Sadhana Hall, deputy director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences, designs and oversees programs for undergraduate students that focus on leadership, public policy, and civic engagement. She also works with other senior management team members to develop the overall vision and strategic plan for the center.
Job title: Deputy Director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences.
How long have you been at Dartmouth?
September 1 marks my 10th year at the College.
What path brought you to your field?
I met my husband in India and moved to the U.S. in 1981. We supported each other through graduate school with a shared goal of working in public health and international development.
I began my career working in Asia, the Pacific, and the Caucasus for an international NGO. My role was to train staff and community members to implement development programs at the local, state, national, and international levels. I then moved back to the U.S. and worked for the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services, and later joined an international health advocacy and professional membership organization. After years of traveling, being in an academic environment appealed to me and as soon as I met the students and the Rockefeller Center’s staff, I was sold. Rocky became my home, and I have been here at Dartmouth ever since.
In what ways do you want your work at Dartmouth to make a difference?
I hope that the work we do at Rocky inspires, educates, and trains students to identify and pursue their intellectual curiosity and develop their management and leadership competencies along with their personal and professional growth. I believe that self-awareness, teamwork, and being mission driven are keys to being successful professionally, and I really love it when students tell me how our programs have been helpful to them in learning, reflecting on, and applying these concepts.
What advice do you frequently give your students?
In our leadership sessions or even when students come to me for advice about a problem, such as missing a deadline resulting in anger and conflict or disappointing someone by making promises they have not been able to keep, I encourage them to reflect on the part they have played in creating their particular situation in the first place. I often share with students the values that are important to me, such as integrity, authenticity, and respect.
Favorite part of working here?
The students. There is no greater feeling of satisfaction than developing and implementing a public policy or leadership program, a campus-wide event such as a presidential debate or a skills-related workshop that is appreciated by students, and supported by faculty, staff, and the community. The center is vibrant and challenging, with an infectious energy. I also enjoy working with our Rocky staff and faculty and the larger Dartmouth community.
What energizes, intrigues, and keeps you busy away from work?
I love spending time with my husband, my family in the U.S. and in India, and the many students, alumni, and friends who have touched my life. I spend my weekends catching up with my family and my friends from various stages and parts of my life. I also enjoy watching foreign films. I recently watched Children of Heaven, a beautiful, thought-provoking film based in Iran, the kind of film that takes you away from everything.
What book on your nightstand is furthest from the subjects of government and public policy?
I recently read David Finch’s memoir, The Journal of Best Practices. Finch tells his personal, poignant story of coping with Asperger’s and maintaining balance within his family.
Photos by Eli Burakian ’00