Reflecting on Our Successes and Looking Ahead

Elizabeth Smith details her vision for the future as dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences.

Dear colleagues, 
As I reflect on my first five-year term, I'm truly proud of all we accomplished together—even as we navigated extraordinarily turbulent times. Thanks to your dedication and leadership, each crisis became a call to action and an opportunity for positive change. 

Among our many successes, our faculty played a critical role in developing Dartmouth's new sexual harassment and misconduct policy; we doubled down on our DEI efforts, including a new Arts & Sciences position devoted to this important work; we hired more than 100 tenure-line positions and increased the diversity of the Arts & Sciences faculty; several building projects were completed or will be finished soon, including Anonymous, Thornton, Reed, and Dartmouth Halls; and the Call to Lead campaign brought new resources to Arts & Sciences, among them the gift from Kathy and Rick Kimball '78 to advance scholarship and teaching in the arts and humanities and the extraordinary contribution from Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe '81 and John Donahoe '82 supporting the E. E. Just Program and faculty fellows.
Looking ahead to my second term, my guiding principle in leading the Faculty of Arts & Sciences is to create environments where discovery and creativity flourish, accessible to all, and where honor and respect for all perspectives characterizes our interactions with each other and our students. I touch here in brief on key priorities: 
The Arts & Sciences Reorganization Project
As you know, President Hanlon charged me with leading a review of alternative organizational and budgetary models for the arts and sciences division, in collaboration with appropriate stakeholders and governance committees. We aim to align decision making, priority setting, and resource allocation across all units invested in advancing the core undergraduate mission. This enormous undertaking will involve input from numerous key stakeholders, including faculty, staff, students, senior officers, and the board of trustees. 
This project will encompass three phases: information gathering, evaluating the possibilities, and the development of a proposal for a new organization and financial model. Phase one has already begun with the help of Huron Consulting Group, which has started developing a project plan. Much of this information-gathering phase will take place over the summer so that the appropriate faculty committees will be able to begin evaluating potential organization and budget models this fall. 
We've come a long way in renovating a few key buildings during my first term, and there are two additional projects I'd like to focus on in my second term: the Fairchild and Sudikoff buildings. The Sudikoff building will be used for swing space during the Hopkins Center renovation, but once that project is completed, we will have an incredible opportunity to consider a new purpose for a building right in the heart of campus.
DEI and Climate 
While we've made great strides in increasing the diversity of the faculty, faculty retention and ensuring that all feel welcome remain priorities. We're working with Shontay Delalue, senior vice president and senior diversity officer, and her associates in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, to determine the most effective faculty support. This support will likely include professional development opportunities for chairs, which many of you requested. 
I urge you to read our report regarding faculty recruitment and demographics, which notes our accomplishments and lays out future work.
Dartmouth Dialogue Project 
The current political climate makes it clear that we must do much more to prepare our students to engage effectively with perspectives different from their own. An initiative I'm calling the Dartmouth Dialogue Project will be guided by two principles: First, early and ongoing exposure to the best practices of respectful dialogue by those who embrace it in their personal and professional lives will be an essential component of training. And second, practicing the skills of respectful listening and speaking, including constructive feedback, will be a crucial element of inculcating this core capacity.
I'd like to assess what we're doing in this space and then determine what is needed to ensure that students will graduate with these vital skills that seem to be in such scarce supply.  
Looking ahead, I'm truly excited about what we can achieve together. Because of your remarkable dedication to our students and to the arts and sciences, I'm confident we will advance these ambitious plans together. 
With gratitude and admiration, 

Elizabeth F. Smith
Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences