Crady's New Year's Resolution

by The Dartmouth Editorial Board | 11/30/07 1:36am

Dean Crady, Fall term is ending and you are about to assume one of the most unique and challenging positions in academia. In our last editorial of the year, we thought it important to discuss what will help you succeed at this job. Dartmouth is a living, breathing set of paradoxes: It oscillates between a liberal arts college and world-class university, between a rural haven for academics and a cosmopolitan cultural center, between embracing tradition and embracing progressivism. As the new dean of the College, you will have a short window of time -- a honeymoon period -- to set the tone for your tenure here. If you succeed, you can positively impact Dartmouth where previous administrative leaders have faltered.

The Dartmouth Editorial Board has identified two broad categories of goals: leadership and policy. The leadership category encompasses your interaction with students and your presentation of the Dartmouth experience. Both of these require charisma. For you to properly understand the student body, you must substantively talk to individual students, not just student organizations, and not just students with bones to pick. This micro level of understanding will facilitate the identification of problems on campus and the appropriate solutions.

We hope you assume a hands-on leadership style. Acting Dean of the College Dan Nelson's open office hours each week were a good start, but you should expand opportunities for casual interactions. Eat unscheduled meals in Collis and Food Court, sit on the Green on a sunny day, play pick-up basketball in the gym and maybe, just maybe, try your hand at pong (you can play with water if you want). You should interact in ways that allow you to figure out what Dartmouth means to different people and why they love (or hate) aspects of the Dartmouth experience. Get to know all the students, and not just in formal settings.

In addition to distinguishing your leadership style early on, you must also speedily construct a long-term policy strategy. In identifying problems on campus, you must open your eyes and ears wide. Do not let only the most vocal and visible groups dictate your office's policies. We would like to see alternative social spaces, but not at the expense of the Greek system. In fact, you should take the lead on increasing the number of local sororities on campus. National sororities don't fix the social space imbalance. Along these social lines, you must work towards more coherent and productive student programming. The status quo -- characterized by an unorganized and uninspiring Programming Board -- is in much need of an overhaul. Work with Greeks on alcohol; they're not dumb and what they say often makes sense. And, when you examine the Committee on Standards, make sure the reforms protect the wrongfully accused.

We eagerly await the start of your tenure as dean of the College and depend on you to ally with students in continually pushing Dartmouth to carefully, constantly and completely assess the quality of its student experience.

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