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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.
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Welcome New Readers
If you are coming to this site for the first time, perhaps after reading about Dartblog in the Valley News, welcome. (To see the story, click here.) We hope that you will find here commentary and information about Dartmouth that the College’s expensive and spin-besotted PR machine will not provide to you.
Dartblog is motivated by a desire to improve the College. We want all of today’s students to have the same joyous, enlightening educational experience that so many of us had, and that many — but too few — students still enjoy. As people say about France and its government, we must also say about Dartmouth: it is a wonderful school despite the unstinting efforts of the administration.
Over the past 13 years, the College has suffered under three extremely weak leaders: Jim Wright, Jim Kim and Carol Folt. From a position in the late 1990’s where it had financial strength — the fastest growing endowment in the Ivy League and a low level of debt — a lean staff, and a responsive faculty to whose courses students were admitted without difficulty, the College has descended to a position over the past decade where the endowment has grown much more slowly than all of the other Ivy schools, debt has ballooned, and students lament the difficulty they have in being accepted into their first- and even second-choice courses.
More troubling than curricular and financial mismanagement (the Trustees were recently in the news after it was reported that many members of the investment committee also manage money from the endowment) is the utter inability of the administration to steer the College in positive new directions. Members of the faculty learned long ago that proposals for new programs and other types of reform go nowhere when presented to the College’s senior administrators. Bureaucrats fear change; it offers the possibility of failure. Only true leaders realize that the flip side of failure is the possibility of success. The College has not had real leaders for some time now.
Finally, we would be remiss in not commenting on the frequent dissembling, distortion and downright dishonesty with which senior administrators describe the College, justify their policy choices, or rationalize their acceptance of the College’s remediable weaknesses. Too often budget cuts have been excused with transparently false reasons, and supposed consultation with students has been but window dressing for decisions made long before.
Despite the time we spend directing disinfecting sunshine toward administrative incompetence, we also enjoy highlighting excellence where it may be found. Dartmouth’s most innovative scholars are almost always among the College’s best teachers (it is interesting how the two seem to go together); we have gotten to know many of them over the years. Their love of Dartmouth approaches that of her undergraduate sons and daughters.
We also put forth ideas for improving the College, whether they are our own, or ones forwarded to us by people who might wish to remain anonymous (not only are current administrators free of imagination, they are also vindictive). There are many ways in which Dartmouth can be made better, but it will take courage and conviction to move in those directions.
In short, Dartmouth’s greatest days are still ahead of her, but only if we can find leaders who recognize the College’s exceptional promise. In recent years, Dartmouth’s leaders have not been up to the task.
A note on sources: Whenever possible, we will give you active hyperlinks to our sources. A daily newspaper does not offer you the opportunity to verify directly the origins of its information; we do. However, many of our leads come from people who work with, for, or inside the administration. They, like so many others, have become disgusted with the poor quality of Dartmouth’s leadership. Necessarily, stories from these sources will have no attribution.
If you number yourself in this disgruntled group — and it is a large one — and you wish to contribute to our efforts, please procure for yourself an anonymous e-mail address and send us documents, tips, and links that help us show that the administration is not doing the job that it should do. If you choose to reveal your identity to us, we will keep it confidential; if you wish to remain anonymous, we will verify your information before running a post.
Dartblog has news about the College and the world of higher education on Monday through Friday, and we write about books and the world on the weekend. We hope that you will stop by to see us every day.
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…