195th Session Meeting Minutes

Members introduced themselves and told a bit about themselves and the groups they represent. They then gave a brief update on their groups and constituents, including recent activities and future activities/events/projects.

Issues discussed in the committee included

-Increasing participation within constituency

-Increasing exposure within constituency

-Best practices

-Role of various representative constituencies in the current Dartmouth alumni turmoil

-Role of email vs. print material today and tomorrow

Reasons presented and discussed regarding proposed dissolution of this committee:

-The chair announced that the Committee on Alumni Organization would be disbanded if the vote later during the Alumni Council meeting ratified the changes proposed to the Alumni Council constitution.

-While not necessarily desirable, the proposal to disband this committee was deemed to be a part of solution to a much greater series of problems and issues.

-Both the chair, David Eichman, and the vice chair, Victor Rich, expressed their regrets but would accept the conclusion as part of an overall proposal to improve the current Alumni Council structure.

Members introduced themselves with their class year and indicated which group they represented.An agenda was distributed.Associate Dean of Student Life and Director of the Office of Pluralism and Leadership Sylvia Spears spoke about her work at the College and introduced three students who talked about diverse communities on campus.Issues discussed included: 1) self-segregation, 2) the effect of the D-plan on continuing momentum for projects/issues, 3) the need for better communications and coordination among student groups, 4) overlapping events and cosponsorships, 5) the perception of too many events and an “over-programmed” campus (approximately 200 student organizations with about 120 receiving funds from COSO).

Next we received a presentation from members of the Student Assembly on the projects that they are currently working on.Topics included: 1) socioeconomic class on campus, 2) gender relations and female social spaces, 3) helping students navigate the Dartmouth bureaucracy, 4) the search for a new mascot (gauging support for the Moose), 5) expanding student programming space (i.e. replacing Webster Hall) and 6) the InCircle student-alumni network.

Graduate Student Representative Sara Walker then briefed the committee on issues important to graduate students, including: 1) affordable housing, 2) special challenges of international students, 3) obtaining dental and vision insurance and 4) teaching opportunities and training.

Anyone interested in receiving a more detailed list of current student issues should please email Lynne Gaudet at lynne.gaudet@dartmouth.edu.

The Alumni Council's Academic Affairs Committee met with Biology Professor David Peart and Chair of the French and Italian Departments Professor Lynne Higgins to discuss the College's international programs. Dartmouth is first among peer institutions in the number of undergraduates participating in foreign studies. Well over 50 percent of students study abroad with Dartmouth professors, and an additional 10 percent participate in programs overseen by others.Dartmouth's programs are exceptional in the degree to which they are integrated into the curriculum and students study with Dartmouth professors. Such programs include not only Dartmouth's famous language programs, but a range of programs in the sciences, humanities, and other disciplines. International study is available to all students regardless of wealth, but the declining value of the dollar has put pressure on international study. Assistant Dean of Faculty Jane Carroll observed that the Dartmouth Plan facilitates international study, and also helps Dartmouth attract faculty.

The Council's Academic Affairs Committee discussed working with the trustee's newly-formed Academic Affairs Committee. The alumni committee also discussed the progress of the Academic Affairs Web site, and investigation of an alumni speakers bureau intended to assist faculty by identifying and bringing accomplished alumni to campus.

Recent events at Dartmouth have highlighted the fact that communication has become an absolutely critical issue for both alumni councilors and the College. There is anecdotal evidence that last year's passive effort to encourage councilors to communicate with their constituents is gaining traction (approximately 40 percent of councilors had sent formal reports to their constituents). While this is a significant improvement upon historical reporting rates, our uncompromising goal is to achieve consistent 100 percent reporting rates. As such, the committee is taking an active role in contacting all councilors to ensure they are communicating with their constituents on a regular basis. This follow-up process is one component of a broad strategy we intend to undertake in improving communications within the Dartmouth community.

Our approach broadly speaking is threefold.

-Ensure we as a council are communicating with alumni

-Refine the communications: make communications concise, compelling, and interesting

-Enhance and create new channels for two-way communications

Short-term purposeful acts include

-Revisiting the mission statement of the Communication Committee to ensure that it accurately reflects today's needs

-Producing a high-quality councilor's report by a committee member for use by all councilors either for reference, attachment or simply to be forwarded to constituents

-Handouts to be produced by the committee as reference items for councilors (key issues councilors should be informed about, what to include in your councilor's report, etc.)

-Continuation of the councilor follow-up calls by the Communications Committee

Our goal as a cCommittee is to develop clearly defined roles for our members and create a chain of accountability such that we are able to ensure effective communication by the council as a whole, identify the needs of the council, identify short and long-term purposeful acts to undertake, and also to make recommendations on what we perceive to be communication needs of the College.

The College Relations Group met on November 29, 2007, for the last time. As of Friday, November 30, with the adoption of the new constitution for the Alumni Council, it will be known as the Alumni Liaison Committee (ALC).

At the Thursday meeting, initial discussion about the form and composition of the ALC ended with all members sharing a common vision for the role of the committee and agreeing upon a basic goal. There is a great deal of work needed in terms of creating an organizational structure, but four areas of focus were identified. The invitation from the Alumni Relations Committee of the Board of Trustees for regular communication and collaboration was applauded by all on the ALC, but again a great deal of thought needs to be put towards how the committee can be most effective in supporting the Board of Trustees and their efforts.

Saturday morning breakfast with President Wright and Trustees Mulley and Fernandez focused on an update of the new constitution of the council, a discussion of the precepts for the trustee elections coming from the governance discussion of the Board of Trustees, and an exchange of ideas with regard to the communication between the council and the College at all levels.

The meeting was called to order by Chair Cindy Shannon '76 who welcomed new members and Admission Office staff. Maria Laskaris '84, the dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, then gave a preliminary report on early decision applications for the Class of 2012. Highlights were as follows.

-The number of early admission applicants is at its highest ever, at 1,432 (up from 1,285 last year). This suggests that Dartmouth has not been affected adversely by Harvard's and Yale's decision to abandon early decision. Maria suggested that, because Dartmouth's ED option is binding, only students for whom Dartmouth is the clear first choice apply. Clearly, Dartmouth is the first choice of many superb students.

-Among the ED pool were 137 legacies. Approximately 10 to 12 percent of the ED pool is composed of recruited athletes.

Maria Laskaris and President Jim Wright are committed to retaining a healthy percentage of admissions slots for regular admission applicants.Unlike some of its peers, Dartmouth will not admit more than approximately 37 percent of the class via ED.

-The number of Native American students applying ED is up to 28 (from 19 last year).The committee was heartened to see that events of last year had not caused this number to decline.

-The College and the committee are committed to increasing the number of qualified African American and Latino students applying to Dartmouth. We are not satisfied with those numbers (31 and 46, respectively, in this year's ED pool).

-The Admissions Office has worked hard to help students from families and schools unfamiliar with the ED process to be prepared to apply to Dartmouth ED if that is the student's choice. This involves communicating early with students about the need to take challenging courses, to take standardized tests early and to have considered the college options during junior and early senior year.

-Suggestions were made to admissions staff as to how to reach out more sensitively to legacy applicants and their parents when the student is denied. These suggestions (personal letter and phone calls, etc) were warmly received. In addition, the committee learned about the procedures already in place to handle this emotional situation.

Discussion and action ideas:

-Since on-campus interviews are no longer offered, the role of alumni interviews is even more important.

-The committee and the Admissions Office need to work together to correct any misunderstanding regarding the role of the alumni interview. The purpose of an interviewer's report is not to enhance the student's chance of admission but to be the “eyes and ears” of the Admissions Office by providing a sense of the student as a person. In this way, the interviewer's report provides invaluable insight not available from the other documents in a student's file.

-Recruiting new interviewers is important, both to meet the need and as a means of connecting alumni to the college. Ideas:

-Leverage the workplace: Dartmouth employers should encourage their new graduate hires to do interviews.

-Reach out to younger classes; encourage articles in class newsletters, etc.

-Include DEDs at club/class officer weekends in Hanover, to develop the personal relationships that facilitate recruitment.

-Utilize Facebook to spread the call to interviewing.

-We want and need more interviewers who are people of color. Barriers to involvement reported by some alums from affiliated groups were discussed how to respond to these experiences and concerns will be an agenda item for our next meeting.

-The need to provide better and more training for interviewers was discussed. The Admissions Office will look into developing a brief (7-minute) training DVD that can be mailed to new interviewers.

-The question was raised as to whether the Form 6 needs to be redesigned in order to better elicit the “personal snapshot” information desired by the Admissions Office. Some councilors felt the current form encourages a quantitative ranking approach.

After a lively and open discussion on these and other issues, the meeting was adjourned.

Skip Sturman (with help from Rex Morey) provided an interesting overview of career services available for alumni. As Skip noted, Career Services is focused on providing service to undergraduate students, but provides assistance to alumni as much as it can. Much of the alumni interaction occurs as a part of grad school advising services. In addition, 8.5 percent of career counseling appointments are with alumni. Alumni also have access to the alumni advisor network; approximately 23,000 out of 40,000 working alumni have volunteered to serve as advisors.

Given the career services focus of our session, we keyed in on a few issues:

1. Should the Alumni Council support the creation of a dedicated alumni career services professional (either within Career Services or Alumni Relations)?  There is interest in doing so, and a subset of the committee will explore this issue prior to the next meeting.

2. Should the committee update the Alumni Life 101 document and distribute it to the senior class?  There was debate as to the value of the publication, but it was agreed that it might be useful and the effort involved in updating it would be limited.

3. Is there merit in doing a small-scale survey to determine the merit of Alumni Life 101 and other issues of importance to young alumni?  Rex Morey is assessing the opportunities for conducting a survey and will work with the committee over the next several months.

The meeting was held at the newly completed Floren Varsity House, constructed along the east side of the football field stands. The facility contains a 10,000-square-foot strength training center, a 130-seat “smart classroom,” meeting rooms and study lounges for the varsity teams, football locker facilities, and offices for the football, baseball, softball, and women's lacrosse teams. The facility is one of the finest, if not the finest, of its type in the Ivy League.

The meeting began with a brief talk by Head Football Coach Buddy Teevens, who spoke briefly of the past season (3-7 record) and his confidence that the team was headed in the right direction. Buddy also mentioned other aspects of the team that were of interest, including efforts that he was making to promote interaction of the football team with other students; the team's decision, following a presentation on the effects of alcohol, not to drink alcohol during the football season, plus the mandatory study hallrequired of the players. All of these efforts have resulted in supportive comments from other students and professors as well. Coach Teevens has also initiated a Career Day for the players.

The committee also heard a presentation on club sports/PE activities (total budget of $87K). There are now 33 club sports teams recognized by the College. The club sports have taken the place of what used to be JV teams. The Figure Skating Club won its fourth consecutive national title and the Cycling Club finished runner-up nationally this past year. Nine of the club sports teams have Friends Groups that accept donations for that sport. The College recently created an umbrella “Friends of Club Sports” entity to allow for donations to teams that do not have their own Friends Group. In 2006-07, there were more than 3,800 participants in the PE/intramural sports program.

In addition to contributing to the various Friends Groups for both club sports and varsity sports, alumni can also make donations to the Athletic Director's Discretionary Fund ($240K in 2006-07) as well as to the Athletic Sponsors Program ($351K in 2006-07). The Athletic Sponsors Program funds travel to and from Dartmouth for athletes who are considering Dartmouth. While there is no minimum amount required for membership, most donations range from $100 to $1,000 per year. The contribution is tax deductible and is included in the Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience. As a restricted gift, it is not part of the Dartmouth College Fund, which comprises unrestricted gifts used across the College.  Checks should be made payable to Dartmouth College - Sponsor Program and mailed to:  Dartmouth Athletic Sponsor Program, 6083 Alumni Gym, Hanover, NH 03755. For more information, you can reach Program Director Bob Ceplikas '78 or Alumni Coordinator John Engelman '68 at the same address; or by calling (603) 646-2463; or via email at cep@dartmouth.edu. Be aware that once a person makes a contribution to any of the above-mentioned athletic-related programs, that person is deemed a “representative of Dartmouth's athletic interests” for purposes of the NCAA and needs to be aware of the various restrictions regarding financial support/interaction with current or prospective student athletes. For more information on these restrictions, please contact Drew Galbraith, associate athletic director for compliance, at (603) 646-1496 or drew.galbraith@dartmouth.edu .

Athletic Director Josie Harper passed out an annual report summarizing the athletics program for the academic year 2006-07. The year saw one NCAA National Championship (ski team), three Ivy Championships (men's and women's ice hockey, and men's lightweight crew), with six teams finishing in the top three of the final Ivy League standings. Also distributed was a list of improvements to athletics facilities (with costs) completed during President Wright's presidency, including:  Scully-Fahey field ($4M), Boss Tennis Center/Gordon Pavilion ($7.5M), Blackman Football Practice Fields ($0.75M), Leverone Fieldhouse renovation ($5.3M), McLane Lodge and Skiway improvements ($4.5M), Hanover Country Club renovation ($3M), Berry Squash Court renovations ($1M), Corey Ford Rugby Clubhouse & Fields ($3.3M, raised by the Corey Ford Foundation and the Rugby Team foundation), Alumni Gym renovation ($16M - this project included, among other things, the installation of exercise equipment at the top of the gym for all students to use with more than 250,000 users in the first year), resurfacing of the Memorial Field and Track ($2.8M), resurfacing of Leede Arena ($0.35M), and construction of the Floren Varsity House ($19.5M). Other projects under construction include the Burnham Soccer Field and support facility ($8M), and putting FieldTurf on the Scully-Fahey field. This list speaks of the efforts by the College to continue to provide excellence in the area of athletics and exercise for both varsity team players and other students.

The Athletics Department hopes that there will be donors as part of the Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience who will assist with raising the remaining balances for the Athletics Endowment, the Burnham Soccer Field, and the Alumni Gym renovations. There are also many opportunities for donation of head coaching naming gifts.

The committee heard that the cycle for recruiting athletes continues to happen earlier in the student's high school career. While the Ivy League does not issue actual admission letters separately or any earlier than in the past, preliminary feedback can be provided to recruited athletes by July 1 of the year, and “likely” letters can be issued by Oct. 1 of the year. It was noted that the Admissions Office has been responsive in providing earlier feedback on potential candidates to assist the Athletics Department in reacting to this general trend. Approximately 190 recruited athletes applied early decision to Dartmouth this past fall, which is the highest number ever for this type of applicant.

There was a brief discussion as to whether Dartmouth was competitive with other colleges concerning coaches' salaries. Harper stated that Dartmouth is competitive and that the salaries of several positions had been raised in the past couple of years so as to be competitive. As noted above, the department hopes to have more coaching positions endowed in order to free up budget allocations for other salaries.

Finally, the committee discussed the feature of the proposed new Alumni Council constitution that would merge the Athletics Committee with the Student Life Committee to create a new larger committee called the Student Affairs Committee. One of the goals of this effort is to allow the information on Athletic programs to reach the entire Alumni Council membership, rather than just the Athletics Committee members. With that goal in mind, committee members expressed support in general for the merger but felt it important that there be an athletics subcommittee within the new Student Affairs Committee or that at a minimum, certain members be assigned to the athletics topic.