Dartmouth Board Appoints Provost Carol L. Folt as Interim President

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The Dartmouth Board of Trustees appointed Provost Carol L. Folt, PhD, as the interim president of Dartmouth, effective July 1, following the election of President Jim Yong Kim to lead the World Bank. President Kim will remain Dartmouth’s president until June 30 and continue to lead Dartmouth through the conclusion of the academic year and Commencement.

Folt

Provost Carol L. Folt, Dartmouth’s chief academic officer and the second-highest ranking College officer, has been appointed interim president by the Board of Trustees. (photo by Rob Bossi)

Board Chair Steve Mandel ’78 said, “The Trustees congratulate President Kim on the tremendous honor of being chosen as president of the World Bank, one of the most critical institutions fighting poverty in the world. We have immense respect for Jim as a leader and human being, and are proud of his contributions at Dartmouth and in the world.”

The appointment of Provost Folt, who is Dartmouth’s chief academic officer and the second-highest ranking College officer, will ensure progress on a range of important initiatives to enhance Dartmouth’s standing and excellence as a leader in higher education. The Trustees will continue to take actions to support these priorities over the coming year in consultation with the interim president.

“We have an exciting year ahead of us, with much work to be done, and are fortunate that Provost Folt has agreed to serve Dartmouth as interim president,” Mandel said. “She will provide leadership to all parts of our campus and continue to lead the strategic planning process, which is a top priority for the Board. She has earned deserved recognition at Dartmouth and beyond for her impressive record of academic leadership and innovative research. She is passionate about Dartmouth and its students, faculty, staff, and alumni. She understands our history, our people and our approach, and brings vital continuity, experience, and enthusiasm. The Trustees all agree that Dartmouth will thrive under Carol’s leadership through this important transitional period.”

Folt, who became Provost in 2009, has been driving Dartmouth’s first institution-wide, faculty-led academic strategic planning process. The initiative has enhanced collaboration and shared mission and provided vital insights into the College’s assets and opportunities. As interim president, she will work closely with the faculty and the Board to ensure this endeavor remains a priority. Folt has informed the Board that she will not be a candidate for the Dartmouth presidency beyond the interim period.

Folt said, “I have had a wonderful opportunity to work closely with President Kim to build on Dartmouth’s traditional strengths and develop new areas during his dynamic presidency. I am honored to lead Dartmouth through this transition, and look forward to working with all members of the Dartmouth community to maintain the vitality of our campus, strengthen existing and new initiatives, and sharpen priorities. Keeping Dartmouth on an ambitious trajectory also will help attract a gifted and vibrant successor to President Kim.”

President Kim said, “Carol’s sure leadership and intimate knowledge of the College make her an outstanding choice for interim president. She is committed to strengthening Dartmouth’s mission of education and research in order to prepare students—and future generations of students—for a rapidly changing world. With Carol at the helm, Dartmouth is poised for a powerful and exciting year.”

Carol L. Folt became the inaugural holder of the endowed faculty chair titled the Dartmouth Professor of Biological Sciences in 2007. She is a distinguished environmental scientist and award-winning teacher who has served as a senior academic leader at Dartmouth since 2001 as dean of Graduate Studies, then as dean of faculty, and now as provost.

Folt and her colleagues study metal toxicity in aquatic ecosystems and its effects on human health, salmon restoration, and global climate change. She has held elected office in international scientific societies and is a frequent participant in federal research panels and other national scientific outreach activities. A recipient of Dartmouth’s Huntington Award for Teaching, she is a committed teacher and advisor, mentoring more than 100 undergraduate and graduate students in her laboratory.

In 2010, Folt was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in recognition of her scientific contributions and her leadership in higher education.  She received a BA in aquatic biology and an MA in biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara; a PhD from the University of California, Davis; and was a postdoctoral fellow at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station. She joined the Dartmouth faculty in 1983.

As Provost, Folt works closely with the president to develop and implement a strategic and financial vision for the entire institution. During the recent financial crisis, President Kim directed Folt and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Steven Kadish to co-lead Dartmouth’s efforts to resolve the $100 million budget gap. As Dean of Faculty, Folt oversaw an unprecedented period of faculty expansion in Arts and Sciences, increased numbers of women and underrepresented minorities in leadership positions and endowed professorships to historic levels, launched new academic programs, intensified support for critical student services, and ensured health care coverage for graduate students.

The Board of Trustees will make a further announcement on Thursday, April 19, regarding the Presidential Search Committee and the appointment of its chair.

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