Committee on Off Campus Activities (COCA)
Dartmouth runs over 40 programs in various parts of the world, in languages and in the disciplines, all directed by Dartmouth faculty. This committee reviews ongoing programs and proposals for new ones. Students frequently find that their experiences on these programs have more impact on them than classes on campus. Faculty on the committee generally have experience in one of the programs (e.g. I direct the Biology program in Central America and the Caribbean). The committee is a vehicle for sharing experiences, logistics and ideas among programs, as well as doing formal evaluations. I have served on this committee for many years, including two terms as chair. The COCA has a positive and collegial culture, and I have found it one of the most rewarding service duties as a professor.
Institute of Writing and Rhetoric (IWR)
The IWR’s mission is to enhance students writing, speaking and critical thinking skills. The IWR runs a writing and speaking curriculum and initiates various projects across campus to further its mission. I serve on the steering committee and on the subcommittee on writing across the disciplines. I represent scientific writing on this committee, but I am also very interested in writing about science and technology for non-specialists. Our science students need to be able to write and speak effectively for policy makers and other leaders in the private and public sectors. The IWR provides a forum and a stimulus for sharing approaches to writing and speaking across disciplines that rarely communicate with one another. This is another committee with a positive culture that maintains the interest and commitment of the faculty and staff who serve on it.
Sustainability Curriculum Development
I have worked closely with several faculty to design Dartmouth’s new sustainability curriculum and serve on the Curriculum Working Group for the new cross-disciplinary curriculum that will go into effect in 2010-2011. We plan to be a “learning organization” and expect the curriculum and classes to evolve and become richer over time.
Jesup Herbarium in the Biology Department
The Jesup Herbarium has a large collection from New Hampshire and Vermont, and is recognized as one of the outstanding regional herbarium resources in the USA, for research and plant identification. Bob Downs, the curator for many years, has recently retired, and Lisa Palmer, who manages the Biology greenhouse, has stepped in to take care of the collection, with help from Craig Layne, lab instructor for ecology and evolution classes. The collection contains over 10,000 specimens, many of them beautiful to the eye, and some with extraordinary historical value (e.g. specimens collected by Henry Thoreau). I have served for many years as the chair (and only member!) of the herbarium committee.
Moosilauke Advisory Committee (MAC)
The MAC plans and maintains facilities at Dartmouth-owned Mt. Moosilauke, and manages and conserves the mountain landscapes, including trails. The Appalachian Trail runs through the Dartmouth land, and there are many others. I serve as the research and education (faculty) representative on the committee. We meet either on campus or at the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge. The committee, chaired by Dan Nelson, director of outdoor programs, includes many extraordinarily committed alumni.
Management of Dartmouth-owned natural areas in the Upper Valley
I serve on a committee to establish a management plan for the Landmark Tract, a large natural area near the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. The Landmark Tract has a complex topography that creates an exceptional landscape rich in wildlife habitat for bear, moose, fishers and a variety of other birds and mammals. There are some exceptional wetlands.