During its November meeting, the Dartmouth Board of Trustees heard from faculty and senior administrators about ongoing efforts to strengthen and expand academic excellence at Dartmouth. The board also approved a new masters program and two new academic departments at the Geisel School of Medicine, held dinner discussions with faculty and students, and advanced a long-term strategy to diversify Dartmouth’s energy supply.
The Board heard a presentation from Provost Carolyn Dever that highlighted initiatives to support academic excellence across the institution, including expanding the number of faculty, investing in resources to facilitate teaching and learning, and increasing diversity through the College’s hiring practices. Dever provided updates on the faculty cluster initiative, task forces on the libraries and a new graduate school, and Dartmouth’s admissions and financial aid operations.
“Dartmouth is becoming a magnet for incredibly talented faculty and students,” says Dever. “They want to join a vibrant, welcoming, and student-centered scholarly community that represents the highest standards and the best academic values. Our goal is to continue to build on these qualities while enhancing the teacher-scholar model that helps make Dartmouth unique.”
In addition to meetings with students, the Board hosted various small dinners between trustees and faculty from the graduate schools and the arts and sciences to discuss ways to improve the productivity and excellence of teaching and research across campus.
The Board approved the establishment of two new departments at the Geisel School of Medicine: a Department of Biomedical Data Science and a Department of Epidemiology. They also established a new master of science degree in the existing arts and sciences PhD program in quantitative biomedical sciences.
“The Geisel School of Medicine is a critical part of our academic mission,” says President Phil Hanlon ’77. “The undergraduate experience at Dartmouth is tremendously enriched by the proximity of a world class medical school and the unique research opportunities that this provides. Their efforts to discover new therapies, enhance patient care, improve health-care delivery, and train a new generation of physicians are transforming medicine here and across the globe.”
Joseph Helble, dean of the Thayer School of Engineering, spoke to the Board about his vision for expanding the school. Thayer’s points of distinction include hands-on experiential learning, the integration of engineering with the liberal arts, and outstanding graduate programs. Helble noted that Thayer received the Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering Education from the National Academy of Engineering in May 2014, one of the largest educational prizes in the nation.
“Our goals are to help all Dartmouth students prepare to enter a world that is increasingly dominated by technology, to provide an expanded model of an engineering education that seamlessly integrates engineering and the liberal arts, and to tackle some of the world’s most challenging problems in areas such as medicine and energy that rely on major advances in technology,” he says.
Thayer will support a growing number of engineering majors, provide more hands-on engineering design courses for non-majors, and expand programs focused on research in key global problem areas while increasing levels of technology entrepreneurship across the campus.
In addition, the Board approved planning and development in support of an energy strategy that includes options for replacing No. 6 fuel oil as the primary fuel source for the College. Funding will be provided from central unrestricted reserves.
“Dartmouth is deeply committed to a long-term energy strategy that promotes responsible stewardship of our resources and natural surroundings,” says Lisa Hogarty, vice president for campus planning and facilities. “Getting off No. 6 is an essential part of that strategy. It will reduce our negative impacts on the environment and diversify our energy supply.”
Professor Barbara Will, chair of the Moving Dartmouth Forward Presidential Steering Committee, provided Board members with an update on the committee’s work. The committee has been charged with developing recommendations that will combat the root causes of extreme behavior in the critical areas of sexual assault and high-risk drinking, and will also seek to foster more inclusivity on campus. Over the last several months, the committee has continued to engage with the Dartmouth community, consult with experts, and examine best practices. The Board was enthusiastic about the progress made to date and greatly encouraged by the level of involvement of the campus. The committee will present its recommendations to President Hanlon in January.
The Board also discussed the ongoing planning and development of possible residential housing models that could be implemented beginning with the Class of 2019.