Paul Mirengoff ‘71 at Powerline blog riffs on the profiles of many of the College’s newly hired professors — as self-depicted in the print publication Dartmouth Life, which is mailed to alumni. He sees a pattern of radicalism and a departure from traditional seriousness:
The good news is that Dartmouth has hired three new Economics professors, none of whom tips off his ideological leanings. Perhaps there’s a causal relationship here: the Economics department is beefing up because students like taking courses about non-quirky subject matter from professors who aren’t on a political/ideological mission.
Unfortunately, unless you want to major in Economics, Mathematics, or a hard science, it’s probably even more difficult now than it was in my daughter’s time (2006-10) to fill one’s schedule with such courses.
Our new Provost, Carolyn Dever, seems fixated on the problematic subject of diversity, even though the College is deluged with more pressing concerns, but she has not revealed an ideological agenda. I know, I know, the two go together, but let’s cut the lady a little slack. For the time being we will trust but verify.
Freelance journalist Katie Van Syckle ‘05 will be coming to Dartmouth next week to work on a story about Phil Hanlon’s Moving Dartmouth Forward initiative. As her website notes, “She contributes regularly to New York Magazine and Rolling Stone. She has written for Bloomberg Business Week, Style.com, Nylon, the New York Daily News, The Daily, Atlantic.com, WSJ.com, BonAppetit.com and the New Orleans Times-Picayune.” Over the last year she has focused her writing on sexual assault on campuses.
Needless to say, Bored@Baker’s energetic tipsters had the story first:
AD’s attorney George Ostler ‘77, who frequently represents students in their disciplinary disputes with the College, has issued a statement to the press regarding the branding incident that is receiving so much attention:
While we are on the subject of outstanding members of the Class of 1979, on March 12 the Wall Street Journal ran a profile of New Haven Chief of Police Dean Esserman ‘79 entitled Putting Police Officers Back on the Beat. Dean is a recognized expert on community policing, a concept that he has supported since his days working closely with then-and-now NYC Chief of Police Bill Bratton. The idea involves taking police officers out of their hermetically sealed squad cars and having them walk a regular neighborhood beat, where they can interact with and earn the trust of citizens.
After working in New York City with Bratton, Dean first put the concept into practice on his own as chief of police in Stamford (CT), followed by Providence (RI), and New Haven (CT). In each place crime of all types dropped in a manner completely out of synch with local and regional trends. As the Journal notes: “In New Haven… the total number of crimes in seven categories shrank 17% from 2010 to 2013, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation data. The U.S. had a decline of 3.8% in the same period.” And “Overall crime in Providence fell 30% during his eight years there.”
Dean took over the New Haven Chief’s position in October 2011, and the two histograms on this page tell the tale in more detail: since his arrival homicides are down by almost two thirds in Yale’s hometown, and violent crime of all types has fallen:
Beyond his responsibilities as chief, Dean sits on three national boards: the National Police Foundation (NPF), the VERA Institute of Justice, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. He works closely with the Justice Department, consulting and advising on troubled police departments. He’ll soon be part of a team from the NPF that has been contracted by the Justice Department to work on policing issues with the St. Louis County Police Department — which encompasses the town of Ferguson, Missouri and surrounding jurisdictions. In addition Dean teaches courses to students at Yale College, the Yale Law School, and the criminal justice program at the University of New Haven.
Addendum: Dean likes to say than when he is faced with a particularly difficult policing problem, he gathers together all of America’s Ivy-League-educated, Jewish police chiefs to discuss the matter at hand. Needless to say, he is the only member of that club.
Addendum: A old friend from Hanover writes in:
You never mentioned that Dean was never a “beat” cop.
True. Dean went to NYU Law and worked in the Brooklyn prosecutor’s office before becoming Assistant Chief in New Haven at the start of his law enforcement career.
The College has a new Chief Human Resources Officer (but no Dean of the College): Scot Bemis has come to Dartmouth from Brandeis, located in the Boston suburb of Waltham. Interestingly enough, Bemis is neither a creature of the academy nor the private sector, as Dartmouth Now reports: “Prior to his work at Brandeis, Bemis held three senior human resource positions with the U.S. Army. He was a director of the National Guard Human Resource operations in Washington, D.C.; Director of the Leadership Center in Tikrit, Iraq; and Senior Director of Human Resources in Baghdad, Iraq… From 1999 through 2002, Bemis was an associate professor of studies in leadership and management at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.”
The Dartmouth Now announcement has another nugget worth discussing:
Brandeis details on its website that it has 504 faculty members (its Common Data Set notes 498 professors), leaving it with over 1,500 staffers according to Dartmouth Now (though Brandeis itself says that it has 1,150). But let’s stick with the 2,000 total employees number, and compare Brandeis to the College.
Dartmouth has 3,443 staff members and 1,059 professors according to the Dartmouth Factbook. However the structure of Geisel inflates that number with 233 non-tenure track clinical professors — practicing physicians who assist in the training of young doctors but who are not paid by Geisel. So the College really has about 826 professors. Based on those numbers, the College has a total of 4,269 employees. That figure is 2.13 times the number of employees at Brandeis.
Now if we start with Brandeis’ total compensation figure of $140 million (a figure that Dartmouth Now put forward, even though the details of employee compensation do not appear in Brandeis’ 2014 financial statements), let’s take a rough whack at estimating what Dartmouth’s annual compensation might be. Of course, keep in mind that the cost of living in suburban Boston is higher than rural New Hampshire: Massachusetts’ personal income tax (5.15%) and sales tax (6.25%) and the cost of Boston-area real estate see to that.
On the other side of the ledger, the College has a medical school, a business school and a large Economics department, so we can assume that the number of well compensated faculty members at the College is higher than at humanities/undergraduate-focused Brandeis.
Given that Dartmouth has more high-priced professors, I’d say that even though we have 2.13 times more employees than Brandeis, our wage bill should probably be 2.5 times higher. That would provide for an extra $35 million of compensation for our expensive profs (assuming there are 200 stars at Geisel, Tuck and in Econ and we pay them an extra $175k each — a absurdly high figure, I know).
An estimate based on a 2.5 times co-efficient would bring us to a total compensation budget at Dartmouth of $350 million ($140 million times 2.5).
What’s the real figure in the College’s 2014 accounts? Total compensation was actually $492 million — an excess of $142 million over our estimate. We are overcompensating the staff the we have chosen to hire by about 50%.
The good times continue to roll in Hanover.
Addendum: We’ve looked at this kind of metric before. Schools comparable to the College like Brown, Tufts, Boston College and Williams spend far less money on per-employee compensation than we do.
During his time in Baghdad, Bemis oversaw human resources for a 4,000-soldier task force under wartime conditions and was recognized for improving personnel retention rates by 64 percent. He was also recognized for his ability to perform under extreme duress while conducting all human resources operations, and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious performance.
Yikes. A Bronze Star for personnel management? I am going to have to ask Bemis about that one. Maybe there is more to the story than Dartmouth Now is letting on. After all, the last time we talked about someone from Dartmouth winning a Bronze Star, we referred to Joseph Young ‘45 charging across the bridge at Remagen in March of 1945.
Addendum: A Dartblog reader writes in about Army commendations:
Hey Joe — I do so enjoy your website — it’s a hoot and very informative.
As to the Bronze Star award for “Meritorious Performance” — I got one of those as well and it went something like this. Awards Clerk: “We’re gonna give you an award. Do you already have the Army Commendation Medal?” Me: “Yes, I do.” Clerk: “Ok — we’ll get you the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service.” Me: “Cool.”
What was I doing that was so meritorious at that time? — playing trombone in the 1st Division Army Band — but I had a little rank (E5) and we were in Vietnam after all. Officers got an even better shot at these kinds of awards, and they were often given out for being present and not screwing up too badly. Bronze Star with “V” for valor is a different animal all together, one that I respect tremendously. That’s likely the award given to Joseph Young — and what a great story that is.
Lest you think that my service in Vietnam was all rosy, I did spend the first six months in an infantry unit, and while I wasn’t in direct combat, we did get shelled routinely — not a fun experience and detrimental to the health of those caught in it. So, I get the Bronze Star for playing in the band — doesn’t surprise me that Bemis would have gotten such a low-level award for keeping his hands clean.
Addendum: Another veteran reader comments:
Reference the Bronze Star - I can tell you from my own army experience, that the Bronze Star is authorized for meritorious conduct/performance while deployed in the war zone, even for administrative or clerical excellence. This is to recognize the contributions or merits of the deployed soldiers who might have been called REMFs back in the day ( or more recently had be coined “Fobbits”). Let me know if you’d like definitions of either term.
Anyway, the “V” device for valor is awarded along with the Bronze Star when there is need/desire to distinguish the award for soldiers who actually faced enemy fire or hazard.
Essentially, the Bronze Star can be had in lieu of the more traditional Army Commendation medal (ARCOM) given Stateside, merely by virtue of being in the combat zone.
[My only regret is I never had the appropriately considerate chain of command to award me one..]
Gawker is reporting (and the College’s spokesman Justin Anderson has confirmed) that the ongoing suspension of AD has been extended after a pledge was discovered to have been branded on the backside last fall. It seems that the brand became infected, and when the pledge sought medical care, word got back to the administration. Gawker was informed of the incident by a tipster, and chat about the event has been extensive on Bored@Baker.
Addendum: An AD alumni advisor writes in:
The Gawker article you cite is so full of misinformation that we are discussing the possibility of a libel suit. I don’t want to point out the inaccuracies at this time, but they are many.
Addendum: The Daily News has picked up the story, and it has included an amusing photo juxtaposition in its article:
Or perhaps the College has inaugurated a special Interim President’s area for portraits in the Rauner Special Collections Library? The more recent members of the Wheelock Succession are grouped together to overlook the main room at Rauner:
Carol, in contrast, is off by her lonesome to the right of the Rauner stacks:
Personally, I’d recommend a back staircase at Baker.
After Rolling Stone magazine ran an extensive piece alleging the horrific, premeditated gang rape of a UVA undergraduate by fraternity brothers, the magazine withdrew its story, citing reportorial lapses. Yesterday the Washington Post published the results of the Charlottesville Police department’s investigation of “Jackie’s” allegations. The police found no evidence to corroborate her accusations, and it noted numerous factual inconsistencies in her story. The investigative report concluded as follows:
Based on the information known to investigators at this time, we find no substantive basis of fact to conclude that an incident occurred that is consistent with the facts as described in the November 19, 2014, Rolling Stone Magazine article.
The department’s investigation cannot rule out that something may have happened to “Jackie” somewhere and at some time on the evening of September 28, 2012. Yet, without additional evidence we are simply unable to reach a definitive conclusion.
This investigation remains open, yet suspended in the event additional evidence should come to light.
Rolling Stone has undertaken an analysis of its reporting of the incident, which should be published in the next few weeks.
After a review of records and roughly 70 interviews, Police Chief Timothy J. Longo Sr. said at a crowded news conference here, his investigators found “no evidence” that a party even took place at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity on Sept. 28, 2012, when the rape was said to have occurred. Instead, he said, there was a formal that night at the house’s sister sorority, making it highly unlikely that the fraternity would have had a party on the same night.
Despite “numerous attempts,” he said, his officers were unable to track down the man Jackie had identified as her date that night. And several interviews contradicted her version of events. The chief said he was suspending, but not closing, the investigation, and he left open the possibility that some kind of assault might have occurred, saying additional information could still come to light.
How the heck does an interim President merit a presidential portrait and wall space in Rauner? When Jim Wright spelled Jim Freedman for a year in the late 1990’s, and then Freedman returned from his cancer treatments, even a man as vain as Wright did not plump for a painting (of course, he did have his eye on the bigger prize). But Carol?
The IP wasn’t even in office for a full year, and then she was passed over when she tried for the brass ring. How does she rate an immortalizing portrait that undergrads will be admiring centuries hence?
What interpretation does artist Ying-he Liu offer us? Sunshine and chirpy cheerfulness as we look out on Occom Pond. A sea of Dartmouth green, flowers, a closed book, an expensive vase, some kind of framed diploma or attestation, Carol’s best outfit and two strings of pearls. It’s all there — except intelligence and any legacy of achievement.
Addendum: Recent word from North Carolina is that on the ground Carol is widely disliked as bubbly and false. At the top the Board of Governors realizes that it has made a mistake (several members said so from the start; they wondered why Dartmouth passed on the IP for the top job): Carol handled the Mary Willingham scandal most maladroitly and she has brought nothing to the table in the way of innovation. However, the consensus on the Board is that the turbulence that would result from Carol’s dismissal is not worth the benefit of letting her go. That’s not that way I manage things in the real world. A leader always has great impact, either positively or negatively — too much so to allow a Board to abide a mediocrity.
Normally we don’t go in for canned tourist experiences, but the opportunity to walk with lions in Mauritius’s Casela Nature Park was too interesting to pass up. At first my attention was drawn to the notice that “Participants must be at least 1m50 tall”; I guess that anyone smaller than that height ceases to be a spectator and possibly becomes prey to the two three-year-old lions with whom we walked for about 20 minutes. Most striking is the raw power of the animals: their torso seems proportionately longer than that of a house cat, and the musculature of their legs is daunting. Their fur and underlying muscle is hard, as if designed to protect against the defensive blows of rivals and prey.
My new friend is a white lion from a group found indigenously in the Timbavati area of South Africa. White lions — of Siegfried & Roy fame (and infamy) — possess a recessive gene related to albinism
Addendum: Mauritius is an example of multiculturalism that works. The island was under Dutch control until 1710 — hence its name taken from Prince Maurice van Nassau. The French held sway until 1810, when the British took control in the Napoleonic Wars. The Brits allowed the Mauritian people to keep the French language and much French law. The colony became an independent republic in 1968. Functionally, it seems that almost everyone is tri-lingual, speaking French, English and Mauritian Creole; and the large Indian-origin segment of the population speaks Hindi, too.
Joseph Young ‘45 served honorably as a judge in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland for 31 years. He earned his JD at UVA, and then he worked in private practice as a trial attorney. Among many other clients, he represented rioters accused of looting in the the April 1968 Baltimore riots. As a judge appointed by Richard Nixon he decided on lenient sentences for four men who described extortion by the administration of Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew — evidence that led to Agnew’s prosecution and to his resignation as Nixon’s Vice-President. He later found a pattern of racial discrimination in the Baltimore Fire Department, and ordered redress for years of bias. During that 1973 case, he received death threats. His most famous trial involved the prosecution for taking kickbacks of Baltimore County Executive Dale Anderson. The case attracted national attention in revealing deep and thoroughgoing corruption in the Maryland state government, and Young condemned Anderson to five years in jail, an unprecedented sentence.
However, Young stands out for me for events that took place years prior to his work as a lawyer and judge — in March of 1945. An infantry man in WWII, he was one of the first soldiers to cross the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine at Remagen.
Young and his comrades were ordered over the bridge despite fears that it might be blown up at any moment by the Germans. The structure was still defended by Wehrmacht machine gunners in its support towers, and it was larded with demolition charges. However the prize warranted the risk — it was the only bridge over the 300-yard-wide Rhine that American troops would be able to secure during the war — and in seizing it on the run, dismantling German explosive charges as they moved forward, Young, his comrades, and the U.S. military accomplished one of America’s greatest feats of arms, an action that shortened the war and saved many lives. For his exploit, Young received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for “his continuous reconnaissance reports from behind the lines after having been wounded.”
Young died last Saturday at the age of 92, seventy years and one week after he sprinted under fire across the bridge at Remagen. His survivors include his wife of 67 years, the former Doris Oliver.
Addendum: The large clouds of smoke in the picture of the Ludendorff Bridge above are the explosions of German artillery rounds as the Wehrmacht sought desperately to destroy the vital bridge.
Addendum: Wikipedia reports that “the [Remagen] crossing was only 18 kilometers (11 mi) north of where Caesar had first crossed the Rhine in 55 BC.” and that the American troops who set foot on the east bank of the Rhine on March 7, 1945 were the first foreign troops to so since the time of Napoleon.
We have a good class, but it was a special moment to see one member, Peter Robinson ‘79 (host of the Hoover Institution/WSJ webcast “Uncommon Knowledge” and author of Ronald Reagan’s “Tear down this wall, Mr. Gorbachev” speech) interview another classmate, an erstwhile venture capitalist who has set up an original and important organization: Jim Hake ‘79, founder of Spirit of America, a social entrepreneurial venture designed to help U.S. troops overseas assist and establish relationships with local people. Jim’s organization gives American soldiers the means to establish and equip schools; and provide medicine, clothing, sports equipment and productive items like sewing machines. It even puts schools in overseas theaters in contact with American high schools. In short, his outfit is a venture capitalist for the entrepreneurial projects proposed by American troops on the ground. Not only do these efforts improve the lives of local people, but the trust generated in new-found relationships allows American troops to gather important, sometimes life-saving intelligence about enemy forces.
Joining Peter and Jim in their discussion is Marine Corps four-star General Jim Mattis (ret.), who talks about the armed forces’ twin missions of inspiration and intimidation. Mattis visited the College in July of 2013.
According to the Spirit of America website, Jim is:
…a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and an Honorary Member of the US Army Civil Affairs Regiment. He has lectured on entrepreneurship at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, the SMU Cox School of Business and USC’s Annenberg School for Communication. He has given talks at the TED Conference, the Aspen Institute, the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M and the Fletcher School at Tufts University. See Jim’s TED talk here.
Jim received a BA and graduated with distinction in Economics from Dartmouth College. He earned an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
Addendum: A longtime reader and friend of Dartblog writes in:
In case you have not watched it, Peter Robinson did a companion solo interview with General Jim Mattis on the nature of war (in general) and today’s unconventional war against radical Islam/jihadism (in particular). I found it fascinating and articulate. I learned a lot, and it demonstrates the level of big-picture awareness, historical reflection and personal concern that occurs among the best military people.
This space has never had much enthusiasm for Dean of the Faculty Mike Mastanduno, and Phil’s decision to keep him on for two years after his five-year term runs out this June strikes me as a weak compromise. After all, there have been few, if any, notable academic initiatives over the past half-decade, and as regular readers know, the College continues to hemorrhage top faculty members (here, here, here and here). Mike is a nice guy with a sense of humor, but he is not getting the job done. Will things improve? Not if Mastanduno spends time on a radio program:
What the heck is the point of this activity? PR for the College? An effort to take Mastanduno out of the loop? Just how is this kind of thing going to improve Dartmouth? After all, it’s not like Mike has time on his hands these days. There are existing faculty members to support, and great new ones to attract.
Let’s just stare in wonder and ask who approved this silly waste of time.
Addendum: The Dartmouth Now announcement of the radio show includes this inspiring picture of Mike:
Addendum: A former administrator writes in to provide some background on Dartmouth Broadcasting, even if he wonders why the Dean of the Faculty has decided to spend his time one the air:
The photo of Mike Mastanduno in your Dartbog post this morning was taken in Dartmouth Broadcasting’s studios in Robinson Hall. That Dartmouth is the first Ivy to forge such a relationship with Sirius represents a big win for Dartmouth Broadcasting, which is probably the most successful student organization on campus, if the multiple awards that it has received in recent years from the New Hampshire Association of Broadcasters — in direct competition with its commercial competitors, including many with nationwide network affiliations — is used as the measuring yardstick.
Rescued from financial near-death and efforts to put it on-the-chopping-block to save money during the days of the Wright and Kim administrations, Dartmouth Broadcasting has thrived under the leadership of its full-time Director, Heath Cole, its active and engaged Student Directorate, and a supportive alumni Board of Overseers. Financially independent of the College, Dartmouth Broadcasting funds its solid six-figure annual operating budget from the revenue it generates from local and national advertisers: Entrepreneurship 101. If managed well, its new Sirius connection could be valuable for both the faculty involved and the College, since, in the media business, the value is all in the content, and at Dartmouth great content is created and delivered every day. Although virtually all of it now vanishes into the ether, if this show redirects and preserves only some of it, it is a big deal. Where is Harvard, Princeton, Yale? Not on your car radio nationwide….
The U.S. News grad schools rankings are out, and while the College’s PR people might say nice things about our grad schools, both Geisel and Thayer are a long way out of the running among the Ivies. Only Tuck acquits itself well, with a ranking that I’d consider unfairly low, given the fine ésprit de corps that rules at the bottom of Tuck Mall.
To give you some sense of context regarding Thayer’s position, the two engineering schools tied ahead of Thayer with a #59 ranking are SUNY-Buffalo and UMass-Amherst. Yearly in-state tuition at UMass-Amherst is $2,640 and out-of-state is $9,937; the corresponding numbers at SUNY-Buffalo are $10,370 and $20,190. Last year, equivalent tuition at Thayer was $48,120.
Regarding Dartmouth’s med school, the administration is rushing to unwind Jim Kim’s pie-in-the-sky financial commitments. As with so many things, there was a disconnect between Kim’s ambition and his ability to get things done. The plans that our departed President put into place would have eventually bled Dartmouth dry.
Addendum: Tuck fares better in other rankings. The Economist placed it in the #2 position last October.
Rumors are swirling about that Michael Taylor, the erstwhile Director of the Hood Museum of Art, has been dismissed — just months before the start of the museum’s $50 million expansion and renovation. This terse, somewhat awkward e-mail was sent out by Provost Dever yesterday:
March 16, 2015
Dear One Dartmouth,
I write to tell you that Michael Taylor is no longer in the role of director of the Hood Museum of Art.
While we conduct a nationwide search for the next Hood director, I’m pleased to announce that, beginning immediately, Juliette Bianco ‘94, deputy director at the museum, will serve as its interim director.
Juliette has had an impressive tenure at the Hood, serving as assistant director from 2005 until 2013, when she was appointed deputy director. Before that, she served as exhibitions manager, a job she began in 1998. After graduating from Dartmouth, Juliette received a master’s degree in art history from the University of Chicago.
Taylor came to Dartmouth from the Philadelphia Museum of Art on June 1, 2011, where he was a modern art curator. His name no longer appears in the Hood staff directory:
When UNC learning support specialist Mary Willingham came forward with allegations that UNC had allowed sub-standard athletes to take non-existent courses, Chancellor Carol Folt was quick to respond — by attacking Willingham so vehemently that UNC was censured by the Government Accountability Project (GAP) (“the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization”). In addition to publicly disparaging Willingham, Folt and UNC senior administrators made Willingham’s job untenable. Willingham sued for retaliation, and today UNC settled her complaint for the sum of $335,000. Some things will never change.
Addendum: Willingham’ allegations were later substantiated in an extensive report authored by former federal prosecutor and FBI counsel Kenneth Wainstein.
Addendum: A longtime reader writes in:
It’s interesting to me that you note Kenneth Wainstein was a former federal prosecutor and FBI counsel - this is all correct. But to my mind, having worked with him in DC, I would have chosen other items of his resume to highlight such as being US Attorney for DC, Asst. Attorney General for National Security (the first in the newly created position) and then Homeland Security Advisor to the President.. but I guess one can pick and choose with these sleeve length résumés, no?
If the College ever gets around to trimming its egregiously large and expensive support staff, big-hearted members of the community should be aware that Dartmouth workers who are asked to move on will be required to do no more than emulate the regular experience of almost all American workers. Unlike faculty members who set their sights on a job-for-life, Americans leave jobs for many reasons, mostly to seek better pay, increased opportunity for advancement, the chance to work in a more supportive and interesting environment, or the desire to change the place in which they live. According to the Wall Street Journal, on average workers change jobs every 4.6 years:
This information renders laughable comments by faculty members like now-at-Cornell Rusell Rickford, who scorned the College for laying off workers in the last year of the Wright administration:
In a move that set adrift some of the most financially vulnerable employees on campus, Dartmouth officials recently completed several round of layoffs, mostly of hourly staff members…
“Set adrift…”? That phrase reeks of both condescension and misunderstanding. American workers at all levels are well equipped to find new work. As we saw above, job-hopping is a common occurrence, and interestingly enough, in prosperous economic times worker “quit rates” increase. Think about that fact for a second: workers tend to change jobs more frequently just when their level of employment security is at its highest:
Given that the economy is now showing strong signs of a revival — at my business in Lebanon we have numerous newly created, unfilled jobs — the College could take the opportunity to eliminate unnecessary positions, and use the savings to cut tuition and hire more faculty members. The College’s employees have other jobs waiting for them in the Upper Valley, and they are certainly capable of finding them.
Addendum: A close reader of Dartblog writes in:
Another enjoyable read this morning on DartBlog. It brought to mind an interview I read with Jack Schafer, a media commentator who previously worked at Slate and Reuters (now at Politico.) The interview, in November 2014, is right after he was fired from Reuters. Take a look at this passage (below). In my mind, he shares a perspective that is too often lost when folks lose work:
Capital: This is the second time in three years that you’ve been laid off, not maliciously but unceremoniously.
Shafer: No! It’s wrong to say it’s “unceremoniously.” The job is theirs. The job belongs to Slate or the job belongs to Reuters, not to me. The day that they decide that job doesn’t exist or they don’t want me in that job, there’s nothing unceremonious about it. We know this going in. We’re mercenaries.
If, tomorrow, you don’t like the editing or the headlines or the paper stock at Capital, and you want to do something else, it’s not unceremonious to give Tom your two weeks’ notice and walk across the street, so it probably shouldn’t be unceremonious for Tom to tell you, “Peter, we’ve had a great run here, but you know, I’m going to bring in Shafer to do your job.”
No one ever cries any tears for a publication when somebody leaves it for another publication. It’s inconvenient as hell to lose your job. I’m not trying to cast any aspersions about people who go through real trouble and real pain when they get sacked. But we know that going into this business, and it’s the way this business has always been. I would reject the idea that it’s “unceremonious.”
I mean, the way that I was treated at Slate for so long and the nice package I got going out, likewise with Reuters. There was never a better place that I’ve worked in my career than Reuters. If they decide that they want to do something else with their space and their money, god bless ‘em. They’ve been very good to me.
The flight of highly regarded faculty continues. English Professor Gretchen Gerzina, former Chair of the English Department and current Chair of the African and African Studies Department, is leaving the College to become Dean of Commonwealth Honors College at UMass Amherst, whose press release describes her as follows:
Local readers and amateur historians may recognize Gerzina for her book “Mr. and Mrs. Prince: How an Extraordinary 18th-century Family Moved out of Slavery and into Legend.” It is the story of slaves who grew up and became husband and wife in Deerfield, Mass., in the 1700s. After gaining their freedom, they built a home in Vermont. Lucy Prince and her husband Abijah, a veteran of the American Revolution, faced challenges including white neighbors trying to take their land. But Lucy went to court, personally arguing for their rights, and eventually won. Mrs. Prince went on to be a valued member of her community, and today is considered the first known African-American poet.
“Mr. and Mrs. Prince” was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Frederick Douglass Book Prize and the NAACP National Image Award. UMass Amherst’s dean of the Graduate School John McCarthy says, “This book is assigned in courses here and is beloved by students for its moving story, its local connection and its autobiographical twist: it relates how Gerzina unearthed information about the Princes,” which according to one reviewer includes her “obvious love of genealogy and research.”
McCarthy adds that Gerzina’s scholarship is “very well known and widely admired.” She is the author of two other biographies, “Carrington: A Life” and “Frances Hodgson Burnett: The Unexpected Life of the Author of the Secret Garden,” and the editor of three other books.
Gerzina, a native of Springfield, Mass., also hosted a nationally syndicated weekly radio interview program, “The Book Show,” for 14 years on WAMC, the National Public Radio affiliate in Albany. In the U.K., she is a familiar guest on television and radio, commenting on race and history. She is now working on a BBC radio series based on her book, “Black London: Life Before Emancipation.” Gerzina is also working on a biracial family memoir and another book, “The Black Wife in British Literature and Culture.”
Gerzina’s scholarly accomplishments include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Fulbright Foundation. She was the George Eastman Visiting Professor to Oxford, affiliated with Balliol College, from which she received an honorary M.A. The New York Times selected her book, “Black London” as a “notable book of the year” and as a book of the year by several British newspapers, including the London Sunday Times. Her book “Carrington” was also selected by that newspaper as a book of the year.
Fellow faculty members in Hanover consider Gerzina to be both a fine teacher, a rigorous scholar (characteristics that often go together at the College), and an excellent colleague.
Addendum: Curiously, Gerzina begins the bio on her personal home page, which later lists her extensive publications, as follows:
Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan to a white mother and African American father, whose marriage was illegal in seventeen states when they married.
She notes also that at Dartmouth:
… she is the first woman ever to Chair the English department, and the first African American woman to chair an Ivy League English department.
Addendum: Gerzina served on the Search Committee that brought Jim Kim to the College. The Committee drafted a statement that it entitled An Opportunity for Leadership — an inexecrably drafted document by any objective standard. At a public meeting of the Search Committee, I asked Gerzina what letter grade she would accord the quality of the writing in the piece in her professional capacity as Chair of Dartmouth’s English Department. She replied that everyone on the Committee was “very happy” with the statement, and would say no more.
A trip to Burgundy included a stop-off for lunch in Vézelay, site of the great Romanesque Abbey dating to the early 12th century — now the Basilica of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Wikipedia notes:
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux preached there in favor of a second crusade at Easter 1146, in front of King Louis VII. Richard I of England and Philip II of France met there and spent three months at the Abbey in 1190 before leaving for the Third Crusade. Thomas Becket in exile, chose Vézelay for his Whitsunday sermon in 1166, announcing the excommunication of the main supporters of his English King, Henry II, and threatening the King with excommunication too.
As we walked towards the Abbey, a wall-mounted plaque to the right also attracted our attention. It reads:
IN THIS HOME, ONCE THE SAINTE-MADELEINE DORMITORY, Marie ARNOL (Sister Léocadie, Director), assisted by D’Augustine RIGOLLAT (Sister Placidie) and Marie Thérèse TOTAL (Sister Marie), nuns from the Sens area; with the aid of several citizens of Vélelay, hid Jewish children during the 1942-1944 period. SHE HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED AS “RIGHTEOUS AMONG THE NATIONS” BY THE STATE OF ISRAEL FOR HAVING ASSISTED AT HER OWN RISK AND PERIL JEWS WHO WERE HUNTED DURING THE OCCUPATION.
Nelson Shanks overall compositional choices bear review: seemingly short in stature, Jim Kim (actually, he’s probably 5’10”) occupies far less of the canvas in his portrait painting than the figures of his five predecessors — an attribute that is striking in the paintings’ side-by-side display in Rauner. Shanks chose in no uncertain terms to diminish Kim — after all, he would have looked at all of the College’s other presidential portraits and seen that the artists painting Dartmouth Presidents Dickey (bottom right), Kemeny (bottom left), McLaughlin (middle right), Freedman (middle left), and Wright (next to Kim) allowed their subjects to dominate the frame:
Some of these fellows were big men on campus; one wasn’t.
Addendum: Apologies for the poor image quality here. Today’s focus is on the overall composition, not the detail.
The College’s choice (or was it a wag in the Studio Art or Art History department?) of Nelson Shanks to paint Jim Kim’s portrait was, shall we say, an ambiguous one. Shanks has an extensive background of painting the rich and powerful, but it seems that he brings more than a critical eye to his work; as we observed yesterday, he likes to stand in judgment of his subjects. No more so, it would appear, than of Bill Clinton. Shanks spoke to the Philadelphia Inquirer last week; he described the clearly defined shadow on the mantle in the Clinton portrait:
Clinton was hard. I’ll tell you why. The reality is he’s probably the most famous liar of all time. He and his administration did some very good things, of course, but I could never get this Monica thing completely out of my mind and it is subtly incorporated in the painting.
If you look at the left-hand side of it there’s a mantle in the Oval Office and I put a shadow coming into the painting and it does two things. It actually literally represents a shadow from a blue dress that I had on a mannequin, that I had there while I was painting it, but not when he was there. It is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him.
And so the Clintons hate the portrait. They want it removed from the National Portrait Gallery. They’re putting a lot of pressure on them. [Reached by phone Thursday, a spokeswoman from the National Portrait Gallery denied that.]
Miss Lewinsky’s well-filled-out torso is clear enough in the shadow, as do the long tresses hanging behind her.
Addendum: An alumnus from a class in the 1960’s writes in:
And isn’t Clinton not so subtly giving us all the finger? And what about the portrait of George Washington; his face is cut off so he is not having to gaze on the president. Clinton is also holding a newspaper. A reference to his preoccupation with public opinion?
Regarding Kim, one could sum up the portrait as follows: a man in a hurry, ill-suited to his job, with Washington on his brain, turning his back on academe while gazing out the window in anticipation of a brighter future as the sun sets on his current duties, which can be defined as a lot of paper shuffling.
P.S. And a shout out to Art History Professor Churchy Lathrop, who taught so many of us, in the darkness of Spaulding, how to see.
Let’s play art historian. What do we see in looking at Jim Kim’s portrait in the Rauner Rare Book Library? A slight man in a suit that is too big for his shoulders; the jacket appears padded and oversized. He stands in a room whose high ceilings make him look small. He turns his back to the shelved books as if uninterested in them; he holds a sheaf of administrative paperwork rather than a hardback. He gazes away somewhat wistfully — is he bored? — to the setting sun outside. Or is he contemplating other opportunities?
Of course, in this portrait, Kim has a fuller, thicker head of hair than he had when he was President of the College.
All artists have a point of view — literally and figuratively. I’d say that painter Nelson Shanks understood Jim Kim pretty well.
Addendum: An alumnus observes:
Wonderful post on the Kim portrait. The artist has shown Kim in a suit that is too big for him — symbolic of being in a job that was too big for him.
The administrative paperwork clutched in front of his body could stand for protecting himself through the bureaucracy. The splash of sunlight hits on books well behind him — enlightenment is over there, elsewhere from him.
Addendum: A faculty members has a comment:
Addendum: Another alumnus writes in:
The watch on Kim’s wrist is also a nice touch.
Addendum: At first I hesitated to add this comment to today’s post, but upon reflection, I think my correspondent makes a good point:
Great post today, I really enjoyed it.
Looks like there’s even the Washington Monument sticking out of Kim’s head. More foreshadowing?
Addendum: Art-historically-minded alumni are having a field day:
One could go on and on! You can pick and choose from these, but there is really a lot going on! I love the Washington monument! No artist would do that by mistake. Pretty confident about that. And, to the right, is that an American flag? His left hand appears near-normal in size, but his right hand seems very small (even with foreshortening) and not really very manly. He isn’t just holding those papers in his clutch, he is protecting himself with them — really, that’s not a comfortable pose with which to hold papers — it is distinctly protective. And, finally, when a locomotive is drawn to show that it is going fast, there are typically lines drawn to its left to indicate motion — progress is always thought to be moving from left to right — all of the motion lines (rugs, books, that flag-thing) are showing Jim Kim moving from right to left or backwards. I suppose there is more, but that’s all the time I have now for such fun!
When Jim Kim made noises about reducing costs at the College (he never did; his $100 million “budget gap” was all self-aggrandizing smoke and mirrors, and spending increased each year), the threatened staff drew great support from the Humanities faculty. The members of that division and their undergraduate allies — Students Stand With Staff — gathered protectively around the College’s overpaid dishwashers, janitors and legions of administrative assistants, bureaucrats and deanlets.
Their Rawls-inspired ardor was perhaps touching, but it was most certainly self-defeating. The bloat in college bureaucracies is sapping the budgets available for faculty hiring; across the country, the Humanities are the hardest hit. Look at the progression in the number of available job openings over the past decade and a half in the core Humanities fields:
If the College reduced its excessive staff, and aligned the wages and benefits of its remaining non-faculty employees with the private sector, it could hire an army of energetic, creative faculty members — including additional teachers and researchers in the Humanities. But, Professors, if you stand with the staff, you stand against your own field, and all of the additional benefits that it could bring to the world.
The Times had an extensive story the other day on Yik Yak, the controversial anonymous-comment site that seems to have pulled users away from Bored@Baker — itself infamous for the aggressive posts that led to the shutdown of the College for a day under IP Folt, and the expulsion of a student from the Class of 2017, who published what was called a “rape guide” on the site. Yik Yak can easily be logged onto from cellphones, a feature that effectively prevents the College from blocking student access to it.
Contrary to general opinion, anonymous-comment sites have real value, not because cyberbullying and harassment are of any importance, but because they reveal what students think and say when they are cloaked in anonymity. Political correctness has effectively muzzled unpleasant speech, but from the content of these sites, one can surmise that disrespect and ugly sentiment abound.
Addendum: These days, Bored@Baker rarely has more than a dozen students logged on to it at any given time, as its own statistics show on the site’s Heartbeat page — open only to frequent users:
Addendum: Yik Yak’s content leaves a lot to be desired. Is this how most students talk in private?:
Yesterday’s announcement that tuition, room and board, and fees at the College would rise 2.9% to $63,744 can only be interpreted in one way: Phil has decided to keep feeding the beast.
After the College’s 2014 financials came out this past fall, I was encouraged to see that total expenses had grown by only 2.1%, and that the cost of employee benefits had fallen by 1.73% (from $124.6 million to $122.4 million). In addition, the overall cost environment was appealing from the point of view of expense control: we are possibly at the start of an era of deflation — the Labor department’s consumer price index declined by 1.28% in 2014/2015. As we have seen, the majority of the College’s costs reflect the CPI.
Add to those points this past September’s announcement that the endowment had grown an impressive 19.2% — the second best result in the Ivies — which will lead to an immediate jump in the amount of money that the administration can draw for the College’s operation (though not a full 19.2% jump, due to the smoothing formula employed by the Trustees for budgeting). Needless to say, given the strength of the economy since the summer, and the stock market’s unrelenting strong performance, we can expect another positive year for the endowment this year — though not as strong as last year (what a shame that we didn’t divest from those oil and gas stocks like radical students suggested in 2013). As well, the price of energy (the College’s utility bill is between $15-20M each year) has continued to decline, and as the newspapers report each day, the cost of labor has remained flat.
So how to explain a 2.9% increase in tuition? I had been hopeful that Phil would make a resounding statement and keep the cost of a Dartmouth education flat. But that happy result is not to be, even though in early November 2013, Phil made a promise about his approach to spending, as reported by The D:
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.’”
If we are to use the CPI as the base rate of inflation, if appears that Phil is making no progress. His 2.9% increase is certainly “3 to 5 percent above the rate of inflation.” But perhaps he is using a different rate of inflation, the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI), which last year grew at 3.0%? Sure, a 2.9% increase is lower than the HEPI increase (is that how Phil came up with the 2.9% figure?), but as we have commented in the past, having marginally better cost control that the sector of the economy that is renowned for its profligacy is hardly a reason to rejoice.
I hope that Phil will set his sights a little higher — or lower — next year. Dartmouth could/should lead the nation in reining in the cost of education.
Addendum: A stats-minded reader has a comment:
Your post this morning regarding the increases in tuition, etc. caused me to look at the Social Security COLA (cost of living adjustments based on the CPI-W), as compared to the Dartmouth increases for tuition, room and board.
Here are the Dartmouth “increase numbers” for the years 2009-2015:
Dartmouth Now is reporting on the Trustee’s decision about tuition in the coming academic year:
The trustees approved a 2.9 percent increase in undergraduate tuition, mandatory fees, and room and board for the 2015-16 academic year, consistent with the strategy launched last year by President Hanlon to slow the growth of the cost of a Dartmouth education.
The decision follows a budget process that prioritizes robust investment in innovation and excellence as well as support for Dartmouth’s most important academic priorities. The increase is the same as last year’s 2.9 percent increase, the lowest in nearly four decades.
“The board’s actions today reinforce our strategy to develop a budget designed to achieve Dartmouth’s aspirations as a world-class educational institution and then generate operating revenue to meet those expenses, as opposed to seeing how much revenue we can generate and then setting the expense budget accordingly,” says Hanlon.
Undergraduate tuition for the 2015-16 academic year will be $48,120, an increase of $1,357 over the current year’s tuition rate. Total tuition, room, board, and mandatory fees next year will increase to $63,744.
The tuition rates apply to all undergraduates and to students in the Dartmouth Graduate Studies programs and at Thayer School of Engineering, which offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. Tuition at the Geisel School of Medicine will increase 2.9 percent to $57,731, and tuition at the Tuck School of Business will increase 4.2 percent to $64,200.
Addendum: It is good to see that the Trustees are getting out and about:
Following a successful trustee-student dinner in November, the board has continued its practice of meeting with students to discuss ways to maintain the excellence of the classroom experience and campus life. More than 60 students joined 20 trustees on Friday for informal discussion and dinner.
What with the talk everywhere about MOOCs, one might imagine that all college learning takes place in the classroom. Wrong. One does not have to have a lot of experience at a residential college to see the importance of students living and talking and working together. Look at the U.S. News ranking of the schools where the highest percentage of students live in dorms on campus:
Phil’s new policies about dorm living are a step towards a return to the vibrant dorms that the College used to enjoy. However, he must go farther: let’s eliminate freshmen dorms and integrate students into mixed-class residences, and also give students the option of living for four years in the same building, not just in a cluster of multiple halls. Proximity breeds the opportunity for friendship and learning.
Addendum: A local alumnus from a class in the 1960’s writes in:
Here, I couldn’t agree more. Maybe the situation has changed in ways we old fogies can’t comprehend. I spent all four years in a great, central room in Topliff and never regretted it.
Addendum: A ‘15 adds an observation:
I found your mention of the correlation of undergrads living on campus to ranking interesting. I generally like the dorm living ideas you bring up, but I think that the hard alcohol policy might work against Phil’s dorm plan. In my opinion, it will drive more students (as well as nightlife) off-campus. 21 year old juniors and seniors are not going to want to be subject to probation or suspension for having hard alcohol in a dorm room when they can very legally have it in an off campus house.
Let’s not lump visiting profs with adjuncts. On occasion the College can snag stars because they want to be in New Hampshire. Also, inviting desirable profs to be visitors for a year or two is akin to offering an extended job interview. Potential senior faculty members can see if they like Hanover, and the College’s faculty can take the measure of a new colleague. I don’t know into which category visiting Government Professor Bernard Avishai fits, but his background would earn him a place at my dinner table anytime, and he has proved a very successful teacher.
Avishai’s latest prominent piece of journalism appeared last week in the New Yorker: Leonard Cohen’s Montreal. I grew up in the same world a little more than twenty years after Cohen. A person can feel old seeing the current events of one’s youth depicted as history.
Addendum: Yesterday Professor Avishai followed up with another piece in the New Yorker on Bibi Netanyahu’s speech to the Congress.
U.S. has taken to putting out teaser stories in advance of the release of their rankings. This week’s tickle lists that Top Ten B-schools in alphebtical order. We’ll find out the real ranking on March 10:
As we’ve written before, the lean, focused-on-education Tuck community should be a model for the College.