Board votes to approve curriculum changes

by Mark Herman | 11/17/03 6:00am

During its quarterly meeting, held last Thursday through Saturday, the College's Board of Trustees voted to approve curriculum changes and to move ahead with the construction of new facilities.

The Board approved the faculty's proposed curriculum changes with "no independent alteration," College President James Wright said.

The changes include the transformation of the world culture requirement into a cultural identity requirement. The philosophy, history and religion distributive requirement will become the thought, morality and values requirement, and the interdisciplinary requirement will be eliminated, according to the Board's chair, Susan Dentzer '77.

The Board made its decisions after hearing from Associate Dean of the Faculty Lenore Grenoble and classics and linguistics professor Lindsay Whaley, a representative from the Committee on Instruction. According to Wright, the Board wanted to "understand the faculty's thinking" on the issue.

Wright, a leading proponent of the interdisciplinary requirement when it was adopted 12 years ago, said he did not take part in the Board's debate because of his known position.

"I value immensely the interdisciplinary experience that Dartmouth offers," Wright said, despite acknowledging that the elimination of the requirement "did make sense" due to the stress it placed on faculty and the insufficient offering of interdisciplinary courses to students.

The Board also approved the construction of a new residence hall, to be built on Tuck Mall and to house approximately 140 students. This new dormitory, along with construction projects north of Maynard Street, will add 500 new beds. Construction could conceivably begin on the project as early as next fall, Dentzer said.

The board also approved plans for the construction of the Engineering Sciences Center.

During the meeting the Board was also updated on the College budget. "We are pretty much right on track ... even a little bit ahead," Dentzer said of the fiscal year 2004 budget. There was not much discussion on the fiscal year 2005 budget, which will reportedly be addressed at the Board's next meeting.

Additionally, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Karl Furstenberg and Director of Financial Aid Virginia Hazen briefed the Board on the status of Dartmouth's financial aid program. In examining how student needs are being met, the Board addressed changes to financial aid needs over time and the budget provided for them.

"The Board takes very seriously Dartmouth's commitment to need-blind admission," Dentzer said.

The trustees will meet again in March, when they will set the tuition, room and board rates for the upcoming academic year. At that point, they will also take a preliminary look at the fiscal year 2005 budget.

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