Wright looks to hire more College faculty

by Elise Waxenberg | 11/1/05 6:00am

College President James Wright called for more arts and science faculty hires, lauded massive campus construction and announced a broad administrative review in his annual state of the College address to the faculty on Monday.

Although Wright noted that the Tuck School of Business and the undergraduate programs have consistently ranked among the top institutions nationwide, he warned against expanding the College to compete in national rankings, which he said use measurements that put smaller schools like Dartmouth at a disadvantage.

"We may not compete in size, but we can and do compete in quality, and our size is an advantage," Wright said.

Although the size of both the student body and administration need to be limited, Wright said, expanding the faculty topped his list of priorities in the arts and sciences.

"It is our ambition to hire only the best faculty, and indeed we continue to get our first choice of faculty in most searches," Wright said. Wright predicted that the College will surpass the administration's earlier goal to increase the size of the arts and sciences faculty by 10 percent. Dean of the Faculty Carol Folt has already authorized hires to alleviate overcrowding in the government and economics departments, but Wright said further hires will be determined by broader faculty priorities.

"The strategic growth of the faculty cannot be shaped by cyclical enrollment patterns or changes in departmental requirements," Wright said

To entice new professors, the College is offering more endowed chairs and making start-up packages more competitive. But Dartmouth's faculty compensation still lags behind peer institutions. Pay for full professors is 98.5 percent of the median pay among peer institutions, and compensation for assistant professors is 97 percent of the median in that category. Compensation for associate professors, however, is at 101 percent of the median, Wright said.

While faculty expansion remains a chief concern, Wright said facilities expansion is unprecedented.

"I think we can confidently say that there has never been as much construction at any one time in our history," Wright said.

Key ongoing construction projects include new dorms, academic buildings and athletic and dining facilities. The McLaughlin and Tuck Mall dorm clusters will add 500 beds to campus and are projected to open next fall, while academic buildings Kemeny Hall, Haldeman Hall and the MacLean Engineering Sciences Center are also slated for completion in 2006. Other projects include updating athletic facilities, including extensive renovations at Alumni Gymnasium, and dining halls, including an overhaul of Thayer Hall and a new facility north of Maynard Street.

Wright added that his "immediate concerns" are to finalize funding for a life sciences building and Visual Arts Center, which are in planning stages.

As the College grapples with faculty growth and large-scale construction, Wright said the administration has hired management consulting firm McKinsey and Company to perform a "broad administrative review" under Provost Barry Scherr and College Executive Vice President Adam Keller.

"It will help us to see what we can do better, how we can break down silos, address redundancy, how we can improve services for students and faculty and strengthen internal coordination," Wright said of the review.

The McKinsey consultants will come to campus this week, and Wright expects a report with recommendations, which will not cover academic programs, to be delivered early next year.

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