Tufts announced the appointment of Cigdem Talgar as the vice provost for education, a new position within the Office of the Provost, in an email to the Tufts community on Nov. 3. Talgar’s official start date is Dec. 1.
Talgar comes to Tufts after serving as assistant vice chancellor in the educational innovation division at Northeastern University. Talgar’s background is in psychology.
“Where I am today is a result of merging two different passions, one for advancing research on cognition and attention and the other for evidence-based high-impact teaching and learning,” Talgar wrote in an email to the Daily. “Soon after receiving my doctorate in experimental psychology (specializing in cognition and attention), I was given the opportunity to integrate my research with work in education and pedagogy that was being advanced by my university’s teaching and learning center.”
Talgar said her time at Northeastern has taught her valuable strategies for implementing large-scale holistic educational programs at a university.
“I have built key skills in collaboration, relationship-building, creative solutioning, integrative, transformative and holistic learning, all skills that I believe will help me learn from the Tufts community, collaborate to create new educational opportunities for our students, and build excitement for the work that we will be taking on at Tufts,” Talgar wrote.
Talgar’s position is one among several other vice provost positions that the provost’s office has implemented over the past few years. Caroline Genco, provost and senior vice president ad interim, explained new different roles.
“I have a new position in my office, the vice provost for innovation, who is looking at innovation across education and research. … We’ve created a vice provost for DEIJ as well, so I’m building a team of people who are experts in these fields. … They’re my senior team of vice provosts who oversee these very specific areas across all our schools,” Genco said.
Genco said the position of vice provost for education was created to “[look] at education from the full spectrum of undergraduates all the way to graduate and professional students [and] coordinate it so that we have this one Tufts education.”
Talgar described her new role as “a combination of collaborative vision building and leveraging the community’s expertise and creativity to build inclusive, holistic, interdisciplinary, and transformative learning opportunities and pathways at the institution.”
While Talgar has not started her new job yet, she has begun thinking about her first steps of action.
“The most important project for me as I start this position will be to get to know the University and to begin to learn from colleagues and students,” Talgar wrote. “Tufts has a rich history and strong culture that centers on impact. This is one of the things that attracted me to the University and this specific position.”
Vice Provost Kevin Dunn, who works primarily in faculty recruitment and retention, discussed his responsibilities and how they will overlap with Talgar’s.
“I think that the two positions will need to be in constant collaboration,” Dunn wrote in an email to the Daily. “To give an example, CELT, the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching, obviously is an educational endeavor, but it’s also part of faculty development, and my office has a great deal of interest in the work of the Center.”
Talgar described the challenges she foresees facing with the start of her new job, noting that because the position is newly created, “different individuals might have different understandings about what the person in this role will be doing.”
“One of the most important parts of my first few months is to build out the role in a way that will best serve the institution as we position it for the future,” Talgar wrote.
Dunn shared his excitement to begin working with Talgar alongside the other vice provosts.
“Dr. Talgar is a highly qualified and collegial person who will be well-positioned to advance our educational efforts across the university,” Dunn wrote. “I’m truly looking forward to working with her.”
Talgar expressed enthusiasm for beginning her new role and joining the Tufts community.
“To be able to collaboratively build and implement a vision for learning, I will want to partner with people across the university to ensure that the vision we develop represents where we want our [students] to go and the impact that we want them to have on them,” Talgar wrote.