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Folt’s Strategic Planning Boondoggle
Provost Carol Folt is wheeling out the heavy machinery of the Dartmouth bureaucracy in order to produce yet another Strategic Plan for the College. We can be assured of a great deal of huffing and puffing, and no end of self-congratulation, but will we see wisdom and innovation from this process? I’m not putting any money on that proposition.
On April 27, Folt issued a document that presaged an endless series of meetings by bloated committees. Just what we need:
● Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC): 10 members
● Faculty Strategic Planning Advisory Committee (F-SPAC): 17 members
● Senior Executive Strategic Planning Advisory Committee (SE-SPAC): 26 members
● Working Groups: priceless
It is worth noting that none of these committees contains a representative from Economics, the College’s largest and most successful undergraduate department. One would think that Econ professors, with a professional understanding of incentives and choice-making, would add value to the deliberations of these groups.
In her April 27 announcement, Folt also mentioned that a shiny new Strategic Planning website would be up and running in “early May.”
As of today, there is no sign of the new site. How amazing that Provost Folt can announce that a new website will appear within a week or two, and then nothing is produced in the following four and a half months. (Did anyone notice? Does anyone care?)
Not that Folt doesn’t have the staff to conjure up a website. It seems that the College’s strategic planning office now numbers a total of three people (full and part-time).
In short, the only result that we can expect from this time-consuming exercise is the same sort of long-winded report that Jim Wright’s strategic planning effort produced in 2002: lots of praise for the process of planning, endless PR about the adminstration’s generalized achievements (specifics always lacking), no ideas of any consequence for the future beyond unquantified platitudes and plans for new buildings, and certainly no change from the College’s present way of being organized and run.
How demoralizing it is to watch second-rate people do third-rate work.
Note: Benjamin Ginsberg, whose recent book, “The Fall of the Faculty,” laments the rise of staff and administrators in the academy (see table at right), singled out strategic planning for special attention in a recent article in the Boston Globe:
Academic bureaucracies across the country spend millions each year drafting and refining strategic plans that, once unveiled to the public with great fanfare, are generally filed away and forgotten. All this while hundreds of thousands of students are taught by part-time “adjuncts” so that schools can save money on faculty salaries.
He’s correct, as we’ll see in the next few days when we look at the 2002 Strategic Plan.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
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October 18, 2009
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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…