As many of you may have seen, the College announced on Monday the creation of The Wright Center for the Study of Computation and Just Communities within the Neukom Institute for Computational Science. The Center honors Susan and Jim Wright, for their long history of broad engagement and strong leadership at Dartmouth and has been made possible by a generous gift from Bill Neukom '64, former trustee of the College. This is the latest gift in Bill's long line of extraordinarily generous giving to Dartmouth. In case you missed it, I encourage you to look at the Dartmouth News article.
The mission of the Wright Center is to engage with the questions and challenges around the ways in which computation intersects with the development of just communities, at all scales and around the world. This is a broad charter and I believe – and hope you agree – an important one. Computation and the technologies and frameworks that it engenders continue to affect societal evolution, both for good and ill. Examples include the effects of seeing "people as data", the rise of surveillance technologies, the uses of social media platforms, information access, data analysis and collection, and the broad relations of computation with health, economics, and the environment. The Center is meant both to be a locus for Dartmouth engagement as well as an arena to intersect with external agencies and foundations working on issues in this space.
The Center has not been born in a fully realized fashion and the examples listed above are hardly exhaustive. They share the property that they can and should be approached in a prismatic fashion, through the full range of the liberal arts, from the arts and humanities to the social and sciences, as well as the engineering, medical, business schools. It is in this spirit that I write to you today to invite your ideas of what the Wright Center could be and what issues, challenges, questions, connections (internal or external) that you could imagine included within the Wright Center. To that end I also write to invite participation in an event (remote), Tuesday, December 15, 1 PM -3 PM, with (volunteered and invited) presentations of scholarly, creative, and pedagogical activity already occurring on campus connected to the mission of the Center. If you are interested in participating or attending this event, please fill in the relevant information in this Google sheet or feel free to email me directly. With this, we will begin conversations that will help shape the Wright Center into a vibrant interdisciplinary locus of globally important work.
With warm regards,
Associate Dean for the Sciences, Dartmouth College
Director, Neukom Institute for Computational Science