College announces 'Supercluster' faculty
The College has announced that Sociology professor Steven Cornish will serve as the Dean of the East Wheelock "Supercluster," and French and Italian Professor Marianne Hirsch and History Professor Leo Spitzer will serve as the faculty associates.
Cornish, Hirsch and Spitzer will begin their duties July 1.
The cluster will house the Dartmouth Experience program, which Dean of the College Lee Pelton called "an attempt to unite intellectual activities with socializing and to suggest that those two can be one and the same."
Hirsch and Spitzer will use a $25,000 programming budget to organize and oversee intellectually-oriented social events. They will have a reduced teaching load to accommodate their new responsibilities.
Hirsch and Spitzer, who are married, will live in the white house adjacent to the cluster at 13 East Wheelock Street.
The house, which is currently used to house College faculty and staff, is undergoing a $500,000 conversion to the faculty associate house. Construction is scheduled to end Sept. 10.
Pelton, who headed the search committee that chose Hirsch and Spitzer, was unavailable for comment. College President James Freedman praised the selections.
Hirsch and Spitzer "are both distinguished scholars, they both know Dartmouth very well and they're both very engaging people," Freedman said. "For the faculty associate positions, we could not have done better than Professor Hirsch and Professor Spitzer."
As a part-time cluster dean, Cornish will spend 20 hours per week as an advisor to students in the cluster.
Cornish said his responsibilities will be similar to those of a class dean.
Much of Cornish's attention will be focused on first-year students, since these students make up more than half the people living in the cluster.
Associate Dean of Residential Life Bud Beatty told The Dartmouth in a previous interview that of the 235 beds in East Wheelock, 100 were designated for upperclass students and 135 for first-year students.
Although Cornish will not reside in the Supercluster, he will have an office there.
The College has planned a reconfiguration of Brace Commons to include faculty offices and a snack bar.
Cornish, Hirsch and Spitzer said they were attracted to the East Wheelock cluster because the Dartmouth Experience program will bring more intellectualism to residence halls.
Spitzer said, "I think the idea of bringing the academic part of the College closer to the social realm is a good one."
According to Cornish, being the cluster dean will give him the chance to continue doing what he enjoys most: Interacting with students.
Spitzer said it is daunting to enter a program with no established precedents, but he said it would be fun "being part of the invention."
Cornish said he looks forward to shaping the cluster and affecting its future.
All three said they hope the East Wheelock cluster will serve as a model for the expansion of the Dartmouth Experience program to other areas of the campus.
Spitzer said even though fewer than 250 students will live in the East Wheelock cluster, its special events will be open to students, faculty and staff from across the Dartmouth community.