Welcome to Dartmouth's most influential daily
Each day, Dartblog and its team of alumni and students bring you news and commentary from Hanover and the world at large. Read our iPhone edition here.
The Latest Posts
Last year a great deal of attention was paid to the fact that all four of the College’s valedictorians were bound for banking and consulting, as follows:
Wills Begor ‘12: Morgan Stanley
Glynnis Kearney ‘12: McKinsey & Co.
David Rogg ‘12: Goldman Sachs
Jie Zhong ‘12: Goldman Sachs
This year the mix is somewhat more varied:
Maura Farley ‘13 (major: History): “After graduation, she will move to New York City to join the investment group at BlackRock as a credit analyst.”
Josh Kornberg ‘13 (major: Government): Josh “will go on to work as an investment associate at Bridgewater Associates in Westport, Connecticut.”
Joel Malkin ‘13 (major: Linguistics, and Classical Languages and Literatures): Joel “completed his United States Marine Corps officer candidate school during his first-year and junior summers and received his commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marines on Saturday of Commencement weekend. After graduation he will train as a USMC pilot.”
Anna Morenz ‘13 (major: Anthropology modified with Spanish with a minor in Chemistry): Anna is now working as a medical foster care caseworker in New York City for the Children’s Aid Society. After her year-long fellowship, she plans to go to medical school.
Marina Romani ‘13 (major: Biology): Marina “completed the pre-med curriculum at Dartmouth but realized through a variety of other classes that her calling is in bioethics and health law. She plans to pursue this interest next year at [the] Yale Law School.”
As for the two Salutatorians (3.99):
Anuj Gupta ‘13 (major: Economics): Anuj “plans to work at the management consulting firm Oliver Wyman in New York City.”
Vero Lecocq ‘13 (major: Theater, and Linguistics modified with French): Vero “plans to pursue roles in regional theater and then work teaching and coaching theater with high school students in the Marshall Islands.”
Addendum: As I recall it, my class’ valedictorian, Elizabeth Procter-Gray ‘79, the College’s first female valedictorian, had a 3.99 GPA. We all wondered about the identity of the professor who accorded her an A-. This year’s two salutatorians also suffered from one A-. Neither of them responded to my e-mail asking the name of their tough-grading professorial nemesis and the course in question. Does anyone know?
Professor Benjamin Ginsberg of Johns Hopkins, a Dartblog favorite, has long been on a crusade against administrative bloat and associated sillinesses like strategic plans. Sound familiar? In a recent piece in Minding the College, he suggests that we centralize college administrations on a national level via MOOAs (his acronym) because college administrations do little more than copy each other:
As colleges begin using massive open online courses (MOOC) to reduce faculty costs, a Johns Hopkins University professor has announced plans for MOOA (massive open online administrations). Dr. Benjamin Ginsberg, author of The Fall of the Faculty, says that many colleges and universities face the same administrative issues every day. By having one experienced group of administrators make decisions for hundreds of campuses simultaneously, MOOA would help address these problems expeditiously and economically. Since MOOA would allow colleges to dispense with most of their own administrators, it would generate substantial cost savings in higher education…
Asked if this “one size fits all” administrative concept was realistic given the diversity of problems faced by thousands of schools, Ginsberg noted that a “best practices” philosophy already leads administrators to blindly follow one another’s leads in such realms as planning, staffing, personnel issues, campus diversity, branding and, curriculum planning. The MOOA, said Ginsberg, would take “best practices” a step further and utilize it to realize substantial cost savings.
Ginsberg pointed to the realm of strategic planning. He said that thanks to to the best practices concept, hundreds of schools currently use virtually identical strategic plans. Despite the similarities, however, these plans cost each school hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars to develop. The MOOA would formalize the already extant cooperation by developing one plan that could be used by all colleges…
According to Ginsberg, another place where the MOOA concept is immediately relevant is “branding.” Following contemporary business models, hundreds of schools pay consulting firms hundreds of thousands of dollars to help them improve their “brand” identities. The results of these expensive individual efforts often seem quite similar.
Ginsberg has named his MOOA “Administeria,” and plans to begin operations in early 2014. He admits that widespread use of MOOAs could result in substantial unemployment among college bureaucrats. However, he noted that their skill sets make them qualified for work in such burgeoning industries as retail sales, hospitality, food services, event planning, and horticultural design.
Ginsberg’s tongue-in-cheek piece would be funny if he weren’t accurately describing the waste of many millions of dollars that could have been spent on students’ education.
Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Mike Mastanduno outlined a number of curricular changes approved by the Faculty. First, based on the principle that every academic credit is precious, transfer terms (which are not part of Dartmouth’s Off Campus Programs) are being closely scrutinized, and before embarking on a term at another university, a student must apply for approval, and then, only five students can participate during any term on such program (thereby ending most of the “Semesters at Sea”).
It’s not hard to see what is going on here. Students are having trouble getting into certain LSAs and FSPs, and they have discovered that other schools’ programs are a fair bit cheaper than Dartmouth’s offerings. Places like Portland State offer language quarters than can save students $7-8 thousand in tuition alone, and these programs are flexible enough that whole groups of Dartmouth students can join together for a trip (the above photo shows a happy bunch of Dartmouth ‘14 football players in Spain with Portland State). The end result (horror of horrors): the College loses money.
This trend has been on an upswing: while the total number of Dartmouth students participating in off-campus programs has remained roughly stable at 58%-63% since 2008, the number of students enrolling in foreign programs with other schools has jumped from 4% of undergrads in 2008 to 10% in 2012 — leaving only 48% of Dartmouth students in the College’s own programs:
The entire decline in the number of students on Dartmouth’s foreign programs has occurred in Language Study Abroad quarters:
How did the administration respond to these changes? First, the Dean’s Office transfer fee for non-College programs went from $25 to $1,250. And now groups of more than five students are banned from joining together to participate in programs run by other schools.
A more thoughtful set of academic leaders (this means you, Phil) would respond differently. Don’t try to stop students from doing what they want to do; get them to do something better. The simple solution to all of these problems lies in making participation in a Dartmouth off-campus program obligatory for all students.
This idea works on every level: all students will then graduate with international experience, a modern-world necessity; we can ensure that they participate in quality Dartmouth programs, not credit-mill, college-lite affairs; programs can be scheduled for fall and spring to relieve peak-term housing pressure on campus (making the reinstitution of dorm continuity that much easier); and, happy surprise, the College will make money on the whole shebang.
Of course, we’ll need greater participation from professors in the new programs, but there is a lot of support for greater foreign study, at least from parts of the faculty. And while they’re at it, everyone involved can ramp up the rigor of language programs. Let’s have LSA — not LSPLAY. This positive change to the College’s academic life could be implemented; all we need is a leader.
Even as New York City debates the merits of the new Citibikes, the Vélib has become a central part of Paris urban life. Two big problems (to mimic the old Yiddish joke): the bikes are unreliable, and there are not enough of them.
But when they are to be found, everyone uses them, from Dartmouth alumni to stylish women of a certain age. This Parisienne, with her elegantly relaxed haircut, carries a leather hobo bag, and she is wearing an informal top with a hood, stylish jeans and ballet flats (according to my wife). The lady wasn’t making very good time, though; my daughter and I whizzed right by her.
Of course, like everyone here, she is not wearing a helmet (according to a NYT story, “The European Cyclists’ Federation says that bicyclists in its domain have the same risk of serious injury as pedestrians per mile traveled.”), though unlike everyone, she was chatting on her iPhone while riding. Bienvenue en France.
I am investigating whether the Trustees eat only foods from companies owned by themselves when they meet in Hanover. Are they locavores, at least in terms of ownership, if not geography?
If so, then they can choose from a range of dairy and soy products produced by Gregg Engles ‘79’s Dean Foods. As we have noted, Engles made the New York Times not too long ago in a lengthy article in which he was accused of all manner of debatable business practices.
Accompanying such goodness would be Twinkies, Hohos and Ding Dings from buccaneer Leon Black ‘73, who recently left the Board. Black’s Apollo Management Group saved the maker of these wholesome treats, Hostess Brands, from oblivion by recently taking over the bankrupt company.
At least, the Board’s assembled luminaries will be able to toast themselves with a decent champagne. Leclerc-Briant Champagne, owned by Denise Dupré ‘80 and her husband, Bain Capital’s Mark Nunnelly, is a fine, biodynamically produced wine.
Things continue to move forward at Tuck:
Former U.S. Senator Judd Gregg, former New Hampshire Governor John Lynch, and former White House speechwriter Matthew Rees will join the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth July 1 as senior fellows at the Center for Global Business and Government.
“It is truly an honor to have Judd Gregg, John Lynch, and Matthew Rees join the Center for Global Business and Government,” said Matthew Slaughter, faculty director of the center and the associate dean of faculty at Tuck. “Together, they bring enormous breadth of insight into the interactions between public policymakers and the private sector grounded in their experiences as senior leaders in government, business, and the media.”
At Tuck, their duties will include working with the center to further develop and enrich the school’s connections to expert practitioners in the private and public sectors, as well as overseeing research and analysis projects conducted with MBA students on subjects at the intersection of global business and government. The appointments of Gregg, Lynch, and Rees will further expand opportunities for Tuck MBA students and alumni interested in areas such as market regulation, fiscal policy, and management.
Let’s hope that Phil Hanlon has equal success in attracting top-quality professors to the College. It’s been a while since we’ve had a similar announcement at the College. In fact, I can’t remember when the last one occurred, though I do recall news of first-class talent moving in the opposite direction.
When Jim Kim first became the College’s President in 2009, his inauguration ceremony was quite a production. Though the term Second Coming was never evoked, the idea was in the air, and for a short period of time all concerns about the College’s supposed $100M budget shortfall were forgotten. Pilobolus played at the Hopkins Center, and a wide range of all-expenses-paid speakers praised Jim Kim as the Third World’s savior. Accuracy be damned (Kim was much more Paul Farmer’s slick-talking acolyte than anything else); the core message was clear from the start: we were very lucky that Kim was going to grace the Hanover Plain with his presence — for however brief a visit.
So what is Phil Hanlon going to do for an inauguration? All of a sudden he is President and seemingly hard at work, but there is still plenty of time for him to choose how he’d like to be celebrated, too. Kim’s big show occurred around Convocation, which should take place in mid-September this year, so Phil has some decisions to make.
Here’s to Phil being modest. The contrast with Kim will not pass unnoticed. Instead of wasting money on a big event, our new President should spend his time with students and faculty, and prepare for the major reforms ahead. The College has had enough of celebrities and self-congratulation.
Addendum: Though Phil’s cap in the above picture does resemble a freshman beanie, that tradition mercifully failed with the Class of 1973 (though an alum writes in to say it was the Class of ‘74); Phil is a ‘77.
Addendum: Right on time, the below just arrived in my in-box:
A cookout seems an appropriate, down-home touch.
Addendum: An alum writes in:
The inaugural cookout is, I’ll venture to say, a long contemplated master stroke. It wasn’t just Kim who chose to crown himself in Napoleonic splendor. I recall Nan Keohane’s inaugural apotheosis at Duke some years past. Phil would be the outlier these days with an excess-expenses-spared avoidance of self-aggrandizement. Just a boy from the Adirondacks. First impressions do not a presidency make, but Phil’s building capital where it counts. Well done.
Addendum: This announcement to the College community was posted later in the day:
While it is true that there has been a Kim-dictated push to bring more science-oriented students to Dartmouth, I received a fair bit of blowback not too long ago regarding a post that wondered about the role of the Admissions department in the diminution in the number of humanities-bound students at the College.
In the meanwhile, the Dartmouth Fact book has posted up-to-date statistics. The number of incoming students professing an interest in majoring in the Humanities continues to fall — from 17-18% of undergrads about a decade ago, to a scant 11% today. What’s going on?
What isn’t going on, according to a former staffer in Admissions, is a preference during the application process for students professing an interest in specific disciplines. Admissions does not classify applicants by their intended-major preference. In fact, according to Admissions department data, students are far more likely to be admitted to the College if they score well on the Humanities-related SAT Critical Reading test (30% of applicants who had perfect 800 scores are admitted; as were 13.5% of applicants with scores between 700-790) or the Writing test (38.4% and 11.4% respectively are admitted) than students scoring well on the Math test (17.7% and 11.8% respectively are admitted) in the SAT.
These numbers point to a generalized shift among high school and college students away from the humanities towards seemingly more marketable skills in the sciences and social sciences. In fact, the very idea of broad humanistic education is suffering at Dartmouth and other schools as ever more students pursue double majors and focus on putting together a resumé that is immediately attractive to an employer.
The Trustees have announced a number of changes to their ranks. Peter Robinson ‘79, the last of the petition trustee candidates, has left the Board after two terms. So ends the failed alumni revolution that began when T.J. Rodgers ‘70 was elected to the Board in 2004. By anyone’s reckoning, the counter-revolution has left the College in worse shape than prior to the initial uprising. Today we are burdended with an insular, MBA-filled Board; a two-thirds majority of Charter Trustees, rather than alumni directly electing half the Board; and single-candidate Alumni Trustee elections, wherein the one candidate is picked by a small committee of Alumni Councillors.
Also leaving the Board after only two years is Marye Ann Fox ‘74AS (she was not an undergraduate at the College), formerly Chancellor of the University of California San Diego, among other senior posts in the academy. She was the Board’s only member with meaningful teaching and administrative experience in an undergraduate institution of higher learning.
The Board did name one new Charter Trustee: Emily Bakemeier ‘82. I’ll give Phil Hanlon a bye on this one, but it is unseemly that Bakemeier served on the College’s most recent Presidential Search Committee, and now she has been chosen for the Board. That was Jim Kim’s and Carol Folt’s modus operandi; I hope that we are finally done with it.
When Bakemeier was chosen for the Presidential Search Committee, I wrote the following:
Even more perplexing is the choice of Yale Associate Provost Emily Bakemeier ‘82, especially because there was no from-outside-of-the-College representative of the academy on the committee that chose Jim Kim.
Bakemeier, a former Dartmouth soccer player, is one of Yale’s eleven [now ten] Deputy/Associate Provosts. Her scholarly record is slight — she received her PhD from Princeton almost twenty years after graduating from the College — and her visibility in the Yale administration has been minimal. Why is she on the Search Committee?
But my concern with the choice of Bakemeier has less to do with her individual characteristics per se than with her background as it compares to other alumni in senior administrative positions outside the College. Was there no place on the Search Committee for Bill Kirby ‘72, former Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard; Philip Hanlon ‘77, Provost of the University of Michigan; Etta Pisano ‘79, Dean of the College of Medicine and Vice President for Medical Affairs at the Medical University of South Carolina; Mike Gazzaniga ‘61, Director of the Sage Center for the Study of the Mind at UC Santa Barbara; or any number of other distinguished alumni in positions of the highest responsibility in the academy.
That statement still stands — except for the part about Phil Hanlon, of course. The Board needs real expertise in higher education. The multiple scandals of the past few years can ultimately be laid at the door of the stock market speculators, investors and business executives who make up the Board, none of whom spend enough time in Hanover to really understand what ails the College, and none of whom (now that Marye Ann Fox has left) have any serious experience in the world of undergraduate education. That makes no sense.
Or actually it does. Senior academics, leaders like the people on the list above, speak with real authority about higher education. Their presence would surely discombobulate the comfortable Olde MBA Boys on the Board. After all, shared mediocrity is so much easier than a real diversity of opinion.
Addendum: For an example of a Board comprised of people who can bring real expertise to bear, one need look no further than DHMC’s Board. Heavy hitters all.
In his weekly column in the U.K.’s Independent newspaper, Economics Professor Danny Blanchflower compares Phil Hanlon’s situation with that of Mark Carney, the incoming Governor of the The Bank of England. Danny served with great distinction on the Bank’s Monetary Policy committee between 2006-2009. In addition, Danny describes Hanlon’s predecessor in Parkhurst (Jim Kim, I mean, not the IP), and he does not pull his punches:
Interestingly I have a new boss at Dartmouth who takes over as president after this week’s graduation ceremony. Phil Hanlon was the second in command as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan, a Dartmouth alumnus and a distinguished mathematician. We caught a big fish, and if we hadn’t caught him others soon would have…
There are some similarities between the positions Carney and Hanlon find themselves in. Both take over from despots with unwarranted self-assurance and are likely to have to change the cultures. In the case of Dartmouth it was Jim Kim who is now head of the World Bank, but who showed little interest in anything or anyone other than himself. Not good qualities for a university president. He tried to turn Dartmouth into a Center for Health Care Delivery Science, whatever that is. It took him three years to work out that nobody cared — apparently he is doing much the same at the World Bank. Even the class valedictorian at last year’s Commencement exercises claimed that Kim was already thinking about his next job after the World Bank. Kim’s main problem was that he didn’t know what he didn’t know. He had no experience in university administration, and he failed to appoint high quality administrators so disasters were waiting to happen. He left Dartmouth rudderless and discord prevailed…
Both Carney and Hanlon have had lots of experience and presumably know what they don’t know. Time will tell whether they are despots but early signs are that they are not; the best hope is that they are smart, benevolent dictators. One of their first steps will be to appoint their people to senior management positions. Hanlon has already started appointing people and searches are under way for others. There is little doubt that he will hit the ground running… Hanlon probably has a couple of years to find his feet but Carney does not.
Now that Carol Folt has headed south, it’s going to be open season in Hanover on her and Jim Kim, and perhaps even Jim Wright. And justly so. There are many lessons to be learned from their failed leadership of the College.
However, let’s also hope that such outspokenness carries over in the future into increased faculty involvement in the day-to-day life of the College. If members of the faculty were to express themselves in public with the same frankness that they show at my dinner table, important issues would be aired, and the Board of Trustees would have sources of information alternative to the administration’s self-serving briefings.
Addendum: Michigan Professor of Economics Miles Kimball adds a comment on his blog:
In this article in the Independent, David Blanchflower compares the task facing former head of the Bank of Canada Mark Carney as head of the Bank of England to the task facing former University of Michigan Provost Phil Hanlon as head of Dartmouth. For the Record, from what I saw, I thought Phil Hanlon did a great job at the University of Michigan as Budget Associate Dean of the College of Literature Science and Arts, as Budget Associate Provost of the university, and finally as Provost. The University of Michigan weathered tough financial times well, which was only possible because our leaders were good at distinguishing fat from muscle.
The College’s photographer, Eli Burakian ‘00, does a pretty good job.
Take a look at Dartmouth’s Flickr photostream for the Commencement wrapup.
Lots of unpleasantness in Hanover these days:
Here is the threat that appeared on Bored@Baker:
Note that 51 people excoriated the writer in replies to this post.
And one more thing:
Addendum: According to Dartblog’s police sources, there has always been heroin trafficked in the Upper Valley. See this story from the Valley News’ April 13, 2013 edition:
Police Break Alleged Heroin Ring
Saturday, April 13, 2013
White River Junction — A Lowell, Mass., man was arrested Wednesday on charges that he sold 45 grams of heroin in the parking lot of the McDonald’s on Sykes Mountain Avenue, federal authorities said.
The type of heroin that Chandara “Po” Sam, 30, sold to an informant cooperating with the Vermont State Police Drug Task Force is unusually potent and has been responsible for several overdoses, officials said…
IP Folt, “the first woman to serve as President of Dartmouth College,” according to Board Chair Steve Mandel, received an honorary degree today. Her husband did not.
Dartmouth’s Office of Institutional Research has reported that in moving to her new position down south, Carol has raised the average IQ of both UNC and Dartmouth.
Meanwhile, rumors are widespread of pitched battles within the administration this week as responsible administrators try to stop Carol from issuing stupid, last-minute orders.
Addendum: The D reports:
Interim President Carol Folt received a surprise honorary doctor of humane letters from the College. Board of Trustees chair Steve Mandel ‘78 said that she has moved the College forward as provost and interim president. [Emphasis added]
“You encouraged an entire community to think about the future, but you also understood how important it was that we pay tribute to our past,” he said.
Folt called her one year at the helm of the College the “privilege of my life.”
“It’s been made even greater an honor by all who worked so hard this year to celebrate our past, improve our present, strategize our future and warmly welcome Phil Hanlon as Dartmouth’s 18th President,” she said.
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
August 23, 2009
Fare Thee Well, Tom Crady
And now Dean Tom Crady has precipitously announced his departure from the College after only 20 months on the job. How to read this? By way of background, prior to coming to Dartmouth, Crady had…
May 31, 2009
Kangaroo Court, Indeed
In an interview with The Dartmouth, alumni-elected trustee T.J. Rodgers ‘70 explained his reasons for declining to participate in future evaluations of trustees up for “re-election,” namely the “kangaroo court” nature of such discussion in…