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

On a Path from Good to Great

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The Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College was founded in 1983 to commemorate the contributions of Nelson A. Rockefeller ’30 to the life of the nation.

Through promoting multidisciplinary education, skills-training, and public policy-oriented research across the social sciences, the Rockefeller Center’s mission is to inspire and energize undergraduates to become effective leaders in their communities and to cherish and participate in democracy on the state, national, and international stages throughout their lives. By 2008, we seek to honor the centennial of Nelson Rockefeller’s birth and the silver anniversary of the Center by expanding the quality and quantity of its programs to implement a 4-year curricular and co-curricular experience that reaffirms our dedication to creating in each generation those young adults who tackle its unique policy challenges with confidence and compassion.

To reach that goal we will need new resources. The current programs of the Center are designed to carry out specific objectives that correlate with each component of the Center’s mission. After a thorough review, the Center’s Director and its Board of Visitors have concluded that the mission can be furthered with seven new initiatives.

  1. Increasing the number of students who select a career in the public or non-profit sectors, thus enabling them to “cherish and participate in democracy.”
  2. Developing a first-year initiative in Public Policy “to inspire and energize undergraduates” with a signature introductory course on the policy-making process, completion of a Social Science methods pre-requisite, and specifically dedicated summer internship opportunities coupled with special training in civic skills to increase their effectiveness as policy interns.
  3. Expanding and endowing the popular Civic Skills Training program to serve more of Dartmouth’s students, including those who are in leadership positions on campus as well as those taking internships, and to involve more alumni.
  4. Expanding and endowing the highly regarded Rockefeller Leadership Fellows program to offer leadership development opportunities to more students and to do so as early as possible in their time at Dartmouth so that they can “become effective leaders in their communities.”
  5. Enriching Dartmouth’s distinctive Public Policy Minor by converting it into a more intentional plan of study for students who aspire to positions of leadership in the public sector, including new courses in communications and ethics in public policy and multidisciplinary courses in core areas.
  6. Promoting the study of public policy issues through multidisciplinary scholarship by establishing as the Center’s signature scholarly product a series of volumes compiling both the classical and the cutting-edge research findings on a current public policy topic across the social sciences and allied disciplines.
  7. Continuing and enhancing the Policy Research Shop to show students the essential role that objective research plays in the policy process and to involve them directly as participants.

We firmly believe that these initiatives will have a significant impact on Dartmouth and society at large by changing the nature of scholarship to a more multidisciplinary style, encouraging more students to pursue careers for the common good, enriching student life outside the classroom and integrating it more effectively with their classroom experiences, promoting better informed public policy research, and increasing the readiness of young people to become effective leaders in society.

This case statement was produced in May 2006.

Read the full report (PDF).

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