Dartmouth Helps Found a Global Network of Universities

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MNU LogoDartmouth College is one of seven founding members of a new global network of universities, the Matariki Network of Universities (MNU).

The coalition was launched to increase opportunities for member institutions to share ideas, expertise, and best practices.

The other partner institutions are Durham University (founded in 1832) in England; Queen’s University (1841) in Canada; University of Otago (1869) in New Zealand; University of Tübingen(1477) in Germany; University of Western Australia (1911) in Australia; and Uppsala University (1477) in Sweden. (Dartmouth was founded in 1769.)

“We’re proud to partner with these wonderful universities,” says Carol Folt, Dartmouth’s provost and dean of the faculty of Arts and Sciences. “Dartmouth has a long tradition of casting a liberal arts education in international terms, and every day our students and faculty collaborate with people around the world. It’s natural for Dartmouth as an institution to express our interest in learning from these scholarly communities.”

Folt and Lindsay Whaley, Dartmouth’s associate dean for international and interdisciplinary programs, helped form the group which met in Durham, England, in February. Whaley says, “These are premier institutions, and given our common commitment to high impact research and quality undergraduate teaching, I foresee a range of productive collaborations.”

Members of the Matariki Network of Universities

Leaders of seven higher education institutions around the world gathered in Durham, England in February 2010 to form the new Matariki Network of Universities. Front row, from left: David Skegg, vice-chancellor, Otago; Sarah Todd, pro-vice-chancellor, Otago; Anoush Ehteshami, dean, Durham; Carol Folt, provost and dean of faculty, Dartmouth. Second row: John Dixon (purple tie), associate vice-principal, Queen's; Chris Higgins (purple and black tie), vice-chancellor, Durham; Daniel Woolf (red tie), principal, Queen's. Last row: Bernd Engler (red tie), rector, Tubingen; Kay Svensson, director of international studies, Uppsala; Lindsay Whaley, associate dean for international and interdisciplinary programs, Dartmouth; Wolfgang Mekle, (glasses), vice provost, Tubingen; Bill Louden (back far right), senior deputy vice chancellor, UWA. (Photo courtesy Matariki Network of Universities.)

Potential activities include student exchange, postgraduate programs, research collaboration, and cultural and sporting activities. A workshop on alternative energy sources hosted by Queen’s University is planned for October 2010.

As stated on the MNU website, the seven institutions “are a select group of outstanding universities,” where “excellence in research and education take equal priority; where leading researchers are directly engaged in all aspects of teaching.” The partners are also “amongst the oldest and foremost places of learning in its respective country” and are distinguished by their “close-knit” communities.

The group’s name, “Matariki,” is the Maori (the indigenous people of New Zealand) name for the group of seven stars, also known as the Pleiades star cluster. Dartmouth students and faculty have a long-standing relationship with the Maori, as they collaborate with them on the anthropology and linguistics and cognitive science Foreign Study Program in Auckland, New Zealand.