209th Session Committee Summaries

The 209th session of the Dartmouth Alumni Council opened with meetings of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee and the Alumni Liaison Committee (ALC). Campus tours of new buildings were offered by student guides for first-year councilors.  Afterwards, first-year councilors attended an orientation session.

Later in the evening, councilors attended a dinner during which Barbara Will, A. and R. Newbury Professor of English, and Sue Finegan '85, president of the Association of Alumni, gave an update on the progress of the presidential initiative Moving Dartmouth Forward.

The morning began with meetings of the Academic Affairs, Alumni Service, Athletics, Communications, Enrollment & Admissions, Professional Development, and Student Affairs committees.

The morning plenary session was held in the Hood Auditorium and opened with welcome remarks by Alumni Council president Lou Spelios '95. He then introduced President Philip Hanlon '77.

President Hanlon thanked Spelios, the alumni councilors, and the ALC for their efforts on behalf of the College. He called the ALC a “great measure of what's resonating" with alumni. He also thanked the alumni councilors for their role in engaging alumni in the Moving Dartmouth Forward initiative. He expressed how much he is enjoying teaching Math 11, and noted the Class of 2018 is off to a great start.

President Hanlon laid out his vision and current priorities. He described the work of associate professor of chemistry Jimmy Wu and his team of undergraduate and post-doctoral students in the field of diabetes, as a way of telling Dartmouth's story. Hanlon wants Dartmouth to be a campus of intellectual risk takers, solving the world's problems. There is a division between information, knowledge, and wisdom. Wisdom is the skill required to survive in the real world, along with creativity, direction, and diverse research. As knowledge becomes a free commodity, wisdom is the kind of skill that will distinguish a Dartmouth degree.

The cross fertilization of ideas is essential to the concept of the cluster initiative. The Society of Fellows is currently recruiting their first class of newly minted PhDs, and there are 1,744 applications for five spots. Senior fellows have already been selected. The president envisions Dartmouth as a magnet for talent, attracting the best students and the best faculty. The College must keep the momentum and intellectual energy up, while aspiring to the future. Dartmouth is uniquely strengthened by her alumni, who give the College the license to dare.

During the question and answer period, President Hanlon commented on several topics including balancing liberal-arts offerings; using strategic budgeting and innovation to further the College’s core mission; requiring students to be full partners in improving campus life through the Moving Dartmouth Forward initiative; evaluating the positive and negative aspects of the D-Plan; slowing the rising cost of education through disciplined fiscal responsibility; interpreting admissions statistics and college rankings; and planning new academic and residential spaces.

Next on the agenda was Jamie Coughlin, director, New Venture Incubator Programs and director, Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network (DEN) Innovation Center and New Venture Incubator, Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer (OETT). Coughlin showed a film about the DEN to introduce the concept of entrepreneurship at Dartmouth. OETT brings two worlds together with industry experience to be a talent magnet for faculty and students. Trip Davis '90 is the executive director of OETT, which oversees the DEN and the new center. Tillman Gerngross, professor of bioengineering at the Thayer School of Engineering and founder of several successful biotech companies, was named associate provost for OETT. The DEN is a department of the College within the Office of the Provost. It is a brand and vision for faculty, alumni, and staff, created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. There are 13 chapters across the country, with 50,000 people in the network. Alumni host workshops and contests for students.

President Hanlon laid out his vision for entrepreneurship in his inaugural address. Funding for the DEN Innovation Center and New Venture Incubator comes from alumni donors. While the fundraising goal was $2.5 million, $4.255 was actually raised. The location of the DEN is key to the growth of the College's arts and innovation district, which includes the Hop, Hood Museum, and the Black Family Visual Arts Center. In launching this new venture, an expectation was created. The DEN provides education, business development commercialization, and strategy.

The DEN is run by DEN "associates." These student leaders structure programming including a speaker series, a "lunch and learn," and an accelerator program. Teams of three or four students gather together and form a product in a six-week boot-camp series, with an emphasis on collaboration. Questions framed in this series include: What is the problem to solve? What is the market? How to protect your intellectual property? Attendees have included undergraduates and graduate students as well as Upper Valley residents.

Coughlin introduced one of the DEN associates, Adam Grounds '16. Grounds described his idea to develop websites for Upper Valley businesses as a way to give back to the community. This is true experiential learning with the benefit of mentorship.  Adam thanked the councilors for all the alumni support provided to these young innovators.

The fourth floor of New Hampshire Hall has been converted to the DEN in Residence, a living learning community housing 12 undergraduates and three second-year Tuck students. The inaugural class of the DEN Experience will travel to Seattle and San Francisco this year, so students may visit companies and foundations.

David Edelson '81, chair of the Nominating and Alumni Trustee Search Committee, provided an update on the work of the committee. He outlined the structure and membership of the committee. The committee nominates candidates for Alumni Council positions; formally appoints councilors based on recommendations from class, affiliated groups, regions, etc…; and recommends candidates for the Alumni Council to nominate to the Board of Trustees. Eight Alumni Council-nominated candidates were elected to the Board of Trustees in the last four years. The committee continues to review lists of possible trustee candidates, and new submissions are welcomed from alumni. The committee will meet four times this year. Councilors are encouraged to submit nominations for Alumni Council leadership and for the ALC. 

Midday, the Alumni Council hosted a luncheon with Living Learning Community students. Mike Wooten, senior assistant dean of residential life and director of residential education, moderated a panel of faculty and students involved in these communities.

The afternoon plenary session took place in 105 Dartmouth Hall. The session opened with remarks by Provost Carolyn Dever. Dever described her position as the chief academic officer of the institution, and the chief budget officer of the resources dedicated to supporting the academic mission, strategizing for the future. Dartmouth is a vibrant liberal arts institution, compellingly surrounded by three professional schools. The strategy for this year is to "up the academic game" and continue to focus on the recruitment of the best students and faculty. They must be held to the highest standards. The College must use enterprise and innovation and provide the capital to ensure they have the technical and technological tools they require to succeed.

Twenty-first century students face challenges of access and desire an articulated value proposition. It is also important to provide a safe, stimulating and fun environment in which to live. The faculty engagement here at Dartmouth is excellent. There are plans to move to a residential life model involving faculty.

The provost recently announced a major commitment to investing in the diversity of the faculty and staff. While the student body is composed of a diverse group of students from around the world, the faculty/staff percentages are unchanged since 2002. Dever complimented the report of the Alumni Council's Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, issued last October. The Council identified the issue and issued a call to action, and her office is grateful for the in-depth research and report. The cluster hiring initiative focuses on the world's problems and employing different methodologies. Dever hopes to recruit young, talented, and diverse faculty nationally and internationally. (Read more from President Hanlon's and Provost Dever's General Faculty Remarks).

Next on the agenda was Theresa Ellis '97, interim dean of the Tucker Foundation. In the fall of 2013, acting provost Martin Wybourne convened a task force to analyze the structure of the Tucker Foundation and determine if the current structure best suits the needs of the community. The task force recommended the creation of two new centers out of the existing Tucker Foundation: the Tucker Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, which will support students, faculty, and staff while promoting religious literacy and multi-faith conversations; and the Dartmouth Center for Service, which will prepare Dartmouth students to become leaders in the fields of social service, social entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and social activism. Two working groups of students, faculty, staff, and alumni will define the vision, mission, and strategy of the two centers by speaking with a broad base of constituents. Ellis encouraged councilors to seek feedback from their constituencies. A website for comment from the Dartmouth community has been set up to gather additional input at http://www.dartmouth.edu/~tucker/input/index.html. A search for new center directors will be launched in January 2015.

Inge-Lise Ameer, interim dean of the College, spoke about student affairs. Ameer opened her remarks by noting how much she enjoys collaborating with alumni. Orientation for first-year students began with First-Year Trips sponsored by the Dartmouth Outing Club, featuring activities such as hiking, camping, canoeing, biking, and organic farming. 90 percent of the class participated. Ameer thanked alumni for their contributions to building the two new bunkhouses at Moosilauke Ravine Lodge. Orientation featured a new ceremony this year, a candle-lighting ceremony for the Class of 2018 that started on the Green and processed to the Bema. Professor Erich Osterberg's interactive lecture For Our Common Climate was well-received.

Sexual-assault education for first-year students has been enhanced, and small groups of students along with faculty and staff participated in the annual Sex Signals program. 1,800 students have been trained in the peer-to-peer Dartmouth Bystander Initiative, which gives students the skills and capacity to intervene in unsafe situations. The first class of First Year Student Enrichment Program (FYSEP) has graduated. FYSEP empowers first-generation students at Dartmouth College to thrive academically and in the greater college community.

The Center for Professional Development, directed by Roger Woolsey, is featuring several programs this year: Employer Connections Fair; Dartmouth’s first Graduate School Fair; an upcoming online Virtual Career Fair with West Coast employers; an "Off the Green" program in Washington, D.C., in December, highlighting non-profits; and a new winter break job-shadowing program.

In the residential life area, this fall saw the opening of the Triangle House, a living learning community. The aim of the Triangle House program is to enhance the intellectual and cultural environment of the Dartmouth College campus with particular regard to those issues which pertain to the historical and contemporary experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and allied people. In the Global Village, another new living learning community, students from around the world and from all class years can live together and explore global topics.

Greek Life saw new initiatives from the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council. Many Greek houses will participate in the CHAD Hero half-marathon this coming weekend.

Bob Lasher '88 gave an update on the Advancement division. He thanked the Alumni Council for their role in engaging alumni across all demographics and structures. He spoke first about President Hanlon's visits to 12 cities, which 3,320 people attended and seven attendance records were set. It was a record year in new commitments in fiscal year 2014, in which fundraising results yielded $255.6 million dollars. This included an anonymous gift of $100 million towards academic excellence. The William H. Neukom Cluster in Computational Science, funded by a $10 million gift from Bill Neukom '64 and $5 million matching funds from the $100 million gift, will support three professorships, one post-doctoral fellow, expanded undergraduate research opportunities and funds. Additional presidential initiatives focus on postdoctoral fellows, entrepreneurship, the Triangle House, the Hood Museum, the Rockefeller Center, and coaching endowments.

Reunions have been reimagined, with attendance up 15 percent since 2012. The Dartmouth College Fund raised over $50 million in 2014. The Centennial Circle, a group of more than 100 Dartmouth alumnae committed gifts of at least $100,000 each to Dartmouth’s annual fund—raising $14.9 million toward scholarships for undergraduate women. Annual giving to Dartmouth athletics reached over $4.5 million. In professional school fundraising, Tuck Annual Giving reached an all-time record of $6,350,000 with 70.9 percent participation; the Thayer School Annual Fund reached $1,106,726 with 29.3 percent participation; and the Geisel Annual Fund reached $861,139 with 27.3 percent participation. There are 147 new Bartlett Tower Society members, for a total of 1,475 current members. $186 million has been newly identified through bequest expectancies, and new gifts to the Dartmouth Donor Advised Fund totaled $4.5 million.

The leadership team consists of Martha Beattie, vice president for alumni relations; Andrew Davidson, vice president for development; Michael Kiefer, vice president for presidential initiatives and principal gifts; and Ann Root Keith, chief operating officer for advancement. Advancement's regional offices will be staffed by Chava Kallberg, director, Dartmouth Development for Greater New York; Leslie Timothy '89, senior associate director for Dartmouth New York regional office, and Roger Wicks, director, Dartmouth West Coast Advancement.

Later in the afternoon, the Alumni Awards Committee, Honorary Degrees Committee, and the Young Alumni Committee met. Roger Woolsey, director of the Center for Professional Development, and Dan Parish, director of Dartmouth for Life, hosted a career networking session for students and alumni councilors.

In the evening, councilors attended a celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Alumni Award in the West Gym.  Former recipients of the Alumni Award and the Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award were invited to attend. The reception featured a slide show of photos of past recipients and a musical performance by the Dartmouth Aires. The festive evening dinner program opened with a welcome from Lou Spelios and President Hanlon. Three alumni were honored with the Dartmouth Alumni Award: Douglas A. Donahue Jr. '73, Danielle A. Dyer '81 '89Tu, and Tracey Salmon-Smith '87. Three alumni received the Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award: Janna J. Annest '00, Deborah Atuk '04Tu, and Greg Chittim '01, '02Th, '03Th. Films were shown of each recipient.

The Alumni Liaison Committee met for breakfast with President Hanlon and trustees Bill Helman '80, Emily Bakemeier '82, and Sherri Oberg '82, '86Tu.

The Saturday plenary session was held in the Oopik Auditorium of the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center. President-elect Jennifer Avellino '89 opened the session, asking the chairs of the standing committees to report on the meetings held the day prior.

Trustees Emily Bakemeier '82 and Bill Helman '80 (chair of the board of trustees) gave an update from the Board of Trustees. The Board is composed of alumni from varied backgrounds and industries. There are three tenets to the priorities for the coming year:  1) The College should be academically energized, with students and faculty exploring bold new ideas and extraordinary research. There are cross-disciplinary benefits to the undergraduate students interacting with the three professional schools. The plans in the next decade will attract students and faculty of the highest caliber for innovation and research. 2) The life of the student and the life of the mind should be safe and healthy. The work of the Presidential Steering Committee for Moving Dartmouth Forward is significant in examining what the College is doing and what the campus can aspire to be. To date, the committee has received 1,650 emails. Fifty-three alumni meetings/conference calls and 35 meetings with student groups have taken place. Alumni Councilor interaction with constituents has been invaluable to the process. 3) Affordability of education is a concern. President Hanlon is dedicated to fiscal discipline, directing departments to dedicate 1.5 percent to innovation. This year's 2.9 percent tuition increase was the lowest since 1977, and the Board is dedicated to keeping the cost as low as possible. The Dartmouth College Fund (DCF) is an important part of support. Last year, 23 percent of the annual budget came from the DCF. The College was able to increase the financial aid budget by 5.9 percent. Tuition only covers 43 percent of a Dartmouth education.

The College's leadership team is complete with the appointment of Carolyn Dever. She is dedicated to the integrity of Dartmouth and very accessible. Academics remain front and center.

After a short coffee break, F. Jon Kull '88, Rodgers Professor of Chemistry and Dean of Graduate Studies, and Joshua Kim, director of digital learning initiatives, provided a faculty perspective on digital learning initiatives. Kim talked about what defines a Dartmouth education: a rigorous liberal arts education; a scholar-educator faculty model; and a close-knit learning community. The Gateway Course Redesign Program is focused on large major classes, to effectively make the class feel like a smaller seminar. Students review materials online and are ready to discuss when they arrive to class. The campus just transitioned to the Canvas Learning Management System.  The Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning has built up a cadre of instructional designers, who have met with every single member of the faculty to bring the latest research on how students learn. Premium quality low-residency programs will provide access to more students. DartmouthX is the College's participation in the EdX consortium. The first class, Introduction to Environmental Science, taught by Andrew Friedland, the Richard and Jane Pearl Professor in Environmental Studies, will start in February 2015.  

Jon Kull described teaching with technology in the Dartmouth science classroom. The traditional science teaching model relied on lectures and laboratories. Kull and faculty member Roger Sloboda created a course for chemistry and biology majors that integrated the quantitative and mathematical aspects of chemistry into the study of biological processes. This contemporary model, learning by doing, revolves around experiential learning with more emphasis on laboratory courses and purposeful integration of laboratory and lecture; concept building and critical thinking, where synthesis occurs in the classroom; and delivery of content outside of the classroom, as students take an online quiz and use in-class time for clarification, practice and questions. Kull demonstrated a “pencast,” in which students can see and hear the professor’s notes before the lecture. With a "flipped" classroom, there is more small group problem solving and class engagement. "Clickers" provide instant feedback via laptops, tablets or phones.      

Mark Davis '81, '84Tu, chair of the ALC, gave a presentation on the work of the ALC. He outlined the committee membership and mission. The ALC gathers feedback from alumni on topics of interest and shares this information with the Office of Alumni Relations, the Board of Trustees and the senior administration. The 2013-2014 ALC report was recently issued in a revised format and posted online. The ALC meets by phone or in person with the Board of Trustee's Advancement Committee two times a year, and the Board has expressed appreciation for the ALC’s synthesis of alumni sentiment and feedback.

The Moosilauke Forum is a survey tool that launched this year. Twelve surveys over the course of the year will be sent to over 2,000 randomly chosen alumni (each will receive six of the twelve surveys), and the ALC is directing two of these surveys. The first topic the ALC selected to focus a survey on was professional development. Questions included usage of Dartmouth connections in alumni's professional lives, importance of engagement with Dartmouth, and usage and perception of Dartmouth resources. 

The amount of emails received by the ALC increased by 49 percent over last year. The ALC seeks to capture opinions from a higher percentage of alumni, and is looking at ways to accomplish this goal.

Avellino announced the start of the open forum. Varied topics were discussed.

The meeting was adjourned.

An Executive Committee debriefing conference call took place on Tuesday, October 28.