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Meet Sylvia Spears

Dartmouth’s acting Dean of the College Sylvia Spears, replacing Tom Crady, brings a limited background to the position. The University of Rhode Island’s Multicultural Center has a sort of “Where Are They Now” page, listing the education and accomplishments of its leading alums, undoubtedly penned by the folks themselves. Here is Sylvia’s current entry in its entirety:

Sylvia Spears graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and a minor in theatre in 1978. Afterwards she spent roughly ten years working in administration and management in New Jersey. In 1989, Spears moved back in Rhode Island. Spears, whose tribal name is Wild Dancer, next worked as an Assistant Tribal Administrator for her Narragansett tribe. In 1992 she returned to the University of Rhode Island for her master’s degree in speech communication. After working at Bryant University, she served as affirmative action officer from 1998-2000. She completed her Ph.D degree at URI in Human Science and Services during 2006. She now teaches movement and voices at the Campus. She has also written plays for inner-city theatre groups.


Spears is an experienced trainer and presenter, specializing in cultural competence and diversity training. She has served as Assistant Director of Multicultural Students Services and Affirmative Action Officer. At present she is on the faculty in the URI Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Sylvia Spears is a certified facilitator for the Franklin-Covey Leadership Studies.

Joe Malchow first reported on Spears over two years ago in: “Meet Sylvia Spears, The New Woon.”

Spears will be managing the 25 offices that fall under the purview of the Dean of the College:

Dean’s Central Office, Academic Skills Center, Athletics and Recreation, Career Services, Center for Women and Gender, Class Deans: First Year Students, Office of the Class Deans, College Health Service, Collis Center, Counseling and Human Development, Dartmouth Broadcasting, Dartmouth Dining Services, Dartmouth Skiway, Forensic Union, Hanover Country Club, International Office, Morton Farm (Riding Center), Native American Program, Office of Pluralism and Leadership, Outdoor Programs Office, Residential Life, Safety and Security, Student Accessibility Services, Student Affairs Planning, Evaluation & Research, Student Life, Undergraduate Judicial Affairs Office.

Should be a snap for someone with her skill set, don’t you think?

More Serious Conclusion: Though she may be a kind, lo even wise and empathetic person, Sylvia Spears is in so far over her head in this job that she won’t even be able to see the surface. Has she ever hired or fired anyone in the positions that she has held? I mean, anyone at all? Does she have any management skills/experience? Has she ever prepared a budget and stuck to it?

Even by the lax standards of the academy, appointing Sylvia Spears as Dean of the College is incomprehensible to anyone with a modicum of business experience. The end result of this foolish appointment will be that the various fiefdoms under her jurisdiction simply go their own way: results may vary, but costs will surely rise everywhere.

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