Wright Addresses Faculty

His remarks touched on many things, including but not limited to professor compensation, construction work, the capital campaign, the recent trustee controversy, the quality of Dartmouth’s professors and students, and class enrollment issues. When referencing shortages of tenure tracks in certain departments, Wright said, “enrollment pressures continue and we need to think about how to address them.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise in his speech was the announcement of his intention to revamp sophomore summer:

This is a well-established program that is unique to Dartmouth. But we have not taken advantage of the opportunity. I aspire to make this a showcase of what Dartmouth can do. For over thirty years it has evolved but it has not been strategically and intellectually managed by the faculty and the administration.

I propose a basic conversation about what we might do with this opportunity-we have a class in residence just after they have declared their majors and at a time when there are fewer extracurricular demands on them.

Students by all accounts enjoy the summer terms-and we want them to continue to enjoy it. But let the enjoyment be expanded and enriched: for example, could we schedule classes differently, including three week intensive units? Could we provide for three course credit courses-providing for intensive work in a field of study? Could we take fuller advantage of professional school faculty teaching in summer courses? Could we include during the summer a focus on themes that address the great issues of the day and provide opportunities for students to consider how they can develop as leaders? Can we find ways to integrate around some common themes the remarkable resources of the Hopkins Center, the Hood Museum, the Dickey Endowment, the Rockefeller Center, the Ethics Institute, the Humanities Center, the Montgomery Endowment, the Tucker Foundation? Can we utilize during the summer the experiences that our alumni/ae can bring back to the campus, providing opportunities to bridge theory and practice.

I have asked Dean Folt to work with the faculty to develop initiatives that build upon the unique opportunity we have to share the richness of learning and the responsibility of the learned. We will proceed to raise funds that will secure these initiatives.

At the end of his remarks he also underscored his support for his colleagues in the administration:

I would also like to extend a special salute to my colleagues in the administration and staff. Dartmouth is blessed with an administration and staff that cares deeply about the College, about the experience of the students, and about the work of the faculty. They work extremely hard and imaginatively to provide support for a community that has become larger, richer, more complicated, to sustain a growing infrastructure, and to control costs. All of this happens in a world that is more complex and in an environment marked by regulations and by reports. I regret immensely that some critics abstract these colleagues as “administrators,” as a pejorative description that is used as obstacle or antithesis to what we are about. You know better than this. Try being what we are about without them.

Go here to view the full speech.