Daily Debriefing

Harvard University has halted experiments on monkeys and increased oversight at its New England Primate Research Center after the fourth primate death in the past four years, The Boston Globe reported on Wednesday. The fourth monkey had to be euthanized on Sunday, likely as a result of a lack of a water bottle in its cage, according to The Globe. Three of the four monkey deaths have occurred since October, even though the research center underwent a change in leadership in September to increase oversight, The Globe reported. Scrutiny of the facilities will not stop until Harvard leadership is confident that the problems have been amended, and a committee is being formed to assess current policies and leadership, according to The Globe.

Members of the faculty and staff at John Carroll University, a Jesuit university in Ohio, have signed a letter to university president Robert Niehoff that advises him to accept President Obama’s “compromise” regarding birth control coverage for female employees, Inside Higher Education. Obama’s proposition addresses the debate about whether religious employers should be required to provide employees with insurance that pays for birth control, although the concession that insurers, rather than employers, would be paying for the coverage has done little to stop opposition in religious institutions, according to Inside Higher Ed. At John Carroll, three primary co-signers of the letter which was supported by a total of 47 individuals urged bishops to recognize the importance of women’s health and stressed the need to give faculty members the opportunity to express their opinions about the policy, Inside Higher Ed reported.

Studies by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College have shown that remedial classes for students who perform poorly on standardized placement tests are often unnecessary, The New York Times reported on Tuesday. Over three quarters of students placed in such remedial classes end up dropping out of college and not earning a degree, The Times reported. Over a fourth of the students placed into these remedial classes did not need them and could have passed college-level courses, according to the study. In order to combat this problem, standardized tests should be used in conjunction with a student’s high school transcript to better determine placement, according to The Times.

Librarians exhibit range of backgrounds, experiences

Librarians at the nine libraries in the College system have responsibilities that range from preservation and acquisition to teaching classes.

Although many students may think of librarians as professional filers, those employed at the College’s nine libraries are tasked not only with cataloging and organizing Dartmouth’s more than three million printed volumes, but also with assisting students, faculty and community members with any research needs they may have, according to Dean of Libraries and College Librarian Jeffrey Horrell.

The College’s library system comprised of Baker-Berry Library, Dana Biomedical Library, Matthews-Fuller Health Sciences Library at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Feldberg Business and Engineering Library, Kresge Physical Sciences Library, Paddock Music Library, Rauner Special Collections Library, Sherman Art Library and the storage library, located near Jesse’s Steak, Seafood and Tavern in Hanover includes 165 librarians assisted by approximately 200 student employees, Horrell said.

The librarians are generally split into three divisions public services, technical services and preservations, according to Horrell.

Public service librarians serve as subject liaisons to each of the College’s academic departments and staff information and reference desks in the libraries. In addition, public service librarians occasionally teach classes.

Technical services librarians work to acquire new books, license new information and oversee “Metadata” by organizing the library’s vast online catalogs through services such as Summon, an aggregate search engine that provides access to the content from a variety of libraries.

Preservation librarians are responsible for ensuring that the library’s physical collection is kept in good condition.

A librarian’s primary job, regardless of his or her division, is to assist students in navigating the library’s databases, according to Horrell.

“One of the most important things about the Dartmouth library staff is the service philosophy,” Horrell said. “We have a first-rate staff who understand that the reason we’re here is to support the students and faculty.”

The minimum requirement for a librarian position is possession of a master’s degree in library science, according to Horrell. Many of Dartmouth’s librarians have professional degrees and wide-ranging experience and academic preparation.

Special Collections librarian Jay Satterfield, who has worked at the College for almost eight years, was drawn to his career via a background in archaeology and anthropology. As an anthropology major in college, he found that he enjoyed researching material artifacts, he said.

Shortly after completing his master’s degree in library science, Satterfield became the assistant to the curator of special collections at the University of Iowa. He went on to complete a PhD in American studies and worked at the University of Chicago for six years before accepting his current job at the College.

“As an anthropologist, I was a cultural critic that was always my mindset,” Satterfield said. “I really got to dive into what it meant to be a book in a culture and what it meant about the text and the culture surrounding it. I knew that I’d be able to share that joy through teaching.”

English language and literature librarian Laura Braunstein, who has also worked at the College for eight years, said she originally intended to be an English professor but chose a route that would place her in an academic setting with more job security.

“Something like less than 50 perfect of PhDs actually end up getting tenured jobs,” Braunstein said. “Many people who get PhDs in humanities end up doing something else. Dartmouth has been my first professional job the students are great, and it’s a wonderful place to be.”

Laura Cousineau, the newly-appointed director of the College’s two biomedical libraries, said she had no previous experience with medicine before she became a librarian.

Cousineau started her career as a reference librarian at Duke University, where she worked for 10 years. She was later hired as a medical librarian at the Medical University of South Carolina, where she learned of evidence-based medicine, a practice in which doctors research studies applicable to their patients and develop a strategy of treatment based on available evidence.

“Library work is right in the middle of that,” Cousineau said. “You’ve got to find relevant material in an effective and efficient manner to help identify the best treatment.”

Many of the College’s librarians spend at least part of their term guiding classes and developing relationships with students and faculty.

As a subject liaison, Braunstein works with the English department, the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric and various Writing 5 classes. She teaches approximately 15 class sessions per term and collaborates with honors English students pursuing upper-level research, she said.

“I’ve written recommendations for grad schools and jobs as well as mentored students who are interested in becoming librarians,” she said. “They feel comfortable with us in ways that they don’t with faculty.”

This term, special collections librarians taught 91 classes over 27 departments, according to Satterfield. Typically, Satterfield teaches two or three classes a week, he said.

“We really work hard to integrate the collections into the curriculum,” Satterfield said. “I’ll look through course listings and see what classes are being taught. A couple of weeks ago I did a class on James Joyce. The class gets offered every couple years, and every time it’s taught we have a class about the publishing history of Ulysses.'”

Although certain librarians may not be experts in some of the material they teach, an understanding of literary history and the context of publishing can offer a unique contribution to a class, Satterfield said.

“It tends to be that I will know a narrow piece of the book’s history,” Satterfield said. “I will know the publishing history of [John] Milton but not necessarily a lot about Milton’s poetry. The historical context of the book helps students understand the book.”

The recent economic downturn and budget cuts across the College’s departments have had mixed effects on the College libraries. A recent Inside Higher Education article reported that the percentage of college budgets dedicated to libraries has declined for the 14th straight year.

The organization of Dartmouth’s libraries has helped in the face of economic trouble, as the libraries’ “core services” are centralized, Horrell said. Although the library system has been affected by reductions, it has not been targeted more than other areas of the College.

Rauner Special Collections Library was able to take advantage of the recession, according to Satterfield.

“When the stock market tanked, our funds took a big dip,” Satterfield said. “At the same time, auction prices of rare books and manuscripts also collapsed. We were able to acquire a few books and manuscripts that at other times would have seemed too expensive for us.”

The library also purposefully saves money from year to year to help endure economic uncertainty, enabling librarians to eventually “buy something really amazing,” Satterfield said.

Kritzman awarded Legion of Honor

French and comparative literature professor Lawrence Kritzman will be inducted into the Legion of Honor — France’s highest civilian honor — in a ceremony led by French Ambassador to the United States Francois Delattre this spring, according to Kritzman. He will receive the award, the latest in a string of honors that he has received from the French government, for internationally recognized contributions to French culture.

The honor, bestowed on individuals following an intensive nominating process that involves multiple rounds of review by French selection committees, is rarely awarded to non-French nationals, he said.

Kritzman has worked as editor of the European Perspectives series for the Columbia University Press and as director of the Institute of French Cultural Studies, which he founded in 1993.

“The idea of the institute was to enable people at the beginning of their teaching careers to think about how to develop an interdisciplinary curriculum within a French program,” Kritzman said.

The institute focuses on incorporating French into classes without heavily depending on English translation, according to Kritzman.

“I feel very strongly that once any language department lets go of the language component, you might as well close shop,” Kritzman said. “Culture starts with language, as Claude Levi-Strauss said.”

Many French and American publications have consulted Kritzman for his input on French cultural and intellectual matters, he said. He has been interviewed by Le Monde, Le Figaro and Liberacion, France’s three major newspapers. During the last French presidential election, Le Monde profiled Kritzman and six other leading intellectuals about their views on French politics, according to Kritzman.

Kritzman became an active student of French culture at the age of 18 and was drawn to the figures of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, his “intellectual heroes,” he said.

Although he “adores” working with his students, Kritzman said he considers himself more of an intellectual than an academic.

“When I became a professor, I wanted to become a professor of desire,” Kritzman said. “I never did this for professionalism — it was because of my passion for things French. It’s good to now be loved back.”

Faculty and students interviewed by The Dartmouth said Kritzman focuses on creating close bonds with students in his classes and sharing his love for French culture.

Alex Resar ’14, who has taken two of Kritzman’s classes, said Kritzman devotes individual time to his students and commits to having coffee with them at least once a term.

French major Anne Rosenblum ’12 described Kritzman as a “wonderful person” and recounted that he took the 18 members of her French class to a collective meal and discussed their experiences beyond the classroom.

“He deserves equally prestigious awards for the amazing work he does with students in and out of the classroom,” Craig Smyser ’13 said. “He is among the best Dartmouth has to offer.”

The close connections Kritzman has developed with his students encourage them to consider comparative literature graduate programs upon graduation, according to French professor and chair of the comparative literature department Roxana Verona.

“He has a way of connecting literature and languages,” Verona said. “He has a large following of students who go on to graduate schools, which is good for our program.”

Chair of the French and Italian department Graziella Parati said Kritzman’s induction into the Legion of Honor demonstrates his love for French culture.

Kritzman has developed working relationships with Julia Kristeva and Jacques Derrida, two prominent contemporary French intellectuals, and has dined with former French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, according to comparative literature professor David LaGuardia. He also remains in contact with Dartmouth alumni, LaGuardia said.

Kritzman was first recognized by the French government in 1990 when he was appointed a knight in l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques, an order that recognizes educators and scholars, according to Kritzman. He was made an officer, the order’s highest rank, in 1994. Kritzman also earned France’s second highest individual honor, the Order of National Merit, in 2000.

“I jokingly said to my wife that with my medals they can bury me like they buried Lenin in the Kremlin,” Kritzman said.

Speaker notes benefits of globalized education

Ben Wildavsky presented the term's final

While some Americans fear that the globalization of education poses a threat to the future of higher education in the United States, it actually represents an opportunity to nurture talent and foster innovation throughout the world, according to Ben Wildavsky, author and senior research scholar at the Kauffman Foundation, a non-profit organization that researches entrepreneurship. Wildavsky, who spoke in the Rockefeller Center on Wednesday afternoon, was the final lecturer of Winter term in the “Leading Voices in Higher Education” strategic planning lecture series.

Using research he gathered for his award-winning book, “The Great Brain Race: How Global Universities are Reshaping the World,” Wildavsky discussed how globalization in higher education offers marked benefits.

Unprecedented academic mobility, the emergence of global college rankings and a race to create world-class universities everywhere are the hallmarks of globalized education. Each of these components presents their own threats, Wildavsky said.

Academic mobility not only means that more students and professors are traveling to universities worldwide but also that new global networks of research have been growing and that campuses themselves have become more mobile, Wildavsky said. Qatar, for example, has attracted branches of American institutions such as Texas A&M University, Georgetown University and Northwestern University, as well as branches of several British and French universities.

This mobility provokes anxiety, especially in the developing world. Individuals fear that these changes will result in a “brain drain,” in which the brightest students will permanently leave developing countries to study and work elsewhere, Wildavsky said. Meanwhile, well-established universities in wealthy countries worry that they will face a “crowding out” of their country’s students by international students.

Neither of these concerns should exist, according to Wildavsky, given that the mobility of international students allows for “brain circulation and exchange” and that university programs can expand.

“The bottom line is that mobility is empowering,” Wildavsky said. “As we bring down barriers, a world of academic mobility lets people get ahead based on what they know, not on who they are or where they come from. It creates a meritocracy and a free trade in minds.”

Global college rankings have become increasingly common in the globalized education market, he said. Although these rankings have been controversial and some are flawed, Wildavsky said they are both inevitable and useful in that they spur competition between universities to provide a “common academic currency.”

Wildavsky said rankings serve as a “democratic instrument” by encouraging “transparency and accountability” in higher education. Global university rankings have pushed universities in many countries to develop world-class institutions as a pathway to innovation and growth within their own countries, Wildavsky said. In order to do this, these countries have begun pouring funds into schools, recruiting the best minds from within their borders and forming partnerships with American universities such as Duke University and Yale University.

The anxiety that U.S. universities will “lose their edge” is misplaced, according to Wildavsky. The progression of institutions in other countries does not signify that the U.S. has become less successful, and the U.S. should instead embrace the global higher education movement.

“We must understand that knowledge is not a zero-sum game,” Wildavsky said. “It is not finite, but rather it can spread and grow. More graduates from other universities is something that’s good for us, not bad for us.”

Dartmouth can take advantage of these changes in higher education, Wildavsky said. While the College is already participating in the global marketplace by incorporating international students and faculty, administrators can use global education to their advantage in other ways, such as making connections with universities to take the liberal arts education abroad and considering new media and online resources for teaching.

“If Dartmouth can figure this out and get it right, they will be participating in globalization in a meaningful way, not just in platitudes,” Wildavsky said.

Antonio Tillis, co-chair of the “Global Dartmouth” strategic planning working group and chair of the African and African-American studies department, said the committee selected Wildavsky to speak in order to elucidate “what it means to be part of global education” and rethink Dartmouth’s relationship to globalism.

Royce Yap ’15 said he attended the lecture to help generate ideas for a project in his Economics 25 class, which collaborates with the strategic planning committee to develop ways to improve Dartmouth’s global presence.

“It was interesting to get a fresh pair of eyes on this topic,” Yap said. “The global trends that he spoke about will help us identify global trends to contribute to the ideas that we will propose to the Dartmouth administration.”

Former religion prof. dies at 78

Professor emeritus of religion and former Dean of the Faculty Hans Penner, who helped develop the Dartmouth Plan and was a leading figure in the religion department for many years, died Saturday Feb. 25 after a battle with lung cancer, Susan Ackerman, chair of the religion department, said in an email to The Dartmouth. He was 78 years old.

Penner spent four decades at Dartmouth, joining the faculty in 1965 as a religion professor after four years of teaching at the University of Vermont. He served in various other positions during his time at the College before retiring in 2000, according Anna Penner, his wife of over 50 years.

“It was a long career,” she said. “The one that I think he was proudest of was being the dean of the faculty for a four-year stint.”

From 1980 to 1984, Penner served as dean under former President David McLaughlin. Penner appointed long-time friend and colleague James Wright to the assistant dean position in 1981, and Wright went on to become president of the College in 1998.

Wright and Penner remained in close touch over the years, and Wright attended Penner’s 78th birthday dinner a few weeks ago, he said.

“He was a good personal friend, and I had a tremendous admiration for him and feel a great sense of loss,” Wright said. “I think he was an exemplary Dartmouth faculty member and a model teacher.”

Within the College’s administration, Penner was also involved with “every major committee,” religion professor Ronald Green said.

Penner served as the chair of the Committee on Educational Policy from 1971 to 1973, during which time the College became coeducational, and helped develop the Dartmouth Plan as a way to make room for women without decreasing the number of male students.

Within the religion department, Penner was instrumental in instituting fundamental changes.

“He pioneered our introductory course, Religion 1, which we still teach with modifications,” Green said.

The course was later adopted by universities across the country, he said.

Penner worked to diversify the areas of study represented in the department while bringing faculty together in their common interests, former professor Robert Henricks said.

“A lot of religion departments in the country are primarily interested in Judaism and Christianity, but right from the beginning we were not like that,” Henricks, who taught Chinese religions, said. “That was Hans, and that was unique.”

Penner ensured the fair and equal treatment of all department members, and became a “godfather figure” to the faculty, Henricks said. Despite his dominating physical presence and strong opinions, Penner maintained an open mind.

“His door was always open,” Henricks said.

Penner was close to students within the religion department, according to religion major Rupa Mukherjee ’99. Penner presented Mukherjee with the Religion Department Faculty Prize and the Charles Howard Dudley Prize, recognizing her excellence in the department during her senior year.

“He was very involved with the students in terms of what their interests were, what they were doing and where they were going,” Mukherjee said. “We got to know each other.”

Penner had a particular interest in Buddhism, which he explored throughout his career. He traveled to India after receiving a Fulbright Scholarship in 1965 and wrote a book about Buddhism with a prestigious grant he received from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2004.

The book, “Rediscovering the Buddha: The Legends and Their Interpretations,” became a “significant contribution to the field” after its publication in 2009, Wright said.

Penner also delivered a lecture on the topic to the Wake Robin Retirement Community in Shelburne, Vt., where he lived with his wife for five years.

“Many people in the audience didn’t know much about the field,” Anna Penner said. “They were absolutely mesmerized.”

In addition to being active within the religion department and administration, Penner also became engaged with social causes and advised students facing the draft during the Vietnam War era, Green said.

“He never wavered in his support of faculty research resources, academic freedom or affirmative action,” religion professor Nancy Frankenberry said in an email to The Dartmouth. “Penner was a popular teacher, but he was also an important leader in the life of the College.”

Penner recently became a board member of the organization Patient Choices Vermont, which advocates “death with dignity” legislation. Even after being diagnosed with inoperable stage IV lung cancer, Penner continued his involvement with the cause.

Dick Walters, president of Patient Choices Vermont and fellow Wake Robin resident, served on the board with him until Penner stepped down due to his illness.

“He was a firm believer in choice both at the beginning and at the end of life,” Walters said. “There’s nobody in this community who did not know and admire Hans. He was a joy to be with.”

Penner also enjoyed the company of his friends and had a range of interests that included “a good argument or chess game, the sound of train whistles and the music of Beethoven,” Frankenberry said.

Memorial services will be held for Penner at Wake Robin, according to his wife.

Laskaris: Realizing Diversity

In his recent column (“Rethinking Diversity,” Feb. 22) Kevin Francfort provides his perspective on the value of a diverse community. Dartmouth embraces diversity because it significantly enhances the quality of the educational experience for all members of our community. My colleagues and I in the Admissions Office play an important role in making this vision a reality. Since we are fully immersed in selecting the Class of 2016, this is an opportune time to add my perspective to the ongoing discussion on this important topic.

The national conversation on college admissions is often oversimplified and broken down to raw, impersonal numbers. This process is not about quotas or simply checking boxes. When admissions officers are asked to report on the outcomes of our work, we face the inherent challenges in boiling down a lengthy and nuanced process to a set of numbers that may be interpreted by many as shorthand for institutional health and vitality. These numbers do not begin to convey the complexity of the selection process or the richness of perspective and experience that all students bring to our community. This has been so for generations of students admitted to Dartmouth.

Often lacking in these conversations about admissions is a recognition that the ways in which we understand and evaluate accomplishment and potential are multifaceted. The explosive growth in the number of applicants, up nearly 40 percent within the last four years alone, means that now more than ever we are attracting students who are among the best and the brightest from across an increasingly diverse set of backgrounds and perspectives. As a result, we are continually challenged to refine our process and bring a more nuanced approach to the work of selecting students to join the Dartmouth community.

Race and ethnicity, gender, geography, socioeconomic status, values, sexual orientation, age, family background, high school affiliation and home community, to name a few, are essential parts of who we are and how we define ourselves. As the Admissions Office shapes an entering class, we resist the temptation to organize applicants by any single category. Instead we challenge our assumptions along these very same lines and look beyond numbers and simple conclusions.

Our review goes well beyond each applicant’s record of academic achievement and extracurricular accomplishment to identify students who have not only distinguished themselves but demonstrate the potential for continued growth at Dartmouth. Also, our holistic assessment recognizes the reality that educational opportunities and resources are not fairly and equitably distributed across our country, let alone around the world. Simply said, we are looking for multidimensional students who will make a significant contribution to our community and the world beyond campus.

I agree with Kevin’s assertion that our work in admissions should align with the belief that “there is great value in a wide range of experiences and perspectives among individuals in the Dartmouth community.” In fact, our selection process intentionally creates such outcomes. We remain open also to Kevin’s point that the College must continue to “reflect on the role that race should play in admissions.” That, however, is not enough. Instead of looking solely to the student selection process, we must remind ourselves why we value a diverse community. Furthermore, we need to test our capacity daily as individuals to fully realize the benefits of membership in a diverse community. As Kevin wrote, “It is when members of our community see past physical differences and come to appreciate the plethora of perspectives at the College that we learn and grow.” After all, isn’t that the reason why we’re all here?

The process of selecting students for Dartmouth is a long, trying and ultimately satisfying one. Relative to the sustained effort it takes from all of us to realize the benefits of living and learning in a diverse community, however, ours may be the easier endeavor.

**Maria Laskaris ’84 is the dean of admissions and financial aid.*

Pedde: Vouching for School Choice

One cannot argue with a straight face that America’s primary and secondary education system is just. Students from wealthier socioeconomic backgrounds receive better educations on average. School vouchers offer the best solution to this problem.

Historically, American public school students have been required to attend the public school to which they are assigned. Well-off families have long been able to move to more expensive neighborhoods with better public schools or pay for private school if they were unsatisfied with their neighborhood school; only disadvantaged families have had no real say in which schools their children attend. With a voucher system, all parents could send their children to any school that meets the state’s educational standards on the government’s tab. If total public education spending in the United States was kept constant, each voucher would be worth an average of just over $10,000 per student per year.

There is ample empirical evidence that school choice improves the educational outcomes for students who make use of their ability to change schools. Furthermore, these gains extend beyond the classroom. As one example, consider “School Choice, School Quality and Postsecondary Attainment,” a paper by Dartmouth economics professor Douglas Staiger, David Deming and Thomas Kane of Harvard University and Justine Hastings of Brown University. In this paper, the authors showed that students who are given school choice in secondary school “are more likely to graduate from high school, attend a four-year college and earn a bachelor’s degree. They are about twice as likely to earn a degree from an elite institution.” Furthermore, school vouchers closed “75 percent of the black-white gap in high school graduation and 25 percent of the gap in bachelor’s degree completion.”

But what about the students who remain at their neighborhood schools? Wouldn’t students at a public school be worse off if some of their peers make use of their vouchers and attend a better school? No. In fact, quite the opposite: Even those students who continue to attend the same school benefit from greater school choice. In a paper entitled “School Choice and School Productivity,” then-Harvard economist Caroline Hoxby found that “regular public schools boosted their productivity when exposed to competition” and that “schools increased productivity by raising achievement, not by lowering spending while maintaining achievement.” Studies done in Sweden, which introduced school vouchers in 1992, have come to similar conclusions: Increased school choice increases competition among schools, which raises the quality of education provided by all schools.

While there are obviously many other issues that one can reasonably bring up when discussing the effects of school vouchers, the empirical evidence seems to suggest that none of them actually argue against school choice. University of Arkansas political scientist Patrick Wolf recently published an analysis of these issues in a paper entitled “The Comprehensive Longitudinal Evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program: Summary of Final Reports.” Wolf concluded, “Although we have examined virtually every possible way that school choice could systematically affect people, schools and neighborhoods in Milwaukee, we have found no evidence of any harmful effects of choice.”

We will not solve our education problems by throwing money at our broken system while continuing to deny poor families school choice. Over the last 40 years, total inflation-adjusted education spending per pupil in the United States has more than doubled, yet test scores have been flat. The United States spends 40 percent more per pupil, pays its public school teachers 5 to 10 percent more and offers parents less school choice than the average country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, yet ranks lower than the most of these countries on most educational rankings.

Unequal primary and secondary educational opportunities have long been an obvious problem in the United States, and school vouchers provide a significant means to reduce this inequality. The longstanding arguments against vouchers choice doesn’t really improve students’ life outcomes and choice hurts students who remain at public schools simply do not hold up in light of recent empirical research. It is long past time that all American primary and secondary students received the school choice they deserve.