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Literature? Really?

Canterbury.jpgThe current Alumni Magazine contains a lengthy interview with President Kim. For the time being, I’ll only comment on one small point in it: Dr. Kim praised the Presidential Search Committee’s Opportunity for Leadership statement as “literary,” and he disparaged other schools’ presidential recruiting summaries as “cursory and full of platitudes.”

Browse through the document itself and see if you agree with President Kim, or examine this lovely bit of prose from its first page:

The Dartmouth community and the Dartmouth Board of Trustees are clear. They have been and remain committed to the whole. They have the ambition to provide “the finest undergraduate education in the world,” and simultaneously to attract and fully support the faculty who, in partnership with students - graduate and undergraduate alike - will “define their fields.” The College will not yield on either front. It has built an extraordinary opportunity to lead: Dartmouth has the capacity, the culture and the confidence to confront the challenges faced by higher education and to define academic excellence for the 21st century.

And this paragraph from page 2:

At Dartmouth, every resource counts and every choice must express the core values. The College chooses to support excellence in teaching and scholarship. In the context of the American academy, it aspires to “do it all.” Its size helps. The College can manage the usual trade offs with less compromise. It can select a few faculty from a very large universe. It can pick the areas of graduate study that express its unique strengths and reject those that do not. It can select themes and programs and inspire entrepreneurial players, with calculated investments. To retain and strengthen its position as a leading institution of higher education, Dartmouth must systematically make strategic choices, managing budgets with great care and allocating resources to their best and highest use, a complex task in a small community. The setting will highlight both excellent results and those that fall short. Presidential leadership makes choice and change possible.

Does this sound like literature to you?

Note: In case you did not click on the first link above, the Chair of Dartmouth’s Department of English, Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina, was a member of the Presidential Search Committee.


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