Dean's Message - October 16, 2023

October is a month of change at GSBS
Jaharis Building in the spring

Dear Members of the GSBS Community,

October is a month of change, when the weather cools and the leaves change color and fall to the ground. One highlight of this month was the inauguration of our new Tufts President Sunil Kumar, for which our own Bree Aldridge, Professor of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, served as the Master of Ceremonies. President Kumar articulated his vision for the University in his inauguration speech, and at the end, said that he has now served 3 months, the honeymoon is over, and that we in the Tufts community should hold him accountable. Those words resonated with me, as my tenure as Dean ad interim began at the same time, and thus the same applies to me. The first three months have been challenging, as we have instituted many changes in the administration of GSBS, but my hope is that, with the help of the program directors and recruitment of new staff, our support for the GSBS community has not wavered. We have hired a new program coordinator, Maddy Fodor, who many of you will meet soon. Also, I have hired a new Executive Assistant to join my office later this month and will introduce you to her in the next update. Our current tasks include developing guidelines and best practices for conflict resolution and disability accommodations and working with the Health Sciences Student Health Working Group to develop better health care options for students on the Boston Campus. Nevertheless, if there are areas that need further improvement, I invite all of you to share your concerns at any time.

I am pleased to announce that GSBS has developed closer ties with the TUSM Office of Student Wellness. I have engaged with the director, Snaggs Gendron, and she has been reaching out directly to the students to make them aware of the many resources available. We are partnering to develop GSBS-specific activities as well. I encourage all of you to take advantage of these opportunities. I am also pleased to report that our Tufts SACNAS chapter led by Ivan Albino Flores and Iris Montes organized a GSBS-sponsored celebration event this past week, and turnout was high. The National SACNAS meeting is being held in Portland, OR later this month and we will be there to recruit future Tufts GSBS students. In other news, congratulations to Kimberly Carroll, Frank Zamudio and Allie Werner for receiving Student Enrichment Fund travel awards. It is a pleasure to see our students represent GSBS at national and international meetings. Finally, the GSBS community has organized a memorial event to honor our late colleague, Andrew Bohm. It will take place on Friday, October 20, from 1-3 pm in Behrakis Auditorium, with a reception to follow in Jaharis Café and courtyard. Many of us will have the opportunity to share our thoughts about Andrew’s remarkable work as a mentor, teacher, and scholar.

I would like to close by expressing my enthusiasm for serving as your interim dean. The first quarter has been challenging, but I only expect it to get better. Working with students, postdocs and faculty colleagues has been invigorating and it has been a pleasure to meet with various stakeholders to serve our mission. Most importantly, it is fun to talk with many of you about science every day.

Mike Chin, Dean ad interim