Great Issues Scholars PDF Print E-mail




Spend your first year on campus exploring

some of the most vital international issues of the day.  

Great Issues Scholars participate in a year-long series of highly interactive events aimed at enhancing understanding of the world and the many challenges we face.  It is an unparralled opportunity to connect with faculty, visiting experts, and other students around complex global issues.  No prior experience is necessary, but applicants should be:

  • curious about the world and interested in raising their global awareness
  • ready to have FUN and learn alongside their peers
  • commited to attending 3-5 Great Issues Scholars events per term

Students are eligible for the program only in their freshman year of undergraduate study at Dartmouth.  Interested students must apply to the program. Selected students are expected to attend a minimum of twelve (12) Great Issues Scholars events over the course of the year ( approx. 3-5 events per term). APPLICATIONS are due by midnight, Wednesday, September 18th.


Scholars start the year with a weekend retreat which allows the group to build friendships, get a foundational understanding of the program, and to begin working & learning together.  From there, Scholars split into two teams-- or "cohorts"-- that will gather for events around particular themes.  Each term, the program theme shifts and a new topic will be introduced.

Themes explored this year:

  • COHORT 1: Security (Fall), Health (Winter), Gender (Spring)
  • COHORT 2: Environment (Fall), Development (Winter), Security (Spring)

ALL Scholars will gather together for one- two shared events per term.  In the fall the group gathers for a welcome reception and the annual retreat.  In the winter, the whole group will participate in a shared reading and follow-up discussion with the author.  In the spring, all Scholars will participate in a "policy brief" writing workshop and final reception.

Helping to thread together the many events of the year are a team of peer mentors-- former Scholars who have returned to help lead the program in their sophomore year.  Mentors bring Scholars together for small group discussions, socials, help host events with visiting guests or faculty, and provide insights into the many (and varied) ways one can link the GIS program content to the larger "Dartmouth Experience."

Scholars attend 3-5 events per term/theme for a total of 12+ events for the year.  In completing this requirement, Scholars will:

  • talk with multiple Dartmouth faculty from a range of disciplines about their international research and work
  • engage with visiting experts and scholars from around the globe
  • learn about various academic paths that can lead to greater global understanding-- regardless of your major/minor
  • establish a peer network based on shared interest in global issues


Each term the program theme will shift and a new topic will be introduced for Scholars to explore. A few highlights for this year's program:

  • Global crisis simulation designed by US State Department "war games" expert
  • Special access tour of ice core research labs and an examination of the science of climate change
  • Lecture & private discussion with Carol Graham of the Brookings Institute on the "economics of happiness"
  • Afternoon discussion with General "Mad Dog" Mattis
  • Conversations with indigenous community leaders about their role in environmental issues that are impacting their lands and way of life
  • Termly lunch discussions with faculty in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities about their global research and its relevance
  • Meet interactive global health game designers to learn how this interactive medium is used to educate individuals and communities about important public health issues
  • Workshop with global leader in social change at the grassroots level-- with a special look at working with women in post-conflict communities
  • HOOD Museum special collections event-- looking at art and activism on global issues
  • Student panels on research & internship opportunities in a range of international fields
  • Special lecture and visit with Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State
  • Conversation with David Hamlin, Award-winning National Geographic Filmmaker and Producer
  • AND SO MUCH MORE... there are simply FAR too many amazing programs lined up to list them all here!


Program sounds amazing right?  It really is!  But you may still have some questions, so here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Is this a class? No, GIS is not a class and you will not receive academic credit for participating.  However, it is designed to complement the academic experience of a first year student.  Most Scholars find that GIS helps shape their academic trajectory at Dartmouth-- either confirming they are on the right major/minor path, or opening up new pathways for exploration.

Why do I have to attend so many events?  Regular participation in the program ensures that you will begin to see the term's theme from a variety of viewpoints and hear differing approaches/ opinions.  It also means you will have more opportunity to get to know your fellow Scholars.  We do take attendance at each scheduled event and track completion of the attendance requirement.

What do I get for completing the program? You get a very cool certificate and a pin, but more importantly, you will have built a network of peers, mentors, and faculty in areas of shared interest.  It's also a great addition to your resume!

How many students are selected for the program? In past we were only able to accept 50 students per year.  This year, we are expanding and taking on TWO cohorts of 50 Scholars each.  So we are looking for 100 Scholars to join the program.

How many students apply? Each year we see approximately 12-15% of the first year class apply-- so about 150-175 students.  We never know until the applications are in just how many will want to participate, but (see above), we are able to take twice as many students this year!!

I am an athlete, will I still be able to participate even if I have practice and games away? MANY athletes participate in the program.  So do students with campus jobs and other out-of-class commitments.  We intentionally vary the event days/times so that you can pick the events that work in your schedule.  This is also why we plan 6-8 events per term but the attendance requirement is 3-5 per term/ 12 in the year.  This allows flexibility for other commitments such as classes and extra curriculars.

I am super awesome but I haven't had any international experience, will I have a shot at getting in? Of course!  We love super awesome people and we welcome ALL applications.  In fact, we look for a mix of participants that come from around the world, from various backgrounds, and with various levels of prior experience or study of international issues.  We are all here to learn together!

If I still have more questions, where can I find answers? Stop in and see us at the Dickey Center-- first floor of Haldeman-- we'd be glad to talk with you.  During Orientation we will also host an open house: Thursday, Sept. 12th from 12-1 at the Center.  You can also meet our team during orientation from 1-2:30pm on Tuesday, Sept. 11th in Filene Auditorium as part of the "Globalizing Your Dartmouth Education" program (and we'll be giving away good swag).  Finally, you can e-mail Amy Newcomb ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) at the Dickey Center-- Amy coordinates the program and can link you with mentors and others who can share their experience in the program if you are wanting to talk to others who have been involved.


© 2012 The Dickey Center for International Understanding
6048 Haldeman Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755
603.646.2023 •