193rd Session Meeting Minutes

Following an excellent report by Associate Dean Lindsay Whaley on Interdisciplinary and International Programs at the College, the committee focused on its pre-planned agenda of determining specific ways in which the council, and alumni generally, can be helpful in working with the faculty to advance understanding and support of the academic life of the College.  The discussion was significantly enhanced by the perspectives of the new cohort of faculty members who have recently joined the committee.  Several principles were agreed to including:  (1) selection of ideas that don't interfere with established teaching and research activities; (2) consideration of both classroom and non-classroom related programs and events; (3) early emphasis on a selected few activities rather than a comprehensive series of programs; (4) and selection of activities that offer strong possibilities for continuity over a period of years.  A screened and prioritized list of recommendations will be presented for selection at the spring meeting of the committee in anticipation of implementation in the fall of 2007.

Our meeting began with a report from the vice president, David Spalding, on the status of alumni continuing education and travel's evolving responsibilities and new tasks as part of alumni relations. ACE is expected to continue to improve and increase faculty interaction with alumni. Roberta reported that attendance at Alumni College is still in a downward trajectory. New initiatives are being considered to revive interest in the program. Committee discussion included:  that each member should attempt to attend some ACE&T event; the committee selected Peter Saccio as the 2007 recipient of the Faculty Award for Outstanding Service to Alumni; Roberta asked for help in identifying what type of information should be included “For Volunteers” on the ACE&T Web page; Karan Danthi, ACE&T's student intern facilitated a discussion on the online book club idea; other discussions included use of Survey Monkey and Green Corps calling mechanism to help market events.

After considerable discussion, the committee agreed that it would like to convey a “sense of the committee” that the Alumni Council would be well-served by increasing the number of affiliated group representatives from one to two per group at the time that changes to the council constitution are considered and asked that the chair of the committee put forth this recommendation for consideration at the appropriate time. The committee decided to take a different course of action relative to its best practices project, due to concern that best practices designed to serve all groups would make them useless.  There were additional concerns that an abstract group like the CAO may not be in the best position to suggest best practices for other groups and other groups might take offense at best practices imposed upon them. In the coming months, the CAO will identify commonalities amongst its constituent groups, identify the repositories for best practices within each group and share that information as a list of these resources posted online. Alumni volunteers will be able to access these to find out what is considered successful.

The Athletic Committee opened with a review of the University of North Dakota mascot issue in connection with a holiday hockey tournament to be hosted by Dartmouth.
We were taken on a visual tour of the some $70 million in recent new or improved athletic facilities highlighted with the (under construction) Floren Varsity Center and the soon-to-be-started Burnham soccer field and house.  After spending much of last year discussing the role and importance of club sports, we were pleased to note that their needs have been highlighted in the athletic department financial presentation.  Also, the president has renewed his $30,000 discretionary fund for club sports and the athletic department has provided an additional $15,000 as well.  The committee continues to believe that more resources are necessary in this area. Out-of-league competition against clearly superior opponents was discussed with emphasis on men's football and basketball.  The football schedule is set a number of years ahead and is very difficult to rearrange.  While basketball may not fare well in some of its early games, particularly this year with numerous injuries, the prospect of playing at a Duke or a Kansas appears to be a positive for the team.  Jeff Cook, men's varsity soccer coach, discussed the challenges of maintaining a nationally competitive team within the constraints of the Ivy League rules and regulations. A suggestion was made by a committee member that we receive more of our information in the form of written reports prior to our meetings so that we have more time to discuss issues and be more proactive concerning issues facing the athletic department.  As part of this effort we will establish a small working group to interface more closely with Josie Harper and her colleagues between meetings.

This interactive two-hour meeting started at 7:30 am on December 1, 2006, with presentations by three members of the College administration. Bill Walker, vice president for public affairs, updated the committee on Dartmouth's institutional branding strategy. Rick Adams, director of publications and editorial services, talked about the overhaul of the College Web site. Sean Plottner, editor of the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, described his goals for increasing the magazine's business performance and impact, including bringing the publication online. Vice President for Alumni Relations David Spalding then described the Alumni Sentiment Survey Initiative for 2007,  with goals of 1) developing and launching Dartmouth's first comprehensive survey of all 67,000 alumni in the third quarter of 2007 and 2) analyzing and reporting survey results at the DAC meeting one year from now. Finally, the second hour of the meeting focused on generating specific actions and deliverables for the committee to increase the transparency of the DAC to all alumni and to stimulate alumni engagement with Dartmouth. These included 1) developing questions for inclusion in the Alumni Sentiment Survey to clarify how alumni prefer to have information delivered by the DAC and the College to them 2) establishing common communications standards for use by alumni councilors to transmit information to the alumni they represent, 3) developing a marketing communications plan to publicize the DAC mission, its effectiveness, and its efforts to connect alumni councilors with their constituents/alumni and 4) producing and disseminating a summary of “important issues”  for use by alumni councilors in communicating with their constituents/alumni.

The Enrollment and Admissions Committee enthusiastically welcomed its new members. Dean Furstenberg, Cara Wallace, and Dan Parish reported extensively on admissions and financial aid. Half of the applicants for the class of 2010 were interviewed by alums. 11% of the 10's are first generation college students. Twelve percent of the '10s are Pell Grant recipients. The class of 2010 contains the largest class of women ever  The overall admit rate was 15 percent. 36 percent of the matriculating '10s were early decision admits. Twenty-nine students were admitted off of the waiting list. The class of 2010 contains the largest number ever of international students (70). Karl reminded the committee that international students are not admitted need blind. The number of Latino students admitted was very high but the yield this year was lower than normal. The average aid award was $28,600 for a total of $14 million in scholarships awarded. The committee received a report on the race-related incidents at the College. The committee had extensive discussions on the search for the new dean of admissions and financial aid. The committee had a high degree of concern over the fact that no member from the committee was invited to sit on the search committee. The committee directed Douglas Tyson to speak with the council president and communicate this concern, request a meeting with the provost through the council president, and report back to the committee on the results of that meeting.

The main topic of discussion at this meeting was alcohol use and alcohol programs on campus.  Jack Turco and colleagues shared that while the challenge of alcohol abuse on campus is still significant (as it is on most college campuses), there are a great number of very successful Dartmouth programs aimed at the prevention and treatment of abuse.  Perhaps even more exciting was the discussion of some fairly new programs aimed at keeping intoxicated students safe, and the growing success of these efforts.  In addition, the committee met with representatives from the student assembly to understand what has occurred this fall that has left many important members of our community feeling under attack and unwelcome, and what is being done to address, learn from, and heal from these (we believe) unacceptable incidents. The committee has asked alumni relations to ensure there is clear communication to alums that fully explains what has occurred (it is not simply about names of basketball teams), and will take its own action to show our support for all members of our community (taking a cue from the recently over 600 person campus rally in support of community). Further, the student assembly shared new work being done on the moose as mascot, complete with new (much improved) design and significant renewed support on campus.  Finally, given the strong interest we continue to hear from students and alums for greater connection with each other, the committee briefly discussed the (now almost final) brochure we are putting together (with the significant help of Rex Morey '99) that helps alumni learn about and access the myriad programs designed to connect alumni and students.