Dartmouth names Michigan provost as its president
By TAMAR LEWIN
The New York Times | November 30,2012
Philip J. Hanlon, the provost of the University of Michigan, will be the next president of Dartmouth College, starting in July.
Hanlon, 57, a mathematician whose work focuses on probability and combinatorics, will take office July 1, succeeding Jim Yong Kim, who resigned in April to become the president of the World Bank. The interim president, Carol L. Folt, will resume her role as provost when Hanlon arrives.
“I’m thrilled to be the 18th president of Dartmouth,” said Hanlon, who graduated from Dartmouth in 1977. “I’m particularly excited to be leading Dartmouth in a period when I believe higher education is going to change in important ways.”
Information technology, he said, has already “significantly changed everything about the way we live our lives,” and he said he expected that it would be increasingly used to take “moments of passive engagement” — like listening to lectures — and “flip” them, so students spend that time on their own, and reserve class time for interacting with the professor and classmates.
“A second change is the nature of the workplace, which is becoming more diverse,” he said, “and a third thing that is changing is that the kind of issues the world is facing — the future of health care, transforming K-12 education, balancing the federal budget — are becoming more complicated.”
Hanlon, who earned a doctorate at the California Institute of Technology and spent two years in a postdoctoral program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, still teaches freshman calculus at Michigan. He said he would continue teaching at Dartmouth, an Ivy League college with about 4,100 undergraduates in Hanover, N.H.
“I’ll have to reach out to the math department and see how I can be helpful,” he said. “I like to teach freshmen.”
As provost at Michigan, Hanlon has been a prime candidate for a number of college presidencies.
“I’ve certainly been asked to enter other searches, but this is the only one I was interested in,” he said. “It’s important to me because of the impact the college has had on my own life, coming from a small town in the Adirondack Mountains.”
Indeed, Hanlon was introduced to his wife, Gail Gentes, by her brother, who had been in his fraternity at Dartmouth.
Hanlon, who will be the 10th Dartmouth graduate to become its president, said he expected to focus closely on the college’s cost structure and finances.
“The historic funding model for higher ed is close to unsustainable,” he said. “We can’t continue superinflationary tuition increases.”