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Harvard: An Adult Dean of the College

Here’s an idea that we might pick up on. Let’s have a grown-up at the head of the College’s sprawling student administration, rather than someone who is a professional educational administrator (shudder). Harvard shows us how:

Harvard Dean of the College1.jpg

There once was a time when a few years in the administration was an accepted burden for faculty members. They brought common sense to their roles, and empire-building was not part of the agenda because the classroom and research were always on the horizon. Not any more. As Johns Hopkins Professor Benjamin Ginsberg delineates in his book The Fall of the Faculty, The Rise of the All-Administrative University and Why It Matters, the metastasizing of college administrations has shunted the faculty aside, and administrative bloat is suffocating a good many institutions, including Dartmouth. The undergraduate side of the College now has almost five non-faculty staff members for each faculty member.

Might we hope that our next Dean of the College be a serious, rigorous person, someone immune to the temptations of each passing administrative fashion, someone who could clean house and ensure that we get a material return on our huge investment each year. I expect that the Dean of the College’s annual budget is now in the area of $50 million.

Addendum: Charlotte Johnson has gone quiet again. She’ll have been here for three years this summer, the usual length of a Dean’s contract. I expect that she’s out jobhunting. Let’s hope Phil is looking for a new dean. If he isn’t, we’ll have to wonder about his nose for talent and his resolve to make substantive changes.

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