Archived post

This is an archived post. Please click here to see the latest entries.

« Dartmouth 37 Colgate 20 | Home | JYK on Alcohol in the Post »

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.”

Strat Plan.png

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.

Admin Growth.jpgNote: 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.


Featured posts

  • 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
    Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
    Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
  • 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…

Dartblog Specials

Subscribe by Email

Enter your email address:

Help, Pecuniarily

Please note

This website reflects the personal opinions of its authors. Any e-mails received may be published along with the full name of the sender. If you wish otherwise, please say so.

All content appearing at should be presumed copyright 2004-2018 its respective bylined author unless otherwise noted or unless linked to original source.




April 2018
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30