Trustees discuss campus expansion

by Tara Kyle | 11/12/01 6:00am

Over a packed schedule of three days in Hanover, Dartmouth's Board of Trustees addressed additional campus construction projects, the creation of a new graduate degree program, and engaged in informational sessions with College professors.

The trustees voted in favor of a further expansion of the northern campus area this weekend, in the form of a building set to serve as home to the John Dickey Center for International Understanding, the Leslie Humanities Center, and the Institute for the Study of Applied and Professional Ethics.

The three interdisciplinary institutes were previously scattered across campus; their new setting will neighbor Berry Library.

The new building will include a joint faculty-student lounge, a computer laboratory, a digitized exhibition hall, classrooms, offices and conference rooms.

"Bringing the work of these three prominent centers together in one facility will foster even closer collaboration and spark new areas of inquiry," President James Wright said.

On Friday, four faculty members gave the trustees individual presentations about their respective research and teaching experiences, and the value of interactions between the two concentrations. The professors then engaged in a group discussion with the board.

"I think the trustees feel strongly that Dartmouth fills a unique niche in the Ivy League," English professor Barbara Will said, explaining that one of the purposes of this session was to provide the trustees with "ammunition" to better market the College's attributes. The meeting was Will's first opportunity to interact with the trustees.

Chair of the Board of Trustees Susan Dentzer expressed enthusiasm regarding the sessions.

"We had four superb presentations that were very interesting, provocative and gratifying for the board members to hear," she said.

Both Dentzer and Will stressed the reinforcing power of the Dartmouth's emphasis on both scholastic pursuits and teaching; Dentzer pointed out that many of the presenting professors said their own education experiences at prestigious universities fell short of the opportunities available to Dartmouth undergraduates.

The trustees also agreed to plans for a new masters program in public health. Degree candidates will study under faculty culled from the Dartmouth Medical School, Tuck School of Business and several College departments such as economics and environmental studies.

One function of the new degree may be to serve as a companion to the Masters of Science, according to Dentzer. The Masters of Public Health is also a popular degree for persons in the middle of their careers who want to further their education.

The effect on the endowment of recent stock market troubles will fall more on the future base for returns than on the Board's current projects.

"We're looking at a different long-term financial forecast ... We're trying to grapple with what the long-term impact will be," Dentzer said.

In other developments, the board agreed to provide Dartmouth faculty support to Maine's Augusta Mental Health Institute and received updates on the Maynard Street residential center. The trustees will not formalize plans for the 500-student residence hall until February at the earliest.