Report recommends VP post

by Alexander R. Edlich | 11/5/93 6:00am

A draft of a report commissioned by the Provost to evaluate computer services at Dartmouth recommends the creation of a vice presidential post to oversee information technology and to coordinate the development of new uses for the College's extensive computer network.

The computer service report is one of two studies commissioned by former Provost John Strohbehn, who retired last year after seven years of managing the College's daily operations and long-term planning. The second report focuses on libraries.

Both Computing Services and the Library system each submitted self-evaulations to external review committees that spent three days at Dartmouth this fall examining the programs and speaking with administrators.

Neither of the external committees has completed its report but drafts of their recommendations have been submitted to the Provost's Office.

The external committee examining computer services said it recommended the creation of a vice president-level post for information and technology to help integrate different College areas with computer technology. Assistant Provost for Development Margaret Dyer-Chamberlain, who has coordinated the review process, said the position could possibly act as a link between computer resources and the libraries.

"Considering such a position is a good thing because the process of considering it brings attention to information technology," Director of Computing Services Larry Levine said.

Dyer-Chamberlain said she expected final reports from the external review committees by the end of the Fall term. She said the content of the final or preliminary reports will not be made public until administrators in both areas had read them.

In a telephone interview from Princeton, where he is on sabbatical, Strohbehn said the reviews are similar to reviews of various academic departments, which are currently being coordinated by the Dean of Faculty Office.

Strohbehn said the recommendation for a new vice president is often made by external committees. External reviewers are often more familiar with larger schools that have several vice presidents. At Dartmouth, there are only two "vice presidents" -- one for development and alumni affairs and the other is the treasurer, overseeing the College's finances.

Strohbehn said the creation of a new vice president position might drain financial resources needed elsewhere. He suggested that the Provost's Office and the computing services area explore the possibility of achieving the same goals without expending money to hire a new person for the post.

Acting Provost Bruce Pipes said the reviewing process is going smoothly, but that he would like to refine some aspects. He said he was concerned three days were not enough time for the committee to get an in-depth view.

College Librarian Margaret Otto said the internal review done by the library focused on a need for new resources, more space and increased staff and the need to adapt to new formats of material.

She said the College's library system is of the most understaffed in the nation and needs more employees to help aid in the technological transition made possible my new advances in computer technology.

"Reviews are always important," she said. "It is an exciting time for libraries and information transfer. We must always change to adapt to new technology."

Otto said the nine libraries are in desperate need of space for material. "There's just no room," she said. "Books at Kresge are stacked in every conceivable space."

Reviews of various support areas within the College were recommended in the Final Report of the Planning and Steering Committee in 1990. The committee, headed by Strohbehn, conducted a comprehensive study and issued a report directing the College's progress into the next century. Reviews of the Hood Museum and the Office of Facilities Planning have already been conducted.

"The report stated it was important for people outside the institution to look at things at the College," Strohbehn said. "These reports make the areas look at things five to 10 years down the road."

Dyer-Chamberlain said there are other areas the office is looking into, but reviews would not begin until Lee Bollinger, dean of the University of Michigan Law School, takes over as provost in July.