College hires McKinsey to assess admin. priorities
As part of the most extensive effort yet to evaluate the organization of the College, Dartmouth has hired McKinsey and Co., a management consulting firm, to gather data and assess the effectiveness of the administration.
The first phase of the review process began last week when consultants arrived on campus to gather data and conduct interviews with people who have institutional responsibility, according to John Crane, the College's deputy librarian and liaison to McKinsey.
College Provost Barry Scherr and Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Adam Keller spearheaded the assessment last month, and College President James Wright announced the project last week during his administrative forum.
"We do need to ensure that the administration is effective in both the ways in which it communicates across the institution, in its use of resources and in the way it delivers services that support the academic and residential mission," Wright said.
According to Scherr, the evaluation will examine the areas to which the administration allots importance and will determine whether these should remain institutional priorities. McKinsey will not consider academic programs in its analysis.
"We hope to get some ideas for going forward as to what areas we might need to provide additional support to in terms of priority," Scherr said. "Our concern right now is to take a look and see if everything is located as effectively as it could be in terms of reporting structures and interactions with other offices."
College officials attempt to examine various offices on a regular basis, but this is the first time it has done anything "quite this global," Scherr said.
The evaluation, which will look at the College, Dartmouth Medical School, the Thayer School of Engineering and the Tuck School of Business, will consist of two phases. Crane expects consultants to finish the first phase of research by December.
The second phase will center on the "digestion" of information gathered and the decision of what steps the College must take from there, Crane said.
Part of the evaluation will involve comparing the College's structure with other institutions of a similar size. Scherr said McKinsey consultants will draw on their experiences working with other colleges in their analysis.
"I think what we're trying to do is get some benchmark data, some comparisons with other institutions about what we're doing administratively on campus," he said. "The more comparison information we have the better, in making sure we do the right thing."
Crane attributed the need for the large-scale evaluation to the growth of the College's administration over the years.
"Quite naturally the College administration has grown and changed over time relative to particular needs and particular moments," Crane said. "By having a fresh eye from outside, we hope to learn things that we may not be seeing ourselves."
Administrators have not yet determined whether McKinsey will incorporate student and faculty opinion in their evaluation, but Crane said the process is aimed at providing better services to those at the College.
"The ultimate concern is how well our students and faculty are being served by the administration," Crane said.
McKinsey, a high-profile consulting firm, recruits employees from the College and the Amos Tuck School of Business. The firm offers a five-week online version of the Tuck School's Business Bridge Program as training for its incoming business analysts.