Trustees Look to Future, Discuss Strategy, Celebrate Faculty

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Board members met on campus for their annual fall meeting.

fall campus aerial
(Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

The Dartmouth Board of Trustees engaged in wide-ranging discussions concerning long-term planning across the institution and they honored faculty accomplishments and advanced capital projects in support of the College’s academic mission at their annual fall board meeting in Hanover.

“The beginning of this new academic year, in the midst of our 250th celebrations, prompts us to reflect on the importance of nurturing those things that make Dartmouth so special,” President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 told the trustees. “The year ahead must be a time of excellence in execution with continued progress on the many initiatives that support success of our faculty, staff, and students. For example, we must maintain progress on our academic cluster initiative, keep our many facilities projects on time and on budget, continue building the base of endowment support for financial aid, and maintain momentum on the initiatives underway to build a campus that is equitable, diverse, and inclusive.”

A pillar of President Hanlon’s vision for Dartmouth, the cluster initiative extends Dartmouth’s impact on the world through the creation of 10 interdisciplinary faculty teams that are collaborating at the leading edge of discovery. The five-year-old project is increasing the size of the faculty, ultimately adding 30 scholars across the institution. To date, more than a dozen faculty have been hired.

Hanlon emphasized the importance of improving the campus culture through the implementation and progress of the Campus Climate and Culture Initiative (C3I). In addition to the recent adoption of a unified sexual misconduct policy, Dartmouth is in the midst of  individual department climate reviews, will soon begin leadership training for faculty, is expanding mental health resources for students, and, in collaboration with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, is participating in a 40-university Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education.

Promoting Active Citizenship

Hanlon said Dartmouth is in a unique position as the level of political engagement increases on campus, in the state, and across the country with New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary taking place on Feb. 11, and the 2020 presidential election. Students have a once-every-four-years opportunity to experience New Hampshire’s retail politics as presidential candidates make frequent visits to the state—and to campus.

“The election provides an opportunity for the Dartmouth community to demonstrate the pillars of our democracy, including electoral participation, tolerance of opposing views, and respect for electoral outcomes,” said Hanlon.

Minding Its Business

Matthew Slaughter, the Paul Danos Dean of the Tuck School of Business, led a robust conversation with trustees about the rapidly evolving environment for business schools. There was much discussion of the major forces shaping the needs and aspirations of students and companies alike: the information-technology revolution, the gains from and backlash against globalization, and social impact beyond financial success.

Slaughter highlighted several of Tuck’s offerings aimed at meeting these aspirations: TuckGO, the portfolio of immersive courses that comprise the global learning requirement in the MBA program; the Tuck Business Bridge Program, which offers intense business training for undergraduates with non-business majors; and Next Step, a management certificate program inspired by the needs of military veterans and elite athletes. The conversation also explored new ways in which Tuck might partner with Dartmouth’s undergraduates and the institution’s other graduate schools.

Faculty Honored

Trustees attended a luncheon on Friday to pay tribute to 35 faculty members from across the institution who have recently received important recognition, including fellowships, achievement awards, grants, appointments, prizes, and book adaptations.

“Our students know that the faculty are a rare breed,” said Trustee Chair Laurel Richie ’81. “They are outstanding scholars, incredible teachers, committed mentors, and leaders in their fields. I am thrilled that their impressive accomplishments have been recognized in such a variety of ways, and that the trustees had the opportunity to celebrate their success and thank them for their commitment to Dartmouth.”

Construction and Planning Work Continue

Hanlon emphasized the importance of keeping major campus construction projects on time and on budget, including building the Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society, the Center for Engineering and Computer Science, and the indoor practice facility as well as the signification renovation of Dana Hall.

He said fundraising for The Call to Lead campaign remains strong because of generous support from parents and alumni, and has surpassed two-thirds of the $3 billion goal. Philanthropy is allowing Dartmouth to “double-down on academic excellence through accelerated investment in programs and buildings,” the president said. Global support for the campaign has grown year-to-year fundraising by 100 percent from pre-campaign levels.

This week’s London Global Summit continues the 250th anniversary celebrations, which will convene the Dartmouth community in major global centers. More than 500 alumni and parents from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa are expected to attend the London program. A Hong Kong summit is scheduled for December, with summit events in Toronto, and in Lima, Peru to be held in 2020.

Board members heard about the master planning process from Executive Vice President Rick Mills, who noted its focus on the regional ecosystem that includes the town of Hanover, other neighboring towns, and the Upper Valley at large, as well as the need to preserve the campus character in the face of continual change and future development. The planning process continues to engage students, faculty, staff, and area community members. Senior administrators expect to present a proposed master plan to trustees at the board’s spring meeting.

The trustees expressed support of the Dartmouth Green Energy Project, an initiative to replace the aging central steam-heating plant with a new source and distribution system, including a hot-water system that will mark a major step toward achieving the institution’s energy sustainability goals. The project, which is expected to improve heating efficiency by 20 percent, will replace existing steam pipes in more than 110 buildings on campus. The board will remain engaged as the administration team continues to analyze the project’s energy-generation source.

The board approved the allocation of $500,000 for a planning and feasibility study of renovations and potential expansion of the Hopkins Center for the Arts. The project—which recognizes the importance of the Hop and its artistic programming across the institution—would provide state-of-the-art performance and teaching spaces, improve and increase space and opportunities for rehearsal facilities, enhance accessibility, and address infrastructure and deferred maintenance.

They also approved spending $1.3 million on a schematic design of renovations to Dartmouth Hall. The work would  prioritize accessibility, energy efficiency, deferred maintenance, and improved space utilization as well as the integration of state-of-the-art technology in flexible, modern classroom spaces. The Hop and Dartmouth Hall projects will be funded through philanthropy.

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