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Academic Vision

In fall 2013, President Hanlon shared an academic vision for Dartmouth where the institution's impact on the world is extended through interdisciplinary faculty teams who collaborate at the leading edge of discovery and where students are given uncommon access to new ideas around the globe through course work and research opportunities.

He outlined five tactics to advance Dartmouth's strategy to enhance its expertise in teaching while simultaneously enhancing faculty scholarship and increasing our global footprint:

Below you'll find updates on new initiatives and investments in support of President Hanlon's vision that will position Dartmouth as a major contributor to the understanding of emerging global issues, and advancing solutions to tomorrow's most vexing challenges.

Emphasize Experiential Learning

Experiential, or action-based learning, offers students the chance to develop the skills they need to operate effectively through active, rather than passive, learning.

Dartmouth already offers hundreds such learning opportunities for students and will offer even more in the years to come.

President Hanlon has identified the following criteria for experiential learning:

  • It is intentional; there is a real-world problem or challenge.
  • It incorporates the student's academic work and preparation into their ability to find a solution.
  • There is a real prospect of failure and some measure of accountability.
  • There is an opportunity for students to reflect, assess and learn from the experience.

Thayer School Expansion

A site of research impact, innovative experiential learning and interest in learning technologies President Hanlon and the Board of Trustees have indicated support for the expansion of The Thayer School of Engineering.

  • The expansion will enable Thayer to provide more students with hands-on, project-based engineering education and integrate engineering and the liberal arts in new courses and experiences.
  • The College will build on the engineering school's innovative, experiential learning and explore opportunities to integrate engineering into the liberal arts.
  • Read a story on the expansion on The Dartmouth.

Innovation and New Venture Incubator Center

  • At his inauguration President Hanlon announced that an innovation and new venture incubator would launch in spring 2014.
  • The center will offer students access to resources, including seed funding and mentorship, which will allow them to pursue business ventures and social entrepreneurial initiatives.
  • Guidance and oversight will be provided by the Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer (OETT) led by Tillman Gerngross, associate provost for entrepreneurship and technology transfer and professor of bioengineering and Trip Davis '90, executive director of OETT.
  • Read more here.

Lead in the Use of Learning Technologies

Director of Digital Learning Initiatives

  • In 2013, Joshua Kim was appointed Director of Digital Learning Initiatives at the Dartmouth Center for Advancement of Learning.
  • This new position is a central point for the development of new digital learning programs at Dartmouth and will collaborate with Academic Computing, schools, departments, and directly with faculty to apply technology in meeting teaching objectives.
  • More information on Kim's appointment.


  • In the 2013-2014 academic year Dartmouth transitioned its students from Blackboard to Canvas, a new online learning management system.
  • Canvas offers a more positive user experience allowing students and faculty to communicate and collaborate seamlessly.
  • Learn more about Canvas.


  • In January 2014, Dartmouth joined edX, the nonprofit online learning platform founded by Harvard University and MIT.
  • In addition to bringing Dartmouth faculty to the world, joining edX will give faculty the chance to experiment with new ways of teaching and gain insights into student learning to improve outcomes.
  • More details are at Dartmouth Now.

Expanding the Impact of the Faculty through Clusters

  • Dartmouth will expand its faculty by establishing cohorts of scholars focused on new intellectual themes or questions that cut across disciplines, departments, and schools.
  • The first call for faculty proposals for new clusters closed in March 2014 and 29 proposals from over 100 faculty will be reviewed by the Provost, Deans, and President.
  • It is expected that the first three clusters will be announced before the end of the 2013- 2014 academic year and up to ten clusters will be supported through the initiative.
  • In April 2014, Dartmouth announced an anonymous $100 million gift, the largest single outright donation in the College's 244-year history. Half of the gift will seed the recruitment and retention of faculty clusters, through a matching program that will attract another $100 million toward this important strategy.
  • In April 2014, William H. Neukom committed $10 million towards the creation of an academic cluster in Computational Science.

Increase the Flow of Young Scholars

Society of Fellows

  • In September 2013 President Hanlon announced the creation of the Society of Fellows. The Society will bring dozens of academics who have completed their doctoral degrees to Dartmouth to serve as postdoctoral and visiting fellows. More than $30 million will be invested in the program.
  • The postdoctoral and visiting fellows will bring new energy and ideas to campus while benefitting from time and mentorship to develop their research and learn the art of teaching from Dartmouth's faculty.
  • Each fellow will be paired with a distinguished Dartmouth faculty chosen from a broad array of disciplines across Arts and Sciences as well as the professional schools.
  • The first group of faculty fellows will be selected in 2014 and the first cohort of postdoctoral and visiting fellows will join the Society in Fall 2015.

Add Mechanisms to Stimulate Greater Productivity and Risk-Taking

Seed Funding Programs

  • Beginning in 2014, the Office of the Provost announced 2 new seed funding programs to initiate and inspire new scholarship, research, and creativity.
  • Pilot Funds encourage new directions of inquiry intended to support the first steps in exploratory and high-impact projects.
  • Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration Funds are larger awards available to support new initiatives that cross institutional and disciplinary boundaries.
  • For more information see here.

Last Updated: 5/14/14