboration?

 

Significance – quality and merit of the proposed project/program

  1. Does the project/program address an important problem, address a community need or overcome a barrier to deepen understanding and support inclusion?
  2. Will the impact of the project/program build capacities that help live out the fullness of our diversity?
  3. Would successful completion of the goals cultivate connections relevant to diversity of identities, values, beliefs and/or ideologies?
  4. What is the expected reach of the program? How many individuals will experience the impact of the program? If a small number will be impacted by this first event, are subsequent programs likely to reach many more?

 

 Innovation – potential for impact through development of novel solutions and processes

  1. Does the project demonstrate innovative ways to shift existing patterns of communication and engagement?
  2. Does the project address new ways to identify and/or address barriers currently limiting improved understanding and engagement across difference (i.e. structural/institutional barriers)?
  3. Does the project take a novel, holistic approach to answering a question or solving a problem that can improve understanding and engagement across differences?

 

 Applicants – qualifications of the individuals or teams to carry out proposed program/project

  1. Do the applicants for the project have the appropriate skills and experience to complete the project?
  2. If a cross-school or team-based project is proposed, is it clear how the program/project will linked across sites or schools?

 

Budget– need for resources to support proposed research

  1. Are budget allocations appropriate and likely to contribute to success?
  2. Are funds requested already available from alternative sources (i.e. from home department)?
  3. Is there co-sponsorship for the program so the proposed funding is not the only funding source covering the expense of the program?

 

 Approach – rigor of design of the plan to meet proposed objectives and goals

  1. Is there a high likelihood of being successfully implemented during the proposed time frame?
  2. Is the overall strategy to develop the program/project appropriate to accomplish the goals of the project?
  3. Does the proposal have a clear outreach plan for the program/project?
  4. Are benchmarks for success identified (i.e. how will you know it is successful)?
  5. Is the project feasible and with a high likelihood of success?
  6. Is the evaluation plan clearly articulated and adequate for assessing outcome and impact?
  7. If needed, is there a clear plan for full compliance with institutional policies, rules, and guidelines as needed (i.e. IRB etc)?
  8. Does the program/project build on strengths of existing programs or initiatives?
  9. Does the application outline a reasonable COVID alternative plan?
  10. Does the program align with current national matters or current Tufts initiatives?

 

Evaluation – effective plan to measure success and impact of the program/project

  1. Is there an effective plan to assess the short-term and intermediate outcomes of the project/program?
  2. Are the evaluation methods for assessing outcomes and impact of the program adequate?

 

Future Plans and Long-term impact

  1. Is the program/project sustainable after the award period?
  2. Is there potential for additional support or funding to support this program/project in the future?
  3. Will the project yield a broadly applicable, generalizable solution to an important problem that can be shared and applied in other places at Tufts (i.e. can lessons learned be applied in other contexts at Tufts)?
  4. What is the long-range impact of the program or event and how will it connect to the goals and themes of the BD initiative?
  5. Will there be clear efforts to make the initiative sustainability (i.e. connecting to advancement or a future seed grant?
  6. What will be the follow up after this event/program?

 

Funding Decision

Final funding decisions will be made based on funding recommendations, overall impact score, available funds and the funding level required for study implementation. All applicants will be informed of the outcome of their submission via email. Reviewers’ comments will be provided to all applicants, regardless of whether or not they are awarded funding.

 

Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure

All proposals will be deemed proprietary and confidential and will be protected against any unauthorized use and any unauthorized or uncontrolled disclosure beyond Tufts.

Application (Deadline Extended to Wednesday, February 23rd at 11:59pm)

Complete the application form here.

Applicants should submit a fully completed application by Wednesday, February 23rd at 11:59pm. All applicants will receive notification on their proposal and all accepted projects will be posted on our website.

2021 Seed Grant Recipients

Black Womyn’s Empowerment Conference (BWEC)

Project Leads:

Amber Asumda, Conference Coordinator

Collaborators:

  • Saffiyah Coker, BWEC Communications Coordinator
  • Elisabeth Di Domenico, BWEC Marketing Coordinator
  • Waideen Wright, BWEC Content Coordinator
  • Irene Mutwiri, Africana Center Graduate Intern
  • Kayla Smith, Black Womyn’s Collective (BWC) Facilitator

Dates:

March 12-13, 2021

Overview:

The inaugural Black Womyn’s Empowerment Conference (BWEC) hosted by the Tufts Africana Center will further the university’s Anti-Racist Initiative by centering the need for academic and professional development resources for Black womyn at Tufts University and beyond. Through our completely virtual conference, we hope to bridge connections amongst Black womyn students at institutions of higher education across the state and foster solidarity, share resources, and otherwise connect on personal and professional levels that may not have been feasible before.

The BWEC will be free of charge for undergraduate and graduate students who identify as Black womyn and will provide them with opportunities to network and develop leadership skills necessary to succeed in their academic and professional careers. The conference will feature virtual lectures, panels, and workshops led and facilitated by Black
womyn scholars, industry professionals, and influencers. More clearly, the goals of this conference, themed “I Am Because We Are,” are to empower Black womyn secondary
students by:

  1. Facilitating opportunities for academic and professional skills development and
  2. Networking through workshops, lectures, and discussions
  3. Exploring crucial but generally less-focused topics around both physical and mental health and wellness and
    providing a gathering space for Black womyn to foster community and solidarity.

As many of our sessions feature Tufts faculty and staff throughout Tufts’ undergraduate and graduate campuses, we hope to bridge connections between Black womyn students and professionals at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts Health Sciences, and Tufts Arts, Sciences and Engineering, and many other schools, programs, and centers both on—and off—Tufts campuses. In addition to the Tufts community, the conference will also be open to undergraduate and graduate students of universities throughout Massachusetts in hopes of addressing the importance of fostering solidarity and connections amongst Black womyn students and professionals navigating careers in the Greater Boston Area. Moreover, in the era of Covid-19, fostering connections between Black womyn on disparate Massachusetts campuses is of the utmost importance.

Embodied knowledge: Promoting justice through artistic mediums

Project Leads:

Sherri Sklarwitz, Director of Programs, Tisch College of Civic Life

Collaborators:

  • Africana Center (Katrina Moore)
  • FIRST Resource Center (Jared Smith)
  • SMFA Student Affairs (Val Valente)

Dates:

April 9, 2021

Overview:

Tisch College works closely with students, faculty, and staff across all schools at Tufts, as well as with our community partners, to promote civic engagement. When reflecting on the Bridging Differences Grant, we wanted to incorporate programming that included community partners and promoted bridging differences on campus and beyond.

We have partnered with Danza Organica, a dance company with the articulated mission of "decolonizing our inherited/imposed racist systems,” to create a series of film screenings and dialogues that explore different levels of dance as resistance and the artform ’s ability to ignite change and strengthen community across all Tufts stakeholders.

The performing arts, such as dance, offer a unique entryway into community building an d engagement. The creative process requires an individual who is transforming deep reflection into a cohesive story, one which will then be witnessed and internalized by an empathetic audience. By using dance as an entryway into deeper conversations, we are eager to engage diverse members of the Tufts community, such as students, faculty and staff. We hope that centering this exploration around dance and the relationship between creator and audience will allow members of the Tufts community to reflect on their own ability to articulate themselves to diverse “audiences.”  This will also allow students who are cultivating their own civic identities to broaden their idea of civic engagement.

Unlike traditional academic mediums, dance is an opportunity to embody knowledge and share it without prior requisites of vocabulary or discourse making it accessible and oftentimes universal. Collaborating with Danza Organica will allow for members of the Tufts community to incorporate narratives and learning structures that stray from the confines of a classroom while addressing relevant socio-political and economic realities. The use of dance in this context is actively deconstructing white supremacist structures that exist within education and serves to bridge the gap between academia and reality. It also is an example of bottom-up change that emphasizes the importance of empathy and emotional agility in social justice work.

In practice, the project will involve hosting a zoom session where members of the Tufts community will be invited to participate in three short film screenings followed by a brief discussion with the artists in the large group. Next, the participants will be split into reflection sessions co -led by the Danza Organica performers and student leaders who will be trained in guiding a facilitated discussion from Tisch College, the Africana Center, the First Center, and the SMFA. With six performers and twelve student facilitators, we
envision the program hosting approximately sixty additional participants to have ten participants in each breakout group. Participation will be open to students, faculty, and staff across the Tufts campuses.

Speaking Out of TERN Podcast

Project Leads:

Claudia Guetta, Tufts University Prison Initiative of Tisch College Student Coordinator

Collaborators:

  • STUDENTS: Davon McNeil, Shakir Abdullah, Hector Bannister, Arlice Daveiga, Calvena DeVoe, Rahim Gray, Joseph Irizarry Tara Ahmadi (TUSM student), Amaia Elorza-Areggi (Fletcher student), Molly Gould, Claudia Guetta, Thomas Levy, Alex Lein, Ella Missan, Miguel Rothe, Celia Strumph, Will Youman
  • FACULTY AS&E: Hilary Binda, Kim Ruane, Jill Weinberg, Daanika Gordon, John Lurz, Heather Curtis, Heather Nathans, Gregory Crane TUSM: Kim Dong, Kirby Johnson (OVPR) Fletcher: Bridget Conley SMFA: Chantal Zakari
  • OTHER: Chelcie Rowell (ETS), Kim Forero (ETS), Dana Grossman (CELT)
  • COMMUNITY PARTNERS: Formerly Incarcerated Advisors Arthur Bembury, Partakers College Behind Bars Mentorship Jim Carey, Project Place Ezekial Idiagbonya, MyTERN Advisor Lynne Sullivan, The Petey Greene Program

Dates:

Ongoing, Spring 2021

Overview:

This podcast, Speaking Out of TERN, directly addresses Tufts’ efforts to become an anti-racist institution by fostering public conversations across racial and cultural differences, aiming to engage and educate multiple audiences within and beyond Tufts. Speaking Out of TERN is a conversational podcast, highlighting lived experiences and perspectives of incarceration and re-entry by members of the Tufts Education Re-entry Network (TERN). This podcast will feature conversations between Tufts undergraduates and formerly incarcerated Tufts non -matriculated students enrolled in the 10-credit certificate program, MyTERN. Our audience will include those with little to no knowledge of incarceration and people directly impacted by the carceral state at Tufts, in Massachusetts, and more broadly. We want listeners to understand common and distinctive aspects of the lives of individuals impacted by the criminal legal system and personally harmed by mass incarceration.

A podcast format allows for improved understanding through more direct engagement and communication between those with diverse upbringings and socio-economic and often racial identities. In Speaking Out of TERN, MyTERN students are eager to not only engage members of the Tufts community but also reach fellow activists and even mentor potential future MyTERN students, incarcerated people, and at-risk youth. This university podcast is unique because it amplifies discussions among formerly incarcerated men and women while also showcasing the shared work and relationships built between Tufts MyTERN and Medford students. A Bridging Differences-supported podcast pilot will catalyze anti-racism curriculum development for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students at Tufts, as well as Tufts graduate and undergraduate students who will participate in co-learning with formerly incarcerated students in the making of this podcast.

As a predominately white Medford group in a class with a predominantly Black MyTERN cohort, race, whiteness, and white privilege are central topics of reflection and analysis. Through this podcast, we challenge our class to engage in conversations with one another and all together through a public forum, serving as an educational tool for community
members and learners beyond Tufts alike. The educational nature of this podcast will facilitate conversation for members of the Tufts community that builds on Tufts’ current anti -racism efforts. By involving Medford students and MyTERN students who are already a part of the same class, this podcast will inevitably build bridges between groups
and even schools at Tufts, and also between Tufts students and Greater Boston community members.

Additionally, in a cross-school initiative, faculty and staff members from AS&E, Fletcher, and TUSM (and any other interested schools) will all be involved in the project, bringing subject-area expertise to each conversational podcast episode. We feel strongly that the bubble or insularity of the Tufts community is in direct need of expansion through
the inclusion of people with different experiences of and perspectives on higher education. Speaking out of TERN fosters conversations that challenge that insularity more than most things at Tufts currently, thereby nurturing a very different kind of personal growth among both Tufts undergraduates, faculty, and formerly incarcerated people who do not usually come into contact with people from Tufts.

Global Racisms Speaker Series

Project Leads:

Sarah Luna, Anthropology and Amahl Bishara, Anthropology

Collaborators:

  • Alex Blanchette, Anthropology
  • Sarah Pinto, Anthropology
  • Tatiana Chudakova, Anthropology

Dates:

Fall 2021

Overview:

This speakers series features anthropologists studying race and racism, grounded in the United States but extending to other places around the world. Anthropology’s distinct contribution is to loo k at particular, local, contemporary examples of racialization in the United States and in global contexts. It builds on a year -long series in the 2020-2021
academic year, and both that series and this one will be documented in a website, http://sites.tufts.edu/anthrospeakerseries/.

The goals of this project address several important problems and serves the goals of engaging across difference and making Tufts an anti-racist institution. Anthropology as a discipline has both contributed to racist discourses through scientific racism and concepts like the “culture of poverty,” and has, at different historical moments, been at the forefront of anti-racist efforts. This series brings together scholars at the forefront of anti -racist anthropology for the benefit of our students and faculty. Anthropologists Jemima Pierre and Aisha Beliso de Jesus, whom we hosted for a critical conversation about anthropology and white supremacy, push anthropologists to confront white supremacy in our teaching, our discipline, and our scholarship. They make note of the incredible whiteness of anthropology and the fact that BIPOC scholars are often not cited or taught. Further, they push anthropologists to connect our particular, local analyses of racialization to global structures of white supremacy.

Part of our DEIJ committee work this year involved focus groups with anthropology students, who told us they thought it important to learn about racism in all of their classes, not just the ones that are topically focused on racism. It serves the purpose of infusing all of our classes with anti -racist approaches, it highlights excellent scholarship by BIPOC anthropologists, and it helps us to think collectively as a faculty about anti -racist education. It will build connections between students and faculty. While the 2020-2021 speakers’ series, which was primarily funded through the Center for the Humanities at Tufts, was almost entirely organized by profs. Sarah Luna and Amahl Bishara (the current DEIJ committee), and thus served courses that focused quite directly on issues of racism, in the next semester, we are coordinating with our entire faculty to ensure that each class in the department can integrate at least one of these talks into the curriculum. We see it as important to support all of our colleagues in addressing DEIJ issues across the curriculum.

Finally, we propose to invite a workshop leader for all of those who teach in Anthropology (our full and part -time faculty as well as those in ENVS, STS, Music, and beyond who teach related courses) to attend a workshop on pedagogy for anti-racist teaching. We will also invite anthropology staff to take part in this workshop, as they have been integral to the planning and success of these events and play a role in curricular planning due to their long-term involvement in the department across the terms of several different chairs.

At the Roots of STEM: Student Voices of Color in STEM

Project Leads:

Edward Alexander, Diversity Program Administrator, Center for STEM Diversity

Collaborators:

Ellise LaMotte Director, Center for STEM Diversity

Dates:

May 10, 2021 - October 22, 2021

Overview:

The ethos of this project aligns with the overall mission of the Bridging Differences initiative: to lend a listening ear to students of color in STEM to fully contextualize the depth of their lived collegiate experience as a student of color at a pre-dominantly white institution like Tufts University operating in a traditionally white hetero normative space as STEM. Born from this desire to raise collective awareness through constructive student engagement, this proposal will develop a collection of student narratives that will be developed into case studies for the use and education of faculty, staff, and other students.

A key element in disseminating the findings will be a narrative based learning session where these anecdotes will be studied by a group of student volunteers who will assume the identity of their assigned narrative and engage in an interactive dialogue with the audience and moderators. This program will bring the research to life in an engaging manner where the lessons can live beyond the limits of the page. As a project focused on the different experiences of non-white students in STEM, it will directly contribute to the universities intended goals of becoming an anti-racist institution. Our student body from under-represented backgrounds face unique obstacles that the majority student body do not encounter in their learning experience.

The proposed project will invest its effort to bring to light the everyday micro and macro displays of racism that negatively impact a student’s wellbeing and performance through narratological storytelling. These narratives could help spark dialog and action as it pertains to improving upon the experiences of underrepresented students. In STEM, diversity is a growing problem that requires various interventions from recruitment, retention, and inclusion. Diversity efforts have seen the most improvement in diversity of gender and of Asian participants. Our proposal would focus on the areas that need the most work – collecting the narratives of under-represented racial groups at Tufts specifically Black, Latinx, and Indigenous students.

The nature of this proposal has the capacity to bridge differences amongst schools, departments, and people at Tufts in two specific ways. First, the narratives we are sourcing from student interviews will cut across all departments within the School of Engineering, and Computer Science, which will incorporate Arts and Science Computer Science students. Second, conducting these interviews will be a cross-collaboration where members from The Institute for Research on Learning and Instruction (IRLI) will collaborate in the development of the case studies. The collection of narratives will come from students with the goal of sharing the case studies and the learning session with students, staff, and faculty. The proposed project will create linkages across Tufts through research and presentation that encapsulate the stated goals of bridging differences.

Decolonizing Art Spaces with new media curators and Tufts alumni Yaa Adda and Adaeze Dikko

Project Leads:

Edward Alexander, Diversity Program Administrator, Center for STEM Diversity

Collaborators:

  • Tufts University Art Galleries

Dates:

April 12, 2021

Overview:

With the Tufts Art Galleries, we are planning a discussion-event that features new media curators, Yaa Addae and Adaeze Dikko (Tufts Alumni), and conversation about decolonizing art spaces— why decolonization is relevant, important and how the art world can enact tangible change starting with our Tufts community. Our event will center the experiences and reflections of Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color in art spaces, namely academic museums. We will interrogate histories of exclusion, theft and violence in art spaces perpetuated by colonization, and consider what we (as students, artists, community members, current and future museum workers) can do to work against contemporary manifestations of neo-colonialism and exclusion in art spaces.

How can the academic museums (like Tufts Art Galleries) substantively engage artists and audiences from marginalized backgrounds? Decolonization is inextricably tied with anti-racism. We, the organizers and planners of this event series, draw on the growing movement to democratize and decolonize art which are in-line with anti-racist efforts. We engage Black Tufts alumni working in museums and associated art spaces to open-up conversation at the intersection of art, race, and politics. Art spaces are another facet of anti-racist work. As we know, racism, antiblackness and colonialism are enmeshed in our social fabric and we see this event as one way to push forward conversation, dialogue and change in art spaces and at Tufts University broadly.

Decolonizing Art Spaces with new media curators and Tufts alumni Yaa Adda and Adaeze Dikko

Project Leads:

Kareal Amenumey and Mofopefoluwa Idowu, members of the Tufts Student Advisory Board

Collaborators:

  • Tufts University Art Galleries

Dates:

April 12, 2021

Overview:

With the Tufts Art Galleries, we are planning a discussion-event that features new media curators, Yaa Addae and Adaeze Dikko (Tufts Alumni), and conversation about decolonizing art spaces— why decolonization is relevant, important and how the art world can enact tangible change starting with our Tufts community. Our event will center the experiences and reflections of Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color in art spaces, namely academic museums. We will interrogate histories of exclusion, theft and violence in art spaces perpetuated by colonization, and consider what we (as students, artists, community members, current and future museum workers) can do to work against contemporary manifestations of neo-colonialism and exclusion in art spaces.

How can the academic museums (like Tufts Art Galleries) substantively engage artists and audiences from marginalized backgrounds? Decolonization is inextricably tied with anti-racism. We, the organizers and planners of this event series, draw on the growing movement to democratize and decolonize art which are in-line with anti-racist efforts. We engage Black Tufts alumni working in museums and associated art spaces to open-up conversation at the intersection of art, race, and politics. Art spaces are another facet of anti racist work. As we know, racism, antiblackness and colonialism are enmeshed in our social fabric and we see this event as one way to push forward conversation, dialogue and change in art spaces and at Tufts University broadly.

BIPOC, LGBTQ+, Racial & Gender Bias in Medicine - MBS Speaker Series

Project Leads:

Pamela Chan, BS, BA (First-Year MBS Student, D.E.A.R. Council Member, MBS Multicultural Fellows Council Representative, and Chair of BIPOC, LGBTQ+, Racial & Gender Bias in Medicine - MBS Speaker Series)

Collaborators:

  • John Castellot, PhD, MBS Program Director James Kubilus, PhD, MBS Associate Program Director
  • Vivian Stephens-Hicks, MPH, M.Div, MBS Program Manager
  • Laura Nunn, MS, MBS Administrative Coordinator
  • Janice Gilkes, MA, Assistant Dean of Student Services
  • Ndidiamaka Amutah-Onukagha, PhD, Associate Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine
  • Olivia Zimra-Turley, M.Ed., Associate Director of Student Programs & Affairs
  • Sumirko Oei, Video Conferencing/Collaboration Specialist, Tufts Technology Services
  • Matthew Gooden, MS, MBS Alumnus Azaria Atkinson, First-Year MBS Student
  • Nathan Barger, First-Year MBS Student
  • Saloni Gupta, First-Year MBS Student
  • Seraphima Sidhom, First-Year MBS Student
  • Shrey Patel, First-Year MBS Student

Dates:

Spring 2021

Overview:

This project supports understanding and constructive engagement across differences at Tufts, as we are creating a safe environment that is open to students and faculty across many different programs. Especially with most programs being online this year, many students in a recent PHPD D.E.A.R. Council focus group noted that there was a feeling of isolation and lack of safe space for discussion amongst their closest peers. In addition to this project enhance constructive engagement across differences at Tufts, it will also teach audience members, of various backgrounds and cultures, about racial and gender biases in medicine, how the speakers overcame obstacles like these themselves, and how they work to overcome these biases in their own practice each day. In order to become an antiracist institution, there must be a united, conscious effort against racism across all programs - which this project will achieve by educating through keynote speakers about how one can actively fight racism in their everyday life.

Our goals for the BIPOC, LGBTQ+, Racial and Gender Bias in Medicine - MBS Speaker Series are to: 1) Increase awareness and understanding of common racial and gender biases in medicine; 2) Create a safe space for difficult conversations; and 3) Promote unity and a collective effort of prioritizing the importance of understanding the viewpoints of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities. The primary problem we would like to address is the lack of cultural competency in medicine and the general misunderstanding of those from backgrounds other than our own. Additionally, our project will open appropriate discussions for topics regarding BIPOC, LGBTQ+, racial and gender biases in the medical system overall. The proposed work has the capacity to bridge diverse groups across our community.

With the help of our co-sponsor, PHPD’s D.E.A.R. Council, we will invite all schools within the PHPD programs, including faculty, staff, and students. Additionally, we will also invite the medical school classes. Our event will provide relevant content and information and will focus on engaging multiple groups, including faculty, staff, and students in both the medical school and the PHPD programs. With connections across multiple cohorts in our MBS program, the medical school, and all PHPD programs, the BIPOC, LGBTQ+, Racial and Gender Bias in Medicine - MBS Speaker Series will undoubtedly promote cross-school and cross-campus collaborations that will persist for years to come.

Co-creating a curriculum focused on social determinants of health

Project Leads:

Revati F. Masilamani; Director, Teaching the Great Diseases, Center for Science Education, Tufts University School of Medicine

Collaborators:

  • Peter Rogers, Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Science Education, School of Medicine
  • Allison McQueen, Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Science Education, School of Medicine
  • Courtney Russo, Program Administrator for the STEM Ambassadors program, Center for Stem Diversity, School of Engineering

Dates:

Spring and Fall 2021

Overview:

This proposal seeks funding for a collaborative effort between two well - established centers at two different Tufts Campuses with the goal of constructive engagement in the creation of a curriculum that facilitates conversations focusing on social justice and equity in the domain of health. The Center for Science Education (CSE) is a group of scientist-educators at the Tufts University School of Medicine who have been working with Boston Public School teachers since 2008 to create high school curriculum focused on health and disease to increase STEM engagement and health literacy in adolescents. This curriculum, built with federal funding (NIH and NSF), was first piloted in districts of diverse socioeconomic status in Boston, and subsequently has been used to great success in classrooms across America and abroad. The curriculum provides real world examples of the application of biomedical sciences to improve people’s lives, which allows for student insight into scientific thinking and careers in science.

The Center for STEM Diversity (CSD) at the School of Engineering was established in 2008 and works to foster a diverse and inclusive science & engineering learning environment. The center focuses on strengthening meaningful student participation in science and engineering, specifically for traditionally underrepresented groups including women, African Americans, Native Americans, the LGBTQ+ community, and those who identify as Hispanic and/or Latinx. The center also intentionally works with first-generation college students and with students from low-income backgrounds. The project aims to address a critical deficiency in health education. Our proposal aims to create curricula that enable students to better understand, at both the individual and community level, the biological consequences of the social determinants of health, e.g., poverty, education, and social support networks. To achieve this, we propose to bring together the scientist-educators at CSE with undergraduates from diverse backgrounds at CSD to have constructive dialogue and collaborate as equal partners to create these curricula.

The lived experiences and expertise of these undergraduate activist-scholars are vital to the curricula narratives because such perspectives are not justly represented in STEM education. These students from CSD are particularly valuable because they regularly engage with high school students from historically undervalued and underserved communities, a target audience for these curricula. We endeavor to capture their stories so the curricula we create are actually relevant to them. We want to ensure that their stories are told, so they are accurately and adequately represented in science education. Ibram X. Kendi writes that “to be antiracist [requires] a radical reorientation of our
consciousness”. This work is inherently antiracist because it centers the knowledge and expertise of marginalized groups in the creation of more inclusive, just, and equitable curricula. The transformative nature of such curricula is essential to facilitating and engendering positive structural change within the Tufts community and communities
across America. This proposal seeks funding to adequately compensate the CSD undergraduates for their indispensable knowledge and roles in developing the framework of this curricula.

Color of Us

Project Leads:

Ashley Hunter and Irene Mutwiri

Collaborators:

  • Christopher McNeal
  • Bahiya Nasuuna
  • Fartun Mohamed

Dates:

Spring, Summer and Fall 2021

Overview:

Color of Us (CoU) is an employee resource group that provides support to faculty, staff, and postdoctoral scholars of African descent at Tufts University, with a primary focus on serving the Boston, SMFA, and Grafton campuses. CoUroutinely collaborates with the Medford-based Black Faculty and Staff Alliance (BFSA) and other organizations, schools, centers, and programs to foster cross-campus inclusion projects that, consistent with Tufts' Anti - Racism Initiative, celebrate the full spectrum of Afro-descendent and Afro-indigenous identities represented in the Tufts community and beyond.

CoU’s mission is to bridge geographic, linguistic, and cultural differences across African diasporas by co -creating inclusive spaces for mutual learning, sharing, and understanding. Through facilitated dialogues, workshops, as well as professional development and networking opportunities, CoU aims to invigorate diversity programming on the Boston and Grafton campuses as is consistent with the Tufts T10 Strategic Plan, Theme Three: Engaging and Celebrating Commonalities and Differences.

One Bite at a Time

Project Leads:

Helena Han - Administrative Manager, OVPR

Collaborators:

  • Laura Lucas (Sr. Learning & Development Specialist)
  • Jiray Avedisian (Administrative Coordinator and Co-chair of the OVPR Anti-racism Committee)
  • Stephanie Marco (Administrative Coordinator and member of the OVPR Anti -racism Committee)
  • Kristin Scalisi (Administrative Coordinator)
  • Jonathan Chau (Research Compliance Specialist)
  • William Shaw (Senior Director for Technology Transfer and Industry Collaboration)

Dates:

Juneteenth 2021

Overview:

Food is universal to our survival. The way food is prepared, which ingredients are chosen and the stories behind the recipes are diverse and unique to each culture or group. The expression ‘to break bread’ implies that we come together not just to eat but to connect with each other. A meal is a way to connect the disconnected. A project that centers around food is one that can bring multiple groups together. Specifically, we propose the design, development, and production of a historical-cultural cookbook. We would disseminate the cookbook to all faculty, students and staff at Tufts University as well as the surrounding communities who we will be engage in its creation too. Our project will require outreach by Tufts’ student, faculty, and staff to the BIPOC business owners in and around our four campuses at Tufts University to support Tufts University’s focus on being an anti -racist institution.

The project’s goal intends to support our BIPOC communities by learning about the cultures and histories with a focus on their traditions, their stories, and their food. The project’s deeper, most relevant goal is to help restore or repair the damage done by the suppression of the value, the dignity, the equality, and the respect of those of BIPOC heritage. These attributes are already inherent in every culture. This project, as an act of reparation, intends to reveal what has existed all along and in that ‘revelation’, our project intends to educate and to honor the diversity and the uniqueness of our BIPOC neighbors and to literally and figuratively, bring us together at the same table through action, example, and education. While different cultures may be separated by several factors, there is one unifying thread that runs through all of us—the need to eat.

The idea of bridging differences through food is timeless. This could mean simply trying and even enjoying a new dish, but it could also mean finding similarities between cultures' cuisines or sharing stories about their families. Food offers so much more to a person than sustenance. It brings people together and it is probably the easiest way to open one’s mind to experiencing a new culture. “In order for our hearts and stomachs to truly be filled, we have to at least be willing to come to the table.”

Igniting Change Through Compassion

Project Leads:

Eve Abraha

Collaborators:

  • Alex Lein, primary collaborator/co-organizer
  • Nakia Navaro, Founder/President, Building Audacity
  • Laurie Goldman, Senior Lecturer, Environmental and Urban Policy & Planning
  • Jonathan Garlick, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
  • Keith Maddox, Associate Professor, Psychology

Dates:

Spring 2021

Overview:

About a year back, I realized my main goal in life shifted and that I no longer had a dream “job” rather I had a dream mission. My mission is to work to help dismantle oppressive systems that show people that they are neither cared nor loved for. I want to work to dismantle these systems through a myriad of ways, primarily through equity practices
within health, education, and community involvement. Understanding how home insecurities, food insecurities, and lack of exposure to love and care impacts a person’s wellbeing and life, I want to be able to provide some of these things to those who need it.

This is why Igniting Change Through Compassion arose; it is a means for homeless folk who are especially dealing with drug addiction to be provided with resources and attention they deserve. Community members can re-distribute their resources and bridge communities with this population. There are, on average, 3,766 families who find themselves homeless every night in Massachusetts, which is equal to about 12,000 people. About six months ago, we started cooking and delivering meals to groups of people experiencing homelessness on Massachusetts Avenue, in downtown Boston. Since then, we have distributed thousands of meals to different communities primarily in the same area. With a centralized lens of health and community involvement, we have collaborated across groups of Tufts students and Tufts Adult Learners and with Boston community members who have lived experiences with homelessness. The synergy that stems from the bridging of these two groups not only facilitates knowledge of homelessness and health across all involved, but creates comprehensive, holistic, and effective programming for volunteers to get involved in these communities. Further, this work directly contributes to Tufts’ goals of addressing antiracism by giving back the resources that an elite institution like Tufts has and showing how our students and faculty can support our neighboring communities, through wealth distribution, resource distribution, health, and wellness education.

Bridging Differences will allow us to tap into Tufts network/involve members of the community. We have already received many volunteers and donors from within the Tufts community, both from faculty and students. Faculty and staff have given their time to deliver meals alongside students, and the interest in doing this within and across schools is only increasing. Additionally, our volunteer community has extended beyond the immediate Tufts network, as other college students, on campuses such as Boston University have become involved on a week-to-week basis; the flexibility we offer by providing funds to prepare and deliver meals opens up the opportunity for people of any age or on any campus to do this work. The goal for our organization is to establish a uniform structure that can be used as a model for different groups of students, faculty, and community members; by receiving funding and/or resources from our group, we can enable and empower as many people to deliver meals to as many communities as possible around Boston (and eventually beyond).

Unsettling the Archive: Exploring Tufts’ Relationships with Land

Project Leads:

Natalie Gearin, Tufts University Art Galleries Graduate Fellow

Collaborators:

  • Dr. Ninian Stein, Professor, Environmental Studies, Tufts University
  • Elizabeth Canter, Manager of Academic Programs, Tufts University Art Galleries
  • Dina Deitsch, Director and Chief Curator, Tufts University Art Galleries
  • Abigail Satinsky, Curator of Exhibitions and Programs, Tufts University Art Galleries

Dates:

September 8, 2021 – March 25, 2022

Overview:

Unsettling the Archive will be an exhibition on view for the 2021-22 academic year in the Slater Concourse Gallery of the Aidekman Arts Center. It is a collaboration between the Tufts University Art Galleries staff; Dr. Ninian Stein, Professor in the Environmental Studies department; and Dr. Stein’s Environmental Studies capstone course students. As such, the exhibition will act as a platform for a cross-disciplinary and cross-departmental partnership with contributions from staff, faculty, and students.

This exhibition uses archival sources and objects from the Tufts University Permanent Art Collection and Tufts Digital Collections & Archives to explore the university’s relationship to the land it occupies, with a focus on making visible and unsettling the prevailing narratives of the campus ecosystem. To this end, contemporary work that considers questions of land and place, sourced from artists within the Tufts community, will also be included. In addition, there will be designated space within the gallery for ENVS capstone students to exhibit their own research. Students’ input and expertise will be solicited in developing and implementing related programming such as workshops or panel discussions. In keeping with the goal of the capstone course, students’ personal research will unfold within a similar framework as Unsettling the Archive: identifying and exploring an environmentally-focused question or problem.

This exhibition and its approach is in light of ongoing efforts—on a both a national and university-wide scale—to acknowledge and re-contextualize institutional relationships with land. In interrogating narratives of land and place connected to settler coloniality, this exhibition aims to communicate a reading of Tufts’ past and present that is anti-racist.

2020 Seed Grant Recipients

CARE Outreach and Education Initiatives

Project Leads:

Kyla Martin, Resource and Prevention Specialist

Collaborators:

  • The Group of Six
  • the International Center
  • University Chaplaincy
  • the SMFA at Tufts
  • Health Services
  • Counseling and Mental Health Service
  • ASAP
  • Ears for Peers
  • Green Dot Ambassadors
  • Sex Health Representatives

Dates:

Ongoing throughout the Spring 2020 semester

Overview:

To expand outreach to specific identity groups and education around the intersection of identity and sexual violence, the Center for Awareness, Resources, and Education (CARE) is proposing four initiatives for the Spring:

  1. CARE bags – Grounding kits for students who have been impacted by violence. Grounding is a technique used to keep a person present in the moment through sensory and cognitive awareness.
  2. Convos and Coloring with CARE – a Talking Circle giving students an opportunity to explore their personal needs and the external expectations around relationships, community, identity, and culture.
  3. Bake it Till You Make it (Live) - A program facilitated by mental health activist and mental health cookbook author, Dayna Altman. Dayna tells the story of her mental health lived experience and the healing she has found through advocacy by creating the first of its kind mental health and resilience cookbook, “Bake it Till You Make it: Breaking Bread, Building Resilience”, while cooking two recipes from her book.
  4. Soup and Substance – A weekly book club that would read “The intersections of identity and sexual violence on campus: Centering Minoritized Student’s Experiences”.

 

Color of Us

Project Leads:

  • Ashley Hunter, Founder and Administrative Coordinator for TUSM Educational Affairs
  • Irene Mutwiri, Project Administrator for the Fletcher School

Collaborators:

  •  African Student Organization
  • Caribbean Student Organization
  • Black Student Union
  • Black Graduate Student Association
  • Black Faculty and Staff Alliance

Dates:

Ongoing events throughout Summer and Fall 2020

Overview:

The Color of Us (CoU) project addresses the lack of diversity and inclusion resources available to black students, staff, and faculty on the Tufts Boston Campus. CoU aims to collaborate with Medford-based Tufts organizations to foster cross-campus inclusion initiatives that celebrate all black identities represented in the Tufts community.

Generational Leadership Advancements for Minorities (GLAM) Series 

Project Lead:

Tatiana Henry, Student and Tufts Veterinary Council on Diversity (TVCD) Co-Chair

Collaborators:

  • Tufts Veterinary Council on Diversity (TVCD)
  • Tufts chapters of Broad Spectrum Veterinarians as One Inclusive Community for Empowerment (VOICE)
  • Women’s Veterinary Leadership Initiative (WVLDI)
  • Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA)
  • Adriana Black, Associate Director for Diversity and Inclusion Education and Training

Dates:

Ongoing events throughout Spring 2020

Overview:

Generational Leadership Advancements for Minorities (GLAM) is a lecture and workshop series designed to address the unique barriers to diversity and inclusion in veterinary medicine.

Indigenous Arts, Theory and Practice (IATP) Symposium

Project Leads:

Lilian Mengesha, Fletcher Foundation Assistant Professor of Dramatic Literature

Collaborators:

  • Courtney McDermott, Administrator for the Center for Humanities at Tufts
  • Abigail Satinsky, Curator of Exhibitions and Programs at the SMFA
  • Olivia Michiko Gagnon, Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Humanities at Tufts

Dates:

March 26-27, 2020

Overview:

There is a need in our community to deepen the understanding of Indigenous people, and Indigenous Arts, Theory and Practice (IATP). IATP is a two-day interdisciplinary symposium that will bring together a diverse group of artists and scholars working within critical Indigenous studies and the performing arts. The focus is on interdisciplinary thinking, doing, and collaborative creation within critical Indigenous studies, an interdisciplinary field concerned with the history and traditional/contemporary practices of Native people in the Americas.

Specifically, this symposium will impact the campus social climate by bringing a visible and important presence of transnational and pan-Indigenous artists and scholars in conversation across the Americas including First Nations, Native American, mestizo/a/x and Indigenous people of the Latin America. The invited speakers are leaders in their respective fields of dance, language reclamation, theatre, new media and performance art.

Institutionalizing Diversity Efforts

Project Leads:

  • Najah Walton, Co-President, Black Students Association, Tufts Health Sciences Campus
  • Jasmine Fernandez, Co-President, Latino Medical Students Association, Medical School
  • Rina Asemamaw, Senate President, Public Health and Professional Degrees Program (PHPD)
  • Dr. Ndidamakai Amutah-Onukagah, Associate Professor, Chair PHCM Diversity Committee

Collaborators:

  • Black Students’ Alliance
  • Latino Medical Students’ Association (LMSA)
  • PHPD Senate
  • Department of Public Health and Community Medicine
  • Diversity Committee

Dates:

Ongoing throughout Spring/Summer and Fall 2020

Overview:

This project proposes student-focused and led talk-back (town-hall) sessions organized as a joint and collaborative partnership between the Public Health Department’s Diversity Committee, the Latino Medical Students’ Association, the Black Students’ Alliance and the Public Health and Professional Degree Program Student Senate. The proposed talk-back sessions will include discussions that address current gaps in inclusion and diversity efforts on campus. Points raised at the talkback sessions will be presented as action points to the larger Tufts community and serve as input into the university’s future diversity efforts.

Neurodiversity is Social Justice: An educational series on disability as diversity/inclusive practices for student services

Project Leads:

Eileen Crehan, Assistant Professor, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development

Collaborators:

  • Kate Pillette, Learning Specialist, Student Accessibility Services
  • Kristen Wederski, graduate student, Residential Life
  • Julie Lynch, undergraduate student, CAST member

Dates:

  • February 3, 2020
  • March 2, 2020
  • April 6, 2020
  • May 4, 2020

Overview:

This series of programs will be provided by Eileen Crehan, Assistant Professor and Clinical Psychologist with a specialty in autism in adulthood, Kate Pillette, SAS Learning Specialist and nationally certified school psychologist, and Julia, a student with an ASD diagnosis. The goal of these trainings is to make the academic and social spaces on campus more accessible to neurodiverse students by educating faculty and student support staff on ways they can create a welcoming and accessible environment for all.

Refugees in Towns Conference and Arts Festival

Project Leads:

  • Victoria Johnson, Student, Fletcher School
  • Stephanie Khoury Faculty, Department of Music

Collaborators:

  • Karen Jacobsen, Professor
  • Feinstein International Center
  • RIT program director Charles Simpson
  • RIT program Administrator Marina Lazetic
  • Additional conference and art festival organizers.

Dates:

April 3-4, 2020

Overview:

The Refugees in Towns Conference and Arts Festival is a two-day program linked to the Refugees in Towns (RIT) research project on refugee integration which runs through the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University since 2017. The goal of this conference and arts festival is to deepen understanding on refugee experience and support inclusion from host institutions and the wider Boston and global community. The RIT Conference and Arts Festival addresses refugee integration at a localized, grass-roots level through case studies of integration written by refugees in different towns both domestically and abroad.

Understanding Fletcher’s Gaps and Improving Fletcher Attractiveness to Under-represented Minority (URM) Students

Project Leads:

Carolyn Gideon, Adjunct Professor of International Communication Policy, Director of Hitachi Center for Technology and International Affairs, Chair of Diversity and Inclusions Committee

Collaborators:

  • Laurie Hurley, Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Fletcher School
  • Fletcher Community Collective
  • Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Fletcher School

Dates:

Ongoing

Overview:

In trying to make Fletcher a more diverse and inclusive community, this initiative seeks to increase the recruitment of under-represented minority (URM) students and better achieve inclusive excellence to make all feel welcome, comfortable, and supported for success. While information has been collected from a variety of sources, including climate surveys and other student surveys, there is much more to learn in order to continue to improve inclusiveness. This is essential both for attracting more URM students and for improving the experience of those who do enroll at Fletcher.

This project is designed to help more fully understand what URM students are truly looking for when they choose where to apply and where to enroll. To better understand Fletcher’s gaps in creating an inclusive community where URM students strive and want to join, in-depth focus group discussions will be conducted with admitted URM students, both those who do and do not choose to enroll at Fletcher.

10th Annual Collegiate Alliance for Immigration Reform (CAIR) Conference featuring keynote speaker, Daniel Alvarenga

Project Leads:

Alejandro Baez, Student and Vice President, Tufts United for Immigrant Justice

Collaborators:

  • Tufts Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)
  • Tufts Asian Student Coalition (TASC)
  • Action for Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP)
  • FIRST Resource Center (through direction and guidance from Margot Cardamone)
  • Asian American Resource Workshop (AARW)

Dates:

April 3-5, 2020

Overview:

The CAIR Conference has been organized to bring together college students, activists, scholars, and other members of the national pro-immigrant rights community to share strategies and empower ourselves in our pursuit of achieving comprehensive and humanitarian immigration reform. The conference will focus on the empowerment of the student body in action towards immigrant justice, while emphasizing and encouraging solidarity across movements in immigration. This focus is important as the conversation surrounding immigration has largely been Mexican-centric and has often excluded the voices of those outside of this topic.

Daniel's work centers the struggles and existence of Central Americans, who as of 2017, make up a community of 3,527,000 (per data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2017 American Community Survey (ACS). The integration of Daniel's work and the varying perspectives that he covers will increase the diversity of what is considered to be an immigrant. To rely on past approaches that only centered Mexican immigrants won't encompass the needs of those from a different country or culture.