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Synthesis 2013

Dartmouth Strategic Planning

Graduate Education for the Future


  • The Graduate Education for the Future working group convened ten times and engaged over one hundred Dartmouth faculty, staff, and students through interviews, group discussions, consultants’ visit, and the strategic planning website.
  • The group submitted their final recommendations to the faculty and senior executive strategic planning advisory committees in June 2012.


  • To set the standard for 21st century graduate study.
  • To review existing programs, structures, governance, finances and the known best-practices in graduate education nationally.
  • To chart a path forward for Dartmouth Graduate Education, focusing on aspirations of the campus, areas of research excellence, areas of national need in graduate education, and inter-campus structures which maximize synergy across One Dartmouth. 

Graduate Education at Dartmouth

Graduate education at Dartmouth has a mission to educate future leaders and create new knowledge while promoting premier scholarship throughout the Dartmouth community.  This is achieved through recruiting highly qualified, motivated and diverse students, training them in research at the frontiers of knowledge and ensuring that they will excel in their chosen careers.  The growth in research-based graduate programs has been considerable in the past 25 years, with sponsored research revenues growing 10 fold in this time, and graduate enrollment growing 3 fold.  There are now currently 707 PhD/MA/MS/MALS/MPH students enrolled in 18 graduate programs.  It is imperative that Dartmouth take stock of the current status quo, comparisons to peer-institutions, and ongoing and future areas of excellence at Dartmouth, which ultimately shape our graduate programs.

Overall Approach

The working group was formed administratively from the current Council on Graduate Studies, composed of one faculty member of each graduate program, two student members, and the graduate studies deans.  This was augmented with one additional member from Geisel and Arts and Sciences.

A major focus of the fall was a visit by an external consulting team, co-organized with the National Council of Graduate Schools, consisting of Dr. Christine Ortiz (Dean of Graduate Education, MIT), Dr. Peter Weber (Prof. of Chemistry; Dean of Grad. School, Brown U.), and Dr. Lewis Siegel (Former Dean of Graduate School and VP for Graduate Education, Duke U.).  This visit reviewed all aspects of Dartmouth’s graduate programs and relationships on campus from the President and Provost, through the Arts and Sciences, Geisel, Thayer and Graduate Studies.

An important part of this working group's outreach was with graduate students.  All graduate students were invited to an open forum and the committee worked closely with the Graduate Student Council.  The committee also met with community members such as the DCAL staff, Provost Outreach staff, and Arts & Science Divisional Councils.  Peer institutional research was gathered and reviewed. 


Browse Relevant Articles in the Strategic Planning Library


Which external sources can contribute to the range of perspectives we need?


What opportunities exist due to unmet national or institutional needs, or due to innovations inside and outside of higher ed?


What are the strengths of current Dartmouth graduate programs – where are we leaders, what kinds of programs do we do well?