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Thayer Dean Helble to Become Provost

Joe Helble1.jpgThayer Dean Joe Helble has been named by Phil to the Provost’s position. The College press release lists his achievements — and they are real, for a change — as the very active dean of Dartmouth’s School of Engineering:

During Helble’s tenure, the engineering school has seen a sharp increase in the percentage of engineering graduates who are women. In 2016, Dartmouth granted 52 percent of its undergraduate engineering degrees to women, making it the first national research university to award more bachelor’s degrees in engineering to women than to men. The national average is 20 percent.

At the same time, overall popularity of engineering at Dartmouth has also grown, with currently more than 70 percent of undergraduates enrolling in at least one engineering or computer science course. Unlike any other engineering school in the U.S., candidates for a bachelor’s degree in engineering at Dartmouth must also earn an undergraduate degree in the liberal arts, a requirement that has been in place for more than 50 years.

Says Helble, “a grounding in the liberal arts creates the context for understanding engineering problems and helps students learn to ask broader questions and develop deeper critical thinking skills.”

Under Helble’s leadership, engineering enrollment in Thayer’s undergraduate and PhD programs has doubled, and the school created the nation’s first doctoral-level engineering innovation program to address the growing need for people with high-level technical and entrepreneurial expertise.

Also new are exchange programs in Asia and Denmark; a modified major with public policy for those interested in careers in public service; summer design programs for middle and high school students interested in exploring engineering; short courses taught over winter break for Dartmouth and Thayer students interested in exploring a technology-focused topic; and a biomedical engineering sciences major for engineering students interested in attending medical school. Thayer has also seen research funding grow to record levels, and the number of tenure-track faculty has grown as well.

As provost, Helble will be positioned to ensure continuity in the west end development, where Dartmouth will integrate engineering, the computer science department, and the new Magnuson Family Center for Entrepreneurship, a new 160,000-square-foot facility.

When Joe was appointed to his fourth term as head of Thayer last summer, we suggested that he’d make a pretty good President of the College. I wonder if the audience was listening. It does not seem like Phil to have hired a gray-haired, heterosexual white man, but then maybe Phil did not make the decision.

Addendum: My mailbox has been full of positive comments on Joe Helble’s appointment from members of the faculty. In addition, a witty alumnus writes in:

If Phil wants to decrease the number of older, heterosexual white men in the College’s administration, I know exactly where he can start…


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