214th Session Meeting Minutes

Chair Mary Dengler ’96 opened the meeting, introduced herself and Vice Chair David Silbersweig ’82 and reviewed the agenda.

Dean F. Jon Kull ’88 presented a brief update about the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies. 85 students graduated with a PhD this year and 215 with an M.A. degree. The M.A. in Biomedical Data Science is a new program. Dean Kull is looking forward to the capital campaign and other fundraising for fellowships for graduate students.

Secretary Robin Albing Tu’81 gave an update on the Rassias Faculty Award. The first two awards were presented later in the day to Professors Don Pease and Steve Swayne.

Josh Kim, Director of Digital Learning Initiatives at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL), reviewed the progress of the DartmouthX Mass Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Kim emphasized that the DartmouthX courses are a good way to keep Dartmouth alumni engaged as lifelong learners. DartmouthX provides a place for faculty to experiment, create new skills, and take risks. Another goal of the courses is to create awareness of the Dartmouth brand. 

Professor Steve Swayne, who has worked with a team to create and teach two DartmouthX courses, Introduction to Italian Opera and Introduction to German Opera, also shared his experiences. He emphasized that his courses have mushroomed into other opportunities for alumni to engage with Dartmouth, such as Dartmouth on Location programs and alumni trips. Professor Swayne also looks for ways for his students to connect with alumni directly.

Brandi Johnson ’01 was elected vice-chair of the committee.

Committee chair Monica Higgins welcomed the Alumni Service Committee and thanked everyone for their hard work to make the third annual Dartmouth Alumni Day of Service a success. Monica reviewed the purpose and history of the committee revolving around the idea of service. There was a debrief of the service projects and a discussion of the sites and alumni participation.  Monica showed a map indicating the site locations throughout the United States; there were approximately 45 service sites this year, 11 more than in 2016.  Final participation numbers are still being tallied. All site coordinators will be surveyed.

A discussion about regarding moving forward with the Alumni Day of Service followed, focused on strategy and engagement. Monica proposed that the Alumni Day of Service and the Alumni Service Committee are a catalyst for engagement and support the college in its mission and service. She recommended that, next year, the committee should consider its charter and mission. Rachel Bogardus Drew ’98 was elected as the new vice chair and Jennifer Hughes will serve as the liaison of the committee and the college’s service initiatives.

Committee Chair Martha Gerhan ’83 and Vice-Chair Mark Heller ’70 welcomed the committee and recognized the progress of the DP2 and Dartmouth on the Road subcommittees held between the fall 2016 and spring 2017 meetings.

Robert “Cep” Ceplikas ’78, deputy director of Athletics and Recreation provided a re-cap of the 2016-17 year: 1) Three Ivy League championships in 2016-17: Men’s Soccer, Women’s Rugby, and Women’s Tennis; 2) Graduate student involvement was discussed. While Ivy League rules severely limit participation in varsity sports, graduate students are actively involved in club and intramural sports, FLIP fitness classes, receive free admission to athletic events, and graduate alumni are included on regional email communications; 3) Recent incidents of racism at sporting events at other schools prompted a discussion of Dartmouth’s approach.  Athletics takes the creation of fan-friendly (and appropriate) environments seriously; 4) Athletics (and other departments) will support President Hanlon’s initiative to make faculty salaries more competitive by reducing its budget over the next five years; 5) Facilities renovation and building continue to be a priority.  The field house continues to be priority #1, with the College appealing the Hanover Planning Board’s denial; 6) The Athletics Campaign for FY15-18 is doing quite well with $82.5 million raised toward the goal of $88 million; 7) A new website called “SupportDartmouthSports.com” has been launched to identify ways to support Athletics through donations and volunteer activities - Athletic competition information remains on DartmouthSports.com; and 8) Athletics is developing a program to reach alumnae who were student-athletes.

Ceplikas shared a Facilities Master Plan, which Director of Athletics and Recreation Harry Sheehy ’55a and Ceplikas presented to Trustees in June 2016. Key points: 1) Almost no facility improvements were done from 1985-2000, while our competitors were making many upgrades (in last 15 years, more than $100 million in facility improvements have been made); and 2) Future priorities include - in no particular order: a Peak Performance Center; Davis Varsity House renewal; Thompson Arena enhancements; rowing boathouse expansion, sailing boathouse renovation; Nordic skiing upgrades; Hanover Country Club clubhouse renovation; and a 50-meter competition pool. 

A “Dartmouth on the Road” subcommittee report was given, including a brief presentation of how Alumni Relations and Athletics regularly collaborate to heighten awareness of athletic contests away from Hanover. Big tent football events for 2017-18 were discussed, including Dartmouth’s historic game against Brown at Fenway Park on November 10. Heller noted that a new emphasis has been to reach out to the Class Mini-Reunion Chairs Association to encourage Class involvement. Heller noted that organizing around a visiting team can be one of the easiest opportunities for a club. 

A DP2 (Dartmouth Peak Performance) subcommittee report included an update on the Dartmouth Athletics Career Network. There are currently 1,628 alumni in the network.  The committee hosted a reception the previous evening for nine student-athletes. Two students shared their positive experiences in networking with alumni. The subcommittee will create a document for students of dos/don’ts of how to reach out to alumni to make the process less intimidating.

A panel of four student-athletes, all from teams that had a change in head coach last summer, spoke. Key themes: 1) students chose Dartmouth because of its diverse offerings, focus on academics, campus culture, the outdoors, and strong alumni community; 2) students shared that while it was a surprise to have a new coach and it took time to adjust, their teams have come together and the new coaches have had very positive impacts on the teams; and 3) when asked about the D-Plan, challenges include being away from coaches, staff, and team for an extended period and frustration arising from the complexity of being an international student with visa issues.

Heller thanked Grehan for her leadership and Mike Vida ’03 was elected to be vice chair. Heller also thanked the committee and shared that there would likely be one more set of subcommittee conference calls before June 30.

Committee Chair Cheryl Abbott ’96 opened the meeting and welcomed committee members. The committee continued conversation on how councilors can more efficiently and effectively communicate with their constituents, with a focus on the pre- and post-meeting templates. The committee will provide councilors with clearer expectations for communications, regular insights from data and alumni feedback, and best practices on how best to customize the templates for their respective audiences. Members took time to review the charge and mission of the committee with a plan for updating it to reflect current needs at the fall meeting. Carrie Fraser ’86 Th’87 was elected vice chair.

Committee Chair John Banks ‘90 opened the session with a welcome and a preview of the meeting.

Lee Coffin, vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid, opened his discussion by addressing his impressions of Dartmouth during his first full admissions cycle at the College. Over the course of the year, Dean Coffin was intentional regarding who admissions was seeking to recruit (who is the best “fit” for the College), what their impact would be on the Dartmouth community, and how we can yield these students. He discussed the impact of the alumni interview report as an important assessment of fit for Dartmouth and a helpful source of context for the applicant’s file.

Meg Lysy ’99, Director of the Admissions Ambassador Program (AAP), presented “A Year in the Life of an Admissions Ambassador.” Meg shared examples of stewardship and training that the AAP staff provided to volunteers throughout the admissions cycle. Meg emphasized the AAP’s efforts to communicate the impact of the interview report on admissions decisions, and she sought advice as to how her team supports volunteers who may be discouraged when their interviewees are not admitted. A productive discussion ensued regarding the successes and challenges of recruiting, stewarding, and retaining admissions ambassadors from year to year.

Eric Taylor ’84 will be the next vice-chair of the committee. John Banks ’90 closed the meeting with a thanks to the committee and encouragement to keep in touch with the AAP team with ideas and suggestions. 

Chair David Hetzel ’72 opened the meeting with a call for updates on projects being managed by each working group.

Michelle LaFond ’83 re-capped Thursday evening’s “Shark Tank” competition for student groups. The event was an innovative way for councilors to hear from students and for students to hone their presentation skills. 7 groups competed for prize money, and approximately 100 alumni and students attended.

Melanie Pastuck ’11 noted that the next round of the Resume Review project is scheduled between spring and summer terms. Typically, 40 to 50 alumni (councilors and others) provide industry-specific advice to students after an initial review by Center for Professional Development (CPD) staff.

Other project updates included a special projects group looking into ways to connect students on study abroad programs with alumni for the purposes of career exploration; 12 different videos featuring 9 Alumni Councilors offering career advice are now featured on the CPD website; and the Career Event Planning Toolkit is now posted on the Alumni Relations website.

Gail Gentes, Dan Parish ’89, and CPD Director Rog Woolsey updated the committee on CPD and Dartmouth for Life initiatives:

  • Dartmouth Works-Los Angeles is an experiential learning program sponsored by generous alumni and managed by the CPD, the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning, and the Dartmouth for Life program.
  • The CPD and Dartmouth for Life team continue to partner with other offices to sponsor Off the Green industry events.
  • Rog Woolsey discussed a CPD partnership that connects undergraduate students with the Tuck Minority Business Executives program; the first-year of the Women’s Professional Circle; a re-cap of an event with LGBTQ alumni hosted at Triangle House; and growing connections with faculty as the House Communities develop. 

Cuong Do ’88 TU’89 proposed that the committee work with classes to promote the creation and funding of internships. Cuong recommended partnering with reunion and post-reunion classes to plant the idea. Cuong will follow up with staff in the CPD and Alumni Relations and then convene a conference call with the committee towards the end of summer. 

The last 30 minutes of our time was devoted to a productive conversation with three students, with the goal of discussing how alumni might better support career planning for first-generation students at Dartmouth.

Todd Donovan ’92 will serve as vice chair of the committee, supporting chair Cuong Do ’88 TU’89.

Coming soon

Chair Melanie Pastuck ’11 opened the meeting and welcomed attendees.  Associate Director for Communities Magda Vergara shared the new Lone Pine concept which provides opportunities for alumni who are not located in areas with active alumni clubs to volunteer as a “Lone Pine” and host alumni events. Alumni Councilor Jonathan Scherr ’08 presented on the changes to the Class2Class program which will include '08 hosted events to welcome '18s to six cities for internships this summer. Assistant Director for Class Activities Nicole Losavio shared the Alumni 101 concept and the idea for a “How to Adult” series and received valuable feedback from members and students present.

Maureen Mentrek ’16 was elected vice chair of the committee.