Dartmouth's Daily Blog
News, commentary, criticism and praise for the College on the Hill, enlivened with history, culture and travel when we feel so moved.
The Latest Posts
Finding myself on Thursday at the Harvard Business School Commencement ceremonies in order to applaud a nephew, I scanned the names and almae matres of the HBS 2016 graduates in the event program. A smattering of Dartmouth alumni appeared in the main body of the list; however it was gratifying to see that among the 43 students who graduated with high distinction (in a class of 937), four came from the College. Harvard was the best represented undergraduate institution with six high distinction grads, and four students from Yale also achieved the honor. Penn, UVA and Princeton had three honorees, and otherwise no school had more than one high distinction student. Congratulations to Damla Er ‘10, Matthew Fujisawa ‘06, Nikhil Jain ‘09 and Elliott Mattingly ‘09. Despite all of the administration’s efforts over the past twenty years, the faculty is still doing a fine job educating students.
The New York Times applauds her as a “a poet, essayist, actress and filmmaker,” and says in a 2,034-word profile that middle distance runner Alexi Pappas ‘12’s personality, performance and iconic hair bun have made her “something of a cult figure in the insular world of track and field.” She’ll be competing for Greece and for the College in the 2016 Summer Olympics:
Addendum: Look out for the bun in the sun.
The College is often held out to be a model for higher education in both its strengths and weaknesses. Dartmouth’s iconic status was confirmed at the 1953 Commencement, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower made the definitive judgment that, “This is what a college should look like.” A thoughtful piece that just came to my attention in the New Criterion — Conservatives & higher ed — chose just the right image to make its own point:
Steven Hayward is the University of Colorado at Boulder’s “inaugural visiting scholar in conservative thought and policy, a three-year pilot project to introduce intellectual diversity to Colorado’s flagship campus.” His is also a regular contributor to PowerLine, an award-winning blog founded by John Hinderaker ‘71, Scott Johnson ‘73, and Paul Mirengoff ‘71.
Addendum: The New Criterion’s choice of illustration was possibly influenced by the fact that James Panero ‘98 is the executive editor of the publication.
Phil’s breathlessly awaited diversity plan is out, but before we get to that, let’s take a look at the present state of race relations on campus. Maybe we need less diversity?
Simultaneously, the following message went to hundred of people on campus:
Addendum: The D already has a story about the demonstration — with pictures, no less. Congrats on quick-turnaround reporting.
Addendum: Read more of what passes for diversity advocacy in the extended:
Today at 1pm, students are holding a procession on the Dartmouth Green for #fight4facultyofcolor. The march is in response to the recent denial of tenure to Aimee Bahng, as well as the 36 faculty of color who have left the college since 2002 due to hostility toward faculty of color and their work, denial of tenure, few job opportunities on campus for spouses, and lack of institutional support and resources for their fields. We are mourning the death of our education, remembering and celebrating achievements of faculty of color, and addressing the administration’s role in the faculty members’ departures.
The students with numbers pinned on their shirts represent the 36 faculty of color, while the coffin symbolizes the death of the scholarship of faculty of color who have left. We are marching from Wentworth Hall, the building for associate deans as well as the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, across the Green to Parkhurst Hall, the administrative building. In front of Parkhurst Hall, we will read statements from former faculty of color explaining why they left the college and their achievements since they have left the College.
In response to the faculty of color hiring and retention issue, we urge the College to:
— Make cluster hires for tenure-track professors in ethnic studies (4 minimum in Asian American Studies) in the next two years, prioritizing hiring faculty of color in these disciplines.
— Improve the campus climate for faculty of color. Steps include: hiring more senior faculty of color to mentor incoming junior faculty of color; addressing the disproportionate labor junior faculty of color do for Dartmouth in terms of mentorship of students and service on committees, as well as the devaluing of their research within their departments and at this institution
— Create a sustainable process that retains faculty of color and supports them in receiving tenure.
— Increase transparency in voting outcomes for CAP finalists.« Return
Two days ago we noted with approval Government Professor Stephen Brooks’ forthright presentation at Monday’s faculty meeting regarding the administration’s failure to keep Dartmouth faculty salaries competitive — a choice which hurts the College in the hunt for top-quality professors. To obtain a more complete sense of Brooks, you might also read a 5,000-word essay that he and his writing and research collaborator, Government Professor William Wohlforth, have just published in Foreign Affairs: The Once and Future Superpower, Why China Won’t Overtake the United States; and you can listen to his May 24 interview on NPR (starting at 13:00), where he discusses some of his recent research findings and analyzes issues such as geopolitical jousting in the Pacific, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the significance of President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima. Not a bad week.
Brooks is a prolific scholar (with an h-index of 14). His latest book, also written with Wohlforth, America Abroad: The United States’ Global Role in the 21st Century, will be published in July by the Oxford University Press.
Addendum: Brooks’ and Wohlforth’s scholarship has not passed unnoticed. In a column yesterday in the Washington Post, America is still great — but it needs to stay strong, Fareed Zakaria refers to their work:
In a pair of essays, scholars Stephen Brooks and William Wohlforth point out that China is the closest the United States has to a rising rival but only on one measure, gross domestic product. A better, broader measure of economic power, Brooks and Wohlforth argue, is “inclusive wealth.” This is the sum of a nation’s “manufactured capital (roads, buildings, machines and equipment), human capital (skills, education, health) and natural capital (sub-soil resources, ecosystems, the atmosphere).” The United States’ inclusive wealth totaled almost $144 trillion in 2010 — 4½ times China’s $32 trillion.
China is far behind the United States in its ability to add value to goods and create new products. Brooks and Wohlforth note that half of China’s exports are parts imported to China, assembled there and then exported — mostly for Western multinationals. The authors also suggest that payments for intellectual property are a key measure of technological strength. In 2013, China took in less than $1 billion, while the United States received $128 billion. In 2012, America registered seven times as many “triadic” patents — those granted in the United States, Europe and Japan.
Dartmouth has a wealth of experienced professors who lead their respective research fields, while also working closely with students — inspiring them in the classroom and leading them in laboratory environments. And while at Dartblog we talk frequently about problems that need to be fixed at the College, there are still many bright spots. Our professors deserve more recognition for their achievements. As such, this is one of a series of posts that shines a spotlight on the best professors in Hanover:
Mary Coffey is an Associate Professor of Art History at Dartmouth, where she specializes in modern Mexican visual culture — especially murals. That puts her in the perfect place to serve as the College’s expert on José Clemente Orozco’s Epic of American Civilization murals in the basement of Baker Library.
Coffey told The D that she first developed a passion for Latin American art after seeing an exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. She later interned in Washington D.C. at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum after graduating from Indiana University. After that experience, she crossed state lines to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for her M.A. and Ph.D. in art history and cultural studies. She first taught at Pomona College from 1999 to 2001, then served as a Faculty Fellow at New York University’s Graduate Program in Museum Studies, and finally arrived in Hanover in 2004.
My first interaction with Professor Coffey was as a student in one of her classes: Mexican Muralism, Art History 16 (now ARTH 72). As a history major, but one without an ounce of artistic ability or knowledge, my experience in her course was a tremendous introduction into that world. It especially opened my eyes to the Orozco murals, one of the College’s treasures. Painted from 1932-1934 by one of Mexico’s great muralists, the rich display of wall-to-wall color in the sleepy Baker Library reserve reading room deserves to be seen and examined by more students and visitors.
Coffey currently serves as Chair of the Art History Department, which now has eight full time faculty plus visiting and additional lecturers. She is also an affiliated professor with both the Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies and the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Programs. This term, Coffey is teaching Art History 76, “Mexicanidad: Constructing and Dismantling Mexican National Identity.” Next school year, she will teach two other courses on art in North America, but her research on the great Mexican muralists leads the field.
One of her first papers on Orozco in 2004 analyzed the politics of female allegory in 1930s Mexico through his work. In 2010, Coffey was given the Karen E. Wetterhahn Memorial Award for Distinguished Creative or Scholarly Achievement
More recently, Coffey won the 2013 Charles Rufus Morey Award, the College Art Association’s top prize for an art history book; the award is given to just one recipient each year. The book, How a Revolutionary Art Became Official Culture: Murals, Museums, and the Mexican State, was her first. In the it, she “contends that the work of Mexican muralists in the early twentieth century was co-opted by governmental and cultural institutions to serve an ideology often directly at odds with the artists’ original aims.”
“What sets this book apart is the way in which it links, intricately, the analysis of politics, museum practices, and the production of art,” former Dartmouth art history professor Adrian Randolph said at the time. “Her writing has some of the vibrant dynamism and cultural texture of the murals she so adeptly studies.”
“[Coffey’s] book is not only intellectually provocative, but also beautifully produced,” art history professor Ada Cohen said. “It was wonderful news for [our] department to find out that she actually won.”
While Coffey is still a young professor, the fact that she has already won her field’s most prestigious prize shows that she is an up-and-coming star. You can learn more from Coffey’s research in the following lecture she gave about the messianic qualities with which Orozco endowed Quetzalcoatl, Cortez, and Christ in the same mural:
Six years ago Dartblog criticized Coffey for an acid-tongued opinion article in The D in which she defended the Orozco murals against accusations by a D columnist, Roger Lott ‘14, that the murals represented “extremist” views. This writer (as one of The D’s opinion editors at the time) does not agree with that assessment of the murals, but you are welcome to read both: Lott’s article and Coffey’s response. Then go see the murals and decide for yourself!
At several open-to-the-public fora this week in Collis, senior administrators from the College attempted to tell the world how they were moving heaven and earth to make Dartmouth a more inclusive and diverse place. My word, you should have heard the handwringing and Marxist-Leninist self-criticism from our leaders as results from the Campus Climate Survey were discussed, the names of phalanxes of committees were trotted out, and assurances were given that this time around the administration was really, really committed to making the College welcoming for underrepresented minorities.
Of course, at each meeting, right on schedule, activists from the BLM movement were on hand during the Q&A to let the President, Provost, EVP Finance et al. know that the administration is working hand in glove with the oppressor, or even is the oppressor itself. They asked repeatedly why the administration wasn’t stopping “the death threats, the rape threats” and the unrelenting acts of microaggression that make people of color’s lives a living hell in ever-so-white Hanover, New Hampshire.
No student was more virulent than Kevin Bui ‘17, who let rip with multiple rapid-fire harangues that may make the grade as impassioned oratory, but which come not close to being classifiable as serious arguments based in fact. Herewith Kevin’s verbatim excoriation of President Hanlon:
Hi. So. I think that there is something that we need to talk about. Dartmouth is racist. The Dartmouth administration is racist, and Dartmouth is built on racism. You are presenting this study about statistics, about diversity and inclusion, but people of color are not statistics. We are people and our voices should be heard. But our voices are not being heard.
We are… In your office hours we tried several times to speak to you. We are constantly dismissed. President Hanlon asked a black woman “to educate him,” and I think that’s a job of the institution not of the student, and, so, my question is, when will Dartmouth start valuing students of color, faculty of color, staff of color for their voices, for their experiences, for their livelihood, and for their presence at Dartmouth and what they bring to the Dartmouth community besides a statistic on a diversity and inclusion working excellence group.
You created these working groups to respond to the findings of the survey, but I will say, out of all three working groups, there is no Asian American student representation. We make up 20% of the student body, and not a single student was represented, and I know students were nominated, who nominated themselves to be on the groups, so how come they were systematically devalued by the administration, how come Asian American faculty, Asian American Studies is systematically devalued by the administration? How come the administration does not value the voice of student of color, faculty of color or staff of color, and when will we become more than a statistic and actually become people in your eyes?
The amazing thing is that Hanlon and Dever and crew just sat there and took their whuppin’.
No defense of the College — which at budget time can seem more devoted to a left-wing social justice agenda than to educating students — no recitation of the unlimited treasure devoted to our endlessy aggrieved protesters and their causes. As I wrote in a post a while back about another theatrically agitated student, perhaps our highly paid administrators could have suggested to Kevin that he talk to:
… someone in the College’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity; or with Assistant Dean and Advisor to Black Students Kari Cooke in the Black Student Advising Office; or Assistant Dean and Advisor for Sexuality, Women, and Gender Michelle Kermond; or staffers in the Center for Gender and Student Engagement; or faculty members in the African and African American Studies Program; or faculty members in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program; or faculty members in the E.E. Just STEM Scholars Program; or the faculty advisor, Shabazz Center fellow, undergraduate advisor, and staff advisor to Cutter-Shabazz Hall (“The mission of the Shabazz Center for Intellectual Inquiry is to enhance the intellectual and cultural milieu of the Dartmouth College campus with particular regard to those issues which pertain to the historical and contemporary experiences of people of African descent.”); or people in any one of the numerous ”Black Campus Resources” organized and funded by the Office of Pluralism and Leadership.
Just why is it that at an institution ostensibly devoted to learning, nobody from President Hanlon on down is willing to debate the charges thrown at the College. What a sorry, cowed bunch of leaders we have. But they are more than cowed; in point of fact, they are condescending to students of color in not engaging them in any kind of principled debate about the merits of the charges that they hurl at Dartmouth. Does the administration think that these kids are too stupid, too uneducated, too fragile, to withstand an argument that puts forward disagreement with their narrative of Concentration Camp Dartmouth?
Whatever the reason, the morality play going on right now in Hanover is hardly an edifying one, though we can be sure that it is expensive. On Friday the administration will announce yet another set of measure that improve diversity and inclusivity in Hanover.
Addendum: What do you bet that the total spend on Friday will add up to more money than it would take to raise faculty compensation to a level where we can compete with other schools in attracting the best faculty to the College.
Monday’s Faculty meeting had an underlying contentiousness that bodes ill for Phil Hanlon and the College’s leadership team.
Non-Recording Option: A little more than 90 members of the College’s 607-person Arts & Sciences faculty turned out for the faculty meeting on Monday, where they voted down proposed changes to the Non-Recording Option. As we have noted, currently students can designate a grade that they will find acceptable in a course, and if they achieve it or better, that grade is recorded on their transcript (though the course does not count for their major). If they do not make or exceed their target grade, they earn only an NRO designation. Students can elect to take a course NRO at least once per term.
The proposal before the faculty was for a new NRO system whereby students could earn no more than a grade of Satisfactory in a course, unless their grade was a D or an E — the latter grades would appear in their transcripts. They could only use the new NRO election three times in their careers.
The faculty voted against the proposal by a margin of 51-40. The chief arguments voiced in favor of the change were that students should not be allowed to set their own grades, and that students often slacked off unconscionably in a course once they determined that their target grade was out of reach. Other professors argued that the proposal took away all incentives for students to work for a high grade, and would lead to even less effort by undergraduates taking a course NRO.
Economics Professor William Fischel noted that the only course in the College’s most popular department where students could elect the Non-Recording Option was Economics 2 (“Econ for Poets”). Once again, Econ shows that toughness will attract serious students.
Faculty Compensation: Professor of Government Stephen Brooks made a witty, pointed and well argued presentation about how faculty compensation in Hanover has failed to keep pace with that of our peer schools. His directness led me to think that he was on the edge of calling for the creation of a faculty labor union — no shrinking violet this IR specialist. Brooks pointed out with a slide that the College was even now falling behind in the compensation race with the schools with whom we compete for faculty (and often losing therefore in head-to-head efforts to attract top-quality professors to Hanover):
In addition, Brooks noted various Trustee resolutions and specific promises made by Jim Kim and Carol Folt (of which Phil Hanlon is aware) to keep salaries competitive — promises that have been broken. The faculty unanimously passed the following resolution:
MOVED: The Arts and Sciences faculty requests that the Provost ask the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees to reaffirm, and to address, the April 1999 Trustee directive regarding compensation strategy which states that it is “important for Dartmouth College to provide competitive compensation to its faculty.” More specifically, this directive specifies that Dartmouth should follow a:
“strategy aimed at improving Dartmouth’s relative standing within its peer group. This new strategy termed “migration toward the mean” would attempt to move each rank (i.e., assistant professor, associate professor, full professor) at Dartmouth closer to the mean of the comparison schools. It is clearly recognized that there will be yearly fluctuations due to hiring and promotion patterns that will cause Dartmouth to gain and lose ground. But, the overall long-term trend….should be toward the mean of the comparison institutions.”
Capital Campaign: Multiple administration speakers announced that the capital campaign was indeed underway — though it was still in the quiet phase. Of course, no ambitious total goal has been announced, so confidence must be lacking on some level. That makes sense. Large donors have to be unnerved right now by the College’s endless troubles, and until Bob Lasher’s Development office can get a good read on donor interest, we won’t hear about the campaign’s final goal. The College’s previous campaign, which barely achieved its goal of $1.3 billion, ended on December 31, 2009 — a long time ago.
Tenure Standards: In a sop to the 106 faculty members who have signed an open letter, Dean Mastanduno has announced that the COP would engage in a review of the tenure-granting process at the College. Two professors (Music Professor Steve Swayne and Professor of German Irene Kacandes) voiced support for Aimee Bahng, but Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences David Bucci and Professor of Anthropology Sergei Kan stated that the system of checks and balanced integral to the tenure process was working as intended.
The open letter letter also notes concern over the role of Academic Analytics in the CAP’s deliberations. At a forum in Collis yesterday, Phil Hanlon stated that information from Academic Analytics was not used in reviewing professors who are up for tenure. He verified that the College did have an ongoing relationship with Academic Analytics, but he was unsure just how the service’s data was used and by whom (you would think that Phil would have better prepared himself for this forum).
Jewish Studies: The College’s Jewish Students Program received permanent status in a unanimous vote, and in presenting the case for the Program, Religion Professor Susannah Heschel placed particular emphasis on Dartmouth’s close ties with faculty at several Israeli universities. Here’s to you, BDS supporters.
Addendum: Although she is ostensibly the College’s chief academic officer, Provost Dever sat in the third row of the faculty section rather than at the head table with Phil Hanlon, Dean Mastanduno and other committee members. She said nothing at the meeting. I have yet to hear a positive comment about Dever from a member of the faculty — and some profs have said, surprisingly enough, that she is the object of particular opprobrium in the Humanities (Dever is a a scholar of gender studies and 19th-century British literature and culture).
Addendum: Discontent with Phil and Carolyn is running deep. There is talk in more than a few places of a no-confidence vote within a year.
Professor of Music Emeritus Jon Appleton comments on the evolution of tenure decisions at the College:
The uproar over the denial of tenure to Assistant Professor Aimee Bahng might be seen as a return to rigor in the process of promotion and tenure at Dartmouth, something that has been in decline, spectacularly in the Humanities Division, for the last five decades.
When I joined the faculty in 1967, there were annual reviews of faculty by department chairs and the Associate Dean. Publication and teaching evaluations were the primary criteria for evaluation. A renewal of the three-year initial appointment was not nearly automatic as it is today.
Objectivity in promotion and tenure decisions is difficult in the tightly knit community that is Dartmouth, where collegiality is highly prized. As the number of positions in the humanities declined over this period, the focus of new faculty efforts became not the quality but quantity of publication. New faculty sought student approbation by lowering grading standards because they knew their students might have input into the promotion and tenure decisions.
Fortunately, there is still a degree of confidentiality in the process. When the Committee Advisory to the President makes a recommendation concerning promotion and tenure, the Committee’s members are privy to information that none of those protesting the denial of tenure to Assistant Professor Bahng have seen: confidential letters from distinguished peers, honest student appraisals, and the requirement to actually read some of the published work. I wonder how many people among those protesting this decision have in fact read this material?
Tenure is thus granted through the experienced judgment of a diverse group of women and men, who themselves have made significant contributions to their fields and to the College.
President John Kemeny recognized and sought to reverse the “old boy” hiring practices of the earlier Dartmouth faculty by limiting tenure to “two per ten per decade” — meaning that in every decade only two of every ten faculty in a given department should be granted tenure.
Since that time, and especially since the reign of James Wright as Dean, Provost and then President, these standards were relaxed. The perusal of the publication records of current senior faculty reveals a majority who have done very little since they were granted tenure. These are professors for whom the sinecure of tenure was more important than work in their own disciplines.
Addendum: Jon Appleton is the Arthur R. Virgin Professor of Music Emeritus. He served on the faculty from 1967 to 2009. Additionally he has held appointments at Stanford University, Keio University (Japan) and is a fellow of the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations.
Addendum: Another member of the faculty writes in:
I assume you are aware that “unanimous department votes” are not always as unanimous as they appear. Those in the minority may vote with the majority to avoid the possibility of word getting out that they voted against the tenure of a likely future colleague. Having a colleague who knows that you voted against him/her can make for a very unpleasant work environment.
Thus, rather than voting in the minority, those not supporting the “unanimous” department vote may signal their views to the CAP, who is then left with making an unpleasant or unpopular decision. Most faculty know this, and I think there are quite a few faculty (myself included) who are not at all roiled by CAP decisions to overturn unanimous department votes.
Addendum: Yet another member of the faculty has a thought:
I do think something is broken in the tenure system if someone comes up for tenure with a book in press and only four articles. It’s the fault of the Associate Dean, who is supposed to meet with junior faculty each year and make tenure requirements clear, and also the department chair, who should do the same thing.
The other problem is one of quality: a person may write brilliant articles on a narrow topic, but the question should be, what has this person contributed to the field (English, Government, History, etc.)? We have to ask an even tougher question: Is this someone who might one day earn a Guggenheim?
Addendum: One of my favorite student correspondents writes in to note that composer and Music Professor Paul Moravec was denied tenure twice (in 1993 and 1995) amid controversy, and he went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2004.
Today’s faculty meeting at 3pm will address more completely the issue of revising the Non-Recording Option. If the proposed changes are approved, students will be obliged to meet a minimum standard of work in order to receive a grade of Satisfactory — or risk having a D or E listed on their transcript (with its GPA-busting consequences) — and they will only be able to do so three times in their academic career. That development is of real moment for students; why has The D not addressed its substance? After all, it was on the faculty agenda two weeks ago.
Other aspects of the meeting are equally interesting (here are the faculty’s complete materials). On April 26 we reported on the latest AAUP data concerning faculty salaries (our Associate and Assistant Professors and our Lecturers are paid considerably less than the faculty at the other other Ivy schools, though our Full Professors earn more than equivalent faculty at Brown and Cornell). Economics Professor Eric Zitzewitz reported similar figures at a faculty meeting last June, and the Committee on the Faculty (COF) will again observe today that the College is not keeping pace with its peers.
Note particularly that the gap in salaries opened up during the period of the Kim budget cuts (see the red arrows that I have added to the chart). Jim Kim was especially proud that his budget exercise did not involve layoffs of the impossibly bloated support staff (actually it did not involve any decreases in the budget either; spending rose each year under JYK). What a textbook example of cutting bone to save fat:
The Committee on the Faculty did a calculation that I was preparing to do (I’m kicking myself for being scooped). After noting that at “Dartmouth compensation is currently 6.8% lower than the average level of compensation for the US News Top 20 schools (the group of institutions that COF regards as the most reasonable peer comparison),” the COF commented:
The Committee on the Faculty estimates that it would take $5.4 million in total compensation to close the gap between Dartmouth and the US News Top 20 schools (when we look at assistant, associate, and full professors separately and the resources it would take to close the gap in all three ranks). Faculty compensation is a relatively small part of Dartmouth’s overall budget: the $5.4 million needed to close the current compensation gap only constitutes 0.6% of Dartmouth’s current operating expenses ($891 million). Assuming that our standard raise pools will keep pace with our peers, if Dartmouth were to try to close this compensation gap over a five-year period, it would require adding an additional 1.2% to the raise pool each year (or adding 2% each year if we opted for a three-year plan for reducing the gap). [Emphasis added]
Such a request is circumspect, to say the least. Look at the College’s year-on-year total spending increases over the last five years: 2015: + $38.3 million; 2014: +$17.8 million; 2013: +$59.5 million; 2012: +37.5 million; 2011: +$21.2 million. In 2010 the College’s expenses totaled $717.1 million; in 2015 they were $891.4 million. Of that overall increase of $174.3 million over a five-year period, it is astounding that $5.4 million could not have been found to keep faculty compensation level with competing schools. But then, as the recent Class of 2016 petition noted, the College’s top priority still seems to be to feed the staff beast. During this same five-year period, the number of non-faculty staff members increased by 441 people — and the number of Arts and Sciences faculty grew by 46.
Of course, in keeping with this space’s promotion of quality, I agree that we should give raises so that our average pay is competitive with the other Ivies — but using the pitiless law of averages, we should allow a large gap between our top performers and mediocre faculty members, many of whom are professors favored by Jim Wright, scholars who never should have been given tenure in the first place.
Finally, the meeting materials reproduce a May 13, 2013 evaluation of the College’s popular and rigorous Jewish Studies Program. The review is included because Jewish Studies is up for a vote on its continuation. Read through the report with some care. The subtext is clear: Dartmouth has a program that is working extremely well for students and faculty; why is the administration starving it when a little more money would enable Jewish Studies to become one of the College’s top academic initiatives?
Jewish Studies. Faculty salaries. Kosher dining. Decrepit dorms. Need-blind admissions for international students. The refrain is always the same. The administration has no money, except to pay the ever-burgeoning non-faculty staff.
We’ve written about Burgundian winemaker Dominique Laurent in the past. He has the heart and soul of an artist, the mind of an entrepreneur, and he makes wines that sing.
When Dominique could not find oak barrels that did his grapes justice, he started his own cooperage to produce what are now known as his Magic Casks. Made of staves of oak sourced from France’s renowned national forests, his barrels are 50% thicker than traditional ones. He lets the staves sit outdoors for about three years to cure in the heat and snow of Burgundy; then, after being fashioned into barrels, they are lightly charred. The “toast” must be just right: too light and the barrels will impart green tannins to the wine; too heavy and the overbearing vanilla of New World chardonnays will come to the fore:
Dominique’s wines show hardly any oak character (or if they do, only in the first blush of their youth), but the use of oak futs allows the developing wine to breathe during its élevage — the pre-bottling, in-barrel phase when the hand of man takes grapes and turns them into wine. The result is an almost unique richness and generosity of flavor.
There are few high-tech shortcuts in the manufacturing of barrels. Each one is produced by artisans who sense the particular qualities of each one. The coopers make decisions about fit and toast all along the production process:
Addendum: As regards the use of oak in winemaking — now often replaced by stainless steel tanks or enamel-lined cement vats — the oft-quoted remark of Burgundian winemaker Jean-Marie Guffens-Heynens sums up the state of affairs up well: “There are no over-oaked wines, but there are many under-wined wines.” By which he means that unless grapes are ripe and suffused with the minerals that come from low crop yields and vines with deep roots, a wine will always risk being overwhelmed by the use of new oak barrels, even ones made by Dominique Laurent..
Referring in the plural to “recent decisions to overturn unanimous department tenure votes are gravely concerning, indicating that even the best people cannot overcome a flawed process,” a petition is circulating among the faculty that questions the fairness of the tenure-granting process at the College and the use of private metrics provider Academic Analytics to compile quantitative data about faculty research:
The American Association of University Professors has issued a caution on the use of data from Academic Analytics.
To date 67 professors have signed the petition.
Addendum: Displeasure concerning Provost Carolyn Dever has reached a high pitch, and dislike of Phil is not far behind. The tenure decisions in question are a catalyst for upset faculty members.
Addendum: It seems that there is some confusion as the whether the College actually used the services of Academic Analytics. I am trying to get to the bottom of the question.
Addendum: I have now confirmed that the College has an ongoing contract with Academic Analytics, but the extent to which it is used in the tenure evaluation process is uncertain.
An alert reader pointed me to a piece from late last year in Mother Jones about diversity in college faculties as measured by race and gender. In racial diversity, the College seemingly does not do well compared to the other Ivies, and, um, everyone:
Note: The “Other” category “includes individuals who are Native American, Pacific Islander, multiracial, or declined to report their race.” The “declined to report their race” section might be a joker in the deck: it can skew a school’s rank in an important way.
Stanford, which lies in the penultimate position at the bottom of the histogram, seems to have fewer Black and Hispanic faculty members as a percentage than the College, but the Farm earns a better ranking (if having less Whites can be deemed “better) by virtue of having a high number of Asian and Foreign professors on its faculty.
As for gender diversity, we have more women on the faculty than all of the other Ivies except Yale and Columbia:
How sad that magazines don’t rank schools on their number of top scholars or what percentage of courses are taught by tenured faculty (as opposed to adjuncts, etc.) or how diverse the faculty is in terms of ideology (Republicans vs. Democrats vs. Marxists vs. Libertarians) or religious affiliation (how many born again Christians do we have in the Religion department?). Phil and Carolyn are not the only people endlessly obsessed with skin color and gender.
Addendum: The College’s Annual Report on Faculty Diversity from January used data provided by the Consortium on Financing Higher Education to compare the percentage of Underrepresented Minority Faculty in Hanover to numbers at other schools:
Note too bad results. It looks like we are in the ballpark, though moving in the wrong direction, as regards full professors, and as a percentage we have far more underrepresented minority associate and assistant professors than our peers. However, as we pointed out above in contrasting the College’s results with Stanford above, these figures do not include Asian and Foreign professors.
As Provost Dever continues to weed out all of the men from the staff of her office, she is doing so without even a nod to graciousness. In the below e-mail announcing a search for a new Vice Provost for Research, the outgoing Vice Provost, Professor of Physics Martin Wybourne, who also served as the College’s interim Provost for two years during the Folt administration and then under Phil Hanlon until Carolyn came to town, doesn’t even merit a thank you. In fact, he isn’t even named. While Wybourne will continue in the position (which he attained in 2004) for a year after his replacement arrives in Hanover, Carolyn can only bear to refer to him as “the current incumbent”:
Upon Wybourne’s departure and after his undoubted replacement by a woman, the only male in the Provost’s Office (not counting the Presidential Fellow) will be the Institutional Official for Animal Care and Use, close-to-retirement Bio Professor Roger Sloboda (whose h-index of 24 tells you that he does not spend much time in Parkhurst):
Carolyn is the Invisible Provost, and most members of the faculty believe that she is in Hanover only to punch her ticket Kim-style, before moving on to the presidency of a research university. I’d say that she has reached her Peterian level of incompetence here, but then, given Carol Folt’s ascent to the Chancellorship of UNC at Chapel Hill, anything is possible in the untethered-from-reality world of higher education.
Addendum: An alumnus writes in:
Your piece this morning about the search for a new Vice Provost for Research reminded me that Martin Wybourne has been and continues to be a terrific asset to Dartmouth in the various key roles he has had in the Provost’s office over the last 15 years. He most assuredly deserves our respect and our thanks for his dedication and his service to the College — as well as mention by name in Carolyn Dever’s e-mail to the faculty.
In addition, the transformation of the Provost’s Office to a now nearly-exclusively female-dominated domain reminds me of the male purge that occurred in the Dean of the College Office in 2009 and 2010 when a number of highly-experienced male employees were forced from their positions — reportedly to the point where the General Counsel’s Office expressed concern that the College might have some potential liability for employment discrimination.
All of this, of course, is all the more interesting in light of Phil’s statements to the faculty about his clear priorities for the next Dean of the Faculty. I can’t help but wonder if Dartmouth is at — or is fast approaching — the point where male candidates for senior administrative positions at the College will need to be given preference for diversity reasons.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
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…
- The Dartmouth College Case
- 2007 Trustee Election
- Dartmouth Constitution
- Sunday Morning Sinatra
- The Indian Wars
Subscribe by Email
This website reflects the personal opinions of its authors. Any e-mails received may be published along with the full name of the sender. If you wish otherwise, please say so.
All content appearing at Dartblog.com should be presumed copyright 2004-2016 its respective bylined author unless otherwise noted or unless linked to original source.