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A Distinguished Faculty

Faculty Support

Dartmouth attracts faculty who are outstanding scholars in their fields and who share a passion for teaching and working closely with some of the world’s most talented students. As the Subcommittee on Priorities of the Committee of Chairs of the Arts and Sciences wrote in March 2001, "The faculty embrace the view that Dartmouth’s claim to distinction rests on the idea that it is a place where research and teaching meet in unique ways." [7] A recent report by the Student Assembly echoed this statement, noting that "the best teachers and the most engaging professors are very often the best scholars and the individuals at the top of their field." [8]

Notable research and great teaching are not mutually exclusive; indeed, at Dartmouth they complement one another. Yet continued success in keeping these elements in harmony depends upon our ability to recruit and retain teacher-scholars who understand and share these values. To compete for such faculty, Dartmouth must provide competitive compensation packages and support. The faculty compensation strategy that we initiated for the Arts and Sciences a few years ago has succeeded in bringing our associate professors up to the mean for our peer institutions, and our assistant and full professors to within 95 percent of the mean. Clearly we still have more work to do in the Arts and Sciences and in each of the professional schools.

Faculty in the Arts and Sciences, the Dartmouth Medical School, the Thayer School, and the Tuck School have established vibrant and active research programs that are engaged with the leading questions of our time. Consequently, the amount of sponsored research activity has increased significantly over the past decade, with the institution passing the $120 million per year mark in 2001. The number of faculty competing successfully for prestigious awards, including Guggenheim fellowships and National Endowment for the Humanities awards, has also increased.

Goals

  • We must provide teaching fellowships and endowed professorships to encourage and reward teacher-scholars and to allow faculty time for curriculum development and teaching innovation.

  • We must continue to pursue a compensation strategy in each of the schools that will allow Dartmouth to continue to recruit and retain the very best teacher-scholars.

  • We must ensure that we have competitive teaching loads, access to fellowship opportunities, research assistants, and the technological and physical infrastructure to support scholarship.

  • We must provide better "start-up packages" that allow incoming faculty to set up their laboratories, studios, and offices with the necessary equipment for them to begin their scholarly or creative work as soon as possible.

  • We must provide more research support for current faculty in the Arts and Sciences, the Dartmouth Medical School, the Thayer School, and the Tuck School. We need to add postdoctoral fellows in some fields and provide publication subventions where necessary. We need improved technical support to maintain and operate the increasingly sophisticated equipment that our faculty and students use and to train our students in the use of this equipment.

  • We must provide additional funding for those faculty who do the bulk of their research away from campus, such as faculty in languages or cultural studies or international business, where research travel is essential, for scientists who require specific technical facilities not available here, and for scholars who need to travel to archives or museums.

  • We must provide more staff to help with grant applications and management, as well as with technology transfer.

  • We should consider the feasibility of establishing a new category of endowed chair that recognizes faculty of the highest distinction as scholars or creative artists and as teachers. These chairs would be institution-wide and would be limited in number. They would allow Dartmouth to reward existing faculty and also to recruit some of the best scholars from diverse backgrounds whose influence extends beyond a specific field of study.

Faculty Size

The size of the faculty in the Arts and Sciences, the Thayer School, the Tuck School, and the Medical School must be sufficient to meet the teaching, mentoring, and research needs of our students, while also allowing Dartmouth to incorporate emerging areas of study. The talented students who are attracted to Dartmouth at both the undergraduate and graduate level are interested in working with the very best faculty who are at the forefront of their disciplines. There is no escaping the fact that the provision of such an experience for our students is labor intensive.

Faculty organize their classes in a range of sizes appropriate to different pedagogical purposes. Large lecture courses have their place, but students also need smaller classes throughout their academic career where they can interact more readily with their professor and classmates. At present, all incoming undergraduates take a first-year writing seminar, which provides a critical introduction to their Dartmouth career, and all seniors take an intensive course that provides a culminating experience within their major. As we expand these programs, we must also modestly expand our pool of teachers and mentors.

Finally, we have asked faculty to play a more extensive role in the out-of-classroom experience of our students. We would like to have more faculty living on or near the campus connected to a residential cluster, and we would like to encourage still more faculty to become associated with residence halls. A number of faculty provide academic advising support to our student-athletes, and we are working to strengthen our overall pre-major advising system. We must increase the faculty if we are to achieve these objectives.

The size of the faculty in the Arts and Sciences is currently smaller than that of our peer universities, and our faculty/student ratio is also higher than that of most of our Ivy League peers, as well as that of some of the best liberal arts colleges. The Tuck School and the Thayer School both stand among the smallest schools of their type. The Tuck School has increased the size of its Masters of Business Administration class by 25 percent and has expanded its Executive Education and Bridge (for undergraduates thinking about business school) programs. Tuck has made great strides in strengthening its faculty, with the addition of "thought leaders" and an increase in research support. The Thayer School faculty are among the most successful at the College in securing outside funding for their research. Dartmouth Medical School faculty face the multiple demands of teaching, research, and patient care. They too have significantly increased the amount of sponsored research and rank very high nationally in this regard, and they welcome an ever-growing number of undergraduates into their labs.

The selective and measured growth of the faculty presents a clear and pressing priority. Such growth will not come at the expense of the qualities that currently distinguish Dartmouth, but will instead ensure that we continue to provide an outstanding learning experience for our students. We seek to offer the full breadth of courses that a liberal arts education demands and to encourage strength and creative scholarship across the whole institution — in the humanities, the social sciences, the sciences, the academic programs, and in the professional schools. We are committed to strengthening and building in each of these areas and will not categorically privilege any one of them over the rest.

Goals

  • The Arts and Sciences must add faculty in those areas where such additions can make an intellectual difference, where they can address enrollment and course pressures, or where they may represent targets of opportunity.

  • The Tuck School must expand its faculty still further to meet the needs of the expanded MBA program and to compete effectively with its peer institutions. Tuck seeks to attract the best researchers in their field who are also committed to management and executive education.

  • The Thayer School must add faculty to continue to serve the needs of their undergraduate and graduate students and to maintain the excellent engineering program.

  • The Dartmouth Medical School must expand the number of clinical teaching scholars to better address the multiple demands of teaching, patient care, and research. The Medical School must also increase the number of endowed professorships to be able to attract the best medical faculty in the country in expanding and emerging areas in the basic sciences.

[7] Subcommittee on Priorities, Faculty Responses to Capital Campaign Planning (January 2001).

[8] Student Assembly Presidential Report, The Soul of Dartmouth: The Academic Direction of Dartmouth College (Spring 2001).

August 2002

© 2002 Trustees of Dartmouth College