The Hazards of Hooch

Mar 4 2015

The D is reporting that the administration has ramped up penalties for the serving and consumption of hard liquor (anything over 15%-30 proof); sanctions for beer and wine remain unchanged:

Hard Alcohol Penalties Comp.jpg

I persist in wondering why the administration can't get over itself and allow the return of kegs and CO2 taps in exchange for having students lay off the hard stuff. A Grand Bargain of this kind will elicit real buy-in from students; otherwise, all we have here is another set of rules that students will either follow or ignore.

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Phil's Strategic Advisory Group

Mar 4 2015

John Kemeny had a kitchen cabinet who gave him the inside scoop of where the College should go. Phil seems to be trying to emulate the idea, but with nobody from Tuck, and with people nominated by respective deans, this group does not seem to be the kind of cohesive, battle tested-bunch that Phil should lean on:

Phil's SAG.jpg

Phil and Provost Dever still need to reach out to the College's high-achievers. They are the people who will provide the best advice.

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Recommendation Letters and the Faculty

Mar 3 2015

You might call them all "Professor," and they all give you grades, but when you are asking a faculty member for a recommendation, you should know that there's professors and there's professors. Here's how Wikipedia summarizes the various ranks for the people who teach you:

Professors Rank.jpg

Another way to slice and dice the above is that faculty members in the first three categories have tenure -- a sign of professional achievement (unless granted in the Wright years, when the award was as often given for political loyalty as smarts). The forth level, assistant professors, will usually have been at the College for one-to-seven years. They are in the hunt for tenure (tenure-track), but they don't have it yet. (And if I read Phil Hanlon correctly, at Dartmouth, earning tenure is going to be increasing difficult in the coming years).

The last two categories denote people who are teaching provisionally at the College.

Take a look, for example, at the Art History department's webpage; it describes faculty members using the above terms.

When you are looking for a job-related or grad-school recommendation, it behooves you to ask the right people for support. When you need a kind word for a summer internship at, say, Hegemon Capital or the Save the Snail Darter Defense Fund, asking for one from an adjunct, an instructor or an assistant professor will do just fine. Their words count for more than their rank in the eyes of a hedge fund or a do-gooder organisation.

But when you are going to grad or professional school, the who matters as much or more than the what. You want a tenured professor to be vouching for you -- someone whose professional credentials will impress the faculty members who are looking at your application.

Students should get wise to this hierarchy. The College's big guns, full professors especially, should be held in reserve for when their support is really needed. If students call upon them too often, these heavy hitters will be overwhelmed with requests for recommendations, and they won't be available at times when only they can help.

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