Sheehy Puts Forth DP2

Dartmouth Athletic Director Harry Sheehy. We’re fortunate to have him. I think I’m rather safe in saying that the best move President Kim has made since arriving at Dartmouth hasn’t been SPAHRC, closing down the sophomore docks last summer, announcing a much reviled new meal plan or even getting Conan O’Brien as commencement speaker (although the result on the last was wonderful from a PR standpoint).

No, the best move JYK made was hiring Harry Sheehy as Dartmouth’s athletic director.

We were high on him when he was brought in and I’d say our confidence in him hasn’t been misplaced. The latest move by the best hire in Hanover in a long while is the creation of a new initiative: Dartmouth Peak Performance, or “DP2” for short.

As Sheehy explains it over at Boxscore,

“DP2 will serve as an umbrella for the integration of existing services and increased resources targeted at helping our student-athletes achieve the highest levels of physical, intellectual and personal growth during their Dartmouth careers,” explained Sheehy. “Each area of performance — academic, athletic and personal — will be bolstered by the collaborative efforts of many professionals across campus.

“A generous donation has enabled us to announce this first step in what is sure to be an exciting work in progress in the coming months and years,” Sheehy continued. “DP2 will be focused initially on our varsity student-athletes, with the hope of eventually considering broadening the program to include club sport and recreational athletes.”

DP2, the full details of which may be found here or over at Dartblog, has three prongs: athletic performance, academic performance and personal performance. The first is rather self-explanatory, as is the second. It should be noted, however, that the latter includes “making good academic decisions, namely time management, course selection, and the use of office hours, tutors and study groups.” Moreover, “[f]aculty advisors will continue to play a critical role in the academic progress of student-athletes as other faculty members are engaged for future growth and sustainability.”

If this eventually leads to a wholesale reworking of Dartmouth’s academic advising system, I’m all in favor of it. It’s an open secret amongst the undergrad body that the academic advising system is flat-out broken. Students are often better off trying to use the revived SA Course Guide to figure out their classes each term rather than trust whatever faculty member has been assigned to them. I recall one story a student relayed to me wherein the entirety of her experience with her advisor was a simple check to make sure she understood the Banner system. I gave up on the system after I was advised into my two most frustrating academic experiences here.

The third prong, personal performance, also has this interesting tidbit in its description:  “Strategies for physical and mental wellness will also be integral to the mission of DP2, including new campus initiatives concerning binge drinking and sexual conduct.”

I don’t know about everyone else, but I’d find it pretty amusing if something borne out of the athletic department is better able to handle binge drinking and sexual assault than the bureaucratic nightmare that is Parkhurst. If there’s one man who can pull that sort of thing off, though, it’s Harry Sheehy.

Sterling C. Beard

[h/t: Boxscore, Dartblog]