209th Session Meeting Minutes

Committee Chair Brendan Connell ’87 greeted the group.  He reminded attendees that there are six Dartmouth faculty members on the Committee roster. The 2014/15 plan is to hear from three of these members at each of the meetings.  Brendan introduced Bruce Sacerdote ’90 (the faculty representative to Alumni Council) and Christine Thomas (Chair of the Committee on Instruction) and asked them to share items of concern to the faculty as of late. 

Bruce reported that Dartmouth is very supportive of its faculty. Bruce shared that the Economics department – of which he is chair – is filled with great teachers and great researchers. The College recently granted the department $400,000 of non-restricted funds. They are using this money to offer a course on transitional economics and another course on financial regulation. These courses will culminate in student trips to put their reading/knowledge into practice. They also hope to provide funding for students to stay on campus to publish the work that they have developed in a class. Sacerdote wondered what the College could do to expand opportunities for experiential learning.

Christine Thomas commented that rigor is evident in the classrooms but we may need to do more outside the lecture hall. She said that the Committee on Instruction is looking at an expansion of off-campus experiences for learning, academic rigor, and grading practices. The Curriculum Review continues.

Brendan introduced Professor Andrew Friedland; Josh Kim, director of digital learning initiatives; and Mike Goudzwaard, instructional designer. He asked them to update the Committee on Dartmouth's first foray into an online course offering through EdX.  Josh shared that Dartmouth joined the EdX consortium one year ago as it aligned with the College's values to expand access to education, to improve teaching and learning, and to continue research in how people learn. Andrew elaborated that his involvement in the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is making him teach differently in the classroom. It is enhancing his on campus work.  There are alumni, grad students, instructional designers, and a videographer involved in the development of the MOOC and this collaborative process is positively impacting the online offering and the lecture hall teaching simultaneously.  Pre-registration for the course is going well. Approximately 50 people per day are registering. They are from U.S., India, and UK primarily. 25 percent hold a BA or MA. 54 percent are male. The only requirement to take the class is that you have access to the Internet.

Andrew shared that there is a monitored online discussion board that is part of the MOOC. He will monitor for one hour per day and graduate students will assist. He will seed the discussion thread, and "community TAs" may also be appointed to assist. Josh said they plan to determine how these early offerings go and work to improve them as well as use information from the process to enhance on campus teaching. The MOOC will be shared widely. Alumni are welcome to participate. Anyone is welcome to participate. This is a chance to share the Dartmouth brand internationally.

The Alumni Liaison Committee (ALC) met in Hanover twice during the 209th Alumni Council session. The first meeting was held on Thursday, October 23. Committee chair Mark Davis ’81 ’84Tu opened the meeting. Interim Dean of the Tucker Foundation Theresa Ellis ’97 discussed the planned division of the Tucker Foundation into two separate departments:  one to focus on service and one to focus on religious and spiritual life.  Two working groups have been formed to help shape these new centers and are collecting feedback through November 7.  The working groups will present their recommendations pertaining to these two new centers to Provost Carolyn Dever by December 1.  As part of this process, Theresa posed the following questions to the ALC: 1) Based on your experience to date with the Tucker Foundation, what would you characterize as its strengths and its challenges? 2) Are there examples of other institutions that have particularly effective efforts to support religious and spiritual life?  3) Are there examples of service efforts you've seen at other institutions that Dartmouth can learn from? The committee shared feedback with Theresa in response to these questions. 

The next item on the agenda was a debrief about the October 9 conference call with the Board of Trustees' Advancement Committee to discuss the 2013-2014 ALC annual report.  The committee discussed the Moosilauke Forum professional-development survey that was conducted.  The process was great and the responses gathered from the alumni surveyed will be very helpful for Roger Woolsey (Office of Professional development), Dan Parish (Dartmouth for Life), and Barry Caldwell (chair of the Alumni Council's Professional Development Committee). When the ALC held their conference call with the Advancement Committee, it was agreed that they would provide quarterly updates throughout the year. The ALC discussed the format for the quarterly reports which will include alumni email counts, hot topics reflected in alumni feedback, etc. Next on the agenda was a discussion about social media, communications, and listening posts.  The meeting concluded with a brief update from Lou Spelios about the Alumni Council weekend and from Sue Finegan about the Association of Alumni.

The ALC met again on Saturday, October 25, with President Hanlon ’77, trustees Bill Hellman ’80 (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. Next on the agenda was a discussion of the conference call between the ALC and the Trustees' Advancement Committee on October 9.  The revised, more concise format of the ALC annual report was well received by the trustees.  The ALC noted that they hope to increase and expand the means of communication between alumni and the committee.  In addition to email, social media is another tool the Alumni Council and the ALC are considering to serve as "listening posts" for the collection of alumni feedback.  The group also discussed the Moosilauke Forum's recent survey on professional development noting that this topic is important to alumni, students, and the administration.

Alumni Service chair, Aly Jeddy ’92, opened the meeting.  Alumni Council president Lou Spelios ’95 provided background and the history of the formation of the committee.  For background, the Alumni Council spoke to Interim Dean of the Tucker Foundation Theresa Ellis ’97 and looked at peer institutions. In addition, there were discussions conducted throughout campus-wide organizations which found that there are disjointed efforts of service amongst alumni.  Additionally, there is a need for a service source where information could be supported centrally.

Aly talked about the idea of a theme that the committee would organize around, such as access to education.  The committee also would need successes and achievements in first year. The committee agreed that a Day of Service was a good start, and longer term they might want to consider what defines "service;” how can they offer service opportunities to students; etc.  The committee agreed that a Day of Service would have to be communicated broadly, but driven at the regional, class, and other alumni-structure level. It was agreed that the committee would design a "hub" that would serve to connect alumni to opportunities in the service space. They would be involved in developing the purpose and specs of the hub. They agreed that student involvement would be the "icing" to the effort.  They also agreed that recent grads are incredibly valuable, they are interested in service, and we need to show them the way.

Interim Dean of the Tucker Foundation, Theresa Ellis ’97, offered some good insights that included:

  • Several companies build portals for organizations
  • Students are hungry to find jobs in that sector and find those alums
  • Organizing huge groups of people for a day of service can be challenging

 Theresa posed a question to the committee: What do you want this to do:  mobilize alums, or make an impact on an issue?  What’s the problem you are hoping to solve? 

Aly responded:

            First: Make it easier with alumni seeking to provide service and increase number (facilitation and enablement).

            Second:  Add to the mix a reputational benefit for Dartmouth.  A few good stories emerge, that would be fantastic.

            Third: Pick up students or others, great (the “icing”).

The committee considered an ambitious goal, proposed by Theresa, Dartmouth wants to donate 1 million hours ofservice.  Not just a day, but through many resources.  We estimated that of our 76,000 alums that would equal 13 hours a year, approximately one hour a month.  It was noted that the Tucker Foundation could connect us with national groups with local reps in the area of access to education, for example: Teach for America, United Way, etc.

The committee agreed on the following:

  • Need a "quick win" and that would be a Day of Service in the spring.
  • Use the alumni structures (clubs, classes, Women of Dartmouth, etc.) to communicate and mobilize alumni for the Day of Service.
  • Create a service hub.
  • Could propose a theme for people to convene around.
  • Use the Day of Service for learning.
  • Break out into subcommittees to focus on the above areas.

Committee chair, Bob Mlakar, welcomed the new committee members.

Harry Sheehy, director of athletics and recreation, provided an overview of athletics in general and an update on the fall season. Topics included President Hanlon’s 1.5 percent budget reallocation initiative; an independent review for a coach; new coaches; Title IX compliance; the current “landscape” of parental involvement in athletics; and uniforms and branding. 

Drew Galbraith, senior associate athletics director for Dartmouth Peak Performance (DP2)spoke about the academic, athletic, and personal components of DP2, and he noted that Dartmouth has led NCAA Division I in major academic metrics three years in a row. Drew also covered academic innovations such as the Advising 360 program and SWIFT programs. Drew also spoke about Dartmouth’s comprehensive health-screening process and innovations that are connecting athletes to the best medical care. Drew also noted that DP2 is helping with retention of students in athletic programs. 

Donnie Brooks, assistant athletic director for DP2,provided an overview of DP2 Career Connections and shared the concept of “success after graduation” for all Dartmouth athletes. Donnie said the DP2 Career Connections program includes many elements, such as Dartmouth Center for Professional Development workshops at Floren; LinkedIn groups; alumni roundtables; and partnerships with Tuck students. 

Bob Ceplikas ’78, deputy director of athletics,talked about admissions, facilities, and resources. Cep noted that construction on Memorial Field’s West Stands will begin after the football season, and the top facilities priority is a new indoor facility to alleviate pressure on Leverone.  Cep also talked about the significant impact of athletic endowments, and the shift in funding sources from 1990–2014.  The new “home field” format for the Wearers of the Green was also discussed.

Barry Harwick ’77, director of cross-country, track and field,talked about the importance of developing shared values and enhancing personal relationships on his teams.  When he speaks with alumni, Barry noted that they talk most about their relationships with people in the program.Similarly, Ron Rainey, head coach of women’s soccer, spoke about non-skill-based building, such as creating camaraderie and mental training.  Ron says he tells his team it’s all about hard work, accountability, and action.

Peter Elias ’69, committee chair, welcomed everyone and introduced Tommy Bruce, senior vice president for public affairs. Tommy shared the goals of his office and reviewed the Dartmouth College homepage, the Dartmouth Now website, and Vox Weekly emails, noting their various features and successes. Tommy asked for feedback about areas to focus on when communicating about Dartmouth, and members discussed showing the student perspective and highlighting the unique shared Dartmouth experience.

Siobhan Kearney, committee secretary, shared Alumni Council communications metrics. 

Jonathan Goldstein, executive director of advancement communications shared some background information about the migration of technology from Harris Connect to iModules. He noted that the College has moved the Alumni Directory, Career Network, class/club and group emails and websites to iModules. His goals are to improve the alumni profile so it’s easier to update, make everything mobile-friendly, and offer better support to the alumni volunteers using iModules with the help of Ed Mazer ’63.

Jack Steinberg ’88 noted that the committee needs to be more utilized. He reviewed the inventory he had composed with the assistance of the College which lists people who work in various Dartmouth communications departments and what communications are sent by the College. The ALC is also focusing on communications and they would like to create a social media sub-committee composed of ALC and Communications Committee members. Ben Day ’66, Dana Rowan ’76, and Cheryl Abbott ’96 volunteered for this subcommittee. 

Peter Elias then asked about brainstorming the role of the committee. He said that the committee’s mission was well defined and doesn’t need changing. He mentioned several older short-term and long-term goals. Ultimately, the committee agreed on the following goals: 

  • The committee acting as a SWAT Team, serving as a sounding board for Tommy Bruce and his team between Alumni Council sessions.
  • Being ready to deal with any Moving Dartmouth Forward communications that take place between now and the next meeting. Jonathan Goldstein will make sure that the committee is on the Moving Dartmouth Forward team’s radar.
  • Having a best practices panel at the next Alumni Council session for communicators to share what has worked with them when communicating with their constituents.
  • Collaborating with the ALC, specifically on the social media sub-committee.
  • Adding an update from Class Officers Weekend at the fall meetings and an update from Club and Group Officers Weekend at the spring meetings
  • Exploring the idea of adding a student to the committee. Peter will survey the committee on this.

Chair Gary Love ’76 welcomed the committee and councilors introduced themselves. 

Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Maria ’84 updated the committee on the Office’s new initiatives launched in the last several months, including:

  • New print publications for prospective students.
  • New summer and fall campus programming featuring faculty as keynote speakers and a series of specialized campus tours.
  • Redesigned websites for both the Admissions and Financial Aid Offices.
  • Implementation of best-of-breed software (Slate) to support travel planning, on campus events, recruitment communications, and application processing and review.

The meeting’s primary focus was to brief committee members on the findings of the Office’s yearlong review of the alumni-interviewing program, and to share next steps the Office will be taking as a result of its findings. Dean Laskaris, Director of Admissions Paul Sunde, and Assistant Director of Admissions and Alumni Liaison Will Corbett ’10 co-led the conversation. Key takeaways from the research included:

  • A strong correlation between interview ratings and admissions outcomes.
  • Alumni primarily volunteer to interview applicants on behalf of the College because they want to give back to the College (53 percent) and enjoy meeting prospective students (41 percent). Only 26 percent noted helping to select the next class as a reason for volunteering.
  • Clear alignment exists among all stakeholders in the key role that alumni serve as representatives of the College.
  • Desire to increase the proportion of applicants offered an interview and the number of alumni interviewers.
  • Opportunity to offer Skype interviews to better serve applicants in areas with few alumni volunteers and to extend the reach of all alumni volunteers.
  • The need to improve alumni satisfaction with their volunteer experience.
  • Collaboration between Admissions and Alumni Relations to strengthen alumni admissions volunteer support and programming.

The Admissions Office is re-conceptualizing its model of alumni engagement from an interview-based program to an ambassador-based program. To support this expanded concept of alumni involvement, Admissions and Alumni Relations have entered into a new partnership to better recruit, train, and support alumni admissions volunteers. The collaborative effort has proven highly effective to date in the following ways:

  • Worked with clubs in 12 major markets to offer yield events in April 2014 for admitted students.
  • Reduced the number of “inactive” districts in the U.S. from 30 down to two.
  • Developed a contest among the Classes of 2004-2014 with the goal of doubling the number of young alumni interviewers.
  • Identified those districts with a low percentage of interviews and identifying ways to support the District Enrollment Directors to increase the number of interviews.
  • Increased Dartmouth’s alumni representation at local college fairs.

Paul Sunde reported on the Slate implementation and the Office’s expectation that the new technology will improve the experience of both District Enrollment Directors and interviewers.

The meeting closed with Gary Love encouraging all committee members to sign up to interview for the Class of 2019. 

The Honorary Degree Committee extended an invitation to Mimi Simpson T’89, executive director of the president’s office, to address the committee and describe the College’s honorary degree process.  This process includes soliciting nominations from the Dartmouth faculty, staff, and students, in addition to the alumni nominations submitted by this committee. After deliberations by the College Council of Honorary Degrees, which is comprised of six faculty members from across the campus, and President Hanlon, a short list is presented to the Board of Trustees for approval.  Recipients must be available to receive the honor in person and cannot be running for political office.

After Mimi’s presentation, the committee reviewed the list of viable candidates for Commencement 2016 and assigned further research to every member of the committee.  Presentation of the research will occur during conference calls in the winter and spring in preparation for the selection of the Commencement 2016 nominees during the meeting next May.

Committee Chair Barry Caldwell ’82 welcomed councilors to the first meeting of the newly formed Professional Development Committee and summarized the charge to the committee in the following way: How do we as alumni councilors help to enhance alumni-to-student connections and alumni-to-alumni connections that support career and professional growth?  Barry also expressed his strong interest in making sure that the Committee functions as a "working committee." During member introductions, committee members expressed interest in the following topics: supporting alumni through career transitions, connecting alumni and students with one another, providing support for "under-represented" professional choices, and enhancing the connection created by the "Dartmouth Network." 

Roger Woolsey from the Center for Professional Development (CPD) and Dan Parish ’89 from the Office of Alumni Relations shared information on the current set of career and professional development programs supported through the CPD and the Dartmouth for Life program. Roger and Dan specifically highlighted student outcomes, alumni-student programs launched in the last year, and new programs aimed at young alumni.

Jean Romeo presented the results of the Moosilauke Forum Professional Development Survey that was developed by the Alumni Liaison Committee in collaboration with the CPD and the Dartmouth for Life program.  Survey results suggest that alumni want to engage professionally with other alumni and alumni are very interested in interacting with students for career-related purposes. Alumni who have graduated since 2000 are generally more interested in professional development and career programming than other alumni. While there is interest in the use of online career resources among alumni, awareness and usage of the current set of tools is low across all segments represented in the survey.

Committee members discussed areas of focus for working groups based on the information provided by Roger Woolsey and Dan Parish and on the results of the Moosilauke Forum survey. Several major themes for projects emerged as a result of the conversation: 

  • Diversifying employment opportunities for students and young alumni.
  • Enhancing resources and tools available to alumni, students and employers.
  • Clarifying the promise of the Dartmouth brand for employers.
  • Enhancing alumni-to-alumni connections and support.

The meeting closed with plans to schedule a follow-up conference call to further define the working groups and projects. (Dan Zenkel '80 was confirmed as vice chair on Saturday morning). 

Matt Hoffman ’82, student affairs committee chair, called the meeting to order.

There was a Student Assembly (SA) presentation by Casey Dennis ’14, student assembly president, and Speight Carr ’16, student assembly campaign director.  The SA reorganized itself to be more useful and functional for student needs. The SA consists of 15 executive board members working across 5 committees. This year they had a record amount of applications (95) from students who were interested in being part of one of the committees.  On September 23, the SA kick-started its year by releasing a “State of the Student Body” press release. The SA strives to be more transparent and is focusing on being an action-based organization center, collaborating and partnering with the Dartmouth administration. In an effort to bring more students into the fold, general body meetings have been replaced with campus debates. These debates allow students to discuss issues that truly matter to them and give the SA and the administration critical insight into campus life, climate, and needs. Two campaigns that had a huge impact on campus thus far are: It’s on Us and I’m Here for You. It’s on Us is a national campaign which has goals to recognize, identify, and intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given, as well as create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.  I’m Here for You isa student-driven campaign focused on mental health awareness.

Inge-Lise Ameer, interim dean of the College, presented to the committee and focused on the following items:

  • Three years ago Dean Ameer was asked to look at the College housing system. Students wanted to know why they had to move so often and wanted more of a sense of residential communities. Dean Ameer and her team visited 15 college campuses to assess their housing systems and to see how they can improve Dartmouth’s current housing setup. As a result, the College hopes to launch a new housing model for the Class of 2019. This fall, the College offered opportunities for 624 students to reside in Living Learning Communities.
  • Over the summer the College hosted an on-campus summit on sexual-assault issues. The summit aimed to bring sexual assault on college campuses to the forefront and to compare initiatives and programs. The summit took place over four days and more than 60 colleges were represented. Attendees will reconvene again in January to assess if their efforts were productive.
  • The Center for Professional Development (CPD) is in its second year under the leadership of Roger Woolsey and its programs have been wildly successful. Over 1,000 students have signed up to be part of the CPD career accelerator. It has expanded its offerings for WINTERships, increased the number of immersion programs to include Non-Profits in DC and entertainment in California, as well as opened up DARTboard to both alumni and parents.
  • Collis After Dark is in its second year and the program has showed both growth and success in offering additional social outlets for students. To date the most popular events seem to be BAR Hop (Student run pub spaces in the old drawing studios of the Hopkins Center) and live band karaoke.
  • Looking to the future, Dean Ameer would like the College to be able to provide a student space that holds more than 400 students. Currently, concerts and other large events are held on the Gold Coast Lawn (on Tuck Drive), but the events become too dependent on weather conditions. 

A student panel focused on student-driven programs followed. Kelsey Stimson ’15 discussed LinkUp, a Dartmouth student-run organization tasked with building a community of women in all parts of campus. First-year women are asked if they would like an upper-class mentor who they are connected to, based on interest. Four years ago the program had five people on the board with 100 members, today there are 15 board members and more than 600 students involved. LinkUp reaches beyond the Dartmouth community and mentors local girls in the Upper Valley via a Sister-2-Sister conference.

Evan Read ’16 discussed Improve Dartmouth, a student-run organization interested in implementing pragmatic chance on Dartmouth’s campus. The organization started in 2013 and launched ImproveDartmouth.com. The website acts as an open forum where students can post about what it is they would like to see changed on campus. Students are allowed to vote up or down on issues and the top voted suggestions or concerns are brought to the administration.

Alistair Glover ’15 discussed the Greek Leadership Council (GLC). The GLC exists to serve the needs and interests of students affiliated with Greek letter organizations and any open student society. The GLC focuses on maintaining the integrity of the Greek community and promoting Greek unity.

Maria Sperduto ’14 discussed Dartmouth on Purpose, a student group seeking to help every Dartmouth student thrive in Hanover. It has a holistic approach to health and happiness and strives to create a space, community, and culture that supports doing things “on purpose” to promote the individual success and goals of students. Delia O’Shea ’15 discussed the First-Year Peer Mentoring program.  First-Year Peer Mentoring started as a SA initiative but it now functions as a free-standing organization and reports directly to the dean’s office. The program fills a gap for first-year students who may feel uncomfortable going to a professor or dean for advice but do not know older students. Upperclassmen interested in being a resource to first-years can sign up to be a mentor and engage in the type of close-knit friendship which one often only experiences on a sports team or in an a capella group.  Currently there are 447 first-years in the program and 440 mentors.

Committee chair Rodrigo Ramirez ’06 A&S’13 opened the meeting. Rodrigo led the committee in discussion of several agenda items: ideas for new initiatives, updates from Alumni Relations, and suggestions for the spring meeting.

Maia Josebachvili ’05 and Caroline Kerr ’05 presented background on and outcomes from their class' student mentoring effort that took place during the summer of 2014. This program was very successful and grew out of discussions at the spring 2014 young alumni committee meeting. They shared key program components and the committee discussed opportunities to grow the program within other class connections. The committee decided to expand this program and replicate it within other young alumni classes; this year it will expand to the classes of 2006, 2007, and 2008.  The discussion ended with the following committee members agreeing to help lead their individual class-mentoring efforts: Rodrigo Ramirez for the Class of 2006, Luke Antal and Derrick Smith for the Class of 2007, and Chuck Flynn for the Class of 2008. The aim is for the individual class program to start by Spring 2015.

Rodrigo then led the committee in a discussion exploring the potential expansion of the Young Alumni Chair structure to include more regional alumni clubs. Derrick T. Smith ’07, assistant director for young alumni and student programs, who oversees Young Alumni Chair efforts provided data and insight into these roles as they currently exist. Rodrigo highlighted that these chairs can help reflect the increasing diversity within younger alumni classes and encourage more young alumni involvement. The committee agreed that there is a lot of value to these positions and that expansion should be considered thoughtfully, with a focus on those regional clubs with significant young alumni populations. Rodrigo and Derrick will continue this discussion further and will keep the committee updated.

Dan Parish ’89, director of Dartmouth for Life, shared key updates regarding young alumni and career development.  Young alumni advising from the CPD has been significantly increased. The Dartmouth Career Network continues to be an important tool in connecting alumni of all ages and Alumni Relations continues to strengthen it. The committee discussed the Career Network's relevancy and how to make it increasingly useful and accessible to alumni, particularly young alumni. Dan also highlighted additional career resources and connection points for young alumni (e.g. Off the Green programs and Virtual Career Fairs).

Derikka Mobley ’10, secretary to the committee and assistant director for affiliated and shared interest groups, highlighted the Alumni Interviewer contest and the value of young alumni as interviewers.

Rodrigo then led the committee in an open discussion of potential topics for the Spring 2015 meeting. Key topic suggestions were challenges surrounding alumni email addresses and communications, as well as, young alumni involvement in service within their local communities.