207th Session Meeting Minutes

The thematic focus of the Academic Affairs Committee meeting at the 207th Alumni Council was the area of curriculum review currently ongoing at Dartmouth. Efforts were devoted to an update on the current status of curriculum review as well as the potential applicability of the Dartmouth Peak Performance (DP2) program to the entire student body to enhance scholarly performance. To that end, we had two guest speakers address the committee.

Drew Galbraith, senior associate athletics director, provided an update on the status and accomplishments of the DP2 program from an academic performance perspective. We were pleased and proud to learn that, since the implementation of the program, Dartmouth has led the NCAA metrics (in both academic progression and graduation success rate) nationally in the No. 1 position! Indeed, this will be the third consecutive year for Dartmouth to occupy the top position when, prior to the DP2 program, we had never been higher than No. 3 and no institution has had successive years at No. 1. Interestingly, less than 20 percent of athletes had majors in the hard sciences. The “all in” cost of the DP2 program is estimated at $2 million annually, with an incremental cost of roughly $1 million to implement the program beyond what had previously existed. Discussion ensued as to the feasibility and desirability of rolling out a broader version of the program that encourages a holistic approach to academic performance and achievement for the entire student body.

Lynn Higgins, associate dean of the faculty for international and interdisciplinary studies and a member of the curriculum review committee, shared an update on the workings of that group. She offered that an in-depth review of the “D Plan” was under way and that “there will be changes.” Specifically, there is considerable discussion on the future of the distributive requirements. The committee expressed an interest in the transportability of the DP2 concept on a larger scale to benefit the entire student body and a generative discussion ensued. The committee expressed an interest in seeing a draft of the curriculum review work group report at an early time that would allow alumni review and comment. 

The seven members of the Alumni Awards Committee met in Hanover on October 25 to start the process of winnowing down potential Alumni Award candidates. Alumni from the Class of 1989 and older may be considered. The committee meets again in Boston in April and will select the award recipients at that time.

The Alumni Liaison Committee (ALC) met in Hanover twice during Alumni Council. The first meeting was held on Thursday, October 24. Committee chair Marty Lempres ’84 opened the meeting. John “J.B.” Daukas ’84 reported that the Association of Alumni (AOA) Executive Committee has approved a constitutional amendment that will address uncontested trustee and AOA elections. This will be put forth for an alumni vote. Mark Davis ’81, ’84Tu, reported that the Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and Inclusion completed its final report and delivered it to President Philip Hanlon ’77. The 2012-13 annual report of the ALC was shared with the Advancement Committee of the Board of Trustees earlier in October and then a link to the report was emailed to all alumni and posted online. Committee members are interested in additional ways to communicate and collect feedback, and hope to collaborate with the Office of Alumni Relations on a potential alumni survey.

The committee met again on Saturday, October 26, with President Hanlon, trustees Steve Mandel ’78 (chair), Sherri Oberg ’82, ’86Tu, and Emily P. Bakemeier ’82, vice president for Alumni Relations Martha Beattie ’76, and senior vice president for Advancement Bob Lasher ’88. Mark Davis provided an update of the Alumni Council meeting to date and the final report on the Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, to be presented to the council later that morning. J.B. Daukas briefed the president and the trustees on the proposed AOA constitutional amendment. Committee members reported on alumni feedback they have received in the Alumni Council year and discussed communication goals.

Eighteen members of the Athletics Committee, led by chair Mike Vidmar ’03, met with athletic director Harry Sheehy ’55a and members of his staff. Sheehy kicked off the meeting with a general overview on the state of Dartmouth athletics. He presented a brief update on the Dartmouth Peak Performance (DP2) program, the scope of Dartmouth athletics, President Hanlon’s perspective on athletics, highlights from varsity and club sports, and student-athlete behavior issues and challenges. Bob Ceplikas ’78, deputy director of athletics, then gave an update on collaboration efforts with the Office of Alumni Relations, other alumni engagement activities, the new format for Wearers of the Green, facilities, recruiting, and resources. 

Sheehy then introduced two varsity head coaches, Belle Koclanes (women’s basketball) and Chad Riley (men’s soccer), who provided some background on how they came to Dartmouth and their approaches to their sports. 

The final part of the meeting was devoted to DP2 and the associated Leadership Program.  Drew Galbraith, senior associate athletic director in charge of DP2, described in depth the three main areas of focus for the program: academic, athletic, and personal. He mentioned that Dartmouth now has two full classes of student-athletes who arrived since the launch of DP2. They are predisposed to this environment and are highly engaged. 

Steven Spaulding, assistant athletic director for leadership, then described the Leadership Program, which focuses on the development of future leaders. The program is broken into three segments: be (character), know (values-driven skills), and do (actions). Much of the curriculum is based on experiential learning, and he explained that last summer he offered a program teaching leadership skills called DRIVE. DP2 and its associated programs have been well received on campus by the student-athletes, faculty, and staff.

The meeting concluded with Mike Vidmar soliciting ideas for projects to which this committee could devote its time and energy.

Committee Vice Chair Peter Elias ’69 opened the meeting. Following introductions, Jean Romeo, Dartmouth’s director of market research, led a pre-test of the new alumni update (formerly known as the alumni questionnaire). Committee members provided feedback on its design and functionality. 

Jonathan Goldstein, executive director of communications for development, and James Payne, managing director for new media/advancement, gave a presentation on updates to the alumni help desk, iModules email marketing, alumni directory, and iModules websites. The Harris tool has been purchased by iModules, and communications will be migrated to this new tool by the end of 2013. Forty-three of our classes, clubs, and affinity groups have been provided with iModules websites; 12 are being actively used and maintained. Advantages given for using iModules: It is easy to use without being a coder, it allows the College to push College-related content into sites, it is standardized, and the College can provide support through its expanded and improved alumni help desk.

Elias then broached the issue of “reinventing” CommComm as a more active committee addressing communication issues year-round. This reinvention will focus on tools and processes that can minimize the impact of information silos, lower the barriers to communication, and improve transparency and institutional memory. A subset of the committee will begin working on suggestions, and its work will be presented at the May 2014 meeting. An open discussion pertaining to College communications followed. 

James Napoli, assistant director for class activities, shared the recent councilor communications metrics. Following the 206th Alumni Council meeting in the spring, 66 councilors sent out a post-meeting summary; 60 used the summary provided by Steve Geanacopoulos ’74. In addition, an email was sent out to 20 classes whose councilors did not send a post-meeting communication, from council president Mark Davis utilizing the summary. Sixty-three councilors sent out a pre-meeting summary before the fall 2013 meeting; almost all councilors used the pre-meeting template. It was noted that not all councilors are reporting their summary communications, so they may not be counted in the official tallies presented in the above metrics.

Chair Lisa Cloitre ’94, ’02Tu, welcomed the committee and councilors introduced themselves. Dean of admissions and financial aid Maria Laskaris ’84 described the aspects around which the admissions office is organized; alumni, athletics, communications and publications, evaluation, international, outreach, technology, travel and recruitment, and visitor relations. There are 17 admissions officers. Subgroups of admissions include communications, travel, visitor relations, outreach, and evaluation. Efforts have targeted more specific recruitment, with a significant investment in technology. Dartmouth has partnered with Princeton, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, and UC Berkeley for admissions travel and presentations nationwide. 

Laskaris provided the Class of 2017 profile. Total applicants number 22,428; 2,339 were admitted and 1,117 enrolled. Yield is identical to last year, as is the strength and diversity of the pool. The alumni interview and peer evaluation continue to play important roles in the admissions process. While the U.S. Supreme Court decision handed down in the Texas vs. Fischer case maintained that race/ethnicity may still be used as a factor in admissions, the office continues to consider viable “race-neutral” alternatives.

Erin Clark, senior assistant director of financial aid, provided an overview of the financial aid process. This is divided into need analysis: aid packaging, appeals, federal processing, and endowed scholarship naming. Forty-seven percent of the Class of 2017 receives aid, and the average scholarship is $42,692. Dartmouth is committed to need-blind admissions, including for international students. 

Isabel Bober ‘04, associate director of admissions, gave an update on the alumni interviewing process. Key survey findings helped clearly define program goals and institute changes. Best practices have been reaffirmed and new location restrictions and eligibility guidelines distributed to alumni interviewers. Bober encouraged committee members to sign up as alumni interviewers, if they have not already. The Enrollment and Admissions Committee also encouraged all alumni councilors to sign-up as alumni interviewers and to share their feedback on new interviewing guidelines and best practices with the committee or the admissions office.

The Honorary Degrees Committee, chaired by Michael Gonnerman ’65, met on October 25 to discuss a list of alumni candidates for consideration by the committee with respect to the College’s June 2015 Commencement.

The committee met in New York City in July and held additional conference calls throughout the summer and fall. In addition, the committee met in Hanover on October 24, during the 207th Alumni Council session, to review candidates for the Alumni Council leadership positions. The committee will present slates for the Alumni Council president-elect, the Nominating Committee and the Alumni Liaison Committee at the 208th Alumni Council meeting in the spring.

The meeting was called to order by John “J.B.” Daukas ’84, Student Affairs Committee chair. After brief introductions, the committee chair reviewed the agenda, which included a presentation from the dean of the College as well as a student panel. 

The dean of the College, Charlotte Johnson, and associate dean of the College, Inge-Lise Ameer, presented on student advising and career services. Dartmouth’s office of career services has been renamed the Center for Professional Development. New director Roger Woolsey offers the philosophy that career development starts freshman year. Though Dartmouth’s participation in student internships is No. 1 in the Ivy League, we are still looking to increase our number and build on an already vibrant program. Woolsey is working with the Office of Alumni Relations to develop career-immersion programs as well as a way to maximize the new, extended winter break. There are hopes to change the physical location of the Center for Professional Development to an on-campus location so that it can play an active role in students’ day-to-day lives. 

Academic advising is another area the dean and her team are addressing. Currently, pre-major academic advising has a two-prong model: Every student is assigned a first-year dean and every student is assigned a first-year faculty advisor. Even though every first-year student is part of the two-prong advising model, the experience is not equal for everyone. A new advising model, Advising 360, was piloted last year with great success. Advising 360 currently has two test groups composed of 100 students and 10 faculty members each. Dartmouth faculty commit to two years of advising and work with students until they declare a major in their sophomore year. Advising 360 has brought together faculty, deans, the office of academic skills, and the Center for Professional Development. In the past, these groups worked in silos; now they work together to offer a complete and holistic approach to student advising and guidance. The dean of the College’s office is eager to scale this program to the entire first-year class, but it has the potential to be extremely costly. 

A panel of six students (three undergrads and three graduate students)— Michelle Khare ’14, Janine Leger ’15, Ethan Portnoy ’14, Ronald’16A&S, Richard Lopez ’16A&S, Steven Reinitz ’09,09Th—discussed their activities at Dartmouth outside of the classroom. 

After a welcome from committee Chair Caroline Kerr ’05 and introductions by those in attendance, the committee heard reports from assistant director for young alumni and student programs Derrick Smith ’07 and director of the Dartmouth for Life program Dan Parish ’89. Smith highlighted new efforts and initiatives, including an expansion of Young Alumni of Dartmouth (YADA) programming to include international locations, collaboration with the continuing education and travel teams to include young alumni in Dartmouth on Location events, and the formation of the YADA Chairs Council. Parish’s presentation noted content that will accompany the re-launch of the Dartmouth Career Network and new collaborations with the Center for Professional Development (formerly career services).

The committee discussed two projects that have been on our agenda in recent meetings, a guide to life after Dartmouth for seniors and young alumni and a proposed set of discounts for young alumni. During the next year, the Life After Dartmouth guide topics will be incorporated into online content being developed by the Office of Alumni Relations. Implementation of an alumni discount program is being researched further by the College, but there is no immediate timeline attached to carrying out this project.

Kerr and vice chair Rodrigo Ramirez ’06 solicited the committee for input on areas of focus for the committee’s conversations and work during the next two years. The committee continues to be interested in finding ways to contribute to the conversations related to career support and professional guidance for young alumni and to networking and mentoring for students and young alumni. Ramirez asked members to consider whether the committee could help develop strategies for engaging young alumni of color at the start of their lives as alums of the College. Members also expressed some interest in serving as a resource to student groups on campus. The committee will seek to make targeted invitations to student leaders and Roger Woolsey, director of the Center for Program Development, to participate in the next Young Alumni Committee meeting, to be held during the 208th Alumni Council session, to further identify areas where the committee can contribute.

In addition, the committee provided feedback on the current systems of communication utilized by the Alumni Council to engage in the flow of information between the Alumni Council, College, and alumni body. Committee members posed suggestions and questions that will be relayed to the Alumni Council Executive Committee and Communications Committee. Several members volunteered to join a group looking at the council’s communication strategies.