Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University underlines the importance of diversity and inclusion as an integral component of the educational excellence for which it is renowned. Its campus-wide efforts are underscored within the Cummings 2020 Strategic Plan with its focus on prioritizing people.
We value the many experiences and perspectives each individual member brings to our community and are open to diverse ideas and experiences. By promoting a culture that attracts, recognizes and values people as our greatest resource, Cummings School students, faculty and staff, departments and organizations work to create the most optimal graduate and professional student experience that is respectful of diversity and inclusion practices. Together these groups work to:
Eliminate barriers to applications and increase rates of matriculation
Cummings Host International (CHI) Ice Cream Social
In addition to financial feasibility, students are drawn to an environment that fosters a welcoming and inclusive culture and where they can relate to the faculty and staff. To attract a diverse applicant pool, Cummings School has implemented these proactive initiatives to break down barriers critical to making a Tufts education possible and appealing for a diverse group of students:
- Increasing scholarship funds so we may offer competitive financial aid packages to accepted students
- Expanding our loan repayment assistance for graduates in public sector and not-for-profit employment
- Reducing Institutional Loan Repayments for our students
- Educating students about external funding sources and alternative financing approaches.
- Admitted Students Day provides DVM students with an opportunity to experience firsthand the culture of Cummings School for a day and see all that it has to offer
- Open House for Graduate MS programs where prospective students network with current graduate students, faculty and alumni and learn about financing, housing, campus climate, and living in central Massachusetts. Information sessions via Skype, WebEx or phone are also available for those unable to attend in person.
- Campus-wide, Annual Open House welcomes hundreds of visitors, including prospective students for DVM and graduate programs. The admissions office staffs an information booth and conducts presentations and Q&A sessions.
- Cummings Hosts International – a campus-run program focused on creating a welcoming environment for international visitors and committed to hosting events that celebrate diverse cultural traditions.
- Providing diversity training that is mandatory for all members of faculty search committees: Planning for Diversity in Your Faculty Search Process: A Conversation
- Cummings School’s participation in the Veterinary Medical College Application Service (VMCAS) increases reach nationally and internationally for prospective veterinary students and creates an efficient application process consistent national best practices.
- Monitoring student retention rates and actively seeking to maintain its high performance (96% DVM and 100% MS)
- The long-running USAID-funded One Health/Global Health project has increased the number of African-American faculty and staff and two of the three MS programs employ African-American program managers.
Students in the Adventures in Veterinary Medicine Program learning about the field from faculty and students at Cummings School
Capitalize on existing excellent pipeline programs
Cummings School boasts a broad range of pipeline programs targeting students across the educational system, many from educationally and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. These programs provide academic enrichment, mentoring, internship opportunities, and more for pre-professional and pre-graduate students, and are effective in increasing the diversity of the applicant pool.
Promote a diverse and inclusive learning community where students are supported to explore issues of diversity personally and learn from others
A student presents her research at One Health Day
Recruiting students from racially/ethnically and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds is one step in addressing issues of diversity, climate, and inclusion. Beyond that, programs such as those that promote inclusive behaviors, help underserved communities, strengthen cultural competencies and exposure to global health issues, ensure an effective transition, active engagement and success for all students.
- Inclusive Learning Institute: Through interactive workshops, discussions, and engaging activities, this four-day institute offered for all Tufts University faculty provides participants with foundational skills and strategies to foster an inclusive classroom environment and promote enhanced learning for all students in their classes.
- Tufts Veterinary Council on Diversity: Students, faculty and staff champion campus-wide efforts to foster an environment where all individuals are respected, and diversity and inclusion are embraced.
- Global Health/International Learning Opportunities equip students with skills that ensure success in a culturally diverse community within and beyond Cummings School
- Faculty-Student Mentoring in academic fields is promoted through involvement in many of the co-curricular activities offered.
- Faculty Development Grants offer opportunities to broaden the faculty experience to include exposure to other cultures in ways that will benefit the entire Cummings community
- Small educational development grants funded by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) bring speakers to campus to address issues relevant to diversity and inclusion, mindfulness and communication.
- Ways of Thinking seminar series brings speakers to campus who broaden our perspectives beyond science, addressing the importance of communication and the pitfalls of implicit bias.
- Listservs, established by the Dean, encourage community exchange and reflection around the topics of diversity and inclusion, gender issues, policy and science.
- Co-curricular activities provide opportunities to participate in areas outside one’s comfort zone and gain exposure to faculty and staff with diverse interests
Increase mentoring opportunities and offer other student support services
Students are encouraged to take advantage of the many university resources and programs that provide mentoring opportunities and promote wellness and mindfulness for our students.
- Big brother/sister mentoring for first year students to help them acclimate to veterinary school
- Tufts at Tech provides opportunities for veterinary students to mentor high school students studying to become veterinary assistants within an academic setting that has a different demographic than Cummings School
- Technician Internships where students have the opportunity to learn from our board certified veterinary professionals, and gain experience and knowledge
- Faculty-student mentoring in academic fields within veterinary medicine is promoted through students’ involvement in many of the co-curricular activities offered.
- Tufts Veterinary Council on Diversity champions the efforts of several organizations to foster an environment where all individuals are respected, and diversity and inclusion are embraced.
- MS/PhD-faculty mentoring
- Tufts Veterinary Orientation Program (TVOP) offers incoming veterinary students experiential educational and team building exercises to help them become more aware of their own strengths and communication styles, as well as explore learning/working in a team. Students find ways to support each other and the importance of being open to differences between themselves and their peers.
- The Healer’s Art course offered to 1st and 2nd-year veterinary students provides a foundation to help them cope with the mental health and well-being pressures of the veterinary profession.
- Cummings Support Center (CSC) provides resources to assist students in sustaining their overall well-being through Student Academic Support Service, the Career Counseling Service, and Cummings Behavioral Health Service.
- Wellness Program: Many wellness programs are available to students, faculty and staff. The vast array of resources available is now documented on new Wellness website launched by Cummings School
- Provost’s Diversity Reception brings together diverse graduate students from across the campuses in a social and networking atmosphere.
- Multi-Ethnic Graduate Alliance (MEGA) is a cross-campus Tufts organization that brings together graduate students from diverse backgrounds and life experiences for social and educational events.
Ensure students have equal access to career services
Faculty and students at Cummings School lead a campus discussion about diversity in veterinary medicine profession.
There are a number of resources at Cummings School that provide professional development, career planning and support services for students with diverse backgrounds. It is our goal to ensure that all graduate and professional students have equal access to a common set of core services.
- Career workshops facilitate networking opportunities
- Career Chats are informal sessions that provide veterinary students with real-life perspectives on career options available within the veterinary profession.
- DVM Career Counseling Service
Enhance current programs and build new ones that support community engagement by students
Honos Civicus celebrates and publicly recognizes graduating students who have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to community service and civic engagement during their studies at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.
Programs that integrate community engagement into the curriculum, whether it’s through community-based practicums, community service learning, or clinical rotation, provide opportunities to expand our students’ experiences and increase Tufts’ visibility in, and civic engagement within the community.