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It’s Not Going to Be Carol

Folt Homecoming.jpgWord is filtering out from the search committee that IP Folt is now definitely out of the running for the Presidency of the College. Phew! We dodged an artillery shell there.

The Trustees have given Carol both her day in the sun and her supposed Year of the Arts; the logical next step is for our IP to hire on as President somewhere in the great academic hinterlands of America. After all, she has been Dean of the Faculty, Provost, and the IP of putatively well run Dartmouth College. Why hasn’t she already made an announcement that some worthy institution has graced her with its top position?

My take: other colleges perform their due diligence somewhat better than our MBA Trustees. It’s not that everybody knows everybody in academia, but senior faculty members at most schools will have an old friend or two in Hanover. I imagine that a fair number of phone calls have been made, confidences exchanged, and decisions taken — and a red-pencil line drawn through Folt’s name on more than a few search lists.

Carol will be with us for a good while longer, which is testimony, as if more were needed, that the College’s Trustees don’t understand a great many things that everyone else plainly sees.

Addendum: As we’ve observed in the past with people like Stuart Lord, Sylvia Spears, Tommy Woon, Adam Keller, and others, Dartmouth is a Peter Principle peak in the careers of many administrators (actually, a wit once commented to me that in Hanover some staffers rise several rungs above their level of incompetence). When these second-raters leave the College, they invariably go to a lesser position at a lower ranked college. Soon to be in this woebegone category is Charlotte Johnson. Like Folt, she won’t last more than another year or two in Hanover if our new President has any sense (watch here for the results of this litmus test).

The exceptions that prove this rule are the high-quality people who quickly fled town when Jim Wright replaced Jim Freedman as President. For example, Dean of the Faculty Jamshed Bharucha left Hanover to became the Provost at 9,517-student Tufts, where the Provost’s position carries much greater weight than it does at the College — and he is now President of Cooper Union; Provost Susan Prager became President of Occidental College and then Executive Director of the Association of American Law Schools; and Vice President for Finance and Treasurer Win Johnson ‘67 is now Director of Finance & Administration at the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation.

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