Teaching and Scholarship

Dartmouth faculty are passionate about their teaching and their responsibility for their students' education. This is not an obligation that either the faculty or the administration takes lightly. In my inaugural address, I suggested that Dartmouth was a university in all but name, with three well-established, world-class professional schools and with a small but energetic graduate program. And so it is. It is also a place with a deep and abiding commitment to teaching and learning and a resolute focus on our special strength as an undergraduate institution.

Photo of student painting

What happens in the classroom, the science lab, or art studio, be it at the College or one of the professional schools, is at the core of what Dartmouth does. The close relationship between students and faculty, the opportunities for students to work alongside some of the best faculty in the world, the chance to experiment with new ideas, to push the boundaries, to make mistakes - these have always been part of a Dartmouth education.

The recent gift to endow the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning will allow us to provide more support for faculty. Good teaching does not just happen. The Center will assist faculty in identifying and implementing new pedagogies and teaching technologies. Provost Barry Scherr has begun the process of appointing a director for the Center, which will be located in the Baker Library.

Photo of George Langford and student

Dartmouth faculty have a long history of excellent scholarship. Research and teaching are not mutually exclusive - being good at one does not mean being bad at the other. Indeed, the best teachers are those faculty who are closely engaged in the creation of new knowledge and who are grappling with the issues that define their fields. Our faculty - like professionals in other fields - need to stay current with the latest developments in their discipline. The fields of life sciences, cognitive science, English, history, physics, classics, and computing, to name just a few, have changed dramatically in the past thirty years, and the curriculum has needed to evolve. The perceived tension between research and teaching reminds us of the need to balance these two aspects of our mission - the education of our students and the creation of new knowledge. And it keeps at the forefront our desire to hire and retain faculty who share a commitment to this balance. Dartmouth is indeed a university in all but name. But we not only proudly bear the name "College," we have the soul of a college where students are taught by full-time faculty and where close bonds form quickly and easily. Dartmouth is one of the preeminent institutions of higher education in the world today because of our commitment to teaching and learning. This is a commitment that has marked the past and will mark the future.

Photo of researchers in lab

Indications of the continuing quality of the Dartmouth teaching and learning environment abound. Faculty across the institution contribute new insights to our understanding of the world and the issues we face. From genomics to philosophy, and from the languages to engineering and business education, Dartmouth faculty work to create new knowledge and new ways of learning and have added courses to address new areas of inquiry and to take advantage of interdisciplinary opportunities. We have also added new degree programs in genetics and public health at the Medical School. In July 1999, Dartmouth opened the Fannie and Alan Leslie Center for the Humanities to foster scholarship in the humanities. Faculty conferences have included the "Race Matters in the University of the 21st Century" and "Unleashed" (a conference on wireless technology). The conferences sponsored by the various centers and schools around the campus abound and attest to the intellectual vitality of the academic life of the College.

Over the past five years, six Dartmouth faculty received Guggenheim fellowships and ten received National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships. These numbers are the most we have ever had over a comparable time period. In addition, Dartmouth faculty won awards and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Humanities Center, Pew Charitable Trust, Russell Sage Foundation, the Bunting Institute, the Japan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Institute, and the Bogliasco Foundation among others, as well as the from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Sponsored research supported largely by federal grants and contracts grew from $79 million in 1998 to $157 million in 2002. The Medical School alone saw a growth between 2001 and 2002 of 38 percent. Thayer School of Engineering does particularly well, with a 2002 per faculty average of about $350,000. The Tuck School has not traditionally hosted much sponsored research because of a lack of federal funding in this area. But under Paul Danos' leadership, this year Tuck faculty brought in $500,000 in federal support.

Sponsored research in the Arts and Sciences increased from $10.7 million in 1998 to $17.6 million in 2002. Some departments have had notable success including the departments of Computer Sciences, Biological Sciences, and Psychological and Brain Sciences. For example, the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences has seen an increase in sponsored research from $874,000 in 1998 to $2.54 million in 2001 and $4.6 million in 2002, and is now the highest recipient of research dollars in the Arts and Sciences. The completion of Moore Hall and the inclusion of a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, the first in an academic department in the country, has paid enormous dividends for faculty, for students, and the College.

Posted 8 December 2003
Photos by Joseph Mehling '69
Copyright © 2003 Trustees of Dartmouth College