Annual Meeting of the Faculty

This afternoon, the Faculty of the Arts and Sciences voted by an overwhelming majority to revise the World Culture Requirement. Under the previous requirements, all Dartmouth students must take a course in each of three cultural category: European, North American and Non-Western. The revised requirements entail combining the European and North American category into one all-encompassing category of Western Cultures. The Non-Western requirement is merely modified, now known as Non-Western Cultures. This despite a motion by Ifi Amadiume proposing that this category be called “Counter-Western Culture.” The third revision was to add a requirement for a course in a new category, “Culture and Identity.”

One professor questioned whether there were courses which fulfilled the new category. A Women’s Studies professor immediately listed several potential courses. However, it is the job of the individual professor to decide in which category his course will fit. The guidelines are intentionally vague in order to facilitate this.

Several professors were adamant in their opposition to the modified categories. One called them “too politicized and too retrograde.” Bruce Nelson criticized the proposal as arbitrarily categorizing all culture into two categories.

Other highlights of this meeting included Jamshed Bharucha’s first and last Annual Report. He listed several accomplishments, including a mentoring program for minority faculty, the hiring of four grant specialists to coach professors with the daunting task of applying for research grants. He also announced the creation of a research center for Native American Studies.

The gathered faculty also heard from Dean of Admissions, Karl Furstenberg. He reported on his perennial success in gathering the strongest class in Dartmouth’s history, with a “very high” yield rate of 53% and almost one third composed of “students of color.” He also defended Dartmouth’s early decision policy, citing its low rate of 35%, compared with Harvard’s 60%.