Seven Dartmouth faculty who will serve as mentors to postdoctoral scholars as Dartmouth expands its intellectual community have been appointed by President Phil Hanlon ’77.
These veteran faculty members will serve as the first faculty fellows in the Dartmouth Society of Fellows, an interdisciplinary community that will support the integration of research and teaching excellence. The faculty fellows will mentor a cohort of newly minted postdocs, who will arrive on campus a year from now.
“The appointment of these faculty fellows allows us to use our greatest resource—our faculty—to guide new scholars as they begin their academic careers. They will benefit from the mentorship of distinguished faculty leaders from each of Dartmouth’s four schools, and from great breadth of disciplinary and institutional perspective,” says Provost Carolyn Dever, who along with Dean of the Faculty Michael Mastanduno announced the appointments.
The fellows are:
- Randall Balmer, the Dartmouth Professor in the Arts & Sciences and chair, Department of Religion, who will serve as the Society’s inaugural director
- Kathryn Cottingham, professor of biological sciences
- Pamela Kyle Crossley, the Charles and Elfriede Collis Professor of History
- Peter Golder, professor of marketing, Tuck School of Business
- William Lotko, the Sue and John Ballard ’55, TT ’56 Professor of Engineering, Thayer School of Engineering
- George O’Toole, professor of microbiology and immunology, Geisel School of Medicine
- Donald Pease, the Ted and Helen Geisel Third Century Professor in the Humanities, and professor of English
Their appointments come a year after President Hanlon announced the creation of the Society of Fellows in his inaugural address. He said then that the group would be part of his investment in the future of the College, bringing “intellectual energy (and) the excitement of new ideas” to campus.
Hanlon said the young postdoctoral scholars will be “chosen from across the full range of academic disciplines, and allowed the time and mentorship to develop their research and gain diverse scholarly perspectives from our faculty. They will learn the art of teaching from the true masters on this campus, while bringing to Dartmouth their own unique passions and innovation.”
The founding of the Society represents an important watershed in Dartmouth’s history, says Adrian Randolph, the Leon E. Williams Professor of Art History and associate dean of the arts and humanities.
”The vibrancy of scholarship and teaching at a place like Dartmouth demands intellectual pluralism across all disciplines. The Society of Fellows will bring to campus successive waves of postdoctoral scholars, who will continually refresh our diverse intellectual ecology. I am excited to see what evolves,” Randolph says.
The selection process for the first group of postdoctoral fellows, who will arrive at Dartmouth in September 2015, is currently underway.
Balmer says the Society will play a central role in energizing intellectual life and scholarly productivity at the College.
“I’m honored that the president has chosen me to lead this initiative, and I look forward to working with the other faculty fellows during its formative stages,” he says
At Dartmouth, the postdoctoral fellows will pursue their own research while gaining mentored experience as teachers and members of the departments and programs they will join.
“Postdocs typically have a broader research perspective, beyond the narrow focus of most dissertations. The postdoctoral period is a time of adding scope, skills, and tools and most postdocs are hungry for breadth and new angles,” Cottingham says.
The program also benefits Dartmouth by complementing existing curricula with postdocs’ expertise in underrepresented fields.
“Successful postdoc experiences are always a two-way street,” says Lotko. “The host institution and the postdoc are both recognized for the accompanying scholarship. The postdoc and participating Dartmouth faculty usually continue to advance the line of inquiry even after the postdoc leaves, very probably continuing the Dartmouth collaboration.”
Lotko said departing fellows also leave a lasting mark on the College’s curriculum. “And wouldn’t it be great if Society postdocs look back on the experience as enabling in their professional and career development, with kudos for how Dartmouth did it?”
Additionally, Dartmouth undergraduates will benefit from the fellows’ presence, says Balmer.
“Members of the Society of Fellows will serve as role models. I would love to see more undergraduates become enamored of the life of the mind, and many of them might consider doctoral studies for themselves.”