Forever New: A Ten Year Report

The Academic Enterprise
Undergraduate Learning

Photo of student working in chemistry lab

Matthew Cain, graduate student, in Professor David S. Glueck’s inorganic chemistry lab in Burke Hall

Our mission is to prepare students for a lifetime of learning and responsible leadership. We accomplish this by inspiring and expecting academic excellence, independent thinking, and collaboration. Dartmouth’s students graduate into a world where the boundaries between cultures and economies are fluid and where the most innovative work and problem-solving are done at the intersections between disciplines. We recognize our responsibility to prepare students to function within a global context and a diverse society, to continue learning, and to traverse the boundaries of their fields.

Over the past ten years, we have significantly strengthened the undergraduate experience, decreasing class size and increasing the number and types of opportunities for students to work individually with faculty. In 2008, 64 percent of our classes have fewer than 20 students, an improvement from 57 percent in 1998. I am absolutely confident that Dartmouth offers more small classes taught by faculty, not graduate students, than any of our peer institutions. We also increased the number and type of opportunities for students to work individually with faculty. Last year, about 400 undergraduates participated in a Dartmouth academic internship, over 200 completed an honors thesis, and students earned over 1,000 credits for independent work with faculty. This intellectual engagement between students and faculty outside a formal classroom is Dartmouth at its best. Dartmouth’s graduate programs and professional schools continue to enrich the undergraduate experience, as their faculty frequently present or teach in undergraduate courses. Nearly half of undergraduates studying at Thayer participate in a research opportunity as part of their experience. More than 100 undergraduates work with faculty at the medical school annually, and this year we plan to realize a goal of providing undergraduate courses taught by Tuck faculty.

Through the newly established Institute for Writing and Rhetoric, we have expanded our writing curriculum, added faculty positions and classes in speech and rhetoric, and increased overall support for writing. We have also reorganized and strengthened pre-major faculty advising, which contributed to increased student satisfaction with academic advising in the recent senior survey. The faculty is now examining sophomore summer to see how we might further enrich the intellectual experience of that term.

Graph showing increase in student satisfaction with critical educational areas
Forever NewA Ten Year Report