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White Men Need Not Apply

Hanlon Dever1.jpg

The astounding thing about the recent search for a new Dean of the Faculty — the one that led Phil Hanlon and Carolyn Dever to choose BDS-signatory Bruce Duthu — is that our two most powerful administrators had the fix in right from the start. Though the College’s professors successfully insisted that the Dean be someone from the current faculty — a person inculcated with the importance of Dartmouth’s teaching/scholarship mission, rather than an academic from a huge research university like Michigan or Vanderbilt (the stomping grounds, of course, of Phil and Carolyn) — our professors could not insist that actual merit be the primary factor in choosing the new Dean. And so, it wasn’t. Want proof?

Here are four accomplished scholars and acclaimed Dartmouth teachers whose names were on the list of applicants for the Dean of the Faculty position, either because they put their own names forward or because they were nominated by others. Though each one of them could be described objectively as far more accomplished and experienced that Bruce Duthu, none of them was even granted an interview in the search for a new Dean:

DoF applicants1.jpg

Clockwise from left to right:

Dan Rockmore: From his Neukom Institute profile (he has been the director for six years): Dan came to the College in 1991, after completing his undergraduate work at Princeton University and earning his Ph.D. at Harvard University. In 1995, he was one of 15 scientists awarded a five-year Presidential Faculty Fellowship from the White House for excellence in education and research. He is a member of the external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute and since 2005, Dan has directed its Complex Systems Summer School. The Institute is the pre-eminent center in the world for research in complex systems, the discipline that brings to bear computational methods for investigations into the structure of evolutionary phenomena. At Dartmouth, Dan holds appointments in two academic departments, Math, and Computer Science. In his deep commitment to interdisciplinary study, Dan is poised to continue and further advance the interdisciplinary nature and scope of the important work that the Neukom Institute is doing. See his personal webpage and CV.


Andrew Samwick: Director of the Rockefeller Center since 2004, Samwick was profiled on Dartblog’s Guide to the Stars. Google Scholar notes Samwick’s h-index of 36.

Professor of Computer Science Dave Kotz: From his faculty profile: David Kotz is the Champion International Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Dartmouth College. He recently served as Associate Dean of the Faculty for the Sciences for six years and as the Executive Director of the Institute for Security Technology Studies for four years. During the 2008-09 academic year he was a Fulbright Research Scholar at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore India. His research interests include security and privacy, pervasive computing for healthcare, and mobile computing. He has published over 100 refereed journal and conference papers and obtained over $65m in grant funding. He is an IEEE Fellow, a Senior Member of the ACM, a member of the USENIX Association, and an elected member of Phi Beta Kappa. See his CV here. Google Scholar notes Kotz’s h-index of 66.

Professor of Chemistry John Kull ‘88: From the 2012 College announcement of his appointment as Dean of Graduate Studies: An internationally known structural biologist and biochemist, Kull joined Dartmouth’s chemistry faculty in 2001. His research in structural biology and biophysics focuses on the mechanism of molecular motor proteins and the proteins involved in the regulation of bacterial virulence. Kull teaches undergraduate chemistry, biochemistry, and biophysical chemistry, and has supervised graduate students in the Department of Chemistry and the Molecular and Cellular Biology programs. In 2010, he was awarded the Dean of the Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentoring and Advising.Kull graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth in 1988 with a double major in chemistry and biology and earned his PhD in biochemistry in 1996 from the University of California, San Francisco. Following a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in San Francisco, he moved in 1998 to the Department of Biophysics at the Max-Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany. There he continued to use X-ray crystallography as a tool to study structure-function relationships in force-generating proteins. He returned to Dartmouth as an assistant professor in 2001, was promoted to associate professor in 2007, and to full professor in 2012. This July, Kull was appointed to the Rodgers Professorship at Dartmouth College, a new faculty chair endowed by former trustee T.J. Rodgers ‘70. Kull has published his work in a number of high-profile journals, including Nature, Cell, Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He recently began a five-year term as an editorial board member for the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Roughly 50 undergraduate and graduate students have performed research in his lab, which receives funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Kull is now the Dean of the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. Google Scholar notes Kull’s h-index of 24.

My guess is that Phil and Carolyn directed the Dean of the Faculty search committee to conduct a first-level filter: no need to interview white guys; they were not an option. As I reported following the faculty meeting on May 9, 2016, Phil stated with little equivocation that he had already laid out his search priorities:

My history in dean searches is probably relevant here. In my day I have conducted nine dean searches, all of them national searches. In every case I insisted that the search process generate a deep, talented, diverse pool of internal and external candidates from which to choose. In five of those cases I hired an internal candidate; in four of them I hired an external candidate. Of the nine, only two of the deans I hired were white males; four of them were people of color. So, that sort of tells you what I am looking for in the search… [Emphasis added]

Amazing that Phil could not even grant the four meritorious professors listed above a courtesy interview. At least he should have done so as a matter of respect. But then Phil is not big on such soft skills, which is one of the many reasons why faculty morale in Hanover is at an all-time low today.

Addendum: I expect that other notable members of the faculty were in the running for the Dean’s position, but if they didn’t meet the race criteria, they probably weren’t interviewed either. The above names are the only ones of which the news has come to Dartblog; there may be many others but they haven’t been discovered.

Addendum: The press release announcing Duthu’s appointment listed the members of the search committee:

Kathryn Cottingham, professor and chair of biological sciences, and Mona Domosh, professor of geography, co-chaired the search committee that recommended finalists for the dean’s job to Hanlon. The other members of the committee were: Robert Bonner, professor and chair of history; Graziella Parati, professor of Italian literature and language and director of the Leslie Center for the Humanities; Steve Swayne, professor of music; and Peter Winkler, professor of mathematics and computer science. [Emphasis added]

Note: Very often search committees are enjoined from ranking their list of finalists.

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