In past posts, we have noted the ostensible Asian quota in the Ivies, with all of the schools having clustered their Asian enrollments in the 14-18% range since 2003. However no such homogeneity exists as regards Jewish enrollments, according to figures in the Spring issue of Hillel Magazine:
The College does particularly poorly:
One looks in vain for a pattern here. Jewish students don’t seem to be bunched at urban schools: New Haven and Ithaca are hardly culturally vibrant metropoli; and Princeton is a quick train ride away from the Big Apple (the world’s second largest Jewish city after Tel Aviv). And while Princeton has a certified kosher dining facility, as do all of the other Ivies except Dartmouth, its percentage of Jewish students is scarcely higher than the College’s.
Are these statistics no more than legacies of long-ago discrimination? The Valley News reported yesterday on the controversy about kosher dining that we discussed last week, and in the article, Rabbi Edward Boraz, the executive director of Dartmouth College Hillel, noted that, “Strictly Orthodox Jews [at Dartmouth] could be counted on both hands.” This looks like a job for Provost Carolyn “Diversity” Dever.
We tried to hire an assistant professor a few years ago who kept kosher. Our (lack of a) kosher dining situation did not make a great first impression, and he ended up taking a different job. It’s not just smart students we are missing out on …
Addendum: One would think that if the Deanery can organize the monthly visits of a hair-cutting specialist catering to African-Americans (here and here), the College could find a way to accommodate the dietary needs of observant Jewish students, too.
The travel world is mourning the passing of Keith Bellows ‘74, until recently the editor of the National Geographic Traveler:
Keith Bellows, a visionary journalist, author, and globetrotter who was editor-in-chief of National Geographic Traveler for 17 years, died Saturday after a long illness. He was 63.
Bellows, who was named a vice president of the National Geographic Society in 2000, stepped down from the magazine last October. Under his stewardship, Traveler, which is the world’s most widely read travel magazine and has 17 international editions, won several dozen international awards, including a 2012 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism gold award for its website….
Bellows, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and was a Canadian citizen, attended schools in Scotland and four other countries. He graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College, where he studied English and environmental studies.
Payscale’s 2015/2016 report on median average salaries for college graduates is out, and the results are mixed. Joe Li at the Daily Pennsylvanian has taken the data and rendered it easily intelligible with some pretty good graphics.
Here’s how the Ivies do against each other as regards salaries in their first five years after graduation (note: alums with only bachelors degrees):
The military academies (West Point, Anapolis, the Coast Guard) top the ranks as far as starting salaries go, along with the science-based schools (MIT, Caltech). In the overall rankings, the Ivies are far down the line: Harvard (#30), Princeton (#32), Penn (#36), Yale (#37), Columbia (#38), Cornell (#39), Brown (#56) and Dartmouth (#64). Of course, the number of Ivy grads who start work immediately — as opposed to going to professional or grad school — is limited; if one takes into account all alumni (including those with professional degrees, etc.), the College jumps to 33rd position.
In mid-career money (10+ years of experience), the College catches up from its last-place-in-the-Ivies standing (again, bachelors degree-holders only), moving into fourth place:
Overall the Ivies do better as the liberal arts cream rises substantially with time, though the tech schools still dominate: Harvard (#3), Princeton (#8), Penn (#10), Dartmouth (#26), Cornell (#32), Brown (#35), Yale (#46), Columbia (#46). Curiously enough, we are only in the 33rd slot when all alumni are counted (not just those with only bachelors degrees).
Among Ivy alumni who say that “their work makes the world a better place,” the College’s alumni appear to be the unhappiest bunch in the Ivies by quite a ways:
I wonder why our alumni score poorly by this metric. That said, none of the Ivies is anywhere near the top of the heap in the “workplace meaning” rankings.
Keep in mind that all of the above charts reflect median averages: half of a school’s graduates do better than the median and half do worse. Just how much better or worse is anyone’s guess. You can be sure that there are only a few multi-million dollar incomes in mid-career among West Point’s alumni (among talented officers who decided that they preferred the private sector to being shot at, I guess), but how about among alums from the Ivies or a place like Stanford? In our entrepreneurial, high-tech world, I expect that the Top 20 schools produce a good many Top 1% graduates.
What Payscale should really do for us is show the distribution of incomes: what percent of alumni are in various income quintiles, for example, say <$50k, $50k-$100k, $100k-$150k, $150k-$200k, >$200k, or perhaps even use a finer gradation if the company has enough data (not a sure thing). Given the broad range of abilities these days among students at many of the schools in question, a single median average or a mean average figure hides as much information as it reveals.
Ah, the lives that they led, these Dartmouth alumni from the Greatest Generation. On February 4, 1943, Ed McMillan ‘41 found himself plummeting down over the North African desert after his B-17 Flying Fortress had been destroyed on his first mission by German flak and a Focke-Wulf 190 fighter. Before he pulled the ripcord, he promised God that if he made it out of the war alive, he would devote himself to “being of help to other people.” He then spent more that two years at the POW camp near Berlin from which Great Escape was launched. He received a Presidential Citation for his support of escape activities there.
After VE-Day, Ed returned by ship to New York on May 29, 1945. His fiancé Betty Thomas, an officer in the Women’s Army Corps, arranged for him to be the first liberated prisoner off the boat. A picture of their embrace made the cover of the New York Herald Tribune, and they were married nine days later.
In 1946, Ed was hired by founder Charles Merrill of Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith (think of the bull), a stock brokerage that at that time focused on individual investors. Twenty years later, eight years after Ed had become the firm’s youngest General Partner, he transformed Merrill Lynch by spearheading its move to work with institutional investors as they began to invest in stocks (institutions had previously focused on bonds and mortgages).
As he had promised himself during the war, in 1970 Ed retired early from Wall Street. He was only 50. He then earned an MBA from Boston University, and for the next 18 years he taught business to mostly under-privileged students at Bunker Hill Community College, and he worked with many charitable organizations.
As an alumnus, Ed was the President of his Class, served on the Alumni Council, was President of the Class Presidents Association, and he co-founded the College’s “Is There Life After Dartmouth” career training program. He received the Alumni Award in 1979.
Ed passed away on April 12, 2015 at age 95, three months and a week after Betty’s death on January 5, 2015. She was 92. They had been married for nearly 70 years.
Addendum: Ed had been a great believer in the YMCA since the Swedish Y brought books, sports equipment and musical instruments to his POW camp. Several years ago he made a large donation to his local YMCA. In this engaging video he describes some of the salient moments of his life and the role of the Y in it:
How I long for the day when I’ll be able to report on interesting innovations in education at the College, as I get to do about any number of aspects of Tuck (and, no, Phil, changing to a house system that copies Harvard and Yale does not count). The folks at the end of the Mall are on a roll, and as the education there gets better, so do the students and their feeling about the school — and their off-the-charts, post-graduation giving rates. A virtuous circle.
Poets & Quants has a write-up of incoming Tuckies’ annual, before-their-first-year-begins trip to Silicon Valley:
The Tuck School has put a new twist on the Silicon Valley pilgrimage, starting a Technology Boot Camp for its MBA students — before they even begin school. Earlier this month, the 37 incoming MBA candidates arrived in the the Bay Area for the second annual Tuck boot camp. Last year, the new Tuckies visited Google, Open Table, Zillow, Electronic Arts, and a small startup called Boost Media. This year, they got inside Google, Facebook, and startups in energy-tech, weather-tech, and lending-tech.
So, why bring MBA candidates on a career-development trip before classes even start? Mathias Machado, Tuck’s associate director of career services and a 2009 Tuck MBA, created the program after accompanying Tuck MBA candidates on one of the school’s Global Insight Expeditions, to Israel. “I came out of that and I said, ‘That’s pretty cool - if we can do something like that for different industries that people would be interested in, that would be cool.’”
As Silicon Valley draws more MBA’s, Tuck has nimbly responded to the changing climate. Methinks that Tuck might have been inspired by the College’s Freshman Trips — a Dartmouth innovation that used to be written up as something that set the College apart from other schools. It still does, but what will be the follow-up act?
Waiting for the dog days of August and the quiet end of the summer quarter, the administration has announced that Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Maria Laskaris ‘84 will leave the Dean’s post to become, uh, Special Assistant to the Provost for Arts and Innovation. She worked in the Admissions department from 1987, mostly under controversial “King Karl” Furstenberg, until she became Dean in 2007. Here is the note that she sent to alumni representatives:
I write to share news of a professional transition. Beginning in September, I will begin a new chapter in my career at Dartmouth working closely with the Provost as special assistant to the provost for arts and innovation. I am very excited about this new opportunity to work closely with Provost Dever and campus leaders on strategic planning and communication efforts that highlight the College’s broad-based vision for arts and innovation. The arts, in particular, played a central role in my time as a Dartmouth student, from my four-year work study job in the costume shop to performing with the Dartmouth Glee Club and serving as the group’s business manager for two years, and studying and performing with the Hopkins Center Youth Ballet (the precursor to the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble). As a member of the College and Upper Valley community, I have been a passionate and active volunteer and advocate for the arts.
It has been an extraordinary privilege to serve the College as dean of admissions and financial aid since 2007 and to count you among the many wonderful colleagues who give so generously of your time to volunteer with us as we seek to bring to Dartmouth students who embody our highest aspirations for and whose talents and potential both enrich and inspire us.
Director of admissions Paul Sunde will assume the role of interim dean of admissions and financial aid, effective September 1. Paul brings a deep knowledge of the substance of our work and an exceptional commitment to the values that guide our work. I know that he will provide strong leadership over the course of this next year to ensure that the important work of the office continues uninterrupted.
Thank you for your support of the office and our work. I know that Paul and the entire McNutt team looks forward to your continued partnership.
A graduate from the Class of 1984, Maria is in her early 50’s, so we can assume that she did not freely make the choice to move from being Dean of Admissions to becoming a Special Assistant. And we might even assume that she looked for an equivalent job at another college and was not successful in her job search (it must be tough out there for people from the school that gave the world Jim Kim and Carol Folt, not to mention a string of other administrators on a downward trajectory).
Laskaris’ unremarkable eight-year term as Dean — in the sense of showing no real innovation — illustrates the peril of hiring longterm assistants for a top job. Jim Wright loved to play it safe in that way, and Provost Carolyn Dever is showing similar tendencies (here’s looking at you Inge-Lise).
All that said, we are left with the question of just who is going to replace Maria. Let’s hope that Phil chooses someone creative, original and energetic. Let’s also hope that Phil provides Maria’s replacement with a better, scandal-free product with which to entice future applicants.
Addendum: Over the past few years the Admissions department has been marked by weak public writing (here, here and here) and sloppy stats.
Addendum: A business-savvy alumnus writes in:
Do you think she took a salary reduction…and is this a new position or a replacement of a current salary/expense? No respect for tuition payers.
The quality of the College’s kosher dining facility has come around again on the guitar. You see, we supposedly have a kosher area in FoCo called The Pavilion, but it isn’t really all that kosher. Jared Westheim ‘08 complained about the sloppy practices there in an article in the now-defunct Dartmouth Independent in 2005, and I wrote a post about the problem in 2012. Here’s an excerpt from that piece:
The Pavilion started off well enough in 2001, with kosher products being supplied by a leading Massachusetts purveyor and the kitchen supervised by well regarded Orthodox Rabbi Halbfinger of the Vaad Harabonim of New England. At the time, the facility was certified Glatt kosher, the highest standard of ritual cleanliness. But, as is often the case at the College, a round of budget cuts — the same one in 2002 that almost led to the demise of the swim team — saw a change of supplier and supervisor, with low-cost Rabbi Saffra of Tablet K contracting with the College. Saffra’s reputation for a lack of rigor is compounded by the infrequency of his visits to Hanover.
As a result of poor practices and oversight in the Pavilion, a good many Conservative and Orthodox Jewish students won’t apply to the College. In fact, Dartmouth (along with Princeton) does not even make the list of the 2013 Top  Schools Jews Choose; all of the other Ivies are there. And according to the Heart2Heart website, the College is the only Ivy not to offer Glatt kosher meals.
The administration has known about the problem for many years, as one of Dartblog’s Baker Tower Irregulars reports:
During the Spring of 2013, amid concerns from within the Office of Admissions regarding the low number of applicants from Jewish day schools, the College invited about 20 college guidance counselors from Jewish day schools to visit the campus and learn about Jewish life. The visit included a panel of Jewish students fielding questions from the guidance counselors, discussing some of the struggles of being an observant Jew at Dartmouth. I spoke on that panel, and when I mentioned the small size of the Jewish community at Dartmouth, several of the guidance counselors explained that parents are unwilling to let their children apply to, let alone attend, Dartmouth, due to its lack of properly supervised kosher food.
Folks, we are getting deep into core values here. A large cohort of the highest quality students won’t apply to the College because we can’t get our act together and provide them dining facilities that meet their religious concerns. Why is that? Cameron Isen ‘18, Mayer Schein ‘16, Eliza Ezrapour ‘18, and Matthew Goldstein ‘18 are working with the administration to improve kosher dining. Here is Cameron’s comment on the current state of negotiations:
We have explicitly asked administrators on several occasions why Dartmouth is unwilling to change the certification. They have not directly addressed the question; however [President Hanlon’s Chief of Staff] Laura Hercod has stated in email, “It’s Dartmouth’s understanding that we are providing foods that comply with kosher laws.” As I have mentioned, we have on several occasions explained to David Newlove, Lisa Hogarty, and Hercod that mainstream Conservative and Orthodox Judaism doesn’t hold Tablet K as a reliable hechsher, since it relies on supervisory leniencies that are not commonly accepted by a significant portion of kosher observant Jews. The most prominent of these leniencies is Tablet K’s apparent belief that proper daily oversight by a sabbath-observant mashgiach in a meat kitchen is not fundamentally crucial to the integrity of the food.
As a remedy Dartmouth has offered us “triple-wrapped” frozen kosher meals with the Orthodox Union certification, which seems to imply that they understand the quality of supervision that we are seeking. However, according to DDS’ own nutritionist, these meals are generally high in sodium and total fat, and they are not sufficient for a college student’s diet without other dietary supplementation (which we have not been offered).
We do understand that Orthodox Jewish students are small in number at Dartmouth (mainly, because they can’t eat here), but we are hoping to show the school through our petition on change.org that the Dartmouth community — and people outside of Dartmouth — value the Jewish students who wish to observe the laws of kashrus. We still hope to see a positive resolution. The petition has received 467 signatures so far.
There you have it. A group of concerned students is once again mounting a charge to get the College to change its ways. They are not asking for something new or unfeasible; they only want kosher dining to return to the level of observance that existed when it was introduced to the College in 2001. Here is a link to their on-line petition:
Is there no money in all of Dartmouth to pay for an appropriate level of dining for Conservative and Orthodox Jews (and Muslim students, too)?
Brown Dining offers two Kosher/Halal meal plan options for observant Jewish and Muslim students. The Kosher/Halal Flex 20 plan combines the best features or our weekly and Flex plans. It provides 14 meals per week and a block of flex meals. The Kosher/Halal 14 plan provides 14 meals per week without the flex meals.
There is a section of the Ratty designated for Kosher and Halal meal service so that students can adhere to dietary laws while dining with friends in the Ratty. Additionally, you’ll enjoy all the benefits of Weekly meal plan participation, including meal credits, guest meals and FlexPlus Points.
Chef Daren Bulley at Divine Providence Kosher Catering supplies complete Glatt Kosher luncheons and dinners Sunday through Friday lunch. Our food reflects our commitment to exceptional quality with an emphasis on sustainable foods. Kosher vegetarian items are provided. All meals are prepared under the supervision of the Vaad HaKashruth of Rhode Island with a mashgiach tmidi present at all times. Sabbath and holiday meals are served at Brown Hillel.
It would seem to this observer that the College should be able to find a way to offer its students the same kosher dining options as Brown and all the other Ivies provides to their undergrads.
Addendum: A professor writes in:
In addition to providing less-than-satisfactory kosher dining, Dartmouth is holding required Freshman advising on the first day of Rosh Hoshana. The work-around for observant Jews is to get advising the Saturday before. I’m not kidding. The message, intentional or not, is clear!
Addendum: An an alumnus adds a comment:
I have raised this issue at Dartmouth several times over the years. Although I do not keep kosher, I have pointed out to the College that the current certification is such that Conservative and Orthodox Jews who keep kosher are not comfortable dining there. Most recently I had a conversation with Maria Laskaris, who is aware of the problem with respect to applicants but cannot seem to address it.
To me, the fundamental issue is one of integrity: Dartmouth is holding itself out as providing something it does not, in fact, provide. All of the other Ivies, and most of our peers such as Duke, provide recognized kosher dining that meets the standards of kosher observance. I, too, have been told, “it’s good enough for Dartmouth; the food itself is kosher,” That misses the point. Kosher is like being pregnant, you either are or you are not.
I applaud the students who have initiated this dialogue with the administration, and I do not understand why the administration is not willing to correct the Pavilion’s deficiencies by providing real supervision, especially since the College is being misleading and deceptive, in my view, with regards to its claims as to the availability of kosher dining.
Every year researchers at Shanghai’s Jiao Tong University produce the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). In 2015, as always, most of the the Ivies have done well:
Brown doesn’t make the Top 20 list; it is ranked in 75th position this year. And the College? It now figures in the 201-300 category, along with Florida State, Louisiana State, Northeastern, and other similar schools.
Of greater concern is that we have been slipping over time in this index. From 2003-2009 we were ranked 102-150; then from 2010-2013 we dropped to the 151-200 level; since 2014 we have been in the lowly 201-300 area.
Addendum: Information on the methodology behind the research-oriented ARWU can be found here.
Gabrielle O’Donoghue’s May 15 piece in The D about Dartmouth Dining Services starts well:
There are few things on this campus that incite more animosity and complaints than Dartmouth Dining Services. As many of us already know, good ol’ DDS is ripping us off — and not just a penny here and a penny there. DDS makes millions in yearly profits, as recorded in auxiliary income reports and by DDS director David Newlove’s unfortunate LinkedIn profile.
Then O’Oonoghue shows herself to be a cut above the paper’s usual reporters because she did real research into DDS’s pricing:
At the West Lebanon Walmart, a Chobani Greek yogurt costs just one dollar, compared to three dollars at the East Wheelock Snack Bar. Being the bargain hunter I am, I compared food prices for 10 common items including a quart of milk, Vitaminwater, Lean Cuisine, Stouffer’s, strawberries and a few others on campus to those at the local Walmart. The results are nauseating. On average, those 10 items are almost three times more expensive to purchase on campus than off.
However, O’Donoghue did not go far enough and put DDS’s pricing policies into the proper perspective. You see, there are fairly standard profit margins applied in the food service business. At my Upper Valley health club, we have a small snack bar at the front desk. We sell a range of snack items over the counter at a profit margin of 50%: that is, we sell them at about double what we pay for them, the standard markup for over-the-counter food service. At a typical Hanover restaurant, one with waiters, table cloths and table service, the cost of food is typically one third the total cost of a menu item; the rest covers overheads and some profit for the owner. Thus a sit-down restaurant sells food at triple its cost, as it should, given the cost of cooking, serving, and maintaining an elegant premises in comparison to a snack bar.
So how is it, as Gabrielle reported, that DDS can get away with selling items at triple the cost of the same items at Walmart — the latter is certainly selling at a price higher than DDS pays for the same goods from a local wholesale supplier? Obviously DDS’ margin of profit is greater than that of a pretty restaurant, one with table service. There is only one answer, and Gabrielle provided it: “good ol’ DDS is ripping us off.”
Of course, if the exaggerated profit margins were going to the College’s general fund, we might consider the transaction a wash. But you and I (and DDS’ overpaid staff) know that this is not the case. Besides, with half of the College’s students receiving financial aid, do we really want to gouge them when they buy yogurt?
Addendum: DDS is but microcosm of the College (and increasingly the world): an overpaid, inefficient bureaucracy serving a very poor product at high prices — and thereby limiting the good things that an institution (and a country) can do. Rather than providing efficient service, the administration’s real concern in running DDS is protecting fat compensation packages, a aspiration that this 1982 FedEx ad (somewhat) laughingly parodies:
Depending on who you talk to, Anthony Princiotti, the director of the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra and a violin instructor at the College for 23 years (and conductor of the the New Hampshire Philharmonic from 2000-2012), was either dismissed (according to rumors) or he has “decided to leave Dartmouth to pursue other opportunities and devote more time to his other conducting, performing, and teaching engagements” (according to an e-mail received from Director of Student Performance Groups Joshua Kol by members of the orchestra).
How to figure out what is going on? First off, the timing is curious; longtime people like Princiotti don’t retire/resign/whatever of their own volition immediately before the start of the music season at the College. And after 23 years, if the departure was voluntary, why did it not occur when students were in town, and an appropriate sendoff could be organized? These points are made in a Petition for Reinstatement that has now garnered hundred of signatures.
At the same time, if Princiotti was dismissed, the College is enjoined by the laws of employee privacy from saying anything about its decision. As Steve Nelson, head of the Calhoun School in Manhattan and the Valley News’ resident, self-admitted bleeding heart, recently wrote:
In personnel matters there is always an imbalance. Aggrieved employees are free to talk about, characterize or mischaracterize the circumstances of their termination with relative impunity, short of outright slander. Employers are constrained from providing any details, not because of arrogance or a climate of secrecy, but because potentially catastrophic legal consequences may result.
So we are left in a situation where it is hard to know just what occurred with Maestro Princiotto. It is well possible that he was fired for a specific cause that had nothing to do with the teaching and conducting that has made him popular with many students. Or perhaps he was fired capriciously. Frankly, I doubt the latter is the explanation. The College never fires anyone, if it can help it; the administration just brings in support for the underachieving person. That policy is one reason why the number of administrators grows each year.
The present affair is not unlike the recent controversial departures of Hood Director Michael Taylor and DEN Director Gregg Fairbrothers. We’ll never know what really happened behind the scenes in any of these matters. Only Taylor, Fairbrothers, Princiotti and the administration know, and they aren’t saying a thing.
Addendum: The Valley News had a story about Princiotti’s departure on Saturday, and The D reported on the controversy on August 14.
Norman McLean ‘24’s closing line in A River Runs Through it could well have a more literal meaning. In the Maruia River in New Zealand, we “sight fish”: walking miles of river staring ardently into what Kiwis call gin-clear water, looking for the dark black line of a feeding fish pointing into the current, gazing hard to see the flick of a tail or the unexpected motion of a trout taking a nymph or rising for an insect. Such endless staring — and I mean real concentration — seems to cut a pathway in the brain, a reflex to look intently into water wherever it may be. I even find myself doing so at our favorite Upper Valley swimming hole, which in our experience has never had a fish in it bigger than a minnow:
Fish or not, the emerald color of the Norwich stream’s water, derived from the reflection of its overhanging trees, is a joy in itself.
He then attended Dartmouth College, where he served as editor-in-chief of the humor magazine the Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern; the editor-in-chief to follow him was Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. He was also a member of the Sphinx and Beta Theta Pi. He received his Bachelor of Arts in 1924, and chose to remain in Hanover, New Hampshire, and serve as an instructor until 1926—a time he recalled in “This Quarter I Am Taking McKeon: A Few Remarks on the Art of Teaching.”
After serving as a flying instructor Stateside following graduation, Dick Pace ‘41 flew Navy F6F-5 Hellcats over Saipan in 1945. Last month, at age 96, he was the first purchaser in Pensacola, Florida of the new 4th generation Mazda Miata:
You can take the boy out of the fighter, but you can’t take the fighter out of the boy.
Addendum: It is great fun coming across stories of spritzy Dartmouth alums from the WWII era. What lives they are living.
Full Disclosure: I enjoy my red, 1st generation Miata. It has been going strong since the day I bought it as a new car for $14,999 in 1991. I can see owning it for another 40 years — at which point I hope to be the first purchaser of the new 10th generation Miata.
Is this the kind of plea for money that the Dartmouth College Fund should make to a group of intelligent men and women, many of whom graduated decades ago? First the fundraisers accept that their activity is little more than hectoring, and then they enumerate what alumni should see as the value of their Dartmouth education and the continuing success of the College. No high-minded paeans to the liberal arts here, thank you. Nothing about the joy of learning or improving the world. Nope.
Just a description of the fundraisers’ own pinched definitions of a most-narrow self-interest: if the College’s reputation improves, alums’ resumés will look better. How vulgar. And a coda about today’s students and about paying back.
Talk about not appealing to the better angels of our nature. I can assure you that most alumni have a more exalted sense of the College’s virtues than the shallow pitch above. These fundraisers — where did they go to school? — should recall that back in the day we were inculcated with a respect for the nobility of the liberal arts and an admiration for learning for its own sake. We aren’t scrambling about trying to be hired by other people.
Is this kind of thing the best work that the Development office can do?
Addendum: Here is yet another example of the College doing less with more: lots of overpaid staffers with fat benefits, and nobody with a sense of the higher values that animate Dartmouth’s alumni.
I admit that you can’t draw a line through one data point on a graph, but still, when news reports like the below come across the transom, you have to wonder what’s going on in the Admissions department:
We’ve already documented the games that Admissions has played with the number of legacies, private school kids and early decision admits, and how the College aggressively uses the waitlist to beef up our yield figures, but its harder to pin down whether we’ve stooped to being victims of the Tufts Syndrome: refusing admission to students whom we fear will be accepted at more attractive schools in favor of kids who will be drawn to the College because it is the best school to which they will be admitted. But when a high school student reports being accepted to the College, along with UCSD, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, RPI, University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, and Arizona State University, but then says, “Even though I did have choices I felt like the ones that I truly wanted, I didn’t get into or they were not within my reach,” you have wonder what the heck is going on in McNutt.
I often ask students why they came to the College, and to what other schools they were admitted. It’s rarer these days to hear them respond with the names of other Ivy schools. The rot deepens.
Addendum: For the record, I chose to study in Hanover rather than in New Haven.
As we have reported regarding the Black Arts Center, the College’s string of weak Presidents chose poor designs for almost all the recent major construction projects on campus, and then they allowed them to be built poorly, too. A case in point is the superfluous colonnade in the Carson Hall section of the municipal-prison-aesthetic Berry Library. Does it serve a function? Is it beautiful? Not for nothing was Robert Venturi’s mediocre project never reviewed by any major architectural design magazine:
Only thirteen years after the completion of Carson, the colonnade is falling apart. The College is currently spending $190,000 to have the leaky, corroded structure re-built, re-pointed, re-sealed, patched and capped. Let’s hope that this repair lasts longer than the original construction:
Lest this space be accused of negativity, the new head of Faculties, Operation and Management, Lisa Hogarty, has been a fine choice, and she is sorting out years of poor appointments in her area. She certainly has a backlog of nonsense to deal with, but we can hope that in the future the College will not be burdened with disastrous construction projects like the Hanover Inn fiasco.
Over at Dartmo.com Scott Meacham ‘95 speculates as to the distribution of dorm buildings in Phil’s new house system. (Note: Michael Wooten, the Senior Assistant Dean of Residential Life, has informed me that the final disposition of individual dormitories in the houses will be announced this fall):
The house system is hardly original — we are doing little more than copying Harvard and Yale — but to make it work, the College should implement the idea with an eye to students’ lived experience. For one thing, students will never develop real friendships with all of the 700 or or so people in a house. Herewith a few thoughts:
1. Freshmen trips should be coordinated with the Office of Residential Life so that trippees either room together or are assigned rooms in the same hallway during freshman year. No need to scatter trippees all over campus, as is presently done.
2. The residents of freshman hallways should be assigned to live in the same building (or better yet, on the same floor) of the dorm in the house to which they move at the start of sophomore year. No need to scatter newfound friends all over campus, as is presently done.
3. When students return to campus after an off-campus term, they should have the option of returning to the same dormitory building in their house, not just to one of the several dorms that make up their house. No need to scatter them all over a multi-building section of campus.
Giving students the option of maintaining physical proximity with their friends throughout their four years in Hanover will help create the bonds that distinguish a residential system of education. This principle should animate everything that ORL does.
As I have written, I lived in North Fayerweather for all four years during my time at the College. The dorm was the center of my community of friends. I had made a good start on friendships on my freshman trip, but when my new pals were sent to the Lodge, the Choates, Topliff and the River Cluster, it became hard to keep up with them. Lesson learned, right?
The Moving Dartmouth Forward report contained the following weighty observation:
In conversations with students, many identified their sophomore year as the loneliest period of their Dartmouth experience.
That statement is a sad commentary of ORL’s lack of understanding of the dynamics of residential social life. If ORL keeps friends together, friendships will endure — probably forever. And, if friends stay together, lo and behold, students might not be as tempted to wander over to Webster Avenue.
I’ve often wondered how it was that the University of North Carolina hired Carol Folt to be its Chancellor — seemingly without talking to anyone at the College. Had they done so, they would have gotten an earful.
But there is a larger issue. Just how many Dartmouth faculty members would have supported Carol’s candidacy? I can offer up one name: our current Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives and Professor of Sociology Denise Anthony. She is not only highly placed in the current administration, but she carried water for Folt in chairing the committee that produced Folt’s now-completely-forgotten Strategic Plan Initiative. Here is what Anthony had to say about Folt and the SPI in an extensive profile of Folt that was published in Synapse by journalist Liz Crampton in November 2013:
Let’s be careful in our analysis here. Anthony is not saying that the SPI was a brilliant blueprint for Dartmouth’s future or any such comment about the quality of the document. In fact, she doesn’t even say that it was well written. All she evinces is that in supervising Anthony’s work, Carol was supposedly a stickler for output of the highest quality.
That’s all well and good and accurate as far as the it goes, but the impression one takes away from Anthony’s politic remarks is that Carol does good work, or at least did so in the case of the SPI. Such an impression seems to be the very aim of Anthony’s remark. Yet, as we have seen in detail, the reality was that the SPI was an ill-written, poorly thought-out mess. When the document was issued, we noted the below about the quality of much of the writing in it:
So what was Anthony doing in making her comment? Currying favor with Carol, I would say, and good-girlishly trying to fit into the narrative provided by the journalist writing the story. Anything except telling the unvarnished truth.
My general life rule is that truth-telling is a threshold test for a person. Comments like Anthony’s remark above, subtle though they may be, exclude people from any further consideration of their merits. Nonsense (or should we call it claptrap, humbug, eyewash, or just straight-out bullshit) is fairly widespread among people such as Folt, Jim Kim, Jim Wright and others. When Folt cancelled the DEP writing program at the College that I had created and funded for nine years, I was treated to a full dose. And when Jim Kim used the adjective “literary” to describe the Opportunity for Leadership statement written by the committee that picked him to be President, he could not possibly have been intending to fairly describe the miserable document. Of course, Jim Wright just went on and on. But hey, how important is truth when something other than it can further one’s endless personal ambition?
You don’t hear much in Hanover these days about Jonathan Nossiter ‘84. Other than an oblique reference to him last year by an alumna who worked with him, the last entry on the College’s website is 18 years old. Yet the Phi Beta Kappa Classics major is making a name for himself in the worlds of film and wine, sometimes both at the same time.
Nossiter’s movie Mondovino — a celebration of wine producers who practice traditional viticulture, and an excoriation of industrial winemaking — was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival when it came out in 2004:
I like to think that Nossiter’s 2009 book, Liquid Memories, Why Wine Matters, was dictated in one long walk. Its writing flows freely — as if a friendly uncle who tells great stories about friends and wine decided to let you in on a subject that is of great importance to him. Wine, according to Nossiter, and I don’t think he is wrong, is an indispensable accompaniment to a life well lived and a subject worthy of thoughtful reflection. To quote Thomas Jefferson, “Good wine is a necessity of life for me.”
Nossiter also describes the making of Mondvino in the book, his search for mediagenic, articulate winemakers, and the ups and downs of creative entrepreneurship in the film word. His gracious style goes down as easily as a goulayant red Burgundy.
Only one quibble: as it turns out, I’ve been to tastings with almost all of the winemakers that Nossiter celebrates — Christophe Roumier, Dominique Lafon, Jean-Marie Raveneau, Aubert De Villaine, and Anselme Selosse, among many others. Nossiter’s book well captures the artist’s spirit that animates people who not only have to have a soulful sensitivity about what they do, but also have to turn out many thousands of perfect bottles each year. As Steve Jobs liked to say, “Artists ship.” But while Nossiter spares no ink in deriding the taste (or lack thereof) and power of critics like Robert Parker, he fails to note that the winemakers and the wines that he himself holds in high esteem are also Parker favorites, seemingly without exception. One might almost think that Nossiter came to many of these wines because Parker lauded them so fulsomely — I don’t think that he praises even one wine that has not been generously scored by Robert Parker.
In addition, the free-market capitalism that Nossiter often derides in a clunky post-modern style (everything relates to “power” in one way or another) has led to the increasingly generalized distribution throughout America of the artisanal wines that he admires. Sure the big international wineries push a style that Parker might call a “fruit bomb,” but small importers of traditionally made wines have pushed back in the confidence that consumers are not all pawns of corporate marketing departments. These entrepreneurs understand the world better than Nossiter.
Addendum: Nossiter’s latest wine-focused film, Natural Resistance, applauds families who produce natural wines and live equally naturally:
Addendum: Nossiter seems to have an alumnus’ loyalty to the College, too. At one point in Liquid Memory, he describes France’s Ecole Nomale as “a kind of Harvard-Yale-Princeton-Dartmouth,” and on several occasions he quotes by name and title his Dartmouth Classics professor, Ed Bradley, regarding the destruction of cultures.
I expect that the powers at the College hesitated slightly in picking a Dartmouth insider to replace Paul Danos as the Dean of the Tuck School — the reasoning being that perhaps an outsider would bring fresh thinking to the school — but Matt Slaughter’s performance to date has dispelled all doubts. The guy is the real deal: whipsmart, articulate, well prepared, and above all, an original mind. In an hour-long lecture followed by an hour of Q&A on July 22 at the summer’s OSHER/ILLEAD event (a series of lectures on The Future of American Power and Influence), he had intellectual star power.
My favorite response during Slaughter’s presentation was his comment on global warming. He said that while the scientific jury might be out on the reality of the threat, any time that humanity faces an existential challenge, we would do well to take the subject seriously. He likened his position to his choice to take fire insurance on his home. He wasn’t expecting a fire, but the consequences of one were so severe that preparation was in order nonetheless.
Slaughter is a top-flight scholar. He has published 28 articles that have been cited over one hundred times by other economists in their own work; five of those articles have been cited over five hundred times.
In keeping with our oft-stated theme that the College’s best researchers are more often than not our best teachers, Slaughter received John M. Manley Huntington Teaching Award for undergraduate teaching in 2001, and in 2012 he received Tuck’s Class of 2011 Teaching Excellence Award.
When Phil decides to depart the Hanover Plain, Slaughter will be in his mid-50’s. Dartmouth’s next President?
Addendum: The above portrait of Slaughter comes from the OSHER catalog; it is more flattering that the one that the College’s website recently chose to display (below left). The latter image makes Matt look a lot like Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman.
The Hanover Police departments notes that Corey Best was reported missing from Merry Meadows in Hanover NH at 10:45PM last night. During the initial investigation it was revealed that Ms. Best was last seen at roughly 4:30PM yesterday afternoon in Hanover. Ms. Best suffers from mental illness with no known history of violent behavior. She was last seen wearing a black shirt with floral print and khaki capris. If anyone observes Ms. Best please contact the local police immediately. Ms. Best does not have a cellular phone or ATM/credit card. For more information please call the Hanover Police Department at 603.643.2222.
Update: The Hanover Police department now reports that Corey Best was located at a nearby social services organization in Vermont. She has safely returned to Hanover and appears to be unharmed.
BREAKING: No Hanover Police Charges for Alpha Delta Branding
After an investigation by the Town of Hanover Police department, Chief Charlie Dennis has announced that Alpha Delta fraternity will not be charged with any type of infraction for the branding of some of its brothers. In addition, following a review of the investigatory record, the Grafton County Attorney’s Office has concluded that there is not enough evidence to move forward with the case. Chief Dennis told me that his investigators had specifically analyzed whether the fraternity had broken state laws against student hazing and reckless conduct (“placing another person in danger”). No improper behavior was found in these areas, and the Hanover Police also looked to see if there was a violation of the New Hampshire body art licensing law; that statute was found to relate to tattooing rather than to any form of branding.
The investigators learned that eleven brothers in AD’s thirty-five-member incoming class had volunteered to be branded. Given that over two thirds of the class refused branding, any finding of the coercion element of a hazing charge was out of the question, according to Chief Dennis.
A hot iron with dimensions of approximately 8” by 4” was employed (rather than a specialized electric branding tool), and the one brand that the police learned about was in the upper thigh/hip area of a brother.
Very few members of AD agreed to cooperate with the police investigation. Most students or their attorneys cited the College’s ongoing investigation as an impediment to any testimony.
As we anticipated yesterday, this formal finding leaves Dean Ameer looking more than foolish. One might take personal issue with the branding of fraternity brothers — just as one might express a certain emotional reluctance regarding tattooing or body piercing — but Dean Ameer’s use of the branding of a limited number of brothers as a justification for derecognizing the house comes across as a pretext rather than a serious exercise of the College’s authority. I would not be surprised if the next act in this drama takes place in a State of New Hampshire courtroom.
Erratum: The original draft of this post referred to “pledges” at AD. Due to a change of its policies, the fraternity no longer has pledges. Members of the incoming class are brothers, with all the rights and privileges of brothers, as soon as they join the fraternity.
The day could come when undergrads are regularly branded at Upper Valley salons, and people will laugh at the fact that style leader Alpha Delta was de-recognized for doing something this is widely regarded as fashionable. The Independent in the UK reports on cosmetic branding:
AD’s motion for a re-hearing was recently denied by the Hanover Zoning Board of Adjustment, a decision that forces the brothers to vacate their house. Their next step would be to take the Town of Hanover to state court in the hopes that their right of residency based on their grandfathered use of the house would be granted.
In the meantime, the Town of Hanover Police and the Grafton County Prosecutor still have not announced their final determination on the legality of the branding of some brothers at AD. Dean Ameer could find herself in an embarrassing spot if the police determine that the brothers did not engage in hazing — the College employs the same definition of hazing as the State of NH, though the College student handbook states that the administration can define hazing more broadly if it wishes.
Funny enough, the New York Times also reported last week on the1930’s Dartmouth prank, and USA Today recounted the same incident.
Here is the contemporaneous Alumni Magazine story on the event:
Addendum: The trend towards the casual seems to be an international one: most three-star restaurants in Paris no longer insist on a jacket and tie, and it is now not uncommon to see middle-aged Frenchmen in baggy jeans at Taillevent. Dommage. Fortunately, Lasserre has not let the old traditions fail: a jacket and tie are still required of male patrons. To my mind, a restaurant’s guests are part of the ambiance; they should meet the standard set by the décor and the cuisine.
The Valley News is reporting that Democratic Debates Will Skip Dartmouth in this year’s primary season, and later on in the piece reporter John Gregg notes that the Republican Party does not have the College on its schedule either. The Democrats’ reasoning:
DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a news release that the schedule “reflects the Democratic Party’s diversity and values.”
Perhaps the key word in this quote is “values,” but Gregg is too gentile to note that the outrageous behavior of a few students during Texas Governor Rick Perry’s Hanover visit on November 10 last year could well have caused the political parties to steer clear of the College. As we described at the time, a small number of students posed outrageous questions of Perry concerning anal sex. Here is their prep sheet:
Governor Perry’s confrontation at Dartmouth was widely reported in the press.
This space is all in favor of free speech, but the powers that be (Phil Hanlon, Mike Mastanduno, Carolyn Dever, I’m thinking of all of you) at the College should certainly have used their own bully pulpit to apologize to Governor Perry and to chastise the students for their inexcusable rudeness. Dartmouth is still paying the price in reputation for these undergraduates’ uncouth behavior.
Addendum: Despite the recommendation at the end of the prep sheet, nobody in the student group decided to “Go in for the kiss!”
Under the title at the bottom of Marcel Duchamp’s sketch, “Strike at the PTT” [Post, Telephone, Telegraph], the caption reads, “— So you didn’t get my pneu…. then? —”:
Duchamp’s lovely drawing refers to the ambiguous relationship between the two tech-savvy characters (ca. 1909) and also to Paris’ Pneumatique mail delivery service, the fastest way to send correspondence up until the arrival of fax machines. Underground high-pressure lines (think of the air-powered tubes that are used today at drive-through bank tellers) covered Paris better than the metro (in the 1930’s at the service’s peak there were 240 miles of Pneumatique tubes, mostly in the sewers, vs. 213 miles of metro today), and they shot their torpedo-like carriers across the city far more quickly than any express rider could travel. Delivery was guaranteed between any two points in Paris within two hours:
As recently at the mid-1970’s, the Pneumatique system carried millions of pieces of urgent mail, but on March 30, 1984, after 117 years of operation (the first line entered service in 1867), the network was shut down for good — a sad ending for a technology that had been immortalized in François Truffaut’s 1968 film Baisers Volés (Stolen Kisses):
The technology that killed the Pneu, the fax machine — remember them? — lasted barely 25 year. I well recall the amazement of receiving my first fax; we used to watch in wonder as letters emerged on thermal paper from our bulky machine (my first one cost $1,200 in 1987). Today faxes seem as quaint as Pneumatique-born letters. What will be the half-life of e-mail?
The DRFC — a club, not a varsity team, thank you — has won the Ivy League Championship for the last seven years in a row, and every year since 1999 except for 2003, 2004 and 2007. To my mind, any game in which the guys don’t beat an Ivy opponent by at least 50 points is really a loss.
The primary is only about six months away, and as the old New Hampshire joke goes, nobody here can make a decision about candidates whom they haven’t met at least a couple of times. In the below photo, Scott Walker arrived this past Monday to say hello to the (potential) faithful at Theo’s Pizza on Elm Street in Manchester:
Students who don’t plunge into the primary goings-on over the next half-year will miss out; they should have gone to Harvard instead.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am in favor of good jobs for members of Dartmouth’s support staff, the folks who keep the place going so that students and faculty members can do what they have come here to do. The College should pay its employees fairly, and the administration needs to do what it can to ensure that they are content and productive in their work. But Dartmouth should not pay the support staff any more than is necessary for them to get the job done, and the administration should limit the number of staffers to the strictest minimum. Why? Well, first off, because any dollar spent on the staff is a dollar that it no longer available to be used for the educational mission of the College.
The fact that many critics of Darblog miss is the following: not only do I support the staff, I support the other constituencies related to the College, too. Here they are:
— I support students, who are cheated when they have to pay $63,744/year to come to Hanover. That huge investment pressures them to focus on money-making disciplines, to the detriment of their interest in less remunerative subjects — areas that students might well have studied had they not had to pay tuition bills and loans totalling close to a quarter of a million dollars.
— I support lower-income students who are daunted by Dartmouth’s $63,744/year sticker price. If the College could cut tuition down to a manageable level — in fact, if the place were well run, there would be no need to charge tuition at all — the word would circulate far and wide that Hanover was the place to be, that at Dartmouth school could be free. We’d receive applications from people who might never otherwise apply.
— I support parents, who save and save, and take out second mortgages on their homes to pay $63,744/year for their child to come to Dartmouth. Any reduction that the College can make to tuition so that parents don’t have to impoverish themselves would be a net good for the world. I’d prefer that people who earn money keep it, rather than have it taken from them to support a bloated bureaucracy in Hanover.
— I support young scholars, the newly minted Ph.D.’s whose fruitless search for jobs has been a feature of American academic life for several generations — even as the number of deans, bureaucrats and workers has grown massively over the past decades.
— I support faculty members, who at Dartmouth are now underpaid compared to their colleagues at other top-tier schools, and who, too often, are told that “there is no money,” when they ask for funding for an interesting research project or a creative activity with their students. Faculty members know that their part of the College’s budget is only 10% of the total. You know where the rest goes.
— I support the betterment of the world, which would proceed more quickly if students received a better education, if the size of the faculty were increased, and if everyone had greater resources and better facilities in which to teach and do research.
In short, while I do support the College’s staff, I support its members less than anyone else who has a stake in what goes on at Dartmouth. If you want to enhance our educational mission, you should take the same position.
Addendum: In a piece in Counterpunch, Vincent J. Roscigno, a Professor of Sociology at Ohio State, likens the dominance of educational bureaucrats to the stranglehold on a community of organized crime.
Addendum: An alumnus writes in:
$63,000 is too much for a college education. When my brother ‘60 and I overlapped his senior and my freshman year, my folks paid $5,200 for both of us. That was still a big chunk of their after-tax income. But that was just one year.
If my correspondent’s recollection is correct, the cost of his own education was $2,600 — which is an inflation-adjusted cost of $20,961.45 in today’s dollars, less than a third of the College’s actual cost.