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We have the most really rich kids among the top schools, and almost the fewest students from poor backgrounds — and the world, or at least the Times, is taking note:

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We can do better.

(Click on the images to enlarge them)

Renowned photojournalist James Nachtwey ‘70 was touted on the College’s website for his recent work in Time Magazine:

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Photojournalist James Nachtwey ‘70, whose life’s work of recording the face of war and human conflict is archived at Dartmouth’s Hood Museum, has just completed “The Opioid Diaries,” published in a special edition of TIME magazine dedicated entirely to his photography.

TIME commissioned Nachtwey to document the U.S. opioid crisis, an addiction epidemic that kills nearly 64,000 people in America every year. In the introduction, the editors say that they turned to Nachtwey to take the story beyond statistics and to document the crisis through the people living it.

“The result is ‘The Opioid Diaries,’ the first issue in our 95-year history devoted entirely to one photographer’s work. This is a visual record of a national emergency—and it demands our urgent attention,” the editors write in the introduction.

Justly so. And at the same time as the Time piece appeared, a well mounted exhibition of Nachtwey’s entire oeuvre was closing at the Palazzo Reale in Milan — the city’s premier venue for temporary exhibitions:

James Nachtwey Exhibition.jpg

I was lucky to attend the last day of the show.

Addendum: See Nachtwey discussing his photographs about opioids here.

The leaders of America’s 49 wealthiest institutions of higher learning have written to Congressional leaders to protest the Trump administration’s so-called endowment tax:

… the law in question places a 1.4 percent excise tax on net investment income at colleges and universities with at least 500 students and more than $500,000 in net assets per student.

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The special pleading in this letter recalls the Washington Monument Syndrome, wherein the Department of the Interior is asked to pare its budget. The Secretary tells the President that he would be happy to make cuts, but he must inform the President that the Washington Monument will be closed to visitors in order to meet his cost reduction targets.

And so it goes with these wealthy colleges and universities, all of which, like Dartmouth, pay fat salaries and lush benefits to their bloated staffs. In the hands of competent leaders, these schools could pay the requested tax, increase financial aid, and cut tuition — but only if they would forthrightly trim the fat from their enormous budgets.

To assert that the tax should be repealed because it will impact financial aid to students is at best disingenuous.

Addendum: Curiously, Cornell, Brown and Penn have signed the letter, but Columbia has not. The three former schools and Columbia, too, don’t appear to be subject to the tax because their endowments are not large enough to reach the threshold of $500,000/student, unlike the richest Ivy schools: HYP and guess who?

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The College is immensely richer on a per student basis than Cornell, Brown, Penn and Columbia (click on the table to expand it). The fact that our faculty is underpaid and so much of our infrastructure in decaying or substandard illustrates the degree of wasteful spending on the staff.

Addendum: An effort is now being made to repeal the endowment tax. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports:

Less than three months after an overhaul of the nation’s tax code was signed into law, a pair of federal lawmakers has introduced bipartisan legislation to repeal a provision that was roundly opposed by higher education.

The Don’t Tax Higher Education Act, introduced on Thursday, is sponsored by Rep. John Delaney, Democrat of Maryland, and Rep. Bradley Byrne, Republican of Alabama, and would repeal the levy on university endowments in the new tax law…

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

All we need to do is double the number of students, and endowment income per student will be halved, maybe below the threshold… problem solved.

An alumnus who actively follows the goings-on at the College writes in to catalogue Phil Hanlon’s sorry record as Dartmouth’s President:

Joe, Here is my list of the most obvious bad policies and decisions made by Phil since he arrived. Even the most casual observer could see these clearly. How could he possibly survive after such a record of failure? Can anyone identify a successful endeavor by our lackluster leader?

  • Many terrible personnel appointments including Bob Lasher, the failed Bruce Duthu appointment, and the Provost Dever fiasco.
  • His oft stated intention he would get tuition under control.
  • The huge announcement that he would remake the College into a PC mirror of diversity at the expense of its true educational mission including lip service with regard to teaching leadership as a priority.
  • The creation of an unnecessary separate graduate school in his not well hidden intent to make Dartmouth a third-rate university.
  • The unproven Dorm Cluster idea and the incredibly expensive and architecturally insensitive cluster common houses designed as social engineering and behavioral modification experiments neither of which are the responsibility of a true institution of academic excellence.
  • The 750-bed dorm in College Park intended to facilitate his erroneous and now failed attempt to increase the student body by up to 25% in order to balance his bloated budget and the self-serving recasting of that effort as merely a place in which to move existing students while old dorms are torn down or renovated. All this at the expense of the last remaining natural space on campus.
  • The stated goal of making the faculty and undergraduate body as diverse as possible (up to 50%)… at the risk of diminishing academic rigor and teaching credentials but with no mention of the administration’s diversity imbalance.
  • The unnecessary increase of administration ranks coupled with their inflated salaries, plus the unwillingness to make faculty salaries competitive with other Ivy schools.
  • The failure to launch a capital campaign in a timely and effective way and the disturbing and precipitous drop in total alumni participation and support for the campaign.
  • The failure to address the total uselessness of Summer Term as a viable academic experience, as well as any achieving any success in improving year-round class size and course availability.
  • The stated purpose of eliminating all single-sex Greek and other undergraduate organizations.
  • A complete disregard for the history, traditions, and true mission of Dartmouth.
  • His lack of charisma and an arrogant personal style epitomized by his unwillingness to listen, coupled with a my-way-or-the-highway attitude. His failed policy of giving every faculty member just 10 minutes to meet with him is a good example of this.
  • And last but not least, his unwillingness to take responsibility for his mistakes. Clearly, he exhibits none of the qualities one looks for in a leader. Has he inspired anyone?

It appears that the proverbial ‘snowball in hell’ has finally arrived on the Hanover Plain. It does not seem at all possible that a leader, and I use that term loosely in reference to Phil, could possibly remain on the job after suffering so many setbacks to his avowed policies designed to make Dartmouth a better place.

He must either resign or retire as soon as possible and let someone else lead Dartmouth out of the mess he leaves behind. It is my hope the Trustees finally have the will to make this a reality. The biggest challenge will be finding the right person to lead Dartmouth going forward. Even the choice of an interim president will tell us a great deal about the Board’s mindset.

Can anyone think of positive things that Phil has achieved?

Addendum: Behind the scenes, Phil continues to make errors that never see the light of day. Though I hear about poor decisions, I often cannot confirm them or get my informants to go on record. As such, consider the above list to be only a partial inventory.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Just saw today’s Dartblog. WOW! That should open a few eyes and as you say… It’s just the most obvious poor decisions, the tip of the proverbial iceberg. How many more will we have to endure before Dartmouth sees the light ???? Keep up the pressure…

Addendum: And another:

Two more things to add to the list today: 1) Destruction of the original Hood Museum. Highly acclaimed design by everyone when built. 2) Absolutely no preparations or lead up to the 250th anniversary next year. Less than 10 months away.

After three or four years of the administration bruiting about a capital campaign of between $2.5 and 3.0 $billion, alumni class leaders are now being told that the goal will be only $2.0-$2.4 billion. The big announcement will come next month, just short of the fifth anniversary of Phil Hanlon’s arrival in Hanover. Oh, Phil.

Given that Jim Wright’s big fundraising effort, the Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience, which was announced in 2004, had a goal of $1.3 billion, and inflation over the intervening fourteen years has been about 34%, that’s a modest increase, indeed — especially given that the Dow Jones was at 10,500 or so in November 2004, and today it stands at about two and a half times that figure. Big bucks have been made, but clearly no one expects many of them to come to Hanover.

The official name of the campaign will be “A Call to Lead,” a title that has no little irony to it, given the absence of effective leadership at the College today. Fundraising will last until 2022. Here are the stated goals:

1. Teacher-Scholar Model ($500mm): investing in the faculty — teachers and undergraduate research

2. West End District ($450mm): where Computer Science and Engineering will
share space, ideas and learning while including Tuck

3. Art District: Hood renovations and Hop needs updating

4. Big Bets on Discovery: Focusing on what we are good at — Arctic Studies, A L
Irving Institute (energy) and Healthcare Delivery

5. School of Graduate and Advanced Studies: The College has had graduate
students since 1890. We need to invest in this group

6. Residential Communities: Bringing students together and giving them a
place to belong

7. Leadership through Experiential Learning: Student learning outside of the
classroom (i.e. Moosilauke, athletics, Rocky)

8. Financial Aid (DCF $420 mm): In order to stay competitive and get the best
and brightest to Dartmouth

Recall that the campaign’s numbers are all pretty soft. Way back in the day, a capital campaign means giving for capital expenditures — buildings and such — and figures did not include donations for operations, financial aid, and specifically targeted gifts like “Friends of [your favorite team here]” programs. These days every donation and eventual donation, even bequests that won’t come to fruition for many years, are thrown into the pot. Anything to plausibly help achieve the Big Goal.

I experienced this transition myself. For nine years I fully funded the Departmental Editing Program (DEP) salaries of three editors (nine years in Art History, seven years in Religion, and four years in Math). But I was told explicitly that my gifts would not count towards the Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience — right up until I received a thank you note stating that I was one of 1,111 donors who had given more than $100,000 to the campaign — 85% of all donations. Seems like Jim Wright had trouble making his goal, too, so he swept everything possible into the campaign. And so it goes.

Addendum: These large numbers are not abstractions; they have real meaning. If Phil could raise an extra $100 million in his capital campaign, this money, if placed in the endowment, would throw off an extra $5.1 million or more each year forever. That figure is almost exactly equal to the $5.4 annually that the Committee on the Faculty estimated would be needed to bring Dartmouth faculty salaries in line with those of our peer institutions.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Leading is fine, but do we despair of repair? Does ye olde “capital” campaign totally ignore the vast effort needed to rehab existing facilities?

Addendum: And another:

1. I firmly believe that administrators desperately want softly sketched goals. This means no accountability. Furthermore, as more money goes to the endowment, donors and accountability become even more irrelevant. Wait till you see what happens then…

2. The DCF and fundraising operation double count the hell out of giving, when it suits them… as was your experience.

Addendum: And yet another:

Well, it’s easy to nitpick, but can we think about “A Call to Lead” for a sec? A call for what or who to lead what or whom? For donors to lead the giving? For the College to lead the Ivies or the world? Or is the emphasis more on the “call”? A call to get donations? Theoretically (and hopefully, in the case of our apparently depleted Development office), such campaign names are vetted and tested, because it’s the results that count.

If “A Call to Pickles” tests best, then so be it. But the most successful names of any type of campaign have a specific action and a specific target, e.g., Moving (better: Move) Dartmouth Forward, Make America Great. Build Dartmouth’s Future? Ironically, though, the more nebulous the desired outcome, the greater the prospects, because this erects a bigger tent for the various reasons that would cause donors to contribute. Let’s hope it’s successful, but “A Call to Lead” is just sort of meh—a passive, mediocre moniker at best.

Addendum: And yet another:

Many are to blame for the degradation of Dartmouth: surely Freedman, Wright, Kim, Hanlon and their fellow travelers. But even more blameworthy are the Trustees, faculty and alumni who enabled, hired, supervised, approved of, cheered on and financially supported the foolishness for over three decades.

Notwithstanding more than three decades of regression and failure, there are amongst us a group of people who still wish financially to enable, support and contribute to the ongoing foolishness and degradation.

Money has now become the problem, not the solution. Until the money dries up, the degradation and foolishness will continue.

Upon the departure of its members from editorial positions of authority and as they head toward the wide, wide world, the D’s board (opinion staff columnists, the opinion editors, the associate opinion editor, both executive editors and the editor-in-chief) published a last Verbum Ultimum, a “we hope so” wish list of how the College might look four years from now. The unspoken subtext of the piece, Dartmouth 2022: If Dartmouth makes the right choices, how will it look in four years?, was that Phil Hanlon is doing everything he can to undermine this vision. However with the rollback of Dormzilla and the GrossDartmouth initiatives, maybe Phil will listen to students (and faculty) for a change:

The Green looks the same. The students are still in ubiquitous black gowns. The speeches are still full of hope and opportunity. But the College is reflecting — reflecting on four years of good leadership, good choices and an agenda of renewal that has built upon Dartmouth’s successes and helped the school, in a short time, become a better place for its community.

It is a sunny day in June, and the Class of 2022 is graduating. The College had elected to scrap proposals for an increase in its undergraduate population. Rather than moving away from its liberal arts focus, the College redoubled attention on undergraduates, committing itself wholeheartedly to offering the best undergraduate education in the country — and the world. An increasingly interdisciplinary view of education has fostered a stronger culture of creativity and resourcefulness, one that prizes student art, research and political engagement even more than the Dartmouth of 2018.

Of course, students are not alone on campus. Faculty salaries, which have lagged behind many of those at Dartmouth’s peer institutions by around $15,000, are up. The College has also committed itself to reducing its current seven to one student-to-faculty ratio to five to one or lower, which would put the College on par with Princeton University, the University of Chicago and Yale University. These initiatives have helped to recruit and retain the most talented professors possible, including talented faculty of color. Those hired by Dartmouth are individuals who, in the best tradition of the College, put undergraduate teaching first and focus on building positive and rewarding classroom experiences.

Maintaining the size of the student body has helped Dartmouth address the housing issues that plagued campus in 2018. By 2022, the process of replacing the Choates and River clusters is well underway: A wrecking ball tore through the last of the River dormitories in summer 2019, paving the way for the construction of new dorms that are almost ready to house the incoming Class of 2026. Older dorms on Massachusetts Row and Gold Coast are being renovated. The College is working to create more classroom space and alleviate strain on dining halls.

The College has a new mission to become truly global, increasing the number of off-campus study opportunities. Without global understanding and learning, there can be no global impact. A focus on transnational issues has led Dartmouth scholars to the forefront of new and expanding fields of study, and Dartmouth’s graduates — increasingly equipped with new global learning opportunities — are achieving ever greater things. The College has restored need-blind admissions for international students and increased the amount of scholarships and financial aid to qualifying students to reduce the need to take out additional loans to attend Dartmouth…

By 2022, Dartmouth’s administrative apparatus is lean and efficient. It tackles problems head-on, reaching for broad student and faculty input to build the best possible solutions. It has reinvested in mental health resources and focuses on building an inclusive campus where all communities can feel at home. This Dartmouth fully welcomes diverse perspectives, ideas and debates…

When the Class of 2022 walks across the stage at Commencement, will Dartmouth be a better place? The College’s leaders and students have to make choices, and if they make the right ones, Dartmouth can and will prosper as an institution that leverages its strengths to become a school of the 21st century. That is the vision. Let us make it so.

Of course, Hanlon’s heretofore agenda — many more students, more dorms, an influx of research faculty in hermetic clusters, a search for “prestige” via high-profile discoveries — bears no relation to the editors’ utopian vision. Phil would gut the College of all that makes her strong, and unless someone stands up to him (here’s looking at you, members of the faculty), I expect that he will still seek to transform Dartmouth for the worse and forever. He has all the instincts of a Michigan lifer, and no sense of the special value of the College on the Hill.

So the Trustees met this past weekend, and did they get an earful! While the task force that was studying the question of increasing undergraduate enrollment had not yet finished its report, Dean of the Faculty Elizabeth Smith and Dean of the College Rebecca Biron offered the members of the Board the gist of what the group was going to find. My source reports:

The report was going to contain a fairly detailed section on what steps would be necessary just for 0% growth (i.e., what are the major shortfalls on campus now).

None of this will be a surprise to anyone. Significant investments are required for housing and dining for both undergrads and graduate students simply to meet current needs. A huge fraction of our classrooms are in a woeful state. There is a dire shortage in many areas of student health and academic support services, and many of the buildings housing departments and programs, particularly in Arts and Humanities and Interdisciplinary Programs, are in a the pathetic state. These are major issues that must be seriously addressed regardless of the decisions about expansion.

Congrats to Deans Smith and Biron for giving the Trustees the straight poop. However, I expect that the Board must be wondering how Phil could launch an initiative that was so obviously a non-starter once a committee looked into it — let alone everyone else who had more than a passing acquaintance with the campus.

Add to that point the fact that Phil engineered — or to be more accurate, mis-engineered — an increase in the student body at Michigan. He left a mess there.

The only crime in management worse than making a bad mistake is: 1) making a mistake, 2) not learning from it, and 3) making it a second time. In my business, that’s a fireable offense.

How many of Phil’s stumbles is it going to take for the Trustees to realize that he is in way over his head as President. The Board should maturely admit that it made a big mistake in hiring him, and the time has come to move on. That’s what any of the business leaders among the Trustees would do in their real world jobs, if faced with a similar situation. Why the wait at Dartmouth?

Addendum: The enrollment task force’s preliminary conclusions illustrate in spades the effect of funding a bloated bureaucracy at Dartmouth over the years, at the expense of everything else worthwhile on campus. Our massive payroll — 8% larger than Brown’s, even though Brown has 46% more students than we do — is sucking the life out of the entire institution. We overspend on staff compensation, and, as a result, we have been underspending on absolutely everything else, and we have been doing so for two decades. This self-destructive strategy has got to stop. Now.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

I was actually at a meeting where Phil spoke to the Parents’ Committee last weekend, and he didn’t even mention the size of the undergraduate student body (this was a week before he announced the increase was no longer happening). Someone asked him about increasing enrollment after his talk, and he mentioned that the Trustees would decide once they had the results from the Task Force. Funny how much changes in a week.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Strike One: Dormzilla. Strike Two: Expansion of undergraduate enrollment. We can only hope that Phil hits the trifecta and the trustees summarily dismiss his misguided effort to close down the golf course. But why wait for the third strike? Phil has provided ample evidence that he is not fit for the big leagues and should be designated for assignment or outright released.

Send him back to Michigan for a player to be named later.

Addendum: And another:

So, to sum up the past week: The Dormzilla exercise highlights that the College has zero ability to fundraiser. And the task force on student body size highlights the College’s ever growing list of faults. I guess the silver lining in both fiascos is that neither will get done. Gold lining (is that even a saying?) would be if Hanlon was shown the door…

Somewhat lost in the fuss about the tabling of plans to increase the size of the College is the administration’s decision to increase tuition by a super-inflationary 3.9% to a whopping $70,791. Of course, you already knew that was going to happen if you had read this space on January 4, 2018:

We can expect an increase from the College for the 2018-2019 academic year of well over 4%, though the beancounter in Phil might finesse things and only go up 3.9% (even though the CPI increased by only 2.23% over the past year).

You will also recall Phil making fashionable noises some years back about the need to limit tuition increases. Here’s what he told the New York Times on November 29, 2012 when he was named the College’s new President:

Dr. Hanlon, who will be the 10th Dartmouth graduate to become its president, said he expected to focus closely on the college’s cost structure and finances. “The historic funding model for higher ed is close to unsustainable,” he said. “We can’t continue superinflationary tuition increases.”

On November 4, 2013 at the General Faculty meeting, The D quoted Hanlon as making the same assertion:

Hanlon also announced his intent to keep the College’s tuition rates flat with inflation. The cost of higher education has increased at a rate of 3 to 5 percent above the rate of inflation for the last 40 years, and Hanlon said the College must find a way to slow this trend.

“That funding model is unsustainable and very near a breaking point,” Hanlon said. “If we don’t get this under control, the next Affordable Care Act is going to be the ‘Affordable Education Act.’”

On June 18, 2014 Phil told the Valley News:

But Hanlon also pledged to rework a financial model that is “unsustainable and probably at the breaking point” and to hold back future tuition increases to no more than 1 percent above the rate of inflation as measured by employment cost indices. If the college and its peers failed to act after decades of tuition increases two or three points above the rate of inflation, he warned, “the government is going to step in and do it for us.”

He made the same statement in a February 12, 2015 interview with the Caltech alumni magazine (he received his Ph.D from Caltech in 1981):

I expect a period of significant change in the years ahead in US higher education driven by multiple factors: opportunities provided by IT; the impacts of globalization and the reality that the traditional funding model of higher education is unsustainable and probably near the breaking point.

Thanks Phil. You haven’t come close to keeping your promise. In each year of your Presidency, the cost of attending Dartmouth has risen at near twice the rate of inflation. Did you even try?

Disarray is the order of the day in Parkhurst. Only last Monday, Phil was asking all of the faculty’s committees to weigh in on the advisability of increasing the size of the student body, yet look at the announcement that just came out today (Sunday at about 2pm):

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What will Phil roll back next? The appointment of Carolyn Dever as Provost? Wait! That’s already happened. How about not appointing Bruce Duthu as Dean of the Faculty? Done that, too. Maybe it’s time to give the boot to Bob Lasher ‘88?

Addendum: In a world exclusive, Dartblog has unearthed a confidential film clip of the Hanlon administration’s formal decision-making process:

Phil really has got to go.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Orwellian much?

“the board has approved a recommendation from President Phil Hanlon ‘77 that the undergraduate student body should remain at its current level.”

Right decision, but I’m guessing we’re supposed to believe we were always at war with Eastasia, too?

Can’t wait until Communications and Marketing is rebranded as the Ministry of Truth.

Addendum: A friend of the College writes in:

What an incredible waste of time and money this has been………….

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

I seriously doubt it was Hanlon’s recommendation. It was pushback from students, faculty, and alumni against Hanlon’s vision and poor management.

No spin will change that conclusion. It’s time for Hanlon and his coterie of ineffective administrators to go.

Eataly Slogan.jpgA visit to Turin’s Eataly, the first of what has become a worldwide set of locations celebrating Italy’s Slow Food movement, came at just the right time. The NYT published a piece on February 20 explaining what everyone already benefiting from the French Paradox knows: good dietary health and appropriate weight levels do not come from counting calories, but rather from eating natural, delicious food. See: The Key to Weight Loss Is Diet Quality, Not Quantity, a New Study Finds. The article omits only to note that unadulterated food is inherently satisfying and therefore appetite-limiting, while chemical- and sugar-laced processed foods leave one wanting evermore. However, the piece did observe:

Dr. Gardner said it is not that calories don’t matter. After all, both groups ultimately ended up consuming fewer calories on average by the end of the study, even though they were not conscious of it. The point is that they did this by focusing on nutritious whole foods that satisfied their hunger.

As evidence of that proposition, allow me to put forward my modest lunch of seared greens and octopus tentacles; it was just the ticket at Eataly’s fish counter on a snowy Thursday in Lombardia:

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I felt healthier, too, after a lovely glass of Alto Adige riesling.

While it may be a well-known, international brand, the Italian gelateria chain, GROM, has absolutely nothing on Hanover’s Morano Gelato. At its location in via Garibaldi in Turin, GROM’s gelato was much closer to American ice cream than true Italian gelato: it was colder; much icier in texture; and the taste was neither luscious nor perfumey. My sense is that the gelato at GROM also has more sugar to compensate for an absence of generous flavor. In short, if you’re looking for great gelato, stay in Hanover.

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Morano Gelato’s product is made fresh daily; clearly not the case at GROM. That difference could explain almost everything.

Addendum: Torino (Turin) is an elegant town filled with 18th and 19th century buildings. The place is spotlessly clean, at least in the huge, central pedestrian zone, but it lacks the energy found in Milan.

After our various disquisitions on how the administration has fallen behind in maintaining the College’s physical plant, a classmate writes in to point out how difficult it is for today’s students to sign up for and be accepted in the classes that they want:

Students just recently attempted to register for their preferred spring term classes… and many were very disappointed and frustrated that they were closed out of courses they wanted or needed to take.

According to the Registrar’s online Timetable of Class Meetings ( — click subject area, select term/subject areas; list includes FYSs):

  • Out of 41 First Year Seminar offerings, registration for at least 36 was closed because they reached maximum enrollment. Many freshmen who planned to take their FYS this spring were shut out of all preferred and backup choices, leaving them scrambling to find any remaining open seminar that they could somehow fit into their schedule.
  • 11 out of 12 language-requirement-level Spanish classes (Spanish 1, 2, and 3) were closed.
  • 27 GOVT offerings were closed, 17 in SPAN, 14 in ECON, 11 in ENGL, GEOG, SART, and SOCY, 10 in ENGS, 10 in PHIL, 9 in ANTH, WGSS and WRIT, 8 in HIST, 7 in COSC, 7 out of 10 offerings in ENVS, 5 out of 8 in LING, 4 out of 5 in QSS.
  • All three offered sections of Public Speaking were closed.
  • There are also classes of very large size:

EARS 3: 150 (closed)
EARS 1: 150 (closed; 3 other sections closed)
Chem 6: 120 (closed) and 93
Psych 1: 110
Psych 22: 106
Psych 28: 99
ASTR 1: 101
COSC 1: 105
COSC 10: 76
COSC 11: 70
ENGL 34: 101
Financial Accounting: 72 (closed), 73 (closed)
REL 18: 66 (closed)
BIOL 12: 60 (both sections closed at 60)
AMES 12: 60 (closed)
AMES 13: 50 (closed)
LING 1: 60 (closed)
ANTH 3: 60 (closed)
ARTH 4: 50 (closed)
ENGS 21: 64 (closed)
ENGS 20: 50 (closed)
ENGS 22: 50 (closed)
ENGS 24: 51 (closed)
ENGS 25: 42 (closed)
ENGS 31: 49 (closed)
ENGS 44: 49 (closed)
ENVS 12: 47 (closed)
GEOG 1: 50 (closed)
GEOG 5: 40 (closed)
JAPN 1: 50 (closed)
NAS 25 57

Better enrollment management and student body right-sizing, as well as providing incentives to increase enrollment in Summer/Winter, will ease the strain on classrooms and all facilities, make a much broader range of courses and professors more readily accessible (even the most popular) during all terms, decrease average class size, make classes more manageable for professors, increase the quality of the academic experience, and make the much more enjoyable and productive for everyone.

My own experience is that it was unknown to not be able to attend a class. And in talking to hundreds of alums over the years, that was true up until the start of Jim Wright’s presidency in 1999. Today students sign up for three first-choice classes and three second-choice classes, and sometimes they get none of the above. What a shame for the College.

Addendum: A grand old senior writes in:

One department missing in today’s post was Geography, which, notoriously, almost no first-term freshmen can ever take classes in. There’s a distinct issue where first-years interested in the major often can’t take a class in it until two or three terms into their time at Dartmouth, and even then those courses are often either the most esoteric possible or the big intros.

Another frequent subject of student griping is Philosophy, which has (for obvious reasons) very small class sizes and absolutely tons of student interest, meaning that its courses usually fill up quite quickly.

And then there’s Gov, which is one of the nightmares of the Dartmouth experience, in terms of course election, but you covered that one.

At the faculty meeting on Monday, Phil said that he was soliciting faculty input regarding the decision to grow the size of the undergraduate student body. He has asked for an opinion from each of the standing committees of the Arts & Sciences. I have listed them below.

If you know any members of any of these committees, please don’t hesitate to contact them to express your thoughts on Phil’s College-bloating plan. To find an e-mail address for any individual with whom you wish to communicate, please go to the College’s Dartmouth Name Directory site and type in the name of the person you are seeking.

It will be interesting to see if the members of the various committees pull their punches, or if, finding safety in numbers, they tell Phil what they really think.

Comprised of the chairs of the departments and programs of the A&S and several ex officio members, the Committee of Chairs acts on behalf of the A&S faculty in all matters except those involving major changes in policy.

Chairs Of Departments and Programs
Arts & Humanities: Allen Hockley (Art History), Jonathan Smolin (Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures), Håkan Tell (Acting, Classics), Andrew McCann (English), Mary Desjardins (Film and Television Studies), Andrea Tarnowski (French and Italian), Ellis Shookman (German), Michael Casey (Music), Christine Thomas (Philosophy), Randall Balmer (Religion), Mikhail Gronas (Russian), Silvia Spitta (Spanish and Portuguese), Graziella Parati (Studio Art), Laura Edmondson (Theater)

Sciences: Kathryn Cottingham (Biological Sciences), Dean Wilcox (Chemistry), Hany Farid (Computer Science), Carl Renshaw (Earth Sciences), Erland Schulson (Engineering Sciences), Scott Pauls (Mathematics), John Thorstensen (Physics and Astronomy)

Social Sciences: John Watanabe (Anthropology), Christopher Snyder (Economics), Ann Clark (Education), Susanna Freidberg (Geography), Dean Lacy (Government), Robert Bonner (History), David Bucci (Psychological and Brain Sciences),
John Campbell (Sociology)

Interdisciplinary Programs:
Michael Chaney (African and African-American Studies), Dennis Washburn (Asian and Middle Eastern Studies), Adina Roskies (Cognitive Science), David LaGuardia (Comparative Literature), Richard Howarth (Environmental Studies), Susannah Heschel (Jewish Studies), Deborah Nichols (Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies), Donald Pease (Liberal Studies), Lindsay Whaley (Acting, Linguistics and Cognitive Science), Yusaku Horiuchi (Acting, Quantitative Social Sciences), Melanie Taylor (Native American Studies), Susan Ackerman (Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies), Joshua Compton (Acting, Writing). Ex Officio Members: Elizabeth Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (Chair, Ex Officio); Philip J. Hanlon ‘77, President of the College; Rebecca Elizabeth Biron, Dean of the College; Richard G. Mills, Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer; Meredith H. Braz, Registrar; Lindsay Whaley, (Chair, Committee on Organization and Policy); Andrew Samwick, (Chair, Committee on Priorities)

The Faculty Coordinating Committee identifies and approves items to be placed on the agendas of meetings of the Committee of Chairs and the Faculty of Arts & Sciences. The Committee coordinates the work of the committees and councils and assists the Dean of Faculty in the elaboration of matters of policy and implementation strategies.

Elizabeth Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Vice-Chair, Committee of Chairs (pending election), Andrew Samwick, (Chair, Committee on Priorities), Lindsay Whaley, (Chair, Committee on Organization and Policy), D.G. Webster, (Chair, Committee on Student Life), José del Pino, (Chair, Committee on Off-Campus Activities), Stephen Brooks, (Chair, Committee on the Faculty), Kathleen Wine, (Chair, Committee on Instruction)

The Committee on Priorities formulates, articulates, and promotes the priorities of the faculty of the A&S as they relate to the budget and allocation of resources.

Elizabeth Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Christopher Strenta, Associate Dean; Richard Mills, Executive Vice-President; Michael Wagner, Chief Financial Officer; Carolyn Dever, Provost; Laura Ogden, James Stanford, Andrew Samwick (Chair), John Thorstensen, Jonathan Smolin, Scott Pauls, Mary Coffey

The Committee Advisory to the President consults with the President on matters of appointment and promotion, faculty leaves of absence, and other topics as appropriate.

Elizabeth Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Colleen Boggs, John Carey, Hany Farid, Amy Lawrence, Mary Lou Guerinot, Jonathan Skinner

The Committee on Organization and Policy considers and makes recommendations on general policies which affect the faculty. The Committee ensures that committees and councils are fully invested and representative of the voting faculty members of the Arts & Sciences.

Elizabeth Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Christopher Bailey-Kellogg, Irene Kacandes (18W), Jennifer Lind, Lindsay Whaley (Chair), Carl Renshaw, Leslie Butler (18W, 18S), Roger Sloboda, Bruce Sacerdote

The Review Committee, at the request of the Dean of Faculty, reviews matters of academic freedom as brought forth by faculty members, certain recommendations for disciplinary actions, and appeals by faculty members regarding reappointment, promotion, and tenure decisions.

C. Robertson McClung, Deborah Nichols, Susan Ackerman

The Committee on Instruction is responsible for reviewing matters relating to educational policies, including those pertaining to the curriculum, undergraduate degree requirements, majors and minors, culminating experience, First-Year seminars and advising, among others.

Elizabeth Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Meredith Braz, Registrar; Christiane Donahue (Director, Writing and Rhetoric Program), Lynn Patyk, John Watanabe, Kathleen Wine (16F), Robyn Millan, Sharon Bickel, William Wohlforth, two undergraduate students

The Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid maintains and reviews policies governing admissions to the undergraduate college and financial aid while acting as an advisory body to the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid.

Lee Coffin, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid; Dino Koff, Director of Financial Aid; Jody Diamond, Bradley Duchaine, Reiko Ohnuma, James Wu,

The Committee on Senior Fellowships oversees the administration of the senior fellowship program, which supports up to 10 fourth-year students per year in independent research outside the usual Dartmouth curriculum.

Marc Dixon (Chair), Nancy Canepa, Robert Johnson, Bob Maue, Ted Levin, Anne Gelb, Teoby Gomez, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Students;
Margaret Funnell, Assistant Dean of Faculty for Undergraduate Research

The Committee on Off-Campus Activities manages matters relating to off-campus educational programs and activities, including the submission of proposals for new programs and changes to existing programs.

Deborah Tyson, Associate Dean of Residential Life; Dennis Washburn, Associate Dean of the Faculty for International Studies & Interdisciplinary Programs; Matthew Ayres (Chair 17F, 18S), Douglas Bolger, Laurie Churba Kohn, José del Pino (Chair 16F, 17W), James Dorsey, Sergei Kan (18W, 18S); Steven Ericson, Victoria Somoff, Three undergraduate students

The Committee on Standards reviews and takes action on alleged violations of the Academic Honors Principle and the Code of Conduct, cases of unsatisfactory scholarship, certain student petitions, and rules concerning the disciplinary system.

Sonu Bedi, Noelia Cirnigliaro, Michelle Clarke, Ayo Coly, Laura Edmondson, Meredith Kelly, Kristina Lynch, Kevin Peterson, John Voight, Paul Whalen, Timothy Rosenkoetter, Enrico Riley, Bethany Moreton, Cynthia Huntington (18W)

The Committee on Graduate Fellowships evaluates all candidates from Dartmouth for prestigious national scholarships and fellowships, including Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell, Churchill, Fulbright, DAAD, Truman, Goldwater, Luce, Gates and others. The Committee evaluates applications for Dartmouth-funded fellowships and graduate research opportunities for graduating seniors, including the Dartmouth General and Reynolds grants.

Jessica Smolin, Assistant Dean of Faculty for Scholarship Advising; Randall Balmer, Jesse Casana, Vladimir Chernov, David LaGuardia, Brian Pogue, Kirk Vandewalle, Mark Williams, James LaBelle,

The Committee on Student Life works in close partnership with the Offices of the Dean of Faculty and the Dean of the College to manage matters relating to the intersection of academics and student life.

Rebecca Biron, Dean of the College; Meredith Braz, Registrar; Michael Hoppa (17W), Jamie Horton, Brendan Nyhan, Patricia Stuelke, D.G. Webster, two undergraduate students

The Committee on the Faculty has a broad mandate to consider matters that affect the professional development and well-being of the faculty of the Arts & Sciences and to advise the President, the Dean of the Faculty, or other officers of the College in these matters.

Elizabeth Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Christopher Strenta, Associate Dean for Finance and Operations; Susan Ackerman (18W, 18S), Stephen Brooks (Chair), Udi Greenberg, Samuel Levey, Sara Muñoz-Muriana, Peter Winkler, Dale Mierke, Rosa Orellana, James Feyrer

Addendum: That’s a lot of committees.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

An inverse relationship exists between the number of committees and the production of meaningful work!

As we have reported previously, President Hanlon has justified the planned construction of the now-cancelled 750-bed monster dorm complex in College Park not as a place to house additional students (even though the dorm would have increased the number of undergraduate beds by, uh, 22.3% — wink, wink), but rather as “swing space” that could have been used to house undergraduates while older dorms were being (finally, after all these years) renovated.

Let’s take Phil at his word just this once (he doesn’t deserve any more) and suggest some alternatives. If the administration desires to free up dorm space, there are a number of proven ways to do so without constructing a $100 million, landscape-scarring megadormitory or even multiple new dorms all over campus.

First, a little background: the last four administrations have done a poor job of managing the number of students present in Hanover. Remember that the housing crunch comes not from the total number of undergraduates, but from the number of undergrads on campus during any given term. That number has been rising during the peak fall and spring terms faster than the overall number of students; of course there is no shortage of rooms during the winter and summer terms (all figures come from the most excellent Dartmouth Factbook):

Students on Campus 2003-2017.jpg

Students on Campus Summer 2003-2017.jpg

If the administration could thoughtfully manage the number of students on campus during the fall and spring quarters, there goes your housing crunch — in fact, space for renovations would naturally open up. Here’s how to do that:

1. Dartmouth’s off-campus programs should be our pride and joy. No other school has as many and varied programs (42 or 43) offered by its own faculty as does the College. (Inexplicably, this distinguishing feature of the school is given short shrift by the Admissions department.) And even better, ask any student that you happen to see: LSA and FSP are often the best experience that undergraduates have in their four years.

So let’s make participating in a Dartmouth off-campus program mandatory for all students (today only about 57% of students do an off-campus program with the College or some other school). There are impeccable pedagogical reasons for such a rule, and when students are not in Hanover, they are not taking up dorm space.

2. As Phil did in Michigan when he ran out of space there after increasing the size of the student body for financial reasons, Dartmouth students could be offered a financial inducement to live off-campus in Hanover. Plenty already do so, and living independently is a good transition to the dreaded real world. Money could also be offered to students to come to the College for a second summer term.

3. Move rush to the winter term, thereby encouraging members of Greek houses to be here during the least favorite term. Rush took place during sophomore winter from 1991 until the early ’00s. That rule put real pressure on brothers and sisters to be in Hanover during the winter. In fact, when the Wright administration cluelessly moved rush to the fall, our housing shortage began.

4. Put students back into AD and SAE. The College was close, or so it said, to re-recognizing these houses. Do it. Their beds will come in handy, if space is at a premium.

5. In extremis, the administration could simply mandate that all students be off-campus for one fall term and one spring term during their time as undergraduates (with exceptions for athletes, etc.).

There you go, Phil. If you really just need swing space, the above will get it for you without the need to borrow $100,000,000+ (because you certainly won’t raise it through the somnolent capital campaign) to build a giant dorm complex or multiple new dorms around the campus. And the College will be a better place at which to study, too.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

The advent of the “Dormzilla” project presents an opportunity to “right size” the College and remediate a half century of bad decisions. Neither the expansion of the undergraduate body nor the creation of the A&S graduate departments have enhanced the quality of instruction nor the College’s reputation. To the contrary, both have substantially diminished over the last 50 years. The past expansions and creations resulted in the inept and bloated administration which is now devouring the College spiritually and financially.

The A&S graduate departments should be eliminated and the size of the undergraduate body reduced to 3,500. This would eliminate the need for “Dormzilla”, free up money for the proper renovation of all facilities, downsize or eliminate huge portions of the administration, restore alumni support and create the highest per student endowment of any school in the country.

Put more crudely: How about some actual thinking instead of just trotting along behind the elephant.

Addendum: And another:

Rule in early 80s was one was REQUIRED to attend one Summer and be off one Fall Term absent an athletic or extraordinary reason (say a Major class not offered any other time). At some point this became so relaxed that anyone can be on every Fall - as my own child will do! Also Freshman dorms - worth debating if a bad idea or not - means that this past Fall the College was overcapacity for those dorms, and had older undergrads enjoying 2 room singles or doubles designed to be triples. Rethinking entire approach is needed … and ask any upperclassman to confirm that the 500+ student “residential houses” are ineffective and offer little or no cohesion. To the contrary, they block friends assigned to different house groups from ever rooming together.

Finally, time to call out FSP as lacking. LSA opportunities remain strong, but non-language offerings are thin at best, and so overly sought that most students are shut out. Making study abroad or anywhere outside of Hanover a graduation requirement is an excellent idea, but will work only if people realize the FSP effort is antiquated and weak vs. our competitor schools.

Time for a dynamic leader who makes his/her presence known to the students, possibly outside of academia!

Addendum: And yet another:

Unfortunately, at this point your proposed Option 2 would not be very effective due to limited housing capacity for undergrads in town. There is a lot of housing stock in town in Hanover which is unavailable to current undergraduates. Landlords routinely refuse to rent to Dartmouth undergraduate students. It is my understanding that this is due to restrictions placed on them by their insurance companies, but that theory really needs to be confirmed. It is also my understanding that this practice is in violation of New Hampshire is anti-discrimination laws for housing which prohibit discrimination based on age, among other things.

At yesterday’s meeting of the faculty, Phil announced that Dormzilla would not be built. It would just be too expensive, he said, to construct the 750-bed facility. Well, well.

“We have now determined the cost of building 750 beds is simply beyond our financial capacity. That project is just off; we just can’t afford it.”

Is that the real reason? I mean, even as clueless a bunch as the folks in the Hanlon administration had to know from the git-go that the structure was going to be immensely costly. How could they not?

Dartblog’s contributor yesterday opined that the dorm would easily run $100 million, a point that anyone in the building trades could make simply by taking the expected square footage of the project and multiplying it by a predictable $cost/ft². Add to that fact an observation that my contributor also made: the College Park site has obvious exposed ledge, which means a great deal of blasting and rock-moving would be required to put up the building. He wrote:

Granite ledge is visible at the surface throughout the study area. Blasting to remove ledge for building foundations and utilities will cost millions and will add months to what would already be a long, complex construction project.

The unacceptable cost of the project was evident to anyone who was thinking.

This debâcle reminds me of a family that is in the market for a new car, and they spend six months looking at the four-seater Ferrari California — trunk size, gas mileage, cost of repairs and insurance, etc. — only to conclude after much analysis that they can’t afford the initial purchase price of the car, a fact that any babe in arms could have told them on day one.

As we have noted endlessly, Phil’s fundraising is not going well. That fact alone would have put pressure on the College. In addition, if the administration had tried to finance the project with an outside participant, you can expect that anyone with green eyeshades and a sharp pencil would have shied away from Phil’s idea. Not much return on investment from such an expensive project — even given the College’s skyhigh room fees.

Dare we hope that the petitions and protest letters and maybe even blog posts caused the administration to see common sense? Nah. Phil is much too arrogant to be swayed by the views of little people.

So where do we go from here? Phil said that the alternative way to create swing space, so that the Choates and River Cluster may be closed, is to construct new dorms at widely spaced locations on campus. Even now, his folks are scouting for spaces in which to shoehorn students.

Addendum: I once drove a Ferrari California in Maranello. Good fun.

Addednum: Read the College’s press release here. And The D’s report on the faculty meeting.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in (wittily):

I read Dartblog’s 2/26/18 “Dormzilla” post about Dartmouth’s proposed new, 750-bed dorm and think that the College Park site would be more suitable for Section 8 housing, or, perhaps, a privately operated medium-security prison.

Addendum: And another (acidly):

Just saw the news. Thanks. One idiotic Hanlon idea down, still several to go.

Seriously, whoever proposed this and authorized wasting six figures on the study should be fired immediately. So should the staff that went along with it.

Think they’ll reach the same conclusion/announcement about expanding the student body? Then just add 100 ‘shmen to each class?

Addendum: And another (sincerely):

To paraphrase a classmate on social media, it’s too bad that the College couldn’t have thought through the Dormzilla demise a little more thoroughly. This could have been a feel-good story about how the College truly does value input and appreciates all of the concerns expressed.

Addendum: And another (agitatedly):

I think it’s pathetic that the College characterized its inability to build new dorms or renovate old ones as a cost issue. Yale built two new residential colleges recently and Vanderbilt—with a smaller endowment than Dartmouth—is adding 4 new residential colleges (each housing 330 students) for $600 million after recently completing a $115 million residential project on campus. Prospective students (and their parents) are savvy consumers. For $70,000 a year, they rightfully expect to have suitable housing. If Dartmouth doesn’t make those kind of long-term investments in residential life, we will continue to lose applicants to our peer institutions that do.


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