Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life

Tufts University’s commitment to producing active, engaged and effective citizens is driven by the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life.  All Tufts students are part of this unique college that works across Tufts schools to prepare students from every field to be lifelong active citizens.  Tisch College generates an enduring culture of engagement across the university by collaborating with tufts schools, departments, and student groups to offer extensive programming for every member of the Tufts community.

Tisch College is a national leader in civic education whose model and research are setting the standard for higher education’s role in civic engagement.

Student Programs

A launchpad for active citizenship, Tisch College runs and supports a growing array of initiatives.  The intensive, multi-year Tisch Scholars develops students’ leadership skills to work in partnership with communities, develop programs and services that meet community identified needs, and effectively engage root causes of an issue.  The Civic Engagement Fund (CEF) provides seed funding and substantial advisory support to Tufts students and groups initiating or expanding civic programs.  Additionally, the Active Citizenship Summer (ACS) fellowships provide meaningful summer experiences in Somerville, Washington D.C. or internationally.

Dedicated to ensuring that every Tufts student is exposed to active citizenship during their time at Tufts, Tisch College supports many other programs around the university including:  The Media & Public Service (MPS) program that teaches students to combine their interests in media and their dedication to public service; the Institute for Political Citizenship (IPC), a student initiative that engages students in policy research for state and local government and publishes the Tufts Roundtable, a quarterly magazine and website that brings together the diverse thoughts and opinions found at Tufts; the Tisch Residence Life program that trains resident assistants (RAs) to integrate civic engagement activities with life in all resident halls; and the Tufts-Schweitzer Fellowship which enables students from Tufts’ health sciences schools to engage in health-related community service projects in underserved communities.

Faculty Research

Tisch College supports faculty in developing active citizenship curricula and research.  Through Project PERIS (Partnering for Economic Recovery Impact through Service), Tisch College is bringing together Tufts faculty and Somerville organizations to develop and deliver an economic crisis recovery program over three years.  Supported by a grant from learn and Serve America of the Corporation of National and community Service, Project PERIS supports both community-based research and service-learning courses.  Tisch College’s Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) is the leading source of authoritative research on civic engagement and political engagement of Americans between the ages of 15 and 25 and services as a clearinghouse on related information and scholarship.  Through the Tufts Community Research Center (TCRC) Tisch College provides seed funding and support to community partners.  Many TCRC research initiatives have gone on to secure large federal grants.  Additionally, Tisch College provides opportunities for the Tufts community, local community organization partners, and interested area researchers to share ideas, present work in progress, develop intellectual community and increase the scholarly research on civic engagement.

Community Partnerships

The Lincoln Filene Center (LFC) of Tisch College actively supports student and faculty work addressing community-identified needs in Tufts host communities of Medford, Somerville, Boston’s Chinatown and Grafton.  A resource for both Tufts and its host communities, the LFC runs a wiki toolkit, an outreach portal, and hosts regular skill-building and networking workshops.

National and International Leadership

Tisch College is a leader in expanding higher education’s role in civic engagement.  The college serves as secretariat for the Talloires Network, a global alliance of 150 universities and colleges in 52 countries working together to strengthen the civic engagement and social responsibility of higher education.  Additionally, Tisch College worked with Campus Compact to start The Research University Civic Engagement Network (TRUCEN), which brings together scholars from research universities that have undertaken ambitious active citizenship efforts.