212th Session Committee Summaries

The 212th session of the Dartmouth Alumni Council had a theme focused on Global Dartmouth.  The session opened with a meeting of the Alumni Liaison Committee. Alumni Councilors attended one of three student panel dinner discussion groups: Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering, Dartmouth Students Impacting the World, and Maximizing Experiential Learning through the Dartmouth Plan.

Later that evening, the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee met over dinner. During that same time, alumni councilors participated in an industry-based roundtable discussion with students sponsored by the Council’s Professional Development Committee.

The morning began with meetings of the Academic Affairs, Alumni Service, Athletics, Communications, Enrollment and Admissions, Professional Development, and Student Affairs Committees. This was followed by a “back-to-the-classroom” experience, providing councilors with the opportunity to attend undergraduate classes located at various locations around campus. The Honorary Degrees Committee and the Young Alumni Committee also met at this time.

Lunch featured a faculty panel titled “What Keeps You Awake at Night?” which focused on international security. Michael Mastanduno, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, moderated the panel, which featured Daniel Benjamin, director of the Dickey Center for International Understanding; Jeffrey Friedman, assistant professor of government; and Jennifer Lind, associate professor of government.

The first plenary session opened with welcome remarks by Alumni Council President Jennifer Avellino ’89. She then introduced President Philip J. Hanlon ’77. Hanlon greeted the councilors and thanked them for their important work in communicating with their constituents. He noted it was exactly 30 days until Commencement, and gave a welcome to the Class of 2020. He said it is the strongest class in history by some academic standards. International students, representing 40 countries, make up 9 percent of the incoming class. This news related closely to the Alumni Council meeting’s theme of Global Dartmouth.

Hanlon aspires to a campus that is a magnet for talent, whose members are inspired and motivated by great issues. Dartmouth’s success will be measured by its global impact. This winter, Dartmouth announced an initiative to increase inclusion and diversity at Dartmouth. Three working groups—one each focused on faculty, students, and staff—studied existing data on diversity and inclusion at Dartmouth, defined goals to measure progress, and established mechanisms to ensure accountability and transparency. Earlier this month, the working groups released their recommendations to President Hanlon, Provost Carolyn Dever, Executive Vice President Rick Mills, and Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity Evelynn Ellis. The president expressed his appreciation for the vision of the 2013 report of the Alumni Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.

The faculty cluster hiring initiative, in which groups of faculty are hired to study the world’s pressing issues, is well underway. $150 million has been raised over 18 months to fund 10 academic clusters. This effort will bring 30 new faculty to campus to work on interdisciplinary research. The Society of Fellows, which is comprised of faculty fellows, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting fellows, is an interdisciplinary community that supports the integration of research and teaching excellence. The second class of eight postdoctoral fellows, hailing from institutions such as Princeton, Yale, Brown, and Washington University, will arrive in the fall.

Dartmouth continues to expand opportunities for experiential learning. One example is Biology 71: Ocular Cell Biology and Disease in the U.S. and India. This fall 2016 undergraduate course in Ocular Cell Biology, offered through the Department of Biological Sciences, will be paired with a visit to the Aravind Eye Clinic in Madurai, India, one of the largest eye hospitals in the world. The DEN (Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network) fosters and promotes entrepreneurship among students, faculty, and alumni. The Computer Science department will now be housed at the Thayer School of Engineering, and closer to the Tuck School of Business as well. Fundraising has commenced for the expansion of the Thayer School (Note: Two days following the Alumni Council meeting, it was announced that Barry MacLean ’60 Th’61 donated $25 million to the Thayer School of Engineering, the largest gift in Thayer’s 149-year history). 

The Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, in partnership with the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Program, is offering an interdisciplinary Foreign Study Program in Hyderabad, India during the winter term.This program will also offer service-learning opportunities with alumna Averil Spencer ’10, founder of VOICE 4 Girls. The recently formed School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, Dartmouth’s first new school in more than 100 years, will consolidate resources currently supporting approximately 800 students in 16 PhD programs and 12 masters programs, as well as 250 postdoctoral students. The new house communities are taking shape. Every Dartmouth student will be affiliated with one of six houses going forward.

The president noted the main takeaway of his remarks should be that Dartmouth is on the move. Alumni support of these initiatives is crucial. Urgent world issues looming include energy needs, sustainability, and social justice. Linked to energy issues are economic incentives, geopolitics, and impact on society and cultures.

President Hanlon introduced Dr. Lisa V. Adams MED’90, associate dean for global health and director of the Center for Health Equity. Dartmouth’s global programs are robust and sought after. Off-campus program participants increased from 495 in 2015 to 611 in 2016. 48 students participated in Dickey Center international internships in 2016, 28 of them health related. 188 students indicated global health as their main area of interest in an online incoming student survey.

The Global Health Initiative at the Dickey Center sponsors public lectures and programming, issues a Global Health Certificate, and places students in established sites, Vietnam, India and Greenland. Since 2013, the Center for Health Equity has brought students and faculty together to promote health equity. Global Health Scholars work in Haiti, Kosovo, Peru, Rwanda, Tanzania, Native American communities, and the Upper Valley. The program is distinguished by the “4 I’s” – intersection of global and local, institutional partnerships, inclusion/reciprocity, and interdisciplinary. Kigali, Rwanda, has a healthcare worker shortage. By creating reciprocity, we can build human capital. In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the epidemics of TB and HIV/AIDS must be addressed. The DarDar programs in Tanzania incorporate clinical care/practice, education and training, and research. There is a new paradigm for public health which transcends the North-South divide, with a cross-network collaboration around common challenges. A global approach must be used to common threats – climate change, health security and global health governance. Collaboration happens beyond disciplines and sectors, and Dartmouth is building the next generation of leaders in the Global Health Lab.

Next, Dean of the College Rebecca Biron provided an update on Student Affairs. President Hanlon presented his plan for Moving Dartmouth Forward 16 months ago, and the housing communities were a cornerstone of that plan. Upon matriculating, students will receive life-long designation in a house community, which will provide continuity, community and intellectual engagement. The house communities will be comprised of up to 700 upper class students, with approximately half in residence in any given term. First-year students will continue to live together in first year halls, and participate in house activities. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors may choose to live in house communities for continuity. They will participate in house programming but may choose other residential options such as Greek residences, off-campus apartments, affinity programs, or living learning communities.

All returning undergraduate students found out their housing community assignments on Founders Day, which took place during the winter term. Students gathered at Baker-Berry Library to celebrate and receive house-related items, such as scarves and t-shirts. The house community professors were hired last spring, and have been planning with the dean’s office and a student advisory board. All major campus social events will stay the same – Homecoming, Green Key, Orientation, etc. There will be a house governance system, and many events will be student-driven.

The Dean discussed diversity and inclusion, which are at the core of our educational mission and are catalysts for institutional and educational excellence, not isolated initiatives. Diversity refers to individual differences, (e.g. personality, learning styles, and life experiences) and group/social differences, for example race/ethnicity, social class, gender, sexual orientation, country of origin, ability, as well as cultural, political, religious or other affiliations.  Inclusion is the active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity – in people, in the curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) – in ways that increase one’s awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathetic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within [and change] systems and institutions.

Diversity/inclusivity improve academic excellence, innovation, and equity. Examples of current activities at Dartmouth include recruiting diverse talent through recurring $1 million funds to support hiring underrepresented faculty; a Mellon Foundation grant for faculty recruitment and development; the King Scholars program; participation in the Posse Veterans Program; and the hiring of a Human Resources Director of Talent. In support of building inclusive community are OPAL and affinity programs; Moving Dartmouth Forward and the new House system; financial aid support for off-campus programs; and employee resource networks. In support of education are the expanded EE Just Program; the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity membership/workshops; the Leading Voices series; the First Year Student Enrichment Program; and human resources leadership and management. Dartmouth’s infrastructure to support diversity efforts includes the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity; the Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives position; new positions in the Center for Professional Development and Academic Skills Center; and the Dartmouth Community study.

This winter, President Hanlon launched the Inclusive Excellence initiative to address gaps in action, accountability, coordination, and communication across the institution. Three working groups, one each focused on faculty, students, and staff, made recommendations earlier this month. Community forums are being held on campus during the month of May. The goal of the initiative is to follow best practices, increase awareness of current activities and resources, identify clear metrics, and establish accountability, both internally and externally.

Next on the agenda was the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee update. Chair David Edelson ’81 thanked the alumni councilors who ran for leadership positions. He outlined the purpose of the committee – to identify, recruit, and attract the best alumni to serve on the Board of Trustees, in Alumni Council leadership positions, and in other critical alumni leadership positions. The composition of the Nominating Committee is purposefully representative of the alumni body, composed of the president, the president-elect, the past Nominating Committee chair, one appointed councilor, and six elected councilors.

The fall of 2017 is the next time the Nominating Committee will consider candidates for the alumni-nominated trustee seat, unless a vacancy arises unexpectedly. The committee needs to be prepared to move forward with the nomination and election process, and has met four times this year. The working agenda for the committee also includes consideration of Alumni Council leadership roles, the Nominating Committee slate, the Alumni Liaison Committee slate, and the president-elect slate; the Alumni Council at-large appointments; affirmation of class, club, and affiliated group councilor appointments; affirmation of appointments specified in the Alumni Council constitution; and some specified positions on the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine editorial board. Edelson outlined position-specific skill sets and other considerations, and called for a vote to approve the appointments of the undergraduate representatives, graduate program representatives, Alumni Liaison Committee at-large members, Alumni Council at-large representatives, and affiliated group representatives (as required by the Alumni Council constitution). The new alumni councilors were approved. Edelson presented the nominated slates for the president-elect, Alumni Liaison Committee, and the Nominating Committee. Councilors were asked to cast their votes, with the election results to be announced late Saturday morning.

Next on the agenda was an update from the Board of Trustees, provided by Bill Helman ’80, chair, and John Replogle ’88. Replogle opened by thanking the Alumni Council for nominating him for trustee six years ago. He explained that the key focal areas for the Board of Trustees are academic excellence; the Moving Dartmouth Forward initiative; graduate programs; and financing. The Society of Fellows brings outstanding postdocs to campus to enrich research and mentor undergraduates. The 10 new academic clusters will bring 30 new faculty to campus. Their interdisciplinary work will be centered on global issues. The robust implementation of Moving Dartmouth Forward will enrich the undergraduate experience and help create a more vibrant and safe community. Diversity and inclusion are a major focus for the board and for the institution.

Dartmouth is home to top graduate programs in the Thayer School of Engineering, the Tuck School of Business, and the Geisel School of Medicine. There is extensive collaboration across the institutions. The recently formed School of Graduate and Advanced Studies will codify graduate programs. The vision for Thayer is that it will double in size in 10 years. 50 percent of Dartmouth engineering majors are now women.

The cost of tuition is high nationwide, but the pace of tuition increase at Dartmouth has slowed. President Hanlon and the Board are focused on fiscal prudence and innovation within departments. The Dartmouth College Fund is the largest source of financial aid at Dartmouth.

Following a reception in the Hayward Ballroom of the Hanover Inn, the evening dinner program opened with greetings from council president Jennifer Avellino and President Hanlon. After dinner, councilors heard remarks by Jake Tapper ’91, Chief Washington Correspondent, anchor of the CNN weekday television news show The Lead with Jake Tapper, and anchor of the Sunday morning affairs program, State of the Union. The evening concluded with a thank-you to retiring director of Alumni Leadership Lynne Gaudet ’81.

The Alumni Liaison Committee met for breakfast with President Hanlon and trustee John Replogle.

Jennifer Avellino opened the Saturday plenary session, introducing Alumni Council president-elect Russell Wolff ’89, ‘94Tu. Wolff asked the chairs of the standing committees to report on the meetings held the day prior. Of note, Alumni Liaison Committee chair Lou Spelios ’95 reported on the recent Moosilauke Forum survey on Alumni Day of Service conducted in partnership with the Alumni Liaison Committee.

Helene Rassias-Miles A’08, executive director of the Rassias Center, offered a tribute to her late father, John Rassias ’49a, ’76a, Dartmouth’s William R. Kenan Professor of French and Italian Emeritus. She shared a film from the news show “60 Minutes” and some memories about his life and his time as a Dartmouth professor. Rassias-Miles then conducted a lively language “drill” in Greek with councilor volunteers. David Van Wie ’79, ’84Th, chair of the Council’s Academic Affairs Committee, announced the establishment of the “Professor John Rassias Faculty Recognition Award.” This will be presented to a faculty member who has demonstrated strong engagement with Dartmouth alumni in support of lifelong learning.

Ann Root Keith, COO for Advancement, and Sylvia Racca, executive director of the Dartmouth College Fund and special fundraising initiatives, presented “Dartmouth Development: Seeking Your Insights.”  The Dartmouth College Fund is well on its way to reaching its target goal for FY16. In addition, generous families gave more than $100 million by December 31, 2015 - triggering $50 million in matching funds – in order to establish 10 academic clusters with base endowments of $15 million. $34 million in gifts and pledges have been committed to support the Athletics Field House. Gift and pledges have been committed to support the expansion of the Hood Museum of Art and the rebuilding of the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge.

Councilors used their cell phones to participate in a poll seeking insights about importance of unrestricted giving and the flexibility of the DCF, as well as the opportunities for raising funds to support designated needs of the College. Some data points included in the poll were the following: Among Ivy League institutions, Dartmouth has the second largest annual fund in total dollars at $50 million. Dartmouth’s endowment per student is $700,000. The FY16 budget for financial aid at Dartmouth is $80 million. The average debt load for a member of the graduating class was $16,000 in FY15. The largest source of financial aid at Dartmouth is gifts through the Dartmouth College Fund.

Finally, it was announced that Catherine Craighead Briggs ’88 will be the incoming chair of the Dartmouth College Fund Committee for 2017-2019.

An Admissions update was provided by Meg Lysy ’99, director of the Admissions Ambassador Program; Paul Sunde, director of Admissions and interim dean of Admissions and Financial Aid; and Will Corbett ’10, senior assistant director of Admissions. Sunde opened with a brief snapshot of the Class of 2020. There were 20,675 applicants. 2, 176 were admitted for a 10.5 percent admit rate. 1, 157 will matriculate. Yield activities brought 600 visitors to campus for the Dimensions program. In terms of the students’ academic indicators, 92.4 percent are in the top decile, and interest in interdisciplinary study is at a record level. There is strong demographic diversity: 57.4 percent are public school graduates, 14.1 percent are first generation, 24.6 percent are from the West, and 40.4 percent are students of color. The percentage of women is at a seven-year high. There is no need to go to the waitlist at this time. Sunde expressed his gratitude to those councilors who participated in the interviewing process.

Meg Lysy reported that, in the last two years, the number of active alumni interviewers rose 51 percent to 5,400, interview reports rose 29 percent to 14,445, and the number of admitted student events rose 233 percent to 40. Lysy emphasized that the yield starts with alumni interviewers, who provide applicants another chance to tell their story. Training for interviewers, including three webinars, has increased; Lysy and Corbett are now issuing weekly updates and office hours; there is more stewardship of and appreciation for volunteers expressed.

Wolff announced the Alumni Council leadership election results. Jack Steinberg ’88 was elected as the president-elect of the Alumni Council. Adrienne (Tee) Lotson ’82 and Alyse Streicher ’95 were elected to the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee.  Alex Roberts ’02 was elected to the ALC, and Emily Abernathy-Jones ’95 was appointed to the ALC from the Association of Alumni body.

The open forum commenced, with an open discussion period for councilors and open microphone for alumni. A group of students who are concerned with faculty diversity had been previously invited to attend the forum. Their representative thanked the Alumni Council for commissioning the 2013 report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and Inclusion on faculty diversity. She voiced student concerns about recruiting and retention of Dartmouth faculty and the tenure process and asked for support from the Alumni Council in the College’s ongoing effort on inclusivity and diversity.

The meeting was adjourned.

An Executive Committee debriefing conference call took place on Wednesday, May 18, 2016.