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Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs Press Release
Honoring its historic commitment to providing outstanding teaching, Dartmouth College has announced plans to create the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning.
Located in Baker-Berry Library, the center will coordinate programs and fellowships enabling faculty to develop new pedagogies, especially in digital technology and new media. It will also orient new faculty to Dartmouth's teaching environment, which encourages close teacher-student relationships and a hands-on, discovery-based approach to exchanging knowledge.
Principal funding for the center will come from two alumni gifts totaling $4.5 million. Gordon W. Russell, Class of 1955, has pledged $3 million to establish the Gordon W. Russell Endowment for the Advancement of Learning. R. Stephen Cheheyl, Class of 1967, has given $1.5 million to support the work of the center's director, who will be named the Cheheyl Professor.
"Dartmouth's faculty are recognized scholars as well as passionate teachers," said President James Wright. "Gordie Russell's and Steve Cheheyl's generous gifts will further Dartmouth's academic reputation by advancing the latest strategies for engaging students in learning."
Russell, a resident of Portola Valley, Calif., is a former general partner of Sequoia Capital, a venture capital firm. He is a trustee of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Woods Hole Research Center, and the Ravenswood Family Health Center in East Palo Alto, Calif. He is also a Founder of the Sun Valley Writers Conference. A member of the President's Leadership Council at Dartmouth, he is the former chairman of the Board of Overseers of Dartmouth Medical School and the C. Everett Koop Institute. His philanthropy to the College includes endowments to the Native American Program, a medical school professorship, and a fund for excellence in athletics.
Cheheyl, who lives in Concord, Mass, is a private investor and consultant specializing in information technology, mergers and acquisitions, financing, and corporate strategy. He retired in 1995 as executive vice president of business operations at Bay Networks, a $2 billion data networking company. He is on the boards of directors of several private and publicly held technology companies and is a member of Dartmouth's Computing Advisory Group, which advises the College on strategic information technology issues. In 2001 he established the Robert S. Cheheyl '38 and R. Stephen Cheheyl '67. Endowment to encourage Dartmouth faculty to incorporate innovative technologies in the teaching and learning environment. Since that time, the endowment has funded the work of nine Cheheyl Fellows in disciplines ranging from government to astronomy to art history. Cheheyl has previously provided substantial funding to build the College's wired data network infrastructure.
"Teaching methods are constantly evolving, yet the principles of good teaching are constant," said Provost Barry Scherr. "The center will work with faculty on matters common to all teachers, and will provide opportunities to examine such issues as the effectiveness of technology in the classroom, learning evaluation, and interdisciplinary education."
Led by a director chosen from the Dartmouth faculty for a three-year term, the Center for the Advancement of Learning will serve faculty, students, and administrators. The first director, appointed last December, will be Thomas H. Luxon, Ph.D., an associate professor of English with a particular interest in the uses of technology in the humanities. Luxon, who was a Cheheyl Fellow in 2001, will become the inaugural Cheheyl Professor effective July 1. "We are part of a national trend to consolidate faculty support in teaching and learning with advanced technology," Luxon said. "Dartmouth, with its rich history in teaching, information technology, and scholarship, has a leadership role to play here. The center will provide the way."
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