Vision & Strategy

In the fall of 2013, President Hanlon shared an academic vision for Dartmouth where the institution's impact on the world is extended through interdisciplinary faculty teams who collaborate at the leading edge of discovery and where students are given uncommon access to new ideas around the globe through course work and research opportunities. Specifically, he outlined five tactics designed to advance Dartmouth's strategy of enhancing its expertise in teaching while simultaneously enhancing faculty scholarship and increasing the institution's global footprint.

Emphasize Experiential Learning

Experiential or action-based learning offers students the chance to develop the skills they need to operate effectively through active, rather than passive, learning. Dartmouth offers hundreds such learning opportunities for students and is continually expanding those offerings. President Hanlon's criteria for experiential learning are that:

  • It is intentional; there is a real-world problem or challenge to be solved or overcome.
  • It incorporates the student's academic work and preparation into their ability to find a solution.
  • There is a real prospect of failure and some measure of accountability.
  • There is an opportunity for students to reflect, assess and learn from the experience.

Thayer School Expansion

President Hanlon and the Board of Trustees have prioritized the expansion of The Thayer School of Engineering and the west end of campus, more broadly, as a site of research impact, innovative experiential learning, and application of learning technologies.

  • The expansion will enable Thayer to provide more students with hands-on, project-based engineering education and integrate engineering and the liberal arts in new courses and experiences.
  • The College will build on the engineering school's innovative, experiential learning and explore opportunities to integrate engineering into the liberal arts.
  • The expansion of the west end of campus will also include the co-location of Computer Science with Engineering.
  • Read more about what the growth means for Thayer in this interview with Joe Helble, former Dean of the Thayer School.

Innovation Center and New Venture Incubator

At his inauguration President Hanlon announced that an innovation and new venture incubator would launch in spring 2014, offering students access to resources, including seed funding and mentorship, which will allow them to pursue business ventures and social entrepreneurial initiatives.

The Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network (DEN) Innovation Center and New Venture Incubator launched in June 2014 and, in 2018, was endowed and renamed the Magnuson Family Center for Entrepreneurship at Dartmouth.

Lead in the Use of Learning Technologies

  • In 2013, Joshua Kim was appointed Director of Digital Learning Initiatives at the Dartmouth Center for Advancement of Learning to help develop new digital learning programs at Dartmouth and collaborate with Academic Computing, schools, departments, and directly with faculty to apply technology in meeting teaching objectives.
  • In the 2013-2014 academic year, Dartmouth transitioned its students from Blackboard to Canvas, a new online learning management system that offers a more positive user experience, allowing students and faculty to communicate and collaborate seamlessly.
  • In January 2014, Dartmouth joined edX, the nonprofit online learning platform founded by Harvard University and MIT, providing faculty the chance to experiment with new ways of teaching and gain insights into student learning to improve outcomes. The first DartmouthX course began in September 2014.

Expand the Impact of the Faculty Through Clusters

  • Dartmouth is expanding its faculty through the creation of academic clusters comprised of cohorts of scholars focused on new intellectual themes or questions that cut across disciplines, departments, and schools.
  • In April 2014, Dartmouth announced an anonymous $100 million gift, the largest single outright donation in the institution's history. Half of the gift is seeding the recruitment and retention of faculty clusters through a matching program that will attract another $100 million toward this important strategy.

Increase the Flow of Young Scholars

  • In September 2013, President Hanlon announced the creation of the Society of Fellows, an initiative designed to bring dozens of academics who have completed their doctoral degrees to Dartmouth to serve as postdoctoral and visiting fellows.
  • The postdoctoral and visiting fellows bring new energy and ideas to campus while benefitting from time and mentorship to develop their research and learn the art of teaching from Dartmouth's faculty.
  • Each fellow is paired with a distinguished Dartmouth faculty member chosen from a broad array of disciplines across Arts and Sciences as well as the professional schools.

Add Mechanisms to Stimulate Greater Productivity and Risk-Taking

  • Beginning in 2014, the Office of the Provost announced two new seed funding programs to initiate and inspire new scholarship, research, and creativity.
  • Pilot Funds encourage new directions of inquiry intended to support the first steps in exploratory and high-impact projects.
  • Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration Funds are larger awards available to support new initiatives that cross institutional and disciplinary boundaries.