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Almost all of the Canadians killed on Canada’s D-Day beach — Juno — are interred at the Bény-sur-Mer Cemetery, situated about three miles inland from the invasion beaches themselves. As in all Commonwealth war cemeteries, the families of the dead were invited (for a small fee) to offer an inscription on their child’s tombstone. In contrast to the noble, exalting-their-sacrifice atmosphere of American military burial sites like the one behind Omaha Beach at Colleville-sur-Mer, the chosen words on the Commonwealth graves give an intimacy to them, a lasting memory that each soldier left behind a family who loved him:
More than 2,000 Canadian soliders lie at Bény-sur-Mer Cemetery; most of them died in the Normandy battles on June 6, 1944 and in the weeks that followed (American soldiers are brought home if requested by their families; Commonwealth soldiers are buried in multiple small cemeteries at places close to where they fell).
Addendum: Some headstones are incised with a cross, others the Star of David, and yet others are intentionally blank.
Last week’s post about Theodore Milton Selden ‘21 elicited a sympathetic response from many readers. The African-American’s death in a train accident cut short a life of great promise: Selden had spent a productive single year at Dartmouth — a second senior year after he had completed his degree at Lincoln University — and he had then finished in the top half of his Penn Law 1L class.
At the College, he had ranked second in the senior class with grades that would be outstanding even in the present era of grade inflation. A member of Dartblog’s Baker Tower Irregulars found Selden’s grade sheet and other materials with the help of the staff at Rauner:
Four A’s and a B each term isn’t half bad. In addition, Selden won the Barger Gold Medal for Original Oratory in 1921. Although his photo appeared in the July 1919 edition of W.E.B. Dubois’ magazine The Crisis, A Record of the Darker Races, Selden appears to have had greater sympathy for the ideals of Booker T. Washington than those of Dubois. Here is his prize-winning speech:
Now you know how to conduct your bond trades over the next nine months. Actually, I wonder if the folks at the Dartmouth endowment office consult Economics Professor Danny Blanchflower about the direction of the economy, and more to the point, the strategy that the Federal Reserve will adopt in the coming months and years. After all, Danny served on the British equivalent of the Fed — the Monetary Policy Committee — and became a hero in the process. Here he is on Bloomberg, broadcasting from the College’s studios:
Shame about the hair.
One way to see if Phil is going to innovate at the College is by looking at the people he puts on the Board (I know, I know, the members of the Board and the Alumni Council supposedly choose the Trustees, but let’s dispense with that self-evident fiction — the President has at the very least a veto on the picks). Over the next two years one quarter of the 24-member Board (not counting Phil and the Governor of NH) is going to turn over: Steve Mandel ‘78 in a couple of months, and in 2016 Jeff “No Show” Immelt ‘78, Sherri Oberg ‘82 T ‘86, John Rich ‘80, Steve Roth ‘62 T ‘63, and Diana Taylor ‘77.
As we have discussed in the past, the Board is virtually bereft of members with leadership experience in higher education, even though there is a fairly deep bench of College alumni in the academy. In addition, the alumni body is replete with political leaders who would contribute an entirely different perspective to the Board.
For an example of a Board that brings real expertise to the table, you need look no further than DHMC, where the members of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) Board of Trustees have a wide range of experience, and many have retired after long and successful careers; they can therefore devote the necessary time to their responsibilities (in contrast the the pulled-in-a-dozen-directions profile of the College’s Trustees).
And while we are on the subject of Trustee diversity, let me throw out the name of Burke Whitman ‘78 — a former Marine Corps Brigadier General and healthcare corporate CEO. The military is not represented among the Trustees, and in addition Whitman has extensive experience in the private sector and on non-profit boards. In the Corps Whitman seems to have done pretty much everything that a fighting man can do. And in the private sector he was a top-level executive with Health Management Associates, Triad Hospitals, Deerfield Healthcare Corporation, and Almost Family, Inc.
Given his broad experience, we won’t hold Burke’s Harvard MBA nor his time at Morgan Stanley against him.
Addendum: As an added bonus, Burke Whitman’s wife Sarah Hoit Whitman ‘88 co-founded ConnectedLiving, a non-profit whose goal is to bring digital connectivity to underserved Americans; she also founded Explore, Inc., a national before-and-after-school, school enrichment program.
Erratum (kinda): Several alert readers have noted that Trustee Nathaniel Fick ‘99 represents the military on the Board. That is true as far as it goes, but Fick rose only to the rank of captain in the Marine Corps during his four-year stint (1999-2003); as such, in Board of Trustee meetings he will not provide the command presence that General Whitman would offer in discussions with the captains of industry and investment billionaires who fill the Dartmouth Board today.
Addendum: Life sure moves fast. A loyal reader has written in to note that without having the good graces to let Dartblog know, the Congress voted two weeks ago to promote Burke Whitman to the rank of Major General. Semper fi!
If Burke were to be appointed to the College’s Board of Trustees, would the hedge fund managers be required to salute him?
The College’s ban on hard alcohol is attracting attention:
My sources on Main Street in Hanover tell me that a déluge of thirsty students has not occurred. At $6.50 or so for a hard drink, few students can afford to pre-game in downtown bars — even if they are of an age to make the activity legal — especially when a bottle of vodka goes for the same price or less in Lebanon.
I expect that the hard stuff will be secreted in dorm rooms and consumed on the QT among small groups of friends. As I have said before, it is easier to smuggle a handle of vodka into a room than a six-pack — so unless the College turns a blind eye to beer in the dorms, little will change.
Addendum: In Eubulus’ play (circa 375 BC) Semele or Dionysus, Dionysus says:
Three bowls of wine only do I mix for the sensible: one is dedicated to health (and they drink it first), the second to love and pleasure, the third to sleep — when this is drunk up wise guests go home. The fourth krater is ours no longer but belongs to hybris (outrage), the fifth to arguments, the sixth to drunken revel, the seventh to black eyes, the eighth is the bailiff’s, the ninth belongs to bitter anger, and the tenth to madness that makes people throw things.
You’ve been warned.
Phil has reappointed Mike Mastanduno as Dean of the Faculty for an abbreviated two-year term (it’s usually five). The time had come to cut bait, but Phil does not seem to have had the nerve to make the hard decision and bring in some fresh blood. Obviously Mike likes the job, and I bet that he appreciates the salary, too — $398,280 in 2013 .
Almost $400k/year seems an extravagant amount of money for a part-time job. As Dartmouth Now notes above, Mike still spends time teaching and doing research (tasks for which, were he just a faculty member, he’d receive about $175k/year), and, as we recently reported, he now has his own bi-weekly radio show on SiriusXM. While he does have his supporters on the faculty, the great majority of professors with whom I talk consider him to have been, at best, an ineffective dean. That’s no wonder: Mastanduno seems to treat one of the College’s most important positions as a sideline.
Addendum: Mike was initially appointed by President Jim Kim and Provost Carol Folt in yet another search where the fix was in from the start. Need I say more?
Lots of interesting writing about Dartmouth-related topics and higher education in recent weeks:
The Times ran a column entitled, The Real Reason College Tuition Costs So Much, which defends states from the charge that the decline in their funding of education has led to an increase in tuition. Author Paul Campos, a University of Colorado, Boulder law professor, points his finger at the real culprit:
By contrast, a major factor driving increasing costs is the constant expansion of university administration. According to the Department of Education data, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, which Bloomberg reported was 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.
Even more strikingly, an analysis by a professor at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, found that, while the total number of full-time faculty members in the C.S.U. [Colorado State University] system grew from 11,614 to 12,019 between 1975 and 2008, the total number of administrators grew from 3,800 to 12,183 — a 221 percent increase.
Note: the figures in the latter quotation are not necessarily comparable to the ones in yesterday’s post; we referred to all of Dartmouth’s non-faculty staff. I have not had a chance to to see exactly which employees the above term “administrators” includes.
Dartblog perennial favorite, Economics Professor Danny Blanchflower, was in the news after he published a paper critical of the calculation of the U.S. unemployment rate. His article, Labor Market Slack and Monetary Policy, was summarized in Forbes in a column headlined, What If America’s Unemployment Rate Is Really Wrong? Danny argues the people who have part-time jobs but would like to work full time and people who have given up seeking work need to be included in the jobless figures.
Andrew Lohse ‘12, whose book we reviewed here, has returned to the campus to finish his degree. The estimable Alumni Magazine interviewed him in a piece published in the latest edition: Confessor Returns.
This space first wrote about the number of adjunct faculty members teaching Dartmouth undergraduates in 2010, and we ran another column in February. A New Yorker article from March 25 — O Adjunct My Adjunct — well describes the rise of part-time teachers in the academy:
There is a complicated culture of silence that surrounds adjuncting. Schools have no incentive to draw attention to how many adjuncts most institutions now rely on…
But then the students often don’t know to ask. If more of them learned how many of their classes are taught by poorly paid, unsupported teachers, even as their tuition rises, how would they react? Would they question the value of their education? Call for reform?
Of course, as this space likes to note, schools use adjuncts to save money — which they then spend on an ever-growing army of administrators.
The Wall Street Journal published a provocative piece by Bell Curve author Charles Murray: Why the SAT Isn’t a ‘Student Affluence Test. Murray’s assertion: the available data shows a far tighter correlation with maternal IQ than with family income (which itself is correlated with IQ). As if in response, Michele Hernandez ‘89 opined in a Times debate that colleges should abandon the use of the SAT/ACT aptitude tests in favor of subject tests.
A Weekly Standard article by Jonathan Last, The Campus Left Begins to Implode, brings attention to three articles, most importantly one from an anonymous graduating McGill University senior: Everything is problematic” My journey into the centre of a dark political world, and how I escaped. If you are looking for a well written primer on the intellectual pathologies afflicting radicals from both ends of the political spectrum, this article is enlightening.
And finally, after a police report concluded that the horrific event described by UVA student “Jackie” had no verifiable basis in fact, and following its own investigation headed up by Steve Coll, Dean of Columbia’s journalism school, Rolling Stone has retracted its story about an alleged gang rape at UVA. The Times notes:
The report, published by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and commissioned by Rolling Stone, said the magazine failed to engage in “basic, even routine journalistic practice” to verify details of the ordeal that the magazine’s source, identified only as Jackie, described to the article’s author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely.
On Sunday, Ms. Erdely, in her first extensive comments since the article was cast into doubt, apologized to Rolling Stone’s readers, her colleagues and “any victims of sexual assault who may feel fearful as a result of my article.”
In an interview discussing Columbia’s findings, Jann S. Wenner, the publisher of Rolling Stone, acknowledged the piece’s flaws but said that it represented an isolated and unusual episode and that Ms. Erdely would continue to write for the magazine. The problems with the article started with its source, Mr. Wenner said. He described her as “a really expert fabulist storyteller” who managed to manipulate the magazine’s journalism process. When asked to clarify, he said that he was not trying to blame Jackie, “but obviously there is something here that is untruthful, and something sits at her doorstep.”…
Ms. Erdely, Mr. Wenner said, “was willing to go too far in her effort to try and protect a victim of apparently a horrible crime. She dropped her journalistic training, scruples and rules and convinced Sean to do the same. There is this series of falling dominoes.”
This space has noted that accusations of assault are often far more complicated than they appear in the press.
Addendum: A diligent follower of the College’s affairs offers a comment on the Alumni Magazine’s Andrew Lohse ‘12 interview cited above:
Was copied on an email making the rounds re the Alumni Magazine piece on Andrew Lohse. Seems people are wondering how it is possible that Andrew manages - in the space of a few paragraphs - to label Pulitzer Prize winner Joe Rago ‘05 an “absurd guy,” imply that the work of Chris Miller ‘63 is unreadable, claim critical thinking skills as the exclusive domain of English majors, lump all “rich white guys” together and imply that they are proponents of depravity, defend the veracity of his own book by citing the fact checking skills of Rolling Stone Magazine (now, of all times!), flirt with insulting Phil Hanlon, offer up Panarchy as a model of respectful decorum, and polish his nihilist bona fides with references to death threats and the possibility of his own assassination. Whew. Is he actively trying to provoke confrontation?
General consensus is that Andrew is a legend in his own mind - also that he is growing a little long in the tooth for this sort of overwrought nonsense. Hard to imagine what people at the Alumni Magazine were thinking when they decided to run this piece.
Of course, one might attribute a certain deviousness to the DAM’s editors: they gave Andrew lots of rope, and he obliged them.
I want to like Phil, I really do, but if the College keeps hiring people as if it on a mission to end unemployment in America, I won’t be happy, and we’ll end up with more non-faculty employees than undergrads. As the present rate, we are less than a decade away from that state of affairs:
The Dartmouth Factbook just came out with the employment figures for non-faculty staff members, and the numbers are both alarming and, more to the point, no more than a continuation of Wright/Kim/Folt excess: between November 2013 and November 2014, the College added 60 new non-faculty staffers:
Since 2010 we have added 447 new staff members, and once again we are in record territory: the College has never had so many employees. Worse still, about two-thirds of the new people came in areas having no contact with students:
Interestingly, there were job classifications where we did reduce the headcount. It can be done. But why the growth in so many areas?
While we have hired 447 staffers since 2010, look at how the faculty has grown. Since 2010 we have added only 35.8 professors to the teaching ranks — that’s 11.6 new staffers for each new professor — of which a grand total of 7.4 faculty members came to Hanover last year:
An average College staffer and a junior professor cost nearly the same amount of money each year. Remember to keep in mind that beyond salary and fancy benefits (a Cadillac health plan and lush pension contributions), there is the cost of office equipment and space, energy, professional development and training, conferences and travel. And so it goes. At this rate, all of the extra gains from a growing endowment will be eaten up in a hurry.
Addendum: In 1999, the College had 2,409 non-faculty staffers, and that figure included about 75 employees of the Hanover Inn — a business now separate from the College. But then Jim Wright went on his spending binge, and from the looks of things, we haven’t stopped.
As the credits roll in Justin Simien’s movie Dear White People, real-life press clippings about race-themed parties at American colleges are displayed. First up:
Of course, the College is in good company in its celebratory habits with the University of Florida (2012), the University of Southern Mississippi (2011), Penn State (2012), and UC San Diego (2010).
One would hope that scholars in the academy would show an intellectual dispassion in discussing politics and policy, but if you want to see a Humanuties professor froth at the mouth, mention the Koch brothers, who, it seems, fund certain activities even at Dartmouth College:
Someone in Econ took in funding in 2012; there is no information on grant recipients in other years.
The Wall Street Journal has an article on the organized effort to reveal college professors who receive funding from the Koch brothers.
The figures are in, but the raw acceptance numbers are not the real story:
The acceptance rate is:
Last year we accepted 11.5% of all applicants, so we are improving on selectivity at 10.3% this year, but recall that these numbers can be gamed. The way to do so is to carefully choose who and how you accept your applicant class: you focus on the people you know will accept your offer of admission:
● Legacies: Starting with the Class of 2014, we ramped up by almost 40% the number of legacies that we accept. They almost all matriculate.
● Early Decision: The College can adjust its selectivity figure by admitting more ED applicants. Almost all of them matriculate, too. This year we admitted a greater number than ever before.
● Waitlist: In theory Admissions could fill the class without accepting anyone at all from the ED and regular admissions pool. Just take everyone from the waitlist. Though we did not use the waitlist at all last year, we have taken an increasing number of students from it over the last decade — at times more than anyone else in the Ivies.
Addendum: And then there’s the Tufts Syndrome, where a school intentionally does not admit candidates who it knows will appeal to stronger, more desirable colleges. Why admit kids to Dartmouth who will go to HYP — and hurt our selectivity figures? I’ll bet that Admissions is using this strategy on occasion.
The inequality in grades at Dartmouth is almost as big a problem as income inequality in our nation. While several students now graduate with extravagant 4.0 GPAs — the hated Top 0.1% — other worthy students have grades that can be as low as half of this figure, and students even routinely leave the College because they are unable to succeed academically. As an institution, just as we are trying to do as a nation, we cannot allow such disparities to continue.
I call upon President Hanlon to institute a school-wide program of grade re-distribution. Students who have high GPAs should have their grades “taxed” heavily, so that, for example, the Registrar can drop the A of a high-scoring student to a B+ and give the extracted 0.67 GPA points to a needy student whose GPA is not what it should be. In this way, as student who ordinarily would have received a C would now be accorded a more respectable B-.
Achieving poor grades is soul-destroying, especially for students who have poor study skills or who do not apply themselves in class. By adjusting their grades upwards, the College can not only improve their self-esteem, but such a move will improve weak students’ entire experience at Dartmouth. Besides, do students who almost always achieve top grades in a class really need such a high GPA? Isn’t it greedy of them to arrogate to themselves over and over again all the A’s given out by professors in a course. Sharing the wealth would make them better people, and make Dartmouth a better place.
We all know that students who receive high grades don’t really earn them on their own at all. High GPA’s are really only a reflection of privilege in earlier education, tutoring, and the support of the community. As both President Obama and, more recently, Hilary Clinton have pointed out, businesses and their owners don’t create jobs. The argument can certainly be made that Dartmouth students don’t actually earn their own grades either. To hold such an idea is to falsely attribute merit to students with high grades, when in fact, all Dartmouth students are worthy of our support.
Some people may advance the distracting idea that taxing high grades in support of lower-scoring students will take away the incentive of top students to work hard. We know that this is not true. Grinds will always grind away; this is their nature, and society as a whole, and especially other students, can benefit from their diligence.
Perhaps we can take the idea of reducing grade inequality further by instituting a minimum grade in all courses. Just as many communities are moving to a minimum wage of $15/hour, the College should make C the lowest grade for any student who signs up for a course.
I hope that people remember this first day of April as the one on which Dartblog announced its most important idea.
Addendum: I am not the only person to celebrate the day:
Is Phil seeking to inspire the campus with this springtime e-mail entitled, “Turning the Page”?
If so, I don’t think that he has succeeded.
Addendum: Phil begins his sixth paragraph with this statement:
Indeed, earlier this month I spoke with the assembled faculty in the Arts and Sciences about how to more energetically make use of the academic opportunity space.
“… the academic opportunity space”??? In 1975 that kind of jargon would have earned a swift reprimand from an English 5 professor — and I hope that it would today, too.
Addendum: A wit writes in:
To more energetically make use of the academic opportunity space … or not to more energetically make use of the academic opportunity space? Those are the things that we might, or might not, “pursue with renewed vigor efforts to up our academic game.” Hey, I’m on board! And, hey, Spring is coming!
Addendum: If I were writing, I’d say “fresh spring air” — but if I had nothing more to say, I’d not write at all:
The IP is all atwitter.
Addendum: A reader sends in a thorough critique of Phil’s letter:
Hanlon’s e-mail is disappointing for a number of reasons.
1) I count at least 10 different references to the changing seasons.
2) The two different quotes seem like crutches.
3) Repetition of stock phrases: “time to turn a page,” let us welcome the turning of a page” and “efforts to up our academic game,” “time to raise your game”
5) The phrase “more energetically make use of the academic opportunity space” (how can this be described as a space?)
But the section where he talks about academic rigor is by far the most troublesome portion of this letter.
First of all, while the rhetoric here suggests that the college is not currently measuring up to some standard of academic excellence, he does not establish the ways in which we’re failing to meet that standard. Are we falling behind our competitors? Are we not reaching internal metrics of academic performance? In other words, how do we know, from a qualitative or quantitative perspective, that we’re not doing well enough? The call to action doesn’t make sense unless we’re currently coming up short, and he fails to show how that’s the case.
Secondly, none of these ideas are anywhere close to concrete goals. He doesn’t provide us with a picture of what would it would really look like if the college were to achieve academic excellence and innovation. How would we know if the faculty is able to “think about big, bold ideas” or for students to “embrace intellectual risk” (if, again, we take him at his word that these qualities are currently lacking on campus)? It seems that he’s merely dropping a bunch of buzzwords rather than articulating a vision for the institution, a map of how to get there, or how to know that we’ve arrived at the promised land.
Perhaps this communication is not the place for discussing more measurable shortcomings and goals for the college. Nevertheless, the lack of these aspects does not increase my confidence in his leadership or in the substance of these new initiatives.
Addendum: Another alum has a (tongue-in-cheek?) thought:
Re: Phil’s letter… let’s cut him some slack; it has been a very long, very cold winter.
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…