The Latest Posts

Cappex helps high school seniors find colleges and scholarships, and each year about a million students register with it. That’s a pretty good sample size with which to measure the interests of soon-to-be college students, and so each year the company publishes its College Considerations Report. It ranks schools by the overall interest expressed by secondary school students, and how that interest evolves over four years as students progress through high school. Here is Cappex’ ranking of the Top 20 schools as expressed by student interest. I’ve highlighted all of the Ivies in green:

Cappex Top 20 Nationwide Schools.jpg

Sorry for making you go through the motions. Even if you clicked on the image to re-size it, you would not find Dartmouth in the Top 20 — though you would find all seven of the other members of Ancient Eight.

Cappex also breaks down its student-interest numbers by region. Sadly the College does not appear in the Top 20 ranking of high school student preferences in any section of the country except New England, where we are #18 (after all the other Ivies, except Princeton and Penn):

Cappex Top 20 New England Schools.jpg

Note that while we are #18 overall, for freshmen we rank #15; we are tied for #14 among sophomores; we drop to #20 among juniors; and we fall off the Top 20 list for all New England seniors.

Apologies for this unending string of “the College is in decline” posts. But until we realize that the Trustees and the administration are on the wrong track, the media will continue to provide grist for our mill.

The College’s newest artwork is a temporary work of abstract minimalism by French artist Daniel Buren:

Green Art2.jpg

Colonnes de Buren.jpgBuren is best known for his installation in Paris’s Palais Royal: Les Deux Plateaux, which is often called Les Colonnes de Buren (right). The Dartmouth piece was commissioned by the Black Arts Center’s “Leon Endowment for the Arts” at an undisclosed cost, and it appeared yesterday without announcement on the Green. In a press release put out today, Phil Hanlon stated, “We are trying to return to the tradition of challenging art that was present in Hanover when I was an undergraduate. Think of Mark di Suvero’s X-Delta, which used to stand in front of Sanborn House, or Beverly Pepper’s Thel near Wilder and Richardson Halls. Gail and I particularly appreciate Buren’s elegant randomness.”

For this observer the artwork recalls Berlin’s National Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe with its similarly strong, repeating, irregular geometric shapes. Buren’s two-tone, textured columns augment the visual impact of his rectangles:

Buren will come to Hanover in mid-July to present his work, and the piece will grace the Green until the end of summer term, after which it will be moved to its permanent location at Minot State University in North Dakota.

Addendum: Students immediately protested the work on Bored@Baker, saying that it will interfere with time-honored summer pickup games of Frisbee and soccer.

The royal portraits by Spanish painter Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599-1660) most often feature his patron, Philip IV of Spain, a monarch who presided over the decline of the Spanish empire. This fact put me in mind of the rumor than Phil Hanlon was the fourth choice for the Dartmouth presidency:

Philip IV of Dartmouth.jpg

There is no question that Peter Salovey of Yale was first offered the job; he cleverly leveraged our offer into the top position in New Haven. The names of Ron Daniels of Johns Hopkins and Teresa Sullivan of UVA have also been bruited about.

Phil might try harder because he is number four, but to date his (and Provost Dever’s) efforts are not proving sufficient. Talk of a no-confidence vote in the fall is increasing. A member of the faculty writes in:

I would both urge and support such a [no-confidence] vote now. This pair is rapidly moving away from everything that has made Dartmouth special. Kim’s behavior merited the same, but he withdrew before that vote came up. The endurance and unrestrained persistence of this pair has now made them at least as destructive as Kim was.

Humanities, most of the social sciences, and a handful of science programs are fields in which scholar/teachers can gain national prominence without the need for post-docs or graduate students. Thus, Hanlon-Dever’s whole initiative privileges one division (and its heavy, lab-science departments) at the expense of many of the others. This one-sidedness invites an open faculty rebuke.

The College’s professors are filled with anger right now.

Addendum: Folks at Yale will tell you that we dodged a bullet in not snagging Peter Salovey. He has proven to be a weak, uninspired president — characteristics that seem common these days among leaders in higher education.

Evelyn Stevens ‘05 has been chosen by USA Cycling to compete in the women’s time trial in this summer’s Olympic Games:

Evelyn Stevens2.jpg

Dartmouth has a wealth of experienced professors who lead their respective research fields, while also working closely with students — inspiring them in the classroom and leading them in laboratory environments. And while at Dartblog we talk frequently about problems that need to be fixed at the College, there are still many bright spots. Our professors deserve more recognition for their achievements. As such, this is one of a series of posts that shines a spotlight on the best professors in Hanover:

Doug Irwin3.jpgDoug Irwin is the John Sloan Dickey Third Century Professor in the Social Sciences in the Department of Economics and an expert in the history and application of trade policy, especially free trade in the United States — a hot button topic during this 2016 Presidential campaign.

Irwin was a New Hampshire native long before he ever taught economics at the College. After growing up in Durham, he went to the University of New Hampshire for his undergraduate degree, earning a B.A. in political science and graduating magna cum laude for his efforts. While he didn’t major in economics, Irwin realized by his junior year that understanding economic theory more deeply was a better path for him to analyze government policy.

Irwin went on to Columbia for his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics. He spent his third year as a junior staff economist at the Council of Economic Advisers in the Reagan administration, where he saw how many people in government followed or ignored the tenets of free trade based on their own interest. After receiving his doctorate in 1988, Irwin took a position at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve in its division of international finance. Three years later he started teaching at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business (known since 2008 as the Booth School of Business). Irwin came home to New Hampshire and Dartmouth in 1997.

Irwin has been a prolific researcher and writer on the subject of free trade, with six books to his name so far. Many of them dive into the history of economic theory and practice. His 1996 book, Against the Tide: An Intellectual History of Free Trade, explains how the idea of free trade has persevered despite pressure against it ever since Adam Smith’s day. In Trade Policy Disaster: Lessons from the 1930s and Peddling Protectionism: Smoot-Hawley and the Great Depression, Irwin takes readers back to some of this country’s darkest economic days. He also co-authored a paper in the Journal of Economic History that examined the outbreak of protectionist trade policies during the Great Depression, finding that countries still on the gold standard imposed the highest tariff barriers. Through our recent economic downturn, independent national banks that could adjust monetary policy proved more nimble in providing economic stimulus.

Here Irwin talks about the effects of the protectionist Smoot-Hawley Act:

All of this work makes Irwin one of the top researchers at the College. According to Google Scholar, he has nearly 9,000 individual citations and an h-index of 46.

Irwin has argued for free trade policies in the popular media as well. Most recently, he wrote an article for Foreign Affairs that discussed the “age-old tradition” of free trade-bashing in presidential campaigns — as well as the unique nature of today’s “bipartisan bombardment” from Donald Trump to Bernie Sanders. He also has written op-eds for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times.

At Dartmouth, Irwin currently teaches Economics 39: International Trade, where he is known for giving out four-colored pens embossed with the name of the course, and Economics 79: The Clash of Economic Ideas. He also serves as co-director of the Political Economy Project (PEP), an educational initiative that he founded with Professors Meir Kohn and Russ Muirhead. PEP has its own professors; hosts guest speakers; and Irwin, Kohn and Muirhead invite students to participate in regular Monday-night dinners and reading groups.

Addendum: The strength of Irwin’s character as a teacher is perhaps best summed up by a story that Dartblog has previously noted. When Canadian high school student Jonathan Pedde reached out to dozens of economics professors at different universities to which he was considering applying, only one professor responded to his queries and agreed to meet with him. Irwin came to campus on a Saturday afternoon to do so. Pedde was accepted at the College, matriculated with the Class of 2014, and later won a Rhodes Scholarship.

One can glean a great deal of information from the want ads. Who knew that Phil Hanlon’s vision (Ha!) included the College embarking on “the largest program of strategic investment in its history”:

Vice President for Presidential Initiatives Comp.jpg

I have never seen any announcement to this effect, nor read any hard number in the College’s own press releases.

That said, how the College is going to bring in all the money that it hopes to raise in the capital campaign is beyond me. As we have seen, cash is going out a lot faster than it is coming in, so much so that the administration has had to go to the capital markets to raise $250 million in a bond offering. And the formal announcement of the campaign itself seems to have been delayed until Phil’s fourth or even fifth year in office. Silence regarding the total goal of the campaign is not a sign of successful fundraising, despite the administration’s protestations that all is going swimmingly.

Behind the scenes, the Advancement Office is still in turmoil. As we have also noted, working for Bob Lasher ‘88 is no picnic; three high-ranking managers reporting to Lasher have left recently their positions after short tenures at the College:

Michael Kiefer3.jpgFirst to go was Vice President for Presidential Initiatives and Principal Gifts Michael Kiefer:

From: Advancement Business Operations
Date: Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 1:02 PM
Subject: Staff Update
This announcement is sent on behalf of Bob Lasher

Our colleague, Michael Kiefer, has expressed a desire to live in the Boston area where he plans to join his wife, Carol, his daughter and son-in-law, and his new grandchild, Oliver, after almost two years of living apart from his family. Working toward this goal while retaining Michael’s talents on behalf of Dartmouth Advancement, I’m pleased to report that he will assume a new post in Presidential Initiatives and Principal Gifts (PIPG) as Senior Philanthropic Advisor. This change will take place on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. He will continue to lead the PIPG program until that time.

As we make this change, I want to note that Michael’s work reflects a real commitment to Dartmouth College and President Hanlon’s vision. Over the past 18 months he has guided the articulation of this important new program within Dartmouth Advancement and forged strong relationships with a number of Dartmouth’s most committed alumni and parents in support of our academic initiatives. We look forward to seeing Michael continue to build a strong practice within PIPG, devoting 100 percent of his time to frontline fundraising once the spring term concludes.

We will launch a search for a Vice President of Presidential Initiatives and Principal Gifts imminently.

So Kiefer misses his grandchild and his family, does he? (Ha!, again.) He wasn’t even in the job for two years, having begun work on September 2, 2014. His press release noted at the time that he “plans to reside in Hanover with his wife, Carol Solomon, an art historian and curator.” Maybe he could not find a house, or maybe he saw that working for Bob Lasher was not something on which he was willing to bet longterm.

By the way, the help wanted ad above is part of the College’s effort to replace Kiefer

Ann McElwain.jpgThe next staffer to flee the unhappy Advancement office is Executive Director of Leadership Giving Ann McElwain. On July 1 she will become the chief development officer at the Carnegie Institution for Science. Like Kiefer, she was a senior member of the fundraising team, and her departure erases the results of several years of relationship-building with major donors — she began working at the College less than three years ago in September 2013.

Patricia Jackson1.jpgFinally, though Patricia Jackson’s LinkedIn page still lists her as Bob Lasher’s Chief of Staff (having assumed the role in May 2014), today she is no longer in that job. An undated page on the Dartmouth-Hitchcock website describes her current position as Interim Vice President for the Geisel/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Joint Development Office.

Alert readers of this space will recall that on October 1, 2014 we reported that both Jackson and Michael Kiefer were hired to backstop an obviously inexperienced and temperamental Bob Lasher. The short time that they spent in their positions speaks to the impossibility of working with Lasher. In the same post in 2014 we wrote, “Rumors are circulating that a good many Development officers have resumés out with other institutions.” We weren’t wrong.

At the start of his capital campaign Phil has an ongoing problem in Advancement. Is he manager enough to do something about it?

The search for the next Dean of the Faculty is not going to be an easy one. Based on their comportment to date, Phil and Carolyn would just as well have nothing to do with the College’s professors — after three and two years respectively in town, they have yet to systematically make the rounds of monthly departmental and program meetings to introduce themselves and listen to professors’ thoughts. I guess that is how things are done at Michigan (43,625 students) and Vanderbilt (12,686 students), but in homey Hanover (6,350 students), such behavior comes across as aloofness. Ignoring the faculty, though the President and the Provost talk endlessly about postdocs and cluster hires, is one reason why many professors believe that “Phil and Carolyn think we are a bunch of idiots.” To say the least, that’s not a good way to build the social capital needed to support future academic initiatives (if any are actually planned).

From where is the new Dean to come? One faculty member argued for an insider, given the College’s unique profile:

As I’ve perhaps said to you before, what has distinguished Dartmouth is its unique positioning as a (national) research college. We are not a research university (HYP), nor are we a college (Amherst; Swarthmore). We aspire to a faculty with a national research presence and whose members are excellent teachers.

As one who came up through the ranks at Dartmouth, I would say that it’s very, very difficult to understand that combination of talents unless one has struggled to attain it. All of our recent deans fulfill that qualification.

I am very hard pressed to understand how someone coming from the outside, whether a research university or a college, can have the experience needed to develop and nurture such a faculty. I suppose it’s not impossible to find such a person, but I have my doubts.

The first place to look for a qualified insider would be in the ranks of past and present Associate Deans of the three academic divisions, but it is a testimony to President Wright/Kim/Folt/Hanlon’s fear of strong people that the talent pool here is very thin. As Steve Job’s axiom goes: “A people hire A people; B people hire C people.”

Yet there are several members of the faculty who possess the requisite scholarly and teaching credentials, along with the necessary people skills, to function effectively as the Dean of the Faculty in the Dartmouth tradition. However the consensus seems to be that these people are all white men. Heaven forfend. Of course, I won’t list names. No need to put the mark of Cain on anyone. 

Given that Phil and Carolyn are both pasty white, they might well lean towards the choice of a women, if not one of color. Might we risk being burdened for five years with slow-moving sycophant Denise Anthony, a sociologist at the beck and call of Carol Folt and Carolyn Dever? Need I say more?

As we pointed out at the time, Phil tipped his hand at a recent faculty meeting regarding his preferences:

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]

Make no mistake; the choice of our next Dean of the Faculty is a critical one. Research university types like Phil and Carolyn are doing their best to gut the sense that Dartmouth is an intimate academic community of teacher/scholars. Bringing a big-university Dean to Hanover (no matter what that person’s race or gender), one who sends out the message that teaching has no value when it comes time for tenure decisions and annual raises, will lead to a further decline in the College’s historic strengths. Not a good thing — remember that the next U.S. News rankings come out in early September. If it isn’t ugly this year, it will be in the next one. The College is in freefall now.

My goodness. In reading Phil’s description of the comments made to the Dartmouth Board of Trustees by Michael Dimock, one has to wonder if Phil understood and properly relayed their meaning. How should the College deal with students who crowdsource knowledge — who, I guess, come to Dartmouth not knowing the difference in the quality of information about, say, the virtues of free trade contained in the words of Donald Trump/Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton and a scholarly summary of the peer-reviewed research findings of several generations of scholars? The latter information was recently summarized by Professor of Economics Doug Irwin in the current issue of Foreign Affairs: The Truth About Trade: What Critics Get Wrong About the Global Economy?

Though Phil and the Trustees might still be unclear on the concept, I imagine that Dartmouth professors are under no illusions about what students need when they come by their beliefs willy-nilly: they require education.

Back in the fall of 1975, the first message that we received as freshmen was the importance of the proper citation of sources. For a while at least, we lived in fear that an errant comma in a footnote would see us sent packing from the Hanover Plain. The faculty’s lesson was unflinching: unless ideas were clearly one’s own, a student had better properly attribute thoughts and figures to the originating scholars, and advancing data “that everyone knows” or from the popular media (“I read about them in Time Magazine”) was not going to pass muster.

Thinking more largely, isn’t learning to marshal information in the construction of an argument the very core of what students learn to do at the College? And the citation of the origins of that information is the foundation for an intellectual position, and also the way in which we can communicate with people who don’t share our beliefs: I cite my own evidence and you cite yours, and potentially we agree on a body of facts, if our sources are of good quality; from that exercise, we go forward to draw conclusions.

Take Doug Irwin’s references to scholars who have studied the effect of foreign trade on manufacturing employment in the United States. Careful analysis and a review of the relevant data show that only 15% of lost manufacturing jobs stem from the sale of foreign goods in America. And 85% of the jobs that have been lost are due to automation and technological advances. Once you incorporate that information into your thinking, the railing of politicians against free trade pacts and Chinese goods appears foolish and ignorant.

Phil, you might describe this point as “basic stuff.” Over to you.

A further comment from Phil Hanlon in response to a student question at the Thought Project gathering on May 3:

Thought Project Logo.jpgQuestion 6: Does Dartmouth see the value of using both MOOCS and active learning?


Phil Hanlon: That’s exactly right, I think. So, let me, sort of, throw out something provocative, which I thought was interesting. So, there’s, at the Trustee meeting last November, we also had some external expert come to talk to us, and we had Michael Dimock, who is the President of the Pew Research Foundation, who does research on lots of different topics, and we asked him to paint a picture of the Class of 2029. Tell us what that class is going to look like.

And I think what he, the thing that struck people the most in what he said, is that one of the most powerful trends right now is how your generation views authority, so in, specifically, that your generation is crowdsourcing authority, rather than relying on traditional authorities.

So, in other words, not so interested in the New York Times, or the New York Times restaurant critic, rather go to Yelp to figure out what’s the best place. So, in other words he was painting a picture as this continues on, of a new form of authority, where experts are no longer viewed as an important, good source of authority, and crowdsourcing is viewed as a source of authority.

And if you think about what that says, that’s a shocking thing in higher education, because we are selling experts, right? Like you said, the person in front of the room. That’s the expert. Well, if the people you are talking to don’t really care if they are taught by experts, then that’s a whole new, you know, kind of crisis for us. So. But I don’t know what you guys think about that? Is that, is his, sort of, prediction is valid, or is that just nonsense?

Some thoughts on the above tomorrow.

Addendum: A Dartmouth parent writes in:

I suppose that it will be possible to use MOOCs to enhance the learning experience, but I am appalled at the suggestion that great professors can or should be replaced by crowd-sourced “expertise”. It brings to mind H.L Mencken’s remark that, “Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.”

Champagne’s sloping vineyard hills cradle this French WWI cemetery, Le Prieuré-de-Binson, near Chatillon-on-the-Marne. Most pairs of graves are marked by back-to-back crosses, but those with headstones hold the body of a Muslim who died for France, men from the erstwhile African colonies. There are a great many headstones in this national necropolis, where a total of 2,109 men lie in individual graves and 562 are interred in ossuaires (mass graves):

Chatillon Champagne.jpg

The headstone inset above bears the name of Amougoury Coulibaly of the 77e bataillon de tirailleurs sénégalais, a Senegalese unit a long way from home. Coulibaly died (“mort pour la France”) on July 15, 1918 in a German assault that included poison gas shells. The war ended less than four months later.

The name Coulibaly will be familiar to anyone in France today: Amedy Coulibaly, a Frenchman of Malian descent, was friends with the Kouachi brothers, who conducted the Charlie Hebdo massacre. On the same day, Coulibaly murdered a French policewoman in Montrouge and then killed four hostages in a Jewish delicatessen near the Porte de Vincennes. He later died in a police assault. But not for France. Unlike his possibly distant relative mentioned above; Amedy Coulibaly had sworn allegiance to the Islamic State.

The football team’s videographers put together engaging films on a regular basis. Good for team morale, and undoubtedly good for recruiting. Here’s a new one. Hot time, summer on the river:

By the way, is the administration taking a less-Draconian attitude towards Connecticut River rope swings these days? For many years College employees would cut them down as fast as people could put them up.

In a story straight out of the What the Heck Was She Thinking file, soccer player Melanie Vangel ‘18 was arrested for stealing a dog (“a 1-year-old mixed terrier called Fred”) from the Rutland dog pound. The Valley News reported that Melanie told arresting Vermont State police officer Herny Alberico the “she wanted a dog but had no money and knew she wouldn’t meet the requirements to adopt one… Vangel has been cited to appear in Rutland County Superior Court on July 25 on a charge of petit larceny.”

Meanwhile, financial advisor Daniel Thibeault ‘97, a former member of the Dartmouth College Rugby Football Club, was sentenced to nine years in prison for defrauding “investors and retirees, his colleagues, associates, old college roommates, his nanny, and even his mother,” according to the Boston Globe. “By the time he was arrested in December 2014, more than $15 million — or more than 40 percent of the Beyond Income Fund’s total assets — had been diverted elsewhere.”

Addendum: Memo to the Admissions department: Time to tighten things up.

Addendum: A faithful reader writes in:

Well, if you were going to drag the Rugby team into this sorry situation, you might have at least shared the shame by mentioning Harvard Business School and Goldman Sachs.

Addendum: A member of the women’s varsity soccer team writes in:

I just wanted to comment on your article regarding the arrest of Melanie Vangel. You said that she was a soccer player, however I wanted you to be made aware that Melanie was kicked off of the women’s soccer team in January. There has been a lot of negative press about our team following her arrest so we are trying to make it known that she is NOT on our team. We would greatly appreciate it if that fact was made clear.

Addendum: The D’s ace reporter Parker Richards ‘18 has written a thorough report on Vangel and Fred.

Alexi Pappas3.jpgWhat is the liberal arts but a great breadth of learning and the ability to approach any challenge with rigor and creativity? Not too long ago we reported that lacrosse player Matt Heineman ‘05 was up for an Academy Award for his documentary film Cartel Land — and that he had never used a camera while in Hanover. Now Olympic track athlete Alexi Pappas ‘12 has made an indie film with her boyfriend Jeremy Teicher ‘10 — Tracktown — even though she is trained neither as a filmmaker nor as a screenwriter. (Memo to Phil: it’s not about “skills”; the liberal arts teaches thinking that is both deep and practical; or should I just call what we learn “intelligence”? Once you learn to reason with precision, the rest is just hard work.) With Eugene, Oregon and the legendary Tracktown training center as a backdrop, Alexi’s movie focuses on the challenges a young woman faces in competitive running at the highest level. Her character lives through the days leading up to the U.S. Olympic trials in the 5k, and as one reviewer noted, the film also includes “a youthful romance, some complicated family dynamics, and a whole lot of neuroticism…” Alexi describes the movie as follows, “Tracktown speaks to anyone who’s trying to do something challenging and uncertain, where you wake up every day nervous —in a good way”:

Addendum: Jeremy Teicher was named one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine in 2013.

Addendum: I’ve got to get into better shape.

The Board of Trustees has elected the College’s first-ever Trustee in the modern era who does not have a degree from the College, James S. Jackson:

Trustee James Jackson.jpg

Jackson also seems to qualify as a longtime FOP — Friend of Phil — from the University of Michigan. While he does have a serious background in higher education, it is hard to imagine that he will be an independent voice on the Board.

Addendum: The College’s Charter has never restricted Board membership to alumni. Needless to say, the original Trustees upon Dartmouth’s founding were not graduates of the College.

Dartmouth has a wealth of experienced professors who lead their respective research fields, while also working closely with students — inspiring them in the classroom and leading them in laboratory environments. And while at Dartblog we talk frequently about problems that need to be fixed at the College, there are still many bright spots. Our professors deserve more recognition for their achievements. As such, this is one of a series of posts that shines a spotlight on the best professors in Hanover:

Jeff Sharlet2.jpgJeff Sharlet is an Associate Professor of English as well as a bestselling author of six books and a contributing editor for Harper’s, Rolling Stone, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. He’s also a contributor to GQ, where he’s written a series of incisive pieces of literary journalism in the last few years.

Sharlet got his start at his alma mater, Hampshire College; then he wrote for the San Diego Reader; edited at Pakn Treger, an English-language magazine about Yiddish culture; and worked as a senior humanities writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education. Motivated by a deep interest in religion and culture, he started KillingTheBuddha.com, an online literary magazine, with Peter Manseau in 2000. That effort led to Sharlet’s first book with Manseau, Killing The Buddha: A Heretic’s Guide, which was the result of a yearlong road trip the pair took to examine the “underbelly of America’s religious culture.”

In 2003 Sharlet joined New York University’s Center for Religion and Media as a research scholar. While there, he created The Revealer, a review of religion and the media, with a grant from the Pew Charitable Trust. He came to Hanover in 2009.

Sharlet broke out in 2008 with his New York Times bestseller, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, which Publisher’s Weekly called “a chilling expose.” The book explored the inner workings of a secret fundamentalist Christian lobbying group in Washington D.C. It called attention to the little-known but politically influential religious organization, with members that include sitting senators and a reach that stretches as far as Uganda. To learn more about the work, listen to Sharlet’s interview on NPR’s Fresh Air or the following interview on The Daily Show:

Sharlet has joked that his greatest distinction is “Ann Coulter’s designation of him as one of the stupidest journalists in America.” He has won many awards for his journalism, including the Molly Irvins National Journalism Prize from the Texas Observer, the Thomas Jefferson Award presented by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and the Outspoken Award by OutRight Action International.

More recently, Sharlet won the 2015 National Magazine Award for Reporting after publication of his stunning GQ article, “Inside the Iron Closet: What It’s Like to Be Gay in Putin’s Russia.” The story documented government-backed, grass-roots violence against the LGBT community, as well as the activists and couples who bravely risk their lives for love. For other feature stories by Sharlet, check out The Invisible Man: The End of A Black Life That Mattered, also in GQ; and the cover story in the April 12 The New York Times Magazine, Donald Trump, American Preacher.

Sharlet’s teaching at Dartmouth, where there is no journalism major, includes advanced courses in the English department about literary journalism. During the coming 2016-2017 academic year, he will teach English 73, a senior seminar on the intersection of writing, photography, and other media; English 81 and 84 on creative nonfiction; and English 86, a senior creative writing workshop. The students in Sharlet’s creative nonfiction courses learn in part by contributing to 40 Towns, his online literary journal about the Upper Valley.

Addendum: We looked at Jeff’s book Sweet Heaven When I Die in a post on April 20, 2013.

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