December 1–4, 2010

The Academic Affairs Committee heard from Michael Mastanduno, dean of Dartmouth’s faculty, about faculty hiring, retention and promotion. Dean Mastanduno noted that there are approximately 400 full-time, tenured, and tenure-track faculty members, of which 75 percent (or roughly 300) are tenured. In addition there are approximately 225 visiting faculty on campus and between 25 and 30 new tenured and tenure-track faculty annually. Forty percent of the faculty members are women and 60 percent are men and 18 percent of the faculty identify themselves as a minority. There is an enrollment of 500 graduate students with about 80 earning PhDs annually. The annual budget for arts and sciences is $450 million, and there are roughly $30 million in grants awarded each year. In all, there are 2,000 courses offered each year. After presenting his overview, Dean Mastanduno fielded a host of questions from the committee members and a somewhat lively discussion ensued, with the dean frequently deferring to other faculty members in attendance. It seems the tone President Jim Kim has set at Dartmouth seems to be incredibly focused on the student experience and the quality of the professors and their teaching. Many questions centered on how professors are recruited, evaluated and retained (or not), and around how the overall curriculum of the College has evolved over time. The dean noted that he makes a point of trying to teach one class every year and that President Kim is 100-percent supportive of this effort and has considered teaching a class himself, as President Kemeny did in the 1970s and early-1980s.

Following Dean Mastanduno’s presentation and the ensuing discussion, the committee heard from three members of the Class of 2011 about their senior research projects. Ilda Bajraktari ’11, with the support of biology professor Mary Lou Guerinot, presented her work on plant seed engineering. Anise Vance ’11, aided by geography professor Richard Wright, then spoke about his project exploring racial identity formation and segregation in Hartford, CT. Kathryn Mammell ’11, with the guidance of classics professor Jeremy Rutter, then gave the committee an update of her project on women and flowers as ancient artistic symbols. The students were quite impressive and all three presentations were greeted with active question-and-answer sessions with the committee. There were a number of questions about the impact of the student projects on students’ career goals and how they perceived their projects in the context of a liberal arts education. Each student was asked what she was planning on doing immediately after graduation and in the next five years.

It was then noted that the committee would host the following lectures at 4 pm in the Rockefeller Center:

  • “Timely, Targeted, and Temporary: Three Years of Stimulus and Bailouts” by Andrew Samwick, the Sandra L. and Arthur L. Irving ’72a, P’10, Professor of Economics and director of the Nelson Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences, in Rockefeller 001;
  • “Succession and Stability in North Korea” by Jennifer Lind, assistant professor of government, in Rockefeller 002; and
  • “The Philosophy of Everything: Being Human in an Imperfect Universe” by Marcelo Gleiser, professor of physics and astronomy and the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy, in Rockefeller 003.