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Address to the Arts & Sciences Faculty

May 7, 2018

Welcome, everyone, to the first of the spring term meetings of the Arts and Sciences Faculty.

A lot has happened since we last gathered in late February. In particular, the enrollment working group completed its report and, following my recommendation, the Trustees decided at their March meeting that undergraduate enrollment should not be intentionally increased above its current level of around 4200. I want to say a little bit around this.

We are in a very energetic and active period focused on building even greater excellence at this institution. This plan has many pieces to it. One is to actually identify and articulate what differentiates Dartmouth. We have five pillars to that articulation. One is squarely on you; it’s faculty who are great teacher-scholars, totally committed to the education of our undergraduates and thought leaders in their fields. Second is an unwavering commitment to the liberal arts, training a quality of mind that will last a lifetime. Third is a profound sense of place; this remarkable north woods setting is what shapes the Dartmouth experience so profoundly for all of us. Fourth is Hanover as a base camp for the world. One thing we do intentionally is send our students, our faculty, our alumni around the girdled earth as the song goes. We expect them to take on the world’s great issues and make their mark but always with Hanover as a base camp, calling them back. And lastly, an adventuresome spirit, and that goes with anyone I know who’s been associated with Dartmouth.

So, the first part of building excellence was to actually define ourselves, define our heart and soul and make sure that everyone was speaking from the same playbook when talking about Dartmouth. The second part involved breaking down some of the historic barriers to our success. That was through the Moving Dartmouth Forward and Inclusive Excellence programs, and more rigorous financial practices, to name a few. Lastly, we are making historic levels of investment in our academic enterprise through internal reallocation and new philanthropic dollars.

The report of the enrollment working group – and you know, it was a very convincing report, very carefully done and I want to congratulate everyone involved – certainly made it plain to me and I’m sure to all of you that the investments that would be needed to maintain our quality during growth are different from the investments we’re making to build excellence at this moment. So, this is really not the right time for us to pivot. We’re on a great track to build a foundation of even greater excellence, and that’s how we should continue.

The report did indicate areas of investment that are really important for the campus right now.  This was not a totally complete list, but it was an important list. One was, of course, to increase numbers of offices and classrooms, and I want to report on that. You may have seen construction at the Blunt Alumni Center, where we’re building office space for some of the units that are in Silsby right now. You may have noticed Dana and Gilman, so Gilman is no more. I was quite interested in the D article where the headline was talking about the renovation of Dana and Gilman underway. We anticipate that Dana will be totally rebuilt and should be completed by September of 2019. It will be almost exclusively arts and sciences space. Elizabeth is the client on that project. The Thayer CS project is well on its way to funding. We hope to break ground sometime this fall, and that will free up Sudikoff, of course, for additional arts and sciences office space. I know the quality of our classrooms is also on your minds. At the last Committee of Chairs, Lisa Baldez talked about the DCAL program to upgrade our classrooms, which is underway and will make a difference, but of course we need to do more. 

The report also indicated some areas of student support where we need greater investment. FYSEP (First Year Student Enrichment Program) and mental health services were two of them, and those are campaign priorities. I am hopeful that we will be garnering dollars for investment in those areas soon.

As for parking, they noted 185 spaces have been in shortfall in parking on campus. Rick Mills and his team developed a whole list of options that they can pursue, which includes things like enforcement changes, pricing changes, and expansion. Some of those have been implemented and Rick is now in discussion with various groups about what next steps to take.

Residential facilities was another area mentioned in the report, and a new residence hall is one of the campaign priorities. It’s residence hall space that will serve as surge space as we renovate our aging facilities. So, it’s not expansion space; it’s extra surge space. The timeframe for that depends on our fundraising success.

Lastly, instructional staffing. We all know that student demand for courses moves very quickly –  much more quickly than faculty lines can be moved. If you look at the campaign, it includes expansion of faculty FTEs by about 60. The vast majority of these are in areas of high undergraduate enrollment demand. So that’s another way we’re trying to address the instructional staffing issues that I know are really hard on some departments that are over-subscribed right now.

Those are a few of the things we’re doing to meet current needs on campus. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means. We’ll be in year two of four for our salary enhancement program this year in this coming salary cycle. We’re committed still to major investments in our campus power infrastructure and various other things, but those are five important areas of investment.

Regarding the provost search, Deb Nichols chaired a great committee.  They recommended three outstanding finalists. All three have been interviewed at this point, and we’re nearing conclusion of that search. So stay tuned for news some time very soon.

A week ago, many of you attended the campaign launch event on our Hanover campus. We did the public launch of our campaign in a series of events, including one in New York about 10 days ago, then the one in Hanover a week ago, and one in San Francisco on Wednesday of last week. The campaign and priorities were four years in the making and involved many conversations with faculty members, with CPR, with our academic leadership, and with alumni and students. Thanks to all of you for participating in the event last week and some of the other events as well.

It is a $3 billion campaign and that’s very ambitious for our campus. It’s about two and a half times the amount raised in the last campaign, which ended just eight years ago. Fortunately, we were able to announce in New York that we are already halfway there. We’ve raised $1.5 billion. There was so much energy between the New York launch and the San Francisco launch that in that five day period, we raised another $100 million, and so we’re now at $1.6 billion, which is a very strong position at public launch. At many universities, the norm is to launch with 35-45% of the goal in hand. So, it’s great to be past halfway. But, still, we’ve got a long way to go; $1.4 billion is a lot of money.

If you look at the Call to Lead website, it has the full list of priorities and their targets. What I would note is that targets are not an upper-bound, so if we are hugely successful at fundraising for a priority, we will continue past the target. They are also not a commitment, so if we fall short of the target, we are not going to be able to put in institutional funds to get us up to the target, just to be clear.

There was a series of really interesting, important, and uplifting announcements last week, several around the Centennial Circle and women’s philanthropy. They’re committed to getting to 250 members, 250 Dartmouth women, each having contributed $100,000 dollars. They’re at 190-something right now. Separately, alumnae are seeking to inspire 100 women in the Dartmouth community each to donate $1 million. They’re at 53 at this point. They committed women everywhere, not just the Centennial Circle, but women everywhere to gather together and raise $25 million to renovate Dartmouth Hall, our most cherished icon. Sally and Bob Manegold committed a bequest of $10 million to the Dean of the Faculty to support Arts and Sciences Faculty. You probably read about the naming of the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies for Frank J. Guarini, one of the largest gifts in this institution’s history. In San Francisco, we announced that we are $125 million towards the $200 million needed for the Thayer CS project. That’s very active right now, and we’ve got a laser focus on trying to complete that so we can break ground in the fall. There was a great $7.5 million gift for foreign study, to support financial aid for foreign study, and much, much more. I’m really excited about the trajectory of the college and where we’re all headed together. Thank you again for joining in on the launch events.

The last thing I want to say, and I won’t say much because I don’t want to steal the thunder of the announcement, is about the May 1 admissions deadline. It’s going to be another exceptional year – a record yield, record high academic indicators, strong diversity. Stay tuned for the press release. It’s all really good news.

 

 

Last Updated: 5/18/18