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Folt and the Research Center for Women’s and Gender Studies
The Valley News has a report on Carol Folt’s accession to the interim-Presidency. At the end of the piece, in perhaps and inadvertant and exciting slip (my eye), Professor Annabel Martin comments on an initiative that could well be contained in Folt’s upcoming strategic plan: a research center for women’s and gender studies:
Folt also thinks big and encourages others to do the same, said Annabel Martin, chairwoman of the department of women’s and gender studies.
As part of the strategic planning process, Martin and her colleagues had been talking about establishing a new research center for women’s and gender studies. Folt not only gave Martin the resources to visit similar centers at other schools, but also convinced her to think bigger: Rather than focus solely on undergraduate programs, Folt urged Martin to consider having the center include the entire campus by involving the business, medical and engineering schools.
“Carol has been inspirational,” Martin said. “We had a very small plan and she made us think big.”
Now this is exciting, don’t you agree? Next up we’ll have a research center for sustainability, and then one for diversity, and then global health after that. Talk about pushing the edge of the envelope. Way to go interim-President Folt.
Addendum: A young alumnua writes in with a comment:
Regarding your post on the Professor Martin’s comments about Carol Folt, I wanted to underscore how troubling this is. Professor Martin taught my Introduction to WGST course, which I took as a senior. As a fairly progressive person, I am no stranger to the concepts of feminism and equal rights, and have no objection to them. But Professor Martin’s course was the single worst — the most unprofessionally conducted — class I took at Dartmouth. Professor Martin was often intolerant of debate and routinely shut down students who would argue with her views. She also made apparent that she distrusts empiricism of the scientific hue, which made introducing statistical, social-scientific research nigh impossible. As a future academic, I understand academic freedom, but Professor Martin’s class was a step too far. The idea that Professor Martin could be charged with a major research center is troubling indeed.
Addendum: In response to a reader comment, let me say that this space meant no disrespect in the above post to women’s and gender studies, sustainability, diversity, and global health. However, if Dartmouth’s strategic plan is meant to move the College into new and innovative areas, research centers in such fields would hardly be evidence of the originality for which the College should strive.
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