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Blanchflower Speaks Out
Economics Professor Danny Blanchflower, virtually a household name in the UK for his performance a few years ago on the British equivalent of the Federal Reserve, has published a 1752-word piece in the Times Higher Education supplement that uses the College as a case study:
He takes a starting point the shift in the number of majors by department at the College over the past decade, emphasizing the growing number of Economics and STEM majors and the concomitant decline in Humanities fields like English and foreign languages:
Blanchflower emphasizes that the allocation of faculty members by the administration has not followed the students:
But that generates a major resource allocation problem, especially in terms of faculty, who are dominantly found in departments where the students haven’t been for decades (such as Russian) or where students are leaving in droves (English). Some departments now have more academic staff than students taking majors…. The humanities division now has approximately five times as many faculty as the economics department, yet both teach the same number of majors. Something is wrong here.
Academic staff are in exactly the wrong places to fit the new student demands in a world of high tuition fees; previous administrations allocated faculty incorrectly to where there were few students or where student demand was about to fall (the reasons for this are unclear). A random allocation based on the drawing of lots or throwing darts at a dartboard would have been a better way to allocate faculty.
He ends the piece with a series of suggestions on how the administration can better balance supply and demand. Give it a read.
Addendum: Blanchflower makes the observation that students are crowding into disciplines with the potential for high post-graduation earnings in an effort to justify/recoup the quarter-million dollar investment that they are now making in their education. This is an important point. The College’s failure to control costs has directly contributed to the corruption of its core educational mission.
Addendum: As we noted a month ago, in light of financial pressures, some commentators are re-thinking the way that colleges are ranked. Money Magazine, as one might expect, focused on, um, money (“the most bang for your tuition buck” was their delicate phrase). By its lights, the school with the best overall ROI is Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. The Ivies rank as follows: #4: Princeton; #6: Harvard; #11: Penn; #15: Yale; #19: Brown; #22: Columbia; #24: Dartmouth (tied); #24: Cornell (tied).
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)
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 interviews, a review of…
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…