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Thayer, Geisel Deans Plan for the Future

Mar 16, 2016   |   by Bill Platt   |   Dartmouth Now

Transitions at Thayer School of Engineering and the Geisel School of Medicine—expansion at Thayer and reorganization at Geisel—were the topics at a town hall meeting this week.

Joe Helble at Town Hall Meeting

From left, Thayer School of Engineering Dean Joseph Helble, Geisel School of Medicine Interim Dean Duane Compton, and Executive Vice President Rick Mills take questions from the audience at a town hall meeting in Spaulding Auditorium on Wednesday. (Photo by Robert Gill)

Geisel Interim Dean Duane Compton and Thayer Dean Joseph Helble told an audience of about 120 that the schools are preparing students to be future leaders during a time of rapid change in their fields. The meeting was led by Executive Vice President Rick Mills, who holds regular town hall sessions for the Dartmouth community. ...

... Thayer’s Helble said the next few years would be pivotal for education in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. U.S. competitiveness, he said, is often linked to producing more STEM graduates at the expense of the liberal arts. He rejected the notion that they are in opposition. “This is often represented as a trade-off. That is a false dichotomy,” he said.

Thayer’s greatest strength is its grounding in the liberal arts, and the school’s plans to expand faculty and to begin new construction are undertaken with the idea that every Dartmouth undergraduate should be able to have a hands-on experience with engineering, he said. At the same time, the school is seeing many more “modified” engineering majors.

“Students are graduating from Thayer with degrees in engineering modified with physics, with public policy, or with studio art,” Helble said. The school vigorously encourages students to integrate entrepreneurship in all fields, which will lead the way in a world that is being rapidly transformed by connected, integrated technology, he said.

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