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Does Phil Hanlon really want to add another 1,000+ students to the undergraduate population? The College’s facilities are already overstretched as it is.

Would you want to wait ages in line at the Courtyard Café for overpriced DDS food? I am told that this scene is an everyday occurrence:

Courtyard Cafe Line.jpg

Why not hire more staff members so that students get their food more quickly? That’s tough to do when DDS workers make hugely inflated union wages.

So what’s going on? Because a few workers make high wages, far over the local scale, other workers are not hired to support them, and students are made to wait endlessly.

Lines like this are typical all year round in the Hopkins Center; in Foco — what we used to call Thayer Dining Hall — the pressure is less during the winter term.

How can the administration think of expanding the size of the student body, when it is already doing such a poor job in so many areas?

Addendum: Don’t believe me. The D made the same argument quite well.

A loyal reader writes in with a well researched analysis of ex-Provost Dever’s views on diversity:

Professor Dever’s piece might as well be called “Manifesto of a Hypocrite.” If she is interested in fostering real diversity and inclusion, i.e. of thought, opinion, viewpoint and political position, may I recommend looking into Dartmouth’s situation, not UNH’s, along those axes. Below is a comparison between Dartmouth students and the general public in terms of party affiliation:

Dartmouth v. US re party affiliation.jpg

The left-wing bias is closely matched by the data about political donations of the faculty. According to Crowdpac, Dartmouth is one of the country’s most liberal colleges3. If we look at the exact numbers4, during the 1990-2016 election cycles Dartmouth faculty on average donated 78% to Democrats and 19% to Republicans, including over 90% of donations to Democrats in the 2002-2006 election cycles:

Dartmouth political donations 1990-2018.jpg

Liberal professors teaching liberal students can transform liberal arts education into liberal indoctrination. Maybe Professor Dever needs to address this issue instead of sanctimoniously preaching about race-based admissions and employment quotas.
1. “A survey of Dartmouth’s political landscape.” 4/26/17. The Dartmouth.
2. “Party Affiliation.” Data for 2017 Dec 4-11. Gallup.
3. “Most Liberal and Conservative Universities.” Crowdpac.
4. “Dartmouth College.”, The Center for Responsive Politics.

My correspondent continues with follow-up commentary:

We can all reasonably argue that New Hampshire is cold, small, rural and not exactly a magnet for the majority of people. However, I can’t help but crunch some numbers regarding the following quote from Professor Dever’s article (my emphasis added):

‘Our state and our universities are among the least ethnically and racially diverse in the United States, which puts New Hampshire at a stark disadvantage when it comes to recruiting talented people to the Granite State, and to retaining those educated here.’

Does she mean to say that the most talented people are ethnically and racially diverse? That mostly white New Hampshire is dumb? Hard to say.

Anyway let’s compare New Hampshire, one of the least diverse states, to California, the most diverse state1 across a range of metrics including something along the lines of “talent”:

Diversity Metrics NH v. CA.jpg

Looks like almost-all-white New Hampshire is not doing too shabby after all.

Oh, and speaking about diversity and inclusion… One of the components of U.S. News’ Best States Rankings overall score is Opportunity, which “measures poverty, housing affordability and equality for women, minorities and people with disabilities.” New Hampshire’s rank is #1. California? #42.
1. “2017’s Most & Least Diverse States in America.” WalletHub, Sep 19, 2017.
2. “Local Area Unemployment Statistics.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 22, 2017.
3. “Employment Rankings.” U.S. News & World Report.
4. “Actually, Mr. Trump, Iowa is one of the smartest states in the union.” The Washington Post, November 13, 2015.
5. “Best States Rankings.” U.S. News & World Report.

Addendum: An article out today in Barbwire, Elite Universities Get Low Rankings for Viewpoint Diversity, by Sandor Farkas ‘17, has Dartmouth in the middle of the Ivy diversity-of-opinion pack:

Heterodox Academy has released its annual rankings of American colleges, finding that many of the country’s most prestigious institutions actually score fairly low for viewpoint diversity.

The “Heterodox Academy Guide to Colleges” reviewed US News and World Reports’ list of the top 150 universities and top 50 liberal arts colleges, assigning a number ranging from zero to 100 based on a variety of institutional ratings and statistics…

Higher scores indicate schools that welcome “intellectual diversity and dissent,” while lower scores represent those that have a history of suppressing divergent viewpoints.

The University of Chicago—which originated the “Chicago Statement”—topped the list with a rating of 98, while the University of Oregon came in at the bottom with a score of just 10.

Ivy League scores ranged from a high of 59, earned by both the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University, to a low of 25 posted by both Cornell University and Harvard University. Between those extremes, Dartmouth College scored 41 points, Brown University 28, and Yale University 26. [Emphasis added]

Addendum: A good friend on the faculty writes in:

Let’s look at some more data to assess Dever’s analysis. Her perspective appears to be yet another good story ruined by the evidence.

For example: the Annie E. Casey Foundation Race for Results Report (AECF). The Foundation created a data-based index to compare how children are progressing on key milestones across states and racial groups. The higher the score, the greater the likelihood that children in that group are meeting milestones associated with success. For African-American children, New Hampshire is ranked the second best state in the United States. For Latino children, New Hampshire is also ranked the second best. For Asian children, New Hampshire is tenth. For White children, New Hampshire is fourteenth.

Also note that New Hampshire does very well in the health and well-being of our children. Again, the Annie E Casey Foundation ranks all states for conditions that support healthy outcomes. They developed a composite index of overall child well-being for each state by combining data across the four domains: (1) Economic Well-Being, (2) Education, (3) Health and (4) Family and Community. In 2017, New Hampshire is rated the best state in the nation.

Addendum: A young alumnus writes in:

The Dartblog post today is long overdue and is completely emblematic of the current climate at the College. From my experience, most students live in an echo chamber in Hanover, often only exposed to viewpoints different than their own in very limited quantities, if at all.

This leads to little political discourse and complete single-mindedness. It leads to a dangerous sense of right and wrong that exists not only at the College, to be fair, but among many Coastal settings of Millennials today - that is the idea that one set of political viewpoints is correct, and the other set is beyond completely incorrect but further makes you a bad person. I can’t come close to counting on two hands and two feet the number of social media posts over the past year from either current students or recent alumni of the College that read something to the effect of, “if you voted for or support Donald Trump, do not ever talk to me again and you are a horrible person, a sexist, a racist, etc..”

Now I’m not here to say we should support Donald Trump - candidly, I did not vote for him and do not support him, but I am here to call out what is clearly dangerous rhetoric.

If we take a step back and look at the many disturbing parts of this sentiment, it is likely fair to assume that the poster does not want to lose any of their “actual” friends (the people they spend time with outside of the social media world) and, if that is true, then it follows that the poster does not believe any of their “actual” friends supported or voted for Trump. Think about what we are saying there: it is likely that Dartmouth students and alumni exist that cannot bring themselves to believe a single person that they spend time with or want to continue to be friends with can have a viewpoint different than their own - mind you, the viewpoint that prevailed in a national election…

Is that the education we want Dartmouth providing? Dartmouth could do well to actually search for diversity of thought, rather than whatever diversity we kid ourselves into thinking Dartmouth provides today.

The Rhodes Trust has announced this year’s 32 American Rhodes scholars. Four came from Harvard, two from Yale, and one each from Princeton and Penn.

Showing the cerebral vitality that made her such a force as the College’s Provost (before she got the boot), Carolyn Dever, who now describes herself as a resident of Hanover and an English Professor at Dartmouth, has written a piece for in which she lectures the UNH system about making greater efforts to increase, you guessed it, diversity and inclusivity. Take the time to read the piece carefully. Is there anything in it that might count as original thinking? Or have we just heard this pap a hundred times before?

Dever Seacoast Comp.jpg

By Carolyn Dever

Posted Jan 14, 2018 at 3:15 AM

Two recent developments have shed light on our state’s challenges and opportunities when it comes to promoting diversity. In November, the ACLU of New Hampshire and the Seacoast NAACP challenged the University of New Hampshire to seek a new president with proven excellence in the work of diversity and inclusion. And last month, together, Gov. Sununu announced the creation of a statewide Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion, and Attorney General MacDonald announced a new civil rights unit within the state’s Department of Justice.

Both developments react to troubling events of racism in New Hampshire over the past year, including incidents on the UNH campus. Both also express a commendable commitment to justice for every Granite Stater, along with an affirmative embrace of civil rights, and a strong and principled condemnation of discrimination. And both make clear the moment has come for New Hampshire to undertake a rigorous, honest pursuit of racial justice and inclusivity. UNH is an important site if this work is to succeed.

Diversity at UNH is a positive and critical force to secure New Hampshire’s future economic prosperity. The creation of a fully diverse and inclusive campus culture improves educational outcomes, optimizes workplace readiness among graduates, extends the reach and impact of the state’s universities, and sends a clear message that New Hampshire is a vibrant and forward-looking place to work and live.

Our state and our universities are among the least ethnically and racially diverse in the United States, which puts New Hampshire at a stark disadvantage when it comes to recruiting talented people to the Granite State, and to retaining those educated here. Our ability to draw and retain the brightest minds will depend on the strength of our schools to foster diversity and promote cultural competency.

As New Hampshire’s flagship state university, and as one of the state’s most powerful engines of economic development, UNH faces a golden opportunity to realize the educational and economic benefits of diversity.

Experts have long agreed diversity improves educational outcomes. Groups of people who bring different perspectives and backgrounds to the table solve complex problems more creatively and flexibly than groups composed of more homogeneous participants.

On campus, an intentional commitment to diversity requires everyone to challenge the basic assumptions we carry in the door: assumptions about who counts and who matters, about our histories, our communities, and our shared future in a rapidly changing world. It means coming to grips with uncomfortable truths, but also realizing the surprising benefits that can only occur when we bring different perspectives together.

Diversity is not just a numbers game. A fully inclusive campus requires the hard and continuous work of engagement across different backgrounds and perspective. The work is hard enough and important enough that it demands the unyielding commitment of campus leadership, including a full-throated expression of the purpose and benefits - to all - of inclusivity.

Done right, an inclusive campus advances the development of graduates who are attuned to social, cognitive, and cultural differences, and differences of perspective and belief. As we face the challenges of a fast-moving, global economy, those flexible, creative, adaptive thinkers will be poised to flourish.

An investment in diversity and inclusion is an investment in the workplace readiness of UNH graduates, and in the health of the New Hampshire economy. Tomorrow’s graduates will enter a global economy that demands innovation, flexibility and adaptability. The strongest graduates will bring cultural competencies developed through sustained, reflective engagement with a wide range of human social differences. They will also bring the hunger for further learning and engagement on issues of diversity and racial equity.

Championing and promoting campus diversity is not only the right thing to do for New Hampshire; it is the smart thing to do for New Hampshire.

Note that Carolyn doesn’t even have the good grace to do some research and put forward statistics on current levels of diversity at UNH. That type of effort might teach us something, especially if Carolyn compared UNH to a few other schools. Or how about some convincing real-world examples of how diversity provides benefits to students and faculty — actual examples, rather than the usual generalizations? Nada.

Addendum: I bet that the Valley News would refuse to publish something so wan.

Addendum: How could Phil hire someone bereft of, well, any redeeming qualities.

Addendum: At $640,229 per year in 2015.

Christina Paxson.jpgBrown President Christina Paxson took office on July 1, 2012, and three years and three months later, on October 23, 2015, following a two-year “quiet phase,” she launched the $3.0 billion BrownTogether capital campaign. Last week, with $1.64 billion raised in a little more than a total of four years, the campaign passed its halfway mark. Brava, Christina.

Meanwhile in Hanover, over four and a half years into Phil Hanlon’s Presidency, we are still in the very quiet phase of our own sputtering capital campaign. And though the College’s Occom Chronicle of Philanthropy touts the “enormous vote of confidence” in Phil that his fundraising results supposedly represent (as opposed to a vote of no confidence), the numbers, which declined in 2017 despite a soaring stock market, are hardly enchanting. In Phil’s four years, he has raised $1.2 billion, part of a one-day-to-be-announced campaign that will only be in the area of $2.5-$3.0 billion:

Occom Fundraising Table1.jpg

The increase over the preceding period is solid, but then the soaring market and the surging staffing in Advancement for the new campaign helped. But how is it that a fundraising powerhouse like the College — our endowment today is 41.7% bigger than Brown’s — hasn’t been able to raise as much money as Brown over the same time period, and doesn’t even have the ambition to have a larger campaign than our sister school in Providence.

Dartmouth decelerando anyone?

Addendum: When Paxson arrived at Brown, the school’s endowment was $2.46 billion. As of July 1, 2017, the endowment had grown to $3.5 billion — a 42.28% increase over five years. Over the same time period, the College’s endowment grew from $3.5 billion to $4.96 billion — a 41.7% increase.

Brown Engineering Research Center.jpgRecall, as I always want you to do, that Brown has 46.3% more students than we do — 9,380 vs. 6,409. Yet we are much richer than the Bruins: we have both an absolutely bigger endowment and fewer students. And though Brown can point to a “a gleaming state-of-the-art Engineering Research Center” that it has built in the last three years, the College can be proud of, um, well, The D’s story about this event: “The Dartmouth Center for Service changed its name this month to the Dartmouth Center for Social Impact.”

Does he or doesn’t he condone non-state-sanctioned violence against opponents espousing pernicious beliefs like white supremacy, and by extension, any other belief that one can self-define as existentially threatening? Come ask Mark Bray yourself on Thursday at 4:30 in 105 Dartmouth — the room where Martin Luther King gave his Towards Freedom speech on May 23, 1962:

Mark Bray Lecture Comp.jpg

My sense is that Bray is saying, “Yes I do, no I don’t,” in answer to the question. What an excellent way to attract attention to himself, to earn street cred at the same time, and still show respect for traditional norms.

Addendum: Personally, I believe that in a state governed by the rule of law and allowing free public expression (even blogging), there’s just no place for a street fighting man, except to sing in a rock ‘n roll band.

The Aires celebrate the perfect size of the College:

The video was published on November 16, 2011.

Raccoon Coats.jpgFor anyone turned off by the ostentation of $750 or more Canada Goose parkas (their prominent shoulder patch signals economic virtue), the raccoon coats of yore were even higher up on the if-you’ve-got-it-flaunt-it index. Look at this ad from the 1927 Harvard-Dartmouth football game program, which was given to me by a good friend. With prices starting at $350 upwards, you know that these babies were for show:

Raccoon Coat 1927.jpg

After all, for about the same sum of money in 1927, you could buy a Ford Model T roadster. In that year, $350 had the same buying power as $4,933.38 in 2018.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

$350 was a lot of money, as you point out… equivalent to $4,900 or so now. But consider this… as you wrote earlier about TUITION inflation: When I entered the College in the Fall of 1951, TUITION for a YEAR was $600.

I would love to know TUITION in 1927….How much in Raccoon coats do you think it was?

When I was a student in the second half of the 1970’s, tuition was $20,000 — for FOUR years. That sum was considered astronomical at the time.

In a NYT piece entitled No College Kid Needs a Water Park to Study, the former president of the University of Montana and Old Dominion University, James V. Koch, spends most of his time lamenting the ineptitude of Trustees, and the ease with which Presidents manipulate them. The most frequent question that I receive, when alumni write in about yet another wrongheaded decision of the administration, is “Where are the Trustees in all this?” Here is President Koch’s answer:

In my career as the president of two state universities and a consultant to nearly 50 higher-education institutions, I’ve observed dozens of college presidents skillfully co-opt their governing boards into approving costly projects that make schools look more attractive. (Of course, every college president has to increase costs sometimes. But the goal is to make sure it is necessary, while keeping expenses as low as possible for students.)

Trustees, who typically meet four to eight times each year, are entertained as if they are visiting heads of state, flattered for their service and financial contributions to the institution. College presidents sweeten requests for new buildings and research centers, as well as additional student affairs programming, with cleverly branded words like “promise” and “excellence.” What board would want to withhold promise and excellence from its beloved student body?

College presidents also tranquilize trustees into agreement with impossibly large volumes of reading material. Trustees get binders full of documentation about institutional successes that are padded with expensive plans for increasing growth and reputation. Most come away impressed by their president’s expertise and vision and assured that — thanks to their efforts — the university is on the right track.

The unfortunate truth is that while most college presidents care deeply about their institution’s success, an important part of their job is to shake free more resources. They seldom initiate serious campaigns to contain costs.

This means it falls on trustees to be better prepared to help challenge costly proposals that don’t add educational value. When it comes to state schools, the states themselves should educate trustees to understand their responsibilities to the citizenry and students. Training on big-picture issues and higher-education trends, such as the financial trade-off between instruction and research, the costs of intercollegiate athletics, and the expansion of amenities, would help trustees develop courage to ask college presidents probing questions that look beyond institutional narratives and cherry-picked rhetoric.

Our nation’s governors must also play a role. As they appoint public university trustees, they can and should mandate training to make university boards responsible to taxpayers and students. I don’t mean to imply that trustees should devote themselves to ritual opposition to presidents, who usually possess an unmatched understanding of the institutions they lead.

But presidents are not infallible.

You can say that again. Dartmouth’s Trustees must see how weak Phil Hanlon is in so many areas of endeavor. And if they fear making qualitative judgments about academic matters, at least they can count the poor results of fundraising, the sad condition of so much of the campus, and the disappointment of students and faculty with the second highest tuition in the Ivies and the lowest salaries. Why don’t the Trustees bring in a more accomplished leader?

Addendum: The above piece is a journalistic treatment of a seminal work by Judge José Cabranes on the general ineffectiveness of university Trustees: Myth and Reality of University Trusteeship in the Post-Enron Era (2007). A sitting judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and a member of the three-judge United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, Cabranes was a trustee at Fordham (1974-77), Colgate (1987-90), Yale (1987-99), and Columbia (2000-2002); in addition, his wife Kate Stith-Cabranes ‘73 was on Dartmouth’s Board from 1989-2000. His sons Alejo ‘08 and Ben ‘14 attended the College. Cabranes knows of what he speaks.

From a former College administrator:

The idea of ending the fall term at Thanksgiving was first proposed by Carol Folt as a way for the College to save money following the 2008 financial crisis. Her argument was that the College would not need to have as many hourly paid workers on the payroll if it were closed between Thanksgiving and the normal term-end-date in December, it would have lower heating costs, etc. - and the plan was *sold* under the guise of saving students and their parents money because they would not have to travel back and forth to the College twice in a short period of time.

While there is some cost savings from not running the dining halls for these weeks, the argument that there would be savings from lower heating costs was always false because (a) whether occupied or not, the dorms still need to be heated when it is cold to prevent pipes from freezing and the structures from deteriorating, and (b) relocating the staying students to one or two dorms would be a very time-consuming and expensive exercise (you would need to pick the dorms to which all the staying students would be relocated, empty the rooms that the stayers would occupy, move the stayers in, move them out again, move the original occupants’ stuff back in, etc., all with union labor…). And under all circumstances, athletic teams would still need to be accommodated on campus over the winter break.

The faculty more or less loved Carol’s idea for obvious reasons (more than a month without teaching obligations), and President Kim thought that it was innovative and brilliant. So now we have it. My nephew hated it; so did his parents.

From: “Ilona Kotlewska Was”
To: All Students, All Faculty, All Staff
Subject: What to do with bats in the campus buildings

After several days of cold weather awaken bats can be found in the campus buildings. Bats woke up because of the cold and tried to seek for a warmer shelter. You will mostly find big brown bats in the buildings. We strongly recommend driving the bat safely to the Wings of the Dawn Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and Bird Sanctuary ( in Henniker. There the bat will find a safe shelter for the rest of the winter.

Are these bats woke?

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

I have no idea who Ilona Kotlewska Was is, but his/her email is sure worthless. Does he/she think that the first priority for someone with bats in his/her dorm room, office, etc. will be to safely chauffeur the bats to somewhere an hour away? What world does Ilona live in? If I had bats in my room, I’d want to know how to safely kill them or get them out of my room, with zero regard for taking half my day to drive the little creatures to some little town I’d never heard of.

Addendum: Readers pile on:

“We strongly recommend driving the bat safely to the Wings of the Dawn….”

Haha… I initially interpreted this to mean that we needed to drive it as in “drive those cattle”….. get a broom and shoo it on down to Henniker!

Addendum: A close observer of the College writes in:

Ilona Kotlewska-Was is apparently a Fulbright scholarship recipient ( and currently a Visiting Scholar at the Person Perception Lab at PBS: Not an administrator so not sure why she authored the bat email and why she refers to herself as We as in “We strongly recommend” :)

We wish President Hanlon all the best with his hip replacement surgery:

Hanlon Elective Surgery.jpg

Addendum: A reader writes in:

It is curious that Phil chose now to have his elective surgery, right after the beginning of the term. Why not schedule the surgery during the long winter break, when his administrative duties are less taxing?

Each year the University of Michigan website contains a summary of the Provost’s Report to the University’s Regents (its Trustees). The document includes details on many aspects of the school where progress has been made over past years. The 2016/2017 report notes proudly that the student:faculty ratio has improved and the number of small classes has increased — but only since Phil Hanlon left Ann Arbor for Hanover in the first half of 2013. His successor, Martha Pollock ‘79, turned around a pair of negative trends:

Michigan Post-Hanlon.jpg

The numbers may be small, but given that Michigan has close to 29,000 undergraduates, changing the student:faculty ratio for the worse requires a real increase in the number of students and/or a consequential decrease in the number of faculty members.

I am not fond of the term “inflection point” — one of Jim Kim’s favorite buzz phrases — but it is hard not to conclude that things started to look up for Michigan’s undergraduates once Phil left the school.

Winterim Teams.jpgThe endless Thanksgiving-to-New Year’s break that Jim Kim and Carol Folt put into place, supposedly to save money, is an ongoing train wreck. Lasting this year from November 22-January 3 — an interminable six weeks — we’ve written how the gap drains the economic life out of Hanover. EBA’s was one notable casualty.

However, students are the losers, too. The Dartmouth Plan quarter system is already a sprint, and the absence of any significant reading period at the end of term (two days is too little too late) limits learning at the most productive time of the term.

There are other casualties, as well. It seems that about 600 students remain on campus towards the end of November. Numerous varsity teams are in town: sixty swimmers were here until mid-December; the men’s basketball team played in Leede on December 22, and they played again on the 30th, and the women ballers have games all month; the track team had a meet on December 9th; and both the men’s and women’s ice hockey teams played several games in December.

In addition, a great many international and low-income students don’t have the resources to head home, leaving them marooned and bored in Hanover.

Curiously enough, all students on campus are allowed to stay in their usual dorm rooms, so buildings that are mostly empty still need to be heated and lit. The dining hall is not open during the break, so many students get a voucher for one meal/day at Skinny Pancake (now that EBA’s is no more) or are provided with College money to pay for other ways to feed themselves. Who said anything about cost savings?

In the end, you have to ask just what is the benefit of this lengthy break? Behind the scenes, there are a good number of faculty members who enjoy teaching two terms in a row (barely twenty-two weeks, including the break), and then having the next thirty weeks off. But many others recognize the harm that the endless interim does to students and their learning.

A good President would fix the problem in short order.

Addendum: When I first met with Carolyn Dever shortly following her arrival at the College, I brought up the College’s curious academic calendar. “What’s with that crazy, six-week break?” she exclaimed. But, needless to say, she did nothing about the problem (or any other).

Addendum: Coaches whose athletes are not on campus for winterim complain that their athletes return to campus after six weeks having lost a fair amount of conditioning.

Addendum: An ideal calendar would have fall term ending after mid-December (like the other Ivies). Each term would have a full five-day reading period and three days for examinations.

Addendum: The D has a summary of games and events by various Dartmouth teams during the winter break: Winter break recap 2017: 10 Big Green teams see action between terms.

Addendum: A parent writes in:

Today’s article about the break was right on. My daughter was the only person in her dorm after the other kids left for break. The only student! Another athlete came and stayed with her, as her own dorm was almost completely empty, also. This semester started 1-3-2018, and her final final is March 12. 69 days! That’s absurd. More cramming and less learning and experiencing school. Also, she received a stipend for one meal per day. We footed the bill for the rest. That doesn’t sound right. She is at school representing Dartmouth, and it costs us extra. Four weeks of food. She had to be at school for swim practice on 12-30-2017. She was happy to be back at school with her friends.

There are just a few things that need to be changed to make Dartmouth so much better. Believe me, I am grateful, as is my daughter, that she is at Dartmouth.

A to do list: 1) Change the length of the semester. 2) A hiring freeze for everyone but teachers/professors. 3) Preferred parking for teachers/professors. Even over the administrative staff.

Does Phil even have a list of priorities? Student education should be number 1 by a mile. Everything else is down the list. Everything.

A survey should go to all students. Then to all faculty. Then to all administrators. Separate surveys with the same questions. No results released until all of the results are in. It would be interesting to see what students, faculty, administrators, etc., thought that Dartmouth’s priorities should be. And how best to achieve them.

Addendum: An alumnus offers a differing point of view:

While the winter break is long, I think your piece misses a few key benefits of the long break.

1) For West Coast-based students, the Thanksgiving break immediately before the end of the term was not feasible to go home and return to campus for finals. Before the changeover part-way through my Dartmouth career, I never made it home to SF — I was lucky enough to get myself invited to other families celebrations closer to campus, but know quite a few people who we’re not able to leave Hanover. While your idea to end later could solve some of the two trips in two weeks phenomenon, you would end up just shortening the break and starting even later in the fall (we already start a month later than many of our peers), both of which are unappealing to students. Shorter break at Christmas, while inconsequential would be a negative talking point for students making decisions and longer break over the summer is hard to fill with internships etc. as it does not line up with other schools and intern programs are often set up as ten weeks June-mid august.

2) For many current students, I’ve heard the winter break being used for externships and job shadows for four weeks before the holidays, adding to the flexibility of D-Plan to get students work experience before they start in the real world. The College could and should be advertising this potential and asking alums to take on students where possible.

Addendum: A senior Professor in Environmental Engineering writes in:

I was at one of the meetings when the idea of the Winterim was being discussed with the faculty. When the proponents of the idea mentioned that carbon dioxide emissions would be curbed by students not getting back (some across country) to campus after Thanksgiving, I pointed out that studies have shown that, when you try to save travel to people, they don’t travel less, they travel elsewhere. I got the dirty stares and was pretty much laughed at. Since then, I have been asking students every time I have a chance to test my hypothesis, and I can most firmly claim from compelling evidence that I was right. Students either return to campus for activities other than courses or travel to other destinations. Our atmosphere has no less CO2.

Addendum: A parent writes in:

As a California resident, I was initially in favor of the new schedule, since I was looking forward to having my daughter (and assistant chef) home for Thanksgiving for the first time in four years. That was nice, but six weeks was just too long for everyone. In retrospect, I’m glad she had the three years under the old schedule, and it was no great hardship to have Thanksgiving with my brother & family in Philadelphia or to go home with an East Coast classmate.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Unless I am mistaken, the term was not shortened but rather starts ~2 weeks earlier in September. See below.

— Fall 2010 was Sept 22 - Dec 8 or 11 weeks minus a week off at Thanksgiving.

— Fall 2017 was sept 11 to Nov 22 or 10 weeks.

The too short term is Winter term (~9 weeks), but you can’t extend that more unless you think we should start Christmas week or push back Spring term & graduation even further than other schools.

While I agree the terms are short, the benefits of only 2-4 classes per quarter (effective trimester) vs 4-5 semester outweigh the costs in my experience (with the possible exception of lab sciences which can be difficult to teach in a compressed period).

Back in the day (before my day), President John sloan Dickey had a rule that the College could only preserve its undergraduate focus and character if 80% of the students in Hanover were undergrads. Today that statistical benchmark is long gone; now the Hanlon administration even boasts about the growth in the number of grad students:

GRAD letter.jpg

Let’s do the math (and make some corrections for double counting): 550 PhD students; 300 Master’s candidates; 593 students at Tuck; 498 at Geisel, and 285 at Thayer. The total figures is actually 2,099 grad students according to the Dartmouth FactBook — juxtaposed against 4,410 undergrads.

President Dickey is rolling in his grave at the thought that almost one student in three (32.2% to be exact) in Hanover — as opposed to his rule of one in five (20%) — is a grad student.

In fact, we can no longer lay claim to having the most undergrad-centric student body in the Ivies. Brown wins on that score:

Ivy Grad Students.jpg

Our graduate student population has grown steadily since 2002:

Grad Students 2002-2017.jpg

Growth in the number of graduate students between 2002 and 2017 was 36.48%, whereas undergraduate growth was only 7.98% — and of that figure 5.53% occurred between 2002 and 2016, and the other 2.45% occured over the past academic year.

But, as a quick review of the infrastructure in Hanover shows, all this growth has not been matched by greater numbers of academic classrooms, labs and offices; increased dormitories, dining space and parking; and overall support for students and faculty. Successive administrations have made a hash of so much of the overcrowded campus. Will we ever see competence?

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

The College can easily reduce the percentage of graduate students to 28%. Just increase undergraduate enrollment to 5,510 (25%).


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