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Dominica Overview1.jpgA weeklong trip back to Dominica finds the country hammered by Hurricane Maria, whose 160mph winds damaged almost all of the island’s buildings five months ago. Today half the roofs on the island are still covered in blue tarpaulin, and the remnants of huge, destructive mudslides are to be seen everywhere: piles of broken trees litter the landscape, though now removed from the roads and habitable areas that they blocked for weeks. Acres of forest remain stripped of foliage where Maria’s force denuded them of every leaf. Here is a stretch of timber on the island’s Atlantic side that I viewed as we landed at Dominica’s Melville Hall airport. The approach rivals that of Gustavia in St. Bart’s for its reach-out-and-touch-the-vegetation fun:

Dominica Matchsticks.jpg

Longtime readers will recall that Dominica is the home of a large colony of sperm whales with whom one can happily swim.

Kevin Reinhart.jpgReligion Professor Kevin Reinhart (who has earned the sobriquet “Reinhartass” for his rigor) was interviewed in the Review recently. Among other thoughtful remarks, he had the following to say about the liberal arts:

TDR: As a professor of religion, a department in the humanities, what do you think is the role of a liberal arts education in today’s pre-professional society?

KR: Well the short answer to that is simple: people who do pre-professional work, someone who comes to Dartmouth and just does economics all the way through, I think are being trained to be middle-management. It is a luxury to be one of the people who, to use the business cliche, can see around corners. People who can draw on a wide variety of, not just American but also world cultural features — history, languages, so on and so forth — have that kind of ability. They are the ones who are going to be leaders. The ones who do solely pre-professional work may be well compensated, but they will not be leaders. To that end, I would point to the fact that two of Dartmouth’s most successful graduates in finance, one the head of the Fed and one the Secretary of the Treasury, both studied subjects other than finance. One was a history major and one was an Asian Studies major. It is a shame that students feel discouraged from taking advantage of a liberal arts education when, in fact, that is both what will benefit them and what Dartmouth is best at.

I agree in spades. Over the years, whether in dealing with managers or lawyers or even architects and other professionals, folks with a liberal arts background understand larger issues which people with only technical training just can’t comprehend.

Professor Reinhart is referring to Hank Paulson ‘68 and Tim Geithner ‘83, both of whom served as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. Paulson was an English major, and Geithner majored in Government and Asian Studies.

Addendum: I expressed a few thoughts similar to Reinhart’s in a November 1, 2012 post subtly titled, Why the Liberal Arts? To Make Money! And Mike Gazzaniga ‘61, in his dinner address on the day in 2011 that he received an honorary degree from the College, confirmed the link between the humanities and scientific research at the highest level.

I have gone back and forth over the years on the question of preferred admissions for legacies (way back in the day, some of the strongest proponents of co-education were alumni fathers wanting their daughters to come to the College), and finally I have come down in favor of the preference as a way of ensuring historical continuity at Dartmouth in the face of academic fashion.

The issue could come to the front burner again, given the below story:

Legacy Protest Comp1.jpg

Interestingly, the College has no first-generation student group. I call that a good thing. Students are students; they should not divide themselves up by class background, not when there are far more compelling attributes that can unify them.

Addendum: Here is the raw data for the number of legacies per class for the past thirty years:

Legacy Enrollment 1988-2017.jpg

As we have reported, the big jump in legacy admits in 2010 was part of the Kim Administration’s financial restructuring efforts; which included more legacies, private school students, early admissions admits and fewer first-generation students. Jim Kim had hi$ principle$, that’s for sure.

The large drop in legacy admits in the early 1990’s stemmed from Jim Freedman’s and his Admissions Dean, Karl Furstenberg’s, desire to change the character of the College. They succeeded in doing so on at least one level: ask anyone in fundraising about the “90’s Men.” This cohort gives far less money than any comparable group of alumni.

Addendum: Several readers have written in to point out the existence of the College’s First Year Student Enrichment Program (FYSEP):

The First Year Student Enrichment Program (FYSEP) empowers first-generation students to thrive academically and in the greater college community.

PROGRAM DETAILS
FYSEP provides a rigorous, dynamic and transformative experience that puts participants in a position to thrive at Dartmouth both academically and socially. The program offers sample classes with Dartmouth faculty, workshops, activities, and seminars designed to simulate life at Dartmouth and to prepare participants to handle some of the challenges they may face during the course of their first year.

Through a six day pre-Orientation program and ongoing support throughout their first year, FYSEP students gain a broad array of understandings and skills designed to help them make the most of their experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. ?As an example, all students participate in one-to-one mentoring meetings from upperclass students.

This College-organized group concerns itself with supporting first gen kids in dealing with the particular academic and social challenges that many of them face in the Dartmouth environment. However I believe that the Associated Press report reproduced above is correct that at the College there is no student-organized first gen group in Hanover, one that might take a political stand on an issue like legacy admissions.

The search for the College’s next Provost is ongoing, with headhunters Witt Kieffer leading the charge and a College search committee following along. The thumbnail description on the search firm’s website has a section leaps out at me:

Witt Kieffer Provost profile.jpg

Do Phil’s two major academic appointments — Carolyn Dever and Bruce Duthu — even come close to fulfilling the described goals? You have to be kidding.

Phil says one thing, and he does quite another.

Addendum: See the Provost search’s detailed profile here.

A message from AD Harry Sheehy:

Sheehy re Golf Committee.jpg

The Golf committee’s web site is: https://sites.dartmouth.edu/golf-course-committee/.

You can send e-mail to all of the advisory committee’s members at this address: Golf.Course.Advisory.Committee@Dartmouth.edu

The impassioned debate about Ryan Spector ‘19’s column concerning the gender composition of the DOC Trips Directorate has to date contained little historical perspective. Let’s take a look at past practices.

Though the current directors, Lucia Pierson ‘18 and Dalia Rodriguez-Caspeta ‘18, have asserted that their choices for membership on the Directorate were made on merit alone (resulting in fifteen women and four men), last year’s director, Doug Phipps ‘17, stated forthrightly in a column in The D that a racial quota system was in place in choosing the Directorate’s members:

Doug Phipps Diversity.jpg

Of course, nobody this time around has spoken about white and non-white members, but clearly a focus on individual merit was not a feature of the selection process last year. We should be skeptical that such rigor was therefore in place this year.

Look at the division between men and women on the Trips Directorate over the last seven years (all figures drawn from The D and listserv announcements):

Trips Directorate Composition.jpg

As a percentage, the number of men is dropping precipitously — from a disproportionately high level to a low level that existed well before Ryan Spector was unable to secure a spot:

Trips Directorate Composition Percent.jpg

Do you discern a trend? Civil rights lawyers would. And with this kind of information, they could get the attention of a judge.

Addendum: Given that the Directorate was almost 4:1 female to male beginning in 2016, it is possible that men have held back from applying in the last couple of years. Why waste their time in a vain effort? If the DOC is going to release application numbers, it should do so for the past three years so that we get a complete picture of the process.

Addendum: In Monday’s D, Government Professor Michael Herron, who is also the chair of the quantitative social science program, dissects the (im)probability that the selection process for the Trips Directorate was gender-neutral:

Based on this model, the probability that the 19 students chosen for the Trips directorate are all men or all women is approximately 3.8 X 10^-6. This number is not zero, which means that it is possible for the Trips directorate to be completely gender imbalanced even if the process for choosing the directorate were gender-blind. This point is worth noting: A gender imbalance in the directorate is not necessarily evidence of a gender-aware leader selection process. Still, assuming that Trips leaders were chosen randomly from a gender-balanced pool, there is only a minuscule chance that a completely gender imbalanced directorate would result.

He also, amusingly, ends his piece with a pitch for the importance of understanding probability theory, and he encourages students to take a course in his discipline:

Spector’s argument about the inherent fairness of the Trips directorate selection process is the sort of claim that probability theory can address. With that in mind, if you have not taken a statistics course at Dartmouth or a course that teaches basic probability yet, it might be worth taking one next quarter. And if you have taken such a course but did not anticipate the argument made here, you might want to consider reviewing relevant material.

All is marketing.

Addendum: A friend of the College writes in:

Years ago, when I was on Wall Street and our firm was trying to figure out how to hire more women, a consultant put us in touch with a psychologist from Colombia who told us that, in general, male managers tended to hire both men and women when presented with equally qualified candidates, but that female managers were more likely to hire women candidates under the same circumstances. The reason for this — or so she said — lay in the differences between how men and women work in groups, with the task aspect of the group work being more important to the male managers and the social aspects of the group working together being more important to the female managers (with males seen as potentially disruptive to this social order, and thus to be avoided). She also said that in neither case were these apparent biases deliberate conscious choices.

Curiously, I’ve noticed this pattern in various organizations throughout my career, and it also tends to explain why many administrative functions at Dartmouth have evolved over time to be staffed primarily with women. Alumni Relations is a good example.

There is an excellent book by Kathleen DeBoer called Gender and Competition that talks about this issue in terms of male and female athletic teams. Other coaching-related literature does as well. Section 4 of the following article: http://www.championshipcoachesnetwork.com/public/375print.cfm

So, using this information, once the DOC Trips Board *tipped* majority female, it would be more likely than not to stay majority female in the future, as it has.

Rockwell Love.jpg

The College’s name pops up again in the papers:

NY Post $1.5 million fee Comp.jpg

NY Post $1.5 million fee Comp2.jpg

The student’s name is Vinh Ngoc Dao.

How embarassing.

Addendum: Who knows what really happened in this situation, but the College surely rolls out the red carpet to applicants from families with big money.

The faculty will meet two weeks from yesterday, and to a man and women, they should think of shouldering their responsibilities to the College. Little if any good has come from the Hanlon administration; most actions have been lackluster, and there are decisions on the horizon that will be the death of Dartmouth. A motion of no confidence should be presented for the sake of everyone who cares about the school. Let me add my voice to that of The Review’s Jack Mourouzis and the Editors of the D.

First off, Jack’s column entitled A Vote of No Confidence:

Mourouzis No Confidence.jpg

And The D in a Friday editorial almost had the courage to say the same thing, Verbum Ultimum: A Vote for the Future:

The D No Confidence.jpg

Will Dartmouth be lost because two faculty members can’t be found to speak truth to an ever-weakening power. All it will take is a professor to put forward a motion and another one to second it. That would be the end of Phil.

Addendum: Of course, the members of the Hanlon administration care little for the thoughts of students, faculty and anyone else who might disagree with them. VP of Advancement Bob Lasher ‘88 has said as much.

How dispiriting to see Marxists work so hard to make their lifelong learning relevant in the post-Soviet, post-ChiCom, post-pretty-much-anything-but-Hugo-Chavez era. If you want to see smart people spin their wheels in the sands of time trying to say something applicable to the modern world, you should attend today’s lecture: Spiraling Out of Control: A Conversation on Capitalism’s Current Crisis:

Nancy Fraser Panel.jpg

I might just go, simply for nostalgia’s sake. As an undergraduate I took a course in Marxism with Marlene Fried, and since Russell Rickford left town, there has been nobody (at least publicly) who espouses that ol’ time religion.

Note to Nancy Fraser: the reason capitalists like me get to keep any surplus (minus total government taxes of about 66%: federal income tax, state corporate profits tax, city property tax, employee payroll tax) is that we are saddled with all of the losses, too, if a business fails. And some do, most assuredly.

If you can’t make Monday’s panel, have no fear, Fraser and Harvey put on exactly same event last November 17 at the CUNY Graduate Center:

Addendum: There is a fair bit of chatter among the faculty about Nancy Fraser’s year-long sinecure at the College. The Marxist warhorse has a reputation of being impossible to work with, and her year in Hanover as the Roth Family Distinguished Scholar seems to involve doing little more than pocketing cash and offering a couple of public lectures.

Addendum: At least locally, today’s crisis in capitalism is about trying to find people to fill all of the open jobs. At my local business (250 full- and part-time employees), we have a dozen vacant positions right now. Are you a personal trainer? Can you cut hair or do aesthetic treatments? Or push a mop? Call me.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

I would like to deliver a lecture on how well Marxism worked. It will be a five-part lecture. The sections are as follows:

1. How great was Marxism for those millions who died in “Dekulakization”!
2. How great was Marxism for the millions who died when Mao was rounding up their cooking pots to become slag in inferior steel mills!
3. How great was Marxism for the million + who died in Cambodian killing fields!
4. How great has Marxism been for the freedoms of religion, press, and speech!
5. And finally, great prospects for Venezuela’s poor through Marxism, a look at the current state of play!

A quick trip to London included excellent meals at Core and Yen, two restaurants where the food is as beautiful as it is delicious. The pain perdu at Core and the fruit salad at Yen were both so pretty that a diner regretted disturbing them:

Core Dessert.jpg

Yen Dessert.jpg

When I worked for Bain in London from 1983-85, dining was lackluster at best. As the joke went, to find a good restaurant in Britain’s capital city, you had to drive 150 miles down the Edgware Road and stop when you got to France. No more.

Just what we need (from Bloomberg):

Porsche Ivy Sponsor.jpg

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Based on today’s Dartblog announcements on new IVY League sponsors, is it too soon to expect that Indian Motorcycles will be the new corporate sponsor of Dartmouth athletics??? A long time leader in its field with a history of excellence… Hmmmmm!

The Council for Aid to Education has released the results of it annual Voluntary Support of Education survey, and the figures show specifically what we have long expected: the rising stock market has led to the highest level of charitable giving to colleges and universities in history. Inside Higher Education reports:

Alumni Giving 2017B.jpg

While overall giving in 2017 rose 6.3%, alumni giving was up an impressive 14.5%.

And how did Phil Hanlon and Dartmouth do in this target-rich environment?

As we have noted, total giving to Dartmouth in 2017 was down 10.44%: from $318.9 in 2016 to $285.6 (the annual target last year was $350 million), even though the College is staffed up for an ever-on-the-horizon capital campaign. Actually the word is still that the campaign will kick off in April, just short of the fifth anniversary of Phil’s arrival in Hanover.

Addendum: Will the College’s new “branding” stimulate giving?

Just about six months after this space broke the story of the administration’s incipient closing of the Hanover Country Club and its 18-hole golf course, Executive Vice President Rick Mills has appointed an eleven-person committee to suggest alternatives for the course. The group will be chaired by popular Government Professor Charlie Wheelan ‘88:

HCC Committee.jpg

Their mission, should they decide to accept it (committees should feel free to leave the reservation, I say) is:

… evaluating three scenarios for the golf course. One is to continue operation as is while taking steps to limit or reduce cost; another is to close the course and analyze options for an indoor golf practice facility; and the third is to redesign and alter the golf course to improve its operation and develop a funding plan that is not reliant on the College’s operating budget.

Let’s hope for some courage and imagination from this group.

Addendum: If you know any of these folks, tell them what you think.

Addendum: A friend of the College writes in:

How can the committee not include the Head Golf Pro and/or Superintendent… the two people who run the day-to-day operation.

Addendum: A (cheeky) alumna writes in:

It goes without saying that any selected group that is male-majority receives less attention for the imbalance than if it were majority women.

Take the golf course committee for example: 9 men, 2 women. Surely there’s an uproar as to whether this committee can make unbiased decisions, right??? Right?

As a student in the late 1970’s, when the College had about 6-8% fewer undergraduates than it does today, I can’t ever recall having more than a dozen people in line ahead of me to get into Thayer. So what it the meaning of the below? A friend took this photo last week:

Line for Foco.jpg

Lines to get into the College’s main dining hall can vary by time of day: lunch tends to have longer lines than dinner apparently. And while the queue can move along, why should harried students waste time gaining entrance to an all-you-can-eat refectory?

Hapless Phil’s administration should be fixing problems like this every minute. Gosh knows that there are enough administrators in enough meetings. Why can’t they come up with solutions to nagging issues like making students stand in the rain?

Addendum: The week before last The D ran a nice chart showing the evolution in pricing for meals at FoCo:

DDS Pricing Evolution 2012-2018.jpg

Since 2012, the CPI is up 8.76%, but DDS meals are up as follows: SmartChoice5: +31.9%; SmartChoice10: +17.9%; SmartChoice14: +15.2%; SmartChoice20: +14.0%.

There is absolutely no valid reason why mealplan prices have risen so much faster than inflation. Perhaps DDS is making even more profit than in the past. More likely, it is getting ever harder to afford the fat salaries and plush benefits given to the grossly over-compensated staff. In a better world, the College would turn over DDS to a private company like Bon App├ętit Management Company (here and here).

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