Folt announces strategic website

by Marina Villeneuve and Sam Rauschenfels | 10/18/11 10:00pm

Correction appended

As part of the College's ongoing efforts to prepare for the "students of the future," a newly launched website will facilitate communication between the strategic planning committees and other members of the Dartmouth community, according to sociology professor Denise Anthony, the chair of the 18-member Faculty Strategic Planning Advisory Committee.

The website, which was originally intended to be launched in spring of 2011, was announced by Provost Carol Folt in a campus-wide email sent Tuesday afternoon. Changes to the website delayed its launch until this fall, Anthony said.

The website also publicized the creation of various strategic planning process focus groups, which have met multiple times already. The two overarching committees, the Faculty Strategic Planning Advisory Committee and the Senior Executive Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, oversee a number of specialized working groups. The two committees advise the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, which is chaired by Folt and reports to College President Jim Yong Kim, according to Anthony.

The Faculty Strategic Planning Advisory Committee has formed two working groups so far, and more groups will be announced throughout the year, according to Anthony. The Research, Scholarship and Creativity working group, chaired by DMS professor George O'Toole and government professor William Wohlforth, is "primarily focused on faculty research, scholarship and creativity and thinking about how that connects all the way down to the undergraduate level," Anthony said.

The other focus group Pedagogy, Teaching and Mentoring is chaired by biology professor David Bucci and Dartmouth Medical School professor Leslie Fall, and will consider ways to improve upon teaching methods at the College, according to Anthony.

Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Maria Laskaris and Vice Provost for Research Martin Wybourne co-chair the other advisory group, titled the Senior Executive Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, which is comprised of 28 faculty members and senior-level administrators, Laskaris said in an interview with The Dartmouth.

Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson, Native American studies professor Bruce Duthu and Laskaris co-chair the Students of the Future working group, which Laskaris said is tasked with thinking broadly about future incoming classes, including how students will be selected for admissions, where incoming students will come from and what selected students might be looking for in a classroom and campus environment.

The Students of the Future focus group will also ensure that the College continues to "build a diverse community" and will continuously assess the academic and personal development of its students, according to Laskaris.

Laskaris said her working group and others seek to ensure that students "have an opportunity to share thoughts and perspectives" about education at the College through the new website, which will also advertise meetings and events in which students can voice their opinions about the strategic planning process. The working groups have begun to meet with student leaders, and will host student forums to answer specific questions about the strategic planning process, Anthony said.

The website not only provides the Dartmouth community with updates on the planning process, but is also a place where community members can share their ideas on the "vision of the future of Dartmouth."

"I encourage you to explore the content of the strategic-planning website, to use the tools available to help articulate a vision for the future, and to accept our invitations to get involved in other ways," Folt wrote in the email.

Laskaris and Anthony said they did not have the exact figures relating to the cost of the website.

The site features photographs and videos of various Dartmouth students sharing their goals for Dartmouth's future. The site also features the opinions of some faculty members, such as chair of the African and African American studies department Antonio Tillis, who is also a member of the Faculty Strategic Planning Advisory Committee.

"I think the Dartmouth student of the future is going to be even more transnational and global than the Dartmouth student of today," Tillis said on the website.

Additional stories and videos for the website are currently under development. Community members are encouraged to voice their ideas for new topics and articulate the things they would like to see on the website, according to Folt's email.

Robert Hansen senior associate dean of the Tuck School of Business and a member of the Senior Executive Strategic Planning Advisory Committee said he "hopes to push on integration at all parts of the College" as the strategic planning process continues.

"On the research and teaching side I think we could do a lot more," said Hansen, who is also a participant in the working group on graduate education. "I also think the College has to continue to think about what we mean by excellence and how to achieve what we want."

The ongoing strategic planning process has led staff and faculty members to question the underlying assumptions about Dartmouth's place in the academic sphere, according to Anthony.

"It's exciting to think about where Dartmouth is going and could be going in the future," Anthony said. "Right now there's a larger conversation happening in the [United States] and around the world about the role of higher education."

The strategic planning process allows faculty members from DMS, Tuck, the Thayer School of Engineering and the Arts and Sciences to collaborate and share ideas, practices and their own thoughts concerning higher education, Anthony said. The strategic planning process is expected to conclude in December 2012 with approval from Kim and the Board of Trustees, according to the website.

**The original article incorrectly stated that DMS professor George O'Toole and government professor William Wohlforth are chairing the Pedagogy, Teaching and Mentoring working group, when in fact they are chairing the Research, Scholarship and Creativity group. Biology professor David Bucci and Dartmouth Medical School professor Leslie Fall are chairing the Pedgogy group.*