Folt outlines goals at final faculty meeting

by Phil Salinger | 5/23/06 5:00am

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences assembled in the Hopkins Center Monday afternoon for their last meeting of the academic year, where they heard reports from Dean of the Faculty Carol Folt, Dean of Admissions Karl Furstenberg and a handful of faculty committee chairs.

In her address, Folt outlined her goals for the faculty and the College over the coming years in three main areas. She stressed that Dartmouth should strive to become "the preeminent liberal arts institution," foster more interaction between faculty and students and work toward developing more global perspectives and initiatives.

The dean released her agenda of five "I's" aimed at achieving her goals: interdisciplinary study, innovation and ideas in education and research, intimacy, international reach and inclusivity of culture.

In order to improve Dartmouth's function as a liberal arts institution, Folt advocated a shift toward more interdisciplinary study, saying that "seamless connections" between departments would allow the College to take better advantage of research and learning opportunities.

"Creativity and real world problems do not respect disciplinary boundaries," she said.

The dean also prioritized promoting individual learning and discovery at the College, saying that more intimate faculty-student interaction was important for this initiative.

Folt commended the College for awarding approximately 1,000 credits last year for independent work, but argued that Dartmouth was not meeting student demand in terms of close interaction with professors, citing that a single e-mail to the student body advertising Presidential Scholar Research Assistantship opportunities doubled the number of applicants.

To improve the College's international reach, Folt emphasized the need both to expand foreign study programs into areas of the world where Dartmouth offers few or none and to further opportunities in Hanover for students to continue work on what they had studied abroad.

Folt also touched on attempts to enlarge the size of the faculty and to make the faculty more diverse.

"When we mean diversity, we mean it many ways. It includes ethnicity, gender, religion, but it also includes the expansion into areas or perspectives and ideas that have not been covered traditionally by the curriculum," she said.

The dean finished to applause and no members of the audience offered any questions or comments when the floor was opened.

Later in the program, Chair of the Committee on the Faculty professor Jane Lipson spoke about the College's successes in faculty compensation, both in terms of overall increases and gender equality. Lipson praised Dartmouth for surpassing the median for faculty compensation of full and associate professors in its peer group and discussed a study showing that apparent gender discrepancies in faculty compensation were actually due to other factors.

Furstenberg then discussed the incoming undergraduate Class of 2010 and the challenges facing the admissions office today, including standardized test scoring blunders and uncooperative high schools.

The faculty was scheduled to vote on minor changes to the Technology or Applied Science distributive requirement, but that item was withdrawn due to difficulty agreeing on new language for the requirement.

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