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The Stage is Set… Almost

We are only eight weeks into President Kim’s term as the College’s leader, and it looks like a shaky senior management team is more or less set for the next couple of years. Kim has asked political correctness icon Sylvia Spears (Tribal name: Wild Dancer), late of OPAL, to be his acting Dean of the College (relevant experience: you tell me), and at the same time he wants her to study the proper role that the Deanship should have in the future. Barry Scherr will remain in place as Provost, and he, too, will be studying the appropriate role of the Provost for President Kim.

Departing Dean Tom Crady was supposed to have run the search for a new Athletic Director, but with Tom’s sudden departure, that process is now on hold; so it looks like acting AD Bob Ceplikas will be with us for some time as well. The Chief Investment Officer’s slot also remains open, after David Russ’ short, four-year stint in Hanover; no search committee is in place there either, so it seems like the College’s endowment will be managed by a faceless acting committee for the time being. And leader-less OPAL will be run indefinitely by a committee, too.

There have been rumblings that Dean of the Faculty Carol Folt will not be in her position for much longer. Dean Folt, who ran hard for the Presidency over the past few years with the active support of Jim Wright, may be off to more hospitable climes, assuming that some other institution overlooks the characteristics that have caused concern about her among so many faculty members in Hanover: an inability to engage in debate; a tendency to retreat into impenetrable Deanspeak jargon to justify decisions; and the usual imagination-free immobilism that marked the outgoing administration. In fact, last year many leading faculty members acquired No-Folt Insurance - arranging bolt-holes at other institutions - in case Carol actually made the jump to the top job. But even if she leaves soon, it will be a long while before we see a new Dean of the Faculty. In all likelihood, we’ll be saddled with an acting Dean in this position for a while, too, one who, dare I say it, may also be asked by Dr. Kim to study the appropriate role of his/her position at the College.

All in all, an inauspicious start for Jim Kim as a self-proclaimed agent of change. As one friendly wag recently opined, “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” I’d put it differently: it is going to take Dr. Kim a few years to get his bearings in Hanover, and he seems to be in no particular hurry to do so.


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