Dartmouth's Daily Blog
News, commentary, criticism and praise for the College on the Hill, enlivened with history, culture and travel when we feel so moved.
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Curiously, Tuck does not want to attract people who are concerned about having safe spaces on campus; its advertising highlights that every aspect of its business education will be a stretch. My word, how striking to see a school treat students like confident adults:
The above on-line ad was sent to subscribers of Poets & Quants, the leading paper targeted at prospective and current b-school students. One can imagine that Tuck prepared it for presentation in various different venues.
Tuck’s efforts seem to be paying off on every level, not only among its students (who as alumni contribute money more frequently than the students of any other b-school), but also including its reputation in the business world. The Economist ranked the school as having the #4 campus culture among the world’s business schools:
Both Tuck and Thayer appear to be well managed and moving up in the rankings of their respective fields. As for Geisel and the College, we need say no more.
Addendum: A current, lengthy P&Q profile compares Tuck and Stanford. The intro:
Of the prestige, brandname business schools in the world, you’re not likely to find two business schools that are more like each other than Dartmouth and Stanford. They’re similar in size and spirit. They’re both smaller MBA programs, with a similar mix of exceptionally smart students who play nicely together in a highly collaborative culture, with superb faculty. Because both schools get the majority of their budgets from fundraising and endowments, rather than tuition which accounts for about 40% or less of spending, they can better afford the luxury of smaller classes and higher faculty-to-student ratios. Both schools offer a true premium MBA experience. There’s no mixing of day and night students, or outsourcing big chunks of the core curriculum to poorly paid adjuncts, or spreading limited resources across part-time and executive MBA programs. Tuck has stronger East Coast connections, while Stanford is completely dominant in Silicon Valley.
Addendum: The Tuckies finished their Winter Carnival yesterday. Supposedly b-school students from twenty schools were in attendance. A wild time was had by all, as one might expect from the invitation video:
Lots of snow in Hanover this year with temperatures in the low single digits on occasion. Fortunately no -20° weather like my freshman winter in 1976; I remember two endless weeks of trudging from North Fayer down to the Murdough Center at Thayer for my History of the Atomic Bomb freshman seminar (it was both interesting and a science distrib). Occasionally I’d stop in Silsby to warm up:
That said, whatever temperature it is in Hanover, it’s colder back home in Montreal.
Addendum: Recently I’ve been using the ProCam 4 photography app on my iPhone 7, instead of Apple’s own Camera application. Beyond the technical control that ProCam 4 provides, its photos just seem to have more emotion. Click on the image for a full view.
The MVP rolls onwards. In this TV clip out of Arizona, Nick Lowery ‘78, who for many years held the record as the NFL’s most accurate field goal kicker, talks about the benefits of the Mobile Virtual Player:
When I was a freshman, Lowery, a future Kansas City Chief, kicked a 49-yard field goal against Harvard on a clear fall day in Cambridge. The ball hung in the air forever and barely carried over the crossbar. What a thrill for us! We had gone to Soldier’s Field to support Nick, who lived in the single across the hall from our triple in North Fayer. Harvard turned out a large crowd that day, but all we saw was our new friend way down on the field. He looked so small. In such moments, a student can fall in love with a school.
Addendum: The football program puts out videos that can only be described as romantic. How to counter in the minds of recruits that New Hampshire’s winter is long and cold? Not by being defensive. Describe the chilly months as beautiful, even poetic:
You know, the folks in Alumni Gym could really give the people in Parkhurst an education, if Phil and his minions would only listen.
A concert by Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson at the recently completed Elbphilharmonie gave me an excuse to take the train up to Hamburg, one of my favorite places on the planet. The Hansestadt is like the Goldilocks’ porridge of German cities — not too stuffy (Munich), not too dirty and disjointed (Berlin), but just right. Hamburg is clean, beautiful, and well-organized, but one can nonetheless feel a certain freedom in the air when walking along the riverfront and gazing out into one of the world’s great harbors. It also provides something for every taste, from the salacious options along the Reeperbahn to the more highbrow entertainment offered by the State Opera and the NDR Symphony Orchestra, whose quality equals (and I would argue often exceeds) that of their musical counterparts in better-known destinations like Paris and Rome.
The Elbphilharmonie, now viewed as the unquestioned crown jewel of the city, is perched on the skeleton of one of the many brick warehouses to be found in Hamburg’s harbor district. It is a spectacular glass structure dominated by undulating lines that are meant to evoke the currents of the Elbe, which flows past the hall on two sides. During the day, the building adopts the color of the surrounding sky and water, and at night, it shimmers brilliantly with light from within. The impression is powerful:
The contemporary spirit that went into designing the exterior of the Elbphilharmonie is to be felt inside as well. Concert-goers are transported up to the core of the structure by a slow-moving, gently sloped escalator that travels through a modernistic white tunnel (see right). I felt like I was in some sort of spaceship, and this impression did not die once we reached top and stepped into the main atrium. The walls and ceilings were all white, which lent the place a pure look, and the floor, along with the numerous staircases that connect to the upper levels, were of richly colored wood. One had to search long and hard to find straight lines, as the structures tend to move in unexpected directions, preventing the eye from settling in on any particular spot. Unlike many contemporary buildings, however, the design is neither haphazard nor careless. The views out into the harbor provided by the floor-to-ceiling windows, moreover, were breathtaking. The concert hall itself is also a sight to behold. I’ll let this picture do the talking:
I was curious to hear how the hall would perform acoustically in light of the unconventional design, especially after being subjected to the horrific (lack of) sound in the unfortunate Gasteig in Munich. As it turned out, my apprehension was unfounded. The Elbphilharmonie is certainly one of the sharpest-sounding spaces I’ve ever been to; a museum employee that I met the following day told me he felt the acoustics were in fact so clear as to be intimidating to anyone attempting to hold back a cough in the back row. The music itself, meanwhile, was ethereal and thought-provoking. Instead of relying on the usual structures of melody and harmony to spark emotion, Jóhannsson composes in waves and pulses of energy that subtly move up and down and back and forth. It was the perfect example of how the content of art should complement the identity of the space in which it is presented. Of course, you can always just close your eyes, relax, and listen.
Addendum: The story of the Elbphilharmonie isn’t all roses and honey. Approved in 2007 at a cost of 77 million euros, the structure was supposed to be completed in 2010. It’s now 2017, and the final price tag has reached €789 million (about $840 million). Did whoever was in charge of planning learn how to do their job from Dartmouth administrators? In contrast to the atrocious building projects plaguing Hanover, though, Hamburg’s ridiculous cost overruns did end up producing something extraordinary.
William Fischel is Professor of Economics as well as the Robert C. 1925 and Hilda Hardy Professor of Legal Studies. His primary field of expertise is local government, which while usually lacking the fireworks and drama of national politics, oftentimes plays a much more significant role in how ordinary citizens lead their day-to-day lives. Land use regulation, or zoning, is of particular interest to Fischel. You’ve been affected by zoning laws and practices, whether you are aware of it or not, and Fischel’s pioneering work in the field explains much of why this is the case.
Fischel grew up near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he attended Hellertown High School before moving north to complete his undergraduate studies at Amherst. He finished there magna cum laude in 1967 and went on to Princeton for a Ph.D., which he received in 1973. That same year, Fischel joined the ranks of the Dartmouth Economics faculty, where he has been ever since with the exceptions of several year-long stints at institutions on the West Coast, such as UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, and Berkeley Law School. Fischel credits his experience on the other side of the country with influencing his scholarship, and his time studying and teaching at Vermont Law School in South Royalton has also had an impact on the scope and depth of Fischel’s contributions (an h-index of 39 and 6816 citations) to what is often an intimidatingly legalistic subject.
Let’s say that you want to put a fence on your property. You do a little research to find out what type of fence you can install, how high it can be, and where it can sit in your yard. Eventually, you come across the zoning regulations for your town. After reading through them for the third time, you get the impression that the almost-impenetrable text must have been handed down from somewhere high above, much like God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. As Fischel explains in his most recent book, Zoning Rules!, the reality of zoning development is much more bottom-up than it may seem. Fischel argues that the spread of low-cost trucks and buses in the 1910s made it too easy for industry and apartments to invade residential neighborhoods and threaten single-family home values. Politicians responded to pressure from their homeowner constituents, and modern zoning was born.
American homeowners in the 1970s, according to Fischel, began to see their houses as investments rather than just simple consumer goods due to the inflation of property values that occurred during this time. Wishing to protect these investments from devaluation by further development, homeowners pushed for regulations that limited growth in and around their neighborhoods. The cumulative impact of such regulation accounts for the spiraling housing costs in the Northeast and on the West Coast.
The theme of local governments as important and influential actors was developed in Fischel’s 2001 book The Homevoter Hypothesis, which explains how and why property owners have an incentive to keep a tight handle on their local governments. Because municipal governments are able to enact policy that affects property values (through zoning laws, for example) more tangibly than state or national governments can, “homevoters” do whatever they can to ensure that local representatives are acting in the best interest of what is often their largest, non-diversifiable asset. This includes moving to nearby towns that may offer greater benefits to residents, such as better school districts. Fischel argues that municipal governments, who are therefore forced to be more responsive to voters’ concerns, are often more efficient creators of fiscal and regulatory policies than political bodies higher up the food chain. For many government services, political decentralization works better than uniform state or national policies.
Fischel’s duties in the classroom revolve around two courses: “Econ 38: Urban and Land Use Economics” and “Econ 2: Introduction to Economic Policy Issues.” The former is targeted at students further along in the Economics major who have a particular interest in Fischel’s general research interests, whereas the latter is a survey course directed at those who are perhaps just testing out the waters. Fischel is proud to be what he calls a “talk and chalk” professor; in other words, he does things the old-fashioned way — no laptops allowed, so students have to rely on pen, paper, and their eyes and ears in order to make the grade. One gets the impression that this method is effective, considering that Fischel has incorporated many Econ 38 term papers into his own work; Zoning Rules!, in fact, was dedicated to his students for this reason.
Addendum #1: An undergraduate whose path has been greatly shaped by Professor Fischel’s teaching and research has the following to say:
Prof. Fischel is a professor in the truest sense of the word. That is, he professes his own scholarship in the classroom, bringing together his unparalleled knowledge of land use regulation with the enthusiasm that has motivated his life’s work.
Addendum #2: Watch Professor Fischel discuss zoning practices at the Cato Institute, with examples drawn from a certain small town in New Hampshire:
Attorneys for the Town and for Alpha Delta argued before the NH Supreme Court today concerning the right of the brothers under the Town’s zoning law to remain in their house despite the fact that AD has been derecognized by the College. Associate Justice James P. Bassett ‘78 recused himself from the case — he had been an AD as a student — and the four other Justices questioned counsel pointedly:
At issue is whether the brothers’ use of their house (the fraternity owns the house and its underlying land) can be grandfathered in: the frat has been in the same physical plant since 1928, and the Hanover zoning ordinance dates back only to 1976.
Justices Hicks and Lynn seemed convinced that the case was a simple one: did the fraternity’s use ante-date the enactment of the zoning ordinance? Justice Conboy repeatedly asked how the law would deal with a change of use (AD’s counsel repeatedly asserted that there had been no change in the use of the premises), such as the transformation of the house into a CVS or a small Walmart; and Chief Justice Dalianis was reserved but direct in her questioning, as is her wont. The Town argued that derecognition by the College deprived AD of its institutional cover, as mandated by the zoning ordinance, which cover had been in place when the ordinance was enacted.
The post-hearing betting line was that AD would win the case, given the Court’s traditional penchant for deciding cases unanimously, and because the brothers had the better of the argument in the minds of at least two of the Justices. A decision should be handed down in a couple of months.
Addendum: AD’s counsel announced during oral argument that the house was in talks with the College about being re-recognized (de-derecognized?). Perhaps the College is softening around the edges, what with the capital campaign in the offing and those bad, bad frat boys being very, very loyal alumni.
Addendum: The Union Leader summarizes the story.
Stories of bunny-like behavior on the nation’s campuses abound, but just how hot is the hook-up culture? Campus Pulse provided the goods in a recent survey that joined wit to data. A surprisingly significant number of students live a (sex) life that is more sedate than the papers would have you believe (42% of students have had one or no sexual partners) — and given that 1,327 Dartmouth students answered the poll, one has the sense that the information provided by CP is accurate:
Here is the poll’s outline:
Pulse ran a survey about student’s sex lives and 1,327 of you godless sybarites responded in an almost painful amount of detail. The data revealed some interesting trends: unaffiliated upperclassmen males are 4X as likely to have never had sex compared to their affiliated counterparts, and it’s 2X as likely for unaffiliated upperclassmen females (Figure A). Apparently 10% of students’ parents know “everything” about their sex lives-why anyone would ever want that, no amount of data will ever reveal. Lastly, a full one fifth of Dartmouth has tried anal, but only 8% have had sex with multiple partners at once (Figure B).
Good for CP. The marginal cost of such a survey is negligible, yet one can assume that students tapping away anonymously on their smartphones are providing honest answers to interesting questions.
Addendum: Wednesday’s D had a piece, Investigating the Dartmouth Seven, by Marie-Capucine Pineau-Valencienne (what a great French name!) that supports anecdotally what CP’s data confirms :
Out of all the time-honored campus traditions, the “Dartmouth Seven” holds the prize as one of the most controversial and talked about amongst students and alums alike. In case you’re not familiar with the infamous tradition, the “Dartmouth Seven” is a list of seven places on campus to engage in sexual activity: the Green, the top of the Hopkins Center, the library stacks, the steps in front of Dartmouth Hall, the President’s lawn, the BEMA and the 50-yard line of the football field. A small number of students actually complete the list, but the possibility of being caught doesn’t deter many couples from making an attempt. The challenge is one of those Dartmouth-isms that make our student body seem much more risqué and wild than most of us actually are.
In 2010 this space reported on the Dartmouth Seven (and the Dartmouth Decade, too — we are more thorough than The D!) in a post entitled Girls Just Wanna Have Some:
The College’s ever-competitive students have even set milestones for themselves: the Dartmouth Decade is achieved after having sexual relations with students and alumni from ten consecutive graduating classes; the Dartmouth Seven pertains to gracing seven different venues on campus (the 50-yard line on Memorial Field, the steps of Dartmouth Hall, the lawn of the President’s mansion, the stacks, the Bema, the center of the Green, and the Top of the Hop).
Addendum: It turns out that Pulse has specific data on the Dartmouth Seven:
Not a whole lot of shakin’ going on.
This past Saturday we noted that the Hanlon administration had been inexcusably remiss in not having Kyle Hendricks ‘12 back to Hanover. Perhaps in Phil’s cosmology, starting Game 7 of the Series and having the lowest ERA in baseball does not rank up there with algebraic combinatorics — but some of us think that it’s pretty cool nonetheless.
Equally unfortunate is the fact that Olympic hero Abbey D’Agostino ‘14 has not been invited to grace the Hanover Plain since her display of sportsmanship for the ages at this past summer’s Rio Olympics. Perhaps Provost Dever thinks that the Games and Abbey’s transcendent moment are less important than gender studies and 19th-century British literature. Who knows? We can’t ask Dever; she’s hardly around any more. (How’s the job search going, Carolyn?)
In any event, not everyone on campus is without an appreciation for heroism, and I was happy to learn that Abbey will be in town this coming Monday for the first time since the Olympics. She will be sharing her Christian testimony and her experience at the Games with the Dartmouth Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The Fellowship gets together Monday evenings at 8pm in Beta. The meeting is open to the campus and general public related to the College.
Welcome back, Abbey! You done the College proud.
College Pulse produces a wealth of data, and pretty good data at that, given the large number of students who respond to CP’s easy-to-answer surveys. Once a student’s profile has been entered initially into Pulse’s database, the student need only answer specific questions in future surveys. Then the CP software can analyze the data along any number of lines. Here is CP’s survey of students’ political affiliation. I’ve reproduced the data about the College’s athletes:
Two and a half times as many varsity athletes lean right as non-athletes. I wonder why that is?
On CP’s display page, you can also click on such categories as Race, Class Year, Financial Aid, Gender, Greek Affiliation, Income, Region and Sexual Orientation to find out how various groups of Dartmouth students define themselves politically.
A few more tidbits of political information: Dartmouth men were three times as likely to vote for Trump (15%) as women (5%). And athletes were twice as likely to vote for Trump (12%) and three times as likely to support building a wall along the Mexico-US border (14%) as non-athletes (6% and 4% respectively).
CP can also ask qualitative and informational question. Here are the choices of a representative sample of Dartmouth students (mostly seniors) for this June’s Commencement speaker:
In total, the council typically receives between 100 and 150 nominations before the October deadline, of which it selects between four and six honorees in addition to the speaker.
In addition to simple suggestions, CP let’s you slice and dice the data to see the speaker preferences of different cohorts of students by race, gender, sex, major, affiliation etc. Not bad.
When someone asks me, “What do students think of that?”, the best that I could do until recently is hazard a guess. However a new web-based app, College Pulse (see an overview), which has been created by Terren Klein ‘17 and lead programmers Ben Packer ‘17 and Robin Jayaswal ‘18, seeks to systematically and efficiently survey Dartmouth students about their experiences and opinions:
Users logs in with their college netID and select the poll that they wish to take. Upon completing a poll, community members may visualize and filter the data by various demographics directly on the platform. Unlike existing survey platforms, students receive points for every survey they complete. These points may be cashed in for rewards of the students’ choice, anything from free pizzas to a donation to a charity of their choice. Every poll is recorded on students’ profile, leading to increasingly comprehensive data and cross-referencing between polls. Poll administrators are able to target their sample based off of demographic information or answers to previous polls.
The genesis of the app was the November 12 BLM library invasion. Did students support the demonstrators’ in their protest, or were people opposed to such aggressive behavior? Who knew? Students sought to make sense of what had taken place, what they believed, and whether or not their beliefs aligned with those of the larger community. No reliable, student-centered opinion platform existed to provide clarity, leaving both administrators and students without insight. Needless to say, Yik Yak was not up to the task.
Just as the founders of Uber saw an opportunity when they could not find a cab, so did Terren and his mates sense a hole in the market. And they felt that new technology could give them a way to question large numbers of students at a low cost/query. They got to thinking, and they got to coding.
This week we’ll look at the result of several College Pulse surveys to achieve a better understanding of the state of the College. Let’s start with Admissions information. Pulse’s survey asked students a variety of questions, including at what other schools they had been accepted and rejected. The poll was sent to a randomized group of 2150 Dartmouth undergraduates on October 28th, 2016; 974 students responded.
At a recent faculty meeting, Phil noted that when given a choice with other Ivies, we very rarely come out the winner. He was right. Pulse’s repondents’ experience showed that only as against Cornell do students consistently choose to come to Dartmouth; 15.5% of respondents admitted in the regular decision pool could also have gone to Ithaca. And only a very loyal few picked the College over HYP:
Of the Dartmouth students who took the survey, Yale admitted 2.3%; as did Princeton (the same people?); and Harvard accepted 1.7% (click on the image to enlarge it).
‘Twas not always so. I chose Dartmouth over Yale. As did plenty of other people in the day: we wanted a smaller institution with plenty of contact with members of the faculty (not that Phil cares in the slightest about that).
Conversely, around a third of Dartmouth students were rejected at HYP, and a goodly number were dinged at the other Ivies:
Conclusion: Wright/Kim/Folt/Hanlon have done a lot to turn the College into a safety school.
Addendum: As Terren works the kinks out of the app, he is happy to do surveys if they seeming interesting. Pulse’s website invites anyone to suggest ideas for future polls.
The next time you see a glossy College press release or brochure about Phil’s supposedly much-loved house system, keep in mind the below:
Maybe the last few Teas have not been fascinating enough? Maybe none of them have been? Maybe that’s why the administration needs to pay students to show up for a photo-op?
As we previously reported, the Winter Carnival committee announced that there would be no snow sculpture on the Green again this year. Fortunately, for a second year in a row, a number of students rallied to the call and put up a creditable effort:
At first The D reported that the Town of Hanover restricted the sculpture’s height to four feet:
This year’s snow sculpture was built on the Green by a group of students, alumni and faculty on a volunteer basis. The project was spearheaded by a group of students, led and organized by Mercedes de Guardiola ‘17, and alumni passionate about the College’s Winter Carnival traditions. The Winter Carnival Council announced on Jan. 13 it would not be focusing efforts or funding on the snow sculpture.
Due to town permit restrictions and limited time, the dragon-shaped sculpture had to be under four feet in height. Additionally, the limited snow was another obstacle the team had to work around, the organizers said. [Emphasis added]
Four feet! But I did a little digging, and Town Zoning Administrator Judy Brotman informed me no such limitation came from Hanover.
Then I heard from Maria Mercedes de Guardiola ‘17, who filled me in on the source of the four-foot height restriction:
The concern came from Risk Management - honest mistake by the D. There was a concern that it might collapse and fall on someone because usually the sculpture has to have a diagram and have an engineer look it over, or something along those lines. We didn’t have the time to get all of that done. We also didn’t have any permits. There were a lot of time restrictions for the sculpture this year, but the alumni and community support was terrific.
Four feet! This time for real. Just which beancounter in the bureaucracy came up with that number? Are we supposed to believe that there is some insurance restriction on the height of snowmen? Don’t make me laugh. Any group of seven-year-olds can build a snowman higher than four feet. And there is no risk, except a theoretical one, that some snow will fall on people and injure them. Gimme a break.
What you are seeing is a textbook example of the bureaucracy in action. Some faceless nobody doesn’t want to make a mistake, so the word goes out that a ridiculous limitation will be the rule of the day. Gosh. And how pathetic. And typical of modern-day Dartmouth.
Addendum: During winter carnivals of yore, students engaged in more stimulating activities (courtesy of Michael Hinsley’s explorations in Rauner):
Granite in their brains, indeed.
I can see why Monet liked to do series: different light, weather, and seasons all show varied aspects of a scene. My beloved swimming hole in Norwich is deeply asleep now:
Addendum: An alumnus writes in:
Reminded me of some of Asher Durand’s cathedral like woodland scenes:
Regarding your post about Francesco Hayez, I’d take issue with your comment: “Hayez (1791-1882) doesn’t seem to make it into the canon as taught at the College,…” I think most Neoclassical, Academy-trained artists from the 19th century are largely ignored by art historians everywhere, not just at Dartmouth. Those same academics seem to think good art didn’t start until the 1870s.
When Lady Gaga jumped from the stage at the end of her Super Bowl halftime performance, she caught a bejeweled football that was passed to her by Brian Mann ‘02:
The Boston Globe has the whole story:
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)
Part 1, Part 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…
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…
- The Dartmouth College Case
- 2007 Trustee Election
- Dartmouth Constitution
- Sunday Morning Sinatra
- The Indian Wars
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