Tufts Puts a Fresh Spin on Summer Learning

With daytime, evening, and online courses, Summer Session covers a wide range of topics for academic, professional, and personal enrichment
students sit and talk on Tufts' Medford/Somerville campus
“Tufts puts an interesting and unique spin on the Boston-area summer schools,” said Ruth Ann Murray. “People will find courses here that they won’t find anywhere else.” Photo: Alonso Nichols
April 12, 2019

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From the history of Boston to the history of artificial intelligence, from ceramics to documentary filmmaking, from the study of disease to the study of medicinal plants, Tufts is offering a robust summer program this year, with a wide array of courses and workshops offered during the day and evening and online for learners of all ages.

Ruth Ann Murray, director of non-matriculation programs, said Tufts has a large course offering for summer this year, with more than 250 classes on the Medford/Somerville campus, the Boston campus of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts, and online.

Courses are open to college students and high schoolers who wish to advance their studies or fulfill course requirements, as well as to working professionals and lifelong learners. Registration is open through the first day of each session. Classes begin May 22 for the first summer session; the second session begins July 2.

Many courses draw on Tufts’ breadth of expertise in the arts and sciences, while others tap into professional schools like the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and the School of Engineering, Murray said. The Friedman School has several online offerings, including a course on Sustainability and the Food Consumer. The School of Engineering offers a wide range of courses, such as Introduction to Computer Science, Data Structures, Molecular Biotechnology, and Lean Six Sigma.

“Tufts puts an interesting and unique spin on the Boston-area summer schools,” said Murray. “People will find courses here that they won’t find anywhere else. A number of topical classes are being presented this summer for the first time, and they speak to the times we live in—they’re highly relevant, whether for professional or personal enrichment.”

Tufts has grown its online course offerings to meet the demand for more flexibility, too, she said. Just like classroom courses, too, online students interact with faculty and their peers nearly every day.

For example, there’s The Foundations of Literacy class, for those interested in pursuing careers at elementary school teachers, which explores the role of literacies, multiliteracies, and reading and writing instruction. Tufts is also offering a suite of online mini-courses for teachers who wish to improve science engagement and health literacy in their classrooms. The Teaching the Great Diseases high school curriculum is offered through the Public Health Program of the Tufts School of Medicine. The courses span infectious disease, neurological disorders, metabolic disorders, and cancer.

In the class Origins of Electronic Music—an historical overview of the genre spanning the age of Edison and Bell to the dawn of the digital era—students will listen to and analyze important works, view and read interviews with composers and inventors, and do hands-on sound manipulation using modern simulations of historical electronic music instruments. And mathematics professor Bruce Boghossian is offering his popular class Introduction to Wealth Inequality, shedding light on the growing concentration of wealth worldwide using mathematics tools.

Summer Evenings at Tufts

Tufts has many evening academic options for those with work or other daytime obligations, but who still want to fit in a class during summer, ranging from a course on Boston’s history to the classes Introduction to Computer Science and Human Nutrition.

The course Boston History covers the range of the Hub’s colonial era to the recent past, and will include at least two walking tours of the city. For something completely different, there’s Japanese Visual Culture, which delves into the extraordinary visual excitement of Japanese culture, including post-war fashion, manga, and anime. 

Professionals who work in the nonprofit sector or who want to support municipalities in their quest for grants will benefit from the course Philanthropy & Fundraising, offered by the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy. Topics include funding strategy and research proposal development, private foundations, public foundations, corporate foundations and corporate giving, and individual donors.

Art classes at Tufts’ Boston campus at the SMFA include Ceramics, Mixed Media, Etching and Intaglio, and the course Visualizing Information, with a focus on how to bring “clarity, precision, and efficiency” to a data-driven world.

Students in the Hip Hop Dance Culture class will learn by practicing hip hop’s original dance, break dancing—or b-boying/b-girling. Topics range from the history and unique artistic practices of hip hop to controversies in the field. The class is taught by Taylor Travassos-Lomba, a lecturer in the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies and a practicing b-boy who has garnered recognition at international hip hop events and features on international hip-hop media outlets.

Creative writers can find their voice and sharpen their craft at Creative Writing: Fiction on the Medford/Somerville campus. Aspiring filmmakers can take the Documentary Film class, gaining a close understanding of hands-on nonfiction fieldwork as well as documentary history and theory.

Daytime Offerings

There are also many daytime classes available. Here’s a sampling.

  • Health Care in America explores problems and issues encountered in the planning, organization, and regulation of health services.
  • Education of the Exceptional Child covers topics that include brain and biological development and supporting students with specific learning disabilities, executive functioning disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and mood and behavioral disorders in schools.
  • Jane Austen: Novels and Films studies the relation between Austen’s six published novels and recent films derived from them.
  • Big Bang to Humankind explores the origins of the universe, the formation of the Earth, the chemistry of life, the development of complex organisms, and the development of modern humans, taught by Jonathan Kenny, a professor of chemistry.

For more information on any of these courses, and to see the entire selection of classes offered by Tufts Summer Session, visit https://summer.tufts.edu/.   

Laura Ferguson can be reached at laura.ferguson@tufts.edu.

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