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

Recap

Food for Thought Dinner: Should We Abolish Marriage?

At The Thought Project’s “Food for Thought Dinner” with Professor Sonu Bedi, students were challenged to critically examine the existing political and social norms surrounding marriage in the US and to question what role the State should play in sanctioning relationships. Professor Bedi raised the question, why should the State reward one particular, romantic form of relationship, as exists in marriage, and not recognize a non-romantic, loving relationship between siblings with the same benefits?

This discussion topic was thought-provoking and controversial; during the open discussion portion of the evening, several students expressed differing points of view on the topic of marriage, some supporting and some disputing Professor Bedi’s argument that the legal sanctioning of romantic relationships over different types of relationships should be abolished. The energy in the room was electric as students engaged deeply with each other, with Professor Bedi, and with these big questions.

Christine Dong '19 on Management and Leadership

The Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) is a one-term program that prepares students to succeed in all of their management and leadership endeavors.

Christine Dong '19, an economics and English major, participated in the Dartmouth Leadership Attitudes & Behaviors Program (D-LAB), a program for first year students, which discusses leadership at Dartmouth. She then joined MLDP in the fall of her sophomore year to build upon the skills that she acquired in D-LAB. MLDP proved to be the perfect vehicle for Christine's continued learning experience.

During the program, Christine was especially inspired during the session facilitated by Jennifer Sargent, J.D. and visiting Associate Professor of Writing. Sargent discussed different styles of leadership and the fact that both introverts and extroverts can be leaders. An introvert herself, Christine had always viewed leaders as extroverted. Sargent's session, titled "Using Your Strengths for Effective Professional Communication" helped Christine understand that introverts have valuable leadership strengths, such as being good at listening to others and self-reflection.  

The Thought Project: The Value of A Liberal Arts Education

A few weeks ago, The Thought Project was joined by Professor Gaposchkin for a dinner discussion on the importance of a liberal arts education. As was rightly noted, most of us in the room already were already convinced of its critical role. Nevertheless, it was a welcome opportunity to pause and reflect on bigger questions that normally escape us during busy terms. At the dinner’s conclusion, I was left with perhaps more questions than I had at its beginning, but still felt as if I had progressed just by welcoming these new questions for contemplation.

The Thought Project: The Value of A Liberal Arts Education

A few weeks ago, The Thought Project was joined by Professor Gaposchkin for a dinner discussion on the importance of a liberal arts education. As was rightly noted, most of us in the room already were already convinced of its critical role. Nevertheless, it was a welcome opportunity to pause and reflect on bigger questions that normally escape us during busy terms. At the dinner’s conclusion, I was left with perhaps more questions than I had at its beginning, but still felt as if I had progressed just by welcoming these new questions for contemplation.

Creative Collaborations in Leadership

Having taken Design Thinking (ENGS 12) with Professor Robbie last winter, I was especially excited for his RLF session on creative collaborations. As Robbie said himself during this session, we live under the illusion of normalcy, but we are really in a time of revolution – the ability to work in teams and practice innovation is more important than ever. 

Intercultural Communication Through Language Perceptions

“Do they teach you English in school?”, “Do your parents speak in English too? (Yes.) As well as you do?” or “Why don’t you have more of an accent?” are only some questions I have received as an Indian student at Dartmouth. They helped me understand how language was an integral element that informed one’s cultural identity, and the way one interacts with his/her environment. As I walked into Ms. Anya’s session on Intercultural Communication, I believed myself to be adequately cognizant of what it meant to communicate across cultures, but boy was I wrong.

Solving 21st Century Problems Demands Intercultural Competence

This RGLP session focused on Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art, something I had never heard of before. As the instructor, Fabio “Fua” Nascimento, led us through a number of activities, I started to piece together what Capoeira was: both the physical activity, and the cultural history and significance behind it. 

One of the parts of the program that I found especially thought-provoking was the partner-dance component.  Each person was paired with a partner of the opposite sex, and our instructor stressed the importance of physical closeness, in order to communicate via body language, rather than spoken words.  We were all awkward and self-conscious in the beginning, but by the end of the dancing segment, I felt as though we had gotten into the swing of things, so to speak.

Alex Adams '18 on Management and Leadership

The Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) is a one-term program that prepares students to succeed in all of their management and leadership endeavors.

Alex Adams '18, a biology modified with public policy major, participated in MLDP during the spring of her sophomore year. She joined the program because she wanted to learn new skills that would help her to expand her leadership role within the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and the National Society of Black Engineers at Dartmouth.

Alex credits MLDP with encouraging her to take initiative and share her opinion. “MLDP helped me learn that my voice matters. Even if I’m not the ‘leader’ of a group, I can still adopt a leadership role,” says Alex. Recently, Alex used her voice to encourage her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, to be more involved in community service.

Don't Go It Alone

This past week, we were excited to have Alison Fragale, Dartmouth Class of 1997, join us at our Rockefeller Leadership Fellows (RLF) session. Alison’s session, entitled “Don’t go it alone: Effective delegation and empowerment for leaders”, engaged the fellows with a variety of effective learning experiences. First, Alison has the fellows dive into a group activity. Students were split into managers and production teams and were tasked with putting back together a square following a very specific plan that only the managers could see. The managers had to figure out how communicate effectively with the production team about how to build the shape before the “production” process of reassembling the figure could begin. As Alison explained after the activity, the job of a manager is to “get people to draw their own diagram” rather than just explain things to them. This lesson resonated with us and got us all thinking about how to inspire the people we lead to make their own understanding of how to do something.

The Art of Capoeira, Living Within Oneself

Our RGLP cohort gathered at Rocky as usual, but our regular garb was replaced by sweatpants and sneakers and there was an apparent anxiety on everyone’s faces.  We did not address this anxiety as we joked around and walked across campus to the gym.  Tension was building as we finally entered a room where a slim man with long dreadlocks stood smiling at us.  His smile was infectious and it almost seemed that he could not help his mouth from spreading into that position if he were to let it sit for any number of seconds.  We gathered in a circle, shoeless and unprepared for what was to come.  There were pieces of paper on the floor with foreign words on them and the video sample of the capoeira we were about to partake in showed people chanting and doing flips in a circle.  I had no idea what I was doing.

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