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Good afternoon everyone and welcome. This is the meeting of the general faculty, the meeting for the fall.
That means that there's a new academic year that's underway and off to a great start and I know everyone's busy with classes, with advising student research projects and doing your own research – the work that defines this great institution.
And of course, we've been renewed, as we are every year, with a terrific class of new students -- and I can attest to this first-hand as I am teaching 47 freshmen in my Math 11 section. They're actually terrific – we had our first exam recently. I can report that it was more stressful for them than for me! In fact, they did extremely well.
As is traditional at the fall gathering of the General Faculty, I plan to remark on the state of academics at Dartmouth College, our current position and future trajectory. Since this is a gathering of the faculty, academics is the most appropriate topic to talk about - our teaching and research and learning, the core missions of our institution.
Almost a year ago, November 4th of 2013, we gathered in this very same room, you may remember. At that time, I shared a vision for Dartmouth. I put it in terms of what I'd like to report to you when I step down 10 years from now back then, so I guess that's 9 years from now. I think the vision is in some ways the most fundamental thing, so I think it bears repeating.
What I said at that point was: Fast-forward ten years from now. Let's pretend it's my last year as President of Dartmouth. I'm giving you a report on the College. What is it that I want to say to you, at that point?
I want to say that I'm pleased to tell you that Dartmouth is just a magnet for talent. ...
That the very best students are attracted to the College because of our innovative learning experiences that tap their leadership potential. And they're lured here by the opportunity to work closely with our outstanding faculty.
I report that Dartmouth is also a magnet for the world's finest faculty. Like our students, they're drawn to Dartmouth for the innovative learning and scholarly opportunities on campus, but also the chance to interact, educate and engage these amazing students.
I tell you that the campus is academically energized, it's a site of intellectual innovation, risk-taking and collaboration. Dartmouth is the birthplace of big ideas, inspired vision, and bold efforts.
Dartmouth faculty dare to take on many of the world's most complex issues and pressing problems, thinking outside the box, working across disciplines, and reaching into our students' hearts and minds, and far beyond the reaches of the Hanover campus.
I tell you that student life is built on the principle of dignity and driven by valiant efforts to make a difference in the world by students working with their peers and faculty on artistic and creative works, academic research and intellectual exploration, and transforming ideas into action through social ventures and business start-ups.
I tell you that Dartmouth has porous boundaries with the world. We send our students and faculty out into the world armed with ideas and the wherewithal to make a profound difference.
And we invite the world to our idyllic campus, physically and virtually. So in short, I tell you that Dartmouth's footprint on the world has never been more profound."
So that's what I said last year. I think it bears repeating as we think about where we are academically and where we want to go.
At last November's meeting, I also shared three other important things and I want to give you an update and progress report on each of those:
I talked about the formation of the leadership team, the academic leadership team. At this point, our leadership team is complete. A number of talented individuals remain from before my arrival – Mike Mastanduno, Bob Donin, Joe Helble and Paul Danos. Harry Sheehy directing Athletics. There are some new talents and faces, as well: Carolyn Dever - our new Provost, Duane Compton – the Interim Dean of Geisel, Bob Lasher - Senior Vice President for Advancement, Rick Mills – our Executive Vice President, and Tommy Bruce – Senior Vice President for Public Affairs.
Switching gears, last November I also presented you not only with a vision, but a set of out-of-the-gate strategies, which will be the first steps we take in moving our campus towards the vision that I articulated a moment ago. I want to update you on each of those, the ones that I talked about last year: I would say that originally every one of these out-of-the-gate strategies was plucked or came in some way from the strategic planning effort of a few years before I got here. First of all, I talked about a the faculty cluster hiring initiative - we have at this point have identified $50M in one-time funds that are going to be used as a 2 to 1 match for donors who commit at least $10M or more towards clusters. We have one funded at this point – the Neukom cluster – and we are making progress, very definite progress - in discussions with donors towards funding a number of others. But, please note: we are looking for more ideas! We are looking for more proposals for clusters. I especially want to invite those in the Arts and Humanities to propose themes that build on the transformative power of the arts or the essential human components of virtually every complex issue facing mankind. You will be seeing, from the Provosts's office, very soon, another invitation asking for your best thinking on possible clusters.
The Society of Fellows, that was the second idea. This was a structured post-doc program. The senior fellows have been named, as you probably saw this summer, and we are currently in the process of recruiting our first class of junior fellows. The application process closed last week and we have a stunning 1744 applications for our positions.
A third strategy was to emphasize experiential learning. One area that needed an immediate shot-in-the-arm was entrepreneurship amongst our students. To that end, we opened a new student incubator, which is located at 4 Currier Place, across from the Black Arts Center. We raised $4.5M dollars from generous donors to support not only the center, but a number of programs being run out of the center, which include things like sending a group of students to the Silicon Valley during the December time period, and to Boston and Seattle, as well – a sort of study abroad type of program. The incubator is highly energized with new programs drawing student participants, visiting alumni entrepreneurs, faculty and local business owners.
Also, on the experiential learning front, as happens at any complex university, experiential learning is embedded in many forms and in many places across our campus. We just conducted a really valuable inventory that captures some of our most creative forms of experiential learning and that's going to be a valuable tool as the Provost and I sit down over the next few weeks and we think about where our next investments will be in experiential learning.
Unleashing the power of learning technologies, that was another out-of-the-gate strategy that I talked about. The Provost has established a team headed up by Josh Kim in DCAL that has the expertise to help faculty pursue the most creative ideas to introduce technology into your classes. We've also established partnerships with edX and the Kahn Academy. Our first edX course is going to be mounted this winter. The Kahn Academy, that partnership is leading to some radical re-thinking of how we are teaching some of our introductory courses. The one that I hear about the most because I'm there is Math 3 – Math 3 has been truly flipped in that sense.
Another thing I talked about was establishing a graduate school. That initiative was put on hold waiting for our new provost to arrive - but as many of you know, Jon Kull has recently convened a task force looking at how this might be done optimally at Dartmouth. There was quite a bit of confusion at the point that this was convened – the term "free-standing" – that term means organizationally free-standing, not in terms of facilities.
I mentioned significantly expanding the Thayer School of Engineering – there were a number of reasons to do this. It is a place of true academic excellence, it's a place of some of our most creative experiential learning, it's a place that definitely reaches out across campus with partnerships. They look at some of the world's most interesting issues, and it is highly undersized relative to other outstanding engineering schools. So this last year has been a planning year. Joe Helble has really lead an amazing effort to fine-tune what the plans are so that we can go to our donor community and try to raise the funding to get something very exciting done.
The last thing I talked about academically was to enhance the excellence of our professional schools while integrating them more fully with campus. On the integration part, Tuck has expanded its Bridge offerings to December, Tuck and Geisel together have launched an innovative new Masters in Health Care Delivery Science. And it is my expectation that most, if not all, of the faculty clusters will involve multiple schools, including our professional schools. I should say that in terms of Tuck's planning – as many of you know, Paul Danos will be stepping down at the end of this academic year. Paul will have served 20 years at that point – which is amazing service, and I think that we all recognize what incredible things he's done at Tuck. He really deserves all of our thanks and gratitude.
So, that's the update on the out-of-the-box strategies that I talked about last year. The other topic that I hit on, very relevant to academics, was resources.
Over the past year, I laid out a framework, consisting of five pillars, around which we are going to construct our budgeting going forward. Let me say a little bit about what these pillars are, and what progress we've made towards those, over the last year:
1) Always maintain robust investment in innovation and excellence. We were able to accomplish that in this year's budget, with over $10M recurring in new initiatives this year.
2) Bring greater rigor and discipline in all aspects of our budgeting campus-wide. Develop a culture of prioritization and reallocation. Towards this end, we introduced a 1.5% reallocation mechanism, where each unit needed to identify the 1.5% of their spending that was least effective and how they would put it towards new initiatives, and that will continue.
3) Be sure that Dartmouth is prepared for the next economic downturn. Over the last year we've already made very significant progress towards building a reserve fund, which, when the next economic downturn comes, which it surely will, that we will be better prepared than for the last one.
4) Support affordability and access, and socioeconomic diversity, by holding down the growth in sticker price close to within a percent of the national growth in total compensation, and at the same time, invest much more meaningfully in financial aid. Over the last year, you may know that our tuition increase was 2.9%, that's the lowest since 1977, whereas our growth in the financial aid budget was 5.9% - that margin is what helps us address access and affordability.
5) Align our endowment spending with the reality that we're likely to see slower endowment returns in the future. This year was a wonderful exception – you may have read the news that Pam Peedin achieved a 19.2% return on our endowment, which is fantastic and was one of the nation's best. However, having said that, I think all the investment experts believe that the 8% return that we have counted on as an annual return is unlikely to be achievable in the future, and it's probably going to be more like 7% or 6% going forward. So we need to make sure that we adjust our payout so that the buying power of the endowment doesn't decline.
Also in terms of resources, last November, I spoke about the need to bring historic levels of philanthropy to the College in support of our vision. And last year we saw the very best year, by a mile, in history, bringing in over $255M in cash to the campus, including Dartmouth's first nine-figure gift, a wonderful, historic $100M endowment to support nothing but academic excellence, so that was terrific. It was an anonymous gift, so I obviously can't tell you who it was, but I can tell you that person's been very successful, and more importantly credits their success to their Dartmouth education. Bob Lasher and his team deserve incredible thanks – even in Bob's first year, even if you take away the $100M gift, it was one of the very top years in history, and we have very high ambitions going forward.
And lastly on the resource front, we moved to increase transparency, sharing information about budget and operations. Towards that end, together with Rick Mills and Mike Wagner, I taught a mini-course on the college budget last spring, I don't know if any of you sat in on that, but it was open to students, faculty and staff. It was highly over-subscribed and I'm sure that we will be replicating it because we didn't even begin to meet the demand for it. And Rick Mills has been holding Town Hall meetings on this complex set of issues. Just in terms of general transparency, openness, accessibility, I would remind you all that I have open office hours for faculty on Friday from 3 to 4pm. It would really be nice to see more of you there. You don't have to have a topic in particular, just please stop by.
That's a progress report from last year, let's turn to some of the challenges that we're facing and the opportunities that are awaiting us over this year and the next year. First of all, I just talked about a set of core strategies – out-of-the-gate strategies that were laid out last year, and I told you about initial progress in each of them. Year two, the current year, is really a year of execution, to focus on continuing execution of those strategies. We're off to a great start on many of them, but there's still a lot of work to do, exciting opportunities to chase, and I would like all of you to see yourself as involved in these core strategies, whether it's to support the new junior fellows in the society of fellows, or imagine new experiential learning opportunities that you could lead, being creative about these new technologies in the classroom to transform the way that you teach, or working with colleagues on proposing a new cluster. We can only be successful if all of our faculty's talents, energies, and ideas are tapped. I really would ask all of you to please be involved.
Second, by way of challenge, let me speak to the very serious challenges that are facing academic medical centers across the nation. The past few years have been extremely difficult for academic medical centers, there's been constraint or decline in the major revenue sources that support academic medicine, including funding from the NIH and other kinds of research funding, as well as increasing constraint on patient care revenues to the hospital partners that support academic medicine. In fact, in some ways, the greatest dislocations probably are ahead of us still as our nation grapples with the necessity to slow the growth of health care spending.
So, our own Geisel School of Medicine has not been exempt from these challenges and currently faces a situation where expenditures significantly exceed revenues.
I cannot say strongly enough how important it is for Dartmouth to have a thriving Medical School – that is extremely important to Dartmouth College – and how much Geisel contributes to our excellence and to our dual mission of preparing graduates who will lead in the world and advancing the frontiers of knowledge to take on some of the world's most urgent issues and compelling opportunities. Geisel is at the center of many of these things.
Let me note that:
As a nation, we spend 18% of our GDP on health care and that percentage will undoubtedly grow in the years ahead, despite all of our efforts to slow down health care spending, so as we think about preparing graduates to go out in the world, this is a huge sector where they can make an impact.
Also, in terms of scholarly advances, arguably, some of humankind's most stunning scientific advances have been in the biomedical area and we've seen an almost doubling of life expectancy in this country over the past eighty years. It's an area of huge scientific advancement.
Dartmouth has had a history, as I think you all know, of leadership in the increasingly important area of health care delivery science. It's an area where we can really be leaders.
So I want to recognize and I want to salute the many outstanding faculty, students and staff engaged in path-breaking research, education and patient care at Geisel.
As they work through their current very difficult financial challenges, we are committed that Geisel will remain a vibrant place and that together we will nurture the very best of what they do and promote their most exciting and promising ideas.
I have tremendous confidence in Duane Compton and his team to lead the School at this moment and I know that he'll have the full support and partnership of Carolyn Dever and Rick Mills and myself. It's an area of challenge, but one where Geisel will remain vibrant – it's crucial that we have a successful medical school, it just adds so much to our campus.
Third, let me turn to the important topic of faculty diversity and inclusivity. Let me be clear that making progress here is paramount to our academic excellence. We need a more diverse faculty, and we are well short of where we need to be. We need a more inclusive campus. You may recall that I made a promise to you last November. I noted at that this was not a topic that I was covering, because I wanted the full partnership and the ideas that a new Provost would bring in shaping how we proceed, but in the last year we did make a few investments, some meaningful investments:
We committed $1M in annual expenditures to support hiring of faculty who are under-represented in their fields.
My office invested in the EE Just Program, to significantly expand its activities and reach. Stefon Alexander does a fabulous job leading that program.
We completed construction of the Triangle House which will have its formal opening celebration in just a few weeks. And you – the faculty – have launched the first Intergroup Dialogues courses as part of the regular curriculum through the Writing Center.
However, those things notwithstanding, I want to return now to the promise that I made last November, which is that we're going to look at this in a major way. Carolyn Dever, our Provost, will lead a comprehensive campus-wide effort on diversity and inclusion. And I want to ask her to come up and tell you more about what she has in mind here and this exciting initiative.
I've been here several months now, and I come from Vanderbilt University in Nashville Tennessee. During my six years as Arts and Science Dean at Vanderbilt, I worked hard to build academic excellence, to build the faculty, which was strong across the disciplines, and to build for diversity. Some of what I'm going to discuss today on the topic of recruiting a diverse faculty emerges from my own experience at another institution. Some of it emerges from my first months of experience here at Dartmouth. The larger message, to reiterate two elements of Phil's conversation: one, this is a team effort. In order to build capacity in the faculty for diversity, I need your help, we all need each other's help, so please help with this. Second is, this is about academic excellence, it's about building the faculty we need for the long haul, and designing today for the Dartmouth that we need to have tomorrow.
Phil Hanlon started off today talking about his vision for Dartmouth as a magnet for talent. There are many ways to build a strong faculty, and many ways to support faculty development, and we will attack this opportunity on all fronts. But building our capacity for diversity across all dimensions, particularly in the recruitment of faculty who are underrepresented minorities in their fields, and in their fields at Dartmouth, is fundamental to building the faculty of the future. As Provost, I aspire to transform Dartmouth into the destination of choice for the world's best underrepresented faculty in all our disciplines, by recruiting them to join a vibrant, open, welcoming, spirited, well-resourced, student-centered scholarly community representing the highest standards and the best academic values. And that means all of us. I point out that this is in Dartmouth's DNA. Service to Native American students is part of our original charter --leadership in Native American Studies continues to this day.
I want to underscore the fact that under the leadership of many of us, our colleagues have been working hard to develop diversity initiatives for many years. Here I acknowledge the efforts of every school dean and their associate deans, department chairs, and the dean of the college office, which manages sensitive questions of difference on a daily basis. I want to acknowledge the leadership of Evelynn Ellis and her colleagues in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity. I want to acknowledge the leadership of Professor Michelle Warren, who helped to build the pipeline of future faculty of color with the Mellon Mays Program. As Phil did, I want to acknowledge the leadership of Professor Stephon Alexander--the E.E. Just Program helps to promote and support academic excellence for underrepresented students in the STEM disciplines. But in fact, where are we now?
As of 2012, minority/international undergraduate student representation was at 42.9%. Faculty representation was 17.5% and staff was 10%.
The thing that really bothers me about this slide is the fact that we as a faculty are flat-lined. We haven't improved our representation of minority faculty and international faculty in any significant or meaningful way from the early part of the century (2003). The same goes for staff, and that's something that we need to address, as well – but the difference is that, for many staff positions, we're recruiting from a local pool, and that requires different tactics and strategies. We'll undertake those, but today I want to talk about what we need to do to increase, to begin to bend the curve in an upward direction on our faculty diversity.
If you look at the demographics among our students as represented in this slide, we're actually doing pretty well. Like many of you, I've had conversations with undergraduate students in my office over the past few months where their concern with the diversity of their faculty comes through loud and clear. I don't want to be in a position going forward in the future – none of us does – of having to try to explain to a student why there's not a faculty member here that looks like him or her, why there's not a visible pathway of identification for that student to the faculty position at the front of the room. Our faculty line needs to look a lot more like our student line.
If you read The Dartmouth last Friday, while data from last year are not yet released, I understand that there were a number of high-profile departures from staff and faculty of color. This could contribute to a widespread concern among students and faculty that we're falling further behind. I need to see the data to understand and continue to talk with people. But suffice it to say, absent what happened last year, this is still a weak record of performance, and my goal is to turn it around.
I can commit to a certain set of strategies – I've got 11 points and a grand finale. All the resources of the provost's office, in partnership with President Hanlon, the academic deans, the Dean of the College, and I hope with you, the faculty, will be dedicated to the effort of building a diverse Dartmouth faculty.
1) I've created a new position in my office to lead on this critical priority. Denise Anthony is now Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives. Denise is responsible for supporting diversification efforts at every level of the academic enterprise. She and I are available to help to advance all good ideas, to support new and ongoing practical efforts, and to hit the road in search of the best ideas in higher ed, and foundation and government support in funding them. These are really important conversations to be had, nationally.
2) We must and will enter the vibrant, ongoing national discussion about the future faculty pipeline. Not only responding to but leading discussions of best practices in faculty recruitment at foundations and conferences. The conversation is going on, and until we're actually in it, we cannot partake of the benefits that come down from it, nor can we contribute to the advancing discussion.
3) We will ask hard questions about diversity at every decision point of every faculty search. We will not accept "it is hard" as an answer to the challenges of diversity recruitment. It is hard everywhere, and for everyone. I started my career at NYU; it was hard there. It's hard in Hanover, New Hampshire. It was definitely hard in Nashville, Tennessee. Every day we address hard things, let's address this one. It is our own choice if we let the difficulty of the problem deter us from the effort.
4) We will recruit opportunistically within the channels of our ongoing searches. As President Hanlon mentioned, there are funds available in the provost's office – quite a lot of funds available in the provost's office - to help school deans address faculty hiring opportunities. Let's spend that money. And let's take resources off the table: if I need to go find more money to support your efforts in diversity, I will welcome the opportunity. Please put me to that work. I would embrace it.
5) We will recruit opportunistically within our own structures of innovation: cluster hiring, Society of Fellows – 1744 new academics just coming out of graduate school – distinguished visiting professorships. We need to increase the flow of faculty of color through our campus. Please identify the most talented people in your disciplines and bring them to campus, and throw all the resources of this wonderful community behind their recruitment and support.
6) We will recruit opportunistically within all channels: I ask you to identify the most talented underrepresented faculty out there, and to develop recruiting strategies in partnership with your department chairs and deans. Denise and I will help you every step of the way. But it has to come from within your department or within your school. But we will help you every step of the way, so let's talk.
7) Once we've filled the pipeline, we will support our people. Creating and finding a community is everyone's responsibility: we will not wait for new underrepresented faculty to "find" their community; we will be their community. By that means we will create a Dartmouth that is the destination of choice for personal as well as professional development. Especially for younger faculty, I think that's really critically important.
8) We will develop mentoring programs in support of all our early-career faculty, and programs to support the development of faculty at every career stage, through the emeritus/emerita stage. By doing so, we will reinforce a spirit of community and mutual support, and clarity about standards and expectations. There are many benefits from this initiative that help the faculty as a whole. Starting with our youngest faculty, our most junior faculty, that's a very clear one.
9) We will redouble efforts to support the professional development of the partners of the faculty we're recruiting. When we recruit the entire family, and re-recruit regularly through a continued, focused reinvestment in the academic infrastructure, we take retention drama off the table.
10) We will seek partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and other institutions serving minority populations nationwide in support of all kinds of innovations: student and faculty exchanges, postdocs, resource sharing, you name it, to our mutual benefit. Here I point out that in the past ten years, just personally I've been involved in partnerships and exchanges with Howard University, Fisk University, Meharry Medical College, Tougaloo College, Tennessee State University, and Berea College, all with tremendous results, and all really directly helping to build the climate of diversity on my home campus, also helping to build all sorts of constructive goods on our partner campuses.
11) We will be receptive to all smart ideas. Have you identified a promising candidate of color but she or he is at a very early career stage? How can we approach that challenge? Maybe we develop a postdoc for that person to bridge her to the point that she can enter the tenure track set up to succeed. How can we be creative, flexible, and innovative in order to invest differently and better than the great schools that we're competing with? I offer that as a request and a challenge to you, please, to think outside the box in our practices. We're willing to have the conversation – but we have to start somewhere.
And the grand finale, we will hold ourselves accountable for our actions. Each June, my office will produce an annual report to the community detailing the efforts and outcomes in this diversity initiative, and providing information about the new strategies we've developed from year to year.
We welcome your good ideas, and your energy, and your openness and collegiality as we undertake this critically important work. My personal commitment to you is to begin quickly: hopefully next year, we will begin to see that line bending upward. I'd like to see us looking a lot more like our students and I'd like to see us in five years around the 25% mark. That doesn't seem to me to be at all too much to hope for, and too much to work for. I'm new here and you don't yet know me well, but I ask you for your collegiality and your partnership. I promise you that academic excellence is at the heart of everything that I do, and this effort to lead a new initiative in diversity at Dartmouth is absolutely central to what I see as the building of academic excellence for Dartmouth going forward. So thank you very much in advance for your help with that.
Thank you Carolyn, and let me reinforce one important thing that Carolyn said, which is we need all of you to be involved, we really need your support, your collegiality, your active work on this initiative.
So let me leave you with just one thought in concluding these remarks about the state of the Academic Enterprise at Dartmouth.
By far, the most important thing that all of us need to do – given that we all share great aspirations for this institution – is to challenge ourselves as faculty, and in the process challenge our students.
Think big. Think creatively. Have the courage to take on, to really look at some of the most challenging opportunities out there, some of the most compelling opportunities facing humankind, and draw your students into this work.
This isn't a space owned by any one discipline or school or division or field. There is not a single meaningful challenge facing humankind that doesn't require input from every possible academic field.
To truly increase our reach and impact, we need each and every area of campus engaged in collaboration on path-breaking work, on teaching, research, and scholarship.
And this isn't a space owned by any single academic generation, either. Challenge our students. Bring them along as full partners in our academic work. Ask more of them, expect more of them, academically.
There's real energy building at Dartmouth about what Dartmouth can be – and I hope each of us as faculty members sees ourselves in this future. We are an immensely talented and appropriately ambitious campus. We are blessed with an alumni body that is so deeply connected and willing to support us. And we have a student body that is ready, indeed anxious, to change the world. So this is a powerful mix.
Join with me in making Dartmouth all that it can be. Thank you.