Dean of Faculty Gets an F

by Jon Appleton | 11/10/04 6:00am

To the Editor:

It is not surprising that "a new ranking from an influential British publication placed Dartmouth 138th among the world's top 200 universities and last among Ivy League schools by 110 spots" (The Dartmouth, "Dartmouth buried in new rankings of top universities," November 9).

In the last few years those who have tried to provide intellectual leadership have departed. After one year as dean of faculty, professor Jamshed Bharucha left in frustration; as the new provost at Tufts University, he has significantly raised it in these same rankings. The brilliant psychologist Michael Gazzaniga was left hanging by the College's president and provost when as dean of faculty he was savaged by small-minded professors in secret meetings.

Now we are left with a dean of faculty not appointed by the faculty (for the first time) and one who has no interest or knowledge of any discipline except her own (biology). Dean Carol Folt's only achievement to date is to convene a conference on the subject of whether the liberal arts are dead. Is this meant to energize the students and faculty at Dartmouth? Is it not simply proof that our significant drop in academic rankings are due to the failure to provide a new and exciting vision for this institution?