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Hanlon’s GrossDartmouth Initiative (1/2)

In the dog days of August, Phil Hanlon announces a new initiative to radically expand the size of the undergraduate student body. Don’t be fooled by any language in the press release about dispassionate investigation; this train is leaving the station — as we noted a couple of months ago:

Grossdartmouth1 Comp.jpg

Grossdartmouth2 Comp.jpg

Commentary will follow on Monday, but let’s just review past enrollments courtesy of the Dartmouth FactBook:

Dartmouth Student Enrollment 2002-2016.jpg

These figures reflect enrollments in the fall quarter, data that is slightly different from the College’s information. Undergraduate enrollment increased from 4,084 to 4,310 students between 2002 and 2016: a change of 5.53%. Grad student numbers grew from 1,539 to 2,099 over the same period of time: a jump of 36.4%. Say no more.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in preemptively:

You called it. Here we go…looks like Phil is rolling out the Michigan playbook. I can’t wait to see the development of Dartmouth Plan 2, to minimize capital required for expansion. No doubt, it will expand the academic calendar to include weekends. Sophomores will be required to take all their classes on Saturdays. And the instructional day will expand to run from 6 am to midnight. All students will be able to schedule the remaining days in infinite ways. For those in a rush, it will be possible to complete a term in 19 consecutive days.

Addendum: An undergraduate writes in:

I hate the idea of a larger undergraduate body. It will not just mean a less personalised and more factory-like approach to education at the College, but it will also mean that we could soon see the expansion of the Choates, by far the ugliest buildings on campus. Students will also face increased pressure to compete with lacking infrastructure i.e. the libraries. If Hanlon is truly determined that increasing the size of the undergraduate body will be a financially viable idea (and continue to cause a decrease in alumni donations), he first has to work on the infrastructure. The incoming class of 2021 might be sleeping in tents on the Green for all we know! Furthermore, most students who apply here choose to apply due to a limited number of things: the Ivy League status, liberal arts, the great outdoors, small class sizes, and the smallish undergraduate body size (as well as the focus on undergraduate education, an achievement which we were ranked #7 by US News). If you take away small class sizes and the small undergraduate body, you take away two fifths of the reasons to apply to Dartmouth.

Thank you for all that you do Mr. Asch. I hope that Hanlon hears you, but I believe that you are a voice crying out in the wilderness when it comes to the president. He is dragging Dartmouth down, and at the end of the day, he takes us down with him…

And an alumnus:

Just read your post about Hanlon wanting to increase the student body and had to laugh at this line (and I can’t believe you didn’t highlight “diverse”):

“The small size makes it more challenging for the College to enroll a new class that represents interests in a variety of academic disciplines outside the classroom and from diverse backgrounds.”

Rather than larger student body, why doesn’t Phil focus on a better student body? How? I am sure Phil would ask (or maybe he wouldn’t). Stop losing the top students to other schools. If he focused on the quality of the education (and professors), everything would take care of itself without having to admit more students.

Also, didn’t you just do a piece on Tuck being a small school that goes toe to toe with the bigger B-schools?

And another:

So if Dartmouth expands its enrollment by 15-20% the universe will be an immeasurably better place. What absurd, unmitigated hubris!! And a transparent lie. If Hanlon expects anyone to believe this nonsense, then he is manifestly unfit, even beyond the extensive evidence you have already provided, to lead.

And so on:

Very distressing to see today’s post about Hanlon’s plan to increase the size of the student body. I agree with the alum who wrote “looks like Phil is rolling out the Michigan playbook.” In fact, I can confirm first-hand that he is doing exactly that.

A few years ago, I showed up at Phil’s office hours to inquire about creating graduate-level courses as senior seminars, for students who wanted to be more competitive in applying to graduate programs. I asked him what the situation was at Michigan. His reply: “At Michigan, the undergraduates are a source of revenue.” Very disheartening that he is bringing that mentality to Hanover now.


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