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Dartblog iPhone Edition


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Michael Beechert's Guide to the Stars: Psychology Professor Jeffrey Taube

Mar 24 2017

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:

Jeffrey TaubeA.jpgJeffrey S. Taube is Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences. His work, rooted in neuroscience, explores the biological basis of spatial cognition in animals. If you've ever found yourself lost in the middle of the woods or a mall parking lot, Professor Taube's scholarship would help explain what's going on -- or not going on -- inside your brain as you turn around scratching your head.

A 1970 graduate of Evanston Township High School in Illinois, Taube completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1974. From there, Taube spent several years seeing the world: a year and a half in Europe and two years traveling throughout Asia. Earning money along the way by washing pots and pans in Switzerland and teaching English in Korea and Japan, he returned penniless to the US in 1978 and settled in Seattle working as a carpenter.

Yearning to return to academic interests and investigate how the brain works, in 1980 he began Ph.D. studies at the University of Washington in Seattle as part of a joint program in physiology, biophysics, and psychology. After finishing his doctorate in 1986, Taube moved east for a postdoctoral position at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, which lasted until 1988. He then spent the following two years at UC Irvine, also as a postdoc, before joining the Dartmouth faculty in 1990. Taube received tenure at the College in 1996 and the rank of full professor in 2002. One of the courses he has regularly taught since joining the faculty is Systems Neuroscience (PSYC 65), which will be offered this coming spring. Another, entitled Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (PSYC 50), took place in the fall.

Taube's body of work as an academic is extensive and highly cited, not to mention well-funded by sources ranging from the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation to the Rockefeller Foundation. His h-index of 44 and citation count of 8303 are impressive by any standard; one pair of papers titled "Head-direction cells recorded from the postsubiculum in freely moving rats" has received over 1600 individual citations alone. For an idea of what on earth the title means, read on.

As self-evident as it may sound, it is critically important that we know where we are located within our surrounding environment. While the invention of maps, compasses, and handheld GPS technology would likely prevent getting lost in the woods or in a parking lot from morphing into a full-blown catastrophe for most people, our animal brothers and sisters further down on the evolutionary scale have no such luxury. For them, being able to identify their own location may mean the difference between, say, making their way to a reliable food source and starving. But even with or without available GPS devices, humans still need to perceive their spatial location and orientation within their environment. How else could you get from your bedroom to your kitchen without awareness of your spatial whereabouts? Using rats and microelectrode technology, Taube investigates how the animal brain keeps track of location and spatial orientation.

Taube's research has shown that, in rats, there exists a set of cells in the brain whose activity is linked to the direction in which the rat's head is pointing. These are the "head-direction cells" referenced previously. By implanting microelectrodes in a rat's brain and hooking them up to an automated video/computer system, Taube found that particular neurons would discharge only when the rat was facing a certain direction. Within specified brain areas, different neurons would be tuned to different directions. For example, Neuron A might become activated when the rat's head pointed east, whereas Neuron B would fire if the rat's head pointed towards the southwest. These firings would occur no matter where the rat was located in its surrounding environment. Currently, Taube's lab is looking into how primary sensory inputs generate these neurological head direction signals.

A second type of cell, located in the hippocampus, relies on both self-motion information and recognizable landmarks to determine the rat's location within a given environment. As Taube has demonstrated, these "place cells" work independently of head direction cells, and here again, different place cells are tuned to different locations in the environment. Collectively, these cells map out the entire environment and form a spatial representation, often referred to as a cognitive map, of the rat's surroundings. At the moment, the question occupying Taube's research team is how the vestibular system -- the series of tiny organs in the inner ear that provides balance -- is related to the functioning of both head direction and place cells. In any case, it turns out that head direction cells and place cells communicate with each other to create a more comprehensive picture of your perceived spatial orientation, a sense that is critical for knowing where your car is in the parking lot and getting you there successfully at day's end.

To see Professor Taube in action, watch his March 5, 2014 lecture on Leaning and Memory in the Head-Direction Cell Circuit, which took place at UC Santa Barbara.

Back

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Spending on Varsity Teams

Mar 23 2017

Last week when we noted the Brown Daily Herald's ranking of recruiting expenditures in the Ivy League -- the College was in the bottom half of the class -- we figured that the same parsimony would characterize Dartmouth's overall spending on varsity athletics. So back we went to the U.S. Department of Education's Equity in Athletics website to see who is spending how much on men's and women's varsity teams. Surprise, surprise:

Ivy Varsity Expenses 2016 Chart.jpg

Thumbnail image for Ivy Varsity Expenses 2016 Table.jpgNow keep in mind that these figures are provided by the schools themselves to the Department of Education, and one would expect that they all follow the same accounting conventions. What to make of figures that vary hugely between schools? (Note: Columbia and Penn don't have hockey teams -- their loss, as I see it.)

The College has not done all that well over the past decades in athletics, so we are not getting bang for the buck. And Princeton's spending is in the middle of the pack, yet the Tigers have amassed more championships than anyone in the Ivies.

Are we top-heavy with too many non-productive, but highly paid senior managers? Or are we bloated all through the staff ranks, and is AD Harry Sheehey unwilling to buck the College's "nobody gets fired" administrative culture?

It's a mystery.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

The numbers do not make sense. I would suspect that our number includes an overly large allocation from bloated Parkhurst.

Addendum: And another:

Good to see spending for the 90% of students who don't participate in varsity sports. That has long-term benefits. In general, students seem fatter than in our day.

Addendum: I'll have more on this issue next week.

Back

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Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::compress_parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8669

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Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8337

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::compress_parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8395

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::normalize_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8401

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::percent_encoding_normalization() should not be called statically in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8661

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8662

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::remove_dot_segments() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8667

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::compress_parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8669

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::is_isegment_nz_nc() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 3669

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::array_unique() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 5503

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::get_element() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13264

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::entities_decode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8488

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::entities_decode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8488

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::entities_decode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8488

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::entities_decode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8488

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::entities_decode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8488

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::entities_decode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8488

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::entities_decode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8488

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::absolutize_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13282

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8337

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::compress_parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8395

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::normalize_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8401

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::percent_encoding_normalization() should not be called statically in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8661

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8662

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::remove_dot_segments() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8667

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::compress_parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8669

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::element_implode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13283

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::absolutize_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13282

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8337

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::compress_parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8395

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::normalize_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8401

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::percent_encoding_normalization() should not be called statically in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8661

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8662

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::remove_dot_segments() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8667

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::compress_parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8669

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::element_implode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13283

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::absolutize_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13282

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8337

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::compress_parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8395

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::normalize_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8401

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::percent_encoding_normalization() should not be called statically in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8661

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8662

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::remove_dot_segments() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8667

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::compress_parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8669

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::element_implode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13283

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::absolutize_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13282

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8337

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::compress_parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8395

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::normalize_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8401

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::percent_encoding_normalization() should not be called statically in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8661

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8662

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::remove_dot_segments() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8667

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::compress_parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8669

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::element_implode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13283

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::absolutize_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13282

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8337

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::compress_parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8395

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::normalize_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8401

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::percent_encoding_normalization() should not be called statically in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8661

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::percent_encoding_normalization() should not be called statically in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8661

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::percent_encoding_normalization() should not be called statically in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8661

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::percent_encoding_normalization() should not be called statically in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8661

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8662

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::remove_dot_segments() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8667

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::compress_parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8669

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::element_implode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13283

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::absolutize_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13282

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8337

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::compress_parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8395

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::normalize_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8401

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::percent_encoding_normalization() should not be called statically in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8661

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8662

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::remove_dot_segments() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8667

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::compress_parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8669

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::element_implode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13283

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::absolutize_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13282

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8337

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::compress_parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8395

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::normalize_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8401

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::percent_encoding_normalization() should not be called statically in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8661

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8662

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::remove_dot_segments() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8667

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::compress_parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8669

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::element_implode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13283

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::get_element() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13264

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::get_element() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13264

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::get_element() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13264

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::get_element() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13264

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::entities_decode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8488

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::entities_decode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8488

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::entities_decode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8488

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::entities_decode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8488

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::entities_decode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8488

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::entities_decode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8488

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::absolutize_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13273

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8337

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::compress_parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8395

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::normalize_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8401

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::percent_encoding_normalization() should not be called statically in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8661

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8662

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::remove_dot_segments() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8667

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::compress_parse_url() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 8669

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::element_implode() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13274

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::get_element() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13264

Strict Standards: Non-static method SimplePie_Misc::get_element() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/dartb/public_html/iphone/simplepie.inc on line 13264

Athletics' Bang for the Buck

Mar 22 2017

Yale is having something of a contretemps regarding the value of its athletics programs and particularity the presence of athletes on campus. The first volley was fired on February 27 by Yale junior Cole Aronson with a snide piece in the Yale Daily News that derided athletes themselves and also the absolute value of participating in sports; on the same day a Yale freshman baseball player, Tyler Sapsford, responded in The Politic blog; and the next day Yale baseball head coach John Stuper joined the debate with a Letter to the Editor to defending the merits of varsity sports in New Haven.

Absent from the discussion was any detail regarding Yale's financial commitment to varsity sports and student recreation.

Tomorrow we'll look at the money that all the Ivies spend on sports; today let's just look at Dartmouth's budget for athletics. The source for all of the below figures is the U.S. Department of Education's Equity in Athletics website:

Dartmouth Athletics Expenses 2016.jpg

A grand total of 903 students participated on at least one of Dartmouth's thirteen men's varsity teams, sixteen women's teams, and one co-ed team (sailing, if you must know). And virtually every undergraduate student at one time or another uses the College's extensive recreational fitness facilities (anyone who hasn't should head down to Zimmerman now).

And all that for a grand total expense (not including ticket income) of $27,496,614 in fiscal 2016 -- a figure that amounts almost exactly to a miserly 3% of the College's total expenses of $918,111,000 in the same year.

I don't know about you, but I'm with former Government Professor Alan Stam in supporting athletics on their merits, but especially so given their huge impact on students for a risible amount of investment by the administration.

Addendum: Yale is entirely consistent with the College in conducting debates with virtually no financial information. Budgets in higher education are deep, dark secrets. Phil Hanlon may talk about transparency, but he certainly does not want you to know where Dartmouth spends its money -- and for good reason, as this space endeavors to point out on a regular basis.

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