Welcoming a New Era

At the May meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Dean Elizabeth Smith championed Dartmouth's campus community and looked towards welcoming Sian Leah Beilock as the institution's 19th president.

Dear colleagues, 

It was a pleasure seeing many of you at our meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences on Monday—our first in-person spring term meeting since 2019! 

For those of you who were unable to join us, I focused my remarks around the theme of "Welcoming a New Era" as we embrace the return of our campus community and welcome Dartmouth's 19th president, Sian Leah Beilock.

People: The heart and soul of Arts and Sciences

To our faculty: You continue to amaze me with prestigious awards, special honors, creative collaborations, and innovations in teaching. Securing the resources we need to meet your highest aspirations for scholarship and teaching remains a top priority for the Dean of Faculty office. 

This year, with support from the Sherman Fairchild foundation, we increased the Burke Award for pre-tenure faculty and created a mid-career award for faculty in the first eight years post-tenure. This development allowed us to raise our annual professional development fund levels for faculty of all ranks. Additionally, for the first time in decades, we increased annual chair stipends—recognizing the key role our department and program chairs play in administration. 

We are also fortunate to have incredibly talented and hard-working staff in Arts and Sciences. Unfortunately, cuts made over the years have put us in danger of staff burnout and ultimately losing those very individuals we depend on to meet the mission of the College. Maria Anderson, our chief finance and operations officer, has begun to assess current staffing levels, our most urgent needs, and professional development opportunities.

As for new members of the faculty who will join us soon, I'm thrilled to report that we're wrapping up a spectacular faculty recruitment season. We have nearly completed 19 faculty searches, including eight in areas that strengthen research and teaching related to racial, cultural, and religious diversity. 

Places: Championing our campus community

This past fall, we re-opened the doors of one of the most iconic buildings on campus, Dartmouth Hall, as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of coeducation at Dartmouth.
I still remember the day I asked President Hanlon to prioritize Dartmouth Hall's renovation. Thanks to his leadership and the largest alumnae-led fundraising campaign in our history, Dartmouth Hall will serve as a nexus point for the transformative liberal arts education we offer for generations to come.
This past winter, the Hop began its transformative $88 million renovation. And this spring, we're celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Class of 1982 Engineering and Computer Science Center, which was just awarded LEED Platinum certification, the highest designation for sustainable design. 

Our campus offers vibrant gathering spaces that serve as focal points for our community. I urge you to make every effort to be present in these spaces, and to take advantage of opportunities to interact with colleagues. We each have a part in nourishing and sustaining our campus community.

Partnerships: Stronger together

As you know, this past fall IDE launched Toward Equity, a three-year plan advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging at Dartmouth. With incredible leadership from Michelle Warren in her role as senior advisor for faculty development and diversity, we are working closely with Shontay Delalue and Chloe Poston in IDE to advance the plan's strategic actions. 
We've made great strides in increasing the diversity of the faculty. But there is still much work to do in terms of faculty retention and ensuring that all feel welcome and included.
Along these same lines, I continue to move forward, albeit more slowly than I'd like, with the Dartmouth Dialogue Project. This interdisciplinary initiative seeks to enable students to engage in respectful, thoughtful, and evidence-based deliberations on the most pressing issues. 
In partnership with center and institute directors across campus and leaders in Student Affairs, we've begun to assess what we're doing in this space and identify the missing pieces we need to provide a cohesive framework to ensure that students will graduate with these crucial skills. I'm aiming for an official launch of this project in the fall.
Many of you have contributed your time and insights to the Arts and Sciences transformation project as thought partners. Here's a brief update on our progress:

  • We completed Phase 1 of information gathering and benchmarking. An enormous amount of information was collected regarding both organizational structures and budget models from peer institutions. 
  • Phase 2, which focuses on evaluating possibilities for both structure and budget, began in late fall and continues into spring term. Based on input from our working groups, executive leadership, and President-elect Beilock, directional organization and budget models are starting to take shape.  

All the while, our Arts and Sciences community is actively establishing a partnership with Sian as we welcome her as Dartmouth's 19th president. She has already invested enormous time and energy into getting to know our faculty, and I have been meeting with her regularly.

In Sian, we are fortunate to welcome not only a new president but also a new faculty member in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Sian brings formidable insights and experience as a researcher, leader, and public intellectual. I hope all of you will attend her formal inauguration on September 22, when we will usher in a new era at Dartmouth.

Finally, I encourage you to view photos of the one-of-a-kind gift created by Associate Professor of Studio Art Tricia Treacy that I presented to President Phil Hanlon and Gail Gentes on behalf of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. We're deeply grateful for their service to the College and look forward to welcoming Phil back to the faculty after his sabbatical.

Thank you for your extraordinary contributions to our community. 

With gratitude and admiration,