1. Faculty that conduct research tend to have a command of current
developments in their field and are therefore able to continually
integrate new knowledge into their courses.
2. Science is a process of acquiring understanding -- not a list
of facts about nature. Therefore, a quality education must cultivate
an understanding of the process by which scientific understanding
matures (e.g., how interesting questions are asked and answered
and how new knowledge is integrated with existing knowledge). Indeed,
many disciplines are growing so quickly that the factual details
we can teach today are less important for the success of our students
tomorrow than an understanding of the process of science. Faculty
who are themselves actively engaged in scientific inquiry are well
qualified to teach this process.
3. Students have the opportunity to gain valuable experience by
working as research assistants. This permits students to make informed
decisions about career tracks that involve research, is increasingly
critical for gaining admission to top tier graduate programs, is
of benefit for students who will be applying to medical school and
generally strengthens the professional credentials of our students
regardless of their eventual careers.
4. Students tend to have increased success in developing an honor's
thesis when they can work within the intellectual and logistical
infrastructure that is provided by active faculty research programs.
The experience of conducting independent research is consistently
cited by our students as a highlight of their undergraduate experience
at Dartmouth and a foundation for their continued professional development.
"The Dartmouth Journal of Undergraduate Science" (recently recognized
in the premiere international journal, Nature) is one manifestation
of the quantity and quality of research conducted by our undergraduates.
Further evidence lies in the remarkable number of undergraduate
research projects that are presented at professional meetings and
published in refereed journals.
Faculty research has been contributing to Dartmouth education for
many decades (more than 50 years in Biology). Vigorous faculty research
is among the reasons for Dartmouth's history of success in undergraduate
education, and is more important today than ever because of the
accelerating growth of knowledge and the increasing relevance of
that knowledge to society. There are several arguments for why an
institute of higher education should be involved in research, but
it is logical that the College should actively cultivate excellence
in research simply based on its benefits for undergraduate education.