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Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Folt's appointment follows the recommendation of the Dean of Faculty Search Committee, chaired by Prof. Dorothy Wallace of the Department of Mathematics. Folt has served as dean of the faculty for the past two years, having served previously as dean of graduate studies.
"I look forward to working with Dean Folt in advancing the work of the faculty," Wright said. "Dartmouth is distinguished by faculty members who are not only at the forefront of their disciplines but are also passionate about their teaching. This balance is one of the elements that contributes most to the quality of the Dartmouth experience for our students. She has been a strong advocate for the faculty, for the students, and for Dartmouth."
"Never has there been a greater need, in the nation and the world, for the kinds of skills and perspectives that the very best liberal arts institution can provide," Folt said. "Dartmouth faculty and students are stronger than ever; the faculty we hire and the students we educate can, and must, have a profound impact on the course of history."
Provost Barry Scherr noted that Folt has demonstrated leadership in enriching the faculty as a priority under the current comprehensive fund-raising campaign. "She is fully committed to building the strength of the faculty in its work with undergraduate students and in its academic prominence. I look forward to working with her on exploring innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and scholarship."
Folt will oversee the humanities, the sciences, the social sciences, interdisciplinary programs, and graduate studies. These divisions comprise some 40 academic departments and programs with more than 400 faculty members. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences is one of the four faculties at Dartmouth, the others being in the Dartmouth Medical School, the Thayer School of Engineering, and the Tuck School of Business.
Folt said her top priorities will be to "recruit and retain the very best faculty, improve the learning environment, and provide vital support for faculty and students, with special attention to fostering innovative, interdisciplinary, and international ideas in research and education."
Well-known for her study of mercury and aquatic pollution in lakes, Folt has led a team of students and colleagues as the first scientists to adapt new stable isotope technologies to follow the pathway of minute levels of mercury through aquatic food webs, and to track movements of Atlantic salmon across vast waterways. Her research team works throughout New England and as far away as New Zealand and China. The team has received millions of dollars to support its scientific research and training of undergraduate and graduate students at Dartmouth.
Folt, professor of biological sciences, is also associate director of Dartmouth's Superfund Basic Research Program, entering its second decade as an interdisciplinary science effort bringing together faculty from Dartmouth Medical School and the arts and sciences. She has served on numerous grant review panels and editorial boards, and in elected positions in international scientific societies.
Awarded the J. Kenneth Huntington Memorial Prize for Teaching in 1991, Folt has advised more than 100 undergraduate and graduate students. She is also one of the original faculty members involved in Dartmouth's path-breaking Women-In-Science Project, established to encourage more Dartmouth women to persist in science, math, and engineering.
Her research group currently studies acute and chronic metal toxicity in aquatic organisms and their implications for human health. As part of an international genome project consortium the group is developing the first microarrays for use in determining low levels of toxic pollutants in lakes as an early warning system for environmental health.
Folt joined Dartmouth's biology department in 1983 following graduate research in environmental biology at the University of California, Davis, where she earned a doctorate, and a postdoctoral fellowship at W.K. Kellogg Biological Station of Michigan State University. Coauthor of a leading book on the development of scientific research proposals, she has taught courses in proposal writing, animal behavior, limnology, ecology, and evolution.
Other members of the search committee included Lisa Baldez, associate professor of government and Latin American, Latino and Caribbean studies; Katharine Conley, professor of French and Italian; Russell Hughes, professor of chemistry; Jeremy Rutter, professor of classical studies; and Craig Wilder, professor of history and African and African American studies.
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