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Denise Bates

University College


Denise E. Bates, Professor of History, joined Tufts as the Dean of University College in 2023. She leads a dedicated team of professionals to advance our mission of expanding access and catalyzing resources university-wide to produce high-quality programming for the workforce of the future and learners at every stage of life. She was previously at Arizona State University (ASU), where she was the Associate Dean of Student Success and Community Engagement for the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts. She was also a Thought Leader Fellow with the American Indian Policy Institute and a Senior Global Futures Scholar with the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory.

She is an award-winning scholar and teacher whose work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, Princeton University Library and Archives, and the Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Foundation. At ASU, she received the Outstanding Research, Senior Distinguished Scholar Award, and the Outstanding Faculty-Directed Program: Fostering Global Citizenship Award for her Indigenous Peoples of Belize: History, Leadership, and Sustainable Well-Being program. Her scholarship examines leadership, activism, community development, and education among Indigenous peoples of the 19th and 20th-century U.S. South, with some of her publications including books entitled The Other Movement: Indian Rights and Civil Rights in the Deep South and Basket Diplomacy: Leadership, Alliance-Building, and Resilience among the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, 1884-1984. She also has a long track record of building programs and designing curricula utilizing new instructional technologies to increase access to a diverse range of learners.  

Jessica Bates

University College

Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs

Jessica Bates joined University College as the Associate Dean in 2021. Jessica’s responsibilities include overseeing academic and student affairs for all of UC’s year-round offerings and leading the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice efforts for the college. She works closely with the program directors and UC Faculty to provide academic oversight, including curricular design, admissions decisions, instructional design, and student affairs issues.

Before joining Tufts, Jessica comes to us from Northeastern University, where she was Senior Director for Academic Support and Student Services. In this role, she built a student services infrastructure across the NU campus network and was a key leader in the launch of two Canadian campuses. Previously, Jessica held the role of the Director of the University Honors Program at Saint Louis University, including oversight of academic planning, admissions, and assessment. Jessica earned a Ph.D. in Education Administration from Saint Louis University with a dissertation on the needs of nontraditional adult learners in college-level writing courses.  

Krissy Day

University College

Deputy Executive Associate Dean

As the UC Deputy Executive Associate Dean, Krissy provides executive-level leadership to all aspects of the Dean’s portfolio to develop and implement the overall strategic direction and operations of the school. She serves as chief liaison to the other schools to optimize programming and fiscal strategies and with all central administration areas to coordinate services, priorities, and needs.

Krissy joined University College in January 2022 after more than six years as Director of Business Operations at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Before joining Tufts, Krissy spent seven years at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in roles focused on strategic projects that spanned the school’s administration, improved operations, and increased efficiency.  Krissy earned her Master of Liberal Arts at the Harvard Extension School and her Bachelor of Science in Information Design and Corporate Communication from Bentley College.  In her free time, Krissy enjoys visiting the US National Parks and the NH White Mountains.

Arianna Wilson

University College

Director, Pre-College Programs

Arianna Wilson joined University College as the Director of Pre-College Programs in October of 2019, after spending over a decade in K-12 public education. She leads the college’s efforts developing and implementing the strategy for Pre-College programs, with a goal to introduce students to new fields of interest and study while giving them the opportunity to sample the college experience.  Using her extensive experience directing Expanded Learning Time programs in Boston Public Schools and Melrose Public Schools, Arianna hopes to expand the reach of Tufts Pre-College Programs to span the Pre-K-12 pipeline, and offer access to disadvantaged students who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to attend.

Outside of her work at Tufts, Arianna is the Executive Director of Alex's Team Foundation, a Boston-based charity organization that supports the fight against childhood cancer. She holds a Master's degree in Education from Smith College and graduated from Amherst College with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology and Psychology. Arianna lives in Watertown with her husband Ryan, and their children, Chase Alexandra and Tucker.

Rebekah Plotkin

University College

Director, Professional and Custom Education 

Rebekah Plotkin joined University College as the Director of Professional and Custom Education in early 2021. Rebekah is responsible for professional education programming such as Courses at Tufts, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), custom programming, as well as developing new programming for adult learners across Tufts University. Rebekah joined Tufts University in 2017 as the Associate Director at the Gordon Institute and in that role, managed and developed graduate degree programs for working professionals and aspiring leaders in STEM fields.

Before joining Tufts, Rebekah spent 10+ years in international development, focused on economic development.  She was a Vice President at Grassroots Business Fund, an impact investment fund focused on supporting high growth businesses through access to capital and management training. At Grassroots, Rebekah led operations, including a global expansion, donor-backed capacity development programming for portfolio companies, and strategic initiatives. Rebekah earned an M.B.A from the University of Maryland and a B.A. in International Studies from American University.

Tara Pope

University College

Director, Marketing & Communications 

Tara Pope joined University College, as the Director of Marketing in September of 2019, after spending almost 20 years in the digital marketing and technology space. Tara oversees all marketing and communication efforts for University College Programs including Pre-College, Professional Education, and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. As a pioneer in the digital marketing industry, she continuously applies her early learnings from working in a combination of both startup and established brands, to her role here at Tufts, for all of University College' programs.

Tara’s past experience has been a combination of agency and brand-side consumer marketing, including a variety of industries, including pharmaceutical, ecommerce, and financial marketing at companies like, Arnold Worldwide, e-Dialog (now a part of eBay), Rue La La, Sallie Mae and Upromise, have given her a wealth of marketing knowledge, across industries, which helped her prepare for this new and diverse role at Tufts. Responsible for both acquisition and retention, Tara is constantly working with expanding her knowledge of University College's programming and offerings to increase the audiences and locations her marketing efforts reach. In addition Tara has developed strong relationships with a wide array of teams across the University to support enrollment efforts for not only University College non-degree students, but Tufts matriculated students as well, during the Summer and Winter terms. 

Tara earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing with a minor in English from Merrimack College in North Andover, MA. Tara lives in Melrose with her husband Geoff and son, Nolan, and when she is not working at Tufts, she is active in community fundraising, including serving as the PTO President at her son's school and is involved with planning and volunteering for local area charities close to her heart.

Lauren Barry

University College

Director, Partnership Development 

Lauren Barry transitioned to her role as Partnership Development Director of University College in 2024, after joining the team in 2021 as the Associate Director of Pre-College Programs. In her role as Partnership Development Director, Lauren is responsible for developing and maintaining strategic partnerships with organizations, community, and governmental entities that are critical to the growth and success of University College. Prior to her current role, Lauren spent three years as the Associate Director of Pre-College Programs at Tufts, where she focused on external philanthropic partnerships and building out the team's residential operations. Lauren also spent over a decade in public K-12 education as a teacher, school leader, and district administrator. 

Lauren earned her Master of Arts in Teaching at Northeastern University, a Master of Arts in History at American University, and a Bachelor of Arts in History at the University of Connecticut. In her free time, Lauren enjoys traveling, reading, and working out.