213th Session Meeting Minutes

Chair Mary Dengler ’96 opened the meeting, introduced herself and Vice Chair David Silbersweig ’82, and went over the agenda. Dengler reviewed the mission of the committee, which was revised about a year ago. Since the revision of the mission there have been presentations about some of the new academic initiatives on campus, including digital learning.

Secretary Robin Albing Tu’81 gave an update about the John D. Rassias Faculty Recognition Award. The first award will be presented at the spring 2017 Alumni Council meeting. The committee will solicit nominations by the end of 2016 and work with the academic deans, the Provost’s office and Alumni Relations to make the final selection(s).

The committee then heard an update on diversity and inclusion among faculty at Dartmouth from Denise Anthony, vice provost for academic initiatives and N. Bruce Duthu ’80, associate dean of the faculty for international studies and interdisciplinary programs. Anthony discussed progress being made on the Inclusive Excellence initiative and encouraged the committee to look at the data on the Dartmouth website to learn even more. When the floor was opened for Q&A, the subject of tenure was raised. The faculty members on the committee shared information about the tenure process at Dartmouth, currently under review by the Committee Advisory to the President. The committee expressed interest in further updates about progress in this area at future meetings.

The chair thanked the presenters and the committee, and adjourned the meeting at 10 a.m.

Committee chair Monica Higgins ’86, Tu’90 welcomed the Alumni Service Committee. Theresa Ellis ’97, director of the Center for Service, gave a presentation about the new role of the center, its objectives, and mission moving forward. The mission of the center is to prepare students to be transformative leaders for the common good. It is a community-driven experiential learning process that leads students to enjoy lives of purpose, both personally and professionally. Ellis asked the committee for assistance in identifying and developing a list of alumni who work in the social sector and nonprofits that can serve as a resource for the center and for students.

Higgins reviewed the purpose and history of the committee revolving around idea of service. The Dartmouth Alumni Day of Service is an outward focused, data driven project. The data resulting from a survey completed last May solidifies the Alumni Day of Service as a catalyst and points to the need of intentionality with volunteer work. Monthly calls will be scheduled in preparation for the 3rd annual Dartmouth Alumni Day of Service on May 6, 2017. The committee members will reach out to the Day of Service site coordinators from 2016 and will engage alumni in their regional communities to develop sites as well.

Committee Chair Martha Gerhan ’83 welcomed all councilors and noted that the committee has a challenge in finding out how to bring value to Athletics given the existence of the Athletics Advisory Board and many Friends groups.

Committee Vice Chair Mark Heller ’70 provided an update on the “Dartmouth on the Road” subcommittee, which seeks to engage alumni when teams compete outside Hanover. Athletics and Alumni Relations meets quarterly to go over competitions – particularly those outside New England and the Ivy League - and shares information with relevant clubs should the club wish to promote the competition and organize a fan event. Committee members and interested alumni should sign up with dartmouthsports.com to receive team information. The committee seeks to increase publicity for “On the Road” competitions going forward.

Gerhan provided an update on the Dartmouth Peak Performance (DP2) committee, which seeks to support alumni connections and support for the DP2 program. The committee hosted lunch the day before with six upper class student athletes. Key themes: 1) the students valued time with alumni to hear their stories and learn how to transition from being a student to a professional, but they also feel intimidated contacting alumni; 2) the students feel a disconnect between how they see themselves and how the world sees them; 3) and how athletes bring in extra set of skills, beyond those of non-athlete students, to the table. Ali Hart, assistant director for DP2, updated the committee on the Dartmouth Athletic Career Mentor Network, which enables students to find alumni who played their sport and connect around shared athletic experience.

Harry Sheehy ’55a, director of athletics and recreation, and Bob Ceplikas ’78, deputy director of athletics, provided updates. 2015-16 highlights included Ivy titles in football, men’s soccer, women’s rugby, and equestrian; scoring a 79 in the Directors’ cup; and a robust club sport program. 16 head coach hires over the past four years have strengthened the coaching team. Athletics continues to look at how to better recruit ethnically diverse coaching staff and student athletes, particularly as student athletes constitute one fifth of the student body. Improvement in facilities continue: 1) the Pavilion expansion (locker rooms, equipment room, sports medicine, etc.) breaks ground in November 2016 (completion summer ’17); 2) resurfacing of Memorial Field is complete; and 3) a new ‘smart court’ in Boss Tennis center has been installed. Wearers of the Green will induct 16 varsity athletes this year. Club sports and Masters honorees will be inducted in 2017.

A new-hire coaches panel of David McLaughlin (basketball), Danielle Spencer (women’s lacrosse), and Jamie Holder (swimming & diving) addressed the committee. All were attracted to Dartmouth by the people they met, the opportunity for success, location, academic culture, and how DP2 gives Dartmouth a competitive advantage. The coaches discussed recruiting and how they use DP2, lead by example, and use a set of core values to nurture character in their student athletes.

The meeting closed with a general discussion on how the committee can assist Athletics as a voice to the entire alumni population and recruitment-related challenges.

Committee Vice Chair Alec Casey ’88 opened the meeting and welcomed committee members.

Alec introduced Tricia McKeon, director of alumni relations communications and secretary of the committee; and Courtney Cania, senior web producer, for a presentation on the newly launched Dartmouth Alumni Relations website. The committee learned about the research and discovery process, the building and migration of content, and the goals of making the site welcoming and accessible for all alumni. Discussion centered around use of the site’s new tools, how alumni sentiment factored into the creative process, and ongoing plans for measurement and usability studies.

Jean Romeo, director of market research, presented results from a recent Moosilauke Forum survey that captured data on “alumni perspectives on staying informed and engaging with the administration.” The survey, which captured perspectives from 1,097 alumni respondents, examined how alumni stay informed about Dartmouth. Jean then discussed an opportunity for the committee to become involved in early testing of new digital products and communications.

Alec then led the committee through a discussion on how best to engage with the alumni body about the role and responsibilities of the Alumni Council. The committee utilized the survey results to inform their discussion on how councilors can more efficiently and effectively communicate with their constituents. The committee decided to continue the conversation at the Spring 2017 meeting.

Committee Chair John Banks ’90 opened the session with a welcome and a preview of the meeting. He then asked councilors and Dartmouth staff to introduce themselves.

Lee Coffin, vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid, has been at Dartmouth since July 1. He opened his discussion by discussing the intentionality of admissions: who are we enrolling and what are their paths to Dartmouth? While we are quite strong in terms of our admissions metrics and financial aid policies, he believes there is opportunity for growth and for us to better position ourselves within the Ivy Plus context and in areas of the country where liberal arts colleges are not a known entity. Dartmouth will have a renewed international focus and strategy, as Dartmouth is global and our student body and recruiting strategy should reflect that. New supplemental application questions incorporate Dartmouth alumni and history.

Meg Lysy ’99, Director of the Admissions Ambassador Program, gave an overview of the Alumni Relations/Admissions partnership. Last year, the Admissions Ambassador Program (AAP) had 5,400 volunteers and 275 volunteer leaders, and the program received 14,445 interview reports and  helped coordinate 40 admitted student events. This year, the team has been focused on recruiting new volunteers in areas where we did not reach all of the applicants, as well as providing more robust training for volunteers. Counselors suggested that sharing testimonials, providing mock interviews, and offering student panels during Homecoming might help our volunteers feel better prepared and connected to Dartmouth today. DEDs shared that they would benefit from a forum to share ideas and lessons learned.

Current student Adoley Swanker ’19 spoke about her experience applying to Dartmouth and the impact of the alumni interview. Adoley’s interviewer had infectious energy and willingly answered all of her questions in an honest, straightforward way. She said that the alumni interview made a huge difference for her in choosing to attend Dartmouth.

Chair David Hetzel ’72 opened the meeting, welcomed the committee, and introduced new members.

Roger Woolsey, Director of the Center for Professional Development (CPD), shared information on new initiatives and provided an update on fall recruiting and employment activities: 

  • Student participation in the Employer Connections Fair and the Graduate School Fair broke records, with approximately 1,100 students attending the employer connections fair to connect with 112 employers.
  • While education, technology, and research positons are in the top 5 fields represented among the 6,000+ internship and job opportunities listed in DartBoard, the CPD still faces the challenge of raising the visibility of opportunities outside of finance and consulting.
  • This fall’s on-campus recruiting program has more than twice as many applications as past years (726 juniors and seniors filing over 9,000 applications for just under 200 positions).

New initiatives:

  1. The creation of a donor-funded Women’s Professional Circle with a focus on juniors and seniors and with the goal of increasing confidence, encouraging networking, and creating connections to alumnae.
  2. The 3rd year of the Professional Development Accelerator program for first-year students has seen an increase in the number of students enrolled and the percentage of students completing the required milestones.
  3. The CPD has begun to pilot the use of resume books for selected populations of students, with an eye towards expanding their use in the coming year.

The committee’s 3 working groups delivered updates on their ongoing projects:  

  • The Career Connections Speed Networking event hosted by the Alumni-Student Working Group and the CPD on Thursday evening was a great success, with approximately 70 students in attendance, meeting with 25 members of the Council.
  • The Alumni-to-Alumni working group has completed the draft of a toolkit for planning career events that will be shared with the Communities Executive Council and introduced to club and group leaders by CAGOW this winter.
  • Earlier this fall, the Special Projects Group completed our third iteration of a resume review project, with 50 resumes of current students reviewed by alumni councilors prior to the busy fall recruiting season.
  • The Committee also interviewed 9 alumni councilors, with the goal of producing short video clips with career advice for students. These videos will be edited and produced by the College’s Media production group and then shared in DartBoard and via other channels to students.

The Committee finished the meeting with a discussion kicked off by Vice Chair Cuong Do ’88, who asked members to think about how we could maximize the impact that we can make as a committee and how we can push to make experiential learning work for every student at Dartmouth.

Committee members discussed ways that we can scale our work to reach more students and the importance of connecting directly with students and faculty to inform the work of our committee. We see the House Communities as the perfect vehicle for bringing together students, faculty, and members of the Council in service to the professional development of our students. We will propose our ideas to the Executive Committee and hope that we can harness the talent of the Alumni Council to help support our future efforts.

Committee chair Tim Millikin ’05 opened the meeting. Attendees introduced themselves.

Inge-Lise Ameer, vice provost for student affairs, provided updates about student affairs programs and initiatives and offered an overview of the makeup of the class of 2020. She shared orientation highlights including the launch of the new House system. All new students signed the Citizenship Pledge before meeting President Hanlon during matriculation, and orientation featured a twilight candlelight procession from Collis to the Bema. Ameer described a new mid-term early warning partnership between the Undergraduate Deans Office and faculty and noted an increased demand for mental health services.

Vice-Provost Ameer and Committee Vice Chair Molly Van Metre ’81 next introduced a panel discussion featuring: Dennis Washburn, faculty director of the Global Village; Amy Newcomb, student programs officer and YALI academic director at the Dickey Center for International Understanding; Danielle Hussy, assistant dean and advisor to international students; and Ashley Manning ’17, human development fellow and Dickey Center war and peace fellow. Each panelist offered descriptions of their role and support of global perspectives at the College. Discussion ensued about the role alumni can play in supporting global perspectives at Dartmouth. It was agreed that it would be helpful for alumni to be present on campus to show the diversity of a liberal arts education, demonstrate for the students the power of the alumni network, seek opportunities to engage and connect with students in casual settings, and reach out to the Dickey Center directly with offers of professional expertise.

After the panel discussion, the committee broke into discussion groups. At the conclusion of the meeting, committee chair Tim Millikin ’05 thanked all for their participation and invited the committee to submit requests and ideas for the spring meeting, including a theme for the discussion.

Committee Chair Melanie Pastuck ’11 welcome the members and called the group to order.

Assistant Director for Class Activities and Committee Secretary Nicole Losavio reviewed the Class2Class Program survey results. Nicole noted that 185 members of the classes of ’07 and ’17 participated in the program this summer. Nicole noted common themes among responses such as participants enjoying the events, the opportunity to meet with a current student or alumnus/alumna, and sharing their Dartmouth experiences with one another. Areas for improvement include providing some structure, managing program expectations, and sharing the importance of meeting with your mentor/mentee during the program.

Alumni Council President Russell Wolff ’89 Tu’94 and President-Elect Jack Steinberg ’88 spoke to committee members about Council communication efforts and encouraged the committee to provide feedback on social media and new media efforts.

Members of the Admissions Ambassador Program staff, Director Meg Lysy ’99, Assistant Director Jenn Calver, and Program Intern Adoley Swaniker ’19 shared news of the Young Alumni Admissions Ambassador Challenge to recruit interviewers noting that young alumni can often provide the best perspective of what Dartmouth is like today. The Committee was asked to help promote the challenge to their classmates. Winners of the challenge will win funding for upcoming mini-reunions. Adoley shared the important role that her interviewer played in her decision to attend Dartmouth.

Alumni Service Committee Chair Monica Higgins ’86, Tu’90, and Vice-Chair Barbara Rollins ’84 spoke with the Committee about ways in which to involve young alumni with the Alumni Day of Service. Higgins also noted that while the Alumni Day of Service is integral to the Alumni Service Committee’s purpose, they also seek to engage alumni in various initiatives within their communities. Discussion of the Alumni Day of Service marketing plan included suggestions such as working with Women of Dartmouth in key regions, club young alumni chairs, and possible outreach to on-campus organizations such as SEAD and DREAM. The committee suggested reaching out to young alumni in the non-profit sector to encourage them to organize a project with their organization. The final suggestion was to reach out to alumni who affiliated with a Greek organization while at Dartmouth. Most Greek organizations offer philanthropic opportunities for their members to engage with the community and their alumni may be interested in spearheading projects or becoming involved.

The conversation continued with Chair Melanie Pastuck ’11 and Vice-Chair Amber Bryant ’12 asking the group for feedback regarding ways to provide support for young alumni interested in organizing service opportunities through grant funding. These grants would empower young alumni to develop and implement programming in smaller cities.