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Good-bye Walter. You Will Be Missed.
Philosophy superstar Walter Sinnott-Armstrong will be leaving the College for Duke University in the spring of 2010. Curiously enough—well, maybe not that curiously—the College has not seen fit to announce Walter’s departure, even though the news has been on philosophy blogs since June at least.
But then embarrassing departures like this are always soft-pedaled by the folks at Public Affairs - as occurred last year when star African-American history prof Craig Wilder was lured away to MIT, with nary an acknowledgment from the College. Hey, no need to let people know of the brain drain from the faculty, largely the result of an unappreciative administration that too often in the past has appeared threatened by the professional achievements of professors who don’t have the word Dean on their letterhead.
Sinnott-Armstrong is a prodigious author of books and articles, several of which have been cited over 100 times in the research of other scholars - the gold standard for scholarship in the academy (how well have your profs done?).
He is also the Co-Director of the MacArthur Foundation’s interdisciplinary Law and Neuroscience Project, which is directed by another departed and much regretted Dartmouth prof: Mike Gazzaniga. At Dartmouth, Sinnott-Armstrong was a signatory of the pro-Gazzaniga petition from a few years back, and most sad to say, he really cares about Dartmouth.
Walter’s departure completes the gutting of the College’s once strong Philosophy Department at the hands of Dean of the Faculty Carol Folt. In the last eight years, as the previously cited Leiter Reports noted, the department has lost Robert Fogelin to retirement, Sally Sedgwick to the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Julia Driver and Roy Sorensen to Washington University in St. Louis.
Folt’s most egregious error: granting tenure to two Phil. Dept. faculty members whose tenure had been denied by the department itself on the grounds of weak scholarship. The basis for her decision? Undoubtedly, social and political grounds won out over shallow considerations like research publications, intellectual horsepower, and teaching. Nobody can say that Carol doesn’t have standards. They just aren’t the ones traditionally observed in the academy.
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…
August 23, 2009
Fare Thee Well, Tom Crady
And now Dean Tom Crady has precipitously announced his departure from the College after only 20 months on the job. How to read this? By way of background, prior to coming to Dartmouth, Crady had…
May 31, 2009
Kangaroo Court, Indeed
In an interview with The Dartmouth, alumni-elected trustee T.J. Rodgers ‘70 explained his reasons for declining to participate in future evaluations of trustees up for “re-election,” namely the “kangaroo court” nature of such discussion in…