New Lecture Series Brings American Political and Policy Experts to Dartmouth


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Visit the “Leading Voices in Politics and Policy” lecture series website for the most current news and schedule

National political and policy experts will speak at Dartmouth this summer in a new public lecture series called “Leading Voices in Politics and Policy.”

Former Senator Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) will be the first speaker, presenting an overview of the American political landscape on June 23. Gregg served in the Senate from 1993 through January of this year and is a former New Hampshire governor.

Also speaking will be GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt ’78; Joel Klein, the former chancellor of New York City public schools; Henry Paulson ’68, former Secretary of the Treasury; and former Labor Secretary and economist Robert Reich ’68. Immelt is a member of Dartmouth’s Board of Trustees and Reich is a trustee emeritus.

The lectures, which run through mid-August, are integrated with a new summer term course, Public Policy 20, sponsored by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences at Dartmouth College. The team-taught course, called “Contemporary Issues in American Politics and Public Policy,” will be led by visiting Professor Charles Wheelan ’88, of the Harris School at the University of Chicago.

Gregg said coming to Dartmouth this summer will be “an interesting and exciting thing to do.”

“Dartmouth has the ability to attract good people,” he said, adding that in the class, he hopes to “give students something they’ll find interesting and cause them to think about the nation and the direction we’re going.”

The lecture series “will provide an opportunity for students and members of the larger community to share a common intellectual experience,” said President Jim Yong Kim.

“This course is another way Dartmouth is engaging students in the complexities of the world and bringing a diversity of perspectives to the campus,” continued Kim, who is also a public health physician and will speak to the class on current challenges in health care.

The public lectures and the course will address major topics shaping current policy and political debates at the national level. The issues include the federal deficit, health care reform, the public education system, financial bailouts, and partisan politics.

Dartmouth expects to announce other lecturers in the coming weeks. See lecture website for up-to-date details.

The lecture and course are timed to take advantage of the great opportunity New Hampshire’s presidential primary affords to invite candidates to visit Dartmouth.

“One of the most interesting features of a Dartmouth education is the opportunity once in every student’s four years to observe and participate in the state’s first-in-the-nation primary,” said Professor Andrew Samwick, the Sandra L. and Arthur L. Irving ‘A72, P’10 Professor of Economics. Samwick is director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences at Dartmouth and one of the course faculty. “We are trying to make that experience even more relevant with this course and lecture series,” he said.

The guest lecturers will speak to the class in advance of presenting a public lecture that is free and open to the public. Seating will be on a first-come, student-priority basis. Similar lecture series may be held in future years on topics relevant to a liberal arts education.

The course will be led by Wheelan, a former member of the Board of Visitors at the Rockefeller Center, who has returned to his alma mater each year since 2006 to teach summer courses in economics and public policy. Forty-five students are currently enrolled in the course.

“At the University of Chicago, I teach graduate students. It’s a very nice change to work with undergraduates, many of whom remind me of myself 25 years ago. The field of public policy is getting a lot more interest than it has in the past, and I like to be able to expose Dartmouth undergrads to this fascinating subject,” Wheelan said. “Any one of the speakers we have coming would be a great teaching opportunity. To have them all in a single class is an academic luxury.”

Wheelan recalled presidential candidates visiting campus during his own senior year as “one of the most extraordinary parts of my Dartmouth experience. So it’s very rewarding to be able to build a class around the same kind of interaction with America’s leaders.”

In addition to Wheelan, Samwick, and President Kim, the course’s other professors are Bruce Sacerdote ’90, the Richard S. Braddock 1963 Professor in Economics; Deborah Brooks, assistant professor of government; and Dean Lacy, professor of government.

(Post updated 6/21/2011)


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Susan J. Boutwell