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Open Season on the Faculty

Sharks Circling.jpgWord is out in academia that the College is in a bad way, and our sister schools are taking advantage: a good number of professors are being aggressively recruited by other institutions. I have spoken to members of the faculty who have been approached out of the blue, and heard from folks about multiple members of the same department being aggressively courted by leading universities.

The Department of Economics has lost a tenured husband and wife: Robert Johnson and Taryn Dinkelman. They are off to Notre Dame, tempted, it seems, by Catholic generosity. It’s always a shame to lose a couple; one weakness of the Hanover area is the absence of job opportunities for the so-called trailing spouse. A pair of scholars, self-evidently, does not face this challenge:

Departing Profs April 13, 2018.jpg

Sociologist Denise Anthony is returning to Michigan after an undistinguished run in Hanover. She headed up the team that prepared Carol Folt’s utterly forgotten strategic plan, and when Phil picked her up as Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives, well, it was clear to anyone paying attention that his administration was to be little better than the two and a half Presidencies that came before him.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Denise Anthony’s departure from the College on the Hill for Michigan will have the effect of increasing the average IQ at both places.

Addendum: Anthony was appointed Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives for a four-year term on October 01, 2014. On May 31, 2017, after two years and eight months on the job, the administration announced that she would “return to teaching and research as a professor of sociology.” Yet another failed appointment for the chaotic Hanlon administration.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Thanks for re-opening the discussion on the ‘Brain Drain’ at Dartmouth. It is very real and accelerating. If I were a top notch professor, I’d be looking for greener (pun intended) pastures as well. It has got to be very tough to work under such uninspiring leadership. You would expect an organization whose avowed purpose is to produce the leaders of tomorrow would have the sense to have great leadership directing that effort. Apparently Dartmouth doesn’t get it, and a lot of great teachers are considering other options.

My gut and good old common sense tells me that it would only take a few of those disappointed professors to author that much needed ‘vote of no confidence’ that would fix the problem immediately. Far better to lose an incompetent administrator than to have many great professors leave for more challenging academic positions at institutions of higher learning that would graciously — and at higher salaries — welcome them with open arms.

Sometimes it makes perfect sense to change horses in the middle of a raging stream, rather than wait for the flood to subside. England chose Winston Churchill to save the world in the middle of its greatest crisis. Dartmouth College chose Phil Hanlon to insure Dartmouth’s decline, and the Trustees appear unwilling to do what is necessary before the damage becomes irreversible. Too many battles have been lost in the interests of saving face. Many more have been won because great leaders were willing to take risks. Let’s take that risk.

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