Dean Rachel Kyte Steps Down

Climate leader will focus on mobilizing finance in emerging markets
Dean Kyte

Last Thursday, Dean Rachel Kyte F02 announced that she will step down from her role on June 30 to rededicate herself full time to her climate work and, more specifically, to mobilizing sustainable finance to support climate action.

A 2002 graduate of Fletcher’s Global Master of Arts Program (GMAP) and a professor of practice at the school since 2012, Dean Kyte joined Fletcher as its fourteenth and first female dean in October 2019 as a globally recognized climate finance and energy expert, having previously served in a variety of leadership roles including most recently as special representative of the UN Secretary General and CEO of Sustainable Energy for All.

Following a strategic review after her arrival in the fall of 2019, Dean Kyte set a vision to ensure the school’s sustained competitiveness that was predicated on three priorities: strengthening educational performance, enhancing operational integrity, and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Many of her achievements have already advanced those priorities and benefitted the school.

During her tenure as dean, Kyte led the school through the migration to online operations at the onset of the pandemic­––managing the transition with a uniquely international student population––and the school community’s return to campus in the fall of 2021.

While dean, she worked tirelessly to expand the school’s resources and reputation. She led the school to exceed its goal to raise more than $120 million in the Brighter World: The Campaign for Tufts. Additionally, she developed and implemented a long-term strategy to diversify Fletcher’s revenue by expanding executive education and faculty research funding. 

Under Kyte’s leadership, Fletcher’s research activity and impact have grown, supported not only by the funding she helped to attract but also by her additional resource investments, including the appointment of an Associate Academic Dean for Research.

Dean Kyte fortified Fletcher’s competitiveness and reaffirmed the school’s relevance in a fast-changing world by enhancing the efficacy of degree programs; strengthening Fletcher’s faculty by recruiting globally renowned practitioners, scholars, and researchers; and expanding the school’s curricula.  

The school’s profile has been elevated by her prominence in the media as a public figure. In turn, she has expanded the global influence of Fletcher’s faculty, students, and alumni, reinforcing the school’s position as a world-class institution of global affairs through her investments in marketing, communications, and media.

 She has been a steadfast and committed supporter of students, regularly counseling students on research, scholarship, and career questions; amplifying Fletcher visibility at global events and supporting internship and job opportunities; actively supporting student conferences; and inviting prominent figures to campus to participate in intimate group student conversations.

Out and proud, as Dean Kyte noted herself in a recent blog post that went viral, she regularly used the visibility of her position to advance the dialogue about what it means to be a member of the LGBTQI+ community as an international affairs professional. Organizing and participating in panels and acting as a mentor and counselor, she served as a role model, both on campus and in the world. 

Dean Kyte has been a powerful champion of engagement with the university community, prioritizing cross-school collaboration in myriad ways from research to events, encouraging regular engagement with undergraduates, and prioritizing Fletcher’s visibility and accessibility to the broader Tufts community.

“As I return to the work that has been my North Star for most of my career, I am proud of what we have accomplished at The Fletcher School. I am sure my path ahead will inevitably include collaboration with fellow alums––present and future––who have dedicated themselves to pursuing a more just and peaceful world. And Fletcher will continue to strive for the highest aspirations of our students, faculty, staff, and graduates,” Dean Kyte said in a post on LinkedIn Thursday. 

As she departs Fletcher to contribute to the increasingly urgent task of financing the implementation of sustainable system changes, Dean Kyte will remain active as dean emerita and an alumna.  

Kelly Sims Gallagher F00 has been appointed dean ad interim of The Fletcher School, effective July 1. Gallagher served as academic dean of Fletcher from 2020-2023 and as professor of energy and environmental policy since 2009. She founded and directs the Climate Policy Lab and co-directs with Professor Jenny Aker the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy at Fletcher.

Follow Dean Kyte on Twitter, @rkyte365.

Watch her TED Talk on cooling a warming planet.