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Ask the Expert

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Dean Thomas Crady: The Out-of-Classroom Experience

Thomas Crady became Dartmouth's 11th dean of the College in January 2008, following 25 years at Iowa's Grinnell College. The dean of the College has responsibility for a comprehensive student affairs division that aims to fully support students' lives both in and beyond the classroom.

cradyAdrian Munteanu '10 (left) meets with Dean of the College Thomas Crady in Collis Café, where Crady holds open office hours. (Photo by Joseph Mehling '69)

In this column, Dartmouth Life takes your questions for College experts. The next expert, Adam Keller, executive VP for administration and finance, will answer your questions on the College budget. Click here to send questions by March 10. Include your full name, class year (if applicable), and hometown.

You have been in the student services field since 1982. What are some changes have you have seen?

Technology has dramatically reshaped the way we work with students. The flow of information has changed, and students have increased expectations of immediacy.

Another change is a much higher degree of governmental regulation. From the way we report crime statistics to information we must disseminate about unauthorized use of copyrighted materials, there are more pressures placed on us by external agencies and the federal government.

What about when the drinking age was raised to 21?

That was the biggest change, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984. When that happened, the federal government told colleges that we were now the disciplinary arm of this legislation. The law said that colleges must impose disciplinary sanctions on students and employees who violate policies. That was an enormous change in our role in working with students. Just as we had moved beyond "in loco parentis" to a relationship where students were generally treated as adults, colleges were placed in an increased disciplinary role.

How do you approach alcohol management at Dartmouth?

I would say that alcohol is a challenge, always. The way to approach alcohol on a college campus is through an environmental approach-the manner in which we implement policies, design physical spaces, and offer alternatives to drinking. We always face the dilemma of trying to make sure that we keep students safe.

How do you encourage students to call for help if it is needed?

Something that is absolutely essential for us is the Good Samaritan policy. Student health and safety are our primary concerns; if someone is intoxicated or impaired, a student can call Safety and Security for help and no disciplinary action will be taken with respect to the alcohol policy against the student who is impaired, or against the server. We want our students to seek help that will allow medical professionals to intervene when necessary and to do so without fear of disciplinary action by the College.

Are there other key policies?

We also currently have revisions to our student Social Event Management Procedures underway. The new policy, retitled the Alcohol Management Policy (AMP), changes the focus to giving students more responsibility and less detailed regulation. The AMP proposal has been open to student comment, and I hope to make a decision in the next few months.

During this economic downturn, what are your guiding principles as you look for ways to realize savings?

We have what we consider to be an appropriate standard of care. That includes housing, dining, counseling, disability services, academic support, services for students from underrepresented groups on campus, and providing an atmosphere that enhances the academic experience.

This is a difficult time, and we're being forced to make choices. But the question that underpins our decision making is: Where can we reduce expenses without compromising the appropriate standard of care and services that we should be providing to our students?

What would you like parents to know?

We're really here as a resource. Students and parents can always contact us with questions or concerns. Call my office at (603) 646-3113 or email me. Our website also provides detailed information.

 

 

Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 2/22/09