The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences


Andrew Samwick Reflects on Time as Head of Rockefeller Center

When asked about his guiding principle as director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy, Andrew Samwick reaches for a piece of paper stuck to the top edge of his computer screen.

“Oh, I can’t take it off, but that’s it,” he says, pointing to the note. “ ‘Educating, training, and inspiring the next generation of public policy leaders.’ And the fact that it seems to be stuck means I’m just going to leave it here for my successor.”

Samwick, the Sandra L. and Arthur L. Irving ’72a P’10 Professor of Economics, concluded his 15-year tenure as the center’s director last week. He joined the faculty in the Department of Economics in 1994 and was named director of the center in 2004. He plans to return to teaching and research. The search for the next director is underway.

Policy Research Shop Takes On the ‘Really Tough Questions’

When students from the Class of 1964 Policy Research Shop (PRS) testified before the New Hampshire House Children and Family Law Committee in Concord last month, they brought the number of nonpartisan policy research reports presented by Dartmouth students to state policymakers in New Hampshire and Vermont to 200 since the program started in 2005.

Compiling the policy briefs—which present relevant legislative history, case law, social science research and other data on all sides of an issue without making any recommendations—helps undergraduates apply classroom learning to the real world of policymaking and legislation, says program creator Professor Ronald Shaiko, senior fellow and associate director of curricular programs at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy, which runs the PRS.

ADUs in Norwich, Vermont


Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar ’88 Visits Campus

On Friday, May 3, 2019, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar ’88 spoke at a fireside chat moderated by Professor Charles Wheelan ’88. The event, fittingly entitled “A Fireside Chat with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar,” was targeted mainly at students. The following morning on Saturday, May 4, Secretary Azar attended a student breakfast, at which he spoke with a group of approximately 30 graduate and undergraduate students. At both events, he largely focused on his career path, his priorities as HHS Secretary, and his advice for students. 

Students at the breakfast represented a wide variety of interests and backgrounds, from healthcare management to practicing medicine to policymaking. This range was reflected in the diversity of their questions, which concerned policy issues like HIV prevention, climate change and epidemic control, the opioid epidemic, e-cigarettes, and outcome-based healthcare, as well as requests for career advice. 

Though he is “cautious of career advice people give about their own paths,” Secretary Azar advised students to view each step in their career path as an opportunity to develop their “personal brand.”

Ukrainian Journalist Sevgil Musaieva Discusses Restoring Trust in Media

On Wednesday, May 22, 2019, Ukrainian journalist, Nieman Fellow, and editor-in-chief of Ukraininan online newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda Sevgil Musaieva gave a talk at the Rockefeller Center titled “Truth is Our Math: How to Restore Trust in Media When the Society is Polarized.” In her lecture and an interview with the Rockefeller Center, Musaieva defended the freedom of the press, shared emotional anecdotes about her career as a journalist in a post-communist country, and discussed her experiences with the evolving nature of truth. 

She tied the history of the USSR to her reporting, noting that the people of her nation, the Crimean Tatars, were deported to Uzbekistan during World War II and only allowed to return to Crimea during the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

“The Tatars were not mentioned in Soviet history books or in Soviet newspapers,” Musaieva said. The fall of the Eastern bloc brought new openness in the media that shed light on the Tatar plight, yet just a few years later, due to the efforts of oligarchs, “the Ukrainian media market was under the control of the authorities and friendly businessmen.”  

Al-Nur's Annual Islam is Green Speaker Series

Every year, Al-Nur holds Islam is Green week in order to present our community of students and faculty the opportunity to do to engage with one another. Our primary aim is to invite notable American Muslim speakers that speak to experiences of both the Dartmouth Muslim community and otherwise. This year, we chose the relevant theme of women in Islam and immigration and intersectionality. The speakers brought in were Azadeh Shahshani and Mariam Rauf.

Azadeh Shahshahani is a notable human rights activist who has worked on the international stage for many years, protecting the rights of the marginalized including particularly the Middle Eastern and South Asian communities. Her presentations were titled, “Waging a Battle for Human Rights:Project South's Protect and Defend Initiative” and “What are my Constitutional Rights?”. They were very helpful to students as they learned about the social justice work done in Southern states to help immigrants. Shahshahani brought up many examples of the Project South group shutting down detention centers that were inhumane towards people.

Spring 2019 MLDP Students in Excellence

Each term the Management Leadership Development Program provides students with the opportunity to reflect on their leadership experience and build the skills to be more effective leaders. At the close of the program, participants are asked to nominate their peers for excellence. When nominating, students are asked to explain why their nominees made their experience in MLDP more beneficial and how their nominees provided an excellent example of leadership during the program. At the end of the term, students must have perfect attendance and be nominated multiple times, by multiple peers to complete the program with excellence. Below are the collaborated comments about those who completed the Management and Leadership Development Program with excellence in Spring 2019.


History Professor Annelise Orleck and Photographer Liz Cooke Discuss Photography and History

On Monday, April 15, 2019, History Professor Annelise Orleck and photographer Liz Cooke gave a talk titled “Photography and History: A Conversation” at the Rockefeller Center, discussing their collaboration on a recently published book, We Are All Fast Food Workers Now: The Global Uprising Against Poverty Wages. The book and its accompanying photography “try to document the new global economy,” according to Orleck. 

Throughout the talk, the two cycled through a variety of photos of “those fighting for a living wage.” Professor Orleck described what she called a shift in perceptions since the 1980s: while companies used to care about their workers and communities, she asserted, now, their “highest priority” is their shareholders. She dates the beginning of the “fight for a living wage’ to 2012, which sparked her interest in this book. 

One image depicted McDonalds workers and “Fight for $15” activist Bleu Rainer showing scars on his arm to the camera. Orleck and Cooke said these scars are present for anyone who had worked at McDonalds and used a fry vat, something that unites otherwise diverse and disparate workers across cultures. 

Building Living Bridges that Drive Positive Social Change

TED talks are timeless for their ability to inspire excitement for lifelong learning and create delight and wonder with ideas that have the power to change the world. In our second iteration of the TEDx conference at Dartmouth, we wanted to focus on how bold ideas can drive positive social impact and social change in the communities we belong to. Our inspiration for choosing the theme “living bridges” first came to us last summer, when we chanced upon photographs of root bridges in India. These living bridges are formed by local communities coming together in a social endeavor to guide the pliable roots of a tree across a river or stream and allowing them to strengthen and grow over time until they can support the weight of a human being. Perhaps what was most interesting to us about these bridges was that they are continuous works in progress as the roots grow and shift over time. As the Dartmouth community “honors our past and inspires our future” in its 250th year, this theme allowed us to highlight the bridges we have built and the bridges we have yet to build together in the years to come.

Prof. Lee Epstein, Washington University in St. Louis, delivers Timbers Lecture

On Thursday, April 11, 2019, The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences hosted a public lecture with Ethan A. H. Shepley Distinguished University Professor Lee Epstein, who is a faculty member at the Washington University in St. Louis Center for Empirical Research in the Law. The Wiliam H. Timbers ’37 Lecture, entitled “The Evolving U.S. Supreme Court,” was co-sponsored by the Dartmouth Lawyers Association and the Dartmouth Legal Studies Faculty Group. 

Prof. Epstein largely focused on how the Kavanaugh nomination will affect the ideological balance of, and decisions made by, the Supreme Court. In forming predictions, she drew on her analyses of ideological trends within the Court, as well as evaluations of the idiosyncrasies of individual Justices.


The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences