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The innovative ideas and proposals for new programs, methods, and endeavors that are developed in Dartmouth’s strategic planning effort will emerge from faculty members and others serving on working groups during the 18-month action phase currently underway. Seven strategic planning working groups will make recommendations in a variety of areas and are seeking broad community involvement through open forums, online media, and other means.
The various groups will consider technology, international activities, graduate education, teaching and mentorship, research and scholarship, students of the future, and the workforce of the future.
The chairs of two working groups—Global Dartmouth, and Pedagogy, Teaching, and Mentorship—talked with Dartmouth Now about what they’re hoping emerges from their work and the challenges of thinking big.
“What can we do that’s new and innovative and different from anyone else? That’s our charge.”
“It’s important to inform the greater Dartmouth community about what’s happening, what’s out there in terms of the future, and the questions we’re asking. In the Board of Trustees meetings we had last fall, there was a lot of excitement about learning what’s new in pedagogy and curricula and preparing lifelong learners.”
“Successful strategic planning, a pedagogical shift, needs some direction. It also needs to be grass roots. Faculty and students need to recognize the need for changing things, doing things better, and coming up with novel ways to do that.”
“These working groups absolutely do not operate in isolation. Interaction between the groups is essential. The clearest one in my mind is the interaction between our group and the Research, Scholarship, and Creativity group. Because in fact, part of learning happens in a classroom, and part of it does not.”
“We’re missing a lot of evaluative assessment components in higher education. How do we know this technique, this educational practice, or this curriculum is actually producing a good outcome? It’s very hard to measure. People have a gut instinct when they look into the eyes of their students. But is there some way we can get a better handle on that? One way Dartmouth can become a leader is to study that, do research on the efficacy of curricular changes or digital technologies, and figure out if they really work.”
“It comes down to setting up a process so this can continue. It doesn’t end on date X. When strategic planning is over, final reports have been written—we don’t want it to end there. We can continue the conversation with no time limit.”
“Pedagogy is a larger term that encompasses teaching. It implies the entire instructional model. You look at the content or skills that need to be learned, the teaching and learning activities that need to happen, and the evaluation component. Overall, that is considered pedagogy. Although many people substitute the term pedagogy for teaching, teaching really is the centerpiece and it’s what the teacher does with the student.”
“We have a lot of faith in the strategic planning process. President Jim Yong Kim and Provost Carol Folt and the faculty are really engaged in looking forward at where Dartmouth can be. We are at a transformative time for the school.”
“We wouldn’t be putting time into something like this if we thought it was going to sit on the shelf.”
“There’s a lot of personal transformation that happens when you are in college, when you are physically with your class, hanging out together. A lot of life lessons are learned there. That is a lot of the Dartmouth brand that will never go away.”
“One of the exciting aspects of what we’re doing—it’s the first time it’s been done at Dartmouth—is that we’re not just looking at the undergraduate college. We’re looking at the larger footprint, including the graduate and professional schools.”
“I’ve learned so much about the undergraduate campus and what programs are here and where good connections can be made, say between the music department and the medical school, which we never would have thought of had we not had faculty together. How do we continue that beyond strategic planning? How do we make those transformational moments not only for the students, but for the faculty?”
“We have this concept of One Dartmouth, one world. It’s not just Dartmouth going out into the world, it’s also bringing this intellectual energy that’s already in the world to Dartmouth.”
“We are global citizens who happen to work at this place called Dartmouth. We have some of the most renowned thought leaders here on this campus. As intellectual people and producers of knowledge, we have a responsibility to share that knowledge, but not just domestically. The knowledge that we produce has global implications.”
“Dartmouth can definitely do better in my two areas—Latin America and Africa. Students have interest in countries all over Africa, and I think there is the possibility there to make intellectual inroads with some of the leading universities on the continent. In South America, the economy of Brazil and the emerging economy of Uruguay, two of the most robust economies in Latin America, offer synergies for business, for engineering, for environmental science.”
“The global is also local. There are some things that we can do right here. For example, Burlington, Vt., has a huge population of East African immigrants. Engaging that global population that’s right in our backyard is another way of doing global studies.”
“I went there and had conversations with some East Africans and also with Burlington citizens to try to understand the cultural dynamics that are at play. It would be wonderful if anthropologists here at Dartmouth could be a part of that localized, yet global, interaction.”
“It is absolutely tantamount that we bring to Dartmouth leading scholars and thought leaders who have already charted this global terrain.”
“It’s not a new idea that understanding the world or connection to the world is an important part of an education, in particular, a liberal arts education. All institutions of higher education really have to be thinking about how they are embedding an awareness of the international, global perspective in their curricula and in opportunities for students.”
“No longer are Western Europe and the United States going to be the center of academic activity, research, knowledge production, and knowledge dissemination. It’s going to be dispersed more widely around the globe.”
“Increasingly we’re seeing more students interested in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Africa, and Latin America. What are the programs and projects that we might develop that facilitate those interests?”
“The internationalization of the campus is on the radar screens of institutions around the world. It’s helpful to get outside perspective. Sometimes it’s the prompt you need to think about what you can be doing in new ways.”
“What is going to be Dartmouth’s approach to forming partnerships and engagements around the world? That’s a very key question for us.”
“We’ve seen some growth in our international student population, particularly in the graduate programs, but also in the undergraduate student body. Should we be growing that or not? It’s a key question.”
“Maybe where we’d innovate is to move away from creating international partnerships exclusively with academic institutions and start thinking about how we might be able to partner with governments, NGOs [non-governmental organizations], and corporations to be involved in research, knowledge dissemination, and knowledge production in different regions of the world. That’s an untapped potential.”
“We’re not interested in sequestering global learning into a particular center or school, as has happened in a lot of other institutions in their desire to be more effective in internationalization. I like our thinking here.”
Posted on March 27, 2012 By Susan J. Boutwell
“We wouldn’t be putting time into something like this if we thought it was going to sit on the shelf.” - Leslie Fall, Geisel ’90. Physician and professor of pediatrics at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth