During two days of sessions at their annual spring meeting, held virtually on March 4-5, members of the Dartmouth Board of Trustees focused on how to advance priorities they set for the academic year—creating a more welcoming and inclusive community, positioning Dartmouth for continued success in a rapidly changing higher education landscape, and strengthening the trustees’ connection to the graduate and professional schools.
The trustees decided a number of financial matters, including approving next year’s tuition for Dartmouth’s schools, the amount of financial aid to be awarded to undergraduates, and the operating and capital budgets.
The board members also met with student leaders from across Dartmouth; heard a presentation from Provost Joseph Helble on the management of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases on campus; and talked with Peter Roby ’79, who began work last month as interim athletic director and will serve through June 2022.
Embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Across the Institution
Embracing diversity and inclusion at Dartmouth was the topic of one of the board’s sessions, but the subject permeated all of the discussion during the two-day meeting, said trustee Chair Laurel Richie ’81.
“Espousing these values—as well as making them a part of all that we do—has infused our thinking and our actions in a positive and productive way,” said President Philip J. Hanlon ’77.
Board members met Shontay Delalue, the incoming senior vice president/senior diversity officer and talked with her and others about efforts underway to strengthen Dartmouth by making it more welcoming and inclusive. They heard from Matthew Delmont, a history professor who this past July was appointed special advisor for faculty diversity to President Hanlon, and Dean Lacy, a professor of government and associate provost for faculty recruitment.
Delalue explained her role as having two primary functions: developing and implementing strategy to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) across Dartmouth and ensuring compliance. Upon her arrival on July 1, she plans to assess the initiatives that have recently been put under the purview of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity (IDE) and then make recommendations about how best to move Dartmouth forward in this critically important area.
“In order to achieve excellence in any field—especially in academia—you must be diverse. It cannot just be an aspiration, there must be accountability,” she said. “I plan to be an active, visible member of the Dartmouth community. I am looking forward to visiting people across campus in the spaces where they study and work to hear what the community would like to see Dartmouth do to become a more inclusive and diverse community.”
Lacy, who leads the provost’s office effort to recruit the next generation of teacher-scholars, said part of the work is creating an environment in which a diverse faculty can thrive. He said Dartmouth has improved search practices in recent years through better outreach, training, and assessment. Lacy said that there has been a positive trajectory across the board in hiring, with roughly a third of the faculty, fellows, and postdocs hired in 2020 identifying as Black, Latinx, Native American, or Pacific Islander. Despite the recruitment success, he said Dartmouth continues to be challenged in retaining diverse faculty. An analysis of retention issues and opportunities will be discussed at the June board meeting.
Delmont shared insights gleaned during his eight months as senior advisor to Hanlon and his progress on developing a complement of strategic initiatives to advance faculty diversity and racial equity at Dartmouth. These efforts will be refined this coming spring through consultations with academic and alumni leaders of Dartmouth’s diverse community. Hanlon will seek support for these initiatives through the Call to Lead campaign.
“Dartmouth really does have its future in its hands. We can be a very different institution in 2030 if we are bold enough to choose this for our future,” said Delmont. “We need to invest in training leaders across the institution and motivate and incentivize people to champion the work.”
Dartmouth’s Schools Plan for Their Future
The trustees heard deans from each of Dartmouth’s schools discuss their top priorities.
Jon Kull ’88, dean of the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, said he is striving to create a graduate program that could exist only at Dartmouth. In addition to excellence in scholarship, Kull wants to instill in Guarini graduates the skills needed to become leaders, communicators, and entrepreneurs. He said the school plans to measure graduate outcomes more closely through an alumni survey that will take place every two years. Guarini also expects to improve its financial well-being, not just through philanthropy, but also through efforts to attract additional grant funding.
The Geisel School of Medicine is in the process of seeking reaccreditation, said Dean Duane Compton. The school is creating a strategic plan that will include establishing priorities, mechanisms for successfully funding them and measuring success. Geisel is also exploring whether to increase its degree programs as it considers what health profession degrees may be needed in the future.
As it looks forward to the fall 2021 opening of its new home in the Center for Engineering and Computer Science, currently under construction, Thayer School of Engineering is in the midst of strategic planning, said Dean Alexis Abramson. The planning includes ensuring excellence in undergraduate engineering, growing research and graduate education, elevating the school’s entrepreneurship programs, and taking actions to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Thayer is working on an initiative called Design Initiative at Dartmouth, or DIAD, which will focus on curricular, co-curricular, and scholarship-related activities that elevate engineering design and human-centered design. In addition, Abramson said the school is hiring faculty who have a strong commitment to the teacher-scholar model and will work in strategic research areas.
Tuck School of Business Dean Matt Slaughter said the school is assessing new ways it can deliver its personal, connected, and transformative MBA experience in the post-pandemic world; considering possible paths forward for profitable growth; and enhancing its financial resilience through zero-based budgeting.
The Arts and Sciences undergraduate College is working on recruitment and retention of faculty and the strategic allocation of resources to align with high priorities and the division’s mission, said Dean of the Faculty Elizabeth Smith. In her remarks, Smith noted the recent hiring of two Black faculty members specializing in race and social justice.
Another priority is instilling the value of civil discourse, Smith said. “Many fear that as a society we have lost our humanity in how we approach difference. As an institution of higher education, our responsibility is to be intentional and deliberate about providing our students with curricular and co-curricular experiences that provide opportunities for them to develop as leaders in respectful discussion, deliberation, and debate to solve some of our greatest challenges.”
“The board is always inspired and energized by hearing the deans discuss their plans for Dartmouth,” said Richie. “Each dean has a distinct and exciting vision for the future of their school built on the shared foundation of Dartmouth’s scale, tightly knit community, and culture.”
As the trustees work on an additional priority—Dartmouth’s place in the future higher education landscape—they have asked senior leaders to bring them proposals to strengthen Dartmouth’s competitive position and bolster the institution’s financial future.
They are interested in proposals from across the Arts and Sciences and from the graduate and professional schools and want to consider ideas and innovations that can be achieved using existing capabilities as well as more aspirational proposals that would require increases in scale.
Budgets, Tuition, and Financial Aid
The board members approved an operating budget of $1.2 billion for the 2022 fiscal year, which begins on July 1, and approved a recommendation from the administration to increase financial aid to undergraduates next year by more than 13% over the current year to enable Dartmouth to continue to meet full demonstrated need for all undergraduate students.
They also set next year’s tuition at Dartmouth’s schools. The total undergraduate tuition, fees, and room and board will be $78,010, up 2% over the current year. Tuition for Tuck, at $77,520, and Geisel, at $67,532, will stay the same as this year. Thayer’s tuition will be $58,953, an increase of 2%.
“Our unwavering commitment to financial aid has never been more urgent and important than during this extraordinary year,” said Richie. “Our mission is grounded in the premise that talent, drive, and promise are distributed equally among us. Our commitment to need-blind admission is stronger than ever.”
The capital budget of $38 million, which includes funding from a variety of sources, was also approved. Capital spending pays for construction, renovations, and other large-ticket items and this year includes $4.9 million for schematic design of renovations to the Hopkins Center for the Arts; $2 million in renovations at the Center for Comparative Medicine Research on the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center campus in Lebanon, N.H.; and $1.1 million for Information Technology and Consulting projects to upgrade critical infrastructure needs.