Dean - 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.
Associate Dean - University College
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, faculty and instructional hiring, 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.
Deputy Executive Associate Dean - University College
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. As the UC Deputy Executive Associate Dean, Krissy leads school-wide operational functions and services. She serves in both consultative and operational roles and is responsible for developing and executing projects, strategies, and programs that help manage and run UC and its programs effectively as well as overseeing day-to-day operations, including providing strategic advice to the dean and standing in for the dean where necessary.
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.
Director, Pre-College Programs - University College
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.
Director, Professional and Custom Education – University College
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.
Director, Marketing - University College
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 currently oversees all marketing efforts for University College, including Pre-College Programs, Professional and Continuing Education, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Tufts. As a pioneer in the digital marketing industry, she continuously applies her early learnings from working in a combination of both startup and more established brands, to her role here at Tufts, University College.
In the past Tara’s experience has been a combination of agency and brand-side of consumer marketing, including industries like pharmaceutical, ecommerce, and financial marketing. Tara's past experiences 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 in many different industries which have helped her prepare for this diverse role at Tufts, Tara is responsible for both the acquisition of new students and families, as well as the retention of past students to University College's portfolio of courses, programs, and certificates for students at any stage of their academic career. In addition Tara works closely with many team across the University to support matriculated Tufts students as well, during the Summer and Winter terms. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing with a minor in English from Merrimack College in North Andover, MA. When Tara is not working at Tufts, she lives in Melrose with her husband Geoff and son, Nolan. She is active in community fundraising and supports event & marketing for some area charities close to her heart as well.