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While was are sitting around ranking our grad programs (awful) and Tuck (impressive), let’s look at the international university rankings of the Ivy League schools:

The QS World University Rankings has the College buried far behind the other Ivies:

QS World Rankings.jpg

Same thing for the Times Higher Education World Rankings:

Times World Ranking 2014.jpg

Would you choose UC Riverside over Dartmouth? Maybe if we built a graduate student center?

One of the reasons that the cost of college tuition has been able to rise far more quickly than any other sector of the economy has been the federal government’s easy lending policies (sounds like the real estate market a few years ago, right?). Look at how fast education loans have grown over the past decade: there is over five times as much outstanding student debt today as there was in 2003 — well over a trillion dollars:

Student Loans.jpg

During the same time period, while Americans have learned to better manage credit card debt and auto loans, default rates on student debt have continued to climb:

Student Loans A.jpg

A study by the Pew Research Center shows that half the families in the top quartile of earnings are now taking out loans, up from only 24% two decades ago:

Student Loans B.jpg

Everyone — rich and poor alike — seems to be going into hock to pay for education at bloated, poorly managed institutions. At a certain point, the loan binge is going to stop: default rates will grow too large; interest rates will rise; or the feds will decide that they can’t keep lending ever increasing amounts of money. The train wreck that occurs at that moment will be ugly.

Addendum: The present state of affairs reminds me of one of my favorite jokes: Two mountain climbers are high up on the face of an immense cliff. The first one slips, falls, and plummets downwards. The second one waits, and then shouts, “Are you ok?” And the first one answers, “I’m fine, but I’m still falling.”

Addendum: Research by Assistant Professor of Sociology Jason Houle, indicates that home buying by university graduates does not seem to be impeded by education loans, but one has to wonder if that observation will be true in the coming decade, following the recent, five-fold, ramping up of student debt loads.

Addendum: A reader notes:

You need to pull the for-profit colleges from your student debt analysis — unless you believe most of them are anything except rip offs — and Wall Street creations. They represent 25% of loans, 10-13% of students and 47% of all defaults, with explosive enrollment increases. See:

“The fake classes thrived for so long because it was hard for people to fathom that they could even exist.” Carol Folt, UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor.

“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” Yoggi Berra, Professor of Philosophy.

Folt UNC Report.jpg

Now I get it. While more than 3,000 UNC students took “paper classes” that never met and required only one term-end paper, which was cursorily awarded an A or B grade by an administrator (as needed for GPA purposes) in order that, for the most part, money sport athletes could maintain their eligibility, Carol believes that nobody realized what was happening.

An NCAA invesrtigation, re-opened this past June, is still ongoing.

In light of Jim Kim’s current problems, people must be wondering just what kind of management farm team Dartmouth is running.

Addendum: Former federal prosecutor and FBI counsel Kenneth Wainstein’s full report is here, and the Chronicle of Higher Education has devoted most of today’s issue to the last twenty years’ academic corruption at UNC. The story was reported on by the NYT, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, ESPN, the New York Post, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, the Raleigh News & Observer, and pretty much everyone else.

How sad that a school gets such a drubbing in the press.

Addendum: Lest anyone harbor any doubts about the egregiousness of the fraud perpetrated by UNC, the below note by the estimable Raleigh’s News & Observer details how grades were awarded

Crowder admitted she did not read the papers beyond the openings and conclusions. Students quickly learned they could get away with submitting papers that had “fluff” in the middle so long as the openings and conclusions were original. The investigation found that of 150 papers written by students, well over half contained plagiarized passages that accounted for at least 25 percent of each paper’s content.

Wainstein’s investigation also found two other methods for placing students - predominantly athletes - into paper classes. At least five classes actually met, but Crowder and Nyang’oro allowed some students to take the class as a paper class. In a “handful” of other cases, Crowder added student athletes, who would turn in a paper to her, to grade rolls without a professor’s knowledge.

Addendum: The fraudulent events under discussion occurred prior to Folt’s arrival at Carolina, but we can see that her response is typical of methods used at Dartmouth:

After the meeting, Chancellor Carol Folt will spend much of the day reaching out to the university community…

Aiding her is a high-powered public relations firm, Edelman, a Washington, D.C., group that has at least 14 people working to getting out the university’s message.

Spokesman Joel Curran said the firm began helping the university improve its communications in May. He couldn’t immediately say how much they are being paid.

The College employed the Edelman firm during the various petition Trustee races a few years ago.

Addendum: The Chronicle of Higher Education notes three prominent questions left outstanding by the Wainstein report:

1. Why are the most damning revelations coming out only now?
2. Did administrators turn a blind eye?
3. What will the NCAA do?

Forbes asks if the report was a whitewash:

Rather than the Wainstein report being the final word on UNC academic fraud — a result that the school’s beleaguered Chancellor, Carol Folt, would surely welcome — it, instead, should be the starting point for a merciless third-party review. Such an investigation would hopefully not sugar-coat its findings under the Pablum that infects the Wainstein report, which white-washes the “higher levels of the University” on the grounds that they had “insufficient appreciation of the scale of the problem.”

Here’s a possible alternate narrative: UNC did not want to know the scale of the problem because there was too much money at stake from its hugely profitable sports programs. Moreover, a deeper dive might reveal Paterno-esque culpability by the school’s sacrosanct coaching legends. Such a revelation would not only eviscerate UNC’s brand value in the eyes of donors and recruits, but it might also net Penn-State-level sanctions, including the voiding of UNC’s men’s national championships from 1993, 2005 and 2009.

I do not know if UNC had input into the wording of the Wainstein report. Moreover, I do not know what UNC paid Mr. Wainstein, Edelson PR — whom UNC archrival Duke also deployed during its lacrosse team rape scandal — or Professor Nyang’oro (whom, logic suggests, must have received something extra for the 300 independent study courses he “taught” every year).

What I do know is that a truly independent inquiry would reveal the unvarnished truth, right down to naming all the “students” who benefited from what Gerald Gurney, president of the Drake Group — which seeks to protect higher education “from the corrosive aspects of commercialized college sports” — dubbed “the largest and most nefarious scandal in the history of NCAA enforcement.”

The Hanover Police has not purchased armored personnel carriers, nor anything else for that matter, from the Department of Defense’s surplus weapons disposal program. However the department has declined to reveal whether it is in possession of any heavy weapons:

HPo DoD.jpg

According to its internal capital expenditures budget, the department does require its officers when on patrol to wear soft body armor, which it replaces every five years, and every decade the Town replaces the semi-automatic pistols that officers carry.

Addendum: Dartmouth Safety & Security is not a sworn police force; it is akin to a private security service. As such, its officers have no power of arrest beyond that of ordinary citizens, and they may not carry weapons.


The other day we commented on the now-famous yellow flyers that adorn the halls of the World Bank. Staffers there, for some mysterious reason, don’t think that Jim Kim is the Messiah. Now Business Insider notes that more yellow sheets have appeared, and the BI piece add some interesting quotes from WB staffers:

The Bank’s current president is increasingly unpopular at the institution, with many staff deeply dissatisfied with his tenure so far.

“There’s a culture of fear with Kim because the perception is that you get fired if you disagree with him,” one World Bank staff member told Business Insider. “I think the sense is that he wasn’t qualified for the job, a bit superficial, narcissistic, and promises a lot but delivers little on implementation.”

Staff have been incensed at President Kim’s reform process, which they claim has been needlessly opaque, unfocused, and lacking in substance. They say President Kim has fired several well-respected managers, curtailed employee benefits, and talks of new budget cuts, all while wasting money on external consultants and bonuses for senior staff…

One former staff member told Business Insider that while Kim initially raised expectations over much needed reform to red tape and aging technology, he has failed to follow through in any substantive way.

“The entire reform effort by President Kim should be taught in business schools as a case study in how to poorly manage institutional reform,” the former employee said. “It has resulted in complete chaos and created a culture of fear, uncertainty, and distrust.”

Is Jim Kim “superficial, narcissistic, and promises a lot but delivers little on implementation”?

Yes. Absolutely. We saw those characteristics (and a few more unsavory ones) in Hanover from 2009 to 2012.

MIT Living Wage Logo.jpgThe other day in penning thoughts on how to determine fair wages — but not much more than fair — for the Dartmouth staff (so that we can fund education at the College), we looked at the MIT Living Wage Calculator (LWC). This method determines a fair basic wage for low-earners in various locales. As MIT writes: “The living wage varies based on the cost of living and taxes where families live.”

Though we have already looked a the cost of living in the eight Ivy League locations using data from the The Council for Community and Economic Research, the information provided by the LWC seems more precise from the point of view of the College’s thousands of relatively low-skilled employees. The results of this analysis support Dartblog’s long-held contention that Grafton County is a very reasonable place in which to do business. Here are the LWC’s recommendations for a single-person’s Living Wage for all the counties in which Ivy League schools are located:

MIT Living Wage 1.jpg

Note: I used the county figures, rather than town/city figures on the assumption that most employees would commute to their jobs at institutions of higher learning; they would not live in the towns where they work. Had I used the town figure, the living wage would have been higher by only $.01/hour in Hanover, and the same or even higher in some of the other Ivy towns.

Look at the relative cost of living in percentage terms:

MIT Living Wage 2.jpg

As always, let’s recall that the College has the second most expensive cost of education in the Ivy League, even though we have the fourth highest endowment per student (after HYP), and we work in a relatively inexpensive locale. If we weren’t squandering hundreds of millions of dollars each year on a bloated, overpaid staff, we could both improve the quality of a Dartmouth education and cut tuition to the bone.

Leigh Remy.jpgUnder the College’s new sexual assault policy, a single outside person is charged with being investigator, judge and jury when an accusation is made. In whom have we invested so much power, the unfettered authority to have a student expelled from Dartmouth based on the flimsy “preponderance of the evidence” standard?

In a July 15 NPR interview (at 10:30), Presdient Hanlon said that the College would be hiring an experienced investigator, someone who had been “a sex-crimes investigator in a major city or something like that.”

I tried to find out the name and background of the College’s hire(s) for this position from Leigh Remy (photo above), who was appointed last year as the new director of Undergraduate Judicial Affairs, but she declined in a somewhat stiff manner to share any such information.

Assault Investigator.jpg

The term investigator is somewhat mild in this context; I’d prefer sexual assault czar or inquisitor.

In any event, given the College’s non-cooperation, perhaps someone who has been through the new process can share with me the name(s) of the person(s) who have such unlimited power over the lives of students. Drop me an off-the-record e-mail.

Addendum: Let’s hope that it ain’t Kate Burke.

Addendum: The College’s choice to use a single person to investigate and adjudicate accusations of sexual assault is of greater moment given the recent criticism of such a structure by leading professors at Harvard Law.

Addendum: A regular reader does some research:

After reading your post today, I was trying to learn Leigh Remy’s background. In searching, I found the following “D” article:

I light of the response which you received, I thought the following statements in the article were interesting:

“A perceived lack of transparency from judicial affairs and the failure of the Committee on Standards to release a community report in the past three years has been a source of student concern.

To address these issues, judicial affairs will post reports from the past two years on its website. Aditionally [sic], Remy has been asked to work on increasing the office’s transparency, Ameer said.”


“Remy also said her goal is to increase transparency in judicial affairs.”

How’s she doing in achieving that goal?

Lemmings.jpgWhat qualities have always made Dartmouth special? We can talk about outputs, as an economist might: alumni loyalty; widespread love for the College among students, staff and faculty; bonds between friends that last for life; mutual support among acquaintances and strangers alike for people who have spent time in Hanover. But a discussion of outputs gets us only so far: description is not analysis; this information doesn’t explain how such a state of affairs came to be.

We can also look at inputs: what is it about Dartmouth and Hanover that lead us to the fierce affection that marks the College? Of course, we can only speculate. The organic development of a society is infinitely complex; understanding one is difficult and we make changes at our peril. That said, in looking at the development of human relationships, and the web of friendships and love that members of the Dartmouth community consistently develop, we can see some special sides of the College.

The isolation of intellectual Dartmouth in flinty New Hampshire causes people to look inward to the institution, something that is not always a good thing — provincialism is necessarily limiting — but living on an island campus can cause people to focus on their own world with a greater intensity than they might otherwise do in a big city school. Needless to say, students don’t define themselves by the entire institution; they can’t be close friends with 4,000 other undergrads, or even the 1,000 members of their own class. By necessity they limit their circle of relations.

So how are friends made at Dartmouth? I’ve argued endlessly that for many years dorms were a locus of fruitful social interactions. One tended to make friends with the people who term after term lived across the hall from you, who played on the same dorm intramural teams as you, or who you saw on the stairs over and over again. That successful option ended when the College terminated dorm continuity in the mid-1980’s.

In addition, students make friendships in their extra curricular activities, whether it be The D, or the symphony, a capella groups, theater or endless clubs and other activities, but those groups don’t have residential homes, so if relationships are to persist, friendships needed a place to exist outside of Robinson Hall or rehearsal and meeting rooms. The same proposition is true of sports teams; where can teammates whose bonds were created in training and competition go to just be together, to share the happiness of unforced companionship?

Self-evidently, especially after the demise of the dormitories as functioning communities, Dartmouth’s fraternities became the center of most students’ social lives. Fraternities and sororities have never been more popular at Dartmouth than today, and I think that it is a fair bet that if the administration had not impeded the creation of more sororities over the past decade, even more students would be Greeks today.

The popularity of Greek houses makes sense. The houses have never been based on social class or geographic origin or religion or race (with only one exception). They seem to be organized by characteristics like teams sports, or shared interests, or the perceived personal qualities of members. Most importantly — a characteristic possibly unique to Dartmouth — the houses and their events are open to everyone on campus.

Yet last week, even as 67.4% of upperclassmen are members of Greek houses — and one must respectfully assume that they joined their fraternities and sororities for rational reasons — The D and others called for the abolition of the Greek system. In advocating for the end of the world as we know it, no proposals have been put forward for structures that might replace a system that students endlessly vote to support with their time and energy. Sure Phil and the gang talk about a housing plan that mimics Harvard: freshman dorms and then a house system. But will that setup work when so many students head off during sophomore year on one of Dartmouth’s foreign programs? In such a system, the residential bonds of freshman year are broken at the end of first year, and it is hard to imagine anything valid being rebuilt in the multi-building clusters. Besides, at Harvard, the house system doesn’t get the job done, as evidenced by the tepid support of Harvard alumni for their school in contrast to Dartmouth alums, not to mention the exclusive, elitist final clubs that fill the social void in Cambridge.

Most of my close friends at the College and I were GDI’s — we had our close-knit dorms to sustain us — but I would counsel that the College take care in thinking about ending the Greek system. Doing so tampers with a core element of the student experience at the institution, and the move could have myriad unexpected consequences. As the College slides in the esteem of potential applicants, the rankings, and its own students, we should make sure that efforts to improve Dartmouth don’t destroy the features that have made it great over the centuries. We could end up as the bottom-of the-bottom-tier Ivy for students who didn’t get into their first-choice school — a place with nothing distinctive about it save for a beautiful campus. We might be heading there already.

Addendum: Several readers have advanced the argument that abolishing the Greek system is analogous to the College’s move to co-education a little more than forty years ago. Not a valid comparison to my mind. When Dartmouth went co-ed, that change had been made with success by most other institutions of higher learning. And while there was great resistance in the College community, the opinions of negatively inclined alumni and students did not encompass the whole spectrum of interested parties — such as women. Today the rationale for abolishing the Greeks is that doing so will diminish any number of social pathologies from hazing to sexual assault and binge drinking. Yet evidence is never advanced that schools without frats, or schools that abolished their frats, do not suffer from these ills. Why not? Because such schools are afflicted with them every bit as much as Dartmouth.

Addendum: Taylor Cathcart ‘15 has written a fine column for The D in defense of the Greek system.

Further to yesterday’s post about the Spanish Flu pandemic, we saw the below health warning last week at the Kosi Bay border crossing between Mozambique and South Africa. The outbreak of the disease is centered in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, on the other side of the African continent, some 5,000 miles away.

Ebola South Africa.JPG

Note the admonition at the document’s end that “Prevention is Better Than Cure” — immediately after the bullet point stating that there is no treatment for the disease.

As Ebola threatens the world, it is worth recalling America’s last great epidemic of an easily spread disease: the 1918 avian-derived Spanish flu pandemic, which killed 675,000 Americans. Estimates of the total number of deaths around the world now range between 50,000,000-100,000,000.

A military installation near Boston, Camp Devens, was hit especially hard, as a doctor there observed:

Dartmouth Flu Victims.jpg

“These men start with what appears to be an ordinary attack of la grippe or influenza,” wrote Dr. Roy Grist, a Camp Devens physician, to a friend, “and when brought to the hospital they very rapidly develop the most vicious type of pneumonia that has ever been seen. Two hours after admission they have the mahogany spots over the cheekbones, and a few hours later you can begin to see cyanosis extending from their ears and spreading all over the face, until it is hard to distinguish the colored men from the white… . It is only a matter of a few hours then until death comes… . It is horrible. One can stand it to see one, two, or 20 men die, but to see these poor devils dropping like flies… . We have been averaging 100 deaths per day… . It takes special trains to carry away the dead. For several days there were no coffins and the bodies piled up something fierce.”

At the College, the death toll was limited to five students (see four above), one faculty member (30-year-old Government Professor Eldon Evans), and ten soldiers from the local army detachment. However so many people were stricken — 325 in all, at a time when there were about 400 men in each class — that Alumni Gym was converted into a sick ward, and College Hall (now Collis) became a convalescent center. Classes were cancelled from October 1-14, and Dartmouth Night was postponed. To avoid the contagion that came from close contact between people, students were kept out of doors for nine hours per day.

October 1918 was the deadliest month in American history, with 195,000 Americans dying, out of a total population of 103,208,000. (1918 was the only year in the 20th century when the national population fell.)

The virus ended its ravages almost as quickly as it began. Experts still debate as to whether treatments so improved that people recovered rather than dying, or whether the disease mutated quickly to a less lethal strain.

Addendum: Laura Stephenson Carter wrote a full report on the Spanish flu’s impact in Hanover for the Dartmouth Medicine magazine in 2006.

Addendum: A reader writes in:

In Marblehead one percent of the population (70 people) died. The virus hit in waves, down one month, up the next - evidence of the mutation.

Hardest hit state was Alaska……it hit remote areas worst - no immunity. And it also hit young people more than the old and usually vulnerable lot.

10X deaths in the USA as in the Great War.

The Wall Street Journal article describing Harvard’s largest ever donation — $350 million for the School of Public Health from the family of Gerald Chan, a Harvard-educated investor — contained an interesting nugget of information:

A review of 208 private universities rated by Moody’s MCO 0.00% Investors Service over 10 years shows a distinct tilt toward the haves. Schools with more than $1 billion in total cash and investments received 67% of total gift dollars in 2013, up from 62% in 2003. Meanwhile, universities with less than $100 million in cash and investments received a declining share—less than 3% of total gift dollars…

A survey of more than 800 public and private schools by the National Association of College and University Business Officers between 2010 and 2013 shows a similar trend. Schools with endowments of more than $1 billion saw their average gifts rise 41%, while those to schools with endowments of under $25 million rose 33%…

Dominating the list of recipients of single donations of nine figures in the last three years are familiar names: $350 million to Cornell; $350 million to Johns Hopkins; $250 million to Yale; $225 million to the University of Pennsylvania; $150 million to Harvard and $100 million each to Dartmouth and Georgetown.

The rising fortunes of the wealthy universities are due to several factors, including the growing use of large-scale data analytics, which give college fundraisers a clearer picture of not only who has the capacity to give but who has the desire. That information makes large capital campaigns increasingly efficient and boosts the advantages of wealthier schools that produce wealthier alumni. [Emphasis added]

I disagree with the use of the term “wealthy” in the last sentence quoted above. A better phrasing would be as follows: “the best schools attract the smartest students, and by giving them a fine education inside and outside of the classroom, they are the most likely to achieve great success in the world.”

There are 83 schools with endowments of $1 billion, and 597 schools with endowments over $50 million.

Poets & Quants and Payscale have looked at the twenty-year earning history of MBA-holders from the major schools. Though Tuck finishes eighth in the ranking, take note that its graduates earn the second-highest average starting salary today:

MBA 20 Year Salaries.jpg

A note on methodology:

The numbers are conservative. They do not include stock-based compensation of any kind, the cash value of retirements benefits, or other non-cash benefits, such as health care. The estimates are for base salary, cash bonuses and profit sharing in today’s dollars over a 20-year period from from 1994 to 2014. They are not a projection of future earnings. But the estimates show that the MBA degree-despite all the second-guessing over its value since the Great Recession-is one of the surest paths to a lucrative career.

In response to Monday’s post, we’ve received a number of e-mails defending research, and even citing research grants as a net revenue producers for colleges and universities:

For example, most research on campus is done with federal grants, and these come with tight budgets that you cannot exceed. So this notion of the College coughing up an extra 10-20% is farfetched to say the least. In reality the College makes a lot of money from these grants - 62% overhead to be exact, and even higher in the med school.

Regrettably, the notion that grants financially support other parts of an institution of higher learning is just plain wrong. In an FAQ paper prepared by the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities in October, 2013, the figure of 20% was advanced as the share of research paid for by universities themselves. The study notes that many types of grants (monies from the Gates Foundation and other private foundations being an example) come with no contribution to overheads, and that even the overhead allocation from federal grants does not cover the full cost of research. This assertion has been confirmed to me by senior educational administrators.

Thus, when Jim Wright said that “Dartmouth is a research university in all but name,” what he was really saying is that he had decided to re-direct funding away from the undergraduate program towards graduate students, their buildings, laboratories and stipends. Methinks that Phil Hanlon and Carolyn Dever are saying the same thing when they announce a significant new structure to support graduate education.

The only thing that Dartmouth needs less now than more grad students is a law school. Just how many unemployed people do we want to contribute to the labor market?

Using data from the National Science Foundation’s Survey of Earned Doctorates, Slate’s Jordan Weissmann adduces the odds of a newly minted Ph. D. getting a job — any job — after nine or more years of post-secondary education. Not to put too fine a point on Weissmann’s numbers, his piece is entitled, “The Unending Horror of the Humanities Job Market, in One Chart.”

Weissman contributes an introductory comment:

Then again, job is a tricky word here. When the NSF asks students whether they have a definite commitment from an employer, it doesn’t differentiate between short-term or part-time jobs and stable, permanent work. In other words, it tosses together adjuncts and teaching fellows along with graduates who end up in the tenure track—meaning the real market might be even a bit worse than this graph lets on.

Doctorate Employment 1.jpg

Note that a postdoc position, the most likely job category for doctorate-holders, pays between $40,000-55,000/year, a figure that is approximately 15%-55% more than an uneducated cook helper earns at Dartmouth. The below chart comes from an article in The Atlantic that has another happy title: “The Ph.D Bust: America’s Awful Market for Young Scientists—in 7 Charts.”

Doctorate Employment 2.jpg

The Atlantic piece also notes the extraordinary crash in the academic job market over the last forty years. It seems hard to believe that in 1973, 55% of Ph.D. holders went straight to tenure-track jobs; today only 15% do so.

Doctorate Employment 3.jpg

Given the decades-long glut in the market for doctoral degree holders, just why is it that Dartmouth wants to invest in its Arts & Sciences graduate programs?

Addendum: In the early 1980’s, 40% of my class at the Yale Law School had earned doctoral degrees. Even then they had turned their back on the field that they loved.

When highly educated World Bankers start distributing leaflets calling for brief work stoppages, you know that Jim Kim is under pressure. Our former President is now held in contempt by many people in Washington (and Hanover). Is he on the way out?

Yellow Flyer A.jpg

Yellow Flyer B.jpg

The Class of 2011 Orator, Dartblog’s Kathleen Mayer ‘11, wrote a tough piece about Kim on March 27, 2012 that seems to be making the rounds of World Bank staffers.



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