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The Academic Experience

Teaching and Learning

Dartmouth has earned an enviable reputation as a great teaching institution. Our faculty care deeply about their students and bring a special creativity and energy to their teaching. But great teaching does not simply happen; it must be nurtured. As an institution, Dartmouth must provide more support for teaching and learning across the institution. Furthermore, as an institution we need to do even more to celebrate and reward excellent teaching by our faculty. The Student Assembly has also identified teaching as a top priority and has begun initiatives to support this purpose.


  • We must establish a Center for the Advancement of Learning to support faculty from across the institution in their teaching and use of technology in the classroom. Such a center will encourage our faculty as they think about effective ways to engage students with the latest pedagogy. In addition, it will foster discussion of best practices and recent pedagogical research and maintain resources on teaching and learning.

  • Each of the faculties needs to continue to assess the range of their curriculum and the structure of their degree requirements.

Undergraduate Learning Opportunities

Today’s gifted and motivated students come to Dartmouth with a desire to work with faculty individually or in small groups, as well as to participate as a member of a research team led by a faculty member. Without questions, such active involvement in the research process significantly enhances the quality of learning, and discussions with students and alumni/ae suggests that such opportunities are often among their most treasured memories of Dartmouth.

Undergraduate research opportunities are a critical component of a Dartmouth education, and include a range of experiences from collaborating with faculty as research associates to working on independent year-long senior projects. A number of exceptional undergraduate research programs already exist at Dartmouth, such as the Women in Science Project, the Andrew W. Mellon Grants, the E. E. Just Internships, and the Presidential Scholars Program. They exist across the curriculum and across the institution. The Leslie Humanities Center, the Rockefeller Center for the Social Sciences, the Dickey Center for International Understanding, and the Institute for Applied and Professional Ethics all provide a wealth of opportunities for students. In the sciences, students work in labs in the departments in the Arts and Sciences and also those in the Thayer School of Engineering and the Dartmouth Medical School. Over the past few years, we have seen an increasing number of students working on senior theses. Currently, half of our undergraduates participate in independent study work of one sort or another prior to graduation. We have a strong base to build upon.


  • We need to provide all students at multiple points in their career with opportunities for active learning and one-on-one work with faculty;

  • We must provide greater support for undergraduate research, including the establishment of a single office to coordinate such opportunities. Such an office would be able to inform students of the range of opportunities available to them and could help in making connections between students and faculty;

  • We must encourage further collaboration between undergraduates and the professional schools. Dartmouth’s intimate scale provides unique opportunities for this sort of interaction. Faculty at our professional schools are eager to work with undergraduates and can provide them with a range of intellectually stimulating experiences.

August 2002

© 2002 Trustees of Dartmouth College