Administrators Cite Dubious Reasons for Improved Rankings

The newly released 2011 US News & World Report College and University Ratings bring an improved standing for Dartmouth: while the school maintains it’s #1 ranking in “Best Undergraduate Teaching” for the second year in a row, it has jumped to #9 in “National Universities,” up from #11 in 2010.

In an interview with the Daily D, Provost Carol Folt cited smaller class sizes as one of several reasons for Dartmouth’s increased position. However, just a few short months ago the D offered plenty of coverage on what seemed like the college’s likely response to the economic downturn: a permanently increased class size, beginning with the class of 2014. According to Dean of Admissions Maria Laskaris in a December interview with the Daily D, “I think it wouldn’t just be for one year, the decision would be to increase the size of the student body more long-term.”

With the new rankings out, all of this seems swept under the rug and the college is more than happy to extol the virtues of its dedication to a small class size. How is it that we were never informed of the final word regarding this “extensive discussion,” as President Kim put it? More likely than not, a decision was made, as seems to be the modus operandi of the school these days, without consulting the student body in a meaningful way.

A call to the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students revealed no information on the size of the class of 2014; the office cited a constantly shifting number of newly matriculating students and no available estimates as to their total number. It can only be assumed that if the college has indeed increased class size, they have chosen to keep the final decision incredibly quiet and only the Review is left to cry foul at this unfortunate administrative contradiction.