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Ha! Provost Dever “Returns to Teaching and Research”: Four Questions for Phil

Carolyn Dever6.JPGAs this space has predicted too many times to cite, Provost Carolyn Dever has left her position as chief academic officer. She wasn’t pushed. She was given the boot many months ago. Ask any professor you happen to see just how ineffective Carolyn was (see this post from almost two years ago). Her last day as Provost will be November 22, at which point she will become a member of the College’s faculty. Oh, joy:

Dever Departure Announcement.jpg

The College’s full press release is here. Note the absence of any tangible achievement by Provost Dever, other than the usual diversity and inclusion pap.

1. Why didn’t Provost Dever leave for a job at another school? Word is that for many months she has been interviewing all over the country (while getting paid all over Hanover). She even made the shortlist for a number of senior positions, but she never grabs the brass ring. Obviously the hiring committees at other institutions have a better nose for managerial talent than Phil Hanlon.

2. What will her salary be as a Dartmouth faculty member? My sense is that we’ll only learn the answer to that question when the 2018 IRS 990 form comes out. But I bet that Carolyn was savvy enough — and Phil clueless enough — to negotiate a contract that would continue to provide her with her Provost’s salary even if she goes back to teaching. What a waste of more than $783,890/year — her total salary in 2015:

Dever 990 2016.jpg

I sure hope that she doesn’t get to keep the Provost’s spacious residence at 3 Clement Road in Hanover (note the lovely stone wheelchair ramp leading up to the front door – one day I’ll find out what that cost):

3 Clement Road.jpg

Why did we hire her?: Sources tell me that members of the search committee did not rank her at the top of their short list. But Phil picked her anyways from the lower ranks. Though he hides it well, Phil is as diversity-besotted as anyone: look to his selection of Carolyn, Bruce Duthu, Bob Lasher, Rebecca Biron, etc. His criteria for hiring has little to do with what an administrator can accomplish; he cares about skin color, orientation, and gender more than competence — and he has said as much.

We can’t have hired Carolyn for her record at Vanderbilt. People at Vandy say that she was certainly not held in high esteem by the faculty there.

4. Who will Phil choose to replace her? I bet Bruce Duthu. Just kidding. And as a rhetorical answer to that question, who would want to replace Carolyn as part of the tottering Hanlon administration? Would you hitch your wagon to Phil’s? After all, a post-Phil President might want an entirely new team, and anyone associated with Phil will be considered the fruit of the poisonous tree.

Perhaps Professor of Physics and Astronomy Martin Wybourne could serve once again as Interim-Provost, a position that he held prior to Carolyn’s arrival in Hanover? But will he take one for the team and come back from his current sabbatical?

Maybe the Trustees will pick an heir apparent, someone who can become President when Phil finally leaves Dartmouth?

All in all, a poor show by the administration, but quite consistent with everything else that it has done since Phil hit town in June, 2013.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Professor Dever’s greatest contribution to Dartmouth is her resignation as Provost. Obviously, she could not find a new job worthy of her talents… or lack thereof.

I am sorry she is still on campus and back to teaching Jane Austen (Austen’s plots often explore the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favourable social standing and economic security). Hmmmm!… Clearly Dever lacks in both ‘Sense and Sensibility,’ has no powers of ‘Persuasion’ and her ‘Pride and Prejudice(s)’ have gotten in the way of her achieving any semblance of career success as an administrator. Perhaps we should rename College Park… ‘Mansfield Park’ and put up a plaque honoring her insensitivity and ineptitude with regard to all things Dartmouth.

It is surprising, based on the long list of accomplishments presented in the announcement of Dever’s return to teaching, that she was unable to find a new position at another school. Or is it? I’d be interested to know what other schools thought of her resume, and whether or not she was offered any positions.

Addendum: A professor writes in:

The question is whether we will get someone serious to replace her — not a diversity feminist appointment. What we need is someone who knows what they are doing with a serious resume with past achievement and high salary!

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