199th Session Committee Summaries

The 199th session of the Dartmouth Alumni Council opened with meetings of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee and the Alumni Liaison Committee, followed by an orientation session for first-year councilors.

Councilors gathered for a reception and dinner at the Dartmouth Outing Club House, followed by a presentation of students involved with the Dartmouth Outing Club: DOC president Tom Flynn '11, DOC vice president Greg Sokol '10, student director of "AT In a Day" Matt Dahlhausen '11, First-Year Trips director Dan Susman '10, DOC Centennial co-chairs Max Friedman '10 and Alice Bradley '11, and Angela Dunnham '13. The evening concluded with "The Salty Dog Rag" and more dancing to the music of Rory Gawler '05, program coordinator of the DOC, and his band.

Alumni Council president Janine Avner '80 opened the morning plenary session, held in 105 Dartmouth Hall, and introduced Ambassador Kenneth Yalowitz, adjunct professor of government and the Norman E. McCulloch Jr. Director of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding.

Professor Yalowitz started by mentioning that in 1945, the tumultuous times that surrounded President John Sloan Dickey '01 led to the need for an actively engaged understanding of major issues via the liberal arts and, for that reason, the "Great Issues" class was born. He expressed support for President Jim Yong Kim's decision to bring back the course.

He then provided an overview of the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding. The Dickey Center was established in 1982 as a result of President Dickey's commitment to global citizenship, built on his legacy to properly equip students with an international education. There are three missions of the Dickey Center:

1. Support the liberal arts curriculum

Through war and peace studies, global health initiatives, Swahili lessons, and an international studies minor

By supporting (and funding) faculty overseas for research and curriculum enrichment

 2. Provide international settings to students

Through international internships, research overseas, and student international groups

 3. Involve students in ongoing research at the Dickey Center

Within the Global Health Initiative, Arctic Studies, and War & Peace Studies programs

 In response to councilors' questions, Yalowitz provided the following information:

In terms of the need for international leadership in today's environment, the Dickey Center is sensitive to our changing demography and offers plenty of opportunities to address this, such as a seminar to better understand foreign policy and a culture/identity course. The programs offer speakers from all over the world and students are also sent throughout the world.

To fund international internships, the Dickey Center has its own endowment, which is a product of committed alumni through the years; it is very dependent on alumni giving.

Tuck now has a staffed international business program that the Dickey Center supports.

A presentation followed by David Spalding '76, vice president of Alumni Relations, on Dartmouth's reputation and rankings in response to many inquiries from alumni. He gave details on the excellence of Dartmouth, and went on to explain the disconnect between its high quality and its issues with some national rankings, including its score among peer assessment weighted rankings and the lack of recognition in most rankings in grad schools (except for Tuck). He also explained how U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, and the QS World University Rankings determine the methodology behind their rankings. Dartmouth College was rated No. 1 in "commitment to undergraduate teaching" (U.S. News & World Report, August 2009) and Tuck consistently does well. He concluded by stating that while peer assessment/reputation has its limitations as a measure of institutional quality, it is an indicator of what peers and others think about Dartmouth, and that reputations do matter — for admissions, employment, recruitment and retention, and external funding.

Wylie Collins '83, chair of the Enrollment and Admissions Committee, then introduced the panel for the admission workshop, consisting of Dan Parish '89, director of admissions recruitment and communications; Colleen Wearn '06, assistant director of admissions; and Jeff Solomon '91, alumni interviewer from the Las Vegas area.  Collins encouraged the alumni councilors to strongly consider becoming alumni interviewers or include information on becoming an interviewer in their constituent communications.  Parish gave an update on the current state and role of alumni interviewing, providing interviewing data and current trends.  Wearn then presented three case studies that displayed how alumni interviews were a factor in admissions staff's decisions.  Solomon talked about his experience interviewing, and that he feels his role is to market the College.  When interviewing, he looks for both passion and initiative in the candidates, and feels the conversation is a mutual learning experience.

In response to councilors' questions, the alumni interviewing panel provided the following information:

Last year 33.2% of applicants rated as "outstanding" by alumni interviewers were admitted which is much higher than the regular admission rate of 12.6% and slightly higher than the admission rate for valedictorians which was 32.5%.

Alumni interviewers greatly help in providing local context for applicants (how well the groups in which they are involved perform locally/statewide).

Next on the agenda, Tom Daniels '82, chair of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee, gave an overview of the committee, including its purpose, diversity of committee members, and search process, which involved the guiding principles, search criteria, due diligence/vetting, and, finally, the committee's recommendations. He then reported that the committee recommended Morton Kondracke '60, P'91, and John Replogle '88 to run for trustee of Dartmouth College, providing a biography of each candidate.

Daniels announced the candidates were present, at which time Kondracke and Replogle appeared before the Alumni Council to introduce themselves. The candidates addressed the council and were available for conversation during lunch and at the reception later that evening. The Alumni Council voted 89–1 (with no abstentions) to approve these candidates to run for the two board of trustees vacancies.

After the morning plenary session, councilors had the opportunity to attend one of three lectures from the popular Alumni College at Reunion program. This program is offered in June, when Dartmouth faculty members present a variety of lectures to alumni attending reunions in Hanover. The following three lectures were offered to councilors:

"Are We Prepared for This Pandemic?" by Joseph Rosen, MD, professor of surgery at DHMC and adjunct associate professor of engineering and senior lecturer at Thayer 

"Understanding Islamists" by Kevin Reinhart, associate professor of religion, Asian, and Middle Eastern studies 

"GreenLite Dartmouth: Conserving Energy One Kilowatt at a Time" by Lorie Loeb, research associate professor and director of the digital arts minor in computer science

 After the lectures, luncheon meetings were held for the Young Alumni Committee, Honorary Degrees Committee, and the Ad Hoc Committee to Support Greek Letter Organizations.

The afternoon plenary session, held in 105 Dartmouth Hall, opened with Sylvia Spears, acting dean of the College, providing an update on:

1. Mission and strategic goals of the division

2. Framework for service delivery

3. Learning beyond the classroom

First-year trips

Athletics and recreation

Collis Center for student involvement

Peer advising

Leadership initiatives

 In response to councilors' questions, Spears provided the following information:

As far as implementing new alcohol policies, the administration will not implement a new system until there is proof it will benefit the safety of the students.

She also commented that there have been some changes made to the current system, Social Event Management Procedures (SEMP).

Kate Conley, associate dean of the faculty for the arts and humanities, then presented, "Moving Forward with the Arts at Dartmouth with the Visual Arts Center." During this presentation, she provided councilors with an update of the plans for the building, including the layout and how it will fit in with the aesthetic of the current campus. The Visual Arts Center will bring into focus the strong arts program at Dartmouth. In the new building there will be an emphasis on teaching both the history and theory of the arts, along with hands-on production. Film and media studies will work together and complement the studio arts program - united in one building for the first time. There will also be a new digital humanities program.

Next on the agenda, David Spalding provided an update on the budget, informing councilors about the College's strategic framework, financial update and projections, and next steps. He gave an explanation of endowment performance, College spending from the endowment, and what needs to be done to correct the existing structural imbalance of revenues and expenses. He also went into detail about the selected endowment distribution model, and provided a timeline of implementation.

Meetings of the Academic Affairs, Communications, Enrollment and Admissions, and Student Affairs Committees followed.

A reception was held at the Top of the Hop with a receiving line for President Jim Yong Kim, followed by dinner in Alumni Hall at the Hopkins Center.

Janine Avner welcomed everyone and acknowledged the five past presidents of the Alumni Council who were in attendance: Bill Montgomery '52, Al Collins '53, Mark Harty '73, Martha Beattie '76, and Sherri Oberg '82, '86Tu. Avner addressed the Alumni Council, and presented the Alumni Award to Matt Dwyer '75 and the Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award to Belinda Chiu '98 later in the program.  After dinner, President Kim addressed the Alumni Council.

The Alumni Liaison Committee held a breakfast meeting with trustee Sherri Oberg.

President-elect Tom Peisch '70 opened the morning plenary session in Alumni Hall. He introduced President Jim Yong Kim, who first provided an overview of the College's strategic priorities in order to achieve set goals and then held a Q&A session.

In response to councilors' questions, President Kim provided the following information:

With regards to the current budget situation, all recommendations are welcome and the College has a link on the budget Web page for people to submit suggestions.

The administration would like to remove the stigma of "slow working" from higher education, and obtain measurable results.

When considering how to best move forward, there have been changes made within the administration, and more will be made as necessary.

Following President Kim's Q&A session, the committee chairs provided their respective reports on the Academic Affairs, Alumni Liaison, Nominating, Communications, Greek Letter, Enrollment and Admissions, Student Affairs, and Young Alumni Committees.

Sherri Oberg followed with a trustee report. She thanked the entire Alumni Council, Alumni Awards Committee, and Nominating Committee for all their hard work. She then clarified the role of the board of trustees at Dartmouth, providing insight into its responsibilities. The trustees have the fiduciary responsibility of strategic direction, approving the budget and strategic initiatives. They do not involve themselves in the day-to-day activities of the College, such as the alcohol policy and admission process. The board meets for two days, five times a year. The trustee's role is to stay involved with the Dartmouth community.  The makeup of the board is diverse — all have strong opinions, but at the same time care deeply for the College. Oberg is currently on the Alumni Relations, Health Sciences, and Master Plan and Facilities Committees of the board. The board's major focus at this time is protecting the endowment, managing the spend rate of the College, and exploring options with the budget cuts.

In response to councilors' questions, Oberg provided the following information:

There is the optimism that Dartmouth will be stronger in the end after the necessary budget cuts take place.

The Health Sciences Committee of the board works on such matters as the College's relationship with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, the Medical School financial situation (which has stabilized), and creating opportunities to enhance the relationship between graduate and undergraduate students.

Mike Backman, director of Alumni Relations Information Resources, and Sarah Jackson-Han '88, vice-chair of the Communications Committee made a comprehensive presentation titled "Dartmouth Alumni Technology and Social Networking".

Tom Peisch announced the open microphone session. Discussion ensued regarding the trustee nomination process, the issue of parity, and that petition trustee candidates are expected to run in the spring election. Additionally, councilors were encouraged to update their Dartmouth Career Network information, and there was further support expressed for the "Great Issues" course.

Peisch opened the old business session.  Janine Avner addressed an issue from the May meeting regarding the number of councilors representing the post-55th reunion classes. It was determined by the Executive Committee to wait until the third representative to this constituency is added next year (under the council's three-year membership transition plan) and take action in the future if necessary.

David Spalding followed, providing an update on the ROTC presence on campus. He explained what exists at Dartmouth, what peer institutions offer, and the status of other government agencies recruiting on campus.  In the update, Spalding mentioned that the ROTC has commissioned one member to the Army this year and plans to commission two more next year. The College fully supports the program, and ROTC scholarships have been expanded.  He also handed out a related article from The D, which can be found at thedartmouth.com/2009/11/19/news/rotc/print.

The meeting was adjourned, and an Executive Committee debriefing followed.