When Tomas Jagelka ’11 of Bratislava, Slovakia, was a prospective student, he met with Professor of Economics Andrew Samwick and was impressed by the intelligence and friendliness of the Rockefeller Center director. Now as a Presidential Scholar working with Samwick on projects related to fiscal policy, the economics major and public policy and French minor says, “Professor Samwick has profoundly influenced my life at Dartmouth. He has become more than a teacher for me. He’s a mentor who has taught me how to ask questions and is helping prepare me to ‘leave the nest,’ so to speak.”
See what’s on the mind of Economics Professor Andrew Samwick at Capital Gains and Games.com, where he blogs about “Washington, Wall Street, and Everything in Between.” (Photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)
Since joining the faculty in 1994, Samwick’s impact on Dartmouth students has been no secret on campus. Now the word is getting out to the wider world. Samwick is recognized as New Hampshire Professor of the Year this month by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
To be selected for the award is an honor, Samwick says, but he would much rather talk about his students and colleagues in the economics department and at the Rockefeller Center, who make much of his work possible.
“You get the best wine when you gently stress the grapes,” Samwick says of his young charges. “Students do the best when they are challenged, when you insist on a little more depth, a little more rigor. It has been a fascinating opportunity to be teaching and doing research on financial markets over the past year.”
Samwick, who earned an AB from Harvard and a PhD from MIT, assumed leadership of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center in 2004, following a year in Washington as the chief economist on the staff of President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA).
“My experience at the CEA convinced me that I should come back to Dartmouth with a commitment to educating, training, and inspiring the next generation of public policy leaders,” says Samwick, who received Dartmouth’s Karen E. Wetterhahn Award for Distinguished Creative or Scholarly Achievement in 2000. “The Rockefeller Center is the perfect venue for that.”
The center provides an interdisciplinary perspective on policy-related topics. A hallmark of its programs is the integration of classroom learning with off-campus opportunities like the First-Year Fellows Program, which places student interns in policy positions with Dartmouth alumni in Washington, D.C. Samwick initiated the program in 2007. The Rockefeller Center’s public policy minor has also grown in popularity. According to Samwick, at least 32 students will graduate with a public policy minor in 2010.
A key component of the minor is the Policy Research Shop, which gives students the chance to apply their learning and contribute directly to the public policy debate in Vermont and New Hampshire. Students research examples of critical policy problems in the classroom, and then testify on their findings to legislative committees in Concord or Montpelier.
“The Policy Research Shop makes everything happening in New Hampshire and Vermont the classroom,” says Samwick. “Few learning experiences compare to having students present and defend their research in front of a sometimes skeptical audience of policy makers.”
BY LATARSHA GATLIN
Last Updated: 1/12/10