Welcome to Dartmouth's most influential daily
Each day, Dartblog and its team of alumni and students bring you news and commentary from Hanover and the world at large. Read our iPhone edition here.
This is an archived post. Please click here to see the latest entries.
We Don’t Know What We’ve Got
When Mary Rassias passed away last week, dozens of students came back to Hanover to pay their respects, support John, and share memories. Over the years John and Mary have built myriad warm friendships with undergraduates, relationships so deep that former students came from far afield to be with the family in a difficult time.
While such closeness is not unique to Dartmouth among colleges, there is a good case to be made that in the ranks of leading national institutions we are virtually alone in this regard — and we have been for a long time. Former Trustee TJ Rodgers ‘70 recently recounted the following anecdote in Occom Magazine:
After Dartmouth, I went to Stanford for my Ph.D. Now, Stanford is among the top five schools in the world, but I quickly realized that its approach to teaching was different. One afternoon, early in the fall term, I went to see one of my professors. At Dartmouth, I’d visit profs in their offices two or three times a week. That day at Stanford, I practically had to put my shoulder down to get past the secretary. The professor made it clear that I was bothering him — if I had questions I should go see the grad student who ran the lab. I was shocked.
More up to date, Joe Malchow ‘08, Dartblog’s founder, mentioned to me the other day that among his friends at Stanford Law, few felt that if they returned to their alma mater — almost all of his classmates were from Top 20 schools — they would be able to seek out former professors. Almost none had established bonds with faculty members that had outlived graduation.
Why is it different at Dartmouth? Certainly the administration has nothing to do with it, dearie. For a good while now, annual faculty reviews have placed scant emphasis on teaching — certainly nothing in comparison to scholarly publications. But within departments, in tenure reviews and in hiring their colleagues, Dartmouth’s professors show an affection for undergrads and a desire to teach them that is deeply ingrained. As Steve Jobs put it about the spirit of innovation among Apple employees, an attitude that survived his hiatus from management there, teaching is in a Dartmouth prof’s DNA.
As I had lunch or dinner with about a dozen professors over the last month here in Hanover, I was continually struck by how many professors feel a real joy in teaching and interacting with their students. Most of these professors were top-ranked scholars with a lengthy number of influential publications to their credit, yet they not only had time for students, they wanted to be with them. The most reliable pleasure is a selfish pleasure, and these professors need no urging to devote themselves to undergraduates.
All this is not to say that our faculty is perfect, but it is fair to request that we have a President who appreciates their efforts and is worthy of our professors.
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…