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Kim Appoints Presidential Search Team Member to Head Alumni Relations

Martha Beattie.jpgFollowing to the letter Aba Eban’s famous imprecation about Palestinian negotiators, President Kim never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. This time around Kim has chosen Martha Beattie ‘76 as Vice President for Alumni Relations. The D described the search process as follows:

Beattie… was selected as vice president for Alumni Relations following a national search assisted by executive search firm Isaacson, Miller.

One has to wonder about Isaacson, Miller’s judgment in this decision, given that Ms. Beattie has no line management experience in her resumé to bring to bear in managing the College’s 30-person AR Office and its multi-million dollar budget:

A crew coach for more than 30 years, Beattie started her career teaching and coaching crew at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA. After moving to Seattle in 1980, she coached Lakeside School girls to three crew National High School Championships in four years, and in 1983 and 1984 she was the Women’s Junior National Team head coach. In 1985 she founded one of the first master’s women’s rowing programs in the country. In 2000, Beattie founded the Hanover High School boys’ rowing program. Throughout her career, she has been actively involved in her children’s schools and in her communities, serving on the board of The Northwest Children’s Fund and the George Pocock Rowing Foundation, and as a part time coach with the Upper Valley Rowing Foundation and the New London Rowing Club.

Of greater concern is the highly partisan manner in which Coach Beattie has been involved in Dartmouth alumni affairs in the past. President Kim did not advance the cause of alumni harmony in picking the author of the following widely-disseminated letter from the 2008 Association of Alumni election:

Dear Women of Dartmouth:

It is about us. This year’s election of the Executive Committee of the Dartmouth Association of Alumni is about women and our role at Dartmouth, past, present and future.

There are two slates running for the eleven positions. One slate is supported by the Dartmouth women who have signed this letter. The other slate is endorsed by the Dartmouth Review and a sad number [sic] of alumni intent on stirring up controversy with negative misinformation and lawsuits.

The Review and its candidates say they are for preserving Dartmouth’s traditions. As you well remember, their traditions have not always included respect for women as equal members of the Dartmouth community.

Without our consent, four of the candidates on the Review slate filed a lawsuit against our College and its Trustees over the recent changes in election procedures.

They also supported legislation in the New Hampshire legislature, which was defeated overwhelmingly, to give the legislature power over Dartmouth’s Charter, in effect repealing the Dartmouth College Case.

Confrontation, not collegial debate and negativity, not positive engagement, are the operating procedures for advancing their agenda.

The slate that represents the Review’s opinions has two women who list no current Dartmouth activities on their campaign biographies. The same situation is true for five of their male candidates — no current Dartmouth activities.

Why are they running? They are running for their agenda, not for Dartmouth.

We cannot allow our College to go backward. Dartmouth’s women have too much at stake. Going backward insults our Dartmouth experience and our traditions. Going backwards devalues the contributions alumnae are making to Dartmouth today …

Martha J. Beattie ‘76
Kate Aiken ‘95
[Emphasis added]

Finally, Beattie’s appointment is a continuation of the backscratching that has marked the Kim administration. Al Mulley, recent appointed by President Kim to head the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science, was the head of the search committee that chose Kim to lead the College. Professor Nancy Marion, whose search committee recommended Carol Folt for the Provost’s position, was later appointed by Provost Folt and Dean of the Faculty Mastanduno as the Associate Dean of the Faculty for the Social Sciences. Beattie herself served on the Presidential Search Committee that chose President Kim.

I think that we can safely say that the governance of the College is safely in the hands of a tight little group.

So where do we end up? Given Beattie’s lack of experience and history of blind loyalty to the administration, I expect that President Kim’s Chief-of-Staff David Spalding will continue to control Alumni Relations, even though Coach Beattie will be paid an executive’s salary.

Addendum: I wrote in July last year about my concern that the College would pick an under-qualified staffer for this position. I was right on the idea even if wrong on the specific choice.


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