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The Dartmouth
April 21, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

BREAKING: $150 million will go towards ten academic clusters

Dartmouth has achieved its goal of securing $100 million in philanthropy to establish ten new interdisciplinary groups of faculty members, called “academic clusters,” by the end of 2015. The clusters will focus on crucial world challenges such as global health, poverty and cybersecurity. The endowment was secured in 20 months time, due to three final gifts given in December.

The College will match $5 million per cluster with will be taken from the $100 million gift given to Dartmouth in 2015 to support research, programming, travel and related activities. The full $150 million investment will expand interdisciplinary research, create new courses, offer experiential learning opportunities and aim to improve the lives of people around the world.

The 10 clusters are titled: “Breaking the Neural Code,” “The Jack Byrne Academic Cluster in Mathematics and Decision Science,” “The Challenges and Opportunities of Globalization,” “Meeting the New Challenges of Cybersecurity,” “Digital Humanities and Social Engagement,” “Global Poverty Alleviation and Human Development,” “Artic Engineering in a Period of Climate Change,” “The Susan J. and Richard M. Levy 1960 Academic Cluster in Health Care Delivery,” “The William H. Neukom Academic Cluster in Computational Science” and “Personalized Treatments for Cystic Fibrosis.”

The $100 million in gifts, which included 14 multi-million alumni donations will endow three faculty positions in each cluster, or 30 new positions total, with the hope of attracting faculty at the forefront of their fields.

More than 50 faculty members wrote or contributed to initial cluster proposals, and dozens of professors then collaborated with the Office of the Provost and the advancement division to complete donor proposals, Provost Carolyn Dever said.

Each proposal was specifically asked to address diversity in the second round, Dever added.

Dever said that faculty diversity will be kept in mind as the hiring process for the 30 cluster faculty members continues. She called the new clusters a “game changer” when recruiting new faculty.

“Smart people want to be with smart people,” Dever said.

In addition to involving new and current faculty, the clusters will also engage undergraduates, students in graduate programs and professional students at the Tuck School of Business, Thayer School of Engineering and the Geisel School of Medicine.

Dever said that while other universities have instituted academic faculty cluster initiatives, the College’s initiative is unique in that it incorporates teaching and curricular components, going beyond a research grouping. Each cluster will also have its own program funds.

“It’s really important to have program funds and enrich the community as a whole,” Dever said.

The interdisciplinary nature and different focus areas of the clusters will “map the institution very differently,” Dever said.

“The faculty sit within disciplines, but connect with each other on the common question through very different perspectives,” she said.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is available.