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Look Ahead & Give Back
Lynn S. Muster, J90
What can be done to remedy the shortage of jobs available to recent law school graduates? That’s a question Lynn S. Muster, J90, tackled as a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Task Force on Law, the Economy, and Underemployment.
“How do we help these people who are sitting around without jobs, and what can we do to prepare them to be better lawyers?” asks Muster, a staff attorney for the Massachusetts Appeals Court. “We came up with a series of alternatives to enhance skills and help them gain the practical experience they’d been missing.”
One of the task force’s recommendations—the “law school law firm,” the legal equivalent of a teaching hospital—is described in their report as “an innovative concept that challenges the traditional model of legal education in a search for long-term solutions.” As a longtime supporter of the Experimental College, Lynn believes that unorthodox collaborative-learning programs can fill in the gaps that exist in conventional curriculum.
Her Tufts connection
A New Jersey native, Lynn came to Tufts in search of new experiences. When she arrived on campus, she says, she knew Tufts was “just right.” She enjoyed meeting people from different backgrounds and recalls staying up until 3 a.m. eating Chinese take-out and having intense discussions about “life and love and the world.”
Lynn found her niche when she enrolled in a women’s studies course at the ExCollege. “The ExCollege is great because they give students the classes they really want. They are here for the students, and that’s how universities should be,” she says.
The political science major developed into a natural leader, guiding campus tours her freshman year, and working as a resident assistant her sophomore and senior years. During her junior year, she designed and led a first-year Explorations class on political cultures of the U.S. and Soviet Union at the ExCollege.
After graduation, Lynn’s connection to the ExCollege strengthened her relationship with Tufts. As an Explorations leader, she worked closely with Robyn Gittleman and Howard Woolf, the director and associate director, respectively, of the ExCollege. She now considers them, as well as Robyn’s husband Sol, Tufts’ former provost and Lynn’s Yiddish Literature professor, friends. She participates in the ExCollege’s alumni council and is helping to plan its 50th anniversary event, which will be celebrated in 2014.
An annual donor, Lynn recently included a gift to the ExCollege in her will. Lynn hopes her bequest intention will further the teaching laboratory’s mission of enriching the undergraduate experience through innovative programming.
Throughout its history, the ExCollege has served as a testing ground for areas of study that were later adopted into the curriculum of the School of Arts and Sciences. Women’s Studies, Peace and Justice Studies, and American Sign Language all started at the ExCollege. The ExCollege is the oldest organization of its kind in the country, and Lynn wants to preserve its legacy. “There’s so much creativity at the ExCollege, and I want to make sure that continues to happen,” she says.
“The ExCollege goes beyond the traditional curriculum; it is the everything else,” says Lynn. “And the everything else sometimes means more to people than core requirements and major requirements. Yes, we are here in college and we are here to learn, but there’s also a place for something different.”
Listen to Lynn discussing her work on the task force on WGBH’s Callie Crossley Show.