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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, February 26, 2024

Bellof hired as new 'alpha' dean, Baffi-Dugan to retire

Dowling Hall is pictured on Feb. 12.

Associate Dean of Undergraduate Advising Carol Baffi-Dugan, replaced by Matthew Bellof (LA'06, AG'09), began her transition from the department on Feb. 3. According to an email sent to the Tufts community on Jan. 31, Baffi-Dugan will continue in a part-time capacity as the director of pre-health advising until June 30, at which time Amanda Stone will become the designated pre-health advisor for all students.

Carmen Lowe, dean of academic advising and undergraduate studies for the School of Arts and Sciences, explained that a large-scale review and reorganization of many of the student-facing entities was conducted this past summer in the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering, caused by a significant number of retirements and departures in the Division of Student Affairs last year.

Lowe added that Tuftsinvited an outside consultant to assist in reviewing and reorganizing the departments, which was finalized in August 2019.

“As part of the re-organization, adding one more Associate Dean of Undergraduate Advising for Arts and Sciences students was also a priority, and this plan to expand the dean team occurred around the same time that Dean Carol Baffi-Dugan announced her retirement,” Lowe wrote in an email.

This retirement and reorganization also prompted the desire to augment the academic advising team with one more dean to better adapt to the needs of students.

“In the fall, I initiated a search for two new deans, one to join us in February 2020 to replace Dean Baffi-Dugan, and one who will join us in July to bring the advising dean team in Arts and Sciences up to four deans to better serve students,” Lowe said.

The first of these new deans is Matthew Bellof, who will serve as the new associate dean of undergraduate advising. While he brings a wealth of experience from his work as assistant dean and academic advisor in the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences’ Office of Advising and Academic Services, he emphasized that the most impactful experience leading him to the new position was his time spent at Tufts for his undergraduate and graduate studies.

“My decision process centered on my desire to return to the Tufts community," Bellof wrote in an email to the Daily. "I always joke that one of the reasons I continued immediately into my graduated school program was largely because I didn’t want to leave Tufts."

He explained that his experiences in undergraduate and graduate studies afforded him opportunities to work with older students and develop his skills in that regard.

“I had a variety of experiences and opportunities as both an undergrad and grad where I worked with older and older students, culminating in my passion for higher education administration, particularly advising and counseling,” Bellof said.

Amanda Stone, associate director for health professions advising, expressed that she feels prepared to take on the full responsibility of pre-health advising when Baffi-Dugan fully retires.

“As someone who, come July, will have been in all three positions on this advising team, I am very familiar with all we do here in Health Professions Advising (HPA), from the small administrative details to the bigger-picture ideas," she wrote in an email. "I have been advising students for the past year, and so have gotten to know many of our pre-health students."

Stone reflected that, over her 33 years at Tufts,Baffi-Duganguided the community with a strong expertise in all manners of pre-health advising, spearheading several critical advising programs and investing in students' advising.

Lowe recalled Baffi-Dugan's start of the 1988 post baccalaureate pre-med program, the 1994 launching of a coordinated pre-health advising program for Tufts’ Schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering and her leadership in overseeing the Early Assurance program for Tufts undergraduates. She added that Baffi-Dugan was integral to the continuation of the Health Careers Opportunity program and its transformation into the Health Careers Fellows program.

Baffi-Dugan said that these successes make her proud of the contributions she had on the community and allow her to move forward into the next chapter smoothly.

“I’m happy to leave with a strong, well-organized, supportive pre-health advising program in place," Baffi-Dugan said. “Tufts pre-health students get excellent academic preparation here and have wonderful opportunities to explore the health professions, gain experience, take on leadership roles, and make a difference in their communities. I am happy to have contributed to all of this.” 

Lowe emphasized how Baffi-Dugan became essential in the academic advising department.

Carol Baffi-Dugan is a bridge builder: she has created bridges to help students find their way across years of coursework to realize dreams of being doctors and dentists and public health advocates," Lowe said. "She has created bridges between Arts and Sciences and Engineering, and all the clinical and health programs Tufts offers on other campuses. And she has built bridges between the many classrooms and academic departments that prepare undergraduates for their futures."

Baffi-Dugan reflected that her decision to leave was not easy to make, because she will miss the people at Tufts, though she is hopeful for the next chapter of her retirement with her husband.

“My decision to retire was made in conjunction with my husband as we both reached 65 years old and decided we wanted to move on to the next chapter of our lives," she said. "It was a hard decision because I will miss so very much the students and the colleagues I’ve worked with over the years, but I look forward to new challenges ahead."