Kennedy School Professor Robert B. Reich was elected to the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees last Monday, joining a growing number of academics on the 16 member governing body.
Reich was elected because of his wide political experience and his scholarship, said Alex Huppe, director of the Dartmouth News Service.
In the last few years, Dartmouth has been the scene of well-publicized clashes over questions of race involving students associated with the campus right-wing journal, The Dartmouth Review, which have led some to question the school's reputation for being one of the country's top academic institutions.
The school's new president, James Freedman, has earned praise from some educators for his strong stand against the Review, including a recent speech attacking it, and what is said to be his determination to emphasize intellectualism on the Hanover, New Hampshire campus.
Reich said that he hopes to play a part in improving the intellectual atmosphere at the school and making it one of the nation's premier liberal arts colleges.
"It's near that now, but its academic reputation needs to be strengthened," Reich said. "And the Board needs to pay more attention to the intellectual life of the campus. Essentially I want to help the President, James Freedman, in his desire to make Dartmouth the best undergraduate college."
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Dartmouth in 1968 and a Rhodes Scholar for the following two years, Reich served as Director of Policy Planning for the Federal Trade Commission from 1976 to 1981 under the Carter Administration, and was the Assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General from 1974 to 1976 under Ford.
"He was elected as a representative by the Dartmouth Alumni Council, which represents about 45,000 alumni," Huppe said. "He was a very strong candidate and represents a couple of important factors, including academics and a broad and energetic political base."
Huppe said that because Reich, a Yale Law School graduate, is a scholar of national stature, "he will add luster to the Dartmouth Board." He said that because the Board is small Reich will have a considerable amount of influence.
"[His appointment] will certainly make the Dartmouth Board uniquely sensitive to education issues. And his resume is a golden one with broad political views, as he worked under both Ford, a Republican, and Carter, a Democrat."
Reich, who edits World Policy contributes regularly to The New Republic and is the author of The Next American Frontier, a best-selling study of public policy.
Reich said he ran for the Board of Trustees because it is a small board that is very active and which meets about five times a year. He said his duties will be to help determine the College's major expenditures, to make the final decisions on faculty appointments, and to determine school rules and revenues.