A Conversation with Wiley ‘Chip’ Souba, Dean of the Geisel School of Medicine



By Derik Hertel

Dr. Wiley “Chip” Souba, an internationally recognized academic surgeon, was appointed dean of the Geisel School of Medicine and vice president for health affairs on October 1, 2010. Souba, who came to Dartmouth from Ohio State University, is also a professor of surgery.


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Dean Chip Souba speaks with students at the Geisel School of Medicine. Since coming to Dartmouth in 2010, Souba has launched a strategic plan to significantly raise the school’s profile over the next decade. (photo by Rob Bossi)

His goals include lifting the Geisel School into the top 20 among medical schools nationwide by the end of the decade, continuing to build strong relationships between the College, the Geisel School, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health and furthering partnerships between Geisel and communities around the world.

It’s been nearly two years since you arrived at Dartmouth as dean of the medical school. In addition to the new name, how has the school changed in those two years?

We’ve added about 20 new research professors in key thematic areas. People want to come and work here because of the teamwork, esprit de corps, and the commitment to teaching and discovery that is part of our culture. I believe there’s a collective sense that we’re up to some good. It is critical for people to see that the future is bright, that their work is making a difference, and that they are part of something that is bigger than themselves. That sustains them through the kind of turbulence that health care is experiencing right now.

In addition, the relationship between the medical school and Dartmouth-Hitchcock has become very strong. Our goals are aligned and we’re working as partners. I’ve always said you can’t have a great medical school without a great teaching hospital partner.

What does the naming of the medical school mean to the Dartmouth community and to the work at the Geisel School?

It’s an opportunity for us to recognize Audrey and Ted Geisel, Class of 1925, for their long-standing philanthropy to Dartmouth and for their future generosity as well. Their bequest will help secure a sustainable future that will support education and research at the medical school. Whether it is student scholarships, programmatic development, or faculty recruitment, the impact will be transformational.

What is the 20x20 plan?

It is our strategic road map for the next decade. It lays out our plan to recruit, build programs, and reach our potential of becoming a top 20 medical school by the year 2020. More importantly, it outlines our vision for becoming the medical school that sets the national standard for educating physicians, scientists, and teachers to be leaders of change in creating a healthier, better world.

What changes will we see at the Geisel School of Medicine in the next two years?

We will continue to grow by recruiting faculty to build our research and academic programs. The new curriculum should be well on its way to being implemented. If all goes according to plan, we anticipate future construction of research space on the Lebanon campus and additional educational space here on the Hanover campus. We will continue to put our students first by ensuring academic rigor and quality, access to the top teachers and scholars, diverse learning contexts, a supportive learning environment, and an emphasis on leadership and personal growth.

See what Dean Souba has to say about leadership at Dartmouth in the video below:

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