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

Annual Report 2018-2019

2018-2019 Staff Recognition

Andrew Samwick Honored for Fifteen Years of Leadership as Director of the Rockefeller Center

Andrew Samwick ’64a was honored at the Rockefeller Center Board of Visitors dinner on May 9, 2019 for his 15 years of leadership as director of the Center. Samwick’s term as director ended on June 30, 2019. The Class of 1964 presented Samwick with the Class of 1964 Outstanding Leadership Award for his work as director since 2004. The Class had adopted Samwick as a member of their class on the occasion of their 50th reunion. They established the Outstanding Leadership Award to honor those who share the class’s belief in the importance of developing young leaders to take on today’s challenges. Samwick is the fifth recipient of the Award.

Alumni Conference 2018

At the heart of the Center’s strategy is a commitment to a connection between alumni, students, staff, and faculty. The Rockefeller Alumni Conference fulfilled that pledge. Over 150 alumni and students came together in May 2019 for “Finding Your Purpose: Leadership, Public Policy, What Matters and Why.” This conference brought the Rocky family together not only to celebrate each other and the mission of the Center, but also the 35th anniversary of the Rockefeller Center and the conclusion of Andrew Samwick’s 15 years as the director.

Bringing the World to Dartmouth

Each year, the Rockefeller Center hosts a robust agenda of public programs to complement students’ learning. These programs offer a close look at public policy and policymaking through the lens of public officials, distinguished scholars, political figures, journalists and other civically engaged leaders and activists. Invited guests serve as an important part of the educational experience for students by often taking the time to visit classes while on campus. During these interactions, they expose students to career experiences, sharing insights and perspectives from their fields.

“The public programs build on the material I learn in my classes, and provide enriching examples of the real-life implications of theoretical studies. I have been surprised by the level of access I have had to famous writers, prominent activists and policymakers, who sit down with us over lunch or dinner and share their experiences and expert knowledge,” says Olivia Bewley ’19.

Faculty Opportunities

Public policy issues are complex and multilayered, spanning multiple disciplines in the academic world. For this reason, the Rockefeller Center has an active program of support for faculty interested in a multidisciplinary approach to research and scholarly collaboration.

Faculty can utilize research grants offered through the Center to fund the beginnings of promising projects. In many cases, the Rockefeller Center’s funding program is able to fund initial research in its exploratory phase that more traditional sources of funding would not approve.

“The Rockefeller Center’s Faculty Research Grant served as seed money that led to our successful proposal,” says Professor Christopher Sneddon of Geography and Environmental Studies. Working alongside Department of Geography colleagues, Coleen Fox and Frank Magilligan, these three scholars aimed to identify key gaps in scholarship surrounding dam removal. “The grant from Rocky was important for allowing us to achieve our research goals.”

Lives of Leadership

The liberal arts education at Dartmouth is the cornerstone, but not the extent, of leadership development. Problem-solving, persuasive communication, and the ability to work in teams are not optional. Faculty and staff at the Rockefeller Center believe these skills can and should be taught, and as President Hanlon has been known to say, deserve to be thought of more as “power skills” than soft skills.

Each of the leadership programs offered at the Rockefeller Center incorporates self-discovery, exposure to relevant theoretical concepts, opportunities to put theory into practice, and time for reflection. Students can expect to walk out of an experience at Rocky having worked in teams to gain the ability to understand their strengths and weaknesses and the kind of impact they can make at an organizational level. Nikki Sachdeva ’15 shares, “Rocky enabled me to practice essential workplace and life skills, such as developing a personal narrative, networking, giving and receiving feedback, and project management. Rocky programs allowed me to reflect on my experiences, ensuring my lessons are neither lost nor forgotten.”

Experiential Learning at the Rockefeller Center

At the Rockefeller Center, academic courses are paired with experiential opportunities so students can put their abstract learning into practice. This integrated model gives students the intellectual framework and the hands-on experience they need to become effective leaders in the world beyond Dartmouth.

Most students start with Public Policy 5: Introduction to Public Policy, where they learn the fundamentals of policymaking. The course serves as a prerequisite to the First-Year Fellows program, which places rising sophomores into summer policy internships with Dartmouth alumni mentors in Washington, D.C. Commenting on the impact of First-Year Fellows, Olivia Brody-Bizar ’21 says, “Experiencing this fellowship early in my college career has changed the trajectory of my future endeavors. Each day presented immense opportunity for growth, both professionally and personally.”

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