Provost Dever Steps Down

On Tuesday, October 10, President Hanlon wrote to the Dartmouth College community to announce that Provost Carolyn Dever will leave her post at the end of fall term and return to academic life. Her last day in office will be November 22. Dever has served as Dartmouth’s chief academic and budget officer for four years, having been appointed by Hanlon in January 2014. Dever had previously served as the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Vanderbilt University for five years.

An interim provost will be announced in the coming weeks, with a search committee for Dever’s replacement following close behind. Dever herself will remain at the College as a faculty member in the English department, and will return to teaching.

The Provost, Dartmouth’s second-ranking officer, is “directly responsible for overseeing the overall academic integrity of the entire institution and for those operations transcending the work of a single faculty,” according to the Office of the Provost.

As Provost, Dever was one of the highest-paid members of the faculty, receiving a total compensation of $783,890 in 2015. It is uncertain what pay she will be receiving as a faculty member, and it’s possible that she will retain some privileges, including the Provost’s residence in Hanover, in an emeritus role.

Dever’s legacy, much like her time as Provost, will be controversial; for many, she was seen a diversity appointment. A feminist gender studies scholar, she taught in the Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, even while serving as Provost. Last January, she presided over the sudden departure of contentious Vice-Provost for Student Affairs Inge-Lise Ameer, who was infamous for her crackdown on the fraternity system.

Dever’s detractors cite her lack of tangible achievements while Provost as a reason for their discontent. The official press release from the College names one of her major accomplishments as “leading an effort to improve campus diversity and inclusivity.” Others are critical of her active role in Moving Dartmouth Forward, considering her role as President Hanlon’s chief collaborator and aide-de-camp in his program of reform.

Regardless of her impact on the College, Dever’s departure from her post is a major administrative shake-up. The President has lost a loyal supporter and advocate of his plans; Dever was a significant proponent of such Hanlon innovations as the undergraduate house community system. The vacant Office of the Provost creates more uncertainty in the future of the unstable current administration.

For the sake of Dartmouth, The Review hopes for the appointment of a Provost capable of overseeing real academic integrity and intellectual honesty.

  • Joseph Asch ’79

    Guys, how about a little more bite in your reporting. Talk to a few professors to see what the faculty thought of Dever: not much!