At their Nov. 9-11 meetings, Dartmouth trustees and the senior leadership team advanced strategic initiatives, including the Dartmouth Dialogue Project, student residential housing, and energy initiatives.
In addition, board members commended Jewish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies faculty for their leadership, teaching, and longstanding cooperation as they have promoted public dialogue and understanding of complex issues since the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel and ensuing war in Gaza.
Dartmouth has been recognized nationally as a campus where the close professional ties between the programs has led to respectful and informative public dialogue, rather than the anger, fear, and rancor that is reverberating across many university campuses.
President Sian Leah Beilock emphasized to trustees that Dartmouth’s response to the Middle East crisis exemplifies the type of collaboration that makes Dartmouth the ideal setting for the Dialogue Project, which is expected to launch in January.
“Through this initiative, we will provide a national model for higher education by teaching and supporting constructive and respectful dialogue,” she said.
The first year of the Dartmouth Dialogue Project will include partnership with the nonprofit StoryCorps’ One Small Step initiative, and will build on resources across the institution to provide students, faculty, and staff with training in the development of collaborative dialogue skills.
It will support student groups, departments, and centers that convene programs across differing viewpoints, such as the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding’s Dissent & Democracy initiative and the Path to the Presidency series at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences.
Trustees heard updates on a five-year plan being developed to expand student housing, including on West Wheelock Street. Beilock has pledged to add at least 1,000 new beds for undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff within the next 10 years. The West Wheelock project is expected to add 250 to 300 beds for undergraduates in apartment-style units at Dartmouth-owned property at 25 West Wheelock St. The board approved a feasibility study of the project earlier this year. Construction on West Wheelock Street, which needs town approvals, could begin in 2024.
Board members also discussed Dartmouth’s plan to reduce and eventually eliminate carbon dioxide emissions on campus as Dartmouth transitions to more sustainable energy systems to heat and cool campus buildings. Plans to be announced early next year will include ambitious emissions targets for 2030 and 2050 and investment in new systems on campus and in the New England electric grid.